Saturday, September 15, 2007

Literacy work?

This morning Beth and I went shopping. We went to a “mall” type place – and it was hard to figure out what country I was in. It was very modern – not as nice as Thailand mall, or even American mall, but still very clean, and 3-4 stories tall. We first tried to the ATM machine. It actually gave us the option of having money in dollars or Dry Land money! I am still really amazing how much dollars are used here. In one store, the man didn’t have change in his currency, so he offered me a $5.00 bill in return. Anyway, we tried various amounts with my LFCU card, but nothing worked. We then tried the “fast cash” option with the WSFS card, and that worked – twice! And it worked for asking for Dry Land money too. That was great!

Then we went to a few stores that all sold similar things – carpets, bags, jewelry, blue glass stuff, antique looking things. We saw a plane made from bullets – that was interesting. It was $15.00, otherwise I might have gotten it. We got a few things, including a map from a kid on the street. He was selling Dry Land maps, and I really wanted one, so I got one. I let him follow us around for a while, and he slowly came down in the price, then I got it. It’s perhaps not the most up-to-date map, but still gives a good idea of where I am and where I’m going to, and what’s in-between.

In one store, some foreigners came in with what seemed to be a personal body guard. He wasn’t from Dry Land, but wasn’t American either. They were speaking sometimes in Dari, but most of the time in another language. Anyway, the guard had at least two guns visible. They could have been UN type people or other humanitarian aid folks- there are a lot of them here.

After shopping, we went back home. Then we went to another Workers home. I stayed there maybe 4 hours. Another couple was there (and their two daughters). They all had a lot of questions about One-Story and how it works, etc. mainly because he’s been asked to recommend an assignment location for a one-story team here. And he said, “We keep hearing about this storying stuff, but aren’t sure how it all works- and you’re the first person we’ve actually met whose done it!” I tried to fill them in as best I could. The wife and I then talked for most the rest of the afternoon. Her oldest children came home from school (the two oldest are taking a few classes at the international school this year). It was neat talking with her 17 year old daughter some – who really grew up 14 years of her life in a neighboring country. Vicki shared with me their passion for H people and even about some trips they made to villages between here and another city. It was interesting to hear her talk about the traveling by land. She encouraged me to consider working in that area. She asked if I was interested in literacy work. I said, “well, I’m not NOT interested in it…” We talked about it for a while, and talked about the potential additional schooling I might need to have to do it. That didn’t appeal to me. But then Vicki said it might not be necessary if the background on the language has already been compiled, etc…It was interesting hearing her stories.

They were in a neighboring country for 14 years and working on a Book for H people. They also did some stories a few years ago when the idea of storying reached them. They didn’t do it exactly the one-story way, but still did it. I was encouraged by that. They said they were planning to stay in the neighboring country their whole lives, but didn’t get another renewal on their visa this last time, so they had to leave. The government basically told them, “you’ve been here long enough.” So they and their 5 kids had to leave. Vicki said it was really hard for them. They’ve now been here in the capitol for 3 years. They’re still trying to keep up their H work from here – and there are many H people in Dry Land. Actually most of the H workers in their previous country were from Dry Land – refugees from Dry Land. She said two of the families have moved back to Dry Land so that’s been neat to reconnect with them in this country.

Their role in the capitol is to provide support for new teams/individuals – like me! She said their company wanted there to be someone in country to provide supervision and support for folks working here.

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