This past week a few interesting things happened here on this side of the ocean. Let me regale you with the tales:
So last week I got a little lazy and decided to skip shaving my entire face, instead leaving a small patch known commonly as a Goatee. Now while I'm no wolf-man, I have since reaching the adolescent stage of life consistently grown more and more facial hair. Not to get into the specifics, but for about 3 years now I need to shave every day or I start to look like a hooligan, what with the patchy growth and all. After two or three days of fighting the Abe Lincoln/Ken Hamm cheek beard or uncomfortable neck beard while neglecting my manly chin and mustache sections, I have a noticeable level of growth on my chin and upper lip. It is at this time I decide to shave it all. This maneuver on my part does not escape the notice of some of the children here. Several of the older girls decided to give me the 5th degree on why I would choose to remove the goatee. One girl goes so far as to say that when I do have the mini-beard it is the same as a pig. I query her on this description and she proceeds to tell me that when you skin a pig, the inside of its skin is about the same as my 3-day growth, and you have to work and work to scrape it off. Huh.
Along the same lines, I must relate to you a story that although it did not take place this last week, must be shared while we're on the vein of follicular growths. I believe it is common knowledge that most people of African descent share the common trait of tight, curly hair. Most of them have little to no hair on their arms or legs. So they think it odd that white people have hairy arms and legs. For example, I was at a house in Thabong recently and there was a young boy about 7 years old or so. He was fascinated by my arms and stayed close to me, petting my arms as one would pet a puppy, rabbit, or other such cuddly creature (which would fit, because if I am anything, it is cute and cuddly). So the children here one day told one of the American team members that white people take dog tablets to make their hair straight and to grow hair on their arms and/or legs. The team member was somewhat taken aback, as you would imagine. It turns out that some African people really do take dog tablets. I'm not sure if the tablets are made of dog, or if they are intended to be given to dogs. I suppose this would be a classic case of six of one, half dozen of the other, as one may not be any more desirable than the other to a western mind. And with the holidays coming up, I thought this would be a good time to mention that if you are looking for a unique gift for that special someone, and if that special someone needs more hair on their arms and legs, I would be more than happy to acquire dog tablets and ship them to you for a minimal fee.
The third event that I must make known to you all relates to the staff here at The Pines. We employ a gardener named Leonard. Leonard lives here on the property with his wife Temperance and daughter. Temperance has been expecting for quite some time now: About 9 months to be exact. So it came as no surprise when, on Sunday morning, her water broke and she needed to go to the medical clinic. Leonard notified Brian & Lois of the new turn of events, and they graciously offered to drive her to the clinic. Leonard declined, as he determined the ambulance was sufficient transportation. The problem is that no one is ever able to find our facility without substantial searching. Because of this, Brian & Lois took Temperance in their vehicle and found the ambulance. I'm not sure if it is a cultural thing or what the reasoning is, but Leonard refused to go the the clinic with Temperance. I can understand this, as for centuries men were not allowed in the birthing room and probably for good reason. No one needs to go through what us fathers go through during the birthing process. It is really quite agonizing. And so Leonard wisely avoided this, and therefore avoided the undue blame and crushed fingers that go along with it. Before we all laud Leonard for his wisdom, I must continue my narrative. Temperance, by all accounts, made it to the hospital and through delivery admirably. She then conversed with Leonard via the telephone, telling him of the birth of their child. When we, the missionaries, spoke with Leonard later that day we asked him how things were going. He told us the baby had arrived. Of course, the logical question that follows relates to the gender of the child. It was at this point we learned Leonard had neglected to ask Temperance the gender of the child. Again, maybe this is a cultural thing. Leonard was later happy to learn that he is now the father of a healthy little boy. And we were happy as well.