I know, I haven’t posted since, oh, sometime last week. Our internet is giving us much attitude right now. I should appreciate the fact that we have internet, but you know, when you’re ready to rip your hair out to just sign in to something, it’s a little hard to be grateful. Anyway, 15 tries later and here I am.
Today had a few fun ‘firsts’ in it. Little Miss O went to have a nap this morning and was nice and quiet, for about 20 minutes, then the fussing started. I went to get her and this is what I found…
What’s the big deal? The big deal is that she went to sleep on her TUMMY. Yes, we had a roll over here folks. Very first one. I was doing the gushing mommy thing and she cracked a smile for me. I’m sure she had no idea what the big fuss was about, but she was a good sport. Since reaching her milestone this morning she has also decided that she no longer needs her several hour afternoon nap. I guess she thinks she’s all grown up now. Her other major accomplishment for today is that she’s figured out how to get both fists into her mouth. At the same time. Yes, talent.
SO, the other big first. I finally did something I’ve been thinking about and running away from for, oh, probably a year and a half now. Today I held my very first English class with our staff after work. Quite a while ago they started hinting around that they wanted to learn. I let myself sit in denial while the voices in my head kept telling me to do something. It was little hints like, “How do you say toilet paper in English?” Asked in Creole of course. So, I let the voices win and today we started.
I knew we were off to a good start when the class decided that everyone that was late had to dance in front of everyone else. I love that our staff are so comfortable with each other and that they have fun together. What I love even more is that they wanted to let me be a part of that. One of the big reasons for doing the class is that it’s going to give me a chance to build a different kind of relationship with our workers and I’m looking forward to that. The other is that we want them to be able to interact more easily with our mission visitors, and for most of them that was the main reason for wanting the class.
We laughed a lot and I think they learned a fair bit for the first day. I taught them how to play BINGO and we used numbers and letters. It was a good game to get them used to connecting names of numbers and letters with how they’re written. We have two workers that can’t read or write and I was happy to see that they were able to participate. Doing something like this is challenging for me because it takes me out of my comfort zone. I can be very shy at times and I don’t feel like I’m a good teacher, though I seem to be able to hack it when needed. Another challenge for me is one that I wasn’t anticipating because you would think it would be easy to go back to speaking in your mother tongue, but when you’re used to interacting with a specific group of people in one language, it’s amazing how just their presence clicks your brain into always thinking that way. I find I have to pause before I speak to make sure things are coming out in the language that I want them to, and it feels so weird. If anything this will be a growing exercise for me. Now that we’ve gotten the first class out of the way I’m feeling more excited about it. I’ll try to get some pictures in the coming weeks and post them.
The dorm building is going up. Man, it was starting to feel like nothing was happening, even though things were happening. For anyone that’s built a house or renovated one, you’ll understand what I mean. When you’re in the initial phases where you’re working on foundations etc it feels like you’re not making progress. In our case we had to tear down first and it just felt like all we were doing was breaking things. They started laying blocks last week and we can actually see walls forming. Today we actually had a funny experience. We’ve hired the man that makes all our filter lids to take the lead in the construction project because he’s also a mason. Well, today Chris went out to see how things were going and didn’t see Boss Carlo (if you specialize in something here you get to call yourself a ‘boss’), but rather an older man in a lovely golf hat. What?!? After some investigation it was discovered that Golf Hat Man was actually Boss Carlo’s father. Boss Carlo couldn’t make it until 11 am so he sent his father in his place until he could arrive. Again, WHAT?!? We noticed that we seemed to be the only ones that thought the whole thing odd. I guess it’s normal to send someone in your place if you can’t show up for work. I think they do this so they don’t risk losing their job, kind of like having someone stand in your place in line. The upside to it was that Boss Senior actually knew what he was doing and it was apparent that he trained Boss Junior, so we offered him a job helping with the construction. The big advantage is that now we have three guys that know what they’re doing telling our workers how to do it and hopefully we’ll be able to get the building done faster. Hopefully.
We’re feeling like we’re in this crazy phase of blessing at the mission. I can’t explain it other than to say that we just keep getting surprised with how our work is growing and the opportunities that are coming our way. It really is mind boggling and sometimes I think it leaves us feeling a bit overwhelmed. There really are exciting things going on and people that we didn’t expect would ever notice little old us are starting to take interest in what we’re doing. Again, very overwhelming because we feel like we’re just two ordinary people doing something that we felt called to do.