Monday, March 5, 2012

Home in Many Places

As many of you know, I had the opportunity to spend two weeks at home in Nigeria with my parents at the beginning of the year. In spite of a nation-wide strike and a series of protests across the country that began the day I arrived in Nigeria, my time at home was restful. As a matter of fact, not being able to get around because of a government-enforced curfew was just what I needed. I enjoyed quality time with friends who hosted me for a week (violent protests kept my parents from being able to reach me the first week I was home), then with my precious Mom and Dad. They spoiled me as if I were 6 years old again, and I did not complain. (By the way, "as if I were . . ." is proper grammar. Hearing people say "as if I was . . ." is one of my pet peeves :P Just saying).

I returned from my trip home feeling refreshed and ready to take on a new school term. Before the semester began, I and a few other teachers spent a couple of weeks visiting the homes of a few of our students who don't live too far from our city here. It was nice to be able to meet their families, eat the local, home-made cuisines, and enjoy the countryside landscape. I'll tell you all about it . . . in pictures!

Biking . . . and bumper-car-ing around the ancient wall in Jingzhou

For some reason, the object of the game became "let's attack Simi . . ."

Who Knew Noodles Came from Songzi?

Yes, that dear lady is spinning away at her noodle making machine in a shed in front of what seems to be her home . . .

Love At the Hearth
Our students families did not have much but they loved us with all that they had. Oh, that they might be satisfied with the source of unending love!
I fell in love with this precious mom of one of our students. I love her beautiful smile and her beautiful heart. She hardly ever left her spot by the coal stove the whole time we were visiting . . .
This was breakfast one morning. Every meal was this intense. I love China . . .

There is no central heating in most of southern China, and the temperatures get below freezing sometimes.

Where Does Their Help Come From?
When our student invited us to visit the most popular tourist site in his city--a temple for several deities located at the top of a mountain--I did not expect to see a mass of people making the pilgrimage uphill to pay obeisance. So many people; so many worries: unemployment, poverty, loneliness, unanswered questions, uncertainty about life . . . To whom do they turn for help?