Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Friday, 12 June 2009

farewell... for a time

Just to let you know that I'm taking a break from blogging for a while.

Maybe there'll be a post every now and then. Maybe not.

I am finding schooling, commitments around Talua, and life in general
very overwhelming and think I need to be more focussed on what is
happening. At much as writing and reading have been helpful for me in
many ways, I shall bow out of the blogosphere for a while.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

why I love secret seven

'I see,' said his father. 'Well, that's the end of the Secret Society for you, George. If I'm going to have you hauled home by a member of the public, accusing you of following some harmless old fellow, and carrying a truncheon, and with your face blacked, well, all I can say is that the Secret Society is leading you into bad ways.'

'I agree,' said his mother. 'He mustn't belong any more.'

George looked at his parents in the utmost dismay. 'But Dad! Mother! You don't understand. I couldn't possibly not belong to the Secret Seven. They wouldn't let me go. I must belong!'

'That's enough, George,' said his father, curtly. 'You know I won't be argued with. Go and wash that black off your face, and tell this Secret Society of yours tomorrow that you no longer belong. Do you hear me?'

'Yes, Dad,' said George, shocked and miserable. He said good night in a low voice, gave the young man a fearful scowl, and went out of the room.

(from Go Ahead Secret Seven, by Enid Blyton)
Following this, George indeed gives his resignation to the society and even defends his father when the others accuse him of being horrid. It is this general obedience and respect of parents that I really appreciated, and was displayed a number of times thoughout the book.

It makes a change from heroes that generally dispise their parents (or teachers) and disobey them at will. Children that do obey are portrayed as 'goody-two-shoes' and generally, if worth admiring, come around by the end of the book to the view that it's better to do what your friends are doing than to obey.

I know secret seven has its faults, and George's obedience definitely wasn't what we'd call cheerful obedience from the heart, but I'm much happier with Sophie reading this than many of the other books that have come our way. She's still young enough that the heroes in her books need also to be positive role models.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

flip-flopping around

These are the shoes my daughters have been flip-flopping around in since the day we went to Tangoa.

Thongs (flip-flops, jandals) are normal footwear here. Only, my girls are ALWAYS losing theirs. If not both, one will be left somewhere else. Glen and I decided that we would not keep on buying new pairs for them and set a limit of one new pair a month (which sounds incredibly generous to me).

This means that they had been going bare-foot for a while, but last Wednesday, faced with a long walk on a rocky road, I could not let them walk it bare-foot. I sent them all around campus looking for their thongs, but to no avail.

So I made some. I cut down an old pair of mine for Bethany and an old pair of Glen’s for Sophie. We put elastic around the back to stop them falling off. They worked surprisingly well.

And my daughters have had the character-building experience this last week of being laughed at where-ever they go. Not surprisingly, this footwear, being not only distinctive but also highly undesirable, keeps being returned! They can’t lose these ones!

Also not surprisingly, both girls found their old thongs yesterday, and were terribly excited about them. I don’t think they’re going to lose them in a hurry this time.

Monday, 8 June 2009

running water

Let's all of us that have water piped to the house; water suitable to drink, water for showering, water for cleaning, just take a moment to thank God for this blessing, and to think of our sisters all over the world for whom every task involving water is so much more complicated, requires so much more forethought and involves more back-ache and time.

Think of what life would be like if for all your watery needs, you had to carry water from the tap in the back garden, or the tap down the end of the street, or from the nearest river.   

Consider it the next time you turn on a tap in your kitchen, or bathroom, or ensuite, or laundry, or you flush the toilet.

I think of how often I have grumbled about this, that or the other; but after a weekend in a village I promise myself I'll stop.  No more grumbles.  No more complaints.  Never again.  Just humble hardwork around the home.


If only piped water cleansed the soul as well...

Thursday, 4 June 2009

our house

S  15o 54’ 52.9”

E 167o 00’ 50.6”

Found It

The children and I had a L O N G walk home from Tangoa Island yesterday where we had been to see the President award medals for community service.

Glen had had the foresight to surreptiously slip me a bag of jelly babies and I had made good use of these through the day (the ceremony was three hours late starting and hadn't finished when we left) and was continuing to make good use of them on the walk home.  I counted up the number of lolly stops we would need and counted the number left in the packet.  Not enough for me (sigh).

After one distribution, I said to Matthew, who was being carried (so not sure why he was getting them as they were being awarded for walking without grizzling),
"Some for Mummy?"
He shoved it in his mouth as quickly as he could and said, holding his hands up in bewilderment,

"It wasn't gone when I asked for some!"  said I.
About thirty seconds later, I was disturbed from my thoughts to find him trying to push a very wet jelly baby into my mouth.  
"Found it!"  he said.
I thanked him, took a small bite and gave back the rest.

I can't begin to fathom what he was thinking and when.  

And yes, I have always accepted my children's offerings of food, partly chewed or otherwise.  I work on the (naive perhaps) belief that this will encourage sharing and generosity.  Hmmm...

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Mending my heart

Yesterday, 5pm, Sophie runs inside.

Sophie: Mum! You have to fix Bob's* shirt!

Me: Why?

Sophie: Because I saw him wearing a T-shirt and it was ripped all the way down the side so I told him to go and change it and bring it here and you would fix it.

Me, thinking about all our mending I don't do, and wishing Sophie wasn't quite so benevolent: But...

Sophie: His Mum doesn't have a sewing machine and you do.

Me, wondering if we might cause offense if we go around offering to mend people's clothes: Is it alright with his Mum?

Sophie: Yeah. He's just coming.

Me, realising that because I've already made a stew which is happily bubbling away on its own, that I do actually have time to do some mending right now. I've run out of excuses so I keep my mouth shut.

Soon Bob and his brother turn up with a T-shirt and a pair of shorts each all badly in need of repair. I sit at the sewing machine wondering when village seamstress became part of my job description. I definitely didn't include it. The five children race around the living room all terribly excited.

Half way through the first pair of shorts Glen turns up. I wonder about his shorts in the cupboard that I still haven't mended. He sits down.

Glen: I'm glad you're doing their mending. I thought about my shorts and wondered why you don't mend for me. For only two seconds. And then I thought about how many other pairs of shorts I have and I'm really glad you're doing this.

I start to stop simmering away. I see how delighted the boys are to have their shorts repaired. I'm glad Sophie is kind and helpful and wish I could be more like her.

* not his real name