As I sit this morning, I am contemplating what I should write about. I didn’t do great at picture taking this week. So perhaps I will give you a glimpse of our week, or maybe just one day…….
I am up before the roosters, that is not even just a corny statement, I am. I feed the dog, get a big glass of water and head to my spot on the couch where I enjoy some quiet time…. some time with the Lord. I have been trying to memorize scripture. As I sit writing my journal, reading devotionals, and memorizing I soon hear the calls to prayer. It seems the speaker has been fixed, my quiet time is no longer quiet.
I head to the kitchen and make some muffins for breakfast. Dishes from the day before are still on the counter. I breath a sigh of relief, House Help will be here today. Thank you Lord for this provision! Breakfast is done, lunches are packed and we are out the door.
We leave our gate to discover that the trash heap, mostly construction debris, right outside our gate is piled high again. Over night these piles mount up. Sometimes 2 feet. Stacy does his best to manouever around the mounds.
We drive towards to school, we stop at what we think is a red light and wait for someone to honk at us. Then we know it is time to move forward. While we wait, we watch the other vehicles go by. 3 people on a motorbike, some wearing taped helmets, some wearing hard hats, most with no helmets at all. Vans way over loaded, we chuckle about some of these sites. We notice the beautiful fabrics that everyone is wearing.
As we journey down the road, there are people sleeping on the ground or on their market tables. Some with sheets or nets pulled over them to keep the bugs off. Others covered with nothing at all. There are people setting up to sell their African pancakes ( can’t remember what they are called), some selling baguette. You see the Lipton Man ( I don’t know that this is what he is officially called). He carries around a little wooden box with lipton tea and instant coffee. He has a kettle and sells his morning hot drinks. It is much like a traveling Starbucks!
From the backseat, the girls are talking about the camels, the donkeys, the sheep, and the goats (especially those really cute dwarf goats).
We turn onto the dirt road that takes us to the school. Slowing down we are tossed back and forth in the truck. (this is no reflection on Stacy’s driving!) as Stacy works his way around and through the bumps, holes and caverns on the road.
Here we are for another day at school. I wonder what is in store for today. How many power outages will we have? Will we have enough water for everyone today? Will all the toilets work properly? Will any locks fall apart?
After school we go to a meeting and we bid farewell to new friends, one of the couples from the secondary school. As we are visiting, a rain storm blows in. A refreshing breeze fills the air. I hear children playing and laughing. I glance out the window to Rebekah and her friend dancing in the rain… completely soaked in the warm African rain. I look up to see a complete rainbow, my first African rainbow. I feel a hug from God. Then I realize that there could be three loads of laundry on the line at home that are now drenched and covered with sand…. sigh, all we can do is accept it and rewash….
Our drive home from school is busier than our drive to school. There are more vehicles and people this time of day. The air conditioner is blasting, but it doesn’t seem to be enough for this hot day, the temperature is somewhere around 40C. We come to an intersection with lights, all three colours are lit up… red, yellow and green. We wonder should we stop, slow down or carry on. Stacy slows down, comes to a stop. Cars begin to honk, we drive forward. There are herds of rams being moved through town, young boys with sticks chasing them about. Cows on the other side of the street.
Women with baskets and bowls on their heads and children tied to their backs. We approach the intersection by our house, this light is red, we stop. Within seconds there are people at our windows trying to sell us phone cards for airtime, there is a young girl with her aged relative that is blind. She holds out her bowl and peers in our window. On the other side of the vehicle is a man with no legs, holding out his bowl. A young boy runs up to wash our windshield so he too can have some money. The scene is hard on our hearts. The light turns green.
We finally arrive home. The guard has blessed us and has taken the clothes off the line. They are all dry and mostly sand free. THANK YOU!! Another gift. I walk into a clean kitchen and am so thankful that the dishes from this morning are cleaned and put away. Now I start messing it all up…..
I head inside to make supper. Tonight’s menu is suppose to be apricot chicken, quick and easy for a late night and busy day. I get the jar of apricot jam only to discover that it hadn’t been sealed…. rotten! Now we will have apricot chicken minus the apricot portion. ( I thank God for the gift He has given me in the kitchen to be able to adapt and flex recipes). I go to the freezer to pull out the already cooked and shredded chicken that I prepared weeks ago, to discover there is not enough for dinner. I need to cook and shred the next bag. I fill the pot with water and get it boiling, I add the chicken. Dinner is going to be late tonight. Brianna makes us our after school smoothies while we wait for supper. Smoothies are our daily treat around here…. yogurt, bananas, papaya, chocolate, milk, and lot’s of ice is the secret! We drink them so fast our heads hurt.
For therapy I decide to check my email. I get logged in, notice the great internet connection and see my email opening. Suddenly I am sitting in a dark room… the power has gone out. So, I won’t check my email. Deep breath. It’s okay, the stove is gas, I can still make supper.
I wander back to the kitchen that is hotter than a furnace. As I cross the threshold I feel the sweat begin to pour. I see the dishes I am now creating and think, these are all going to have to be washed yet tonight. I take another deep breath and leave the kitchen.
I work at shaking the sand out of the laundry. The girls help me fold it. We sit and look over their homework… practice some French, review Bible verses and get the backpacks ready for school tomorrow.While we do this we are listening the sheep and goats bleating, the horns honking on the street out front, the dog barking at the lizards in the yard, and we are fully aware that we are not in Canada anymore.
I do the final preparations on supper, scrounging vegetables. Making a list of what I will need to get from the market tomorrow after another day of school and our weekly French lesson. Supper is finally ready. We discover that Apricot chicken with out the apricot is pretty good. We might do it this way again!
The girls have headed to bed. I am exhausted, hot and ready to head to bed myself. Alas, I wander back to the sweat room. Stacy joins me and washes up our dishes together… kind of like a date! (hey, you take what you can get around here). We get water bottles refilled, and prep what we can for the next day.
I go to take my cold shower, seriously, it has been months since I used warm water…. crazy to think of it. So refreshing. I lay on top of all the covers, thankful for the fan that whirrs above me. As I reflect upon my day, I recall the proverbial phrase coin by Hubbard….”When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade”. This is what we do here. The lemons are small and can be painful, but it is still worth the refreshing cold drink. I am amazed at how happy we can be. How much we are able to cope with. How adaptable we have become. I am fully aware that it is not on our own strength, it is because of Christ in us. I am in awe of how little we have here, and how we can still be content and happy. Yet painfully aware that in the little we have here, the city around us has even less and they continue to smile and answer, Ça va bien! (I am good).
I am asleep before Stacy makes it out of the shower.