Leigha and the Triplets

Saturday, January 19, 2008

This One is for Rachel Coleman!

Rachel Coleman, of Signing Time!, is getting ready for her trip to Ghana, Africa. I get excited watching her trip ticker count down the days. They are a little over a day away from leaving and they have almost reached their goal for donations!

In honor of Rachel, I thought I would post some of my African memories. During the summer of 1988, I spent close to a month in Malawi, Africa. I loved having that opportunity. Some day, after I scan all of my pictures, I will write more details about this trip. For now, I will just highlight some of the things Rachel has been talking about!

I was a picky eater, to say the least. Africa was quite the culture shock for me. There were no fast food restaurants. Wait, there were no restaurants. Here is an example of a common meal there.

Yes, I knew that was rice. Don't ask me to identify the green "stuff." When we first arrived, we visited the local market on the weekend. I, being the sugar queen I am, was in need of a sugar fix. I think I went to the wrong place. The cookies I bought were horrendous, to say the least. The funny thing, after being deprived of my junk food for so long, I actually craved those hideous cookies. I loved them by the time we left!

Rachel was also talking about the clothing. In many countries, women have to wear skirts that are two inches below the knees. Knees are a sexual part of the body, go figure?! When you are out in the dirt, you WILL get dirty.

From what I can tell, the Signing Time! group has two choices. They can either bring enough outfits to last the 10 days, or they can wash their clothes the old fashion way. What would be your choice?

Now let's talk about the spiders. Rachel just found out that there are spiders the size of your fist there. I guess you could call these spiders a sort of pet. The same spiders will visit you, they visit enough to earn a name. I remember taking pictures of two particular spiders. The first one was a very small spider. You can tell just how small it is since it was sitting on my friends jacket. Quite pretty, don't you think?

All of the girls slept in one big room that was probably the height of a two story house. It was just a large room, no furniture, with four very tall walls. I don't remember how many days into our trip that we met our fuzzy friend. This is one time I wish I had a digital camera back then, I could have zoomed in for a better look and a more lasting memory. This spider was almost at the top of a wall, the wall I said was about two stories high. It might not look that big, but this was one of the spiders that was about the size of your fist. I remember how we all stared this spider down, making sure that we never lost sight of it. That was until we all fell asleep. We woke up searching the walls, then the floors, and then our sleeping bags. Maybe it was better not to know.

Would you be a bit startled if you looked out your window and saw this person dancing around wildly begging for money? Since he posed so nicely for me (as we were driving) I gave him some money.

On our last night in Malawi, we stopped at a little game park. We all got a good laugh out of the sign that greeted us. It says, "Warning don't feed or come close to Charlie he is dangerous." Wouldn't you laugh at that sign?

We laughed, but the laughter kind of turned to bewilderment once we went inside our little huts/cottages. There was a sign on the closet door that read something like, "This park is not responsible for any loss of life or possessions due to Charlie." Now the wheels are turning. Is this for real? Is this part of the entertainment value?

The next morning everyone was inside eating, but I had decided to skip breakfast and was looking around. Then it happened. Hello, Charlie! Charlie walked into the area and started snooping around the cottages. I, of course, grabbed my camera and then looked to see if anyone else was around. Charlie is no dumb animal, he went to a few cottages and then beelined for the one with the good drinks on the porch. He enjoyed the contents of their cooler!

If you saw an elephant, out in the wild, wouldn't you want some good pictures to show off? I really wish they had digital cameras back then, these could have been so much better. I was bound and determined to get his attention so I could get some close-up shots! Do you think it worked?

This was one of those times where it was a good thing that my mother wasn't with us. I can't say that the adults were too please with me, either. I bet no one else got a great head shot?!

I have to admit, I was pretty happy that no one seemed to bother locking their vehicles. This jeep felt pretty comfortable as Charlie was coming towards me!

Honestly, it was one of the best trips I have ever been on. I was with my youth group and we were there to work on the hospital. I will never forget those wonderful children, the families that gave away all the food they had, and the lives that we touched and those that touched us so profoundly.

Rachel and the rest of the Signing Time! group, have a wonderful trip to Ghana. You will never forget this experience and neither will those children who you are going to help. Have a safe trip!

1 comment:

Kei said...

That sign is hilarious! I think it was tough to take serious because it looks so cartoonish.
Spiders~ick ick ick! shudder

Great pics of Charlie; I can't get over how you were that close to him though! You daredevil you!

I was so thrilled last night when I saw their goal was met!!!