Monday, October 06, 2008

A Long Two Weeks

Weather: The month of September was again the wettest month of the year with about an average of just under 20 inches a week for the four weeks. One week saw 30 inches. It rained almost every night, less in the day, but whenever the sun peeked through the overcast, it was steamy. October shows some sign of drying up, although this morning we’ve received over two inches and it’s still raining. Hi temps mostly in the upper 70sF to low 80s, except when the sun shines, then mid 80s. Light and variable breezes.

Renita is in the US attending a conference and talking about LEAD to churches and relief agencies. During these two weeks I’ve been a complete domestic with home schooling, shopping, and trying to keep the house at least organized enough so we will be able to make it presentable when the lady of the house returns. It is not easy to be the only adult here; Renita and I share the duties, and she handles the stuff that tries my patience like the frequent banging at our gate. But the people on the other side of that gate are the reason we came, so it’s good for me to be tested this way.

I also need Renita with me as we finalize our exit strategy from Liberia. Our plan is to leave by November 20, go to North America for six weeks, and then continue on to our next home by January 20. Moving is hassle enough, moving to another country requires an organizer like Renita. Fortunately, we travel light.

The two weeks sans wife and mother have given the three of us who remain a chance to draw closer and feel like a unique unit. I’ve had more time to listen to Hannah and Noah, get to know them better, and see in more detail how they’ve changed from the little kids I knew. My parenting theory is that unless parents are willing to change as their children do, they will begin to drift apart. Kids are like anyone else—they want to be known and understood. As they grow, they change, they develop. As the years go by, they become different than they were in many ways (although they maintain core elements.) If parents don’t “re-get to know” their kids periodically, they will lose touch with them, and their children will rightfully feel less and less understood and appreciated. The kids will drift, complain of being misunderstood, and parents often respond to this by either trying to apply more controls or by trying to reason with their children. But neither of these tactics work if the parents are still dealing with the “children that were,” not the “children that are.” Nobody like to “be reasoned with” by somebody who thinks she knows you, but doesn’t.

But enough of my theories. We continue to await Renita, much beloved and needed wife and mother. The house is messier, we can smell a dead lizard that the cat brought in but require her nose to find it, the school routine is probably too relaxed, I keep forgetting to take my doxy (anti malaria medicine), the floor is a bit sandier than usual, but we are hanging in there.


Daily kid activities while mom's away: pilfering our palm nuts...
Pummeling the neighbors...

Hitting the bottle-- here Eastman drools over palm oil...
Opening boxes packed for our move...

Noah ready for night time rogue activity whilst Hannah prepares for partying... (ok, ok, it might have just been a Halloween dress up thing, but it adds to the drama)
... And all the while, Mom from her hotel balcony in Michigan observes all with yet another of her top-secret resources...

2 comments:

Aaron Baart said...

Hi Bob, I'm sorry to hear you'll be leaving on the day I arrive. On Nov. 20, I'll be coming to Monrovia with 2 other men from our little CRC church in Sioux Center, IA. Reason: I made friends with a Liberian pastor while adopting our son, Judah from Ethiopia. We hit it off, partnered our churches, started a "child sponsorship program" with an orphanage associated with the church, and now are coming with Lifewater Canada to help build a Lifewater Liberia compound, deepen our relationships, and look for redevelopment opportunities. Any advice on what to do, see, etc? Oh yeah, I am also supposed to be offering a pastor's conference while in country. Any advice as to what to cover? Thanks, Rev. Aaron Baart (aaron_bridge@mtcnet.net)

linda pringle said...

For what it's worth, check this out: http://www.tropicaltraditions.com//red_palm_oil.htm
Thanks for the pics of the palm nuts. I've always wondered what they look like.
Linda