Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ruth and Boaz in Nigeria

On our way here, I read the book of Ruth and noticed something that made me smile. Boaz has promised to marry Ruth, assuming the unnamed nearer relation does not. So he needs to meet with the fellow, sound him out, contract the business, and get witnesses together for the transaction. They don't have cell phones, so how do they get together?
Then went Boaz up to the [city?] gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, "Ho, such a one, sit down here." And he turned aside and sat down.
And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, "Sit ye down here." And they sat down.
How do they get together? He sits in a public place and waits. How long? Who knows; who cares. Ah, there he is, good old Mr. Suchaone. He doesn't tell him the business at hand, just asks him to sit. Then they wait until they get a minyan together, asking each one in turn to join them until they can get down to business.

It sounded so much like Nigeria it made me smile! Even though most of the poorest have a cell phone now, there is a still lot of sitting around and waiting. We do a great deal of it ourselves for reasons that are never entirely clear to us. There are even people hired to stand in line for others. And most everything happens at the last minute. Even such modern industries as airlines assume you are buying tickets for the same day, not planning for a week in advance. Some of the AUN faculty left for the summer without knowing if their contract was renewed for this year or not, and I only just learned about changes to my teaching schedule this week.

So the moral of the story is that in Nigeria you need to have a very flexible idea of your schedule, because you never know when your near kinsman is going to ask if you want to buy some land and marry the widow that goes with it.

Food Surprise

I have been surprised to learn that I like eggs and potatoes better in Nigeria.

Another surprise to me was that when I baked a cake for Derrill I didn’t need to cook it twice as long and it cooked perfectly (wow, what happened while I was gone?). Before we left I was having to cook things twice as long and they were not raising right. I am also glad to find that our gas problem to our stove must be fixed or we would  not have had any to cook with when we got back. I am surprised not to find any bugs in my flour that I left behind.

And the best thing of all. Last night we got out our Magic Bullet for the first time to make banana ice cream for Derrill’s birthday and Derrill read in the instructions that the bullet will grind meat. What joyous words to the soul. We ground beef last year in a hand grinder, but it hurt my wrist so bad, that I have decided I will not use it again. So Derrill took over the task, but it still takes so long and  is such a mess with the blood all over. I have just been wishing that we had gotten an electric meat grinder and been thinking about it for the past 2 or 3 days. So when Derrill read that, I was ecstatic! The beef is so much nicer ground up and it is cheaper than the chicken.

Blessing of Health by Airplane

Hi Everyone,
We are back in Nigeria. I had a wonderful time visiting my husband's family. Thank you, mom, Pop, Steve, Emilee and little girl for the great time! We will miss you and we are sorry we missed my family too.

I was having a very hard time with my allergies the last 2 weeks or so before we left the United States. I even received an answer to pray about how to best take care of myself when my allergies are acting up. Prince has been very concerned about anyone in our family that is sick. He is very good  at following up to find out how we are doing later. When we got to Nigeria, Prince asked me if I was feeling better. I was not feeling good again, in fact I was feeling worse (my eyes were all swollen and I couldn’t breath through my nose at all).

Prince asking me helped me see a blessing. I realized that most of our trip out here I was feeling better and that it had not hit me full force again until after all of the travel was over and we were home so that I could take care of myself again. My answer to Prince was that I was not feeling very good, but I had a blessing from Heavenly Father that helped me to feel good for our plane trips. I'm blessed not only for that but also for the opportunity to share my experience with my son of the spirit working in my life. I also remembered that I was granted the strength for our journey from my father’s blessing and I am grateful for all the evidences to me that God watches over us even in this land so far away from our family.

We are well and love you all,

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Coming Home to Nigeria

What makes us feel like we're coming home?
When we went down for breakfast at the hotel in Abuja on our way to Yola, we found our former-neighbors there, who are some of our best friends here. Several other friends flew in with us on the same plane. A student recognized me and greeted me happily. Our compound's guards laughed and rejoiced to see us return. Friendly faces make for nice homecomings.

Prince excitedly cried, "I'm going to go see my room!" He crowed, "Look at all these great toys!" Then he grabbed up ... "Yoshi! Oh Yoshi, I missed you so much!" He spent the next minute talking to a plush ridable dragon.

Princess, who was not allowed on the floor until the cockroaches were swept up, explored the house for the first time on her own two feet and also found her room and the wonderful toys therein.

What was Joy delighted to see? "I can find my can opener! That means I'm home."

My delight, of course, was finding my work computer and being able to sit down at my own computer for the first time in three months (story in a coming post). The other electronics are still at an office on campus, so it's just a question of how long I can be kept from heading over there before I have the rest of them again.

What makes us feel like we're coming home ... to Nigeria?
Having the electricity shut off at the hotel and seeing all the faculty/staff present say, "Welcome back to Nigeria!" as they take a deep breath of air -- some of them like they're getting ready to dive in, others as if they were smelling mother's cooking.

Joy rejoiced at how clean our home was. I reminded her about the cockroaches on the floor. "Well, yes, but it's really very clean ... aside from the cockroaches." I swept up a full cup of them plus two grasshoppers.

I realized at some point that my inspection of the house when I came in was to see 1) how many lights broke while we were gone; 2) what else needs fixing; and 3) if was anything stolen. I never acted that way in Ithaca.

Coming home to Nigeria also means reshifting expectations: