Woke up shortly after 6am today and before I had even taken off my black-out sleep mask, I was slammed by excruciating pain in my eyes. I don’t know what to do about it. It hit me hard off and on all day. I don’t want to just throw back Aleve/Ibuprofen every day but nothing else seems to be helping. I’m drinking a lot of water and taking Benadryl at night so the Benadryl doesn’t knock me out in the day. I suspect I need a mega-decongestant OTC from home, tho, or even antibiotics, but I need to talk to the parents about whether I should take the antibiotics I have here or if they will/should send something else through Ryan next week. I have never had pain in my eyes like this except when I’ve had the absolute worst 2 or 3 migraines of my life, and this is still worse. Trying to massage around my sinuses a lot when it hits me and that helps a little, wearing my glasses inside and my sunglasses outside, but as I said, even in total dark it can hit me so hard I want to cry. It’s weird and disconcerting (and extremely painful) and I’m trying to trust God and not dream up brain tumors. Nothing much I can do for now. Strange that it started right before I left and has just been getting worse since Monday.
Aside from that, things are quite good. It’s Thursday night as I write this and Chris & Norma still haven’t gotten back from Zambia (where they had to go to start taking care of their complicated passport/visa issues that I still don’t know the full story on). Went out to Ebenezer Christian Agriculture Center in the Matopos today with Brad & Ruth and met lots of lovely people, and even “taught” 2 hilarious 7 year old boys for an hour with Ruth while most of the other adults around the place had a big meeting.
Brad is a builder and has drawn up plans for new volunteer housing for Ebenezer, and Ruth is helping some people there with their English so they can pass certain exams. Ebenezer is an agricultural school, as you might have guessed, but they also do Bible classes and use Foundations for Farming (formerly Farming God’s Way) as their base. People have to be single and do various interviews/applications to get in, and they take in a new class every 6 months, but the full program is 2 years, I believe. It’s very hard work - up at daylight, work in the fields until lunch at 1pm (always sudza [like grits] and cabbage), then have class in the afternoon - so they lose about a third of the people from each class pretty quickly, apparently. Of course, the rewards of doing something that are enormous for people because they can take what they’ve learned back to their communities and teach them, and it has the potential to spread like crazy. Foundations for Farming is a really fascinating way to farm (look it up! :>) and yields far more than traditional methods do.
It was nice to be out in the Matopos again, gazing at the insane rock formations and enjoying the patches of moon rock. The roads are bad after awhile, made worse by Brad’s crazy driving. He flies along and we lift off the seats on occasion. Reminds me of Nate’s driving. But TIA, man. This is Africa. So I bounce along and try not to squeak when jostled particularly hard. (I know Nicole’s got in worse in Uganda!)
Spent the first hour or so at Ebenezer chatting with a lady named Laura, who is 6 or 7 months pregnant and had us for tea. Met a few other people and then went and did school with the boys, who were very nice. It always cracks me up how kids are kids no matter where you go. There was the louder, bursting-with-personality Kiwa who had to comment on things and put on a show and rarely stopped talking, and then there was Nyasha, who was quieter with us, and didn’t much try to get a word in edgewise (very sweet, tho, I think). Lunch was sudza and cabbage, no utensils. That took a minute or two to get thru my head, because we always had utensils wherever we went the last time we were here. Hurray hand sanitizer! Sudza is pretty boring stuff, but the cabbage was good and you kind of scoop them up together and that’s that.
We got back to the house in Bulawayo around 4pm, having left at 8 and not had electricity here after 7am, and I laid down to rest and fell into a dead sleep from 430-6! Still recovering from the trip, I guess, and the eye aches and the heat probably don’t help. It is dry here (thank the Lord - I don’t think I could love Zim the way I do if it was humid!) but very hot. I think today was a little cooler than yesterday and there was a nice breeze up in the mountains and it’s quite cool now (11pm). No screens, of course, since TIA, so you have to choose between heat and no bugs or cool breeze/windows open/potential for bugs. I haven’t had trouble with the bugs so far, tho, for which I am thankful. Brad doesn’t like to use the “air con” in the car because it uses gas, which is incredibly expensive diesel, so it was quite a hot ride there and back again for the most part.
Had a lovely stir-fry dinner with Brad and Ruth and their friend Rod, who lives around the corner and also works with Ebenezer but is in marketing. He’s from Swaziland, but grew up in South Africa, and now he’s here. It’s funny to hear his super strong S. African accent, because he seriously looks like the CA surfer dude type, and if he could do the accent, he could pass for American easily (the Paul Walker sort, except Rod is quite smart and cheeky and fun). It was a really nice dinner and then we sat around playing Settlers of Cattan, which Rod and I had to learn and which is the most complicated game ever. I think I would do better if I could play again, but I did not end up with the fewest points. So I got that goin’ for me.
Chris & Norma wrote today that they were supposed to be crossing into Zim today, but wouldn’t be back til tomorrow (Friday) because of something to do with obtaining a car. Nothing is easy or predictable here, and all the best laid plans seem to go awry. I think I’ve said “TIA, man.” in my head dozens of times already and I’ve only been on the continent for 3 days.
Funny side note: I’d forgotten how very hard it is for me to maintain my own (BORING) American accent when I’m around people who sound different (more fun!!!) than I do, like Brits and S. Africans and Zimbabweans. I can already hear their speech patterns coming out of my mouth, and it’s all I can do not to just speak like someone else all day long. I had forgotten this about living about England but of course now it’s coming back to me, and I am fighting it but it hardly seems worth it when it would be so much more fun to practice my accents. What an actress I am sometimes :>) I’ve been writing this whole thing in a British accent in my head, can you tell? ;>)
To bed, to bed. Thanks for prayer. Missing my phone/the internet/being connected.