23 December 2008

Malaria

Many people say that you can't catch malaria in this part of the country. I used to be one of them. I was wrong. It had me in bed for three days straight. Miserable, miserable malaria.

However, there were a few highlights to my few horizontal days.

1. Laying in a comfy bed on my balcony in the early morning, wrapped in a quilt with the cool breeze blowing, birds singing, blue sky overhead, listening as my downstairs neighbor played his guitar on his veranda. (No, he didn't know I was there… and I won't tell him either! Wouldn't want to embarrass him…)

2. Explaining to Mike step by step how to make a batch of banana bread from scratch. ("Are these bananas too black?" "What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda?" "Do you really think it's a good idea for me to use the electric mixer?" "Where is the measuring cup?" "Is this a tablespoon or a teaspoon?" "How do I know if they're done baking?") I think it might have taken him four times longer than it takes me, but he was very cute!

3. My boy learning to rub my back. He's totally mimicking EVERYTHING we do, and so when I was laying on the couch and Mike was rubbing my back... H was too!

4. Oh, the last highlight. Thee jeans (you know... the favorite pair of jeans that you are always wanting to fit perfect again? Always aspiring for? Mine are the American Eagle faded blue jeans that my best friend and I bought the same pair of sophomore year of college. Umm, does that mean they're outdated? Oh, nevermind that.) Anyway.... Thee jeans didn't require any sucking-in to button today. I know, I know... this highlight can be seen as controversial. Should I really rejoice that my jeans fit better? I mean I was very very sick and very very miserable for awhile, haven't been eating much for a couple weeks, really...

Okay ladies... don't even try to tell me you haven't thought the same thing about your pair of thee jeans after you've been sick and puking for a few days… at least some good comes of it, huh?

Anyway, now I've joined many others in the ranks of malaria veterans. Red Cross's blood donation centers can kiss me goodbye forever. I guess I should have known it would happen someday. I am the one that gets a thousand mosquito bites when I'm totally covered from toe to chin when Mike is next to me sleeping in a pair of shorts with no sheet and no bites. Sweet blood they say. Whatever. My time had to come, I suppose.

14 December 2008

Hurtling Towards Oblivion

I listened to a podcast from Focus on the Family a couple weeks ago. It was an interview with Author/Physician/Futurist who wrote this book: Hurtling towards Oblivion: A Logical Argument For the End of the Age. He is a believer, but his ideas are not based on the Bible. They are based on his study of the past and the present. However, his ideas do certainly line up with Revelation.

Instead of trying to figure out how to explain it myself, I will take the words out of Kendal B. Hunter's most helpful customer review from the book on amazon.com (changed a little by me!). Thanks Kendal B.!

So what is Dr. Swensen's point? His is a voice of warning that several factors or trends are working together to cause serious havoc on the world-system. These trends are:

1) PROFUSION: More and more of everything. Inventions, technologies, people, etc.
2) IRREVERSABILITY: We cannot undo what we have done.
3) EXPONENTIAL GROWTH: This more and more of everything is happening faster and faster, so we are getting more and more of the original "more and more." This is on an exponential J-curve.
4) FALLENESS FACTOR: Things go wrong, or can be misused. Even though a lot of the new inventions and technologies, etc. are good, there is always a possibility that these things can be misused for evil.
5) EXPONENTIAL PROFUSION OF EVIL: With all of these factors working together, we not only have a profusion of good (i.e. More educated people, more TVs and CT-scan machines), but he also have an EXPONENTIAL PROFUSION OF EVIL.
6) At some point this EXPONTIAL PROFUSION OF EVIL can overwhelm the world. For example, it becomes easier for a smaller group of people to do extreme harm to a much larger group of people.

Make sense?

So, I'm gonna be honest here. I don't think about stuff like this often, and I don't know if the world is gonna end in my child's lifetime (Swenson thinks it probably will, but no promises), but when I heard this guy on the 'radio'... I understood what he was saying. He has a pretty good argument. Each point is hardly refutable (in my opinion), and each one builds on the other to reach his conclusion. I kinda see it like this: If in the year 1000, humanity was crawling towards the end of the world, then now (because of points 1-5) we are now, comparitively, flying towards the end of the world at the speed of light. I mean, we could just say "we are closer than ever to the end of the world," but that's kind of obvious and silly statement, isn't it?

But I think that Dr. Swenson could say all of this much better than Kendal B. or myself. So maybe I should shut up and we all should just all read his book. I mean, if you want to.
:)

Anyway... my FAVORITE thing about this topic is that it is just a reminder to me that this world (no matter what side of it I am living or how bad the 'profusion of eveil' gets) is NOT my permanent home. I am just passing through... looking towards my next (more long-term) home...

11 December 2008

KuKu and PooPoo

We finally reached the place after many turns down small dirty roads lined with metal gates. I am half surprised that we made it down that small alley without a punctured tire. We enter the home through the small door and my dear friend YuYu greets us. We are ushered through the courtyard to dark inner room. Three beds and two chairs are lined up around the walls. I take a seat on the edge of a bed and Mike sits in a plastic chair. Tomas sit with us and YuYu exits to prepare drinks. A few minutes later she carries in a tray. Two bottles of Pepsi and two bottles of water are served along with four glasses. All of it is for Mike and I and we'll be expected to drink it all (whether or not caffeine keeps me up at night!). We're lucky they didn't serve a third bottle of Pepsi for my boy to drink all by himself.

The next hour or more is spent chatting, passing around babies and chasing H around the few rooms that comprise the house. Conversation goes from the small property (75 years old and showing it) to the still-hot weather to church to America to the war to being a policeman (Tomas is). Other things too. Later we migrate outside to sit in the courtyard under a makeshift roof. YuYu hands me a guitar and tells me to play a song.

laughing... "What? Me? I don't know any songs?" (we're speaking Arabic)

"Oh, that's okay, I can bring you a songbook"
(she disappears into the house and reappears with a book in her hand.)

She hands it to me and I laugh again... "This is in Arabic! I can't read Arabic!"
"Sorry," I say, "I don't know any songs and I can't read Arabic!"

Oh well. Silly me, I thought one of them was gonna play the guitar for us!

We sit awhile longer. YuYu is in the small dank room unattached from the house used as a kitchen swarming with flies preparing a meal for us. KuKu sits on my lap, and I learn that tickling him under his chin produces a cute squeal of laughter. Then I hear a little noise and look down to learn that KuKu has poopooed on my pants. Mike runs into the house to fetch the bag with tissues and wipes. Tomas is embarrassed and yells for his wife to come. I just laugh and really don't care. However, I am reminded why diapers were invented.

Awhile longer of sitting and waiting, a large tray of food is set before Mike and I on a tiny table set between us. "Thank you, it looks delicious!" We say. As the others stand up to leave, we insist that we must all eat together, but it's no use, and their custom of leaving guests to eat alone wins. Tomas is sitting just around the corner from the small covered room and the women and children have disappeared inside.

It's a large silver tray, at least two feet in diameter, with various shallow bowls resting inside. There is a salad (tomato, onion, green pepper, and cucumber), a small pile of bread, a small dish of salt, lemon, and hot pepper, and a dish of cooked liver. I love to eat like this... all off one tray, tearing off a peice of bread and using it to pick up a bit of salad or a piece of meat to eat. And I love squeezing fresh lime juice on anything and everything. However, I don't love liver, and after one bite of that I am done. Mike manages to eat enough for both of us so our hosts won't be offended, although he doesn't like liver either.

After awhile, Tomas enters again, and (as expected) scolds us for not eating more. So, we take another piece of bread and eat more. He still says we didn't eat much, but we declare "We had enough, thank you" and stand to wash our hands in water from the barrel, signaling the completion of our meal. YuYu carries the tray back to the kitchen and I assume they will eat our leftovers for their evening meal.

We sit together a little while longer. KuKu is being cute, and 8 year old Eliza is carrying H around on her hip. She talks to him and he likes it. I stand and announce "We want to go now" and they insist our visit was too short (it's been nearly three hours now!). We share a prayer together and everyone shakes hands and says goodbye. I hope to see them again soon.

07 December 2008

Gata9

Today, the legs of my living room furniture were cut off (gata9)! It's been a long time coming. Ever since we bought them from a family leaving about 3 years ago, I have thought they were too high and would be much more comfortable (and feel less 'formal') if they were lower to the ground.

We tend to be project procrastinators here big time, mostly because little projects that would be cake in the states seem very large, daunting and difficult in this culture. God bless our fellow staff member who brought a power saw from Egypt and cut off all the legs in about half an hour!

What a difference two inches can make!

Anybody wanna come relax on my new and improved couch for a little book reading and tea sipping?

06 December 2008

I'm Dreaming...

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...

Wow! We just watched this movie, and I thought I would remember it, but I didn't at all! I guess I haven't seen it since I was a kid and all I ACTUALLY remembered was the big poofy red dresses the ladies wear at the end. I really got into it! M only made it about halfway through (one man can only take so much 'impromptu' singing and tap dancing)! But I was sad it had to end.

How did I make it so far into my adulthood without watching this movie again?! The only thing that would have made it better would have been temperatures to warrant a steaming mug of hot chocolate...

01 December 2008

Dolls Fingers?

There are many interesting snacks around here. Each little store has a different selection of chips, candy bars, gum, etc. We like to try new ones! Today Mike brought me home a surprise: "Dolls Fingers Coated in Cholate." That's right... this snack is sweeping the country (not really!). What is cholate anyway? They tasted alright, but kind of like cheese-less cheese puffs with a little bit of chocolate. Not bad... but probably not gonna be a repeat buy. Not only the taste, but who REALLY wants to eat dolls fingers? I could think of a hundred better names for this snack...

:)