Thursday, August 4, 2016

Arts in the Middle East

Since my girls can't go out in the street and play like boys can, I've encouraged them to try some new things.  They have been pretty creative.

Above, you can see that Kylie taped a trash bag to the floor of her room and created a painting center for herself.

After seeing someone else personalize some canvases for other people, both of my girls decided to give it a try.

Kylie had mixed the paint to make a light brown and written a person's name in the local language on the canvas.  Since it looked like it needed something else, her dad helped by creating a stencil for her.  It was a short stencil so she would paint a section and then wait a while for it to dry before painting the next section.  I think they turned out great (even though I forgot to get pictures of the final, final products).

She also painted some canvases to look like our country's flag, and then she painted individual names across the middle.

Karis painted some ballerinas and scriptures on canvases, and they turned out beautifully, too.

Reading, painting, coloring, journaling, and "Just Dance" aren't always the best replacements for getting to play outside, but my girls are handling their new life with grace, even if it isn't always fun.

They do, however, get to dance at a studio a couple of times a week, and their teacher wanted to let them have a mini-performance for us since they didn't get to participate in the Spring recital.

It was very thoughtful of her.

The teacher held a mock-practice/performance for us for about one hour while she explained what they were doing at the barre and in center.

It was good for me, because I don't know much about ballet.

The lady in the middle is from Japan, and she is also in their class.  The other 6 people from their class had already left for the summer.

After the practice part, all the dancers left and put on pink tutus and came back to perform a dance en pointe for us.

And look who danced in front of my chair the whole time, imitating her sisters.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Final Photo Session of the Season

We visited one more house before noon.  After that, neighborhood families ate together, and then spent the rest of the day visiting family or...graveyards.

I was told that for a couple of days at the end of Ramazan, some nationals visit cemeteries.  I didn't get the full story, but I'm assuming it's to pray for relatives.

By the way, I know I have been saying "Ramazan" instead of "Ramadan," but they are they same thing.  "Ramazan" is just how our people say it in their language.

This last house had a LOT of relatives.  In fact, the lady who lives here wasn't even here at the time.  These were all of her daughters, nieces, and granddaughters.

And they were a photo-taking group!

This is just a small example of the amount of photo-taking that went on.

When we were all good and hot and seated in the sun/shade, the hostesses started really feeling bad because we were sweating so much.

The men were in an outside room with a swamp cooler.

One brave lady leaned in the men's room and asked if the guests (we ladies) could come in.

The men said, "Yes."

I went to the back of the room where Doug and Caleb were seated, but I only stayed about 2 minutes.  I realized quickly that I needed to sit at the front of the room, near the door, with the rest of the ladies.

Besides the Americans, four or 5 of the national ladies joined us in the room as well.

It was a fun, lively time, and we had quite the conversation about how much things cost us.

They were horrified when they found out how much we spent on "this" or "that," specifically the amount we paid to the tailors for the outfits we were wearing.  I think it's hard for them to understand that we Americans don't get the same rates or prices for things that they do.

It's very common to talk about money matters publicly, and I've repeatedly been told I pay too much rent.

First of all, rent is way lower than I would be paying in America, and secondly, it would have been very difficult to bargain a rent price the first week in the country when we knew no language.

Anyway, they started getting food ready for their family, and we knew it was time to leave.

Our two American families went our separate ways to eat lunch at our own houses.

It was such a full and rewarding day.  What a blessing to be invited into so many homes and meet so many people.  And even though it was the only day we got to celebrate the end of Ramazan, because the other two days they spend with family, it was well worth it.

Caleb went home with pockets of chocolates.

Most everyone had eaten so many snacks throughout the day that they weren't hungry, and I didn't have to cook lunch.

And after a long Ramazan season, many late nights in the bazaar, good conversations with neighbors, and our final hoorah, I took a much-needed nap.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Bye, Baby Bunting

House number 6 also had a well-respected family.  In fact, the lady of the house told us she had lived there for 35 years.  That's a long time to hold a "respected" reputation.

The men and women were separated outside and ushered into two different rooms.

Chocolates came around.  Then came sodas and juice.

I don't know how some people keep up this pace.

I don't think I had anything after the first house.

Of course, the first house had homemade baklava, so I pretty much ended on a good note.

Keira went off to play with two little girls who were playing dolls.

There was also a sweet little 1 year old sitting in her mom's lap with her two hands completely bandaged.  The day before, she had laid both of her palms, face down, on a hot kitchen burner.  Ouch!

But she was sitting quietly.  No whining.  No moaning.

Another lady entered with a young baby.  She also carried our equivalent of a pack 'n' play with her.

I've shown you this pictures from the bazaar of baby beds, but I had never seen one in action.  I certainly didn't think they traveled around with them. 

At first, when I saw the beds, I thought they might be just baby beds for dolls.

Then, I thought if they were for real babies, could they be safe??

Then, I saw this...I wanted to show you all the parts they add to the bed.  The grandmother is holding the baby in her arms in the front left of the photo, but the bed, as you can see, has a series of ties and strips that they use to cleverly secure the baby.

I felt odd taking a picture of it "in action," but when I see a baby of a mother I know better, I'll be sure to snap a photo (if I have my phone).

This is usually how I have seen babies travel, especially in cars.

There are handles attached to the side for easy carrying (and much lighter than a car carrier).

This reminds me of another story I forgot to tell you.

I was at the vegetable stand one morning, about to weigh my goods, when a car pulled up right in front, close to the curb, and a man hopped out with a basket like this.

BUT, imagine the above picture with TWO babies in the carrier, laid like a yin & yang.

One with his head at the top, and one with his head at the bottom.


He laid the basket on top of the veggie scale without asking the owners, and yelled back to the car the weight he saw on the digital reader.

Then, he laid the basket on the ground, took out one of his treasures and put it wrapped up like a burrito onto the cold, metal scale.

He yelled the weight back to the car of baby #1.  Then, he took out his second treasure and did the same thing.

Everyone laughed and smiled because one was so much smaller.

Then the proud dad grabbed his basket, slid in the passenger seat, put the basket on his lap, and the driver took off.

I was DYING that I didn't have my phone!

That will teach me to think that I'm going to have a normal experience when I go outside of my gate.

I had never seen a baby weighed on a flat, metal vegetable scale before; however, do you remember this proud dad?

Uganda had it's own unique way of weighing babies.

You can see it didn't affect her too badly...

She's just fine.

Sort of :)