Thursday, October 2, 2014

Living the Dream (& the Chicory Trickery)

Two years ago when I came to the Zimpeto Children’s Centre, I fell in love with the girls dorm, those 63 (now 65) smiling faces melted my heart. For the past two years, I have day-dreamed, envisioned and dreamed about being here. I had everything mapped out in my mind and I often would wonder what it would be like, what my roles would be like and what my day to day tasks would be like.
Now that we’ve finally arrived and started to get into the swing of things, I feel like ours dreams are becoming a reality. To use a phrase that my dear friend Vanessa coined, we feel like we are living the dream.

Many live for the American Dream meaning “national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work” according to the reliable and trustworthy source of Wikipedia. In other words and more simply put: hot car, huge house, and high salary. Our simple Mozambican dream couldn’t be more different.

On a practical level our dream looks like waking up every morning to a dorm full of beautiful girls. I have the pleasure and privilege of being a dorm parent. In a nutshell, we get to do a lot of things a parent would do back home in Canada. I spend time with the youngest girls working on basic literacy, numeracy and life skills. Then I tutor one of the oldest girls grade 10 mathematics. I make crafts with the girls after school, I run a homework club, I lead discipleship groups with Fiona, I prepare snacks, I help dress the girls and I help with shower time. I clean wounds, I stick on bandaids, I hug, I kiss and I laugh until I cry.

It’s simple. It’s complicated. And it’s beautiful.

For Evan, living out our Mozambican dream looks like filling in the holes and serving a variety of different needs at the base. Evan spends his days running between the library where he is working on a new database system and improving literacy skills, helping run a sports program, sorting through donations, running a literacy program for the girls dorm, fixing sound problems for the worship team, and keeping his wife sane.

Sometimes I wake up, forgetting where I am and wondering if yesterday was all a dream. As I come to, I am pleasantly reminded, this life is no longer just a dream, it is our living and breathing reality.

A small side note that might amuse any coffee drinkers-The Chicory Trickery
As you can see, we’ve had a great time settling in to life here in Mozambique with one small exception-Evan was feeling particularly tired. At first, we figured it was just Jet Lag. But Jet Lag only lasts for so long. After a week or two when he was still feeling more tired than usual, we wrote it off as being cultural adjustments and acclimatization. We figured it must be the long days in the sun that were making Evan overly tired. This all seemed rather strange because I was still my usual perky, loud, energetic and obnoxious self when waking up in the morning (for anyone who has never been around me the in the morning, my previous roommates described me as an unmatchable energy level that shouldn’t be approached with until one has had a full glass of caffeine). Despite all the recent changes in our lives over the past month, things still weren’t lining up. Then we discovered the secret ingredient of tiredness. Despite having encouraged Evan to bring some coffee from home, he figured he could just pick some up here in Mozambique. Upon arriving, Evan bought a jar of coffee (or so he thought) and has been drinking his usual cup of coffee each day. As it turns out, a lot of Mozambican “coffee” is full of something called chicory, which lacks the usual quantities of caffeine North Americans are accustomed to. So if Canada withdrawal wasn’t tiring enough, caffeine withdrawal certainly has been for Evan! As a non-coffee drinker, I simply can not understand the full impact of a month without coffee but I have to assume that some of you out there can sympathize with the poor guy. If anyone plans on visiting us in the near future, Evan would love a nice pot of coffee—Starbucks, Bridgehead, Tim Hortons, Folders, President’s Choice…anything that is not full of chicory!

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