Sunday, November 14, 2010


It has been three months since I updated my blog, because three months ago I came down with malaria giving me a couple of days to do nothing. Needless to say, since then, it has been very eventful!!!! I can't write about it all nor would you want to read it all, but in view of loving all those who may read this blog it seems best to write something.

What to write though!? What do you want to hear about? You see thats what I don't know, so maybe I will just write about a whole bunch of things and you can read what most interests you.

A brutish summary looks like this. Working 7 days a week for two months, doing a feasibility study with the first Mozambican Banker (after the Colonial war he was the first Mozambican to be a director of the central bank), helping found a Credit Cooperative in Pemba, trying to figure out how to be an assistant to my boss, troubleshooting computer problems, being the driver, buying the supplies, trying to translate the annual report, planning for and attending the Annual General Assembly of Caixa Nampula!

I waxed the floor once, broke the door down twice, and got incense so it smells nice. (I rythmed!) I also got a motorcycle to cruise around on.

I took five months but I have many friends now, and they are all quite amazing people. I need to explain, though, why I think it took five months. First, I don't have any time to chill because work is so crazy. Second, and related to the first point, one co-worker is super hard to get along with. It felt like I wasn't a co-worker but an object to do things for said person. This made work really frustrating because beyond having to work my butt off doing stuff beyond my experience this co-worker was making work a depressing place.
Third, and most importantly, I mistakenly extrapolated what was wrong at work to the rest of my friendships. More specifically, I put most of my focus and energy into my work situation and I am telling you I have tried EVERYTHING, by that I mean I have tried to bite my pride and be a part of the solution in every way I can think of. Nevertheless, little changed after the many things I tried. This lead me to think I had to walk on egg shells with everyone thus not being able to really have friendships. Finally though, I realized that putting more energy into the work environment wasn't the solution and I needed to try hard to see everyone apart from the sour apple that was so nearby everyday.

Deep Life stuff:
All of the above, and more, has lead me to pray a prayer I have never prayed before. I have finally prayed, "God, if it's not to feel the joy of this place, let me be content with You as I enter the pain of it."

It isn't that joy is non-existent here, it's just that pain and suffering seem to be a more constant reality. Sickness stings; easily stealing a child from the mother's arms and the elderly from their family's veranda. Poverty shackles; limiting a youths dreams, enslaving a women's power, and cuffing a man's diligent hands. Pain has taught to distrust under each smile. Thus wives are blamed for their husband's death, lies are told to co-workers, and money is stolen because the pain of poverty's chains and sickness's sting is a day away.

I hope to continue to pray this prayer, knowing that my God is better than the joy of a place. He is better because He can hug Mama Lucia after she has lost her husband and gets blamed for his death from his family. They say she caused his death through witchcraft, but it was actually caused by high blood pressure from his drinking problem. God can give Mama Olinda the joy to dance after losing two children in one year.

The joy of a place cannot wipe the tiers of Mama Lucia or give Mama Olinda a new dance. The joy of a place is powerless in the face of pain. Thus I have been asking myself. What is powerful enough to restore joy when it has no place being there, when it has been stung, shackled, and backstabbed.

I can think of no other power than knowing God's Love to be mine. Understanding this truth isn't natural but it is so important I cannot ignore or forget it. Life is too short.

At the funeral of the husband of Mama Lucia the pastor said something that made me think a little bit. He said, "Yes, we are sad today, because of death; but it is through death that we get to be with God so don't be sad." It made me think of how odd that must sound to half the people at the funeral and maybe half the people reading this.

We don't get pain and suffering, we hate it; but praise God His Love is as gentle to us as it is odd to us.

God Bless, Jer.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A curse turned into a blessing...

Calvin is just a normal parasite. He has no tricks or gimmicks. He just does what his people do. He started in the salviray gland of an unimpressive and annoying mosquito. She flew so awkardly and kept buzzing around my ears. Calvin didn't mind the buzzing and awkard flying though. He just waited until she landed to feed, and when she did, he made his exit. Calvin seemed to have trained for this and knew exactly where he was going, my healthy liver. Then he just waited there and made tons of babies. The baby Calvins got tired of my liver though. So 10 - 14 days latter they ventured into the rest of my healthy body invading my red blood cells as they went.

It seems my anti-malarials are only good for giving me really amazing dreams. Stopping my nemisis, Calvin, isn't exciting enough, I guess. Nope not my anti-malarials, my anti-malarials neglect their purpose opting for midnight picnics frolicking with dimethyltriptamine instead. I shouldn't put all the blame on my irresponsible anti-malarials though. I, in fact, am partially at fault because I guess I wore the body down weakening my immune system, a perfect environment for my nemisis.

So my nemisis Calvin is the curse. I can't stand him. He is so selfish, as if my liver wasn't big enough for him. He had to invade the rest of my healthy body. What a greedy little squirt! Anyway, Calvin is getting taken care of and the fevers have stopped. No need to worry, all is under control.

To be honest, Calvin's selfish and reckless greed has really turned into a blessing for me. You may ask but how is this so!? Well, what Calvin meant as a curse to me has been a blessing for two reasons. First, I have been able to get some rest! A precious and scarce resource the last few weeks.

Second, I have gotten visitors! This is the part that really touched me, and I really do feel quite blessed. Three co-workers came by yesterday, separately, to see how I was and if I needed anything. One brought his smile and took my cheese. The other brought juice and took a bag of bread, fruit, and gronola. The other took out my trash and a small loan. This gives you glimpse into the culture where everything is shared. I was blessed with their visit and gifts and was happy to bless them with groceries and a loan. Then the sweetest Brazilian couple ever, came by and brought me groceries replenishing my recently deminished supply of groceries. So I had five people come by to see how I was doing, but I didn't broadcast that I was sick. They just figured it out and came by. So as you can imagine, each time I heard a knock at the door, I would scramble to look somewhat presentable thinking it was someone selling fruit or something and to my shock it was someone visiting me! Wow, talk about a nice suprise.

Today, the novelty of my illness seems to have worn off thus I can take advantage of the first blessing, rest; and retain my groceries.

Before I got my visitors yesterday, I got bored of sitting in the house so I stepped outside for a bit to buy credit for my phone. While I was standing on the sidewalk a blue car came screatching to a hault and people were yelling for it to back up. Another car was in the way so I couldn't see what all the fuss was about. When it did back up though, I saw a mother getting up and picking up her little girl from underneath the car! I have absolutely no idea how either of them survived, but they did. What happened next shocked me even more. The man got out of the car and started yelling at the mother and her child, as if they were at fault. He almost killed both of them and he was the one that was mad. I couldn't believe it! A lot of other people gathered around as well and a huge argument insued and a lot of racial tensions became quite obvious.

You see my neighbourhood is not completely Mozambican. A large part of the neighbourhood is made up of 'outsiders', Nigerians, Somalians, Malians, and many others. There is also the rumour that most of these 'outsiders' are running illegal businesses. Most, think it has to do with precious stones or drugs. I have no idea what is true, but one thing I do know, these tensions are quite real, and yesterday I saw it flare up a bit. Thankfully, no body was physically hurt.

I think even Calvin was shocked; because thats when my fever died down. I think the blindness he saw in the driver of the blue car made him consider his own blindness. The driver was in such a hurry that he almost killed a mother and her child, yet he was ready to blame them for the near tragedy. I think Calvin saw this and considered how greedy and selfish he was being. In his desire to take over my blood he was taking my life into his hands and making me very ill. I know Calvin isn't going to change though, so I gotta kill him while he is down with some Coartem.

Here is the lesson of the blog. Gratitude is for endings and faith is for beginnings. Faith has been the last couple of months doing stuff I have never done before. Faith is working through quite a few misunderstandings, where I was at a complete loss in terms of where I had errored and how to make it right. Faith is going ahead though ahead seems scary. Gratitude is being pleasantly shocked with visitors and kindness. Gratitude is the nervous joy of a tragedy evaded. Gratitude is realizing you are the recipient of an undeserved joy.

Gratitude and Faith in what though? For me, you guessed it, Faith In God's existence and Love for me; and Gratitude for both those truths.

Your friend, Jer.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

66 days in...

My last blog is just a short snapshot of my worldview. Worldview can be described as the story we live by. Some of us live by many stories and flip back and forth between stories depending on what is most convenient or comfortable at the time. Unfortunately, I am among the first of those who switch stories when the going gets tough. Thankfully though, when we are honest with ourselves we can realize our own idiosyncracies and grow past our immaturities.

In this blog, I hope to give you a snapshot of my more day to day hands on experience.

So since my last blogg here is what has happened in terms of work. Me and my collegue travelled to Pemba, a city about 6 hours north of Nampula for two weeks. The mission of this trip was to make as many contacts as possible in this city as this is where a new microfinance office will open up in January, a daunting task. Basically, the task is to start a microfinance institution from the ground up. So we met with as many people as we could ranging from potential founders to the Governor of Cabo Delgado, the province. The rest of the time was made up of looking for a potential office, opening an account, and a billion other tasks. Then the next two weeks were made up of organizing a board visit and accompanying and translating for the board members. This entailed a lot of traveling, presentations, visiting beneficiaries, and making sure the monitoring visit ran smoothly.

So those are the activities of the last month or so. It may sound interesting to some of you and it may not. Whatever the case, for me, it was a huge opportunity and extremely stretching. I think a good summary of my work experience so far is that I have been meddling with responsibilities that I have no business meddling with. I am probably exagerating, but it certainly doesn't seem like it. My organization is as small as it gets thus I can't just sit back and watch. Here in mozambique there are only two of us my supervisor and me, and in Canada there are only two people. This is pretty cool cuz I get to learn a lot, but it also seems like we are short staffed all the time. Needless to say, it has been a busy month and according to the workplans I am bound to lose my mind before long.

Oops, crap! I gotta pack. I will have to finish this blog later. I am on the road again tomorrow to Nacala. Their operating system went down so my mission is to get it back up running again. See what I mean!? I have no business trying to fix a microfinance cooperative's operating system. I need Conor's techinical abilities, oh Conor please come visit, Mozambique is the most Latin American African country there is, you would love it.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

38 days in...

It seems I write with less frequency as the time goes on. Sorry about that, my friends! This is mostly the case because I wasn't sure if anyone really read this blogg. However, I was encouraged by my good friend Brian Woo to give an update. Thus here is a little update.

In terms of the last challenge I wrote about (being tired because I was searching for commonalities with my friends and co-workers) well, it seems this has grown into a different challenge. I am beginning to understand the most basic yet incredibly tranformative truth. It is the fact that we are all created by God for God. Before you tune out, just let me explain, as best I can, a little bit further. There are two parts to this statement.

First, there is the claim that we are created by God. You can choose to believe this or you can choose not to. I have chosen to believe this, because it just makes sense to me. In seeing the balanced complexity of our world, I can not choose to believe that it all just kinda happened. There is a verse in the Bible that says, "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Ok, if this verse is true, then I, Jeremy, have even less excuse then the people talked about in the verse. That is, yes, it seems to make sense that God exists when I considered the physical world's incredible qualities, but beyond this, EVERY SINGLE time I have called out to God wanting to know who He is, He has answered. I have never heard an audilble voice from God, but the still quiet voice I hear in my heart saying, "Jeremy, I Love you" makes me beleive He not only exists but he cares about me.

This brings me to the second part, "we are all created for God." This is the part where it gets even more personal,but this is the part I struggle with as well. Nevertheless, dare with me, to explore further. Continuing on, there is another part in the Bible that says, "Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture." If it is true that I, Jeremy, was actually created FOR God then it follows that by ignoring God I am not fulfilling my purpose. I can personally testify what the consequence is of ignoring one's purpose. The consequence is emptiness. My dad always says, 'we have a God-sized-vacuum in our hearts'. What he means by this is that there is a part of us, a deep part, that desires nothing less then to know God.

It seems though that I, along with many in my generation, desire to fill, said God-sized-vacuum, with everything but God. Often these things are not bad in themselves, but they are not God. I will be honest here and tell you my two biggest substitutes for God. The first is accomplishment. I love making accomplishments in every area of my life: work, school, sports, everything. However, accomplishment is dwarfed in comparison with my second substitute, acceptance. I absolutely LOVE acceptance! In fact, I would dare to guess that my desire for accomplishment is probably driven by my desire for acceptance. What I mean by acceptance, is that I love it when people accept me as a friend. Who doesn't!? I would venture to guess very few, although some opt to be feared by people instead, it is safer. Others would rather be respected and highly-esteemed. Whether it is acceptance, accomplishment, fear, or respect, all of us have a deep desire that motivates just about everything we do.

I had a hunch mine was my desire for acceptance, and I believe my last blogg confirms this hunch. It is so good to know what I am substituting in place of my God. I started by saying it was a basic yet incredibly transformative truth. Well it is basic because the first part is concerned with our origin. We all have to answer this question. We all must explore the origin of humanity before we can navigate our own journey. It is a tranformative truth; because by default we choose to ignore our origins leaving us thinking that we exist for ourselves. Thus when I come to acknowledge that I, Jeremy, was created by God for God my life is transformed.

None of the above, really has anything to do with my being in Moçambique on placement. Nevertheless, through my time here I have been afforded the opportunity to be stretched. I am not alone in this, today we have all been afforded the opportunity to be stretched just a little bit. For me, it is a VERY tiny bit, I guess I am slow learner. Nonetheless, wherever you are and whatever your circumstance is consider your orgin and your purpose.

Do they have the rigor to sustain you on this journey?

Your friend, Jer.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Two weeks in...

It seems I have misnamed my blog. I don't say this to mean that I haven't been trying, but this blog may not always detail all my efforts. Rather, I want to simply convey some meager thoughts.

So my first thought is "I am tired". Its been about two weeks now, since I've been in Mozambique, yet it seems like its been soo much longer. I don't know if this a good thing or a bad thing. Either way though, I think this feeling is due to the fact that it has been a very busy two weeks! The past week, I was in a different city, Nacala-Porto; because the Caixa (microcredit cooperative) just started giving loans on Monday. I learned a lot of the ground work along with the other staff of Nacala, as much of the information and duties are new to them as well. During this time we worked 10-12 hours a day, and we (me and two of the other staff from Nampula) were staying in a hotel nearby. So part of this exhaustion is due to the work, and the other part is due to the 'people-thing'.

I should define 'people-thing' before I move on. First, it refers to the fact that there are people everywhere. In fact, there are so many people that one person, in one lifetime could not possibly come into contact with all of the people that exist on this planet. There are just to many of them. Second, it refers to the existential reality that an individual with a semi-friendly disposition can come into contact with a people if he so chooses. Third, upon contact with this people, one has much in common right from the outset; for he himself is a people as well!

You are probably asking yourself, why then is Jeremy tired!? Excellent question, reader! Herein lies the problem, this commonality does not have the rigor to sustain a conversation, let alone a friendship. It seems one needs to have more in common then being a people, right? In my mind I had always thought of it like this: liking the same things makes friends; laughing at the same things makes good friends; and caring about the same things makes great friends. Well, what if everything about you, the people, is different!? (Excuse my excess use of the word 'people' but I think its funny). What if, in fact, the only commonality is that you are a people.

I have found out this past week, that I have not gotten very far from this foundational commonality with most of my aquaintances. Actually, I have a funny story that is somewhat relevant. On our way to Nacala I had a conversation with a co-worker. We went by chapa, basically a van with 30 people in it! Anyway I asked my co-worker if it was necessary to be clean shaven for work. She told me, "Yes, it would be wise to be clean shaven" Then she looked at my arms and said, "You should probably do something about your arm hair, as well." Now, it is the running joke that I am half Muzungo (white) and half monkey. She is not the first to make this observation or crack a joke about my hairy arms, so it does not hurt my feelings. I find the only way to have fun when you are the blunt of the joke is to join in and make fun of yourself as well. Thus I faithfully refer to myself as the Muzungo-Monkey.

Actually, as I think about it, I feel like a Muzungo-Monkey. Nevertheless, I am in fact, a people and this is my foundation and it has only been two weeks. I just find that building the foundation is quite hard work, yet the results are quite unimpressive. It seems with just about all of my aquaintances, there is an 'odd misunderstanding' everyday that tells me I am very different. I say 'odd misunderstanding' because I can't tell if I am being misunderstood or if I am not understanding the others. I am at a loss on quite a lot of things sending me searching for answers. This searching, is very tiring, thus we are back to the origin of my first thought, 'I am tired'.

All the Best, your friend, Jer.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I got to Nampula...

This blog will try to give a chronological account of the happenings of the last few days! I will leave out a few things because to much has happened and I would rather not keep you reading this for to long as you are very important and probably have better things to do. Nevertheless, I would appreciate it if you read this because I somehow feel connected to you as you read it, which is good for me because I miss you.

So last sunday, my friend, Mr. Awesome, (thanks Mr. Baker!!!) drove me to the Nairobi airport! We get there with about an hour and half before the flight takes off. So I get to the counter and the lady takes my eticket and passport, looks at the computer and says "uhm you are not in the system, can you wait over at the side here." I am thinking, "Ok, I am just being tested to see how I adapt and how flexible I am," so I respond, "yes, I can, but I am waiting right here so you can see me ok." I didn't want to be unloving by yelling and complaining, but I also did not want to be dumb.

She just smiled, I think she was thinking, "you can always see Muzungos". True enough, white people can't blend in very well. Anyway, then they send me over to another lady, she tells me the same thing, "you are not in the system!" I am quite dumbfounded at this because I know I confirmed these tickets weeks ago so I know I should be in the system. So I got sent to another counter, but all the people are behind a security glass window so I can't really tell whats going on! I am very worried by now, because everyone else, who was on flight is long gone through check -in and costoms.

My Awesome Friend, was on the outside of the airport, (in Nairobi's airport you have to go through security at the front door so he was not allowed in). Thankfully though, I was able to yell to him my problem so then he went into the side door of the office (behind the impregnable glass wall). He was able to make it into this office through the street door, and I remained stuck behind glass. I couldn't hear a thing, but I knew I had a good rep in there for me, so I was quite happy about that. By now, over an hour has gone by bouncing from counter to counter stuck behind a glass wall. So my flight is leaving really soon!

Finally, Mr. Baker comes over and yells to me, "Jeremy, your ticket from Nairobi to Dar Es Salaam was not paid for, but every other flight is paid for." So, somehow, the system/agent/whatever else is in the middle messed up so I made it from Toronto to Amsterdam then to Nairobi, then I got stuck in Nairobi with a connecting flight from Dar to Nampual already paid for, as well as a all my return flights being paid for. The only thing to do is buy my flight there, because if I don't catch this flight then I miss my last flight which is already paid for. Moreover, I have people in Nampula waiting for me, so I do it, thankfully, I have just enough to cover the cost.

So then I get to the counter to check-in and I find out the flight is delayed for two hours. Long story short, I missed my connecting flight from Dar to Nampula so I have to stay in Dar till the next flight, Wednesday.

I could have gotteb mad, but then I thought, ok I'll just see Dar Es Salaam! So I get to Dar, and had to pressure the airline to put me up in a hotel till the next flight. So I got to stay in an great hotel called Blue Pearl.

It had an amazing bed, thus I took advantage and got some very essential sleep. The sun woke me up, with its brilliant rays! Wow it was hot. So I got up washed my dirty clothes in the bathtub, and went down for breakfast. I forget what I had, but it was great! I then asked a some people what I should do for my few days here in Dar, they all told me, "Go to Zanzibar!" So I made plans to go to Zanzibar the following day, I met a taxi driver, and got a good price and asked the time and price of the boats to Zanzibar. I could only go the next day, Tuesday, because the boat left early, so I planned for that, and I went into City Center to buy an alarm clock so I would wake up, not a strength of mine. So I spent the day roaming and reading until it was time to sleep. As I said, that bed was amazing, but morning always comes.

This time the alarm clock woke me up, it probably woke the sun up to, it is LOUD! I jumped out of bed and into the taxi. We get to the port, and people swarm around me cuz they all want to sell tickets. Through a VERY long series of events I get onto the boat, and should not have, because I did not have my passport with me. I made the decision to leave my passport locked up in the hotel because it is precious and it could get stolen in Zanzibar. Well, I was clueless as to the need for a passport to go to Zanzibar, its not a different country so I thought I was fine! This was not the case. I get off the pleasant boat/ship ride only to face frowning immigration officials!

Immigration!? Why, Zanzibar is part of Tazania!?!?! So after a long lecture, some standing around, some begging, a written letter of apology, I got into Zanzibar. Yes, I was so releaved! However, this feeling was soon followed by a feeling of confusion! What do I do now, Zanzibar didn't seem all that special there was cars going here and there, including tourist cars, but I didn't have enough money to do the tourist things, so I just started wondering around the city. I greeted everyone with "Mambo" and walked like I knew where I was going so I wasn't to easy to take advantage of, because I was making friends along the way and I looked like I knew where I was going. I memorized all the streets I went on so I wouldn't get lost, but I avoided stone town because it looked really confusing.

I walked so much!!! I only had my hotel keys, $20, and Tsh 1000 (a dollor or two) in my pocket. I knew how much I would stand out so I didn't want to carry much with me. All that walking made me so hungry and thirsty plus I had nothing to eat before this trip, the hotel wasn't serving food at 5:00 am, so I walked till I was about to faint. Then I bought Fanta Orange. It was great. Then I wondered around some more and stumbled across a beautiful garden with a fort and old buildings behind it. So I sat there and I kept saying Mambo to those walking by. I made a lot of friends in Zanzibar. One particular friend, was Harrim. He was a friendly man, and spoke english very well so I was able to practice my friend-making skills. He was kind enough to show me the buildings and gave an overview of the rich history of Zanzibar. Then we went into stone town, its like maze in there, but some really cool buildings. He showed me the aricture, buildings, markets etc. After about an hour we just sat and chatted for awhile.

After about half an hour of chatting, I decide that its time for me to go, but I am quite lost in stone town. So I ask him, "how do you get out of here." He says, "yes, yes, I can take you."

I am thinking what a nice guy, I am going to give him the shilings that I have when I leave which is Tsh 500 now, (maybe a dollar probably less). Althought, I had already told him I didn't have any money and that I wasn't paying him when we first met, he said, "Yeah, I don't want money." Anyway back to the story. So we are walking out, then he turns to me and says, "So, how much for all this?" I say, "Harrim, like I told you I don't have money, but because you are nice guy I'll give you Tsh 500."

I am quite certain this was considered an insult to Harrim. He got very angry! I didn't want to get beat up so I ducked into a change bureau and changed my $20 and gave him about $5. He was quite happy about this and wanted to show me his family, but I didn't really trust him at that point, because he cleverly got me lost in stone town using it as leverage to pay him. Thankfully, I had been wondering the city for hours before I met him so I knew my way around from the fish market.

I wondered a lot that day, and finally it paid off. I found a soccer field. There was a local matching going on so I decided to make some soccer friends and watch the game with them. I met a bunch of players waiting for thier turn to play, after the game were were watching. I watched the first half then I wondered down to the port to catch my boat/ship back to Dar. I had a flight to catch the next day so I couldn't miss this boat. I got there and finally got on the boat. I met a journalist on the boat! He was Awesome!

Then I finally, got to Dar, and met up with my taxi man, Mr. Barrack. (side note, I spent a lot of time with Mr. Barrack the first two days talking in front of the hotel, so he was quite trustworthy) Anyway, I finally made my way back to the hotel. I tried phoning the airline once I got there to confirm everything and that they were picking me up the next day to get my flight, all of which they said they would! I also got personal cell phones of the airline employees. (side note: 3rd years do this, it could help on your trip!) I didn't help me because nobody picked up, but I think it was a good idea. Anyway, I decided that I had to sleep and worrying wouldn't change anything.

Once, agian the alarm woke me up agian!! It is so LOUD!! I get my stuff ready, checked out. Then I waited to get picked up by the airline! I waited for a very long time, then I decided, I'd rather pay for a taxi out there then stay in Dar for another week and do something even more dumb then go to Zanzibar with no documents and get conned. So I called Mr. Barrack and jumped in his taxi and we headed off to the airport. I wanted to get there super early this time. (I learned from my Nairobi expereince, airport mix-ups happen). So I get there and talk to my friend Ezekiel (another side note: making friends with airline employees is VERY helpful, be friendly and get their supervisors email and say you will write their superviser about how great so and so is) In my case it was Ezekiel. He was very helpful, but only after I was kind and offered to write his supervisor a good letter.

He confirmed my flight to Nampula and that I was on it. So I wait till its time to check in, Ezekiel came over while I was waiting and told me he was off for the day. So I aksed to meet one of the other employees in case something went wrong. So I met Christian. Anyway, finally its time to check-in. I finally get to the counter and they type away at the computer, frown, and say, "you are not in the system, please stand to the side."

Not again!!! I am going to get beaten and robbed before I even set foot in Nampula. Thankfully, I saw Christian on the other side of the hall so I ran over to him explaining what had happened! He came over and sorted everything out, but by this time I was the last person in line. So I was worried I would miss this flight as well. Thankfully, though, I made it through and took my seat on the plane. Finally, I was on my last flight to Nampula. I was soo happy to be on that plane!! It was great to be finally going to where I was going to live for a year. Traveling is exciting, but I had my fill for now.

Skip to today, I worked my first day with COCAMO! I we are preparing for a workshop in Nacala! So I have to leave for Nacala next wednesday! Wow, I am already worn out, and I can't cook so I am hungry, but God is good, and I learned a million life long lessons this past week.

I hope I grew somehow this week...

Friday, May 21, 2010

In Nairobi for a bit...

So on my trip here (Nairobi) I stopped off in Amsterdam, and I looked deep inside. I have nothing against the Dutch, in fact, I quite enjoyed the airport. My friend and I had a great conversation about how God is still good even though bad things happen to us. I am still learning this, because I often blame God for things He didn't even do, which leads me to ignore the only one who can make a tragedy into a story of redemption.

Anyway, I arrived in Nairobi airport in the evening and was the 2nd person out of the door, because I showed up early at the airport allowing me to pick the seat right beside the door (which you guys should try to do as well). This meant I was the first person to get to the immigration table getting my visa for my short two day stay in Kenya. It was easier then checking out a book at UTSC's library! Then I was the first to get my bag and the first through customs. No hastle. Since this blog is about growth, I learned that it is a good idea to sit as close as you can to the door even though it might be annoying on the flight, because it comes in handy to be the first person to see each official.

So last night I slept amazing, with no dreams. Today I went to Java, and had a great breakfast, then saw baby elephants at the elephant nursery. Then we went out and saw the BCC orphanage on the outskirts of Nairobi. It is incredible, it is truly impacting lives, and its really cool because the kitchen is partially powered by biofuels (cow dung). Really Really amazing stuff!!

As amazing as the biofeul-run-kitchen is, there are more incredible things. These things are called people. Now, people are generally found on planet earth, although, occasionally one will escape to jump around on the moon. You laughed, I know you did, but you should stop because the next part is not funny.

The following people are amazing. 'J' is amazing because although he lost his wife just over a year ago he thanks God that she Knew and Loved God. He does not blame God for her death he thanks Him for the relationship she had with God. 'E' is amazing because although he is already supporting his 5 brothers and sisters, he told me that he would be happy to help just one person in his life. So he prays to God that He will put him in a position to help others. 'E' does not complain about his responsibility to support his family of 7 in all, but prays that he can help more. 'R' is amazing because although she has been bed-ridden for six weeks with a shattered leg and hip she thanks God that she has a sound mind. She was the only one to survive a matatu crash. She does not complain for what she has lost, she thanks God for what she has. There are many more stories, even more traumatic then these, but I cannot describe those for my writing would not do them justice.

In closing, I would like to acknowledge that I know, many of you may not like all this talk of God. There are many reasons for this, mostly though, it makes you uncomfortable. I do not aim to make you uncomfortable, but I cannot neglect to write about the deeper things of life.

It seems I have already seen tragic stories turned into stories of redemption. I have learned, though, that this redemption is much deeper then I had first thought.

I leave you with this thought.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Three days till I go.

Only three sleeps until I am on a jet plane that will take me to Nampula, Mozambique. I also get to stay with a family friend in Nairobi for two days! How Awesome is that!? I don't want to write much, because nothing interesting has happened yet. Although, I did have the MOST AMAZING DREAMS EVER a couple of nights ago! I learned that a very real side affect of Mefloquine is extremely vivid dreams! The other night I lead a revolt against the Dutch. It was exhilarating. In fact slept till 10 because the revolt wasn't done yet and my people needed me. I don't think I have anything against the Dutch, but who knows what is deep down inside me.

Gots to Go.