29 April 2017

Hope in the Husk

Media outlets have a tendency to sensationalize the situation in Haiti. That's what sells newspapers, right? And I want to believe that that's the case in this article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-4455968/amp/Downpours-ruin-spring-harvest-beleaguered-southwest-Haiti.html

But I know it isn't. This is exactly what we were afraid would happen when Hurricane Matthew hit last October. Knowing that people are slowly starving to death just miles from you...forces action. Something inside you whispers: "It is not. right." We fly for organizations that are helping: David says he's flying a lot of groups doing roof repair, which is much-needed as rainy season returns. But that feels out-of-touch to me...I know in my head that we're helping, but it isn't enough. 

 

So I've been sending them seeds from my moringa tree. I know it's barely making a difference...maybe not making a difference at all. But it is what I can do. They grow fast; the leaves are very nutritious. Food is what they need. 

 

 

Even more, the bees, hummingbirds, and beetles love it. Their ecosystem in the south has been thoroughly devastated...but maybe this helps. If nothing else, it assuages my conscience. No, that's not right--it assuages my soul. It comforts the part that cannot stand to see people suffer and die just because they're hungry. I send these seeds like a letter: someone cares. Don't give up. Don't lose hope. Your life will flower and bloom again, even when all seems lost, even when it all seems dry and dead. In that husk, sometimes, you can find just what you need to start over. 

 

Thanks for praying for those suffering in the south. 

27 April 2017

April 27th, 2017: A Normal Day

My life here has become normal. It is hard to write about normal.

This morning, the kids and I made dog food to stick in the freezer. I gave them plastic knives to cut up spinach and zucchini, and once they got bored, I finished it. Normally, I wouldn't care if my dog eats cheap dog food...but she's got arthritis, and this helps. We also stuck some zucchini on the dehydrator to run while the solar power was good: we're learning to concentrate our power consumption in the middle of the day now.

The kids then had a snack and watched Netflix while I finished prepping to teach Bible study about the Sabbath. The internet was up until around 10:50, at which point it was down. That's normal. I plug in the backup connection and move on. Someday, I will start calling Natcom again, and they will once again start sending people who will try to replace my router...even though I know it's not the router.

I made their lunches, since we don't get done with Bible study until 12:30, and we went across the street. Our Haitian babysitter, Denise, met us at the gate with a big smile. She doesn't speak English; my kids don't speak Kreyol. Oddly, in this case, it doesn't seem to slow them down.

Three ladies show up: a pretty good turnout. Two text and bow out: one for unknown reasons (hmm, I'll have to call her) and the other is stuck in a government paperwork line. We've all been there; we get it. It's a fruitful time studying Exodus; I love these ladies and I love how transparent they are about their struggles. Friendships on the field have a deep quality to them: there's more hurt to share, less independence to fall back on. Leading them is really just facilitating their discussion and bringing the Word in whenever I can. It fills me up.

At this point, the language barrier comes into play, and I can hear E wailing upstairs...not her normal frustration sound, but an "I'm hurt" quality to it. I venture upstairs and find out what happened. As soon as Denise's back was turned...I know the rest of the song, so I bring a snuffling daughter downstairs to finish prayer requests. Adoption proceedings, family members in trouble, patience with kids...some heavy requests. We figure out who's leading next week and part ways.

Rush home (across the street), eat lunch, NO, you can't have a cookie, because it's NAP TIME that's why. I know you're not tired, it's entirely for my benefit. I think about calling a grandma while we eat our beans and cornbread, but we're already way behind, and it's too easy to just keep talking. We miss them so.

That afternoon, I start work on a blog post for my new blog, missionarymamas.wordpress.com. It's something new for me this year, and it's another thing that fills me up. I realized I'm not the new kid anymore, and I might as well embrace my role as a "veteran missionary." Strange that seven years qualifies me for this, but there you have it. Peter manages to get his hand caught in the back door, and we make popcorn on the stove to hasten his recovery. I email with my househelper's daughter about her medical expenses. I am the health insurance; it's an uncomfortable role for all of us.

I started some laundry (again, go solar power!), but stopped when I realized we were almost out of water. (It had started raining anyway.) We can't pump it up to the roof unless the city power is on, and it hasn't been. David goes out to start the generator, but its battery is dead. He spends the rest of the afternoon trying to fix our battery charger and get it going so our househelper can wash dishes tomorrow. I pull a bucket of water directly out of the cistern for my shower just in case--I'm not going out there in the dark, man. There's cockroaches out there.

The kids balk at cold baths, but are in bed soon enough. We watch TV together, then go back to our own evening work. I sit down to write this blog post, and I hear a weird noise...a clicking. Irregular. My ears perk up, and eventually, I find him: a small mouse is caught in my trap behind the pantry shelf. Since it was just his leg, he is still alive. He is very unhappy, and he squeaks his feelings to me all the way outside. I figure, the dog can finish him off. Live to fight another day, mouse...just don't do it in my kitchen. I finish my paperwork to rent a car on furlough and send an email with spelling advice for one of my students. Leaving my classroom doesn't mean they leave my life; I'm "all in" with these kids. They're the best.

David runs down the street to help a neighbor with her inverter remote. The city power is on, but it's being weird; only sending 102 volts instead of 120. The pole on the street starts sparking, and a neighbor texts to let us know. We disconnect.

And speaking of disconnecting, it's that time again for me. If you want to read my thoughts on the Sabbath, it should be up on the Missionary Mamas blog within a few days. Good night!