This week was crazy. Busy, difficult, awesome, all at once. It is seeming that more and more of my life here is like that. I suppose life in general is a series of ups and downs and my role is to find joy and blessing in all of it.
This was my last week of teaching at the preschool and while I will miss the kiddies so much I am also glad to be moving on to language school starting Monday. We also had new team members from UK arrive Friday and we are excited to get to know them. We are not the newbies anymore!
This week was hard because Annikah started the week with a cold and then on Wednesday she managed to sneak out the back door when I thought she was playing in her room. Now, I repeatedly tell her to wear her shoes when she gos outside for numerous reasons; the dirt, the bugs, the potential boo-boo’s that await non-shoed girls, etc but when none of her friends wear shoes it is hard to convince her of this and she walked outside with no shoes on. All of a sudden I hear screaming from outside the house. My heart sank and I ran to find her, our house helper Martha had picked her up (annikah LOVES Martha and cries when she leaves for the day) to comfort her. I could not figure what had happened and thought maybe she had just gotten freaked out by something but as I rinsed her off I realized she had burns all over both feet. We were able to discern from the Kiswahili conversation outside was that she had climbed on top of the tank that holds our well water and the metal cover had gotten so hot in the sun that it burned her feet, and not just an uncomfortable small boo boo, we are talking blisters all over her toes and pads of her feet. When we first moved here we noticed the potential for danger with this tank and made sure to get a lock and ask our Mlinzi to always keep it locked when the girls are playing (to avoid a fall) but we never thought it could get so hot as to burn her. Poor kid, I cleaned and dressed the burn and after about an hour of crying she finally fell asleep for a nap. I cried holding her thinking it was all my fault….if I had only been watching her …if only I never brought her here…….but accidents happen and this happened despite Jason, myself , and Martha being in the house. I made a decision a while ago to never parent out of guilt asI believe it makes for selfish kids and paralyzed parents. I know that kids will always get injured despite our best efforts to guard their safety and perhaps they need to experience these minor accidents to realize the dangers that lurk in their world but still my heart aches when she is in pain. Jason and I had just been praying for some friends here when this happened and 10 minutes later a local friend was coming to meet Jason so there definitely feels as though this was meant to bring us down, to discourage us. The same day while in town I had serious pain and bleeding (I will not go into detail for fear that some of my male readers will never again check this blog) but after rushing home and laying on the bed for 30 minutes I realized it was a cyst rupture. I would have been wicked scared if I had never experienced it before but I have had this a couple times stateside so I was pretty sure I knew what to do. All this in one day has the potential to make us feel very discouraged but God is good. All the time. We did not feel discouraged at all. Instead we recognize the power the dwells within us and the ability we have to chose joy. Annikah is walking on her heels but she is fine. I had some pain but I am fine. We are together and we are more than fine, we are great.
The next day was awesome with great language interactions, locals visiting, a fun lesson with the kids from school, and getting 2 packages from home (thanks Mom!). I was also invited to a Halloween decorating party. This was a shocker as we had just been discussing with some ex-pats here what Halloween is as it seems to us the U.S. is the only place that celebrates Halloween. It definitely is not a holiday that translates very well cross culturally; try to explain that one with limited Kiswahili! But the rotary club here has a Halloween party every year to raise money and I went to the decorating party and helped paint tombstones. I am not going to the actual party tonight because Annikah is still a bit sick and the entrance fee is steep but it was exciting to meet some many people that have lived her for years (I even found a running buddy). The house was super swanky and many of people there were owners of various tourist businesses in town. Besides meeting some really nice ex-pats the best part was that they had cheese…REAL cheese flown in from South Africa. It is the little things. We also are pleased to introduce our new kitty!!
Our friends had a cat that had 2 kittens and we promised Annikah we would get her one when they were weaned and this week we picked up our kitten. Annikah got to name her and so far her name is “paca mdogo” which means little cat in Kiswahili. After hiding from us for two days she now loves to be with us. It is a good thing we are cat people because dogs are culturally off limits unless you keep them always outside as protection. We love our “little cat” and hopes she also will enjoy eating some of the bugs and snakes around this joint.
I think the ups are really good right now because so much is new, different, stressful, uncomfortable. But I am thankful for the ways I see God working on me through the downs. I am learning to trust, to trust and turn to Him first instead of rushing to the doctor. Annikah is learning this out of necessity and has the best attitude of all. She told me “Annikah boo-boo better Mama” and then asked us to “more pray.” I am learning to trust Him that He brought us here and has plans for us although those plans may not look like what I thought they would. To trust that He is good. All the time.
Annikah’s foot a few days later