We had a day full of joy yesterday as you can see from the two pictures at the right, top and bottom. Clicking on either picture will take you to two more happy pictures. It was Charleni’s ninth birthday and her grandmother brought her here for the day. We took her to a local restaurant where she devoured three big pieces of pizza, and Karen gave her a present—a book called “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” which is an alphabet book in English (fairly famous it turns out). Karen taught her to read it (see picture at right). Charlini was dressed in her best and posed to show off. She hugged us all very tightly and smiled the whole time she was with us which was from about eleven o’clock till four in the afternoon. It was such a success that Juliana brought her back today but has her doing her school work up in Martha’s Place. Karen and I went up and visited with her while she was working and she spread her arms as wide as they could to to show us how much she loved us. We didn’t cry in front of her, but waited till we got back to the house. We saw real hope yesterday and today but still don’t know how things are going to play out. If praying would make a miracle here, Karen would be getting the sainthood before Mother Teresa (Pope Francis is making her a saint in case you haven’t heard). As it says in the quote above, we got the “full value of joy” yesterday because we had an angel of a little girl with whom to divide it.
We have a termite problem in the school with about as many ideas as to how to solve it as there are people in Bunda. We have settled on one and will work on it Monday and Tuesday with all the teachers here to help. The little bugs are attacking the cardboard boxes and then the books inside which are too precious to serve as dinner to termites. One of the more clever ideas is to treat small pieces of cardboard with poison and let the little buggers feast till they die, but that’s not a permanent solution. We will build small, metal tables on which to stack the books until we can get most of the books inside to the other seven preschools we now have. Happily, all the teachers are more than willing to work during their holidays to help us with this.
I’ve been kinda down with all that’s been happening, but yesterday, I was mentioned (along with many others) as someone who helped inspire a man I knew twelve years ago when he was a student in my Saturday English class at the community college in Rogers. I often say that we plant seeds of trees whose shade we will never enjoy, but this was one instance where I got to see the tree as the man graduated from law school and is now a prosecuting attorney with a lovely family and is a leader in his community. He mentioned many others along with me but seeing my name in that list was like a dose of Prozac. I sent him a message, and he responded gratefully which was like another shot of upper. I’m sure that almost all of you have touched people in ways that have changed their lives for the better, but you seldom get to hear that they still give you some of the credit for who and what they have become. It was better than chocolate. It was also a “thank you” note from God, and you know I believe in those.