Coffee along the way

Coffee along the way
Coffee along the way

January 29, 2010

Dress codes

For years i have struggled and fought against this constant skirt wearing thing....i mean i have to do everything in this skirt! Walking, cycling (which i gave up because of health and safety issues!), painting, climbing and even swimming!

but today i see clearly why it is so important to adhere to the dress code of rurual Africa....and it all came about quite sudden too....

I was alone on the building site with the workers, happily painting away - the boys went to haul sand - and as the one worker closed the tin, the paint, that "shouldn't go into eyes", did! A beautiful green streak in his brown eye!! Yikes!

Crisis controller that i am, i quickly searched the room for a cloth of some kind - preferably cotton and clean...well there was none....except own T-shirt! So what do you do? You grab the end and wipe the paint out, of course!

Yesterday it was my youngest with blue-green paint in his eye and up went the skirt seam and out went the paint! Very handy!! haha So, even if it irks me to always were the thing it CAN be handy in emergencies!

But a kind warning - when painting or when anticipating emergencies - wear the longest possible skirt and T-shirt! :)

January 25, 2010

Getting perspective....

It all started when i gave the boys a haircut each - yes, i am the hairdresser too! The wind blew a bit and the hair got stuck all over me and i so desperately wanted to take as shower.....

i asked the boys to start a fire for me, which they normally do very easily, but after one of them got a singed (already short) fringe i took over....

And so, there i was lying on the ground trying to make a fire so that i can take a bath...and so NOT enjoying it! The wood was wet, the smoke made me cough and i was struggling for the longest time with the smoldering and then dying coals.....and i felt oh, so sorry for myself!

But then my very level-with-the-earth eye caught sight of my neighbours and i thought "What am i complaining about??" I am heating water that comes from a TAP for taking a shower INSIDE a warm and cosy house!! And so with new vigour i blew on the embers to heat my water with joy....count your blessings one by one!

January 22, 2010

in my element....

Two young boys were tearing down the gravel road on their bike when they.....fell. And that's why they ended up sitting next to our fire house, looking sad and sore. Elbows and hands covered in blood.

I loved being a physio - no pain, no gain and all that - :), but seriuosly, i fit into my job perfectly! And i miss it somedays more than others! But here i was, sitting on my low stool, smoke curling around the reed hut, thunder rumbling in the background, feeling in my element! Don't get me wrong - not because of their pain, but because i can in some small way be of help! Physio or first aid, reaching out to touch a painful part....that's how God wired me, i was born with a bandaid and antiseptic cream in my hand!! :)

And i thought to myself....i am happy here! I can be there for my kids, support my husband and even get to dress some wounds! I pray that God will use this special compassion for the sick to open hearts to His Ultimate Compassion for them!

January 20, 2010

God as Genie?

Do i measure how much God loves me by what He DOES for me? And so, if He doesn't DO things i think i need, then i feel unloved, uncared for?? The short answer is probably ....yes, this is how my thinking goes.

Living here sure will cure THIS misbelief!!! haha! Some days here EVERYTHING goes wrong! And it keeps on going wrong for a looong time too!

A few years ago God challenged this same thought, but with a slighty differnet angle - Do i value more what i DO for God or whom i AM in God's eyes?? And the same goes for God (respectfully said, of course!) - Do I value more what He DOES or who He IS??

I must admit, last night after everything else went wrong and i saw my beloved table being bashed about (to be fixed) and then cracked (accidentally) i nearly lost it! So instead we sang and prayed together and all the songs had the same theme.....even if all goes wrong God is still the same and blessed be His Name....

I was reminded of Daniel's 3 friends when threathened with the fiery furnace...
"the God we serve is able to to save us, and He will rescue us from your hand, o king. But EVEN IF He does NOT, we want you to know, o king, that we will NOT serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

Even if He does not....such a short sentence but oh, so profound! And so, i pray that i will be able to say (from my heart) .... Even if God chooses not to make __________ or do ________ or ____________, i will still serve and honour Him, worship Him for who He is.

(this is hard teaching too!)

January 18, 2010

Preaching to myself.....

"This is hard teaching. Who can accept it?"....many of His followers turned back and no longer follwed Him.

How many times have i said, "This is too hard!" or even to my shame, "It's IMPOSSIBLE!!!"
It's too hard living here, it's too hard to learn yet another language, it's impossible to love him or her, or even this culture!! .... "This is hard teaching"

Then Jesus asks His disciples (and me, His follower), "You do not want to leave too, do you??" And i think i know the answer to THAT one! But listen to Peter's reply, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We Believe and Know that You are the Holy One of God"

Wow, that silenced me. Where could i go? (and i have read Jona and learnt from HIS experience!!) "It is only in Your will that i am free", sings Robin Mark, and oh so true. And so, i stay and learn to trust Him more, especially in hard times, because of who He is - the Holy One of God!

January 14, 2010

One wonderful thing about living Out Here in Africa is that i get to homeschool my children. Yes, you read right, it's a wonderful thing! And to all those we do not believe in it or believe that parents CAN actually teach their kids, fasten your seat belts!!

Some days are just a stubborn we-have-to-do-this-so-lift-up-your-head! (What job ONLY has smooth times??) Most days it is so much fun to see them "get" something! Or, my favourite, when you hear them play and one is Atilla the Hun and the other two the poor invaded Chinese....or whoever they are learning about!

Teaching them to read has been my worst struggle - and i don't mean the reading part! To keep a straight face and not burst into giggles when, for example, the youngest Insists upon doing a specific voice for every character! "Little Bear" has never been so funny! This HAS to be the best! Someone once said children spell love T-I-M-E, and it's so true!
It is a priviledge and i'm going to enjoy it while i have them here with me!

January 12, 2010

this side of heaven

Some mornings i wake up with a spring in my step....only to be knocked back down by REALITY! Well, i shouldn't sound so negative and maybe this blog will be positive some day, who knows?? :) But until we reach heaven, i guess, this is how it goes!

This morning a mother and her very sick (one year old) baby waited outside for me. Nowadays they all say the child is over and above one, because i don't give medicine for under one year old' now i have to guess the age as well as the diagnosis and treatment!! Phew! A tall order!

I felt so bad, because i had to tell her to take the child to the nearest clinic as i suspected malaria....."Not a bad idea", i hear you say? True in a way, but as the clinic is 10km away and she will have to WALK all the way with the sick baby on her back, it does add up and sometimes they just don't go.

So i sent her away with a silent prayer as i touched the little one's forehead and my heart broke, again, for these people....and i suspect correctly that it won't be the last time either! Lord bring Your healing in their lives, be the Living Water and the Bread of Life! They need You , i need You.....

January 08, 2010


Saudades.....longing, missing, feeling homesick says the English/Portuguese dictionary. A word that cathces you usually offguard. Only a word, not a very long one, but, oh so powerful that it can knock your feet from under you in a second!

I went through the whole of Christmas and New Year and didn't feel a thing and now suddendly on this wet, muddy Friday it has bowled me over! Saudades.

Missing things that people "there" take for granted, longing for the normal and commonplace. Feeling homesick and missing friends and family. Part of my life. Hardening my heart and moving ON. Saying "hello", i don't say that anymore - i have learned from a good(bye-saying) friend to just say "See ya!" and not make a big deal out of it, otherwise your heart will break!

In times like these it helps me to focus on what God has called me to be here....
I sometimes wish there were more understanding PEOPLE too out there to make it more bearable Out here in Africa....BUT He is faithful and knows my every thought, He sees my breaking heart and brings comfort! Holding on to that thought today!

January 07, 2010

No half measures.....

Have you noticed that in Africa nothing comes in half measures?? It's either too much or too little! If there is dust there is dust everywhere! If it rains, it rains cats and dogs - never a nice drizzle! There is no middle ground!

Here i am trying to be a good parent and teaching my boys restraint in eating their favourite cereals (which we only get here at hilarious prices or either have to import form the good ol' passport country) and what do i get for it?? A huge maggot and moth infestation!! So now, no more restraint - eat it all boys and as quickly as you can before the bugs beat you to it! At least we will have good memories!!

Yip, even the bugs do not come in half measures.....

January 05, 2010

Holding on to the Light

I have this very interesting little "bedside lamp". Well, actually it's a small bicycle headlamp and it fits snugly in my hand. As we live, let's call it, Green, we do not have a lot of electricity laying aound at night waiting to be burned on outdoor flood lights or dim passage lights (that's now if we had a passage!) In any case if you would try and find us on Google earth you would not see a thing here. And yes, this is deep, dark Africa!

All this to say that each dark night i have one hand firmly in my husband's hand and one small light in my other hand and so i fall asleep.....

On one such a dark night i didn't fall asleep immediately and i started thinking about life and such and well, i realized how important holding onto the light had become....but then it struck me that The Light actually never lets go of my hand! So even if i let my little lamp slip from my grasp as i fall asleep, God has me tight and secure. A very nice thought on a dark night!