I went over to the George Benson dorms the other night to hang out and talk to some of the college girls. I went into my friend Chipo’s room and some of us American girls just sat down and talked with her for about an hour or so. She made a statement about a particular lotion that her roommate was using that was sitting out on the desk. She said that she really did not like the lotion at all. One of us asked her why she disliked it so much. She said that she didn’t like it because it lightened the skin. She said that in Africa, lighter skin is seen as more beautiful. Chipo said how she wished girls here loved their skin color the way she does and embrace the way that God made them. She asked us if we ever used that kind of lotion and we said that we had not. She asked us if we liked light skin and we explained to her that in America we have lotions that make someone skin darker instead of lighter. She kept asking us questions like why we would want darker skin when our skin is already so beautiful and shouldn’t we be okay with the skin we have already. We tried to explain to her about how the media in America says that darker skin is more beautiful than lighter skin and how so many girls and boys have bought into that lie that has been fed to us.
This really made me think about the different value that people put on beauty worldwide. In Africa, lighter skin is deemed more beautiful while in America, the more tan the skin is the more it is seen as beautiful. Another difference is that in America, the skinnier a person is the more “beautiful” that person is. In most of the world, it is not this way but actually quite different. In the rest of the world, the bigger a person is, the more beautiful and valuable they are seen.
We also taught her the game of “nose goes”. She loved it and wanted to play it while we were there. She asked us what languages we knew and so we taught her some Spanish and any other language that we knew. I taught her a couple of phrases in French and Kristen taught her some Swahili. She told us that “jambo” which mean hello in Swahili means a garden hoe in Chitonga. She is such a sweet girl and so easy to talk to. I hope to go spend more and more time with her in the last 2.5 weeks that we are here.
We just lost another baby today. Trey died tonight around 5ish. Im so tired of being so upset over babies dying that Ive made myself so numb to death. I hate being this way because I know it is not good for me to keep everything bottled up but im so tired of being so heartbroken and feeling that no matter what we do, its not enough.
Trey began getting ill really on October 4th. We had to put a feeding tube in because he wouldn’t eat. He got better and gained back the weight back that he lost and then some. We went to NW Zambia and when we came back, he looked a lot better. He was gaining weight but then last week, he started looking really bad again. He was barely taking a bottle, having diarrhea every couple of minutes and therefore was extremely dehydrated and wasn’t getting much from his bottle. Yesterday, he started expending more energy eating than he was actually getting from the bottle. He was put on another feeding tube yesterday afternoon around 4. He died today.
I don’t know what to feel anymore. Im tired of the babies dying but Im at a point where its so much easier to just not feel the hurt. I don’t want to be numb. I want to be able to grieve in the correct way for all these babies.
We have another baby, Nathan, who we are pretty sure has malaria. He is so sick and was put on an IV tonight to make sure he is getting electrolytes because he is so dehydrated. He is at the Megans house tonight because Ba Janice and Dr Black were not comfortable with leaving him up at the havens over night. I just laid by him tonight while he was falling asleep. I just cant help thinking about all that these little babies could be when they grow up and that they wont be able to have a full life. He has already battled measles and TB this year and is now trying to battle malaria. He is a fighter. Im praying that he continues to fight, no matter what.
We found out today that another baby, Lincoln, is HIV+. Being HIV+, there is a great chance that he will not reach his 5th birthday.
I went up to the basic school today with Natalie, Emily and Shelby. We were walked in and the teachers said "they are all yours" and left!!
Natalie and I taught a class together and she taught about flowers since that was what our art project was for the day. She went over the different parts and functions of the plant and what it needs to survive. We then made tissue paper and pipe cleaner flowers and the kids loved it! I was in charge of teaching math so we covered addition, subtraction, multiplication and long division. I also went over different shapes such as a square, rectangle, hexagon, pentagon and a triangle and how you can identify each one. The last thing we did was cover fractions and the kids understood it very well! At the end, we had them clean up the room and then I handed out some pencils that my mom had sent me! They were so excited to get new pencils! After that, we walked over to Erics House and then to the havens. We sat around and held babies for about 45 minutes. We had our traditional meal for lunch. Ive decided that im just not a big fan of nsmia. I hate having to eat it. I went on outreach this weekend and we were fed nsmia. They gave up a HUGE portion of it and you have to eat it. We were being watched and so we had to eat it. We were imagining it was other foods such as: french fries, cheeseburger, apple, taco, sandwich, CHICKEN BISCUIT. The chicken biscuit was just torture. Us Harding students LOVE our chicken biscuits (or in my case chicken minis) and instead of helping the situation it just made us want a chicken biscuit so badly!