When I look at my peers, I see that often we have had a tendency to consider any need for help from others as a negative thing. I am parenting in a time when people know better than to correct other people's children. Most of us don't expect or welcome the input of others into our parenting strategies or decisions. People are often afraid to be transparent about their child's struggles and weaknesses because it might tarnish our "good mommy" reputations. We don't have a community parenting mentality.
Enter Africa. Before we came, I insisted that I would hire a part time house keeper. No more. After all, I don't have an affection for cleaning toilets and I'll gladly give that away. However, I imagined I would cook, teach, maintain laundry, run errands, and I would spin all of the other plates I'd always spun. I would transfer my suburban American mom mentality to this place. Wrong.
Little by little, demand by demand, crisis by crisis, I have given away bits and pieces of my control. And I've been able to see that it's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it might even be a good thing. Because now, my children have a lot of wonderful people investing in their lives. Though they may be hired to cook, or clean, or run errands, they are all contirbuting to our lives. They know our children's names, they pray for them when they are sick, they bark at them when they are trying to climb the water tower. It's a good thing.
Here are just a few of the precious folks who are part of our "village."
Here's Mister James who keeps our fuel cans fuel of petrol, buys our 50 kilo bags of flour, gets Abe's bike tire repaired at least every third week, and exchanges our minerals so that I can enjoy my ice cold Coke when I'm ready to jump off a Hausa ledge.
Sweet Sarah, who comes three days a week and cooks for us.
These amazing cinnamon rolls would be just part of the reason we love her. Her lasagna, fried chicken, calzones, and constant smile help too.
Not to mention the fact that this little guy comes riding on her back. We'd keep her around just to see that smile!
And Naomi. Oh, how we love Naomi! This woman has so, so many reasons to despair by our American standards and yet she challenges me every day to laugh, give, and be grateful. Just this morning, shucking 100+ ears of corn together lifted my spirits. She is amazing!