Sunday, May 23, 2010

African Teachers, African Students

I can't resist some bullet point highlights of our evening with the Nigerian and Tanzanian teachers that spent 2 days at Atlantic High School and are here to escort the 60 IRIS students home in two weeks. Here goes:

*Mr. Mpinga (TZ) was delighted to hear me say his name correctly. (Thanks for the lesson, Dennis!)
*Mr. Anyam (NG) amazed us with his grasp of American politics.
*Favorite picture- Dennis teaching Mr. Anyam computer basics. Loved it.
*Mr. Mpinga running from our overly friendly dog.
*Both teachers taking turns jabbing each other with friendly "digs" about this or that. We were all unsure at first if they were serious or teasing. Hopefully we didn't laugh in the wrong places!
*Mr. Mpinga sharing with us how he hoped to entice an American woman to be his second wife. (First one is still living, mind you!). Not entirely sure if this was serious or not.
*Mr. Anyam declared the meal delicious after he mixed everything together on his plate:spaghetti, lettuce salad with 2 kinds of dressing, and fresh fruit. Hmm- not exactly what I was expecting...
*Genuine friendliness and interest in our culture and our family. What a privilege to host them for just a few hours. They both are either working on or hold advanced degrees, made great sacrifices to be away from their classes for 3 weeks, and possess extra-ordinary intelligence. We enjoyed their visit very much.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Countdown to June 4

Less than three weeks to go......

Here's a quick run down on our remaining schedule for this 9 month adventure.
Week One:
Dennis got his computer questions answered by brother William last night. Now he has virus protection! (see picture) Dennis didn't really think the sign would keep out any viruses so they had to download something from the internet. :) He also has his bike broken down and it is weighed and measured for a box. Victor may want to take the golf clubs...........
Also this week I am hoping to get some help in preparing the house and yard for more guests from Tanzania and Nigeria. They are the teachers who will be escorting the students home and they will be dining with us Friday night. Other things on the calendar- state track in Des Moines, a special soccer team night, and a youth group party.

Week Two:
District soccer game in Perry. Going away party here at our house. Final exams. Possible community service at Bible camp. Trip to Michigan with siblings to see new niece over Memorial Day weekend. This will be a mini vacation complete with golfing (real and miniature), cookouts, and beach time. Of course we will also take turns holding baby Natalie!

Week Three:
Is really only 4 days by the time we get home from Michigan Monday night. On the agenda: the zoo, visiting Dad's office, shopping, packing, finishing memory books, printing pictures, saying goodbyes to family members, and trying not to cry.

You can see why I may not get another post written until after my African sons leave on June 4. Hard to believe this adventure is coming to an end.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Samuel is in Michigan with his beautiful wife and daughter. Christina's job keeps her at church on Sundays. Caroline is in Honduras. William is on the way to California to see his girlfriend. James is on the road with the National Guard. I heard from each of my children via letter or phone call today and I appreciate that SO much. But the children that let me hug them today in person, and who joined me at the Mexican Restaurant for my Mother's Day meal were boys that I share with other mothers that live on the continent of Africa. Thank you, moms of Victor and Dennis, for sharing your sons with me for a year. And thank you, Victor and Dennis, for making this Mother's Day special just by being here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Parents Take a Road Trip

Our first grandchild was on the way, and so were we!! Thursday morning, Victor and Dennis dropped off clothes, books, supplies, and food at Grandma and Grandpa's before school in preparation for 3 nights and 4 days of living away from home while we headed to Michigan.

Between soccer games (2), team meals (2), show choir concert (1), Sunday School, church, and youth group (1 each) and a day with the cousins, I'm not sure how much time they actually spent there. But they did at least sleep in the basement of the comfortable house which is conveniently 1 block from the High School.

Back home on Monday night, we compared baby stories at the table.
--Samuel (our oldest son) has already changed more diapers than his father and baby Natalie is only 3 days old, which is an indication of different generations and other things.
--Victor's mom was given several months leave from her nurse's job when her children were born. Then a maid was hired to take care of the baby. Victor's dad did not share in the baby care because he has a job that has transferred him several times, making it necessary for him to live apart from his family for weeks at a time. Victor hopes that he will be able to keep his family together when the time comes for him to be married, but their are no guarantees.
--In Dennis' tribe, the men have nothing to do with the babies unless they have been educated. When asked where he would like to live when he has a family, Dennis replied, "That is a decision that will not be for me alone to decide." Wise young man.
--Samuel and Bethany have divided the household chores from the beginning of their marriage, and baby care will be no different. We are very proud and blessed to observe this wonderful couple glorify the Lord in their relationship- though it is very different than how we did it- it seems to work for them!

We loved meeting our new granddaughter, but it is good to be back home. We missed our African sons! Next time we go to Michigan (in 25 days and counting), we are taking everyone!