Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Comments Regurgitated

(or how I got you to write a post for me)

Many times people ask questions or make comments about things I've posted and they are really good. I don't know about you but I don't always make it back around to see what other people have commented on blogs I enjoy reading. So, here are some comments highlighted and some questions answered. Thanks for making my 'job' a joy!
On Saturday, I wrote about things I was working on teaching the nannies with regard to feelings and how to express and handle them. Raven wrote a very nice comment on that post. I've been very grateful for Raven's take on things since she spent four years working as a Peace Corps volunteer here in Zambia and even married a Zambian man.

"I can definitely understand your frustrations with the cultural emotional block. My neighbors in the village were shocked that I knew the names of each of the 45 kids that came to my house every day. That individualisation isn't something they do with children. And the kids loved me for it. (The worst talala moment I saw was at an under 5. The kid was scared of me and the mom's answer, in Bemba, was "stop crying or the white lady will eat you." I wonder why she was scared of me?)

However, just to play devil's advocate, I also see a bit of why they tell the kids to stop crying. By the age of 9 in the village, those kids would be expected to take care of adult chores and other kids. No one has time to cry or dwell on emotions, as they have to work so hard for survival. When a mother loses a child (or husband, etc), she has 3 days to grieve. She rolls on the ground and wails and screams and cries. Then, on day 4, the crying is over and she is back to work. There is no time to waste on emotions.

Joshua is often so confused by his overly emotional American wife. I cry when I read a good book, watch a movie, think of a sad memory, etc. I am very emotional and he is just not used to women being like this, even after 4 years with me. So, don't get too frustrated if the nannies don't get it right away."

I understand and I do get it. One of my nannies in just the 10 months she's been working here has lost her son and her mother. How people keep going day after day is beyond me. But at the same time, I do see many health issues that are directly related to not being able to get feelings out in the open and know how to deal with them. It's sad.

The other issue is that the kids we are raising are not going to be carrying adult loads at the age of nine years old. They are going to have the opportunity to have regular childhoods, finish their education and enter a world that is very, very different from a village. For that reason, I have to continue to set my sights high and expect more from my staff. 

I appreciate Raven's encouragement to not get discouraged. It is a hard road and the sweet ladies I work with are making incredible, albeit slow, progress. 

On Sunday I wrote about Tom working on his snake habitat. Many of you had questions about this--whether it was a hobby, questioning his sanity, etc. First of all, let me say that Tom was extremely flattered to have been considered insane. To be normal and ordinary would be a terrible thing for him. 
  The snakes are partly a hobby and partly a community project. Zambians are quite frightened of snakes (and rightly so) so that they kill first and ask questions later. Tom tries to educate them about the different types of snakes and the role they play in our environment. Right now he only keeps Puff Adders and Gaboon Vipers. He has started with these 2 particular species of snakes because they are beautiful and not so aggressive. Eventually he would like to have all the different species that are native to this area. 
  He's able to keep these two different snakes together because they are from the same family. We had cobras before (so scary!!) and they fought with the Adders and Vipers.
  Another reason he is interested in the Gaboon Vipers and why he was so excited about the babies is that they are an endangered species. He believes he can sell them in the States and Europe for a fair amount of money. Can you imagine being the UPS delivery guy holding that box? The skins are also quite pretty and could make nice belts and hat bands.

The habitat is well thought out and very safe. The glass usually has chicken wire in front of it unless Tom is showing the snakes at that moment. That prevents the snakes from getting out should they happen to break the glass. Tom has been bitten before (you can see the list on the left hand side bar) and has learned plenty from the experiences. Perhaps not enough, you may say, since he still keeps snakes but......what can you do........such is the life of an adventurer.


  1. Wow how amazing that one is expected to return "to normal" after 3 days. I wonder where all that pain goes.

    I love that your husband is trying to educate the people about snakes & I hope it helps you by bringing income to the orphanage.

    Hugs & love,

  2. I love reading about your life and all the challenges you face and the projects you tackle. But isn't it illegal to see endangered species?

  3. Oops! Make that:

    But isn't it illegal to sell endangered species?

  4. Thank you very much for your explanations. They explain away many questions. Have patience with your nannies. I'm sure we'll all pray for them and for you--that you continue to be given knowledge and wisdom in guiding them and that they come to understand how precious they and the children are in God's sight. Their thoughts and feeling seem so very different than ours. I wonder what they'd say to us if you gave them an opportunity to share their thoughs via a mini insert in your blog every now and then??

  5. Good explanations, Amy... although I'm still not a fan of my son having snakes, ha!!
    It's just something a mother has to live with...
    Do you think he'll skin them when they get bigger to sell the skin, or just try to sell them alive?


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