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Crayola Moments

July 12, 2011

I’ve been placed in Sanniquellie Central High School in Nimba County with Krista. We met our principal yesterday and leave to visit the school and see our house in the morning. I’m very excited! I should be packing right now, but my lantern in growing dim and I’m making little progress. I can’t pack my tent and my bed until the morning, anyway.

The past week has been a whirlwind roller coaster, some of my best highs and lowest lows (yes, runny belly finally caught up with me!). My family continues to amaze me. My host mom had her baby last Tuesday and it’s amazing how little it’s changed our family dynamic. My new “smal sista” Fable rarely cries and my mom hardly missed a beat―she was cooking me dinner when I came home just hours after her delivery! Women in Liberia are strong in many many ways (“plenty strong” as they’d say).

My sickness created a little tension in the family–they felt responsible!–so Sunday we needed to have some quality time. I borrowed some children’s books from the PC office while in Monrovia the day before so I gathered my brothers and sisters to read The Mixed-Up Chameleon, a personal favorite, Frog and Toad, and other American favorites. My little brother Luke still struggles to understand my English, though, so he quickly lost interest. Remembering the crayons I got in Monrovia the day before, I went and got an activity book for him (shout out to Catherine and Five Below!). His eyes grew and he clapped with delight. I tore out a color-by-number of a snail and helped him pick out his colors. He sat more quite and serious than I’ve ever seen him, coming to ask my approval before each color choice. He wanted it to be perfect! Each time I praised his work he giggled uproariously and jumped up as if the excitement was just too much for his little five-year-old body. He his my sunshine!

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Of course everyone else wanted pictures too and within fifteen minutes our usually bustling house was silent save for the rhythmic scratching of crayons on paper. We were all crammed in the tiny kitchen area because my mom was entertaining on the porch. Nestled between Luke and Esther, my heart swelled. I looked up just as one of our hens pecked her way in, followed by her entire brood of chicks. They swarmed around us, pecking at the children’s pictures, and I thought overwhelmingly, “This is why I came to Africa.” It was one of those beautiful moments I’ll remember forever.

Samuel finished his picture and handed it to me proudly. It was a tiger, half green and half orange. I asked if he wanted to keep it and he beamed. Princess finished her car and I asked if they wanted tape to put them up in their rooms. You’d have thought I’d asked “Is Christmas fun?” Princess suggested we hang them on the porch and I wholeheartedly agreed (with Mom’s approval). Everyone posed for pictures and I floated into my room on a cloud.

This is Africa.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 31, 2011 2:26 pm

    Thanks! It is wonderful to hear your “voice” and share in your journey. Wishing you much love, LP

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