It’s been a week. The newness and the strangeness of it all is starting to wear off and I am starting to settle into a bit of a routine. I have done my first laundry and it was good. A LOT of work. But good. I fully intend to bring some of their laundry soap home as my whites came out whiter than the clean ones I hadn’t washed yet, and as I scrubbed I was surprised that spots came out so easily.
My daily late afternoon showers is one of my favorite things. Funny since that was one of the few things I was concerned about before I came. But I love it and look forward to it every day. My friend Emined went with me to get a cell phone. It’s nice to feel a bit more connected now and I can even text the US a bit.
At the cathedral we ran into a man named Simon Peter, he was teaching a large group of children on the steps of the cathedral. I was impressed with how well-behaved they were. He had probably 50 children and they all sat quietly listening to him speak, they would repeat things together and he had their full attention. He left for a moment to see about opening the chapel for us to go inside and while he was gone Emined and I got a chance to visit a little with the children. I asked them what they were learning about. They all sat there silently, just looking at me with their big dark eyes. Finally one brave little girl spoke up. “We are learning about Jesus” she said. I pushed them a little farther hoping to get more of them talking. What are you learning about Jesus” I asked, There were a few giggles from the group this time, but still no one answered. After awhile the same little girl spoke up. “That he loves us” she said. I was touched at her simple declaration and the truth of her statement hit me hard. I think she must have believed what she said. But I wonder if she could ever really know how true that is. I wonder if any of us could know how true that is.
I showed Emined the Musana workshop and Harriett, one of the women taught him how to make paper beads. They sat together talking, listening to Emined’s music (Just a side note: I was surprised to hear a familiar voice in one of the songs we listened to. It was one of Jessie Clarke Funk’s songs. I wondered how she would feel to know that clear across the world people are listening to and enjoying her music) and making strings of beads for several hours. Harriett is one of the hardest working women I have met. She reminded me a lot of “Mother Clean.” No matter what is going on around her she just keeps going, working quietly and efficiently. The other day a mad man came to the shop, he wondered inside and sat on the workbench and started picking things up and looking at them. One by one the women came and started telling him to leave. “Get Out”they shouted at him. Soon the whole room was full of angry women protecting their space and each other. Through it all Harriett just kept right on making her beads and hanging the strings of beads up on the line across the door way. Harriett has aids, she caught it from her husband who didn’t realize he had it for many years until he became sick and died from it. Their two daughters have it as well. Now they all take care of each other. Her English is very good and she has a great sense of humor. I feel a sense of affection for her already. I am going to be making some videos about the women. I have been making a list of ideas of questions for them. I would love to hear any suggestions you have of things you would like to know, or would find interesting.