Monday, December 11, 2017

It's the Little Things

 It's the little things that make a difference

Keeping in Touch with People is different in different Cultures

So I left my home and everything needing to be done and walked over to my American neighbors, just to say “Hi”. I arrived at the door and said “good morning”. “Oh hi there, do you need anything?” “No”, I said, "I just wanted to say good morning to you."  “Ah, ok", he said. I stood there outside, felt I was disturbing as he was working on his computer and then said good bye and left.

When I go to an Ivorian home and arrive at their court yard and say my greetings, they immediately ask me to come in and have a seat. They offer me a drink and then only ask me how I am doing and what kind of news I am bringing. I am always answering it’s good news and I just came to greet you. In Dioula: "Jug man té, forlilo". And we sit and talk a bit and then I ask to leave and continue my chores.

It’s very important to greet each other without a hurry and to see if everyone is ok. Also to call close friends on the phone regularly, not for long conversations, but just to say “hi” and letting them know that you are thinking of them.

I like that a lot about West Africa!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Different Cultures – Different Holidays

and how it all mixes together

Didn’t realize how important “Thanksgiving” is to my US American family and friends. Having grown up in Germany, I had never heard about Thanksgiving. It's such a beautiful celebration about remembering how two different cultures helped each other out and shared what God provided! It's a national holiday every 4th Thursday in November in the USA.

My first Thanksgiving, I celebrated in Kenia, with a Missionary Team, when I happened to be on a short-term mission trip, many years ago. What bothered me though was, that I got a German Email on Friday from a shoe company saying: “Der schwarze Freitag hat auch bei uns zugeschlagen” 30% auf Birkenstock. ( Black Friday has also hit us) I asked myself in German: What is Black Friday please?

We were in Kong this past Thursday, Thanksgiving day, with our Coulibaly Family and enjoyed being together. They prepared delicious food for us.

The next holiday in all the Christian World is Christmas. I guess it’s also celebrated in the non-Christian World. But not in Kong. In Islam and for our muslim family and friends “Mahoudi/Mawlid” will be celebrated next, from the evening of November 30 to the evening of December 1st this year. A big celebration of Mohamed’s birth where women getting ready to buy beautiful outfits. Such as it’s true with most holidays here in Côte d’Ivoire. The whole town is organizing and doing a parade, like it’s done in the US on the 4th July. Family and friends from all over the nation will be arriving in Kong to celebrate.

With all celebration goes delicious and special food and drinks, fellowship with family and friends and giving gifts. What’s important though is to remember why we celebrate and tell the story and always thanking God for his faithfulness and love.

A friend of mine just sent me a video where her German/American daughter is cooking a Thanksgiving meal with her German friend. So creative and good!

Clara und Carolin kochen für Thanksgiving 

The Menu
mashed potatoes
sweet potatoes
süße Kartoffeln
cranberry sauce
Cranberry Soße
sweet corn
süßer Mais
pumpkin pie

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Spring 2017 Reflections and Notes

1. Language study is a very slow process.

It takes so much repeating until I am able to remember. And even if I am remembering the word and it’s meaning that doesn’t mean that I am able to talk correctly. But it all counts.

As Emily said when she shared about the hardest part of everything: “All the work you’re doing towards that thing you’re doing, the tiny steps forward, the little bit here and there, the embarrassment of what feels like failure, the lack of recognition, the waiting and listening: it all counts. Nothing is wasted.

Talking to a friend in Berlin via WhatsApp, while having a cold coke and some chips in the shade of a tiny grocery store does wonders for a short break of language study.

2. I learned a lot about the Néré season 

The Nére tree produces beans which are harvested in March/April. I learned how the Néré seeds are processed to be a delicious spice put into a sauce. Soumbara it’s called when all cooked and dried up again. It’s hight in protein and very good for you but has a strange smell about it.

3. Food preparation in West Africa involves a lot of physical work. 

But it’s the Sport and some times even compares with Yoga. I described it here a bit. In the last several months, I’ve learned a lot from my neighbor ladies as I worked beside them. I have got a lot of respect for them. I admire their courage and their humor.

4. What it means to be a widow in Islam -

I got to know two young widows during their grieving time. They were sitting in their room with their mother and grandmother in law for 4 months; not allowed to go any where, wearing a white cloths wrapped around their bodies. It was so hard and I shared a bit more here.

5. In the light of eternity we are all the least

I was listening to Shannan Martin's book "Falling Free"As Jesus was mentioning "The Least" in Matthew 25,40, Shannan asked a very interesting question. What does that mean? If I am referring to some one as the least what does that make me? Us? Them?
The much better? The luckier? Fancier? Cleaner? What? 

Generosity is a condition of the heart not of the wallet. To losen my grip on my time, belongings, etc. To really listen and try to learn is truly following Jesus. God called us all His, it made us a family. As our circles widens our grip loosens.