Surprise Visit

IMG_0938It’s early morning in your sleepy, tropical village.  The sun rises and glints off the tops of the nearby mountains.  It will be a hot day, but it isn’t yet.

Smoke from your cook fire is winding its way up through the slats of the rough wood wall of your house, finding its way to the sky above.  All around the neighbors are all waking up, too, starting their fires, drinking sugary homegrown coffee, chatting with each other, making plans for the day.

Your family is planning to work in the corn field today.  Since the weather has been so dry this is the perfect time to get lots of work done.  The harvested, threshed, dried and sacked corn will be taken to town.  Hopefully there will be a profit this year.  Hopefully the rains don’t come before it’s done.

The weather is unpredictable.  This is the way it’s always been, as long as you remember.  You’ve lived in this town your whole life, and now that you’re getting older, the younger people are taking over the harder work of the fields.  You still go though, to  help watch the babies, do some of the lighter work, and cook for the rest of the workers.

Today is Saturday, a good day for working.  You gaze out over the road that runs through town.  A few people are getting their motorbikes ready.  Maybe they are going  out to the city.  It will take them a few hours to get there on these dusty roads, but at least it isn’t muddy.  Other gather supplies to go to the field.  The children are playing, the dogs are busily searching for scraps.

Suddenly the dogs start barking.  You know that bark; it means someone new is coming.  What is this?  Two foreign ladies, walking into your village!  They look hot, like they’ve been walking for awhile.

You’ve heard that there are a couple foreign families who have settled into a nearby village, 45 minutes away.  You’re not quite sure why.  You’ve even met the men of the families and caught glimpses of their wives and children at some weddings and funerals.  One of the wives helped you when you were sick but you don’t see her here, just the wife of the other family and a companion.   What can they be doing?  They are so far from home.  They’ve never done this before.

A neighbor calls out to them, “Where are you going?”  They reply, “Just there and now to our home.”  You’re confused.  Why are they going the wrong direction?

Everyone comes out to the road to watch these ladies.  They walk along, talking to each other and laughing.  Other neighbors ask them, “Where are you going?” and some say, “Come have coffee!” They keep answering that it’s ok, they are just going home, but it is obvious that they are going the wrong way.  Have they come to visit someone?  You wonder how long it will take before they figure out that their home is not that way.  They move out of sight.

A few minutes later the dogs start barking again.  You look up to see the two ladies coming back up the road.  Ah, they must have figured it out.  They are laughing but one of them has a bright pink face.  It is strange how pink their faces can get.

You go out to the road to intercept the strange ladies.  “Where are you going?” You greet them this way even though you already know what happened.  They are laughing as they greet you too.  You reach out your hand in greeting and air kiss the lady’s pink cheek.  You feel sorry for them that they got lost, but you still can’t figure out why they are all they way out here, so far from home!

They explain that they made a mistake, that they were walking and had thought this road would lead them home.  To you it is so obvious that this doesn’t go the right direction, but you suppose that for them it isn’t very clear.  You mention that your neighbor will be taking their motorbike through their village if they want to follow them.  They take off, heading in the right direction this time.  You chuckle to yourself.  Hopefully they make it home!  At your age you thought you’d seen it all, but life is full of surprises!


Getting Married

Imagine that you are an 18 year old girl and you met the love of your life at a New Years party. You decide to get married and meet with your families to pick a date. You decide on a Wednesday, April 12. This is a good time for everyone involved and since a bunch of family and friends will already be in town for another wedding two days before, why not? You send out word for people to come.
Everyone asks you if there will be a party the night before. You’re not sure, but you keep telling everyone that the event is on Wednesday morning and will only be very simple. You don’t want to get their hopes up, although you know they’d love to party if you have one.
The day before your wedding things are starting to get so exciting around your home. A huge group of people come and help set up a temporary shelter and seating area outside your home in your garden. The ceremony will take place across the street at the local church, but the reception will be at home. Your family hosts a lunch for the group of workers, rice with main dishes of bat and squash.
You still aren’t sure if there will be a party or not, but word has it that your two live pigs and cases of beer you’ve ordered are on the way from town. The pigs and beer finally do arrive, so your family quickly decides it’s time to set up the loudspeaker system and get this party started. It’s 11pm, but who cares! Everybody loves a good party and if they don’t want to crawl back out of bed to come that’s okay, they can just listen from their homes. Someone makes sure to turn up the loudspeakers and keyboard so that no one feels left out, and the party begins!

You decide that sleep isn’t as important as this. Everybody stays all night and at 6:30am they are still going strong. It’s going to be a good day. Ceremony is at 10am so at some point you drag yourself away from the people who are still singing into the mic and start getting ready.  You’re getting married today!!

Funeral Food

It’s dark, and you’re attending the wake of a lady who has passed away along with a couple hundred other people who plan to stay up all night. You’re sitting on a rough bench made of two planks set on top of two cross boards. You can smell the cooking fires and know that there will be food served soon.

They start bringing out the food and placing it on a table in the middle of the large crowd. From a distance you can see that there are large baskets of steaming rice and other dishes, as well as the boiled pork pieces, of course. You know that’s always there.

The question is, will you get to serve your own plate of food, or will someone hand an already filled plate to you? You’re not sure, but you can see a pile of something white and glistening on the table and you wonder what it is, and if you’ll have to taste it. Soon you realize that the food will come to you, preselected. A lady hands you a plate, piled with rice, a piece of pork bone, and two meat dishes. It’s dark, so you start to dig in. No need of a fork, you just pick up the rice with your fingers and drop it in your mouth.

You put your fingers into a meat dish. It’s something tasty, sort of like a really, really thick piece of bacon with a chewy rind in a sweet sauce. You stick your fingers back in another shadowy area of your plate. Ahh, this is the one that will require some creativity. This is the dish that is made with all the leftover parts. There’s an art to discretely flicking it off the side of your plate without looking like you’re doing it.  Make sure the dogs don’t give you away!

Living in an Underground City

I live in sorrow

In an underground city

Where people look down

At me with pity

Under in Underground City

No light of day

Where’er I play

Down in Underground City

Up there is a world

And how would I know it

Where there is fresh air

And children inhale it

Imagine fresh air in this city!

I sit down here

With a frown on my face

Waiting for someone

To show me some grace

Here in Underground City

To show me the world

Up,up above

To give me some happiness

And lots of love

I don’t like Underground City

How glad I would be

All filled with glee

Out of Underground City!

By Lael E.

I wrote this for my creative writing.I like to write poems!

Life as an MK- observations by Squeaky, age 10

I love being a missionary kid.  You get to do tons of cool stuff that normal kids don’t often get to do.  You get to meet lots of friends from all over the world, are you’re more excited to meet an old friend because you don’t get to see him/her very often.  Also, when you live in a remote province then you are more excited to visit the city.

But sometimes you get sad when you think about your friends and relatives back in your home country.  And when people ask you, “Where do you live?” or, “Where are you from?” you have to think about it.  Here are the troubles and differences about each question:

1.  Where do you live?

If you lived in a remote province, that’s what you’d say.  Because it’s true.  But if you think about it, you feel like your true, true, true home is in the place you lived before.  Because it’s true.  That is your home country.  That is your home country.  Your home.  But where you live is the province, so you that’s what you say.

2.  Where are you from?

You would say, “I’m from Canada,” or “I’m from USA,” or whatever country you’re from.  Because, that’s where you’re from.  Now, if you were in your home country, and people asked you where you’re from you would say, “I’m from Toronto,” or “I’m from Chicago” or whatever your town or city you’re from.

If they lived in your home town or city, you would say, “I’m from Birchstreet” or “I’m from Lilypad Lane,” or whatever street you’re from.  That’s what you’d say if they asked, “Where do you live?”, too.

So that’s the difference between the questions.

It may be hard and it requires a lot, and I mean a lot of patience with the kids around you.

But being a missionary is FUN!!!!!

Squeaky’s Haiku

the spinning wind tube
while we huddle inside, scared
makes trouble outside

the turtle ambles
along slowly into the
water, flip, flop, SPLASH!

the jellyfish bobs
up, down, squishing, spreading, squish
don’t come too close, fish!

Leopard waits crouching,
sees his prey then he pounces!
seizes his next meal.

Happy birthday, make
a wish, blow out the candles
eat the birthday cake

Sister’s legs run as
fast as they can trying to
catch up with the rest

Catching Up

Happy American Thanksgiving!

This has been an eventful year but you wouldn’t know it by looking at this blog…  🙂

After moving into the village in January we began the long process of building our home.  We had lots of hiccups along the way but are thankfully at the end of it soon and hope to be moving in after Christmas.  Thank the Lord!

We also enjoyed this year of getting to know our new neighbors.  It has been rewarding and challenging as we learn about their culture and make lots of mistakes.  For the most part they have been very welcoming and patient with us.  We’ve picked up only
bits and pieces of their language(s) and plan to get started on language and culture learning soon.

Celebrating Bear’s first birthday with a big party

We just said goodbye to Dennis’ parents yesterday.  They came with a team from Canada who was here for a month helping us with the house.  It was so great to have the team here- a real encouragement to us and a lot of help!  Dennis’ parents stayed for an additional week or so after the team left and we had a wonderful time with them.