Monday, November 17, 2008

Things I Never Noticed Before

Isn't it strange how you go to certain places frequently and all of a sudden one day you notice something there and you think, how long has that been there? And all of your friends start laughing because they noticed it ages ago.

Recently John and I went to the vegetable seller where we have bought vegetables for over 16 years. I took pictures of him buying vegetables and when we got home and I looked at this picture, I had to laugh. I had NEVER seen that bicycle in the tree before. I doubt if it's been there 16 years, but I bet it's been there more than a week! When I looked at this picture was the first time I ever saw it. (to the left of John's head in case YOU can't see it!)

And why do you think a bicycle would be in a tree? I reckon it just makes a good storage room for "some day" when they get it fixed. Kids can't mess with it up there and you'd want to steal it pretty bad to drag it down out of the tree.

Then a few days later I noticed a talisman in a Lebanese shop. It was up above the door and was about a 4-inch glass object with the design of an eye painted on it. I assume it is to protect the shop in some way, probably against the evil eye. Then I went to another Lebanese shop and I saw a similar object beside the door in that shop. It didn't have an eye painted on it, though. It was some design, nothing in particular. I've shopped at both places for years and, judging by the layer of dust on the talismans, I'd say they've been there for a long time.

It makes me wonder how many other things I don't observe. And I consider myself fairly observant! I may be missing important clues in the culture, about people I am talking to, etc. Time to wake up and look around me more, I guess!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Obama and Africa

Barack Obama's grandmother in Kenya where a national holiday was declared on November 5 and where new babies are being named Barack and Michelle.

Africa loves Barack Obama! Niger loves Barack Obama! Why? Well, some reasons are obvious, I guess.
1. He is black.
2. He has a Muslim name. I didn't say he's Muslim, but he has a name that is Muslim, and I think the average Nigerien assumes he is Muslim.
3. He has an African heritage, in that his father is from Kenya.
4. And in Africa, when you are elected to high office....especially if that office happens to be one of the highest in the are indebted to do something for your home town. It is now Obama's responsibility to pave the road into his grandmother's village, to build a huge home for himself there, to make sure electricity is taken to the village if it isn't already, etc.
5. And by extension it is being assumed that throughout Africa he will put an end to wars, help wipe out AIDS, and raise the standard of living.

Can he do it or will he disappoint Africa? People here are pinning a lot of high hopes on him. It would seem that he would be more aware of events in Africa than the average white president. But I don't think the average Nigerien realizes that he does not have unlimited power to just do what ever he wants. We shall see. For the sake of the land I love so much (Niger) I hope that he doesn't forget Africa.

While I am concerned about Obama's social and economic policies, it is still our duty to pray for him and not to speak disrespectfully of him. We don't have to agree with him, but we do need to bring him to God in prayer.

And this, my friends, is probably one of the few posts I will ever do regarding politics. But since it relates to Africa, I thought you might be interested in knowing how Barack Obama is viewed here. More like a king, who can bestow favors on his subjects, than like a president.