Blessed by the Babushka #ukraine #nonfiction

We had one hour to do a frantic shop for items we could only get in Ukraine. The list from friends was rather long: Hand carved jewelry, stacking dolls, hand painted spoons …

“Mommy we are going to run out of time. Why don’t we split up?” My precocious thirteen year-old daughter suggested. I scanned the park with booth after booth of items for sale. The park was large and everything looked the same.

“No way!” I said in English knowing that my two girls could be swept away in a foreign land in a moment. My limited Russian would be unheard, my screaming in English heeded less.

“We will never be able to do it all.” My 10-year-old daughter chimed in.

“Then we will do what we can. First I have to get grivna out of the ATM.” I heard both the girls sigh as I dragged them quickly to a corner of the square.

“It will only take a moment. ” A moment I knew we did not have.

As I left the ATM machine, an elderly Babushka came into my vision. She was so frail and thin as she carried  a woven satchel of groceries that looked like it weighed more than she. With a weak but genuine smile, she looked right at me then at the girls.

Do you ever feel your hand magnetically reach for your wallet when you see someone poor and weak? I knew my husband (8000 miles away) would have growled at me. It didn’t matter. I felt the compelling need to help this frail woman.

I pulled out grivna and gave her the equivalent to  several weeks worth of food. I said a few words  in my very poorest Russian. The smile in her eyes could have lit the pavement. Then this woman put her tissue paper-thin hands on my girl’s heads and said a blessing. I didn’t understand all of what she said but I knew it came straight from the heart. She looked me in the eye with a toothless grin as she placed her hand against my cheek then she was gone! I felt touched with something indescribable.

I looked at my watch, we had to catch our bus to the airport in thirty minutes. The oddest thing happened- As we went to the different tents to check out what was for sale, it was as if a sea parted before us. Each kiosk had exactly what we were looking for and the price was less than we had planned.

A man ran to me as we were leaving and handed me a beautiful handmade wooden necklace. He gestured for me to wear it.  It reminded me of the beauty and strength of the Ukranian people and of the old woman.  I wondered if he knew the babushka.

I was not looking forward to the trip home. Two days of travel is grueling; add two young girls and an injury. (I had been injured in Crimea.)  It was just us We were from Odessa to Vienna to New York and finally LA. I felt like people kept looking out for us. A man helped carry my luggage into the plane. We needed to hail a taxi in Vienna and someone shared theirs with us. All along the way people were unusually thoughtful to the girls and I.

There had been a man trying to escape justice who had hidden in the luggage compartment on our plane out of Odessa. He was subdued (in Vienna) before he could be violent or set off whatever was in his duffle. None of the other passengers were hurt as the military took him down.

When I got home, I looked at the necklace hanging around my neck. ‘Oh Babushka you gave me so much more than I gave you. Your blessing got us safely home. Spasiba Bolshoi.’

******

I just wanted the reader to know that this short story is  true. I wrote this piece a number of years ago and archived it. Based on the current turmoil in Ukraine, I hope to send some blessings back.

The Ukrainian people are a strong, beautiful and creative people. How can anyone want to strip that from our world?

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Joy in Tears #Uganda #butterfly #children #goodbye

I waved goodbye to my little Bethany who has been my friend over many years and many countries. We tell stories about Jesus together. Today she chose to leave with a friend. Her name is Stella and she is nine years old. Stella and Bethany my la fofo will love village children together.

It’s hard not to shed a tear when my friend and I have shared so much. I am proud of Bethany that she willingly flew into Stella’s satchel for the trip to the village.

Goodbye Bethany. I love you!!!!

And to our dear Acoli family we say goodbye for now. Goodbyes hurt but we are joyful to love you!!!

Unlikely #photochallenge #uganda

Unlikely is this

magenta Fort backdrop

Nile sunset

 

If you know me, you know I have tried to work in Liberia, No. Africa, Congo and So. Africa.  I never thought of Uganda, the Nile or mosquito netting as my “likely.”

 

The photo challenge this week is “Unlikely”

These pictures are all taken at Fort Murchison. A beautiful get-away and great place to enjoy an African Safari.

One Way #Uganda

 

I have dotted my eyes

and crossed my teas

some of the animals

made me sneeze

what I hold now

happily in my hand

is a one way ticket

to a distant land

of Uganda I write

and hope to serve

the people Acholi

our love so deserve

 

As I close this A to Z challenge, I am finishing up the process and preparing to go to the land of the Acholi in Northern Uganda. This week we meet with people who will hopefully give us homes for  the South Sudanese children.

Blogging is a great way to journal so here’s the beginning of a new journey to work with African children.

We appreciate your dear prayers.

 T0 

 

Zebra #atozchallenge #Uganda

 

I can’t count your stripes

or see through the trees

white and black patterns

are camouflage it seems

There were no zebras on safari in Uganda. The ranger told us the herds in that part of the country had contracted disease but fortunately the zebras in other regions are alive and well. Funny thing I cant find a bit about the missing zebras in the news or any google search. Someone is behind the times or lines…

Cant believe that this marks the very end of the A to Z challenge.

 

Lake Victoria #atozchallenge #Uganda

Sunday picnic

families and friends relax

one day to enjoy

waters lap along the edge

one man is angry

chases another

friends laugh

drama in Africa

same all over the world

Lake Victoria is named after England’s queen – Victoria. It is the largest tropical lake in the world, it provides a livelihood for  people in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. It is the source of the Nile (in Jinja); there have been arguments over the years which country owns the Nile.

Pollution and over fishing are present day problems for Lake Victoria.

We are almost at the end of the A to Z Challenge. Many thanks to the people who make this possible each year.

The Case of the Absent Q #atozchallenge #Uganda #acholi

A beautiful language

almost like a song

letters and accents

sounds short, some long

*

this old tribal tongue

I looked hard didn’t see

the Q is missing

oh woe, woe is me

*

quite lost without questions

as are kings without Queens

kids never Quiet or Quick

a Quandary I can’t see

*

I’ll manage without Quakes

but Quiche a sad day

cold nights without Quilt

no Quails fly away

*

scribe’s Quill never broken

duck’s Quack you won’t hear

author never to be Quoted

Quinine Quashed dear , oh dear

*

and so I end

my absent Q song

grab a letter

sing along

In the spirit of a favorite writer Doctor Seuss, I ponder the case (with little or no quantum leap) of the lost or absent “Q”

Acholi Alphabet (thanks to Acholi-Luo folk Culture blog site)

 

Thanks to the A to Z folks for letting me have some fun today with the letter Q

 

Lions and …. Monkeys “Oh My” #uganda #atozchallenge

“Here kitty kitty”

I whisper from my seat

looking very un-edible

I don’t rise to my feet

I can hear her breathe

she waits still for her prey

her whiskers flick

not staying to play

*

Monkeys watch from the road

they will jump on your car

if you aren’t careful

they’ll be nearer than far

 

We enjoyed being a few feet away from the lioness. I was glad we were in a very large truck.

We were told not to provoke the monkeys (small and large). From our boat, we watched  a group of tourists (where we had been earlier in the day) being circled by baboons.

 

I continue to enjoy the A to Z challenge tho I got behind because of travel.

Photo of the lioness taken by my friend and host John Pipes.

 

Hut #Acholi #Uganda #atozchallenge

Big enough for two

ants compete with the size

kitchen outside

Sand castles

spring cleaning adds more rooms

fit for a king

I am off the grid for the next couple of days but will check back to see how y’all are doing. We didn’t dare to measure the ant hills but some appear to be as tall as a human and are elaborate as castles.

Enjoy the blog posts of fantastic bloggers at the A to Z challenge.

Memory’s Sandy Remnants #poetry #photography #travel

In my shoes lays a trace

little flecks of sand

carrying vibrant still

stories and songs

I miss my summer friends

In my pocket my fingers lace

reminders of a far off land

memory the fibers fill

days that lingered long

I miss my summer friends

In my heart a place

little flecks of sand

the hour glass is still

places where I’ve gone

alas the journey ends

shoes

Wishing each of you sandy memories…

Faith & Entropy

Gud skaper noko nytt ved sitt Ord og sin Ande, vi kan ta imot det i tru og få oppleve at han gjer sitt verk med oss. Hans skaparkraft verkar konstuktivt i våre liv og skaper noko som er verdifullt for oss. Naturkreftene verkar nedebrytande, i fylgje entropilova, men Gud er Ånd og det som er født av hans Ande består. Jesu frelsesverk er fullbrakt og fullkome. Han er den siste Adam, som er ifrå himmelen og som for oss har vorte ei livgjevande ånd. Han gjev oss den Heilage Ande frå himmelen av berre nåde. Han gjev oss det evige livet.

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