Lessons Learned in May (2016 Edition)
This monthly edition comes to you from West Africa where my husband and I now live. Each month I take time to look back on my month to see what I have learned whether it be serious, fun, or trivial. I then join up with other bloggers at Chatting at the Sky in what they have learned this month.
May began with orientation with a new organization and ended with us settling into our new home in West Africa. It has been a crazy last two months as we have decided on what was next for us and made the move. so it feels wonderful to be settling in our new home and figuring out what life here will be like. Here are a few of my lessons for this month.
1. We are in the right place for this season.
As we went through orientation and now as we learning the ropes here, we see God’s hand in bringing us to this place at this time. We are excited about the chance to work in West Africa. I wouldn’t say it feels like home but it does feel like where we are supposed to be. If you want to know how we ended up in West Africa, read my post What About West Africa?
My husband is already busy working at the airport. He hit the ground running dealing with maintenance issues and getting to know the guys he will be in charge of.
I, on the other hand, am taking it slow. Our pantry is stocked and we have the basics as far as furniture. For this reason and that we might move again, I am taking my time in figuring out what to do with our living space. I am also getting a head start on school planning since curriculum needs to be ordered. It has been delightful getting to know the ladies on the team as they take me shopping or as I attend the bible studies they have each week. Most days, I manage nice walk by the beach and have some time to read. At least I will until school starts in August.
2. I can survive security training.
For our new organization, we needed to go through security training. I was pretty nervous about this. When we first went overseas, we went through a different security training so I knew a little of what it might be like. After living in Central Asia, I wasn’t quite sure how I would react to the simulations. My fears were unfounded. The training turned out to be a good refresher. The trainer was not only a security consultant but a seminary graduate. He did an amazing job of talking about the need for risk at times but to also know when to not take unnecessary risks. His use of scripture helped us think about the theology of risk. The simulations gave us some good discussions, and I was able to hold myself together and not freak out.
3. I know what to do in a car jacking.
One of the things that we simulated in our training was a car jacking. The main thing to remember is that you are more important than your car so let them have your car. If you are the driver, follow the instructions from the car jacker but do so slowly and with no abrupt movements. For example, when you are going to take off you seat beat, let the car jacker know that is what you are doing so he doesn’t think you are getting a weapon. Take your time turning off the car and putting the keys on your seat so that others in the car can get out through the doors away from the car jacker. If you have children in car seats in the back, tell the car jacker that you are going to the back seat to get them out. Then enter the back area through the opening between the two middle seats so that you are in the car with your kids. Exit as quickly as possible. You want to insure that are not outside of the car with your kids still in the car.
Hopefully I will never have to use this training, but it is always good to be prepared.
4. I am thankful that West Africa is different from Central Asia.
We are in a different place with a different organization. We loved Central Asia and our team there but the differences are refreshing. One place has mountains and the other beaches. One place is Muslim and the other mostly Christian. In Central Asia, we were mostly pilot/mechanic families. In West Africa, there are three pilot/mechanic families and 7 families that are working on projects. Since we only fly for our organization, we will be more directly involved in the actual work which will be an interesting change.
Our experience in Central Asia will be valuable but there will be much to learn about the African culture and the best way to engage with the people. I will need to be more independent as I will need be able to drive and navigate the city to take care of things for our family. Central Asia will always have a special place in my heart but for now West Africa is slowly finding its place in my heart too.
5. It is best for me not to use my name and actual location for my blog.
This was a hard decision. Even though I am no longer working in a closed country, being googled is something that could affect those I worked with in Central Asia. I would never want to jeopardize their work. This blog has been a blessing as a place to share and process the lessons I am learning. I know using my name would help bring readers to my blog but that is okay, I am at peace with who God sends my way. I am thankful for all of you who come by to share in this place with me. I don’t have a lot of readers but am blessed by those that I do have.
What is a lesson that you have learned this month? I would love to hear from you in the comments.