Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More than a doll

We went to our last pre-natal class last night. They taught us to swaddle babies and bathe babies and breastfeed babies and attend to babies' (minor) medical needs (John asked about a gushing leg wound and they said just to go straight to emergency for that!) I got really emotional with the doll - talking to him and wanting to hug him. I can't imagine what I'll be like with our own son. It's just so amazing to imagine that he will be us - a part of us and with us forever. Ah, God is good.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

When the words won't come

I'm an "emoter" and a "sharer." I don't have a problem sharing my feelings, because I wear my heart on my sleeve. So it's frustrating when I can't express what I want to. This morning we were asked to share about our Zimbabwean experience at THQ (where we work). I worked on my little 8 minute talk for hours. I knew I didn't have a lot of time, so I tried to cram in as much as I could. And I couldn't express it. I couldn't express what life was really like or the various stresses. I couldn't explain that ever-present joy mixed with sadness. I couldn't express how much I admire the people there, and I couldn't express what our relationships were like. I tried to create the mood of what the praise is like - the singing and dancing and exuberant joy. But I couldn't. I sing differently now. It's like I've lost my Zimbabwean voice. I was so committed to not forgetting; to remembering well. But I don't know how to honour my experience and all the courageous people I met. Life there was just so very, very different than life here.

In baby news... all is well. 3 weeks to go. Yesterday we had an ultrasound and learned that our little boy is already a great size and moving a lot. I can't wait to meet him.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thankful for voting

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving. We had a busy weekend, and Thanksgiving kind of came and went rather quickly this year. It's a shame, because it's such an amazing holiday - a chance to thank God for the hundreds of thousands of blessings in your life. I could talk all day about all the things I am thankful for (including the fact that I have our BABY growing inside of me, and that I am not worried about dying in childbirth!)

One reason I'm thankful today is that I was able to walk into a school across from our apartment to vote. No one intimidated me, no one beat me or threatened to kill me. No one noted my presence so they could attack me later on. I just got to calmly walk into the school, go behind a secret booth and place my little checkmark beside the name of the candidate I want. I find Canadian politics a little boring, but I have to vote. Voting freely is a privilege that hundreds of my friends would love the chance for.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mother and Daughter

"My own daughter came back with two children from that abuse inflicted on her by the rebels. She was 14 when she was taken and she came back after eight years. I am sure in your country, a child goes missing (pause), let’s say a parent goes to pick a child from school and he is not there. Five minutes is enough for that parent to panic. But eight years I have been waiting, knowing very well what the rebels do, their brutality... Every day we were wondering, “Has the child died today? Has she been injured? Is she bleeding to death? Has she been abandoned in the bush alone? Has she been killed and her body is rotting somewhere?"

"For the past eight years I have been in the bush. I was totally cut off from the world. It’s like being put in a tomb, you are still breathing, but you are in there. In the bush it was always horrible. I didn’t understand at first what they were talking about, you know, someone very old, in his late 50s. You cannot imagine. I thought maybe he was out of his head, not joking, because I have never seen any of them joking. But after that, they just have to tie you up and somebody rapes you, just like that. I was always, always afraid they might ask me to kill somebody, I was always, always afraid to do that. One day some girl tried to escape, and they asked us, all 30 of us girls to come. We went there not knowing what was going to happen. They gave us all big sticks and they ordered us to beat her to death. We could not imagine doing this and we refused, we refused... we refused, but, we were beaten so badly, to the extent that we all had to beat her to death and so we did... There was no day when you would get up and smile to see the sun rise, because everyday you would think, maybe today, maybe today will be the end of me."

Young woman abducted at 14 years of age and given as a forced wife to an LRA commander. She is the daughter of the woman quoted above.

Life can be so sobering. Last May I went to Gulu, Northern Uganda and met brave, beautiful young women who had been forced to marry LRA members; others to march around in the bush and fight. They're not just statistics. They're real people - mothers and daughters... waiting to be reunited.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Talking to God

I've been thinking a lot about human trafficking in the last couple of months, because it's the social issue that I'm working on. There was a series of articles about trafficking in the Sun this week. Monday's article really moved me. It was about how Aboriginals are affected disproportionately by sexual trafficking in Canada. Aboriginal youth are only 3 - 5% of the Canadian population, and yet they can be 90% of the visible sex trade in this country. 75% of young Aboriginal women are sexually abused before they are 18. They're trafficked into the sex industry at the ages of 7 - 12. In some places, the sex industry is so racialized that Aboriginal women are solicited when they are just on a smoke break outside of their workplace. I can't imagine. It's shameful. These women and children need to be treated with dignity and respect, and they need healing and prayer.

Last weekend was an international weekend of prayer for victims of sexual trafficking, so all across the world, people in The Salvation Army gathered to pray about it. I organized services at my work and at church, and it felt powerful to be praying alongside brothers, sisters, mothers and daughters all around the world. Prayer is powerful.

I'm trying to make a decision about something right now, and it's bothering me that I'm spending so much time thinking and mulling over the options. I just chatted with my brother, and he asked "did you pray about it?" I should have. But when I tried, the issue just seemed so insignificant to bother God about! Oh, I know God wants us to come to Him with everything, and that He can listen to all things at once. But I don't know... sometimes I wonder if we're being a bit irreverant by asking God to decide for us about "little things." There are such big things that need attention!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Well, yesterday was something else, eh? The start of Eid for the Muslims (and the end of all of that Ramadan fasting) and Rosh Hashanah (new year) for the Jews. It was also the International Day for Older Persons yesterday. Talk about celebrations! When we walked to work yesterday morning, the normally empty (apart from pigeons) mall parking lot was jam-packed with cars (since it is the biggest parking lot close to the mosque). I felt like we should go attend, but I didn't know how that would go over. I always want to say "Salaam Alaykum" in the elevator too (since everyone says that to each other) but I don't know how it would go over. An Iranian friend told me in university that I speak too cheerfully to appear respectful in Arabic. So I'm a bit self-conscious. At lunchtime yesterday we saw a bunch of kids chowing down on pizza - enjoying food and the holiday for eid. It's quite a discipline for families to fast for a whole month - I admire that. I must admit, I felt a little left out with all the celebrations, and not fitting into any of the categories. So I went for supper with my best friend to celebrate... friendship and that was nice too! It was my Grandma's birthday yesterday too. She's a remarkable lady who just turned 83. One year younger than President Mugabe. It's hard to believe he still wants to run a country at that age...

I miss seeing my toes and being able to throw on "anything." But my son tickled me yesterday afternoon and it made me laugh so hard! It's worth it...