Thursday, February 05, 2009

Try the berries and get smart

It’s time to update my blog, but it’s hard to be creative today since my brain’s been immersed in “Management Control in Nonprofit Organizations” mode all week. It’s one of the electives I’m doing toward my BN and although it has been informative and highly challenging, it has not been particularly fun. Accounting was not a pre-requisite for this course but it should have been--and I’m no accountant. Every inch of progress I've made so far has been through much stress and hours of researching accounting terms and principles and their application. Ugh!

I’d like to complain about how difficult this course is, but I can’t. My family won’t let me. You see, I home-schooled our kids from Grades 1 and 2 to 12, which gave me plenty of time to hammer certain ideals into their minds, like:

“There are few truly smart people. Some just try harder than others.” Or:

“Math (or whatever) isn’t difficult, it’s just different.” (Paraphrased quote from Saxon Math textbook)

My favourites, which I made up myself, were:

“If you can get a D, then you can get a C. And if you can get a C, then you can get a B. And if you can get a B, then you can get an A.”

But my favourite of all times was:

“If you aspire to be something besides a street-sweeper one day, hit the books. If not, you can get to work on your sweeping skills right now. And, boy, this house could SURE use a good cleaning!” (I have to admit, I could get right into this one. It’s a tough one to cut short. Worked every time, too. Heh, heh.)

These are the kinds of things home-schooling moms use to prod their I’d-rather-be-outside-playing kids along with. And now that our kids are in university, do you think they keep those famous quotes tucked away in their subconscious minds? Nope. If I so much as breathe the word “difficult” in relation to any new concept, I’m reminded by them (and by Dwight who also has this quote well memorized): “It’s not difficult, it’s just different.”

So please bear with me while I try to pull my mind out of “different” long enough to post an entry here.

On Saturday, ASAM (the Mozambique mission) held its annual general meeting where we presented all the reports, budgets, etc. that we had all been working on feverishly for weeks. We decided to hold the meeting at Selva rather than cater it ourselves.

It was a great day. Here’s the board:

On our way to the AGM, we dropped Francisco and Mibia off at Chitundo (about ½ hour away) where they will attend Grade 6. These are among the first orphan children to take this step and that feels like a big stretch to us and their granny (middle) who accompanied them to help them get settled. They were your typical teenagers away from home for the first time—excited!

They will share this new home (that is now even further along and nearly complete) with a caregiver-granny and her own younger orphan grandchildren.

I couldn’t resist getting a photo today of this elderly woman who is doing work-for-food.

She washed up some camp dishes in preparation for visitors we’re expecting in a few weeks, then discovered the berry tree nearby and got tucked into them. I snapped a few photos, which she laughed and clapped her hands at when she saw them. Then we had an interesting little conversation…she spoke local dialect and I spoke Portuguese. We had no clue what the other was saying but we had a great laugh anyway. It’s nice that laughter is universal ☺ She motioned me to the berries on the tree. I’d never tasted these before, but decided to brave the experience since she and others who are familiar with indigenous trees were eating them with no ill-effects. They are a bit tart and taste, well, berryish. I’m calling them “Query Berries” until I can figure out what they are. I'm secretly hoping they'll make me smarter for my course...

Here, another work-for-food lady helps weed the pineapple patch. When I showed her this picture of herself she also laughed and clapped her hands. And again, I laughed along.

This is how pineapples grow. Cute.

Okay, shall we end with a creepy-crawly photo?

There are tons of these in our backyard and I don’t know what they are called either. But don’t worry, I won’t touch them.

Anyway, I should run for now. I still have 2 chapters, one more assignment and a final exam to go, and I really should live up to all those great ideals while I wait for the Query Berry effect to kick in! 


Anonymous said...

Lynn, they look like grapes to me. Did you try them?
Amy ====

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