following up

In my previous post I ranted a bit about some things that bug me here. Well, this is sort of a continuation of that rant, with the addition of a plea to my readers.

This weekend the Commonwealth Games will begin in the city. It’s sort of the Olympics for all the former British colonies (the US is not included, hum). It’s a pretty big deal here and has thus far been interesting to follow as the city scrambles to prepare for the athletes and tourists who are beginning to pour in. The city is already crowded and should be fairly chaotic for the next two weeks. Excuse me, more chaotic.

In light of this event, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the issue of human trafficking and the impact the games will have on this already enormous problem. Many papers and news sources here and around the world are predicting a surge in the amount of people coming here who are not only coming to attend the games, but as tourists of another sort. In the city, sexual tourism is becoming big business and the games are providing an opportunity for profit. I get sick just thinking about someone abusing a child in such a way, and yet I know it happens all the time.

Innocent men, women and children are being exploited every day. One paper has reported that it is possible that at least 15,000 have been brought down from the rural north to be sold into sexual slavery. That’s not including those who already live in the city, but are homeless and vulnerable to this type of exploitation (there is an estimated 1.4 mil homeless).

So here’s my plea: that you would pray along with me over the next two weeks as the games begin for these innocent men, women and children who are being exploited and abused. That they would be set free from slavery and receive the help they need. Pray also that the governing authorities here would take action and be more zealous for justice in this country. Perhaps even pray about how you could help end this type of suffering that is occurring all over the world.

I am certainly no expert on any of this, by any means but I see the needs every day–physical and spiritual they are great. Too great. But this problem is not too great for the Lord. Some days I feel like it is, but that just shows how weak my faith is and how it needs to grow.

I don’t have any clever conclusion today. Please just mark it on your calendar to pray for this part of the world for a couple of weeks, longer if you want to,  and drop me a note if you want and let me know that you are.


this bugs me

As I now live in a country that is not my own, and as such I am daily exposed to things that are not every day occurrences in America. For example: I don’t usually hear of too many folks with parasites. But here, I get to experience them firsthand. What a lucky girl I am.

So my latest adventures had me researching and visiting multiple schools for my oldest son to attend. Then entire process has made me appreciate the place where I grew up and the opportunities I had for education (I didn’t take them, but that’s another story). For people here, education is of major importance and parents who want to see their kids succeed will go to great lengths to make sure they attend good schools, which often requires major sacrifice on the part of the family. Many here even intentionally have only one child so they can pour all their resources into him or her. Abortion rates are high here and it is a sad fact that you can no longer find out if you are having a boy or a girl before you give birth because so many more girls are aborted. It still happens, though. How tragic and heartbreaking.

In my growing up experience I never doubted that I could do or be anything I wanted to (whether or not this really was the case is suspect, but still I believed it), even though we were not wealthy. Here that is not the case. For so many, proper education is not even a remote possibility. I remember being in a village last year and being told that for four dollars a month a young girl we met could have gone to a better school and received an education that would give her greater opportunities. She had a bright, inquisitive mind and I grieved that so many are like her– their families unable to provide for daily necessities much less education for their daughter. This bugs me the most and my mind is scrambling to figure out how this could change here. Because I think it should.

And it  really bugs me that the very day I felt better last week Jon got some strange infection that knocked him out for two days. He probably should have rested more today, too, but how can you when your wife gets the same thing you have? I’m having a good moment right now so I can finish this post, but I am currently sporting a fever, headache, body pain and overall malaise (flu-like stuff). Prayers for healing and that the kids don’t get it are greatly appreciated.

Okay, it’s back to trying to rest, and hoping that the Tylenol kicks in soon. This concludes today’s installment of “This Bugs Me.” I promise to counter this post someday with “This really makes Me Happy,” but sorry, I just can’t do that right now.

happy sad

This morning we decided to pull out the video camera and capture our very entertaining two-year old on film. She was making silly faces and causing her brothers to laugh hysterically as usual.We don’t do this often, so when the mood strikes us, we go with it.

As we were filming the tape ran out and we looked through our bag for another. There was only one other tape so we checked it to make sure it was blank, which it wasn’t. In the spirit of a lazy Saturday morning we saw that the tape was from last year and decided to watch some of it.

The hubby plugged up the necessary cables and started the tape. It began about this time last year, around our son’s 3rd birthday party. Ten seconds into the video I burst into tears. There on the tape were many of our dearest Dallas friends all crammed into our little apartment celebrating our son’s birthday. I remembered the day vividly and the pain of not having another day like that any time soon overwhelmed me.

It was a great day that began with me cleaning and baking all day so his Yoda cake would be perfect for the party. It was the day of our final Fall Fest at school. So the kids had already been playing in bounce houses with their friends and getting their faces painted.

I remember being exhausted but too excited that we had so many people in our home that I didn’t care. I remember it was cozy, but fun to have parties in our home. It felt like community, which is something that we do not have here and that I have been longing for for months, but I’m not sure I will have for a long time.

We are trying to get out and meet people, but the reception is not exactly one with open arms,but rather curious stares. Today we ventured to the park in our sector. The kids enjoyed the change of scenery and getting to play outside. As for me, I’m still not quite used to being stared at constantly, so I have a hard time enjoying the moments we have to be in public places. In fact, they are the cause of much of my anxiety, but that’s another story.

So my heart is longing for community, for connections, but I’m not expecting it to look the same as it has in the past. I know our time in Dallas was a sweet time of fellowship that may or may not be duplicated. I’m so grateful for that time. For those people whose company we enjoyed for a season of our lives.

thus far…

We have been here almost seven weeks now. There have been bumps in the road, for sure, but I think overall it has gone surprisingly well. This week is the first time, though, I can say I have really felt settled to some degree.

Our move was in stages as we waited for deliveries to be made and for the guy to come after the delivery and assemble the stuff we bought (the two never occurred on the same day). That process was somewhat stressful for me to have to manage all the people coming in and out all day fixing things and making deliveries.

My greatest joy came when I figured out how to have fruits and veggies delivered, meat delivered and someone to help me shop for the rest. Not knowing how to eat or what to eat made some days very difficult since I knew I was not feeding the kids proper nutrition, but I could do nothing about it since we had no way to prepare food. My family is living proof you can survive on McD’s and Pizza Hut for extended periods of time.

Shopping is also an area where I struggle to truly understand the rationale behind some of the practices. I actually get hostile when I’m shopping for bedding or clothes or anything really and there is a male sales person standing right beside me at all times trying to “help” me. Americans are so independent. I’m realizing how independent I like to be and here that’s just not possible. I felt quite like George Banks in Father of the Bride, just before he’s arrested for destroying a pack of hot dog buns in the grocery store–he wanted eight buns for eight hot dogs.

For me it wasn’t hot dog buns, but sheets for our bed. Apparently, they only sell (from what I’ve seen so far) one flat sheet and two pillow cases per package. But I wanted two sheets and two pillowcases, not four pillowcases. I was trying to explain this to the guy “helping” me. But to no avail. I was so frustrated because buying two separate packages was more expensive than buying a fine set of sheets in the US. And I really didn’t even like the color so much, but plain sheets are harder to find for some reason. So guess what I want for Christmas this year? American sheets. Queen size. We brought one set of king with us, but that is way too big for here.

Well, enough ranting over trivial things like sheets. There’s plenty of ranting I could do about trivial things, but I will spare the general public. There are serious things here that are more troublesome than sheets and delivery men that show up at 9:30 pm.

So life goes on and I try to make sense or at least peace with my surroundings. I’m sure it will come. And besides, I didn’t come all this way to change the way retail works or be an advocate for fitted sheets. But I think they would be a hit!