Monday, February 20, 2012


I've been invaded by Arizona. Several months ago I returned to stay with my friends and other WMTers at their house for a little while. They had recently obtained satellite internet so I was super excited to try out the new speedy connection until I went to type in the password. Arizonacrew. Seriously? I am not from Arizona. I spent a few hours driving through Arizona to get to my beloved Oregon, but that's the extent of the time I've spent there. They talk about things I have never heard of like saguaro and machaca (20 useless points to anyone NOT from Arizona who can tell me what those are). I am not a member of any Arizona Crew. Needless to say, the fight was on. Being outnumbered 8:1, it didn't seem like a fair fight but I tried my best. My plan was to turn the kids. I arranged a picket line with the youngest (5 years) to protest the password but he bagged out when he realized it meant going up against his dad. Darn blood ties. I made our secret passwords things like "I wish I was from Oregon" and "Arizona Stinks" (Yes, I'm 30. I know.) But all to no avail. I remain the lone wolf.

Well, this week I was invaded by even more of these Arizonians with their strange and unfamiliar ways. Turns out, even with their propensity for food that sets my mouth on fire and inclination to wear long sleeves in the sweltering heat (skin cancer prevention? I wonder about places with enough sun to make that a consideration.....), they're pretty neat-o. They're here to drill a well and work on rehabilitating a church nearby.

This Sunday we went to church in a village about 2 1/2 hours away where WMT partnered with them in some rice growing last year. After the usual rousing worship time (thankfully no one yelled at me to "Dance, Emily, Dance!") one of the guys on the team preached the message. The message he preached was hard. Forgiveness. Ee no easy-0! After the message he opened it up for questions and they had some tough ones.

"There is a man who killed my wife, burned down my house, and now wants to kill me. Should I forgive him?"

"My daughter was in high school and was raped on the way home from school. I should forgive that man?"

Sheesh. That is a hard message! Especially here, where in the not so recent past, the human rights violations were astronomical. How can we preach forgiveness when people are facing situations like the ones above?? It almost doesn't seem kind! But *esus was radical. And I'm convinced that I need that "radicalness." Sierra Leone needs that "radicalness". Anyway, I'm still chewing on that message. I guess a couple other people dug the message too because after the service they came up and told the pastor they wanted to be baptized. Yeah. :)

After church the village were extremely generous and fed us. Monkey. I've eaten it before and didn't have a problem with it but this time my friend got in my head about eating a primate....and I was a little more hesitant. Sierra Leoneans can eat a LOT of rice so there's always some left over when we weak "apotos" (white) have had our fill. The look on their face said we were insane to leave any of the delicious meat behind. I'm always a little overwhelmed at the generosity we receive when going into these small villages, but find I have little trouble being a cheerful giver when it comes to sharing these delicacies right back with them.

After lunch we went to some nearby villages to show the team a couple of wells that are finished. It was fun to see the additions that the villagers had made to the well (the little fence around the well) and to see it getting a lot of use! We loaded back into the cars and headed home, making it just before dark. Pretty good day!

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