Welcome to a day in the life of… well… us. We recently spent a week in the village, and I spent an entire day walking around with my phone in my hand, taking pictures of everything we do in a day. Disclaimer: All our days are not the same, but this general picture gives a decent idea of where we are, what we do and what it looks like. I missed a lot of moments during the day, simply because I either forgot to photograph it, or had my hands too full to still hold a phone. I will try to fill in the lost moments as best I can – using my words to paint the picture. Ready? Let’s go!
It is somewhere between 5am & 6 am, the kids start stirring in their beds next to ours. Because it’s winter, it is still dark and quite cold. Someone (Brown eyes) gets up to fill the kettle and make some tea. We have electricity in the base house which is such a luxury – everything happens a little faster and is whole lot easier. When the tea is made we all watch the sunrise and spend some quality time as a family – reading devotionals and the word, praying, chatting.
We quickly get dressed and tidy up our beds – the rooms are small so there is no space for mess 😉
We don’t have cupboards so we live out of our suitcases and I make sure that they are kept neat and in order as much as possible. When packing our bags I make sets of clothing for each day and roll them up together, so each morning I take out the roll for that day and that’s that – no scratching around and upsetting things. Once all of that is done and in place we move out to the kitchen. The kids play while I get breakfast ready. Brown eyes will usually use this time to check his work emails and catch up on some admin before the day starts.
Brushing our teeth is an event on its own – We grab a cup of water and head outside as we don’t have a bathroom. The kids still find this exciting and have spitting competitions every morning (I know, I know… not the best mannered way of doing it, but oh well – it’s the little joys that make happy kids).
When we are all cleaned up we grab our bibles, water bottles and jackets and head out to the neighbouring village for morning prayer.
The village isn’t too far, but the roads are quite bad so it takes about 20/25 mins to get there. Our little warrior uses this time to read his bible. He loves reading, he always has, and we made it a rule that they are only allowed to take their bibles to these meetings, so he has gotten into the habit of reading his bible on the way there, during the meeting, and on the way back. I LOVE that he is filling his mind and heart with so much of the word.
We usually arrive in the village around 8am – we gather with our leaders and spend a few hours sharing our hearts, praying for each other and the villages, sharing the word and building our faith.
Most moms reading this will immediately wonder about what our kids do in this time, and as I mentioned above, we don’t allow anything with them but their bibles (yes, even for the 3 year old). This is an amazing opportunity to teach them to engage in worship and prayer, and they do. Our little song will sometimes wander around the room and sit on various laps, page through her picture bible or just be. She certainly has her easy mornings and her hard mornings, and when it is hard for her to “just be” I put her on my lap and have whisper conversations with her about what we see outside the door, or the bible stories she has been looking at etc. Sometimes she just has to sit and wait, and that’s okay. It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s okay – Patience is a skill and a characteristic that I value, and I believe in teaching and promoting it. Our warrior will spend this entire time reading his bible, and that is what these times are all about.
We head back home after the meeting and the meeting on this specific morning was a little longer than usual, so we arrived at the base around 11:30. I quickly cleaned up our breakfast dishes (and that of the night before) and made lunch while Brown eyes checked his work emails and the kids played outside. After our lunch we had a few errands to run in the nearest town, and this isn’t common for our days in the village – it happens once in a while, but it happened to be the day that I was basing this post on. We realised that we would need fuel soon, and we needed a few things from the hardware store for maintenance on the property. I didn’t take any photos while in town, but the entire trip took us about an hour so we were home between 13:00 and 13:30. Our Song doesn’t usually take naps anymore but she fell asleep on the way back to the base so I left her to sleep a little more.
When she woke up we had a snack of tea and home made rusks, I caught up on the dishes and they played some more. On a normal day at the base this would be the time that we do our homeschooling, but we were taking a break while waiting for a new curriculum to arrive, so I just let them play and I took some quiet time for myself while Brown eyes once again caught up on some work.
After this I headed outside with the kids to play with them for a while before our afternoon meeting. We played for about an hour and then got ready and walked over to our rented church building for afternoon bible study and prayer. On this specific afternoon there weren’t many people, but we love the small intimate gatherings just as much as the big busy ones. There is always purpose in however many people show up, and we teach and pray for the 1 just the same as we would have done for the 99.
Afternoon meetings like this often end up with a couple of people having tea together back at the base, and the tea party will again often lead to another bible study and prayer session. So after 6pm that evening Brown eyes took everyone home and stopped at the water point to fill our water bottles for bath time. This is something that I don’t have any photos of yet, but the village has a central water point where everyone fills up their buckets or bottles, as we don’t have running water in the houses. While he was doing that, I quickly started making supper for the hungry tummies who have been running around outside with their friends since the church meeting moved to our house earlier. Bath time and supper time happen rather simultaneously, so it was part of the day where I didn’t photograph enough. Fetching the water, heating the water, preparing our food and bathing the kids all happen in a blur and by 19:30ish it is all finished and the kids are in bed and Brown eyes and I enjoy a cup of tea together before heading to bed ourselves. It is quite common for us to be asleep already by around 20:30 as the village is so quiet and very dark.
Something I didn’t share earlier in the post, but that we make use of OFTEN during the day, is the loo. For those that haven’t experienced it yet, we have a longdrop on our property, and it is quite a walk from the house (if compared to having a bathroom inside your house). This is something that I was petrified of when we first came to the village. I had never needed to use a longdrop before in my life, so it was new to me, and the deep dark hole in the spider infested little house was a fear that I simply had to overcome. And I am happy to report that I did 🙂 And also the spiders have been annihilated.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, our days don’t always look the same. This post gives a general idea, but the days are all so very different. We have 8 villages that are visited during our stays at the base, we have prayer and church meetings in these villages, sometimes crusades or “house to house” visits. When we are at the base there is a constant flow of people checking in for tea and kids playing outside with cars and trucks and building blocks and cricket balls. As I mentioned before, the base and the rented property both require some maintenance or upgrades, so when Brown eyes isn’t working or teaching, he is busy with that. I clean, cook, play and homeschool. The routine is never the same, and the schedules are often changed as we receive information of someone maybe being sick and needing prayer, or someone that lost a family member and in need of comfort. Something else that used to be a shock to our systems but we have grown into, is how long things take… Simply because the roads are bad, the villages are far, and our visits are never hit and run. We will easily visit 2 – 3 houses per village visit, and often these visits lead us to more people in need of prayer or support. So the key is flexibility and patience and a willingness to serve and love at all times. A smile on your face and some snacks in a bag really go a long way on these trips. And what always stays the same regardless of how much the schedule changes, is that we pray. We always pray, we always sing, we always love.
We always aim to carry and share (and always in turn receive a blessing of) Pockets of Beauty on our journeys ❤