upon the sight . . .

February 21, 2011

As we enjoyed an afternoon bike ride yesterday afternoon, we chatted [we were not attempting a particularly strenuous ride :-)]  Feeling the singular sense of ease that comes when just released from a period of hectic work and responsibility stress, we commented on the things that you don’t realize when in the midst of the stress: the places and people that you long for, for instance.  So as we hit the top of a hill, I stopped, soaking up the happy feeling of bittersweet longing that the pastoral view gave me.  And I commented on how much I missed beautiful countryside views, and that seeing this sight had only just now made me realize that I did . . .

 

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coach of sorts

February 13, 2011

I got to play coach this weekend, taking the girls on a bus trip for an away tournament.  It was typically [considering this country’s travel standards] exciting, with transport delays and schedule changes, so after the fact I was very grateful to have safely made it with all students still in-tact–and happy, to boot!  Now I should emphasize the fact that I was only “playing” coach, as I certainly am no football coach: indeed my shining moment came instead once we had made it safely back to the dorm.  We spent the evening celebrating with song and dance, in various local dialects: I have grown accustomed enough to many of them to be able to join in relatively easily now–if not with all the individual words, at least with harmonies and, of course, dance :-)

as rain clouds gather

February 11, 2011

After dinner in the dorm, I was sitting with a fellow staff member in our sitting room area, watching the approaching rain clouds gather.  We were actually not even talking, just sitting in silence [living in the dorm means full appreciation of the rare phenomenon known as silence], but I warned her anyway: “If I jump up suddenly, it’s because I can see the signs of a camera-necessary moment in the sky this evening.”  Sure enough, shortly thereafter I made a dash for my camera . . . as you can see :-)

 

queen of the hill

February 4, 2011

It was, in most respects, a very average sort of Cross Country match . . . location notwithstanding.  The only signs that would betray our very non-Western status were the barefoot runners, the blazing sun and, perhaps, a few large insects to be found along the way.  I had the rather exciting task of pulling numbers off runners as they crossed the finish line.  I got a fair number of sweaty hugs in the process, and was relieved to come away without any other forms of bodily fluids :-)

After the younger students races, I spied this young [first place] finisher in this so-common position for youngsters here: perched on top of an ant hill.  And it did seem to me to that she was basking quite perfectly in her post-race bliss!

 

just another ordinary day

January 30, 2011

This sight clued me into the instant realization that this was yet another in the never-ordinary day in the life here in Zambia . . . just when it was seeming to be a leisurely Sunday evening, we had another adventure.  Some of our “adventures” are daily: power outages, for instance.  This particular one we have not had in a couple months now.  The flood.  If you have never attacked streams of flooding water with a broom, I suggest you try it.  An interesting exercise in not-quite-but-near-futility.  Whenever the pipes burst or, in this case, a sink detaches itself from the wall, we all get in on the fun.  This time was significantly faster than usual, so far as clean-up goes.  Perhaps because it happened while we were awake and coherent? [the past 2 happened around 2:00 in the morning].  At the moment, however, the only lingering effect is a jimmied faucet-stopper on a sink that lies on the bathroom floor . . . and sparkling floors here in the dorm :-)

 

suspended

January 26, 2011

It was a moment suspended.  Suspended in the day’s busy-ings about.  Between lesson planning and lesson giving; between book cataloging and book organizing; between child supervision and child reprimanding . . . came a moment.

The final school bell of the morning had rung, and streams of students and staff were making their way across the field, from classrooms to the dining hall.  As I walked, I noticed a lone little one ahead of me, stepping slowly and gingerly, while others raced past in their rush for the lunch tables.

Once near enough I slowed, and knelt to within earshot of his small frame.  Even as I asked if he was ok, my throat was restricting with an unplaced yet palpable fear.  Another child approached, asking him why he didn’t put his shoes all the way on.  He lowered his head and mumbled that he could not, motioning to the bandages covering his feet.  Then I saw that his hands and elbows were also covered, wrapped in bandages under which I could see hints of open wounds.  And I understood the need for the bandages.

For just recently I learned that this little one, new to us this school term, is just one of this country’s far-too-numerous children infected with that dreaded virus.  So a stream of thoughts went through my head:

Is he going downhill?  Is this a symptom of a decline?  Has his time with us so soon begun to near its end?

And even as my mind went through this series of wonderings, I knew that I could not stop to dwell on them.  All that we can do in life, surrounded by whatever our respective challenges and hurts may be, is to carry on.  To keep doing our jobs, living our lives, and caring for those in them as best as we can.

So I simply walked quietly with this young one to the lunch table.  I checked with the nurse to be sure he was under the proper care.  And then I went about the rest of the day’s business.

Later on tonight, after dinner, he showed me a plastic toy he had found in the dorm.  “Miss,” he began, looking up at me, “what does this do?”  I picked up the toy and investigated it with him—giving up eventually, as I could not actually figure out whatever the toy’s intricate workings were: too complicated for this librarian J  But we did what we could, then off he went for evening games with fellow dorm boys, bedtime stories, and bed.  And tomorrow morning we shall all begin again with the day, whatever it may bring . . .

. . . & a time to dance

January 25, 2011

Things I’ve learned in local churches . . . and captured a few photos of this past Sunday:

It is common to have 3 choirs perform on any given Sunday–this is one of those 3 I had the distinct privilege of listening [and dancing] to this week.

I’m not sure if it’s quite so common but it does at least happen habitually at this one church–the pastor dances up to the pulpit, escorted by dancing and singing choir members [said 3 choirs].

It is highly improbable for those attending such a church to doze off or fight boredom.  More likely, for some amongst us, is a tendency to, well, naturally enough, sing and dance :-)

ballooning bejeweledness

January 22, 2011

This morning at breakfast a pair of odd pants was brought out by the younger dorm girls.  The strange thing about them is that they have an odd ballooning midsection, with skinny legs, creating an overall cartoonish effect when worn.  I was nominated to model the oddities, so took the occasion of wearing them to snap this appropriately foot-themed visual aid :-)

fungi variety

January 16, 2011

A trio of us took an afternoon walk to the pool today and, as we did, we encountered a coworker.  I knew what she was carrying well before I saw into her basket and, yes, sure enough, it was chock full of mushrooms.  I didn’t know beforehand, but she has the skill of knowing which ones to gather: a pretty good skill, from what I understand.  And I would suspect that, not being from here originally, it took a good deal of extra learning in order to be able to do so with the native Zambian mushrooms.  Maybe she’ll give me some lessons: I don’t think I’d have any trouble making use of some edible fungi :-)

 

a footed tent?

January 15, 2011

As the morning football [i.e. soccer] match neared half-time, a few of us bystanders noticed an odd sight behind us: apparently the tent had sprouted feet–or perhaps someone [or two ones] just carried an oversized umbrella?  And since said feet were wearing the ever-present, in this season, rain boots, the brightly hued effect was photo worthy, to say the least . . . and yes, I did also take some photos of the youngsters playing their game :-)