Saturday, September 4, 2010

Things you should know about our first two weeks in Sudan

· We have sat through a series of epic meetings, many of which were longer than Avatar. I need you to imagine every day sitting through Avatar two or three times, all the while fully aware that there are things that feel much more important than watching Avatar, but you know that for those things to go well you have to keep watching Avatar. But as a result, we will soon have a weekly schedule for our administrative staff, we are revising the job descriptions for many of them to take advantage of people’s unique skills, we have developed a fundraising plan for the children’s home to reach full funding and become more self-sufficient, we have prepared enough rooms in the children’s new home that the kids will be able to move in once we have color paint, and we have now literacy tested every one of our 60 kids.
· Sarah has drawn up a plan for her first garden, which will be located right outside of our house. In the picture you can see that she has already begun composting to prepare for planting.

BTW, doesn't our house look totally comfy?

· I have not yet shaved my face, except for above and below my lips. The amount of facial hair I have grown is so embarrassingly little that I will not take a photo of it. Sarah does not like said facial hair and says that I look like an ugly version of Wolverine. We still love each other, though. I know this because it was verified yesterday by 11-year-old Lily Jane in an exchange that went something like this:
Lily: Seth, you love Sarah?
Me: Yes. I love Sarah. I love Sarah so much.
Lily: Sarah also say she love you! (squeals of delight)
· She has also begun training our two monkeys, with some early success. The young children now know that if the male monkey, Johnny Cash, runs at them they should sternly shout “NO!” and if he continues they should throw a rock at him. Some of them also believe they should then beat him with a stick. Needless to say, Johnny Cash is becoming aware that he is not the head monkey on this compound.
· On Thursday, a very hospitable man with kind of creepy eyes approached me in the market and offered to help me find everything I needed. I kindly declined his help, because I like to find my footing in the market on my own (which on this day resulted in me finding the much coveted Carnation Drinking Chocolate). He asked me where I was staying, I told him, and then yesterday he just randomly showed up while I was speaking with some of our boys – reminding me again just how much we need a fence. I kindly told him that he couldn’t just show up and escorted him off of the premises, again kindly. When I returned, the boys informed me that, “this man is a very bad man.” The phrase “bad man” could mean someone who drinks too much or gets into fights, but in this case, they informed me, it means something more. “He is a murderer who hangs men by their necks.” Alright, then. For some reason, the real unsavory characters always find me. It’s good to have some friends in town.
· Our dog, Simba, has lost half of his eye in a fight. Simba is truly disgusting, and for your sake I am not including a photo of him.
· For good measure, on Thursday I put Awilo on the roof of one of the houses. 
What 8-year-old doesn't love crawling around like a monkey on a tin roof on a hot day?
He promised me that he would jump down when he grew tired of being on the roof, and I promised him that when he jumped I would catch him. It is worth noting that this exact same set of promises was made in 2008, and when the time came what really happened was Awilo tried to work up the courage, failed to do so, and sat on the edge of the roof crying until I climbed up on a chair and pulled him down (some of you are now thinking, “should this guy really be in charge of 60 children?” I respond, “this is why it’s only an interim appointment.”) You will be gratified to know that this time, Awilo held up his end of the bargain, and you will be further gratified to know that I held up mine.


  1. When I hear the word Avatar my mind first goes to the Last Airbender series, so i was thoroughly confused how you were having 21 hour meetings ( it was 3 seasons). Then after doing some basic math I realized you were being culturally relevant to the masses. I think you should walk around saying Bub and make the sound "Snikt" when you are angry. Miss you tons especially when driving by a Pho place.

  2. When you are swamped with offers to turn your blog into a book, let it be known that I offered my services FIRST!!!