A happy Monday to y’all! Just thought I’d share some events of the weekend…
– Our new June volunteers have arrived! They’re a pretty diverse and stellar bunch–four females, Jamie, Nicki, Haley, and Koi. Yesterday, we played a little ice breaker game (compliments of moi) and now we know quite a bit about each other. We also went on a walking tour of PG (which, let’s be realistic here, took all of eight seconds). After the walking tour, the girls piled into Nicole’s jeep and went to visit Cyrila’s Chocolate Farm for a demonstration on organic cacao production, and then to visit Lubantuun. I was hoping I could sneak in on the excursion, but no such luck. I wasn’t too disappointed, because it was HOT out, and I figured I could catch up on some reading and sit by the sea! Recently finished books: Haiti: After the Earthquake, by Paul Farmer, and Little Bee, by Chris Cleave. Currently reading: Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (missing no charm except for F&M Professor Tony Ugolnik reading it aloud in Middle English, which is one of the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard) and Rediscovering Catholicism (which is seeeeriously good, and I’m not kidding), by Matthew Kelly.
-Yesterday evening, I watched “The Help,” based on Kathryn Stockett’s wonderful book of the same name. What a well-executed film. It was moving and sad and joyful and thought-provoking all at once. How truly unbelievable that we human beings can become so twisted in our ideas of power and superiority when we have been made to love each other! It’s distressful, but inspiring to realize that we’ve come a long way.
-In spite of continued reapplications of my SPF 75, I managed to get some sunburn on my back yesterday. I actually planned out a nice afternoon in a shady, thatched hut thing on a dock close to the PG office. Apparently, it turns out that my “special spot” is the hot hang out for the PG teens, and when I arrived, it was overridden with hormonal 15-year-olds and their bikes. I ended up sitting in a rather uncomfortable shady corner by the bar, learning up against a wood column and apparently catching some unwanted rays. I’ll be off to get some aloe later today!
-I learned how to effectively cut up a mango! This is a pretty major achievement, as my first two efforts were relatively disastrous. My first effort involved pretty much the messiest and grossest-looking act of mango consumption ever. There was mango juice everywhere, and I had to escape from the watchful eyes of Jill and Andrea because they undoubtedly would have thought me a complete idiot if they saw my mango ineptitude! My second effort was an even bigger fail. I didn’t properly detect that the mango wasn’t yet ripe, and when I cut off the top, it was still yellowish-white inside, and definitely not ready for human consumption. The third and fourth times, however (yesterday and today) were a charm! Thanks primarily to one of my favorite instructive food blogs, Simply Recipes: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_cut_a_mango/. Get our your mangoes and go crazy, folks!
-Akiesha came with me to mass yesterday morning, which was pretty funny because she was unfamiliar with all of the sitting and standing and kneeling and responses and such. It was her first time at mass, and I wasn’t too helpful of an instructor because I’m still learning some of the ropes of the mass in PG as well! Usually, the music ministry people provide a hymn list too, but yesterday, there was no such list, so we were floundering around like headless chickens trying to figure out what we were supposed to be singing! On a happy note, the priest spoke beautifully to us about the trinity, using a really interesting analogy. He asked us to think about our mothers, and how our mother is not only our mother, but also someone’s wife, someone’s sister, someone’s daughter, someone’s friend…always our mother, but able to known in many contexts. And so it is with God…one God, yet knowable in three distinct forms. It was a helpful way to think about things.
-Also at church, the priest spoke about how difficult it can be to describe God, and how we can compare it to trying to describe a really awesome event. My mind immediately went to the experience of seeing the musical “Wicked” in London’s Apollo Theatre in the fall of 2006. I was with my study abroad girls, and we were having a weekend of all things wonderfully British, and we somehow managed to get affordable, front-row seats to the show. While I can tell you all sorts of details about the actors and the music, I can’t truly explain how magnificent an experience it was because there are no words. And that’s how it is when we try to explain God. Again, I hadn’t thought about things in that way before…so thanks, PG!
-I spent a lot of time just like this:
Be back soon!