Friday November 27th, 2009
This morning I set an alarm and was awake by 4am. The sun wasn’t quite up so I waited till nearly 5 to wake up Krista. I threw on the same dirty clothes I was wearing yesterday (I don’t think I have ever done this in my life before coming here) and the two of us walked 20 minutes to the Nautilus. By 6am I finally connected with my family via Skype. I was able to see a blurry image of the whole crew. The image on my computer screen skipped glimpses of the all the faces I love crammed in a corner of my parents warm house protected from the chilly winter air. They gaze at me sitting on the pier with the ocean in the background, squinting from the intensity of sun that is making sweat roll down the back of my tank top. I couldn’t have been happier to see my family, and I know I am so incredibly blessed to have them. I am only 1 out of 17 and they love me enough to want to stay together and talk to me as a family. How could this not brings tears to my eyes?
After time on the internet ran out, Krista and I walked further down the beach to a little restaurant to have a cup of coffee. We sat with our toes in the sand as we enjoyed the still quiet beach. We exchanged wisdom and concerns as clouds slowly covered the sun and a warm rain began to fall. We walked home with thunder booming behind us and our feet kicking the surf. I swear by my Timbuck2 bag so we walked without worry for our computers were safely tucked inside my treasure bag.
We made it home bodies soaked, computers dry, and put on a pot of tea. Today is the day after Thanksgiving which means it is officially Christmas season. The Christmas playlist on my ipod was the beginning of what I would like to think of it as “if you give a mouse a cookie,” example. It started with a cup of chamomile tea and Christmas music, then once on the subject of Christmas, Carrie, Krista and I grabbed scarves, Carrie’s beanie (don’t ask me why she has a beanie in Mozambique) and Krista’s gloves (again don’t ask) we took a few “Christmas” photos and then it escaladed to the idea of Christmas cooking. We don’t have much to work with in our cupboards, so some peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk, and coco powder made a truffle that we then rolled in cinnamon and instant coffee! Yeah they were amazing and extremely rewarding! It then escaladed to wanting a Christmas tree. I left the house in claim that I would find one. Well I came back with what I thought was a good “tree.” The next few hours were spent decorating the tree, making popcorn garland, and singing along to the classic Christmas songs. The “Christmas party” did not remain just me and two of my roommates, it grew with every girl that walked by the house, or heard the music. I passed out cups of tea to our guest in only our finest china, (emptied peanut butter jars) and in return each new guest added to the energy of the moment.
Knowing we got a little ahead of ourselves, but it was a ridiculously funny challenge of our imagination to imitate Christmas as we know it. A giant palm tree branch and a “happy birthday” banner found in a random drawer, transformed into “happy Christmas” with help of some magic, created the foundation for our “Christmas tree.” And earrings, popcorn, headbands, and whatever else people came up with trimmed the tree before finishing it off with a giant leave in an abstract shape of a star at the top. God continued to bless us with rain all day and although it wasn’t cold outside it still helped set the mood.
The rain continued as Carrie, Krista and I put on skirts and rain jackets, and walked to meet up with the rest of the group for village outreach. A group of us went to Theresa’s house which I was excited about. (She was the woman that gave me the necklace the last time I went on village outreach.) The last time we were there we noticed the roof on her house was in really bad shape. When we visited today we noticed that her roof was brand new! Iris ministries came last week and gave her a new roof! We sat and visited for a while and then continued onto a new house. Here there was one almost blind woman and her husband and children and this 18 year old girl that had no other family that now lives with this family and helps with the children. I know I have said this before but the sense of community is incredibly provoking. Time moved extremely slow while we sat on grass mats with children on our laps. I held this one boy for about 2 hours and we just played clapping games, and I let him and his older brother play with my hair Occasionally their mom would laugh at my stylish new do and at one point she leaned over and rubbed oil in my hair and face. A kiss on each cheek and a “ciao, ciao” sent us walking back home.
I have to be honest I just wasn’t into the food from the kitchen tonight, consequently I had some crackers with butter for dinner. I cannot possibly describe to you how messed up my eating habits are here, but I’ll give you a little idea. Yesterday I ate a burger for my thanksgiving meal (first one in almost 2 years). Chicken night on base is the best night of the week. I have had nothing but instant coffee this whole time. I have had multiple sodas (I absolutely never drink soda at home except an sporadic ginger beer). The other day I didn’t have milk and therefore I had orange juice in my cereal. And the other day I accidentally missed the breakfast roll and ended up eating a cracker/cookie thing that tastes like cardboard with fake butter and honey on top. And to think that before I left home I was concerned with drinking out of plastic water bottles, that is the least of my concerns at this point. Now you know that when I brag on my cooking of good food it really is a rarity. This is a more accurate description of everyday.
Saturday, November 28th, 2009
The sound of Thunder shakes me awake and the sound of rain on the tin roof lulls me back to sleep again and again through the night. I end the cycle by deciding to get out of bed and grab my raincoat. I walk out of my bedroom in my Kermit the frog jacket ready to walk to the kitchen at the top of the compound. Before I make it past the threshold of my bedroom door, Krista walks in drenched and holding all six bread rolls. Turns out there is no need to challenge the rain after all. The house remains dark and the only sound is the rain increasing his authority. Krista and I put on a pot of water to make our pot of instant coffee and sit at our dinning room table. The rain is no longer gentle and kind as yesterday but powerful. I don’t have a worry in the world except for when the rain comes in sideways and through the windows. For the windows have no glass on them which is not usually something we think about until you are sitting on the toilet and getting rained on at the same time. Yet again I say this is all that we could possibly worry about, while there are thousands of families surrounding us who live in a one room dirt floor hut and the rain becomes a cruel god that invades their houses, through their poor conditioned grass roofs. He turns their floors to mud and soaks everything in his supremacy. The cardboard walls of some houses wither away leaving individuals exposed to the rain’s wrath, and there are no coffee shops or cafes that the locals can take cover in while they wait out the storm. It is just man against rain.
By noon I walked to the Navel with the “Dutchmen” (three people from Holland). The walk over there was interesting. I had a hard time walking because I was laughing so hard at Jerome getting stuck in the mud. There was no avoiding walking through the garbage filled mud puddles that tried their best to eat your flip flops. We sat there till after 5pm and I ended up reading over 200 pages in my book. We walked home along the beach to avoid the river of garbage that encapsulated the road, and still we were challenged in avoiding mud and trash as much as possible. I am close to finished of another one of my books and good thing too considering it is the last week of school starting on Monday. Weird! All of us can’t help talk about it frequently these days, and yet we all know that there is no predicting just how the future will pan out. I know I will experience culture shock upon entering the US and I know that I will miss my new family that I have here and yet there is nothing I can do to prepare myself for this except to acknowledge it is coming quickly.