23 January 2009

like somebody's shadow.

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to
believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too? - Douglas
Adams

There are aspects of life here to which I'll never adapt (that
independent streak just isn't going anywhere), but (not to stereotype
or anything) life in Africa does give you an appreciation of the
little things. Maybe something about seeing kids kick a ball of rags
around the street for hours on end (and never mind their ability to
run for hours on end at this altitude), but I've reached a point where
a particular email or letter can put me in the sort of good mood that
makes people steer clear of the mildly deranged-looking grin on my
face. And given the children here, that's precisely the mood I'm
aiming for - happy enough to not be affected by the staring. Knowing
that people back home remember that I'm here and actually enjoy
reading my rambling letters makes it so much easier to stick it out.
Moral of the story - I love and miss you all. And I'm probably going
to be uncharacteristically affectionate and painfully socially awkward
when I get home. I hope you'll still love me. I'll bake you cookies
to ease the transition.

I was meeting with Belihu, a biology teacher at Chilalo HS, about
improving the school's library, and while we were waiting for the
librarian to come back from lunch, he launched into a discussion of
how much he just loves praising Jesus and how much he admires the
faith of such brilliant American "men of God" like George Bush and
Billy Graham. Shockingly, I managed to just smile and nod.
Fortunately, he wasn't interested in what I thought, he just wanted to
extol their virtues.

We finished the water reservoir and have started planting at the
prison. Apparently, certain vegetables have to be sprouted in the
shade and then transplanted to their growing field. Learn something
new everyday. I was just excited to see tangible results of my
efforts.

My tortoise friend came back - I was afraid he'd died. I saw a kid
carrying a chicken in his arms the way you'd carry a pet (as opposed
to the "upside down by the feet" technique that's the norm here) and
it warmed my heart. Later, I saw a man beating a crying boy with a
stick and felt nothing. I guess I have adapted to some things.

Zanzibar was breathtaking - photos and update coming next weekend!

Caitlin, Mom, Will, Gordon, Cassie, Pedro, Leah, and Grandma, I got
your mail. Thanks!

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