Thursday, February 26, 2009

Monday, the 23rd of February

This day started our great… Brit, Stephen, and I were all rejuvenated from the weekend and ready to get to work on the youth center, again. We had just finished painting a room and the clock struck 1:00. This meant the children were going to come by for songs and games on their walk home from school. We were singing “Shake another hand, another hand next to ya, shake another hand while you sing this song”…if any of you are familiar with that song…I presume only a few unless life ever led you to be a camp counselor…which then you, of course, know every silly children song ever made! … but back to the point. We were singing that song…

Then.. Out of no where.. Four boys suddenly dropped their belongings and ran off screaming! We were perplexed… “What is going on?” I wondered. Before we knew it, kids were screaming and running everywhere…there were bees scattered everywhere. Someone must have messed with a nest and these honey bees wanted revenge. Most of the children had ran away .. And we sent the remaining children home as everything seemed to be okay……we weren’t anxious at this point.

Next thing we knew, we heard a girl screaming at the top of her lungs crying for help. Stephen and I looked across the street….an 8th grade girl had a cloud of about 70 bees around her head…they respite..

Stephen and Brit ran to get water and Brit and I ran across the street to toss our water on this girl’s head….as we were sprinting, we saw this little girl approach and bang her hands on a car window.. begging for help.. the driver looked at her and drove away…

We finally reached her…dumped our water bottles on her head…. and the bees came after us. I lost sight of the little girl at this point but later learned she ran into the youth center still swarmed with bees to meet Stephen. Brittany and I ran down the street yelling “Help!! Please call for help…. Someone call the police! Help!” Some people laughed at us and some people just stared at us. As we ran into a building by the youth center, two grown men saw the bees swarming our heads and they ran away from us as we asked for help! was really hurtful and somewhat disturbing..

Praise God, but the bees started to disappear as we went into the building to get more water to dump on the little girl’s head. We grabbed a jacket and hat from men on the street and sprinted toward the youth center …. I have never, ever been so scared in my life… scenes from the movie, “My Girl” kept popping in my head when the little boy died from being attacked by bees. I also had never prayed so hard in my life.. And so loud… All I knew was that Stephen and this little girl were in that youth center and maybe with about 100 bees…

“Are they still conscious?”
“What do we do if they are not…”
“Has anyone else seen the American boy with us?” “Why isn’t he answering as we scream his name outside the building?”

Death crossed our minds b/c we didnt know the number of bees that had accumulated in the youth center… I have never felt the way I felt at that my life. I almost burst out in tears when Brittany said, “DO NOT CRY.. YOU CANNOT CRY RIGHT NOW”…so we ran…

Stephen’s head popped out in the youth center… what a relief! Stephen had managed to brush his hands through the little girl’s hair and shut her in a room with him (while remaining unharmed)… By the time we got there she was completely covered in stingers and wailing with tears… but somehow the bees were gone…Thank God… I say “Thank God” and “Praise God” often… but I meant it more than ever on Monday!

Long story short (or not so short), the little girl made it to the hospital and is receiving treatment as I type…

My point in telling this story was to remind you all of how short life is… not to be cliche, but be the person you want to be TODAY...I didn’t realize how much changing as a person I wanted to do before I die … We seem to forget we are going to die and that it might really happen to us so we start to become comfortable with our lives how they are.... but if today was your last, would you be content with how you lived it?

my answer was no.

However, no matter what, we know we have hope in Christ and are forgiven and can spend eternity with Him upon our asking him into our hearts. Lucky for me because I'm a huge sinner, selfish, and complain way too much about trivial things!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Lunch Break!!

On the days we work at the youth center we intensly crave human interaction! It happens that a large group of kids walk home from school right past the youth center every day! We called one over to talk the first day... then the next day we played a game with a few... then it turned into a MASSIVE crowd of about 70 kids after a week!! It has turned into a huge blessing and one of the many little gifts from God during our lunch breaks!

Prevention... yah, nah?

I tend to analyze (to the max)every decision in life… I generally find there is no right answer, just different ways of going about things and moderation…

Lately, I have been pondering the subject of prevention! What does Jesus feel about prevention? No doubt, the US is a preventative culture to the extreme. And let’s just say, Africa is NOT!

I teach at a preschool. Before I start let me reiterate- a preschool… not middle or high school…

We have kids from age 2 through age 5 or 6. Each day 90% of children come with no shoes on. Mind you, there is more glass on the grounds here than I have ever seen before. Little, little kids just leave the building to go the bathroom by themselves. Sometimes, at the end of the day, we realize a few kids, who were originally at school in the morning, disappeared.

There is this adorable little two year old who comes and goes as she pleases…. Two years old!! One day she just walked around relieving herself throughout the room. Attempting to eradicate the smell, one little boy used a small little towel to clean it up. But to no avail…. The towel/washcloth was too small to be of much help…

Can you imagine having preschool aged kids just leave school whenever they pleased…. At home, if a child urinates on the floor, we have to clear the entire room out and sanitize it…..and would we ever give the clean up responsibility to a four year old?

At the end of the day the children just leave… I have never met one of their parents…. A little different from our strict sign-in and sign out procedure we have at home, eh?

My friends who are volunteer teachers here tell me it is okay to hand out meds to kids at school without parental permission.

Also, No one here finds soap a necessary for the bathroom.

The list could go on and on…. My point is to ponder which one is right? Or is one right? I am used to counting every child’s head obsessively every five minutes. In the US, I watch pre school aged kids like hawks to make sure they do not hurt themselves. One of the main things we learn at staff training for camp is “Prevention, prevention, prevention!!”

This is all I have ever known… and it always seemed right.

However, I question myself when I see a little boy, whose foot is bleeding, carefully picking out a piece of glass from his heal….. No complaints… no crying or wailing…. Just calmly and patiently fixing the problem so he can move on with his day….Brit, Stephen and I were far more upset about the cut than he was.

Kids seem to be fine and quite happy with the germs, without the soap, with the sharing of food, without the shoes, and without the constant supervision…

In the states, do I condition children to be more scared than need be… to be overly dramaticc…to cry more often… to lack independence….to make big deals out of nothing?

BUT!! … there is a reason we are so big into prevention….a lot of horrendous and sad incidents have happened that have caused us to be very cognizant and cautious about how we approach different situations…

THOUGH, I feel a lot less stressed here, in Africa, working with children ….instead of having anxious thoughts about a child hurting himself, I just wait until we cross that bridge to deal with that problem…

Jesus wants us to use our wisdom as we enter varying situations; however, Jesus also wants us to trust him and be anxious about nothing….

So in conclusion- I sit here and ponder… prevention… Is there a universal answer.. Or does it change with contexts and cultures?


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

God bless the rains down in Africa !

The first picture is me showing you my plate of food for a going away party .... it consisted of ostrich, zebra, chicken, kudu, and crocidile! Thumbs up to all except the zebra!

the 2nd picture are two boys who ate lunch w/ me on the side of the roadd

the third picture is home in africa!

the fourth is a picture of stephen and I working on the roof

more africa pics

blok e pre school

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Africa loves Obama!

Backyard Butchery

Lenie (my host mom) called Brit, Steve, and I to come outside this Saturday.... so we did. She wanted to show us the truck full of sheep in her backyard... Brittany (our animal lover of the group) got very excited and asked if Lenie would be getting one as a pet. That is when Lenie pointed to the the pole in her yard which held the leash connected to a cute little lamb. I was hoping this lamb would have some hidden use besides dinner... My hopes were shattered when lenie answered, "Yes! We are going to kill it!"
Most of you know I LOVE meat! But who wants to know the animal prior to having it for dinner? Lenie asked Brit and I to hold the legs while they butchered it... we politely declined the "oh so generous" offer. Having a live animal slaughtered in my backyard for dinner was definitely the first!

Blok E pre school

Today we started our first day of pre school in Blok E. Blok E is the poorest section of town. The reality of poverty was all around us. As we walked to work we saw naked little kids runnning around, women walking around balancing their belongings on their head (so impressive), horse and buggies, donkey and buggies, and many, many tiny shacks built out of many different materials...these were their homes.

We had a lot of fun playing with the children. Even though they did not know our language very well, they loved to play games with us and sing English songs. We even learned some new songs in their mother tongue. They speak Que Que which is essentially the "click" language.

At one point I found myself surrounded by little girls braiding/playing with my hair. Simple things give them entertainment for hours.

The girls who work there now bring bread and peanut butter every day because the majority of kids have no lunch. We will continue this tradition once they leave at the end of the week.

Working at the pre school will be a good break twice a week from working on the center for children and youth. It is coming along though. Hey, who would have thought I would ever know how to seal a roof?

Working at the center has taught me discipline and perseverence. I did not expect to be doing so much construction here. However, I am here to serve and have learned a lot about doing God's work when it is fun AND not so fun.

It is really hard work and I may not be here to see the fruit of my labor. But Stephen, Brittany, and I continually remind ourselves of the great need in Rehoboth for a safe haven for children and youth to come. Many times I like to work with children or a project after the dirty, background work has already been done. This time it is me and I am learning a lot through it.

Hey, sometimes we just break out in song and dance with the brooms and mops when we are about to go insane!

Prayer requests:

*Please pray for the children in rehoboth. Children do not seem to be valued here...they are more like a nuisance than gifts to the parents. Day to day I hear screaming, screaming, hitting, and more screaming at children.
*ministry through language barriers
*someone will mail my 4 year old nephew to me!