It may be hard for our readers to believe it, but there are days when it would be easy to forget we are in another country. Part of that is just that we get used to the strange and different and newness all around us. Part of it is that we live surrounded by other American missionaries, in American style homes, and eat American style food, and have some American style conveniences. For better or for worse, that's what it is. But at some surprising and strange moments during the day, it will hit us all over again that yes, we DO live in Africa. Some days have lots of those moments, getting stared at or running up to the dukas (shops) for a few items, or even cows wandering through our yard on Christmas day.
The fallen branches
I had one of those moments yesterday. We have several large and beautiful jacaranda trees in our front yard here. Unfortunately, they have been infected by some kind of parasitic tree fungus. The hospital gardeners lopped off great portions of the trees covered in this (leafy) fungus, and left the huge piles of branches lying on the ground at the end of the day. This was a very cool moment in the lives of our children, who immediately started playing in the branches (no worries to those of you concerned, the fungus is like mistletoe and is not gross or contagious or harmful to humans in any way).
Anna and Elise's "fort"
Maggie enjoying the fort
I figured that the work crew would be by again the next day to haul off the branches. But the next morning, a group of village women showed up with their pangas (machetes) and started chopping up the branches. They made short work of the trees, and soon had large bundles of firewood which they hauled off on their backs. I'm sure things like this happen all the time in the village, but it was fascinating to watch their efficiency, resourcefulness, and strength from my balcony porch. Next post, the butchery located in our BACK yard.... just kidding (about posting it, the butchery is really there and we can hear the last moos from the mouths of cows twice a week).
Hacking away at the tree branches with their pangas...note the large pile of cut wood on the right
And, time to load up and walk off. I am pretty sure I could not handle this load