January 31, 2011

The Dentist in Zambia

The gentle dentist explained to an old Zambian woman holding her cheek in obvious pain that her abscessed tooth would need to come out. The mud-walled church was built for the communities near Chashinama village, but today it served as a dental office consisting of an old dinette chair, a backpack of tools and a large “torch,” as he called it. We called it a flashlight. My husband assisted by holding the torch at different angles above the woman’s mouth during the procedure. She endured it all quietly while her young granddaughter, an orphan, sat in the dirt listlessly at her feet.

I did a bit of research when we got home. I learned that far more aid has been poured into Africa than any other continent and it is still the neediest place on earth. I struggle unendingly with trying to resolve the level of need there with my inability to do much about it. With anyone’s inability to do much about it. Is this what Jesus meant when he said the poor would always be with us?

While the dentist was done explaining through an interpreter how the grandmother should take care of her wound, my husband bent down to pick up and comfort the little girl on the ground. She laid her weary head against his shoulder. At that point, with our prayers, it was all we had to give. For her, for that moment, a daddy’s attention was all she needed.

January 12, 2011

A Strange New World

Perks to living on our hill in the country included the freedom to step out my back door and yodel to the trees when I wanted to. We had no neighbors. Now I live in town and I have neighbors. The goats didn’t mind what I did as long as they had something to chew. But now I live in town. A strange new world.

My first few nights here I needed to keep the bathroom fan running to muffle the town noise. My eyes would pop open wondering if what I’d heard was an airplane or a car rushing down the street. No, it was only the furnace. I would drift to sleep thinking about our old woodstove and the chickens and goats I gave away and my red Bartlett pear tree that I wouldn’t have pears from anymore.

I would leave the house and then return, and it was like walking into a hotel room. It’s very nice and I was happy to be here, but it wasn’t home yet.

I had only been here a few days when someone came up to my door and knocked enthusiastically. Wow, that was different! When I opened it up it was a dear friend of many years who was out taking a walk and heard I was moved in! How delightful! Her greeting was sweet and quick, and then she was off. I could get used to this, I thought.

I finished my work late tonight. My husband is sleeping sweetly in the next room. We had our first dinner guest this week, my daughter! My son dropped by in the middle of the day to borrow a tool. I attended my newest grandchild’s baby shower last night with dozens of ladies I enjoy being with. And I live close to my church and other interesting places.

Okay, I have to say that I don’t miss the chickens that much. This is home!

January 3, 2011

More Moving In

In the dark of this morning I sent Jerry off to start his second term at LCC, and since my work for the day hadn't come yet I looked around the house to see what my next "moving in" project would be.

We did a lot of cutting the last 6 months of 2010. I have Goodwill receipts that account for more than 20 pickup truck loads of donations from our country home that we didn't need (or need to store) any more.

Another thing we cut was our mortgage debt. We are living now for less than rent and will have our small loan paid off in less than 2 years! Yayeee!

Our poor dog Annie must have thought she would certainly be "cut," as well. Her new kennel area is quite a bit smaller than the pasture she used to run in, and she has escaped it almost daily. Our scolding brought serious remorse (in appearance, anyway) but she was determined that it was not her home. However, with more serious fencing and a reward of a big ol' bone I think we are finally convincing her of the truth. So far, so good!

Whoa, my work just arrived! I'll be extra busy today, so let me close by saying that I was able to do the "next thing" in getting us settled in our new home -- I hung the bulletin board frame in the entryway/dining room. We have boxes of picture frames that will end up at Goodwill in our next truckload, but the bulletin board will serve the purpose of reminding us of people we love.

You know what? Jerry's stud finder was no help at all! I certainly did not understand its language, so I poked a few unnecessary holes in the wall to find the stud the old fashioned way. The scars were soon covered up with the board on which I will stick notes, cards, and Christmas pictures from friends and family.