Sunday, May 1, 2011

Finished 4/27/11

Supposedly, West Africa is mostly English speaking, and eastern Africa
speaks French for the most part. Supposedly. And that’s just the
funniest thing to those of us here in Cameroon, a country on the west
coast of Africa. We are also in the half of the country that should
speak English, not French. It’s true that more people here speak
English than French, but the English that they speak is not the
English that I speak. No, not at all. Everyone in Lassin speaks the
dialect Noone and the form of English called pidgin. Not everyone,
however, speaks or can understand English. This is the reason why we
have translators/aides in our classrooms at the school.
As in all places, there are some words that don’t really transfer from
your English to mine. For example if someone says that they will
surely be at the church tonight for the meeting, what they’re really
saying is that they will probably be at the church tonight. If I try
explaining to someone that my foot is hurting, they could be quite
confused. First they might ask where my foot is hurting. To them, my
foot runs from my hip to my toes. They also don’t really use the word
hurting; instead, they say paining. So for someone to be getting me, I
should really say, the upside of my lower leg is paining me.
If I want to go out jogging or playing football, I am sporting. If I
want to know whether or not my class understands my instructions, I’ll
ask them if they are hearing or getting me. I might want to tell my
neighbor that I’m walking to school, they’ll think that I’m working to
school; I should actually say that I’m trekking.
The other day, Brother Gregory asked Steve if he could hear the
termite poison at the school. He, of course, meant to ask if Steve
could smell the stuff. I often hear people say to me “oh, you have
been missing?” That just means they haven’t seen me in a while.
The kids at school get mad at any other student who messes with the
air. You can imagine that means that the students have eaten a bad
combo of fufu and something soaked in palm oil, resulting in really
bad gas.
New babies are born, or put to birth, everyday at the health center.
Speaking of health, you might ask someone here who isn’t feeling very
well if they will go to the health center to get tested for malaria.
They’ll say no, they don’t really have the money to go to the center,
but, yes, they’re sure they have malaria (disregard the previous
definition for surely). You may then look at them with wide eyes and
really urge them that they need to get that checked out; they probably
don’t have malaria at all. People here call any sick, or illness,
Here in Lassin, the answer to every question is yes, and foreigners
are always wealthy. We have so much, in fact, that we have to give
much of our things away so people better ask for them, just in case.
And if you pass your friend who has arranged to meet with you later
(or even in this very hour) to ask you for your things (especially
before you leave the country), they’ll say “I’m coming!” When they’re
planning on coming, you may never figure out. You could decide to just
meet with them now, and in the case, you’d want to ask “can we move
together”, not let’s take a walk.
And last but not least of all these strange words with multiple
meanings is the word finished. If you’re reading this blog now (does
anyone read this anymore?), you may have noticed the wide lapse in my
blogging. See, what happened was my computer got finished. Three or
four weeks ago, I was using my computer as I usually do (did), when
all of a sudden, the battery died. From that moment on, my computer
will not charge or even function with the battery in the computer. In
order for the computer to function, I must remove the battery and plug
in the computer. Other things that are finished are the honey, the
taxi driver who got beat up some months ago by a gendarme, the
chocolates my mom sent me, my white hot chocolate, and Kiddo the baby
Words are something else here, and miscommunications are frequent.
It’s still pretty fun to try to communicate, though. We’ll see how
long it takes me to figure out my mother tongue again.

Bummer 4/27/11

Sometimes you can see something in this world that just devastates
you. So many children here in Lassin have just been dumped here by one
or both of their parents to be taken care of by friends or family. I
don’t know how that really feels, but it must be awful for them.
Surely they’re thinking they aren’t good enough or that their parents
don’t love them. I hope they don’t think God’s like that too. Anyway,
that’s just one of the issues here. Another issue is somewhat related.
It must happen everywhere in the world. But it just breaks my heart.
About a week ago today, twin kids were born right in my compound. Not
the homosapien variety, but the goat variety. Baby goats are just the
cutest little things. Anyway, the mom ended up kind of taking one and
leaving the other. The kid that she bummed, called a bummer, didn’t
get discovered by the family until much later that day. Bummer. She
must have rejected it to begin with, I don’t know. But she definitely
wasn’t going to take it now.
I felt so bad for the little guy. He didn’t choose this life for
himself. He had no control over his situation. He was completely
helpless. The family wasn’t really doing anything about so I figured
it’d have to be me. If you don’t like the way something is, then do
something about it, right? So Wednesday night, on our way to church, I
stopped by the health center to see if they had any baby bottles.
Nope. I wondered how long he could last without food.
The next morning I stopped by John’s store and, wonder of wonders, he
sold bottles! I bought one and left some money with him to buy me some
cow’s milk. After school I came back to collect the milk. John bought
me about $1 worth (500 fr). This was way more than enough, over 1.5 L,
though I didn’t really know what I was doing. I immediately went up to
the Roses’ to heat some to feed the little guy. I didn’t realize
taking care of a baby animal was so difficult. Poor kiddo. So I
started [force]feeding him on Thursday afternoon about every 2-3
hours. I didn’t feed him at all in the night. Thankfully there was no
school the next day because of Good Friday, but Carol and I were going
to the next village to visit Julianna’s farm. Loco, a little girl in
my compound, was able to feed him twice in the late morning for me. I
came back from the farm in Binon and fed him again. It’s amazing how
much force you have to use to get ‘em to eat. Things had actually
gotten better but then they became worse. He didn’t seem to want to
eat. Then he had bloody diarrhea. I was sure he wouldn’t last too many
more days. Plus, who would continue buying milk and feeding him 6
times a day in just a few days when I leave?
The most precious thing happened on that Friday afternoon. Whenever I
tried holding little Kiddo, he’d just squirm around and cry. Then when
I put him down he’d go around to everyone and everything other than
the bottle and try bumping it for milk. So I picked him back up and we
finally find a comfortable position for one another. Then he fell
asleep on my shoulder. I want to cry right now just thinking about it.
He was just so helpless. I put him down a little while later in his
sleeping quarters and brought him an old pillowcase to lay on. When I
came back with the pillowcase, things didn’t really seem right with
him. He was just standing there awkwardly like he didn’t know where he
was. I laid him down on the pillowcase; later when I came by he was
I don’t know if he died that night or the next morning. But Sabbath
morning, after I warmed some milk for him, I walked over to the house
and saw him lying lifeless outside the door. Everyone and their mother
around the compound were watching me, seeing what I’d do, I guess.
They all got a huge kick out of the goat’s new mother. I asked some of
the men sitting there, “The goat is finished?” “Yes,” they said.
“Okay.” I left. I left kind of kicking/laughing at myself for getting
to attached to Kiddo. I hope, though, that death, in any of its forms,
still makes us sad. Don’t let yourself be desensitized to all of it. I
know it’s our way of coping with the extreme sadness on Earth, but
it’s better to go to a funeral than a feast.
I can’t wait for heaven and the new earth, where there will be no more
death or pain or tears. All will be well there with our King.

New Heart 4/27/11

When I first arrived here in Cameroon, the thing I mostly prayed for
was a change of heart. My body was fighting against everything I was
trying to do. I wanted to do the right thing, to love people, to enjoy
teaching and teach well. But my body just wouldn’t have it. I guess I
really didn’t want to do those things; but I knew that I really needed
to do those things. I needed to have God change my will and desires to
match His own for me.
And as with so many other prayers, God has answered. The change inside
of me couldn’t take place overnight. It’s actually still ongoing. It’s
something I have to keep praying for every day, every week, all the
The amazing this is that I actually was presented with the opportunity
to stay here in Cameroon—or at least Africa—for some additional weeks.
Now, in the beginning, it was all I could do to remain here for 10
months. But even 10 months changed to 9 months, and even 9 months
changed to 8.5 months, and miraculously that changed to just 8. God is
so good.
The other week when the Roberts (and family) were here, Gary & I were
talking about life. He said that since I still wasn’t sure about Med
school, I should consider coming to Chad (hard-core country north of
Cameroon) or goind to Buea, Cameroon for 3 weeks after I leave Lassin.
That suggestion kind of hit me in the face hard. I thought, you know,
why not? In fact, I was really thinking that I wanted to stay in
Africa, I wanted to see Buea again, I wanted to go to Chad. I was
thinking, hey! postponing my return flight home really isn’t that bad
of an idea.
Me thinking those thoughts right there was a miracle. God has been
changing me because I keep asking Him to. And I’m so happy for it! I
prayed and fasted about staying here 3 more weeks. And God and I have
come to the conclusion that I’m just going to fly home as planned.
That’s fine. Just knowing that I was willing to stay is exciting for

Embarrassing Myself 4/27/11

There’s no doubt that this place, this experience, this everything,
has changed me. But I don’t consider this whole experience to be the
roundest thing I ever saw. You getting me? I haven’t really had many
literal life or death trials here, so I won’t necessarily be any more
prepared to experience one. I have had numerous opportunities to
cook/prepare food, though. So the next time there’s a real need for
food, I’ll really be able to contribute something pretty meaningful.
Well, one area I have NOT had any, any, any extra experience with
while I’ve been here is… interaction with the opposite sex. Now I
could really worry about it, but I’m definitely not. The thing is, God
is the leader, director, shepherd, love, joy, savior of my life. I
know that if I come across a life or death situation or even a boy, He
will take care of me.
There are tons and tons of boys and men in Lassin, but I just don’t
think they’re for me. I am here for a mission and a purpose. I’m here
to teach little children about Jesus amongst some other things (like
surviving), not to socialize, flirt, yada yada.
I did have an interesting time (at least it was in my own thoughts)
with a non-African guy who came to visit. A few weeks ago, our good
friends Gary and Wendy Roberts flew in from Chad with their cute
little girl and their, uh, young, German, pilot-in-training comrade
who knows multiple languages and has traveled a lot and is about five
years older than me.
Before I continue, I just want to say that if ever I consider myself
in an awkward situation, I do understand that I probably created it
So I tried to be friendly enough to all of our visitors, but for some
strange reason I couldn’t bring myself to talk to or even look at the
guy. What’s wrong with me?! I know that the longer I wait to break the
ice, the thicker it’ll be. So I did finally break it. I was laughing
at myself the whole time they were here. I was just so afraid. I felt
like my silence toward this fellow was obvious. But I felt like, I
don’t know, like everyone was possibly thinking (but not at all, I’m
sure) how convenient it was that the two young, single missionaries
were brought together under this roof and shouldn’t they really get
along well and become friends. I’ve been told that I think way too
I realized that anytime I find myself in the company of a single
member of the opposite sex, I freeze. My brain stops working, I can’t
remove my eyes from the floor, it’s just awkward. I think it’s all in
my head. And I’m really going to work on this. Maybe that’ll be more
plausible now that I’ve let the whole world know.
Here’s to embarrassing myself much less frequently.

Chocoholic 4/27/11

If you know even a little about me, you know that I have a problem. I
have a sweet tooth about the size of Buddy’s in the movie The Elf.
It’s bad. Anyway, I decided to do an experiment a month or so ago.
Since I’ve been here in Africa, so much has taken place. There’s been
so much change. And, I hate to admit it, but I’ve turned to my comfort
foods (most all containing sugar) a few too many times. I had enough
of that around March 10. So I decided to go without chocolate. I
should really have just done it as long as I could. I think I would
have found again that through Christ the impossible is possible. But
instead I decided to go without it for 40 days. So my chocolate fast
began, and it went over pretty well. The funny thing about it all is
that I was due a package from mi madre about halfway through my
chocofast. Could you guess what the box contained? Well, along with
about 2 huge editions of the Knox News Sentinel and about 5 small
English dictionaries, there were 10 boxes of girl scout cookies. And
guess what was one of the main ingredients in all but 3 boxes? Oh yes.
Chocolate. Ironic.
For the most part my fast wasn’t too difficult. I think I really
understood that my body really needed the break from the junk. I’ve
been back on chocolate a week now. And I really think I’m mostly
eating it because, all of a sudden, I can. I don’t really want it that
badly or need it; it’s just available. So I figure, why would I want
to leave this stuff behind?
When I get back home, I feel a definite swap to carob coming on. I
just feel better off the chocolate. My new friend Merlisa (she, her
husband Elebert, & daughter Estella arrived here in Lassin some weeks
ago; they’re our “replacement people”) told me she used to have the
same problem with chocolate (man, she doesn’t even know about my ice
cream addicition. Could I even still call it that? I think I might be
cured.). She told me that chocolate (and, I’m sure, sugar in general)
shocks your body. God’s informed us that we are to present our bodies
a living sacrifice and that our bodies are temples, a place for God’s
Spirit to dwell. If you really believe that, consider how you’re
hindering your mind and body today. How could you make your mind
clearer, your body more efficient, through what you put inside of it?
Change is good. If you know your life isn’t exactly compatible with
the Truth, change will be even better.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Market, Mangoes, & the Mundane (3/10/11)

Today was a significant day. All the past 30 days have kind of
squashed together (this is true except for the tarantula-like spider
Carol found in her clothes last week that Steve is now keeping in an
upside down drinking glass on the table or the black widow-like spider
in a large mason jar on the table or the huge Gaboon Viper I saw last
week on someone’s porch. It was dead. I have photos.). But not this
day. Today I consumed my first Cameroonian mango. Although not
completely ripe, it really did remind me of mangoes I’ve eaten in the
States. So good. I’ve waited and waited and waited for the mangoes to
come, using their arrival as another indication of the time that has
actually passed. I’ve waited for mangoes for 6 months. And they are
finally here. I admit, though, that during my long period of waiting I
made these African mangoes into something more than what they actually
are. Even if they are less then I expected, I’ll enjoy them
whole-heartedly. The small things really are huge blessings from God.
Today is also Lassin Market Day. Market Day comes every eight days (so
next week it will fall on Friday); two days after Market Day is
Country Sunday for the village. The 8-day week makes the reality of a
Sabbath inconvenient for many here. We are good at coming up with
excuses that will one day pale in comparison to the majesty of our
God. Since my arrival here, I’ve pretty much avoided the market…
mostly. This was, of course, encouraged by the other missionaries
here- and even locals. The markets the place where people waste time,
get into trouble, frequent the bars, etc. My bad feelings toward the
market have come and gone, really. Since Kim and Kataya left, I find
that going to the market really only reminds me that they’re not here
anymore. From the beginning, I also hated being stared at and called
by so many people. I like to think that I never have enjoyed
attention—good or bad. I definitely have disliked it from people I
don’t know. I’ve never experienced it on so great a scale as I do here
on Market Day. I’ve become used to it, but I still like to avoid the
crowd. A few weeks ago I happened to be in the market past about4 o’
clock. Never again will I go to the market past 3. One of the items
people enjoy on Market Day (and in the market on every other day as
well) is palm wine. Palm wone is the fermented juice of the raffia
fruit, I believe. And it smells awful. Anyway, by the time 4 comes
around, many are inebriated by the stuff. And on this Sunday market, I
was walking to Julianna’s booth, minding my own business when BAM! A
stranger grabbed my shoulder with his strong hand. I tried shrugging
him off but could not shake him until I physically shoved his hand off
my shoulder. This really shook me. I had the only other Adventist
family here escort me out of the market, past the bar just outside the
market, right to the path to my house, vowing never to go to the
market again. I have. I understand that people under the influence of
alcohol cannot be responsible for their actions. That’s too bad.
Another interesting thing I’ve confronted in the market (besides juju,
which I’d call a combination of alcohol and this next occurrence) is
insanity. I remember Divine’s little niece (and my neighbor) coming to
see me a few days ago. Her name is Loco. Despite my reclusive
tendencies this day, she managed to catch me outside on my porch, and
I was happy for the visitor. It seemed, though, that everyone else in
the village was somewhere else. It was pretty quiet in the quarter.
She said, “There is a madman at the palace.” “Oh, really… Did he pass
by here before?” “Mmm,” she confirmed. I figured it was the same
madman who’d been around before, the one who lives in Lassin. Later, I
learned that this was a different guy. And on the day he was “at the
palace” he was completely naked. Glad I didn’t happen to meet him on
that day. But, unfortunately, I did meet him the next day. And oh boy.
I don’t know what else I can say about it. I think it was Tuesday
morning. I left my house at a decent hour, headed for school. I walked
through the market as usual, past John’s store, down to the bike park.
I noticed a man sitting in the middle of a clear area, equidistant
from the village phone and the two Muslim shops. I didn’t think
anything of it. But then I met the village phone guy coming up to his
shop. He let me know I could come and buy credit, so I followed him.
Well, then I discovered the madman. I just walked right up into the
village phone booth, trying not to look at the crazy person speaking
some alien language. I’m telling you, the guy sounded like one of the
aliens from the movie Signs. Really. I casually mentioned to the phone
guy and his other customer that “there’s a madman outside.” They
agreed with me. Well, by this time the madman had noticed me also.
Around here, when people see a “white man”, they really see a walking
10,000 cfa note. That’s too bad. So the guy sauntered up to the
village phone booth, sitting on the ground just down from the veranda,
hand extended towards me, still muttering in clicks, gurgles, and
groans. Wow. I wasn’t thinking much to myself besides “don’t look at
him, don’t look at him.” Mostly I was talking to God. The madman even
threw something, a little metal piece like a small, old rusty bracket,
up at my feet. That really startled me, though. At that point the
phone guy started yelling at him in Fulani to get away, I guessed. He
and his other customer assured me that I should not be afraid of him.
They could tell I was upset, ha. Oh, I forgot to mention that, just
next store, standing right in front of Shey John’s store, was the Fon
(traditional king of Lassin). It is the Fon’s responsibility in his
village to make sure that the guests of the village were treated as
guests should be. He was watching all this happen, and I felt better
knowing he was seeing it all. The madman did back away by the time I
exited the booth and darted for the road toward Kibo. I wanted to be
far, far away from Lassin as quick as I could. Well, he wouldn’t have
that, of course. He started after me at a slowish but steady pace. By
the time I reached the very edge of the high veranda, just before the
path (with the Fon on the other side), the man chucked some sort of
heavy garment in my direction. The dirty clothes landed just beneath
me, right in path. I shot a quick glance toward the Fon, jumped down
off the veranda (as faaaaaar as I could jump haha), and walked as
quick as I could toward school. Some school girls joined me about this
time and I saw D in the distance. I knew God had delayed him just the
right amount of time- and the girls, too. I was so happy to see these
familiar faces. I walked/jogged toward D and school, the madman
following us. Now he was speaking Fulani or Hausa, and the girls could
understand. I kept hearing him saying something about ‘nasara’ (white
man). Ummi and Zenabu said, “Madam, he is insulting you.” I just said
“Oh, okay. I’m just walking to school.” I never looked back, just kept
on keeping on. He stopped following after some time, I guess,
encouraged I’m sure by D’s presence between us. So I’ve put yet
another thing on my list of reasons to stay away from the market.
Besides mangoes and madmen, there’s not a whole lot of news. I admit
that I’ve been through the routine here just enough times to dub it
mundane. When things are still exciting and new, it’s hard to imagine
that they could one day become the boring norm. And I still can’t
really bring myself to say that about life here. I mean, c’mon, I’m IN
AFRICA. How could I be bored?? How could things be dull?? That makes
me wonder if it’s just me. Eh. I think I’m coming full circle. In the
beginning, I noted every single bright spot of every day. I had to. I
couldn’t survive otherwise. I had to acknowledge the blessings God was
pouring out on me. I think now, after months of becoming accustomed to
life here in Lassin, I need to do the same. Mangoes are such a
blessing. Safety from harm and my sanity are huge gifts, too. And did
I mention the baby goats? Without these little bundles of joy, I’d
really be discouraged, my mind stuck in my mundane “reality”. The
reality is that God is here with me in Lassin, just as He is with you
(wherever you are). The reality is that He knows my every thought, His
future plans for me, the number of hairs on my head. Amd He loves me!
What an amazing God we serve.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blog: Let it Rain

Blog: Let it Rain (Feb. 8, 2011)
Dry season means dust up to your elbows. Dry season means small brown
particles in every crevice and every hole in your body. Dry season
means dragonflies and better roads and nights with “too much cold”. It
means you can wash your clothes without worrying about them. It means
ice cream in the market! It means many, many things. But I’ve heard
that, every once in a while during dry season—maybe two random
days—it’ll rain. Last week, showers of blessings rained down from the
sky. It was great! I’ve really, really, REALLY missed the rain. When
it rains here and you happen to be inside a house/building with a tin
roof, the noise is deafening. I love how one sound can just totally
overwhelm all other sounds. The only thing you can possibly hear when
it’s raining is the rain. No one can tell you it’s not raining, and no
one will be able to ignore the fact that it’s raining. Everyone will
know it.
Earlier this week I was listening to a David Crowder song (this
actually happens pretty much every day…). I will not be silent. I will
not be quiet anymore. I will not be silent. I will not be quiet
anymore… The words reminded me of the rain. And of the beauty all
around me. Just look. Look up at the sky. See the trees, the tall,
tall trees. They are reaching up to God. Look at the beautiful flowers
(or snow? Ha). Oh, and the mountains. I can’t even begin to do them
justice. All nature testifies that God is real. Our God is alive and
well, worthy of our worship, of all worship. The words also reminded
me of my own witness. Even if mankind refuses to acknowledge his
Creator, even if he refuses to testify share with other, then the
rocks will cry out. I cannot be silent. I will not be quiet anymore.
Now if I were you, I’d ask me- Osoula? In other words- What’s the
news? Well, let me think. Last Monday, Steve, Carol, & I went to Kumbo
for the day. It’s always nice to get online to see what’s going on out
there. Anyway, on our way back we found out that Demasias, the guy who
rode with us to Kumbo (our church landlord), was going to stay in
Kumbo. But as we were in the taxi park receiving his message, we
learned that Shey John (a very nice man who owns the largest store in
the market) had been discharged from the hospital in Kumbo and was
waiting for a taxi back to Lassin. He quit smoking last year when he
caught a ride with the Roses to Bamenda and couldn’t smoke at all for
several hours. Since he quit, he’s gained some weight (haven’t we all)
and drinks the same amount (or more) of alcohol. Since he works at the
store all day, he eats very irregularly. Anyway, he’s been in the
hospital several times for stomach problems. The hospital never really
says what’s wrong exactly, they just give him “gastrointestinal
medicine”. We all visited with him during the two and a half hour trip
back to Lassin. I suggested that it could be Crohn’s. You think? I
don’t really remember enough about Crohn’s disease except that, when
people with the disease return to the diet intended for us by God, it
can be reversed. So Steve had a bright idea. He told John to let us
(Carol & I) cook some meals for him for about a week and see what
difference it makes. I’ve had a lot of fun preparing an extra bowl of
food for him at dinner time every day this week. The only problem is,
it could look… unfavorable?... if a woman was bringing him food every
day—especially to Shey John’s jealous wife. So we’ve employed Divine
as our delivery man. Sabbath evening, though, Carol and I were going
to bring the food to him on our way to the church. We headed toward
his shop—down the shortcut, past my house, across the bridge, and up
to the market. Carol didn’t have her glasses on, so I’m glad I’m so
observant haha. From the outskirts of the market I could see John’s
store. And from the outskirts of the market I could see Shey’s wife
sitting in front of the store. Close call! We brought him the cold
food later, after our meeting.
In other news, it’s Youth Week here in Lassin, and all over Cameroon
for that matter. No school today either!! I just love holidays.
Yesterday was Human Investment Day (community service) for the youth.
We had morning classes (some English, songs, and the Bible story) at
APSL (Adventist Primary School of Lassin) and then started on our
little project. The students have been collecting firewood from the
area around the school for a few weeks, and yesterday we delivered
bundles to about 10 old men and women in Lassin. My group (the Lions!)
delivered 6 bundles to an ol’ mudda (old mother) who lives here in
Calaba quarter. I pass her house every day as I’m walking to and from
the Roses’. Usually when I try greeting her she just gives me this
look. She rarely greets back. She just doesn’t seem too happy.
Miraculously, yesterday morning as I passed her on my way to school
she actually said good morning-o! back; she even said it with a slight
smile, I think.
The Lions and I arrived at her compound around 1:45 after trekking
with the firewood from school only to find that she was not there. We
left the pile of wood by her door and hoped she’d understand it was
for her. Then the 6 kids in my group came back to my compound for
water and Nutty Buddies! Thanks McKee! Haha! Later, on my way to the
Roses’, I saw that her door was open. So, with my laptop on my head, I
stepped in front of her doorway and tried knocking—“Bong, bong!! Bong,
bong!” I saw her there inside the dark room and got her attention. I
said- “This wood is for you,” motioning to the firewood outside her
door. She gestured with both hands, a sign of respect, and slowly
stood before coming toward me. On her way, she asked if I was the one
giving it to her. I said that it is from my school, from the students
of APSL. I almost cried a little later. She came out of her house to
me and gave me a big side-embrace haha. I told her—“God bless
you!”—not knowing if she really understood. She thanked me and thanked
me. She said—“Thank you, my pikin. Thank you. I came back and saw the
wood but did not see pikin. Thank you.” I will never look at that ol’
mudda in the same way. Now I just consider another one of my
grandmothers. I love how extended my family is. Brothers and sisters,
fathers and mothers, grandparents—they’re everywhere.
I just have a bit more news to share. After Christmas break, a spent
about two weeks teaching Class 5 only. Since Kim left, they didn’t
really have a teacher (well, they still had Divine). Plus, Gregory (a
man who lives near the school and helped build it) has been doing
cement work on the school. As of today, I think, all the classes have
cement-plastered walls AND cement floors! No more dirt! Whoo hoo!
During the first two weeks after Christmas break, classes 1 and 2 were
together in either room 1 or 2 while the other was getting worked on.
During that time, both Naphtali and Julianna taught classes 1 and 2
together. But since then I’ve been floating from Class 2 to Class 5
and have been lesson planning for all of Class 2 and the English/Math
for Class 5. Teaching two classes really makes the days go super fast!
It’s nice. dClass 5, though, has been out of a classroom for the past
couple weeks and have been meeting outside. We have a very nice place
up under the Eucalyptus grove with benches and “desks”. There’s even a
chair for the teacher.
I think I’ve mostly broken my habit of counting down the days ‘til
May… now I’m just keeping in mind how many weeks I have (11.5 :D
haha!). Life’s not too bad here at all. I think the main thing I’m
really missing are the friends and family I’ve spent so much of my
life with (I already mentioned that I have friends and even family
here, too. They’re just not the same, though.). So for now, I’m just
living in today, trying to savor today. I don’t want to be living in
any other time but this moment. May will come soon enough, and, by
then, it will probably be too soon. Today, I’m being drowned (in a
good way) in the blessings of God. I thank Him for the rain, for the
children, for your prayers, for animals (saw another chameleon this
week!), for good food, and for life.