“Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold I make all things new.” Revelations 21: 3-5
The everyday things that you find second nature surround you and go unnoticed. Let me tell you, visit a foreign land and God will surprise and delight you with all of the numerous things that you might not understand. We have been blessed to cook many of the same meals that we loved in Ohio, play the same games, and wear the same clothes. However, the little things that are entirely new and foreign are starting to feel less alien. I want to share and capture some of those things before they become our new normal and I will not think to share them.
In America, when you go shopping at a store and purchase something with cash, you most likely receive change. We rarely used cash and enjoyed our debit cards, but here that is not an option because DR Congo does not use credit cards. That being said, when using cash you expect to receive exact change for the amount left of the bill you paid with. The first time I purchased something at a store I received my change as well as a small chocolate wafer bar similar to a Kit Kat. An outing or two later I received a small bag of laundry detergent. I have since received a small bag of chips, bottles of water, pencils, gum, and candy.
These gifts are not truly gifts, but given to account for the small change that would be given in coins in the US and many other places. I find this practice both creative and amusing.
We have also witnessed the unfortunate use of prepackaged, highly-processed food in the children’s lunchboxes at school. If you know the Shaw’s, you know that we strive to be healthy eaters, so this was very troubling. Foods brought for meals at school consist of chips, bread with chocolate spread, waffles, juice drinks, sweetened yogurt drinks, pasta, hot dogs, and many other versions of pastries.
AHHHHHHH! Can you imagine how the kids behave by early afternoon? This is also troubling because you can’t walk 10 feet down any road without seeing a woman with a bowl of bananas, oranges, pineapples, avocados, or other produce on her head. There are stands everywhere selling pumpkins, lettuce, tomatoes and carrots. The produce is GOREGEOUS and the families who can afford a truck full of produce are opting to buy prepacked, unhealthy foods.
To combat this we held an assembly last week and encouraged all of the children to pack healthy lunches with “Captain Sugar Bowl,” Nick, showing all of us the bad foods in his lunch. We have seen an enormous difference this week and could not be prouder of the children as well as their parents. Making good decisions regarding diet really affects the kid’s ability to focus and behave at school. Everyone wins!
Renee’s advance #3022491
Nick’s advance #3022490
Nick and Renee Shaw
C/O United Methodist New Life Center
PO Box 20219