Saturday, January 25, 2014

Root Canal and French Lessons

A frequently asked question is, "What are you doing while in Burkina Faso?'  One answer that leaps to the top of the list is, "We wait!" Waiting seems like a very passive thing requiring no energy or personal  input. Yet, I have discovered that to be far from the truth. We are wired to do, to be active, to produce. We want to see results.We desire outcomes. Some things that have speedy results at home are far from quick here. The myriad of ways we wait only increases with the amount of time I spend here and become more aware of life in this culture.

So the question becomes, " What do I do while I wait?" Having a root canal seemed like a profitable use of my time since the need presented itself shortly after my first month in Burkina Faso. No dental care is available in Kimini so that had to be put on hold until our return to the city. Some friends at home displayed some reservation about having that procedure done in Africa. Is the doctor qualified? Does the practice provide a safe, sterile environment ? The answer to all of this is , yes. My consultation visit assured me that I was in good hands. Stepping through the doors of the dental clinic, it is easy to forget you are in Africa. The office is clean, inviting and professional. Two very long appointments later, the impression was ready to be mailed to France where the permanent crown would be made.
And what did Ruth do during those lengthy appointments? You guessed it. She waited!
 France! It made me smile to think that I would soon be the owner of a" French crown!" Now if only that could in some manner help in my pursuit to become a French speaker.

The time in Ouagadougou has also allowed me to engage a tutor to learn French. Three days a week the tutor comes to our house to put me through the paces. Speaking French exclusively for 90 minutes is taxing. I am exhausted at the end of class but am encouraged to struggle onward when I realize my comprehension has increased. Sitting on the other side of the desk gives me renewed appreciation for the role of student!

Waiting can be thought of as an unproductive time or it came become an opportunity. It is all a matter of attitude.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Christmas on Another Continent

   Distance can be measured in so many ways. We can think of the kilometers that separate us from home, family and friends and I have done that. It is 9,562.93 kilometers from the United States to Burkina Faso!

   It can be measured in the customs and traditions of Christmases past. Baking cookies wrapping presents,trimming a tree, setting up a nativity scene, sharing a festive meal, singing carols and worshipping all come to mind.

Rather than dwell on what separates me this year, I choose to focus on what binds us together. I hold my family and friends at home close to my heart as I draw together with my new family in Burkina Faso. Some customs can be recreated in a new ways, traditions can be born.

 Yet the one thing that  is constant is the reason for the celebration. Christ has come into the world.
No number of kilometers can separate us from that love.