Bird on a Bare Branch

Attempting to fling a frail song in my little corner of the world

On Short-Term Missions December 28, 2011

Filed under: Faith — Jen @ 8:46 pm

I wish churches (and youth groups and parachurch organizations) would start paying attention to THIS and thoughtfully reassess how they do missions.




Photo #88 December 7, 2011

Filed under: Pictures — Jen @ 4:54 am

One thing I wish I had done more of in Mozambique was visit Oasis’ other team projects.  I was able to visit a couple, including going with the Kids Clubs team one day to an orphanage for one of their weekly club meetings.  The club is only for children over age five, but there was a handful of younger kids who were hanging around trying to get in on the activities.  I ended up spending most of my afternoon with them.  It was a group of mostly boys, all about four-years-old.  They were all energy.  Even when they were trying hard to “be good” and follow directions like the older kids, they couldn’t sit still.  And while Mozambican adults don’t usually appreciate having their pictures taken, kids always hammed it up for the camera.


Photo #87 November 29, 2011

Filed under: Pictures — Jen @ 1:53 am

Hmmm, I’m not sure this is my favorite photo since it brings back somewhat painful memories, but it did also make me laugh remembering what I used to wake up early on research mornings to do.


That is a giant roll of bologna.  Bright pink and easy to slice through, although sometimes is makes you want to gag a little because there’s just so much of it.  On mornings that I ran workshops (for research) in schools, I would wake up early to walk down to the bakery on the corner with my plastic bags and exact change and buy however many rolls I needed for the day.  Then I’d return home to slice bologna, cut rolls, butter them, and make bologna sandwiches for the students.  I’d also mix up bottles of a Kool-Aid type drink.


The funnier part is that usually by the time the workshops were over, I was pretty hungry for a bologna sandwich and bright purple juice!


Photo #86 November 23, 2011

Filed under: Pictures — Jen @ 5:25 pm

Those are my colleagues.  And that’s us moving offices.  Yep, it was perfectly safe for them to be riding in the back of the truck like that.  That’s how it’s done in Moz. 🙂


Photo #86

Filed under: Pictures — Jen @ 12:04 am

This is one of my favorite Moz photos ever.  It captures so much of our home:  laundry drying on the balcony, the flowery satin curtains, our ridiculously uncomfortable wicker furniture, our camp chairs that were our only comfortable furniture until we bought our living room set two months before I left Mozambique, and the cool dishes I found at Pep.  The picture also captures a really peaceful, comfortable, happy evening:  lounging around with a good friend visiting from out of town, enjoying a glass of wine and the ever-classy, always delicious Nik Naks.


Photo #85 November 21, 2011

Filed under: Pictures — Jen @ 10:31 pm

I have written about golfing in Beira before.  (See here.)  I mentioned the danger of the golf-ball sized crab holes.  What I did not mention is that the crabs actually steal the balls.  I’m not kidding.  I thought the caddies were kidding when they would frantically run after lost balls, exclaiming we needed to find them before the crabs did.  I just thought if the balls were gone, it was because they rolled into the holes.  Until I saw a big red crab come out of its hole, grab a ball, and retreat into its hole with its treasure.


This photo makes me laugh because it shows everyone searching in the rough for lost balls.



Photo #84 November 18, 2011

Filed under: Culture,Pictures — Jen @ 9:17 pm

I’ve posted this picture before.  (See here.)  But I’m going to post it again because, well, I just really like it.  And also I should add that I did eventually start drinking coffee.


Because it was so cultural in Sweden, and because at the time I anticipated spending much more time in Sweden, I told myself I needed to learn how to drink coffee.  You know, when in Rome…  So one afternoon in Beira, my housemate and an out of town guest decided to brew a pot.  I piped up, “I’ll have some too.”  I filled my cup with one third coffee and two thirds milk with at least two heaping teaspoons of sugar.  It was actually bearable.  I started doing that every day, slowly weaning myself to half coffee, half milk, then two thirds coffee and one third milk.  Very quickly I learned to not just tolerate coffee but enjoy coffee.  And suddenly I entered an aspect of social life that I had always lived on the outskirts of.


I eventually parted ways from my original motivation for drinking coffee, and I have yet to return to Sweden.  I’ve also realized that when I’m not working – and, therefore, needing the caffeine early in the morning –  I actually prefer to drink tea.  However, I’m still thankful that when I need to or want to, I can say, “Yes, please,” when offered a cup of coffee.