So, we have had a week here, close to the equator in a bustling, lively city. It's quite different to anything I've known before - apparently 3 million people live here, and the traffic in certain parts has to be seen to be believed. There is rarely silence, and one can barely hear the ciccadas at night because of the music blaring from all directions. Yet it is Africa, and more importantly, it is where we believe God wants our family to be right now.
1) Day 1: Boys rush through to the living room and pull back the curtains. 'Mummy, is that the "wings of the dawn"?' - we've been reading Psalm 139 and talking about how God is with us, wherever we are. 'If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me and your right hand will hold me fast'. Psalm 139:9-10
2) Day 1: About half an hour later. Four year old boy with magnifying glass, describing the cockroach he has discovered on the kitchen floor. 'Mummy, it has beautiful wings, with a hint of red and a hint of yellow'. Yes darling, how delightful!
3) Markets. I love the bustle, the noise, the smells, the chaos and the pleasure in a bit of gentle bartering. It's great for the children to see fresh produce and how it is not all 'perfect' in appearance, but is good and delicious. It's easy to see what is in season and the quality (and the prices) make it so very clear.
4) The National Museum. Really quite wonderful - I liked the outdoor part which had lots of different styles of banda (mud-hut) and detail about how they were constructed. There was also a section with old Rolls Royces etc which I presume belonged to some erstwhile dictators. Inside, it was more like a home-school science project, but entertaining nonetheless.
5) Delicious yummy foods that you can buy at the side of the road. In this country, there are more types of banana than any other. And many staples are made from mashed plantain or banana. It's fun to try new things.
6) The 4 year olds have started to keep a journal. We ask them to narrate to us what they have done the day before, and then to draw a picture. It's quite telling how they remember quite different things, and it will be a really good record for them to have
7) Going to church. For me, there is something so beautiful about the way you can walk into a church in a strange land, and immediately be part of a family of believers. In heaven, every tribe and tongue will sing His praises, and sometimes in a foreign land I believe one can catch a glimpse of that.
8) Resourcefulness in inventing new games. We have a patterned rug in our living room, with twelve squares. Each has a picture on it - a boat, or a bush, or butterflies. It's quite 1970s and not altogether beautiful. But the boys make up stories and jump from square to square as they move on to the next part. Lots of the stories involve adventures on the high seas and discoveries of new lands.
9) The delight in discovering new trees, flowers, birds AND INSECTS that are different to those we see in the UK. I'm amazed (but I suppose I should come to expect it as they are bright little boys) at the attention to detail that goes into their process of description and classification. Who needs books when one can go out exploring!
10) Being together as a family. I could have come for a shorter period alone. Perhaps that would have been a more typical way of going about the process (its a site visit for some studies I'm setting up, and exploring collaborations and future opportunities). But we are together, my husband has taken a month of unpaid leave, and the whole family benefits. As I often say, this is one thing we have committed to, and the whole home schooling lifestyle is ideal to maximise such opportunities.
So, a short post and the internet is not great so I won't spend time with cross-references today. I hope and pray that wherever you are, you can maximise the unique opportunities that present themselves to your family this week.
- I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.