Thursday, April 26, 2007

...The Week of Presents...

Sorry it's been a while! I always feel a little bit guilty when I don't update my blog and I cringe every time I open up my email account, lest I get one of those emails that says "I've noticed your blog updates have become a little sparse..." Never fear! I'm here, but have had a very busy weekend and last two weeks. The start of the final quarter here at school was very busy, but now I think I've re-adjusted to the pace and am ready to invest in the final push towards SUMMER BREAK! Yes, it's only 7 weeks away!

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a women's retreat up in the hills of Freetown - Leicester Peak, near the American Embassy (I kept those pictures off the net, just in case the government decides my blog is a threat to national security and shuts me down...) and the IMATT base. It was wonderful! Let me try to capture it for you...

Where I’m sitting right now is just gorgeous. I wish I could capture it for you. I am on a mountain, sitting in a garden, perched on a dark boulder baked by the sun. There is a breeze, a constant wind, really, that blows away the heat and humidity of the day. On my right is a flower bush bursting with fuchsia blossoms. On my left, a succulent shrub, more rocks, and some ancient moss-covered tree trunks.
From this hill you can see a great expanse of Freetown and the coast, and you can imagine a map of Africa and your current place on it. This is a place of peace, a convent, actually, and a discerning soul can sense the difference in this place.

The setting was beautiful, and it was a time to recharge. I played keyboard, we had study sessions and also small group times. During one time of prayer, someone prayed that I would receive 'presents' from God this week. When the week kicked off, I wasn't so sure that God had heard the request right - on Monday I received an email telling me that I didn't get the donning job I had applied for after all [insert shocked silence here] and I struggled to see how that was supposed to be a gift. But now, after a few days of perspective, I can see that it means I don't have to rush back to Halifax and I can take some more time at home with friends and family which will probably be a good thing - I was worried how I would fit it all in. Of course, I'm now not sure where I'm going to live, how I'll make ends meet, and on and on...but as Janet told me, "This is a chance to trust, Emily." Grrr. Fine. But I don't have to love it.

(Here is a picture of me, in case you might have forgotten what I look like. Oh. Still the same. Pfffth.)Tuesday was a ridiculously frustrating day. It started when the generator broke down at the school, meaning that I was teaching in stifling heat all afternoon and we were without power (ie: no air conditioning, lights, fans, computers, internet...) I couldn't do half of the things I wanted to and then, when I tried to find an internet cafe to use nothing worked at any of those either...until I went to my third one. Exasperation. But then, I managed to get online, looked up some new job info for when I move back to Halifax, and talked to a friend on MSN. The night turned out to be really productive, actually, so I suppose that can be seen as a blessing.

Yesterday my gifts were clearly identifiable. I had great communication with friends from home - a wonderful letter, a phone call from Jeff (thanks!), and also a phone call from Hanneke (she's coming to visit in just over 6 weeks!!). I also attended a bible study planning meeting...apparently next week bible study is going to be at my house....hmm. But I get to play keyboard! So, all is well. Also, I set up an 'exercise date' with a friend for Friday morning...I know...exercise. Don't worry, it's just a passing phase. Yesterday was a good day - definitely a good gift. It's nice when I don't have to look for the silver lining, but can appreciate the silver platter (right, Tasha?)

And so that is me, this week. A good week, I think, after all. Tomorrow is Sierra Leone Independence day which means NO SCHOOL! I have a holiday, Merry Christmas to me! I'm not sure what I'm going to do, but it involves sleeping in.

Finally, to leave you with a picture - this is an Ethiopian Hunger Cloth that was displayed at the convent I stayed at over the weekend. It was beautiful and simple. There is an explanation underneath, and you should be able to click on it to enlarge the picture to read the text. I also have some information that explains the different pictures on the cloth, but didn't want to post them all here. If you'd like to see them, ask and I can email them to you.

Have a wonderful weekend!


At 10:02 PM, Blogger Paul said...

I'm a college student from the US and will be spending the summer in Freetown working/teaching at iEARN SL, a youth-oriented NGO (maybe you've heard of them). Anyways, the project website is and I would love to see what you think of it, having been in Freetown - any comments/thoughts/criticisms are welcome. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog the last few months - great work!

Paul Dixon

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Emily said...

Hi Paul,

I'll check out the website, thanks for the feedback. I'll let you know what I think (you know, in my professional opinion. Ha!)



PS: Have heard of iEarn - what are the dates you will be here?


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