While on our way back to the compound this afternoon, I was noticing the brightly colored clothing of people as they milled and busied about on the streets.
So it seemed as if my coworker was responding out loud to my thoughts when, as I mused, she commented on the fact that this was the holiday when new clothes were bought. “This one?” I questioned. “Yes,” she said. She explained that each breaking of the fast of the year calls for a different traditional form of celebration. This particular one involves buying new [and in this part of the world, festively bright] clothing. I wasn’t imagining it, then, to tune into the attire.
Life sure keeps things interesting, I suppose, if one’s eyes are open–there’s just something new to learn . . . around every turn :-)

grounds for growth

August 29, 2011



As I finished up the staff photos for the library today, I went to my last . . . victim? in the list of needed mugshots. He and his young son were in the process of watering their garden so I lingered to admire the blooms and veggies. I noticed that one of their rose bushes was my favourite rose hue, and I mentioned my past issues with trying to grow my own. He wondered if roses were difficult to grow, surprised they would be considering how they thrive here. Yes, I said, in other parts of the world, as I understand, it is significantly harder to grow them than it is here. Or perhaps I console myself with that delusion? At any rate, I am pretty sure that we here are blessed with about the best roses one could find anywhere, rose-growingly-gifted or not :-)

let’s go fly . . .

August 25, 2011


Today was my Saturday. And I was given the most glorious gift of a day by my local relative. It was simple, really. But simply life-giving, in the manner of a fresh breeze blowing into a sealed and stale room: a simple day out. As much as I have enjoyed my new home, one can only work so many days in one place before the need for a change of scenery hits. So today I was taken off the compound where I have been for several weeks now, to have a day of seeing the sights, of touring the area where I live but am not at liberty to explore. I saw a body of water. I watched children play. I fed pigeons. I flew a kite.
And even though the air I was breathing was not exactly known for its good air-quality, it sure smelled sweet to me :-)

just look up

August 24, 2011


Though it does make me feel rather touristy, I really cannot get over my sense of wonder each time I see the kites. They are, true to stereotypes, quite ubiquitous. So this afternoon, as a coworker and I left the office for the day, I was bemoaning the fact that I was longing for an end-of-work photo walk, but that I didn’t think it was quite as practical these days, considering out locale. She replied simply that I might be surprised. As she said that, we walked out of the building and I looked up at the sky to see a new kite. I stopped and stared. She shrugged and said, “See?” realizing, I guess, exactly what I was going to do. And yes, I got my camera and had my [abbreviated] photo walk today after all :-)

thinking [inside] the box

August 21, 2011


Necessity breeds invention. I think that’s the way the expression goes. And I also think it’s true. What does a teacher do when the reality of war-zone life makes heading out to the store to buy a bulletin board quite impossible? A flattened cardboard box, a hammer & some nails, and 2 sets of creative hands can work wonders. Now, our set-up done, a bit of colored paper & some trim has made for a better-looking board than I’ve seen in most stores, to be sure :-)


Sometimes you just have to step outside and remind yourself of how big the sky is . . . of how big its Maker is. Today I was stressed, very stressed. We all were working together, which was a blessing, to be sure–stress is much more difficult to handle when alone. But the stress of tomorrow’s deadline was looming and I, as an un-certified teacher, was feeling woefully inadequate in my attempts to get all my lessons planned, documents written, and strategies in order. But somehow I knew it wasn’t quite right for me to be so uptight, even if I was not yet ready for tomorrow. So I stepped outside. A coworker was going out to take her son up to the roof: here where we do not have much space, the rooftops are welcome spaces to just breath. I followed her, telling her I could use some air as well. And well I could. I breathed in the air. I soaked up the view. I connected with other people. Then, returning to the computer, later than I planned but ready to return to work, it was to an email of leniency: a decision had been made that the deadline was not necessary . . . there is time yet.
But it figures that there would be time. Guided, and guarded, by the creator of time, how could I forget that the gift of time is just that–a gift. Not my own to guard, and not my own to stress about!

a time to dance

August 17, 2011


It is no small thing–and I do not take it lightly–to be living here, in this period of the history of this country, and to have a dance studio in the school. So far it has been used only by us staff, but I cannot wait to see the “live” student use of it.
Young women, here, free to dance, in such a beautiful, creatively inspiring space . . . wow! :-)

on another eve

August 14, 2011


I love the evenings here. The heat fades with the sun, leaving a calming, cooling wind. The sun sets and the moon rises. And a consistent chant is heard in the distance, not so loud as to be a distraction but loud enough to keep me from wanting any other background sound than the living soundtrack. Tonight, the day’s library work and evening meetings done, a group of us went up to the top, above even my normal rooftop stop. There we chatted a bit, though I was a bit distracted by my photographic capturing, and by my musings on what a privilege it is to be here, now, in this place . . .

playing princess

August 12, 2011


In an unexpected, blessed twist of my own fate, it turns out that I have ended up with that room I noted early on as a “princess” room. When I arrived the housing was not yet sorted so I was temporarily roomed in the interim. And today I learned that the solution decided upon place me smack dab on the top of the roof. This evening I sat up there with a friend, sharing a chocolate bar out on the balcony as we watched the setting sun and the flying kites. In this photo, the black specks you see are in fact flying kites . . . yes, you will have to just take my word for it :-)

showered

August 11, 2011



After training had finished for the day, I spent part of the afternoon helping one of my housemates move. As we shifted furniture, I realized that our 3 pairs of feet just might come in handy, considering I had my camera with me :-) Then, unexpectedly, the afternoon was cooled down by showers that smiled down on us with their brief, but cooling, blessings on us all. I looked up at the sky and realized that even the buildings seemed cheery as they shined in the post-rain sun.

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