Monday, August 2, 2010

I only have one week of school left. That is quite a surreal realization. My time here has been an amoebic mixture of smells, people, foods, and African gestures and ways of communicating; things that form your understanding of a culture and location that aren’t quite identifiable, but more atmospheric. I have learned how people show that they think something is funny: they laugh and sort of slap your hand as if to say, “You’re too much”.

top left: My friend Fatima; I will always remember the way she dances with her baby balanced on her back. She is a beautiful and happy woman who told me that I was special to her like a daughter even though we only spent one day together.
top right: women and children selling fried sweet bread and roasted nuts by road
Bottom left: My friend, Amina, (Rosa's Grandmother). She can not walk, and when she isn't in her wheel chair she crawls on the ground with protection for her knees and hands. She had just given us a bowl of oranges and we were about to play cards with her family.
Bottom right: Another friend named Fatima and her family, as well as a few neighbor friends in her house when we were over for a visit.

I’ve learned which corners it is that ladies and children tend to sell peanuts and strange sweet breads, and which ones of those little boys from Iris like to eat (also which ones my roommate and lovely friend, Ruth, likes). I’ve learned how to dance many different types of African dances, and also learned that I LOVE TO DANCE AFRICAN STYLE! Yes. I’ve learned and am figuring out how to find the balance of wanting to help and give gifts to my friends and how to handle these same friends at some point asking for money. I’ve learned how to shave a coconut and make coconut milk, and how to make pastry dough with a mortar and pestle that usually is used for making xima (cornmeal type of food).

top left: Our other friend named Amina cooking us an amazing dish of coconut rice and beans. In this picture she is squeezing the soaked and shredded coconut into a sieve and through to a pan of beans.
top right: Amina shredding the fresh coconut with a very interesting instrument specifically used to do this.

bottom left: amina's friend teaching me to shred coconut. I brought home a coconut shredder, and have made this dish at home!
bottom right:

And I know what it feels like for a family to share the small amount of food that they have with you and give you a larger portion than you need while they take a much smaller. I can tell you about different little children and their stories, like Rosa who lives with her Grandmother, Amina, who can’t walk, but crawl and use a wheelchair and has a mother that lives in another province and she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.

top left: Rosa with our friends Angelica and Joanna sitting outside of her and Amina's house.
top right: One of our friends' daughter falling asleep in my lap. I'm getting overwhelmed with love for the little girl!

bottom left: Me and my friend Derefina sitting in her backyard when she invited me to come visit her.
bottom right:My feet and my friend Joanna's feet on the beach!

I have learned that a shaking pinkies with a kid means that you are no longer friends” and to restore this friendship, you must touch elbows. Haha! I have gotten to know some of the people from the 20 different nationalities in my school, like the group from Russia, who are so so beautiful. They are so encouraging, selfless, and so very…Russian! :) They love to lead worship, and it’s one of the loveliest things; I love their style. Eleyona has a beautiful high voice with a fast vibrato that sounds very classically Russian. Whenever you spend time with them, they offer you tea or a snack, though they don’t have much, or any spending money while they are here.

top left: Me learning how to basket weave from my friend Elena. top right: Me and my Russian friend, Tanya, keeping dry in the rain!
bottom left: Elena and I talking and basket weaving with the pile of reeds behind us as well as another friend who basket weaves.
bottomr right: village kid friends!

I’ve started to learn how to basket weave from some of the ladies that work here making purses, hats and grass mats (I know more than ever that I truly LOVE to make things with my hands and be creative, and I always will. Regardless of where I am and what I am doing, this will be a part of me!) I had a chance last week to teach some of the kids how to makes hemp necklaces att their children’s camp! That was an amazing, and trying opportunity. I couldn’t speak Portuguese that well, and the kids were somewhat difficult, but I loved it.

I am completely finished with the ordinary. I feel as if I am just now starting to walk in the path that God has for me. This is regardless of my location; It’s more of a state of mind that I have been blessed to find in which I am realizing that God is WITH me wherever I am. He has many plans, and He indeed moves today!!!
I have one week left here in Pemba. Then I will be going to Tete for my outreach. I will be working with a small church there that has just purchased a buildsing that WAS a brothel and is now becoming a children’s home. I’m excited about that, but I feel surreal. But I am happy. I am definitely sad to say goodbye to my little life here, my friends here, and my friends from the 20 other cultures that have been studying with me. I have been packing in last chance visits with the friends that I have made here, and I think Ruth and I are going to have a little birthday party for the little boys and girls that we have become friends with from Arco-Iris. I took kids to the beach for possibly the last time last Saturday, and I went to church for the second to last time here yesterday. It seems to have gone so quickly! I’m going to be taking a little more time getting my beans and rice this week so that I can see my lunch lady friends as much as I can. Ah!! How sad. But I am sure that I will visit her again. I don’t think that I am going to work here long-term. I am not sure where or when I will be, still. I have had some amazing different understandings of my destiny since I have been here, but the immediate next step is always the difficulty. But I love this life that God has made for me…so interesting, and it always keeps you in a place of reliance on Him.

top left: Playing cards with some of the Iris boy, Anselmo, and our village friends, Focas and Osamo. top right: ruth and I with our friends Joanna and Rosa (Rosa is the grandaughter of Amina). bottom left: Anselmo asleep in my lap. bottom right: Joanna and Rosa and their families outside of their house.

By the way, they are now accepting applications for the next school starting in October. Please please think about it if you want your life to change for the better, and have any interest in Ministry or Missions!!! (I’m specifically thinking of a couple people I know like…ASHELY TUTHILL!! Rachel Singleton!!! And maybe Tracey?? Or everyone I love!!! Hee hee – I highly recommend it!)
see you august 26th!
Love you all


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