Sunday, April 29, 2007

It's About Time

We’ve had this clock for a long time. I think my mom bought it for us when she and dad were in South Africa to visit us many years ago. That would make this clock at least 10 years old. My kids (and sometimes even my husband) have always complained about how difficult it is to tell time on though.

“Mom, what time is it?”
“Well, you tell me what time it is. The clock is right there on the wall.”
“I can’t tell with that clock. Why does it have flowers instead of numbers anyway?”
“Because it’s a pretty clock. Are you telling me you can’t figure out where the numbers would be?”
“Well, yeah, but it takes a lot of time to figure out, and then I’m not quite sure. I wouldn’t want to be late for school…” (smile)
“It’s simple. You know where the 12, 3, 6 and 9 would be right? So, then there are only 2 numbers between those to fill the spaces with. I think it’s pretty obvious!” (Now that I think about it, maybe it is a bit confusing.)
“Yeah, well, it’s a pain to have to figure out every time.”
(Mom sighs.) “Well, if I MUST read the time for you it’s 8:30 (or whatever).”

Last week we had several workers in our house doing some finishing work on the walls. There was quite a bit of discussion going on and as I entered the room it suddenly got quiet. They all sort of glanced at each other, then at me, then at each other again. Finally one of them piped up, “Senhora…is that a clock?”
“Yes, it’s a clock. Why?”
“Well, what time is it?”
Apparently it’s time to get a new clock! By the way, in the picture the time is 07:42.

And speaking of time, I remember once when Amanda's friend (learning English still) was waiting patiently while Amanda tied her shoelaces to perfection. It took awhile, so I said, "Marisha, just say, 'Amanda, time's a-wasting'". Marisha turned to Amanda and said, "Amanda, you're a-wasting my time." Same idea I guess!

This week Salena, our latest short termer arrived. She’s staying in a tent which has been a bit of an adjustment for her! Otherwise, she’s busy tackling a number of jobs…the extra pair of hands is great.

TTYL. It’s “time” to go J.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Things Go Awry

It’s been one of those crazy weeks when you wonder, “What next?” To start things off, a pregnant woman who had attended a special Sunday celebration on our farm last week was badly bitten several times by a croc by the river later that same afternoon. She is recovering. Then on Tuesday, one of our staff fell while using a ladder to put up our ceiling. He gashed his leg quite badly and of course with all the moving and rearranging here lately, it took me awhile to locate my disinfectant, 4X4’s and steri-strips to fix him up! Then yesterday, while I came down with (a mild case of) malaria, Dwight was robbed in town. That means several days of police reports, pursuing renewed ID documents, the works. Thankfully the credit cards were spared. Then today, another guy helping me paint the ceiling also fell while working on a ladder! :S Thankfully he wasn’t hurt, just a few dings on the floor and walls. Tonight I received an email from my mom saying she took a nasty tumble while sprinting across the yard to answer the phone the other day. She scraped both knees badly and dislocated her thumb (sorry, Mom). She also wrote that one of my aunts had fallen from a ladder and required stitches and injured her shoulder. And then there was the V Tech shooting that has dominated the news…where did this week come from…and could someone please make it go away?!

And yet when I think about it, some wonderful things have happened this week too. The guy with leprosy I mentioned quite a few entries ago has now been referred for treatment, has an interim home of his own and wears a smile on his face. Our little home now has its ceiling in and ¾ of it is beautifully painted…AND we moved OUT of the tent to sleep in our own room last night! Of course, there are a whole host of other good things to be thankful for, and we are. Going through difficulties isn’t all bad no matter how much we dislike the process. Tough times prove and strengthen our character, help us realize we can actually cope better than we thought, and mostly, remind us that God is with us and He is in control. After having said all that, I’m still hoping for a smoother ride week next week!

I better run along for now, there’s painting to finish and many other things to tend to. And when I climb the ladder today, I’ll make sure I stick to the lower rungs and move slowly :).

And since I like books with pictures and believe a blog post without a picture is like pie without cheese (who eats pie with cheese anyway?), here is at least one visual for you.

Early morning devotion and discussion time with mission staff (on this particular day we had visitors from Mercy Air, South Africa so there was not a spare log to be had to sit on). Maybe we need to add on :). TTYL.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


...flu, AIDS, E Coli, leprosy, scabies, skin name it, it's been by our doorstep in the last few weeks. Just among our mission staff there have been at least 4 infant deaths and 2 sibling deaths since January, mostly related to malaria, AIDS and diarrhea. And in between is a steady stream of cases of malaria and all the above mentioned illnesses. Sometimes they wait too long to seek help thinking the person will recover. Often, transport is difficult and help is far away. And since about the time of the floods further north, there has been a shortage of antimalarials (diversion of resources I guess). The mission has stepped in to help fill the gap in the provision of medication, but it's hard to keep up with demand.

And as if life here weren't difficult enough, there are folks like the ladies pictured here. The woman on the left is an aging widow with a blind daughter (middle). They have no one to care for them except each other. The widow uses crutches since she lost one leg during the war era. Since then she has managed to plant enough food to feed the two of them each year, but this year was a bad one for her as she has struggled with arthritis. As a result, the corn she planted was overrun with weeds and their crop was pretty much a failure. They live in a single room hut and the weed patch at the edge of the yard is their toilet facility which offers no privacy. These are the situations we have the challenge...and opportunity to help on an ongoing basis.

In my last blog entry I mentioned that we were putting a ceiling into our new little place. The dust and moving things around got so bad that we eventually just moved into a tent to sleep! I can't believe I'm in a tent again!! There were times when I felt rather sorry for myself, but as you can see from the above accounts, my self-pity parties tend to be of very short duration. How can I complain about sleeping in a tent and having a house that's in disarray when I and my family are healthy and happy??? It's all perspective isn't it.

And to end on a positive note, how's this little guy? Cute as a button. Thanks Joanne for the great photos (top one and this one).

Until next time, I'll be counting my blessings.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Moments of "The Move"

Chaos in the front yard of our new home...and
chaos in the back yard too! As soon as the floor was done, that chaos all moved onto the back veranda. Lovely. Yes, that's Fred and the ol' washing machine.
No self-respecting Schalm offspring would let her home be photographed in such disarray, and then there's me. Actually, I almost didn't post these inside shots but it could be awhile before my house is in order, and I promised these to several people...
If you look closely, you can see the ceiling was lacking (wall edge above window). Hence the mosquito story (previous post). Ceiling construction is currently underway, which means the chaos goes on! Doing the ceiling before we moved in would have been nice, but time and supplies weren't on our side just then. Oh well. Just a bit of adventure :).

Other than moving, settling and finishing the place, life goes on. The needy and infirm come for help every day, legal paperwork must be pursued, social visits must be made to maintain good ties in communities and so on. Yes, life is busy, but we sure like it here! Looks like someone else likes it here too.

Ebony "The (Small) Panther".