Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Definitely a Girl!

Shortly after we moved to Accra, I ran to the grocery store one day for a couple of items.  Isaac and Lily decided to hop in the taxi with me at the last minute and Lily was dressed in some gym shorts and a pink t-shirt.  Her hair was yanked back in a ponytail and she hadn't taken time to get ready, so she was a little bit self-concious about her appearance.  I assured her she looked fine, but she had a hard time believing me when we got into the checkout line and some random Ghanian lady walked up to Lily and asked very boldly, "Are you a boy or a girl?"  Lily was extremely surprised and just stood there, stone-still, until the lady asked again, much more obnoxiously.  I replied to the woman that she was obviously a girl.

I think the cashier could tell that we were both shocked because she explained to me that the reason the woman asked was because Lily had no earrings in her ears.  Lily looked at me as we walked away and said, "Mom, I think it's time for me to get my ears pierced."  

It has always been our approach that we would get our girl's ears pierced when they were old enough to ask.  However in this culture, it is done when a girl baby is born and girls just have pierced ears, it's a fact.   In light of the day's events, I assured her that we could try to get them pierced very soon.

Several weeks went by and I sort of forgot about it.  We were at a mall in Kenya with some of our colleagues and one of the other families mentioned that their daughter was going to get her ears pierced at the chemist.  I asked Lily if she wanted to take the plunge and she thought it was a great idea.

The other little girl was younger and Lily was worried that she would get upset.  However, the other girl went back into the side room and came out a few minutes later with no problems.  Meanwhile, Lily was waiting and getting more anxious by the minute.  By the time we got back to the room, she was beginning to freak out.  When she saw the gun, she totally flipped out.  She couldn't do it.  She curled up and tucked her head into my chest.  However, the nice Kenyan doctor was not going to let her chicken out.  So, in an effort to calm her, he pierced his own ear.  Yes, you read that correctly, he loaded the gun with a new earring and he pierced HIS OWN EAR.  Lily was so shocked that this enormous man had a gold heart complete with cubic zirconia hanging on his earlobe that she got totally distracted.  She finally worked up the nerve and got it done.

So, for about 10 USD, she got the piercing, the earrings, and the ear care solution...not to mention a very unique memory of getting them pierced.  She's been very conscientious about taking care of them and they're doing great.  She's excited that in a couple of weeks she gets to take them out and put in some "pretty" ones.  Now, there will be no uncertainty that Lily is definitely a girl!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Change of Scenery

Most of the time, when things are quiet on the blog, it's a result of one of two things.  Either I am too emotionally wiped out to put my life out there, or I'm so busy tending to life that I don't take the time to post about it.  Fortunately, this time, it's been the latter of those two.  I have to say that overall, since our move to Accra, I have felt much healthier emotionally than I did in Nigeria.  There are probably no less than a dozen factors that go into that, and that's another post for another day.  For now, here's a bit of what has been happening round here.

At the end of June, we made another trip to Kenya.  This time it was for a meeting of all of the folks who live in our part of Africa.  This is something that only happens once in a blue moon, and we're glad it fell this summer.  Otherwise, we would have been some sad pups without much excitement on the radar.  We had a great time visiting with colleagues and being encouraged.  We were able to see most of the folks that we had worked with in Nigeria and that was a big treat.

The kids all made some new friends and had a great time doing VBS with the volunteer team that came out from Oklahoma City.  I am always totally overwhelmed by the kindness of these volunteers and the programs that they bring to our kids.  It is one of the things that God uses to remind me how very much He loves my children.  I have to say that their friendships and their community with our current circumstances doesn't always look like I think it should look.  Yet, God has ways of meeting their needs in ways that I wouldn't have thought of and weeks like this are a big part of that.

During our week, we had a day to explore.  Our family chose to visit the Nairobi National Park.  Since we had done a few safari days on our trip last fall, we had seen most of the typical safari animals, but we hadn't seen a lion.   Our driver wasn't super encouraging, making it clear that lions are tricky to find, but I held out hope.  We hadn't been inside the park more than 15 minutes when we passed a truck of park workers who explained to our driver that they had spotted some lions.  They weren't speaking English, but with their hand motions and the way that our driver laid on the gas pedal, I was pretty sure that we were on a mission.  After a few minutes of driving, we came up on another truck that was pulled off.  When we inquired, they explained that the lions had just been there, but they had disappeared into the bush.  We decided to park for a few minutes and see if they might come back out.  After a few minutes of waiting, they decided to make an appearance
 At first, they were in the tall grasses and we were peering out the top of the van, trying to catch a peek of them.
 Then, they were kind enough to come out and walk right down the middle of the road.  We followed them for a while.  Lily was not sure we should be so close, so she cowered on the floor of the van while the rest of us oohed and aahed.
 One of them jumped up on this park sign as if to say, "If you want a picture, I'll give you something to take a picture of."
Then, just for the full effect she turned around and gave us a facial view.

After our meeting ended, we spent a few extra days in Nairobi eating yummy food, doing some shopping, and just relaxing.  I discovered some amazing chocolate cake at the Nairobi Java House, which is probably the closest thing to a Panera that we've experienced since we hit the continent.  I may or may not have had the chocolate cake for dinner one night, so that I could justify eating it twice in one week. 

It was a great time and we are very, very thankful that we were able to go.