safety first?

Across the street there’s construction going on. Actually, it’s been going on for a long time and will continue into next year. And to give some perspective on the construction process here as I have observed it, entire families move to the site, build their own temporary shelters and all work on whatever piece of the building they’ve been hired to do. So basically, women and men carry bricks and mortar up and down stairs all day; kids play in piles of sand without supervision; everyone uses a hose or bucket to bathe in the great outdoors for all passerby’s to see–even the women. It’s a hard, gritty life.

It is also a life that doesn’t allow for the luxury of considering safety all the time. This is shocking to us because many North Americans are obsessed with safety, while most of the world doesn’t have time to be. Trust me, I know of what I speak, I ask “what if” about ten times a day. Safety is always on my mind.

I suppose here when you have a job to do and whether or not you get it done determines if you eat from day-to-day, you don’t worry quite as much or fuss over the details. Details like, say, a small child three-stories up on an open concrete slab just casually yelling down to his parents below (Hey mom! Look I’m really high and there’s no rail!). This was not the first time I’ve seen him or others the same size meandering around the site or the street unattended. It makes me gasp because I know there’s no way my kids, the three-year-old at least, would be savvy enough right now to stay away from the edge and would surely fall off. But I suppose when you grow up on a construction site you learn the boundaries fast because that is what you’ve been conditioned to do. Right?

I’m sure I will continue to be amazed (um, horrified) at the lack of safety here– five people on a motorcycle, wobbly rickshaws, no seat-belts in taxis, and kids who run around busy streets and live on sidewalks, you know, the normal. The reality is that I can try to do everything that possible to keep myself and my family safe, but in the end God is in control of each breath we take. And while I want to be wise and not intentionally put myself or my family in harm’s way, I also want a life yielded to what God wants even if it feels a little risky at times. I’m not saying safety is a bad thing (I adore seat-belts, helmets and high railings), but it should not be what drives me–and it does, too often. Loving God and others is what I’ve been called to do and sometimes that can lead to places that are not perceived as “safe” and that is scary and stretching for me.

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did they really say that?

Fall is here and the rains have decided to show up in full-force. Of course this year’s monsoon is not like the last year’s and for that I am grateful–no flooded cars (so far) and all of my leather sandals are still in tact. Sometimes it’s just the little things.

We are mere hours from entering into three-weeks of excessive busyness, by my standards anyway. Visitors, ministry and school obligations top the list of obligations and my head is already spinning as I think about being “on” for that length of time– a faux pas is almost a given knowing my track record with large groups of people. However, it will be nice to focus on something new for a while. Sometimes seeing things through new eyes is the very thing I need to gain a fresh perspective on life.

And speaking of perspective, the hubby has gotten some interesting perspective from some of his professors and he’s far too nice to put them on his blog, but I’m not. The accounts that follow are actual words spoken by educated men and women to master’s students in a college here. So without further adieu..

Did you know:

– St. Nicholas didn’t wear a red suit in the Bible, that was added later by Coca-Cola in their ad campaign. (What can I say about this except it’s hilarious and a bit sad at the same time.)
– Coleman lanterns were created by coal miners so they could see in the mines. (Nice guess.)
– There’s no such thing as a paid lunch. (That’s funny because I always pay for mine!)
– Definition of target audience “everyone on the planet who will read your writing.” (Wow that’s a big target!)
– Riding shot-gun means you have an actual gun in the front seat. (Now, this is funny if you know that culturally people here prefer the backseat because many of them have drivers and it’s cooler to be riding in the back than in the front. Even if I have a driver I still prefer riding “shot-gun” myself, but I try to leave my firearm at home).

The sad thing is that most of the students don’t know that the profs are wrong and it’s not really worth it to question them. But it does make for some funny conversation later when he comes home.

So that’s the latest and greatest: busy days ahead, funny times in class and a whole bunch of other stuff that’s far too mundane to post.  I hope you have a great weekend!

bugs in the rice

One night I was making dinner and needed some rice. I pulled out the bag and poured it into a bowl and noticed the little brown bugs had gotten into the bag. Now, back home I would have immediately thrown out the entire thing and just bought some more the next time I went to the store. But that wasn’t my first instinct. Instead, I filled the bowl full of water, let the dead bugs rise to the top, then proceeded to use the rice with the meal without thinking twice. Acclimation perhaps?

Another time I found a little bug in my flour, so I sifted it out. Then I bought some chicken and there were still feathers on parts of it. I gagged slightly, but cleaned it off and cooked it anyway.

Now, don’t get the idea that if you come over I will feed you chicken with feathers and bugs with your rice. But I have to say, that I have become a bit more sensitive about wasting food. Especially when the biggest complaint is that there are a few dead bugs in mixed in. Admittedly, I may go ahead and throw this bag of rice away because I’m starting to feel a little nauseated, but it’s hard when I see men sifting through trash, kids sleeping on curbs, women carrying 12 bricks on their heads at one time, to waste precious food. So a few bugs just don’t get me stirred up as much because there are bigger problems out there and we’re all going to get de-wormed when we get home anyway.

Did I just say de-wormed? Acclimation strikes again.