I know it's a little early to be talking about Thanksgiving but I'm sure I'll wake up tomorrow and it will be the end of November, so this blog is about what I'm thankful for.
I made a board here out of cardboard and scratch paper and titled it "Today I'm Thankful For..." after we had about four days without power and were running out of water. I decided this list was going to be things I am thankful for IN TANZANIA since these are often very basic. My idea was that I would take the board home with me and whenever I get all cranky about the speed of the internet or thick traffic I would be happy that I have a computer at all, or that the road I am parked on is paved! I am going to give you a list of some of the things that are on my board and descriptions as to why its on there. If you're having a particularly difficult day just glance at this list and be thankful for simple things. :)
I add something to the board everyday. They are in no particular order, except for the first and last entries. Enjoy.
My Parents (on the board about five times)
Maya Angelou (wrote some great books)
Ciara's collage (she made a huge collage with all our pics from home!)
The Mamas at the baby home
Hugs from Emma...or any baby for that matter
Rice without rocks in it (all the rice here comes with bugs and rocks for free! We have to get them out as though we were panning for gold...except its not gold, its rocks that break your teeth.)
No Internet (its nice sometimes to be free)
Having running water
Not having stomach issues today
Pens and pencils
Scaring goats at the marketplace
Hardship (you can always learn something from hard times, and the more difficult life seems, the greater your potential to grow)
Testosterone (on short supply, and sometimes I don't want to talk about my feelings anymore...I used to live with all guys so I'm struggling here)
A roof (even if it's leaking, like the one in Ciara and my's bathroom)
Germans (do I really need to explain? Probably, but I'm not going to)
All Baby Home staff
Pink Nail Polish
Kangas (what you use to carry a baby on your back)
A shower (even cold ones...at least I'm clean afterwards!)
Departures (this is both figurative and literal, as well as contextual: Jeanette leaving was a good thing, but in a different way than Happy who left yesterday with her new adoptive parents Hannah and Zach, but also in a different way as a stomach bug leaves)
To have a family
Hair ties (the babies would render me completely bald if I couldn't keep my hair up and out of their ninja grip)
Not sleeping on a top bunk
To be here with my sister and share this experience with her
Okay, so the list goes on and on but my point is that all of these things are either really hard to find, really expensive, or I'm just sooo thankful for it! I thought originally I'd write one per day on the board but find myself writing about ten per day and being very sincere and happy. Although I do find myself complaining about stupid things occassionally, I am always reminded by this list that there is so much I have here that all my neighbors don't. I get very emotional when I look at this board because I can relive the days and moments I realized how important bottled water is, or malaria medicine, or disposable diapers!
If you just flew through the list I would urge you to go through it again slowly and imagine what it would be like to be without. The range of this list is extraordinary but very substantial. Imagine if you didn't have salt, for example, and how boring a lot of your food would taste and what an adjustment it would be to have soup or meat without salt! Think of the preservative value of salt! Then again, think if you didn't have a family (like most of the babies) and that you didn't have a soul who belonged to you. It's a heavy thought, but what a revelation to witness and understand how important your family is!
This November I would like to ask everyone to spend a minute everyday and think of something really simple you are thankful to have. It could be a working telephone line so you can call your best friend, a front door that locks at night to keep you safe, a pillow to rest your head on, a nail file, puppies, cheese, anything!
I am thankful for so many things that I am overwhelmed. The foremost are my parents, family, and friends, and that they are all healthy and safe. I am very thankful that I am loved and supported everyday by those aforementioned. Wow, what an amazing month November is going to be. :)