We’ve worked hard on this one….!

Slice of Life Challenge #Day30

We’ve been working hard over these past eight weeks to put this together.

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Every student in the school had a hand in painting some part of it.

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Of course, they didn’t know how it was all going to come together and neither did I really!

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Kindergarten classes painted giant flowers and other classes painted a town backdrop loosely based on brightly coloured Russian styled architecture.

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I even managed to include a few owls in a woodland setting.

Last week when the school had to close, I laminated and joined all the artwork up and it started to look promising. I then stapled it as a mural to the outside wall of one of our classrooms.

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Even if I say so myself, it’s stunningly bright and eyecatching! Unfortunately the shine caused by the lamination makes it hard to photograph successfully.

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Now I’m attaching photos of all our students, teachers, ex-students, visitors, anyone who has had anything to do with the school in random places…. it will be a kind of photo hide and seek, because these kids love to spot themselves and others in photos…!

The only question is….. when will they back to see the finished mural?

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When shopping became better than Netflix!

Slice of Life Challenge #Day 29

A dear friend of mine in Australia posted this on her facebook page yesterday and as I’m not in Australia right now or able to enjoy the current highs and lows of supermarket shopping anywhere, I asked her permission to use it for my slice today. She’s a wonderful writer and being a photographer as well, her photos have just captured the moment so perfectly!

Thanks, Anna, I think your shopping expedition is going to put a smile on a few faces today!

Saturday 28 March, 2020

Three weeks ago grocery shopping was boring. Three weeks ago I would write a meal plan, order the groceries online, get them delivered to my door while in my pyjamas, and maybe have a little whinge because they made a bad substitution choice.

Now going to Coles is better than a blockbuster thriller! You literally don’t know what’s going to be around the next corner. You thought you were having Spag Bog tonight, but think again, now it’s curried lentils on cauliflower rice!! You thought you were going to have to resort to using the shower after the toilet, but then you round the bend on aisle 11 and lo and behold, there is a mountain of 3 ply purple goodness, glimmering like an oasis in the desert. I don’t think I’ve ever walked out of the shops with such a sense of victory!!

There is nothing like scarcity to revive a heart of gratitude. In a land of plenty, I’m truly thankful for the reminder of how blessed we are.

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Meanwhile we just baked and had a slice each of our second home made loaf, possibly even better than the first one?!

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The mug was my attempt to show that this is a very decent sized loaf.

 

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Can we escape a midwinter spring?

Slice of Life Challenge #Day 28

I don’t pretend to understand T. S. Eliot and his poetry very well, but when one of his poems (part of the Four Quartets) popped up in my emails the other day, I read through it to try and fathom some meaning. Suddenly I was struck by some of its lines that somehow seemed to relate to this current crisis. They speak of  a midwinter spring coming too early, followed by snow blooming like blossom on the hedges, that later on will be covered with real may blossom.

Midwinter spring is its own season…..

If you came this way,
Taking the route you would be likely to take
From the place you would be likely to come from,
If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges
White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.

So this is my thoughts on our current ‘midwinter spring being its own season’

I think we are caught in a midwinter spring that alarms

Is it here to stay or will tomorrow bring a fresh freeze?

Footsteps cannot be retraced but can we learn from the pattern?

Are we about to step on treacherous ice, or dangerous soil?

Can we lift our eyes defiantly and see how nature deceives?

Can we boldly step onto fresh terrain and pick up the challenge?

 ………………………

Yes, I believe we can, I am sure of it,

We must pick up the pace without actually moving.

We need to confront and stand firm and hold our gaze

Until we look up and find the hedges white again with the sweet scent of may.

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Meet Honnette, a story of love and survival….

Slice of Life Challenge #Day 27

I hope this story will encourage everyone to realise that even though the odds seem stacked against us, it is possible to overcome!

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Let me introduce you to Honnette from Burundi. This darling little girl was born almost a year ago on March 29th. Her twin did not survive and she was brought to the clinic where our daughter Ruth was working as a volunteer midwife for just over a year. When she arrived she was about a month old and her prognosis was not good.

She weighed 1.25 kg (that’s less than 3 pounds) and her heart rate was very low for a baby. Her mum was trying to breastfeed her but couldn’t produce enough milk.

So she was given a nasogastric tube and fed with formula every two hours round the clock, with mum continuing to breastfeed her as well. She also had an infection and was being given antibiotics. Many people were praying for her, but no one was sure whether she would survive.

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My daughter caring for teeny tiny Honnette.

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It was touch and go for a while but slowly she started to gain weight.

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The local nurses also learnt how to give nasogastric feeds and the clinic was able to locate a better type of formula designed for premature babies.

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Her mum was allowed to take her home after six weeks at the clinic when her weight had stabilised at 2 kg (4 and a half pounds).

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The family was supplied with formula by the clinic and continued to breastfeed her as much as she was able. She brought her back to the clinic for regular checkups and Ruth and other staff made occasional home visits.

Just check out those liquid eyes and that smile! Despite her minute frame, this girl sure knows how to fight!

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She is still very small for her age but is healthy and thriving and about to celebrate her first birthday.

Happy birthday sweet Honnette!

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It’s so true that love can overcome, again and again…!

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My heart aches a little more today…

Slice of Life Challenge #Day 27

I don’t have a lot to say today, as I’ve left my slice again until too late in the day (resolution tomorrow, write early, not just before bed).

There’s a dog outside right now in the new stillness of the night (no more cars or trucks) and it’s barking in a whiny non-stop pleading sort of way that pretty much expresses my frustrated feeling. It’s also unbelievably grating as it won’t STOP!!

So my slice today is about the intense sadness I felt in my heart this morning, when I saw a procession of people, mostly men, walking along the road past our house and across the bridge with sacks or bags on their back. They are day labourers, who no longer have any work because of the lockdown and have been given a window of time to return to their home villages by the authorities. There is no public transport so they have to walk all the way. Some of their villages may only be a few miles away, but it was sad to see them go.

What is going to happen to them, how will they and their families get through this?

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We’ve heard that millions of workers in the major cities are in similar situations and are also going back to their villages, some of which may be hundreds of miles away, on foot. They came to the cities in search of employment and now it’s all dried up. They may be taking infection with them, but they’re certainly not taking hope or anything positive in this unfolding scenario.

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What does the future hold for these men and women? My heart aches for them…

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“It’s all in the kneading!”

PS. Circumstances also meant that the photo app on my laptop decided to foreclose on me last night and none of my photos would open or download. I felt that I needed them for this particular slice, but I was feeling too tired to do anything about it after several failed attempts, so went to bed.

Thankfully I’m on a different timeline from the US, so knew I’d have another opportunity early today (which is still yesterday for the majority of slicers!)

(ASIDE) This morning I googled a solution and it worked…! I have to say time and again I have thanked Google for solutions, even though people say not to make it your go to…. but in times like this, its ability to throw out possibilities, factual or not, never ceases to amaze me….!

Slice of Life Challenge #Day25

Circumstances mean we can’t get into the capital which is where we buy our bread every three weeks or so. The local bread is very soft and quite sweet and doesn’t taste like bread should. And who even knows, if it’s being baked anyway for the next 21 days?

I have some packet yeast and a few weeks back (nothing to do with the current situation) I decided to make a loaf. I have to say my attempts were a bit minimal even though the bread still tasted pretty good.

So yesterday (today when I originally wrote this) I got my husband to help with the kneading part. His hands are much stronger and more practically efficient than mine, so I thought it would help the end product!

Oh my goodness, it made all the difference! That ball of dough just rose and rose the first time around and then when it was shaped into a loaf it again doubled in size.

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After the second rising and ready for the oven!

Kneading is an incredibly therapeutic process, just the methodical pushing down, folding out and quarter turns, as the dough starts to elasticise and fill with air, thanks to you and the yeast, it’s truly thrilling! I know most commercial baking can’t do it like this any more, but I wonder if small business bakers still feel the delight and are more relaxed than most? I hope it never becomes mechanical to them…!

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Fresh out of the oven, it’s a winner (probably more than double my own pathetic attempts!)

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It’s not only therapeutic but tastes delicious…Now we just have to ration it unless I can source some more yeast in the next few weeks!

{Thanks to our daughter for the title quote which she made in her response to my WhatsApp photo of the loaf on our family WhatsApp group} Family is so precious right now!

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Today I choose to remember…..

Slice of Life Challenge #Day 24

Today I realise we are here for the foreseeable future, no way out, all flights cancelled as well as public transport and a virtual lockdown nationwide.

I will choose to remember the rays of sunshine peeping over the hill’s horizon and opening up our smiley flowers.

I will choose to watch the little bees buzzing slowly and with great concentration, sipping nectar from the centre of those opened petals.

I will choose to remember the sweet twittering refrain of the birds early this morning and again this evening, because it is so much quieter than usual. When I look up they are bustling in a small cloud of fluttering wings around the treetops.

I will choose to remember our small resident squirrel scuttering quick, slow, quick, quick, slow across the road, up our neighbour’s steps and then flowing effortlessly up into a tree in the school grounds. I’ve never seen him so out in the open for so long before.

I will choose to remember we have a dog and a cat here who are always available for petting, stroking, cuddles and conversations.

I will choose to remember my students’ sweet faces and their laughter spinning out across the playground and hope I get to see them again before too long.

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We are blessed!

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