Monday, October 10, 2011

Fri Oct 7

**Will post about Thurs Oct 6 - an incredible, exhausting, sad, good day - later.**

Friday morning when I woke up, I felt like my head was full of lead. When I wake up with a headache (not an uncommon occurrence), I get an inkling before I even move that pain is forthcoming. Once in awhile, as I sense the lurking pain upon waking, I think, “I shouldn’t get out of bed today. It will be bad if I get up. I shouldn’t move.” This once-in-awhile feeling usually involves a bit of dread about what might happen next in my day. Unfortunately, more often than not, my psychic powers are correct and a less than awesome day is ahead, and not just because I’ll be fighting a headache. However, to stay where I was this morning was impossible, as I needed to get up, shower, have breakfast, pack up, and head over to Bonnie’s, where I’m staying for the weekend while the FVI team goes on a retreat with the Zambian pastors/project managers. I was going to school with Bonnie (the school is small and they share rooms, so she doesn’t teach until noon) and maybe to her church prayer meeting in the evening. 
We had water that morning at Remmy’s house, but it was cold. I wanted to wash my hair but after turning the water on and being all set to get in the shower, I couldn’t bring myself to shove my splitting head under icy water. I got dressed without the shower and took an Aleve. We ran out of drinking water the night before so the headache was probably mostly from dehydration. What can you do? 
As I sat quietly eating bread & butter for breakfast, attempting to will my headache away and hoping I could get excited about my day, everyone else got up from their 7am meeting in the living room and said it was time to go. Of course, it was a half an hour sooner than I’d been told we were leaving, but I wasn’t exactly surprised (again, what can you do?). I decided to take a few minutes to check my email anyway since a few people still needed to get dress and pack up and I could pack myself very quickly. 
To make something awful and frightening very simple, I will just say - I got an email from a friend of mine (one of my oldest friends, who I grew up with, who is only 26) that he has pre-Hodgkins Lymphoma. It is very, very early and it is wonderful that it’s been caught now, and 90% of the people who have it apparently get totally cured, but it was definitely a shock to my system I was unprepared for. Another of my oldest friends was killed in an accident less than 10 months ago and the idea of this other friend being sick was momentarily terrifying. 
Needless to say, we did not leave on time. I let myself be really upset for a few minutes and then pulled it together enough to pack and go to Bonnie’s, but the news was all I could think about for the next 24 hours at least. I was able to get online and got a message from my friend’s sister, another close friend of mine, and she reassured me that her brother is doing okay and catching it so early is excellent and he’ll probably be fine, etc. So. That is good. 
I have to say, other friends of mine have gotten cancer this year, too many (any is too many, of course), but so far, everyone is doing well. It’s tough stuff, tho, and I am sick of it. I am so sick of cancer attacking people I care about and loved ones of my loved ones. I really am. 
You see what I mean about my psychic powers and how I shouldn't have gotten up? :>P 

After a little time for chatting, Bonnie and I took a taxi to her school - Lighthouse Christian, a little primary school in a converted house, with a yard. There is much work that could be done on this school and they are lacking in a lot of resources, yet it is SO much nicer than any of the other schools I’ve visited in Africa. They may not have toilet seats but hey, they’ve got toilets. (Inside!) They’ve got hand-made charts on the nicely painted walls. They’ve got playground equipment and a kitchen. 
The kids are incredibly loud and pretty wild. And I know that Bonnie has been working hard with them this whole year - loving on them and teaching them as much as she can in her limited time with them each day, writing on the board (no textbooks) from a low chair or the ground. Her class meets in the preschool room, so the tables and chalkboard are low to the ground, the chairs are plastic. Her kids are in 3rd grade. One girl in particular is far too tall for the chairs (but she still managed to write me a little lovey note in the midst of her work, as did 3-4 other girls in the class; they are hilarious notes, sweet and ultimately silly). 

The kids took all our bags on the way in and out of school, hung on our hands whenever they could. It's very interesting to me how all the other kids I've interacted with in schools have been quite shy about touching me, but these kids would do anything just to touch my hand - not even shake it or high-five, just slip their hand by mine on the way to class. Then they all had to hug me at the end of the day and took our stuff and walked us out to the road so we could catch another taxi home. When you pile in with others as we did that time, you can get bus fare, which is nice. Packed but nice :>) 

Had a quiet evening at home with Bonnie and her "daughter" Swazi (who is in college and super sweet). That was good. And that was Friday... 

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