So do you ever have one of those days where you just feel like you are on a roll? You come up with good ideas left and right? Well, I have had a few of those lately and let me tell you, it was awesome. Now, I didn’t find the cure to cancer, or anything that is even brag-worthy probably, but I was pretty stinking excited. Maybe it is due to the fact that I spend my days with a toddler, try to speak a language I only understand 20% of and don’t get out much, but I thought my ideas were spectacular.
Genius Idea #1
When out with local women I wear a chadArI (burka) because it is safer for me and for them, I blend in and don’t have to worry about sticking out like a sore thumb (for their sake or mine) and honestly, it is kinda fun. And really, why wouldn’t I when I hear comments like this: “T looks just like one of us when she is with us in her chadArI, people don’t even notice she is foreign!” That right there is motivation enough. If you want my honest opinions of the burka, read this post:Swimming In a Sea of Blue.
|The detail on the front part of a chadArI|
Even though I feel comfortable wearing this contraption, that does not mean that here aren’t challenges. Take the picture above, for instance. They are all blue. Yes, there are different shades of blue and there a few white ones here and there, but for the most part, they all look the same. The embroidery is different on each of them, but honestly….they all look the same. For that reason, it is a challenge to go shopping in them. You can lose who you are shopping with quite quickly if you get separated…you all look the same! Memorizing your friend’s shoes is a must!
Knowing that they all look the same, imagine this scene. You go with 12 other women for a day of visiting. House to house to house you go. At each entrance, you are greeted by the woman of the house (kissed three times on the cheek) and then she takes your burka from you and puts it in the pile over her outstretched arm. 13 burkas all piled together. That is a lot of blue. Upon leaving, the hostess brings the pile back out and people begin to pick their burkas out of the pile. Sometimes they pick wrong and switch with each other or put it back in the pile. But 99% of the time, these women are able to recognize which one is theirs. I have NO IDEA which one is mine, so I always just wait till the end and hope I end up with one that fits. I was convinced one day that mine was wrong and knew that just ending up with the end of the pile each time wasn’t good enough.
Enter Stroke of Genius:
The mighty safety pin.
I put a safety pin in a discreet place on the inside of my burka. Now, I can go to the pile and pick it out immediately. After two houses on our 12 house tour, all of my friends had this figured out and immediately handed me mine if they found it in the pile. My burka fit all day and I felt SO smart!
Good Idea #2
I love cloth diapers. I will say that unashamedly. For us they are the way to go. They take a little work, but they save us TONS of money, they are better for the environment, they are good for Little t…and they make me happy, to be honest.
When I was pregnant with Little t, a dear friend who also works overseas told me about an amazing cloth diaper company ran by Believers who are passionate about what God is doing around the world. They give grants of cloth diapers to families working overseas. We applied and were given 15 cloth diapers by this fantastic company. We have bought a few other brands of cloth diapers, but they didn’t compare. When we needed a few more to add to our rotation before we came here, I automatically bought more from this company because they are so great.
Anyway, angel khAla has a one year old daughter who has constant diarrhea (problem of a large majority of the population here) and she is always complaining about the diapers she uses because they leak and are hard to clean and don’t absorb anything, etc. She has been drooling over Little t’s diapers for a while. With her not-so-subtle hinting, I thought about giving her some of Little t’s, but then I came up with Good Idea #2.
I thought about all of the women I have read about in the States who make their own cloth diapers from patterns, etc. So, I have been doing some research and am hoping to help angel khAla make some better diapers for her daughter. Not only that, but I am wondering if there would be a small market for them here and a way for her to generate some income. There is no shortage of little butts around here and everyone complains about diapering options (expensive disposables or rags folded up inside a piece of plastic – no elastic or anything). So, maybe if we could find an affordable way to make them here, people would buy them? I have written to this wonderful cloth diapering company and their design genius is going to be in touch with me about possibilities.
This makes me excited because one of the hardest things to think about is what will happen to angel khAla and her family if/when we leave. If I could help her get her feet on the ground with some kind of income that would be amazing.
*If anyone makes their own diapers, or knows of places to learn more about that, I would be VERY interested in hearing from you.
Good Idea #3
I have become a blog addict. I am amazed by the ideas and experience of people around the world and I am loving reading and learning from others. One of the things that I have read about a few times is a Frock Swap. I still don’t know a lot about it, but I am interested in hosting one here. Basically it is where people bring items of clothing, jewellery, shoes, etc that they no longer want and trade for other people’s junk. Swapping stuff that you don’t want and hopefully ending up with some treasures.
In November, all of the people in our organization will get together for a conference. This happens every other year and is a really fun time to see other people, relax and enjoy time together. After reading about a Frock Swap the other day I had Good Idea #3 – a Frock Swap at Team Conference. Shopping here is a weird weird thing, and like anywhere else in the world, we all have things that we no longer use/wear. So, I am hoping we can get together and make the most out of each other’s junk! At first I was all excited to have this be a ladies only event – with snack and coffee or something. But when I told A about it he got so excited about it that I now I feel kinda bad excluding the men and kids, so we will see. I am writing an e-mail to the team conference coordinator right now and we will see if anything comes of it. I will keep you posted.
*If anyone has organized a Frock Swap or has been a part of one and can offer advice, please let me know. I would love to pick your brain!
Bad Idea #1
For every three good ideas, I have to have a not so great one, right? This is more like a “what in the world was I thinking?” moment that I have multiple times everyday. The last time we were in the capital, I went shopping in a fabric bazaar with some friends. I was hoping to find fabric to recover some toeshacks (cushions that are like a couch on the floor) that we got from friends. I fell in love with this fabric.
|I am still in love with this fabric. It makes me so happy and it looks great in our dining/family room.|
But our yard is dirt, our son is a human dirtball, this whole country is dirt. WHAT WAS I THINKING!!! Every day, I sound like a broken record. Every day, “Little t, please don’t put your muddy feet on the toeshacks!” “Little t, please don’t wipe that jelly on the toeshacks.” “Little t, please don’t empty your pockets full of dirt on the toeshacks!” etc. etc. Poor Little t and poor toeshacks. They are slightly grungy, though they are holding up well. They will definitely have zippers sewn in soon so they can be taken off often and washed.
They are beautiful.
They make me happy.But I don’t know what I was thinking!
And just because I couldn't resist:
|No one will break into our house with this thug around!|