Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Candy Cane....or maybe not

Today's picture is supposed to be a candy cane, but I don't have any candy canes, don't miss candy canes, don't want candy canes, and therefore can't photograph candy canes.

So I'll tell you about my day yesterday.  Almost two weeks ago I wrote about our neighbor man who had died.  The tradition here is that when somebody dies for three days the friends and family members go sit with the family of the person who died.  So I wanted to go up to sit with my friend right away, but we just couldn't fit it into our schedule.  Yesterday was a national holiday and I didn't have to go to the office and John didn't have to teach, so we went up to greet the family.

As we drove out of town we noticed police and military standing guard all along the way.  We realized somebody important was going to be passing through.  When that happens, all traffic is held up until they pass through.  It causes huge back-ups and delays while the waiting traffic unsnarls itself.  In fact, John was an hour late to his class on Monday because roads were closed due to visiting dignitaries.

We were glad we were apparently ahead of whatever was going to be happening.  We stopped for gas and were on our way remarking that we'd be happy to get out of town and away.  As we headed out of town and turned off onto our road, lo and behold, there were military all along that road as well!

As we went through villages, we realized people were lining the roads.  Obviously the president was coming down that very road!  It is a brand new road and we realized he was coming for the opening ceremony of the road. 


It was fun to wave at the crowds and have them wave and cheer at us. Then they'd realize it was two unimportant white people and the cheers would suddenly die down.  Near the end of the road tents had been erected and comfortable over-stuffed couches and chairs were arranged for the important people.  Plastic chairs were arranged for the less important people.  Military and police were everywhere.  We never did see the president, but it was fun to have people think we were important, anyway.  By the time we returned later in the afternoon the tents were down, the plastic chairs were stacked up, and the comfortable chairs and couches sat alone on the bluff overlooking the river.

We spent quite awhile with the widow.  She is so sad and depressed.  She has to spend two weeks in her house, so not being allowed out probably adds to the depression.  I sat inside with her, while John stayed outside with the son.  John came and squatted down in the doorway to greet her and she asked him to pray.  While I was there another lady I know came in and told her she needed to stop being so sad and that she has to eat and that she gets sick all the time any way and she needs to take care of herself and this is just the devil.  Really????  I thought it was rather unsympathetic, but I've been in the culture long enough to know that tears and extreme emotions are not tolerated.  I told my friend, though, that God creates us to have emotions and to love other people.  When they die we are sad and there is nothing wrong with being sad.  I did tell her, though, that she does need to take care of herself even though the sadness takes away her appetite.  Tears welled up in her eyes when I said that, but she never did really cry.  I think she appreciated being understood.  Not that I completely understand since I've never lost a husband.

While I was there they brought me a bowl of hot food.  These people have less than nothing, and I wasn't even hungry since we'd had a picnic.  John was sitting outside and they didn't take him anything.  I ate as much as I could, but I didn't feel bad to leave so much knowing it would be eaten by somebody later.

We visited other friends, too.  One friend gave us a big bag of peanuts and of sesame seeds.  Another gave us about 10 kilos of limes!  Being a few too many limes to use before they go bad, since we don't have a big freezer, we shared them with our friends.

It was a good day, but so tiring.

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