May 10, 2013

jungle life - April/May

Day…. something… 
I have no idea what day I'm on. Perhaps I should have been keeping track by date instead of numbered days. Anyhow, here we are. We went to Georgetown thinking we'd be gone a week at the most. 3 1/2 weeks later, we landed on our little grass airstrip in Paruima. Our trip to town was trying, enlightening, hard, and rewarding. Today is Monday April 29th. We have been home a week now. And what a week it has been! I have not been journaling this week but hope to get back on track. I'll just give a few highlights. First off, I am now teaching English at the Academy here (the academy is using DIIC buildings right now so I don't go far). The other missionary who was teaching the English class had her hands full so she broke the class into small groups and gave me 6 lovely students to teach. She gave me the best behaved children on purpose - for which I am very grateful! 

We finally got to see our first sloth - well, my first 2 sloths actually. I'm so glad for this and have been wanting to see a sloth ever since I arrived in the jungle. Unfortunately they were up in the canopy and I didn't get a very close look or very good photos. But, still, it was a sloth sighting. They are very good at hiding, so even though they don't go fast, they're still hard to find and easily lost in the jungle. 

As ashamed as I am to admit it, I went to the village for the first time (I mean instead of just going to church and back). Christine gave me the tour, I met more people, and got to see 3 of the 4 village stores. It's such a darling village. I just love it. 

Yesterday I filmed/watched a tooth extraction and an infection draining. Sorry, that's probably not something I should talk about in polite company. Both were interesting and the tooth extraction was a teaching tooth, so someday I might be able to pull a tooth if the need would arise. 

I taught my first Sabbath School class, though it was very impromptu and I wasn't prepared at all. I guess the teacher and some of the older kids went out visiting in the village (or something?) and when we got there it was all the younger kids just sitting around. So guess who became the default teacher? Hahaha. It was fine. They got felts out for me and I told them the story of David the shepherd boy. And then led a pitiful song service (pitiful because it was mostly me singing. I can't sing.) and prayer. I felt awkward because I didn't really know what to do. But we survived, and made it almost to the end of the sermon before the wee one melted down, and usually we don't hear more than 5 minutes of sermon it seems. 

Our biggest news in the last week is that Millie is officially a big girl! We had a little party to celebrate, I made cupcakes and she got a present. Millie doesn't sleep with her paci anymore! We're still in the process of it getting easier, but she has been paci-free for 3 nights now! It gets a little easier each night. The first 2 nights she slept in our bed (seriously it's like sleeping with an octopus) and last night she went to sleep in her own bed again. Progress! 

Sam found a crayon somewhere. I keep them picked up, so I'm not sure where he got it. It's a blue crayon. My computer screen is now example A why toddlers should never be allowed to run around with crayons. Sigh. This is why I only allow washable crayons in my house.  (PS - It actually came off very easily. Phew!)

April 30
"Mama, let's play buying. You will be the buyer and I will be the beeper."

Last night we heard the sloths whistling to each other again - I have not seen them yet today but I do hope they are close by and will grant us a better look at them. Last night was the 4th night Millie went to bed without her paci. I do see it getting easier but it's still hard for her. 

I have been struggling for the past 3 or 4 days with fatigue. I don't feel ill but I'm so tired every moment of the day I feel like I could lay down and sleep for a week. It is hard for me to find the energy to do the basic things required of me. Though I did manage to make bread today and pan of cinnamon rolls. Still my house is sadly in need of a cleaning, which I have neglected to do for several days now. Sigh. 

May 1
I imagine that when the plagues were upon Egypt, there were frogs in their beds. In this way I can relate to the Egyptians. That's right - a tree frog was in my bed, jumping around looking for the exit. 

Also, I have been in Guyana for 3 months today, and I just saw my first snake. In the yard. Where my kids play. [insert very unhappy scowl here] It was "just passing through" as our friend James put it. He tried to kill it with his cutlass (and missed, it was very fast) and the snake got mad, coiled, and poised to strike. Ugh! Right in the short grass! It was dusk and that's when they come out, so that makes me feel a little better. James didn't think it was poisonous but wasn't sure. UGH. 

The plane came today and brought goodies from our barrels. The joy of the barrels will be renewed every time a bit comes out on the plane. I think it's more fun this way. In todays bit, there was a jar of Nutella. If that's not joy, then I don't know what is. :D We also got the rest of our cloth diapers and cloth wipes! So glad for that. I'm hoping we now have enough to not have to use disposables. 

Those who know me and my aversion to chemicals will be surprised to hear this - I love bleach!!!! I honestly haven't used much bleach in my life, but here in the rain forest, where there is lots of rain, there is lots of mold. Our shower was looking… um, I don't really want to admit how bad it looked. Let's just say it was pretty bad. Anyhow, I couldn't get it clean, no matter what I tried, so I broke down and used some clorox bleach spray cleaner. Amazing! I'm very proud to report that my shower is now white again. And the sink. And the toilet. Bleach made a friend today. Me. 

May 2
Hubs and I never took a honeymoon. We just didn't have the money I guess, I don't remember if we had another reason. But, we certainly had the honeymoon phase. I remember when it ended, when life resumed and the newness and excitement wore off. We went through the same thing here in Guyana. It was new and exciting and perfect in our eyes. 

Our honeymoon phase has ended. Yesterday I had a crash-course in some of the spiritualism that goes on here. Witchcraft. Animism. Satanic forces at work. We knew there was a measure of this going on, but it's a little more real today. A little more personal. And not one person in the village, it seems, is free from the bondage of fear.

Now I'm not sure what to do with this information. My first reaction is to hightail it outta here and pretend like we don't really feel called to work here. But that would be a lie. Neither is it what we are to do as Christians. 

"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you my be successful wherever you do. Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:7-9

Deep breath. Smile. God's got this. 

May 3
I have never been so terrified in all my life. One moment I'm listening to the tropic storm bounce around top the jungle, watching the flashes of lightening and hearing the rumble that follows. I'm almost asleep. Then it happened. The loudest, most terrifying sound I've ever heard in my life. I'm not sure if our roof was hit by lightening or if the thunder crash just happened over our house. Either way, I'm pretty sure God was talking to someone. It was SO loud. I shook so hard my body was sore. 

Lightening storms rank right up there among the top 3 things that terrify me. I also hate fireworks. Both made loud noises and start fires - which is the real reason they scare me so much. I hate loud noises, and fire is easily my biggest fear. So last night, when it seemed I was IN a thunder cloud, it's easy to say one of my top terrifying moments in all my life. Todd woke up from a dead sleep throwing his arm over me to protect me from what he thought was the roof crashing in. The kids slept right through it. 

May 5
My scream echoed through the valley. I could hear it carry, but I didn't care. I screamed again for Christine to come quick. I ran from the upstairs deck trembling. I grabbed my camera and ran out the door, shouting to Sam to put his boots on and come outside. I ran around the house to the back lawn, and sank to my knees, (still screaming for Christine) about 2 feet away from what I had only dreamed I'd see from afar. Slowly and unafraid, the baby sloth crawled even closer to me. It took about 10 minutes to stop shaking with awe and excitement of such a rare and amazing sight. I knew what I was experiencing was something very few will ever see. I was taking photos and videos that I knew I would treasure for a long time. Today was one of the most amazing days ever! :)

The sloth hung out with us for about an hour, before darkness fell and the little guy disappeared into the brush. Though it's probably frowned upon and I might get scolded for this, we pet it. And picked him up. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking of keeping him. Everyone kept reminding me that I don't know the first thing about sloths, but it was a baby all by itself. It needed me, right? I was sad to see his little rear end slowly move into the brush and away from me. 

May 6
Todd left home this morning while it was still dark. He and Clifton trekked the mile-long muddy trail in the rain with head lamps and backpacks. Shortly after the sun peaked over the mountain, I heard the plane take off. Todd will be gone until Thursday, he had to go to come training thing at the airport to get his security badge. So the kids and I are on our own for the next few days. 

The sloth is nowhere to be found. He's a good little hider. I hope he found his mommy. 

May 8
"You're teaching me how to cook."
Me: "Mmhmm."
Millie: "I'm going to learn how to cook all by myself."
Me: "Yep."
Millie: "I'm going to be just you when I get big."
I smiled at Millie at her statement but cringed inwardly. Just like me? Yikes. I don't want her to be like me, I want her to be better than me. If I'm who she's going to want to be like I'd better be someone I want my daughter to be. I want to raise my voice less and smile more. I want to be more like Jesus. I want to love like Jesus. Cause that's who I want her to be. 
But she DID cook today. Baked actually. Well, I did the baking, she did the pouring and mixing. We were blessed with some packets of muffin mix from town and I let her make them. Just add water. Sounds right up a 3-year old's alley. She loved it. I need to remember to shoo her out of the kitchen less and let her help more. I get caught up on efficiency and cleanliness sometimes. Both of which are irrelevant to a 3-year old, I've discovered. 

Single parenthood is hard. I don't know how single parents do it for longer than 3 days. Which is exactly how long I've been solo parenting and I'm not sure how long I can go on. So tired. Need sleep. Sigh. Kudos and hats off to parents doing this indefinitely. We found out yesterday Todd won't be back on Thursday. Sigh. His class will go until Friday. Todd said he's going to try to come back out on Friday, but honestly I don't have high hopes. I'm thinking Sunday at the earliest. Sigh. I love my kids dearly and we're really doing fine, but I am tired and would like a break to refill my patience bank. The meter's a little low. (Is that the right kind of 'meter?' I have a feeling it's not but my brain is sleepy). 

It's a very rainy day today. Currently the road [read: trail] that goes up the hill is being transformed into a river. My kids are going to get cabin fever. After quiet/nap time, I'm going to be very brave and let them go splashing in the road-turned-river. I think. I actually don't mind the wet and the mud and the mess, but it is a chilly day. I even have a sweater on! Rarely is it cool enough for me to be in a sweater at noon (which is the time, if you were wondering). 


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