I recently read a blog post by author Donald Miller who said that the best writing advice he could give is to "love your reader" whether you're writing a book or a blog. That phrase has been haunting me of late, since this blog, which I try to update weekly, has suffered a shameful lapse, though not for lack of blog-worthy events. Here's a run-down of the past few weeks:
- Fred or I traveled every week in August, which taught us two things: 1. I don't like having house guests when Fred's not here (if you missed the story, you can read it here), and 2. Fred does not function well without his wife. While Fred travels, I just hide in the house and work or read or watch movies. While I travel, Fred stops eating and sleeps like a teenager. If it weren't for the bishop's wife, he probably would have missed a lot more meals. He even stopped shaving. I don't think I've seen him happier than when I got back home. We've both been thankful to have a few weeks of reprieve where we're both home before traveling starts again.
- We hired a house girl, which I talked about in this post, and she's still doing really well. An unexpected bonus is being forced to speak Swahili with her, which highlights how much Swahili I've forgotten from going back to the States for six months and only speaking English with my husband. It also reminds me of my old roommate, Leah, since my vocabulary for household tasks is shamefully deficient. I can fluently access the Swahili words for sponsorship, planning, development, poverty, flourishing, and a host of words related to spiritual development, but I cannot ever remember the verb for washing clothes. I'm going to have to go back to studying Swahili, but be far more practical this time!
- I went to Dodoma for a week for some meetings and training with GHMD. It was fabulous to see the kids and the staff. I was so touched when several girls came one day after school specially because they'd heard that I was at the office. They just wanted to see me and give me a hug! For the most part I was so encouraged by the health and development of all the children, but there were a few notable exceptions, all on the theme of housing problems. I'll be writing about that in my next support letter, which will be mailing at the beginning of October. If you're not receiving my snail mail support letter and would like to, send me an email with your address and we'll get that out to you.
- Speaking of email, I have a new work email address, firstname.lastname@example.org (let the spam begin). Note especially that last part: lahash.org instead of lahash.net. We have a new website for Lahash, and it's spectacular. You should definitely check it out. Please note that this new address is only for work related stuff, so please don't add it to personal updates, which I love, or random email forwards. For that use my old leishlin(at)gmail.
- I'm supposed to be taking more photos, but I am just not in the habit, so I forget that I even have a camera. Two note-worthy things I saw on my bus ride back from Dodoma which I would have taken photos of if they weren't flying by in the window: an old man building a boat in front of his house using only handtools (that's how we know we live by the lake! well, that and the thunderstorms) and a commercial gravel pit. I know that sounds insane, there's nothing interesting about a gravel pit, except that most of the gravel in East Africa seems to be made by hand, by people with small hammers sitting next to a pile of rock. Seeing a huge gravel pit with machinery surprised me a lot, until I saw what was built next door: a very impressive compound of houses, each with an individual air conditioner, with a Chinese flag flying over the whole thing. It seems there is a road construction project going on nearby, hence the Chinese expat engineers with the AC and the commercial grade gravel.
- Finally, a pregnancy update. I'm in week 19, so about halfway through. I'm starting to show a bit, and all the nasty first trimester symptoms are long gone. The only major symptom I'm struggling with is hormone swings...I think Fred preferred the nausea. I'm trying to be very conscientious about my moods and conduct, but sometimes I strike up a "conversation," thinking I'm completely balanced emotionally, only to burst into tears halfway through, making Fred extremely nervous. In saner moments we're having more conversations about cross-cultural parenting, and the aspects of each of our cultures that we want to instill in our children, regardless of where we live. It's complicated, but one of the most valuable parts of our marriage carries over into parenting: nothing is assumed. We can't assume that we will agree on anything, so we have to think about everything, from the languages we'll speak to our kids to the attitude toward leadership we want them to develop. (Fred and I are both over-thinkers...can you tell?) In a few weeks we'll go up to Nairobi to check out a few hospitals and make a birth plan. Right before we came back to Tanzania, we were introduced to an American family who were on their way to Nairobi to work at an international school. The wife is training as a midwife, and she's helping me do research and think through all the plans for the birth. While in Nairobi we're hoping to get an ultrasound and buy some baby clothes.
Well, after all those snippets, I hope you feel loved! I'll try to be more consistent in these updates, and my goal, which I'll publicly state here for accountability, is to have at least one or two photos for you next time! If you have any requests for something you want to see, whether it's our new dining room table or my increasing midsection, leave it in the comments and I'll do my best.