Saturday, March 31, 2007


Yesterday’s reading class erupted into an argument over my cultural heritage. No conclusion was reached, and incidentally none of the class guessed anywhere near the correct mixture of bloods that I call my own. An attempt at recreating the conversation follows: Julius, “Miss S---- is all yellow so she’s Chinese.” He grabs my arm to show his classmates proof of this statement. “Miss P----- must be Chinese too because she looks the same.” For the record Leah (Miss P-----) is one of those of north European descent who burns in order to tan and who is more pink than yellow. I tried to explain to the class what I was and who my grandparents were. The response to my so eloquent speech was made by Donex, “No she can’t be Chinese because her arms are yellow but her neck is all white!“ Apparently I need to tan my neck!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

hot hot hot

It's getting hot enough that I purposely look for shade when I'm outdoors. The muddy pool even looks appealing.
Time has flown by so fast. When I booked this trip I though that the months I would be away would be an enormous amount of time but Ania you were right. Way too short. Half Term is a bit like camp, but the regular day-to-day is much more disciplined. Especially the Senior grades, they have so much work.
As to crocs and gators? They just aren't here. Some reasons being: we are close to the source of the river, we are at a higher elevation so it gets cooler, and the river is on the smaller side and moves pretty quickly.
The lack of any type of wildlife is sad. I've seen nothing bigger then a skinny, wimpy green snake. Mind you that was big enough- it surely made me screech.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Half Term

The second Half Term has come and gone. (Even though this is a mathematical impossibility I hasten to assure you that it is an actual event.) It started Thursday afternoon and ended Saturday at the same time.

I have attacked and conquered the flying fox. It was a raging success. Rather scary the first time, but even after landing on outstretched arms (still have bruises) I went a grand total of five times. I was even brave enough to let Jeanette take some pictures!

Played three-on-three ball hockey during the heat of the day and burnt my face to a crisp.

One of the tubes going down the river carried myself. There were no pictures taken of this momentous occasion so you will have to use your imagination. Picture me outstretched on a gigantic rubber tube with arms and legs flailing trying to steer the stupid thing clear of trees, roots, reeds and other obstacles. Needless to say I hit every single one with shrieks of excitement. It was so great I went twice.

The above, coupled with a number of rounds of 'Pom-Pom-Pull-Away' and other such games, made it difficult to walk, raise my arms above my head and just generally move. I ached.

Sunday: We took a 20 minute walk to the closest church for worship service. The afternoon was a time of rest, relaxation and Settlers.

Monday: Leah needed to have her work permit stamped so we walked into town with Joyce, she kindly gave us language lessons. Joyce a lovely, local lady with quite a life story who cleans here at the school. We were so thankful that she was with us as white people going into the village create quite a stir and what with cultural differences it's always hard to know how to greet people properly without causing offence. We left here around 1:15 and didn't get home until 5:00. I now have a backpack tan on my arms.

All this week is spiritual emphasis week. There's a couple from up north who've come to teach the children and they are simply wonderful! Full of life, new ideas and the solid gospel. They are doing the morning sessions on Philippians using 'Captain Book' and 'Madame Castaway'.

No emailing outside of the email address here at the school until the beginning of April. Bye!

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Hostiles have been surrounded and annihilated or at least moved their barracks temporarily. Will update on future developments.

Yesterday was movie night. As per usual many children crowded around any available adult willing to cuddle. So I had one sweet gal on my lap and two little boys squished up on either side of me. One of the grade one kids, Donex, was holding my hand. The lights were on momentarily to fix a glitch in the VCR. Donex kissed my hand, looked up at me, saw my grin, would have blushed if he could have, and hid behind his hand. Adorable.

Tanis was here for a short one and a half days. It was nice to see a face from home.

Just found out that the handwork class I'm 'teaching' is actually a real class and I need to come up with a mark. Painful. You should see the final embroidery products. I could do better with my eyes closed.

The orphanage:

The orphanage started when a missionary lady found out that all babies who survived childbirth when their mothers didn't were considered to be possessed by demons. They would be thrown on their mother's graves and left to die. When she discovered this practice she started taking the children in.

It's about a 30 minute walk from the school here. The setup is a bit different than the traditional orphanage. Most of the kids are orphans but they all have their own mama who lives with them. Maybe a grandmother, or someone from their village. When the children reach the age of six they are sent back to their village and they are taken in by relatives.

There are two ladies who look after the running of the place, Helen and Esther. One is Scottish the other Irish. Very kind and hospitable.

The kids love hugs and are adorable little urchins. We walked in the gate and they all came to inspect us. As soon as we offered they swarmed us. It was impossible to walk an inch they were hanging off us. We visited Helen for a bit, I had my first taste of soda since arriving here. Then we observed the preschool class. They said their numbers, the alphabet and sung a surprising repertoire of English songs. They were so proud. I'm going back either this Thursday or next and am hoping to get some pictures this time.

Off to Sunday Evening Fellowship!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

attack # 2

Last night Leah and I stayed at the admin longer than usual to use the internet. It was dark by the time we were finished and we had neglected to bring our flashlights with us. We booked it the whole way home, in case the army ants had reappeared. Didn’t see anything. Entered the house and by the time we had made it through the kitchen Leah was dancing. Again, I escaped, for a time. I went outside with my flashlight to investigate. Found a line surrounding one corner of the house all along the foundation. The houses here aren’t exactly bug proof let along leak or rodent proof so I went inside to check the inner wall along the same corner. Leah’s bedroom. At cursory inspection all seemed normal, thankfully my senses were heightened and I moved closer to the wall then tugged the curtain aside. Ants. Ants. And more ants. So last night we moved out and I will not be moving back in until I have been sufficiently convinced that the ants have been contained. While packing I received two bites as gifts. It wasn’t too bad. What is bad is when you have no idea that the ants are on you and crawling up, then when they reach your waist they all chomp at the same time. That is why, Krista Lee, army ants are scary. Leah and I have been given refugee status.

Friday, March 2, 2007

army ants

I believe I got Gab to post a picture of the army ants by our house. They look rather non-threatening I must admit. Never judge a book by its cover. Army ants eat everything in they cross. I have heard stories of them eating whole chickens, parrots, babies and anything smaller than those leaving only the bones. They travel in long lines and when their line is disturbed they scattered to best defend the attacker. So if let's say Leah walks in a line of army ants they will immediately scramble up her legs to her waist and start pinching. It is supposedly quite painful. Their method of attack is to use claws to pinch at the skin. They stay stuck until they are pulled off or the chunk of skin is separated from its owner. If the get into a house your best off to move out for the couple of days it takes them to clean the house out of bugs, bats and other critters.

My story starts late Monday evening. I had been reading my book, as it was my afternoon off, when an explosion of furry tore through the front door. Leah had come upon multitudes of army ants and was in a bit of a panic. They were covering the road to our house. She proceeded to tell me every gory army ant story she knew.

Monday night: My malaria pills give my some pretty strange dreams the night after taking them. So Monday night the army ants were making a feast of me. Was really tired the next morning.

Tuesday: Leah notified Mr. P of the encroaching predators.

Wednesday, after Birthday Party, in the dark: We were running home along the road hoping that if we did step in a line of the ants they wouldn't be able to react fast enough to climb up us. We safety arrived at our house and took our time entering and putting our away pieces of our costume. We made it to the hallway and Leah starting jumping up and down and yelping at me to get her dress off her. It was a longer than floor length dress from the attic. I yelped at her to stop jumping so I could manage the zipper. In went the dress to the tub. It was covered in big juicy ants. They were also all over the bathroom floor. Leah started filling the tub with water to try drowning the ones in there and I got my trainers to wallop the ones on the floor. All this was accomplished while we were hoping around so no more would attack us. Leah got around 4 bites and we counted about 30 ants in the tub the next morning. I ran out to the kitchen to see if there were any in there. There was a line all along the outside of the house right in front of the door, and a smattering of other confused ants that had been swept along by Leah's dress to various part of the house.

There was no way either of us were spending the night in that house. By this time the ants in the bathroom had started marching up and down behind the sink. Mr. and Mrs. P let us stay at their place overnight so we packed up. How to lock the door with a line of ants precisely where I needed to stand? First I dosed them with bug spray. (I bought 4 bottles of it for something!) It didn't kill them but it did stun them. Leah shone the flashlight at my feet to watch for attempts at climbing me while I locked the door. We both were jumping up and down and swatting phantom itches along our legs so the process took a while. (Note: it's very hard to watch someone's feet while your flashlight is bobbing up and down.)

The next morning the maintenance crew hunted down the anthill and dosed it with petrol. Then they found the marauding ants and burnt them. Our house is safe- for now. I also have my trusty rubber boots, doused with bug spray, that will hopefully stun any attempts at attack.

Birthday Party

This past week has been really busy as it was Birthday Party. Each term there is one big birthday party for all the birthday's that occurred during that same term. The theme this term was the 'Wild West'. Hilarious watching African children attempt the American Midwestern accent while wearing vests, cowboy hats or kerchiefs (or neckchiefs?). I dressed up as a prairie farmer lady. It was the easiest costume I could find. The attic of the main sitting room is loaded up with all types of costume's. It's any kids dream come true.

Each class performed a song and a dance. There was also a variety of skits. I laughed so hard. I have short clips of some of them so when I come home if you care to see them just give a yell.

I had a revelation yesterday: I look better when I actually do my hair in the morning. Hence the 'yuck' picture. It also helps if you don't let kids touch it. Another funny thing about my appearance: Just after I first arrived Mark had asked Leah how I was adjusting. Leah, "She seems to be doing ok, only she was super pale when she got off the plane and I'm worried she's getting sick." Mark reminded Leah what Canadian winters do to skin tones.