Sunday, July 29, 2012

Can't Write This Stuff!

I can't think of anything to blog about.  That probably means I shouldn't... 
but I am doing it anyway, aren't I?

I know most of the people who read my ramblings on here and I can attest that they are intelligent, involved, and very busy individuals who really don't have time to read an entry with no point... 
but you are reading it anyway, aren't you?

How about I just tell you a short story?

I had a substitute driver a few weeks ago. He dropped me at the house and waited outside while I went in to do something.  Lunch was ready, so I asked our cook, Henry, to make a plate for the driver and take it down.  As I was preparing to leave, Henry rushed back into the kitchen, excitement in his voice and tears in his eyes. 
"Madam!" he exclaimed, "I know your driver! We grew up together back in our country! I know all his family. We were best friends!"
He proceeded to tell me the story.  When I went downstairs, the driver, with the same tears and excitement, told me the same story. 
They were children together in a nearby country.  They grew up together as close friends.  Then came the war.  They were separated from one another and from many of their other kindred friends. They hadn't seen or heard from each other in about 14 years.  Unbeknownst to each other, they both came to Conakry and  have been here for a few years. It wasn't until that day as Henry went downstairs to hand lunch to a driver that their eyes met. 
The moment they saw each other they ran and hugged and cried.  I had gone back inside to give them time to talk.  They went through name after name of all their friends that the war separated them from to see what they could learn.  Some had died. Some had not.  
Internet-bred and facebook-saavy, I found all this shocking.  If I wanted to...and I don't...I could track down everyone I've been to school with since I was in Kindergarten.  It would not be very difficult to find out where they are and what their life is like.  Information age, baby!  You can find anyone on the internet.  That's convenient.  
But it also steals the thrill I saw in the two of them that day. They didn't even know of the other had survived the war. It took a chance (as if there were such a thing) encounter.  And that day, what was their moment, their experience, became one of my favorite moments, my favorite experiences in Guinea. far.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Bad Time
WildHeart and I sat on the floor where I was scolding her for teasing her brother.  "He is trying to be big and strong," I explained. "So when you call him girlie names it is just cruel."  
"Ok, mom," she conceded.... her brother walked in the room pushing a frilly pink baby carriage.

Great Time
I was in the nurse's office attached to an I.V. for 7 hours yesterday. I decided to read Helen Keller's autobiography.  The first chapters overwhelmed me with her descriptions of gardens and yards and fields.  My heart was aching for a place like that.  Chapter after chapter, hour after hour the desire for the beauty of those garden places continued.  As I turned another page in her beautiful story, the door to the room I was in opened.  A familiar ebony face entered with a blanket around her shoulders and a small red cup in her hands....
...filled with every color and kind of beautiful flower made into an arrangement for me.  She had just finished walking outside gathering flowers for me to brighten my room and my day. 

Not Now Time
So last night I completed my first full day of no major symptoms.  As I prepared for bed I told My Man, "I think tomorrow I will be good to go back to work."...
...and within an hour: "Moooooooom", Curly girl calls from her bedroom, "I don't feel good"  (cue the vomiting)  

Appointed Time
Somewhere in the night in the brief moments of rest between catching little girl vomit and giving the comforting mommy back rub, the thought came to me "What am I doing in Africa? It's too hard, too dark and too scary for me and I am too weak for it."...
...Then in morning worship a song with this verse came on,  "And in the darkness, GOD's light shines."  And with that HE encouraged me.  It is dark and scary, but JESUS shows up really well in that lighting.

Friday, July 6, 2012

4th Abroad

I am sick.  I don't mean that dramatically, for once.  I mean I am physically ill.  You know, the kind where your body suddenly forgets that it knows which direction food is supposed to travel and you are freezing cold under layers of blankets. I can only imagine all the varieties of germs I am exposed to each day so it's a wonder it's taken this long to end up in this condition.  

It started on the 4th, just as our celebration was ending.  And what a fun celebration it was!  We had everything that makes for a great party--swimming in the pouring rain,  musicians playing instruments with electric cords submerged in water,  and the inclusion of a British friend...which offered a touch of irony.  Those weren't my favorite things about the day though.  There was another moment that took the cake.  (ugh..cake...hang on...)

A little bit before the guests were due to arrive, I stood outside with a group of workers who were helping me put on the shindig.  One of them asked me how many years we have of independence. They looked surprised when I told them 236.  Then they asked who had colonized America.  

That's how it started.  

I told them the whole story...well chunks of it anyway.  By the time I got to the part about how the well-trained British redcoats were defeated by an army of simple farmers and regular men, they all began to applaud!  

and that was the best part of the day.  Even now as I remember the enthusiasm in their faces and the clapping in excitement, I can almost forget that I am sick.