27 April 2008

Home Sweet Home (Arkansas)

(These are my two favorite brothers in the whole world... Luke and Joseph. They're actually a big percentage of why I came home from Nigeria early. I missed them so much!)

(I take Joey out to the creek most days and he loves to throw rocks in the water. I can't wait til he's old enough to catch crawdads because that was always my favorite when I was a child.)

I never realized how much I just love green grass! And spring! I wake up in the mornings, look out the long window that runs along the headboard of my bed (in Arkansas) and can't help but smile. There are Dogwood trees and Redbuds and everything is just so beautiful! How could you even wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

So, this past week has been crazy. I spent a couple days in Pennsylvania then a couple days in Virginia with some of my best friends. I had a blast hanging out with the girls but missed my best friend Debi who is in Israel for six months. I'm in Arkansas now with my family, but already have plans for another (short) adventure.

...For over three years now I've said I was going to learn to surf... Well, after Africa I thought that chance may never come. I honestly thought I was either going to die in Nigeria or lose a leg or something. And surfing is one thing in life that I want to do for myself, so I'm going to do it... ...I'm going to Mexico in 5 days! I know there aren't huge waves there, but I just want the little-baby-ones to start on. I'm going with my best friend Amanda and another friend and I'm so excited! We'll be there for a week and my goal is to just be able to stand up on the board... I'll post a picture if I succeed! Anyways, I'm so excited and just have to smile!

16 April 2008

America! America!

I knew I had been in Nigeria too long when after arriving in the London airport I said agba (hello in Igalla) to this lady from India. I'm still laughing about it.

I flew out of Abuja yesterday morning leaving Amanda alone in the airport until her flight out that evening (13 hours later). I still feel terrible about the whole situation, but there were no other choices. I won't find out until tomorrow if she was even able to change her flight or not.

I would guess that the question is going to be as to whether or not I'm going to miss Nigeria. And the answer is going to be both a yes and a no.
I'm grateful to be back in America and don't have any plans of returning in the near future. But I even surprised myself with the tear on my face when I said goodbye and departed Anygiba.

I have a feeling I'll be writing more about Nigeria as time moves along and thing come to mind. But for now I just wish to leave you with some of my favorite photos that will tell a story in themselves.

(I did arrive safely in America last night and Rebekah is taking wonderful care of me.)

(Market) (Amanda)

(Mercy and Heruna)

(The best night I had in Africa was spent dancing around this fire.)

09 April 2008

Goodbye Africa...

(African Queen of the Night)

As I write this blog you all are just going to have to imagine the smile on A and I’s face.

We have moved our departure dates up a month and will be returning to the states on the 15th of April. Amanda will be flying to the west coast and I to the east, but we will catch up with each other again in a couple of weeks for another adventure.

I have learned a lot, cried a lot and laughed even more. And I am so thankful for the opportunity to experience Nigeria as I have. I think it’s impossible to go through a season that’s uncomfortable without learning valuable lessons. Like I always say, I wouldn’t trade these past three months I’ve had in Africa for an easier time.

I just realized the other day as A and I were walking through the market that I really am going to miss it here. It's a crazy life here but you can't help but grow to love it.

08 April 2008

Our Life In Nigeria (by Amanda)

(Amanda and Hope)

D and I left to the xrphanage with a small bag and returned with a child. Heruna is such a sweet little boy my parents have taken care of since his birth. His twin brother died and Heruna was very sick. He is over a year old and much stronger. It is so fun having him around the house. One child in a house is not as overwhelming as 200. The first day Heruna was here we ran out of diapers. We tried using cloth, but after a short time we decided to send Dad to town again to search the market. Everyone at home decided we should pray without ceasing until we had the diapers. Thankfully God provided and we now have a huge supply. In D’s first blog of the orphanage she described very well the way of life at the orphanage. Right before we were going to bed we were walking around in the dark greeting the Aunties. I was thinking that I was finally in Africa away from the village, off some dirt trail, with nothing but the sky full of stars. As we headed off to bed the boys started chasing something through the dirt and I soon found out there were many scorpions. That was the end of my peaceful night of sleep. I was happy to find out that our only ride out was bright and early in the morning. I would have liked to bring more children home, but Heruna alone is a handful.

D and I have made a calendar to schedule things throughout each week. She has taken me to the gravel pit, where we were stocked by some guy that was determined D was his wife. My dad had to go back with us and tell the guy he was not in love with D and that he needed to go home. It was rather intense and hard to convince this determined love struck Nigerian, but thankfully he finally left. We have also gone early in the morning to play soccer. It is much more difficult to play in a skirt. D has many friends here so we have taken some afternoon’s to take them out to lunch. We ride a motorcycle to a place where we have some rice and a cold drink. On our way home the other day the street was closed because of the Muslim’s prayer. Our driver started down some trail weaving in and out of ditches and in between little wood houses. I thought the trail was bad and was sure it wouldn’t get worse until is crossed in front of several hundred Muslims in prayer. I tell D all the time that if we make it back to the United States alive it will be a miracle.

(Danette: The Beautiful little girl is Ebay. I would take her home if I could.)

Our other project we finished was painting our neighbors house. It was like painting in a boiling room, but worth every moment of it to see the smile on the families face. I think I shocked Martha when she came in to open a window and I had pulled my long skirt up and turned it into a bathing suit. The ladies will walk around without a shirt on, but to show your thigh is like having nothing on. When Martha turned around and saw my outfit she let out a scream (almost as loud as the one I let out when I moved the bags under the bed and a big lizard ran out) and shut the window.

(Martha in her freshly painted house with Asha, Ebay and Heruna)

No matter what we are doing it seems D and I continue to laugh. Even at night when we are trying to sleep we will end up awake and laughing. Usually it is a situation so out of the ordinary all we can do is laugh. The other night I kept hearing something and she was sure it was me moving around. I kept telling her I was laying still. After about the third time I flashed my light on and caught a rodent in one of our bags. Each night we examine new bites and keep a collection of the insects for evidence in case we need to take them with us to the doctor. There are many things that could never be understood unless you came here to Nigeria.
D and I have had a good time, we have lots of fun memories, but we have realized how grateful we are for our lives back in America.