Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Gas, Les!

On our way home after church last Sunday, we noticed some kids hurling stones at what we initially thought was a lizard. It turned out to be a chameleon doing his best, quite unsuccessfully, to hasten out of harm’s way. Of all God’s creatures, chameleons are undoubtedly among the pokiest as they always seem caught in the throes of ambulatory ambivalence! Every forward propelling motion is undone, at least in part, by an immediate backward reversal of that motion. Then it’s forward again--a little further this time--then backwards again, and so it goes. Watching them is the ultimate test in patience and I’m tempted to speed the pace by saying, “More gas!” (Suzanne’s solution for overcoming the slow portions of any journey). This little guy was going nowhere at an alarming rate and we knew he was doomed unless we intervened, so we started shouting and flailing our arms, “Whoooooaaaa! Hey, noooooo! Stop! Stop stop stop stop stop stop stopppp!” It took awhile to get the attention of the unruly little mob, but we finally managed. When the stones stopped flying, Dwight sprinted in to rescue the bruised but still alive “slow one”. Superstition abounds here regarding chameleons. It is believed that if they bite you, the wound will never heal, and if you’re the first to spot one, you’ll have years of bad luck. Dwight took a few minutes to explain to the gathering crowd that these timid little creatures are, in reality, quite harmless.

When we left for home that day, we decided to take the chameleon home with us rather than leave him with the untrusting crowd. That was when Michael dubbed him “Les”. Seemed fitting enough. He was an ultra-slow, “less gas” sort of guy :)

This is Les on my dad’s head, trying to get as high off the ground as possible. I think he was quite relieved when we released him into our yard to disappear into the world of green that surrounds us.

This week marked the nursing group’s final week with us and I think it turned out to be the most eventful time of all. There were 2 full days of community immunizations, health teaching at the grade school, time in the health post plus some presentations and debrief time. I was very interested to hear the presentations which included their assessments of local community’s health and possible interventions,

personal challenges faced by the students, etc. It was interesting to see my surroundings through their eyes.

What I found particularly heart-warming was the identification of personal challenges which are true for anyone taken from their home and placed in a totally foreign setting. It’s a learning curve whose impact always takes us quite by surprise, regardless of how well prepared we feel for an international experience! These pictures speak for themselves.

And no visit (by certain individuals) is complete without some special entertainment and a few pranks on the host missionaries. I think this serenade by firelight was an apology for the mischief to follow (like tying our doors shut on the night before departure). We took it in stride--this time.

Currently we’re headed back home to the bush after saying farewell to our friends and guests at the Beira airport. This coming week will prove to have a pace of its own as we prepare for the 2 day marathon drive to South Africa over the deteriorating N1 highway (my dad leaves from Joburg to return to Canada). The worse the road gets though, the slower the going. Or at least, that’s the usual response I encourage from the passenger’s seat with “Whoa..slower, slower!” But somehow, there’s an echo in my mind from the recent past...a voice from the back of the van saying, “More gas!”


Russoft said...

Awwww, chameleon! I was just talking to a guy at work (from Nigeria) about these things. He was surprised when I said people in Mozambique are suspicious about them. Funny you should blog about it.

Looks like the team had a good stay.

Amanda said...

The teams are finally getting the missionaries back for letting their kids play pranks on them for all those years... haha.

ruth said...

Yeah! We get the gramps back!! Oh...but could you leave that chamelion there please?! I think this was Royden's favorite blog so far...

The Nelson's Dog Patch said...

Very entertaining blog Lynn, as usual! Yes I also was thinking of Royden when I was reading this blog. :)

Michel Lucas said...

Sempre que posso visito o blog da Linn, este blog é muito lindo.... o trabalho missionário é lindo.....ajudar as pessoas é algo gratificante....!!!!

Parabens pelo blog Linn...

Michel Lucas
Curitiba / Brasil