We desire to bring sunshine to Africa....opportunities to allow people to realize their destinies and be released from oppression. We are starting in Mozambique with The Sunshine Nut Company. The majority of proceeds from this company will go to the poorest of farming communities and the neediest of children. Mozambique is ranked among the poorest in economic status but we believe they are among the richest in spirit. Join us in our adventure....

Sunday, December 18, 2011

An African Child's Ultimate Joy

In our first world nation, our children’s ultimate joy is usually connected to something electronic.  Ask my kids what would make them happy and you would get one of the following: a new I-phone, a new I-Touch, an I-pad (notice the things that begin with “I”?), a new video game, a new video system.  These items are probably on the top of most kids’ Christmas lists right now.  Yet for African children, these things are not a possibility in their world; it would never even occur to them to ask for one.  Most probably don’t even know they exist.  The one thing that we love here in Africa is the simplicity of life.  Things move more slowly here.  The things that are most valued do not have price tags on them- things like spending time with others, talking with friends. 

Today I got to see children who were experiencing ultimate joy that came at no cost.  As I drove Don to the airport for a flight to Cape Town, there was a powerful storm.  Lightning was striking everywhere, the wind was whipping, and the rain was pummeling the dry, thirsty land.  As we drove along, we noticed three young boys stripped down to their underwear dancing along the side of the road.  Their faces were turned up to the rainy sky, their arms outstretched and swinging wildly, their legs skipping along, their feet splashing the water up, and they were all grinning from ear to ear.  Don had to pull my attention back to my driving as I had meandered over into the opposing lane (Thank the Lord there was no oncoming traffic!).  It is at times like this when I would love to be able to stop and capture the image on film.  Yet Don had a plane to catch, the rain was really coming down hard,  lightning was striking right next to us, and if I had stopped and gotten out with a camera, my presence would have ruined the magic of the moment and the boys would have stopped and stared at me wondering why a white woman was standing in front of them with a camera in the pouring rain.  So we continued on.

After dropping Don off,  the storm passed, and Will and I headed for home.  As we traveled back the same road, we were amazed at how the road had now become a stream of water flowing along at a good pace.  There really is not draining system here.  The water just flows and collects in deeper areas.  We came upon a huge group of boys (in the traditional Mozambican swim wear of their undies) out on a dirt soccer field that had become a knee- deep lake.  They were kicking, splashing, and playing enthusiastically in the water.  We then passed another group of children who had found a swimming pool that was created where the rain water had drained into one area.  These children were all swimming and diving in the muddy water having the time of their lives.  It was fun to just watch them play and be happy.  

Today, we again found ourselves privileged to have a small glimpse into the lives of people who have nothing, yet have everything.  I am humbled again. 

As I recall these moments. I am reminded of a moment some years ago when our children were young.  We lived on Blue Mountain Parkway in Harrisburg.  A huge rain storm had ended and there was a steady stream of water rushing down our driveway.  At their request, we let them go outside and play in this stream of water.  I still can see their smiles and hear their laughter as they jumped, played and even lay down letting the water rush over their little bodies.  What a fun time for them.  This water was much cleaner than what the children today played in.  I must admit that as I watched my kids have fun, all I could think of was how dirty they would be and the mess I would have on my hands when they were done.  I also worried that maybe this water was unhealthy for them to play in.  As it turns out, none of them caught any dreaded disease, and after a bath they were all squeaky clean.  As for the water these children played in today, it was so dirty that we would not let our children even put their little toe in it!  Yet these kids too will catch no disease and will be squeaky clean after their baths.  My encouragement to you to end this blog… next time it storms, let your kids go out and find some water to jump and play in; even join them yourself.  You may find yourselves enjoying the memory of a life time!  And it won’t cost you a penny.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Inaugural African "Snake" Experience

Well… I knew it would happen sooner or later.  I knew that at some point I would encounter my first snake here in Mozambique.  I was just hoping for two things.  First, that it would not be inside my house.  Secondly, that it would be later… much, much later! 

I am thankful and pleased to say that “No”, it did not happen inside my house.  Well, unless you count your garage as part of your home.  In this case, I guess it was technically in my house.  And unfortunately for me, it happened sooner rather than later.

On a recent Saturday, I headed out my kitchen door into the garage to put a load of wash into my washing machine. As my foot hit the cement floor, my attention was drawn to a 2 foot “snake” slithering about 3 feet in front of me in a direct line for me!  I turned back to the kitchen door and screamed first for Don, and next for Jack (our Jack Russell Terrier who you may recall killed the neighbor’s monkey when we first got here.  The caretaker of our home also tells us that he killed a cobra on the property.) I guess in my subconscious mind, I first called the long time, ever faithful male protector of our family. Then knowing we were in African territory, I called for the new male protector of our family who had experience in dealing with such creatures!  Both Don and Jack came running at the same time. 

By the way, I should insert that our other faithful terrier Rusty was there too.  He was first on the scene and had come out the door with me.  He was a bit tentative, sizing up the situation.  As Rusty contemplated what to do, Jack came … not sure what verb to use here to give you a good picture of this… ripping… no… screaming through the garage at full speed from my left.  Without hesitation, he snatched the “snake” up in his mouth at its midpoint,  swung his head from side to side so violently that the “snake” literally ripped in half!  Blood spewed everywhere- all over Jack, the floor, and the front of Don’s car.  Half of the carcass flew under Don’s car, and Jack ran off to the front yard with the other half as his prize.  Don, Will (who by now had joined us to see what the excitement was about), and I cheered and praised Jack for his quick moves. 

You may wonder why I keep putting the word “snake” in quotations.  This is because we are not sure what it was.  It was gray and scaly like a snake, but it did not have a defined head or eyes like a snake.  It almost resembled a gray worm with scales.  The scales and the size of it (at least as thick as a big man’s thumb and 2 feet long) made us think it was a snake.  Yet its head was nothing like a snake.   Just the night previous, our dog Jack had left a prize on our doormat for us.  It resembled a gray, shriveled up snake.  But we were not sure, because again it didn’t have a snake head.  But it did have scales.  We asked around and were told by locals that this creature is more of a worm thing than a snake…whatever that means.  This was confirmed for us when the next day Jack left us another present on our outside door mat.  When we opened the door, we found a dead snake left on the mat.  This was definitely a snake.  It had the triangular head and eyes of a snake.  So maybe the locals are right.  Maybe I should change the title of this blog from “My Inaugural African ‘Snake’ Experience” to “My Inaugural African Worm Experience”.  But then again, would that really capture anyone’s interest?  I have always taught my students to use a catchy title to grab their reader’s attention and make them want to read their story.  So I guess I should stick with the original title as is!