Little Bits of Daily Life
It’s the middle of Saturday, and Lucia and Benji are taking a nap. (Me time, yay!) I’m sitting on the sofa—my favorite piece of furniture, as I had to search hard and far to find a truly comfy couch (you won’t believe how uncomfortable the furniture is here)—in front of my mini fan, and I’m STILL sweating. It’s March, and summer is supposed to be fading, but recently it seems to have gotten hotter. Kuyashisa kakhulu (It’s very hot) , as measured by the fact that I have to keep wiping my moist chin and that my shorts are stuck to my thighs like glue. Eish. I’m halfway through a Christian novel called “Redemption” by Karen Kingsbury (thanks to my roommate Morgan who has a great book collection), but instead of reading, I decided to write to you again. I had numerous comments after my last blog about how helpful it was to let you all see into my daily life. And it felt great being able to share some silly or “meaningless” details.
So, this morning we took the whole girls home crew to Bosco hall, a very simple-structured gymnasium building created by the Don Bosco mission of Salesians, where there was a volleyball tournament going on. Sbussa’s school was competing so we went to cheer her on. But none of the girls knew anything about volleyball, and Benji was more content pretending to be a dog, barking and growling as he crawled up and down the bleacher steps. It was too cute, actually. But it was so hot. Gcinile started fanning me with her hat, and it made me think back to days when I was in elementary school and the green-floored gym was not air-conditioned, so during events or plays or performances, my mom would fan us down with the program. It turned out at the end, after waiting for a couple hours, Sbussa didn’t play anyway, only the boys team played. Ah, well, typical Swazi experience. At least we tried to come cheer her on!
It’s now a couple days later. It’s Wednesday. Sorry for the three day silence. It’s now raining outside and I’m wearing socks and PANTS! Woooo hoooo! I’d probably even be wearing a sweatshirt still, but I took this opportunity of alone time in my house to dance. Yep, got some Lecrae and other Christian hip hop playing and my feet got moving. I tried the robot mixed with ballet, some Swazi moves, and then of course my own nearly perfected dance moves. There is just something about dance. Dance like no one is watching, ah yes, I love it. Thank goodness no one was watching. A taste of true freedom. Thank you, Lord, for dance and music and rhythm, and Lecrae!
One highlight of this week so far was running with the girls. One afternoon that I was at the girls home, I decided to get some exercise and go for a jog. Six girls asked to join. We decided to run hills. Seven of us, Lucia included, ran up and down that dirt road multiple times, but it was one of the best moments of my week! We laughed and hurt and huffed and high-fived. The best part? Watching them in their brand new running shoes I brought them for Christmas. Oh such joy seeing them no longer running in barefoot or flip flops but real running shoes! And they take care of the shoes like gold.
That same night we had worship on the porch, and I watched Bianca come alive as she led Bible study. I couldn’t help but beam from ear to ear as she took out her notebook and led us through Bible study, reading the notes she had written and prepared. Most girls just read a favorite verse when it’s their turn to lead, not Bianca. She took her job seriously and it was beautiful. She’s also the one who has surprised me the most in 2016 so far. She was a source of struggle and stress the end of last year. She is an orphan and has never known her father. Her mother died a little over two years ago. But she hardly talks about it. She is very, very guarded. She is very, very sweet, so it was easy at first to overlook her hidden life, the things she tried to hide, the lies, the hatred, the struggles she tried battling alone. She has kept me at a distance since the moment I moved here, and it has frustrated me because she has been the only one of 15 who wouldn’t let me in. But a few weeks ago, she said one word that made my heart smile and indicated God has been growing her immensely. She said, “Mom.” She didn’t even realize she said it. In fact, afterwards, she said, “Uh, I mean, Mama Kate,” but we both smiled and I knew it was the moment she was letting me into her heart and life. And it is one of the most beautiful hearts I’ve ever seen! We’ve shared a lot since that moment, but we still have a long way to go of course.
Another highlight of EVERY week, actually every DAY for that matter, is homeschool! I love it so much. I couldn’t ask for two better girls to homeschool. They are studious, dependable, teachable, and so hungry. They make me laugh and also challenge me. I’ve had to relearn A LOT of content from high school, especially math and science, but it’s so much fun! Whoever said learning is a chore? Homeschooling reminds me of when I was younger and used to play “school” with my siblings and the neighbors. I taught every subject, including drum lessons on my prized drumset which was my first purchase after saving up all my babysitting for a couple summers. Playing “school” was so much fun that my siblings even had their friends join when they were over. Eventually, when I started assigning too much homework, they stopped wanting to play. Stinkers. Kinda like my freshmen at La Crescent. 😉
In addition to homeschooling the two girls, I also teach English I at ACC again, and I of course love that as well! It is double of my teaching time last year so it’s very hard balancing my time, but I am learning.
Well, the electricity just went out. I will probably have to make dinner by candlelight tonight. Good thing we have a gas stove. I hope it works. Sometimes it doesn’t work. I don’t get it. Wish me luck. And see you SOON! (I come home in three months! Email firstname.lastname@example.org [or just ask me] to request me to come to an event or to host me during my “tour” of being home.)
Until then, love from Swazi,