Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This and that (reflections on flip phones, flip flops, cornrows, and sunday school songs)

Random thoughts and reflections on life in Tanzania and life in general.

I look at a lot of women's shoes.  When we moved to DRC, I quickly learned that I was a slob as compared to Congolese standard of dress.  My flip flops that I wore everywhere were similar to wearing your slippers or house shoes outside.  The fact that I rarely did anything with my hair and that I usually wore capri pants every day sealed the deal that I was a slob.  Women wore dresses every day and took a lot of pride in their appearance, often wearing very nice shoes even during the rainy (muddy) season.  Now I'm in Tanzania.  I notice that though women do wear dresses everywhere, they are not always tailor (or hand) made, they are just as often store bought clothing. The majority of shoes are not heals, they might be nicer flip flops or flats.  So, it looks like wearing my flip flops on a daily basis will not make me as much as a slob as they did in DRC.  Hallelujah.


When we lived in the states the last two years we were very fortunate to find a church we loved.  It was a small southern baptist church that had a predominately black congregation.  The songs we sang were gospel songs and were often call and response with an amazing choir and director leading the way up front.  Those were the songs our girls learned at church.  And we loved hearing them sing them around our house.  They really loved that church and even now when we play gospel music they ask if Miss Katie (their sunday school teacher) is singing that song. Now we are attending a wonderful home church group.  The songs are the ones I learned in church and youth group.  They are very familiar to me and bring a sense of "home" with them when we sing.  My kids are clueless.  They have no idea what songs we are singing and what words (and/or motions) they should sing.  It's something I never considered when we chose a church.  That they would feel out of place because they didn't know the songs that most kids (especially white children) learn in church and sunday school. 

I really need to learn to cornrow.  For three years I have gotten along fine with doing flat twists.  But I know that the girls will be asking for braids like their classmates soon (and there are some very elaborate beautiful styles here).  I watched a video and read an on-line tutorial.  Then I tried to go for it on Ellie's hair.  Fail.  So, I made one of those practice boards with three colors of yarn.  Yeah, it is really really hard and I'm going to need to practice a lot before I attempt it on their sensitive heads.  But, I have the time now, so I might as well figure it out.  It has been good bonding time for us, and I'm happy to do it for them for now.  But there may come a day when they get their more elaborate styles and/or extensions done locally. 

I have a hard time accepting the changes in technology.  I had a flip phone in the states to save money but also because it was less complicated.  Right now, even though we actually do own an ipad for the first time ever (given as a gift to us, thanks mom), I still use an address book (you know the small books with paper pages and lines that you write in?), a date book, a calendar, an empty notebook for jotting down things, and a journal.   Yeah, it's a lot of books/stuff.  But I like it.  I like writing in them all. 

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