Some things about being in Africa are hard. Personally, I miss my family. Physically, I miss sleep and would reaaaalllllly love a good shower. I have washing to do and know that it is about an hour's task of bent over, hard work. There are mosquitos in hoards today/tonight.
In real life, though, these things are not actually that hard. I am only 10 days away from seeing my family and taking a long shower with scented soap and enough hot water and water pressure for as long as I want. I own a machine for almost every housekeeping job. I own every kind of mosquito repellant there is, (though none of it seems to work tonight!) and am taking anti-malarials.
On the flip side, some things about life in Africa are easy. Going to the market on Mondays seems like just what we do, and today I was able to navigate to find what I wanted (still no good at knowing what is a reasonable cost!) Also, as a side note: if I had worked and prayed for my crops to grow and then harvested them and carried them all to the market before sunrise and displayed them to sell, I am fairly certain that the value I affixed to that produce would not be reasonable.) I love the fresh food and the ability to choose from among 1000 mangoes the very ones I want. This, actually, is easier to me than at home. The food is limited to what is ripe or "in season", so your choice of types of produce is limited, but your selection from within those types is incredible! We literally spent the entire day shopping today.
Sunrise over Ddembe House
We went to the market at 6:15am, once we had dropped the children at school, so we could get wholesale prices, brought it all home, then went to Jinja town for the rest of the supplies for a month. We covered every part of the town -- indoors, outdoors, alleys--- and we bought everything under the sun! Petticoats (slips) for the girls and belts for the boys, because this was their request. Beans, sugar, maize flour, a new broom and rake, g-nut sauce, and everything in between! I was busy shopping, so there are not a lot of pictures, but here are a few:
This is half of the main market where we shopped today.
A shopping alley... (Red because of tinted van windows!).
For pictures of the produce market, look in last year's Monday blog post!
We returned home just as the children were leaving school, and had so much to out away! What a blessing a full cupboard is!
When we discussed that it took us all day to shop and then unload and put away the things, I realized that it often does for me too!
Patricia asked me the same question my own children sometimes ask me: while we were gone today, were you bored? ;-).
We have VERY limited internet, which is hard. At the same time, it's easy because I load all the emails I want to send and type my blog post and then once a day, I can send and receive. This actually makes my life more peaceful than in the States, where my phone beeps constantly and I expect to be connected all the time and people expect me to be available all the time.
Tonight's dinner was "tacos". We make chapati, which is their flatbread, then fill them with guacamole and chicken. It was a special request because the children remembered it from last year! Making chicken in an OVEN this time = easy. Making chapati by hand for 14=hard! The recipe for chapati is not hard at all, but it is very time consuming (and hot!) to fry one piece at a time! Dinner was late tonight because it felt like the eternal frying of chapati!
We had every child in the kitchen helping us at some point tonight, and sometimes up to seven at a time (the kitchen is not that big, but it's happy!). Vicky asked me if it was like making tacos in the U.S., and I had a flash to tacos being my "easy" dinner! I explained that we make them the same way, but we use tortillas. She asked how to make tortillas and I gave a quick overview - because I've never actually made one! When I confessed this, she said, "WHAT?!!! In America you don't cook for your family?!!!"
Robert and Yonna repeated their guacamole making from last year-- and it was probably the best guacamole I've ever had! Made with all fresh ingredients picked this morning!
Tonight while I sat helping Rogers chop onions for the guacamole, Resty braided my hair, we listened to Patricia singing, and I helped Moses understand what he was reading about mosquitos in a science book we brought him, while I kept Yonna from throwing his ball of chapati dough onto other people! I was in heaven. This is what I love, so for me, it's easy.
It occurs to me that "easy" and "hard" are a matter of perspective, and that we can choose wether we think of something as difficult or burdensome or not. It also occurs to me that when we are living the life God calls us to, He stretches us in ways that are hard, but that since He has uniquely gifted each of us to do it, many parts that would seem hard to others will feel easy.