The last month has been a little frustrating. For the last 4 weeks we’ve had at least one sick day a week where we’re taking half a day or more off to rest and recuperate. We feel frustrated both because it means time out of language learning, and also that despite taking the time off when we need it we don’t seem to be resting very well.
We seem to be continually a little run down and getting sick! This week where we’re without team mates we’re now on our third sick day. First Gerdine was down for the day, the next day I pushed to get a morning of language done followed by an afternoon of sleeping and today Gerdine is down again. We seem to alternate, one of us needing to rest and with two 1 year olds and a 4 year old with no play mates or baby sitters around one of us being sick means tiring child-care for the other.
We’ve been pondering on it and we don’t think we can improve things much. We’re getting 9.5 – 10 hours of sleep per night (minus the occasional baby waking), taking naps when needed, we’ve dropped the language learning hours we’re aiming for each week down a bit and our diet is ok. Maybe this is just the norm for bush missions plus small kids?
We’ve decided that we’re not allowed to say “I am so tired” to each other anymore. It’s the standard answer to the question “how are you” either of us gives 😀 Let’s just assume we’re from now on tired, haha!
The balancing act between language learning time, time for ourselves, childcare, chores, time with our team and time hanging out with Kovol people without an agenda (which gives them time to raise any issues they want to talk about) is a hard one to get right.
Just before the Hansens left we had to find more time for our team. We have a weekly team meeting, but that’s at 8pm on Wednesday nights when everyone is tired (also when we’re not distracted with child care), but the weekly meeting is taken up with business. When should a helicopter come? So and so is sick what should we do? How much will we sell worm medicine for? etc etc.
We had no time (and energy) to deal with the tensions that had grown in our team from different opinions, feeling unheard and the normal everyday misunderstandings and frictions that develop between people who are different.
I feel I need to add that our team is in no danger of breaking up if any readers are worried!
We made time to get together to talk things through, which was hopefully a time of healing and restoration, but making time for that takes time from other things.
We were sad to see the Hansens go, but on the other hand glad that the emotionally and mentally draining meetings were over – we noticed that our kids were missing us!
My hope for this week was a good solid week of language learning time, but with 3 sick days it’s been the worst week so far time wise.
It’s caused me to step back and have a think. At what point does it become better to leave the bush and take an unscheduled break to get back up to strength? When are we so run down we’re no longer functioning?
It made me realise that it’ not as bad as I feel it is. We’ve had a rough 4 weeks with lots of sickness but I’m still at 70% of my goal for work time for the month. It puts a more encouraging spin on things 🙂
So I’ll finish this blog and then get back to building lego with Oscar so Gerdine can take another nap 🙂
We don’t want to fall into the other ditch though and not push when we should. It takes a bit of willpower to grab the notebook at the start of a day and plan out another day of language study, and then get out the door and do it. Progress is slow and there’s no noticeable difference day to day or week to week, I only notice progress when I look back on the stuff I was working on a month or two ago!
I’m really looking forward to teaching literacy and God’s word. I can’t wait! I need to learn the Kovol language before then though and I know that’s only going to happen when I keep putting the hours and days in. Progress might be too slow to measure, but it’s happening a day at a time; and so I find it dissapointing to have a week where 3/5 of the language learnng days (assuming we can pick things up again tomorrow) didn’t happen.
Unrealistic expectations of myself? Maybe. Focus on my own resources and work rather than God’s work through me? Yep. A lopsided value system that values work over relationships? Probably.
Man, why am I the ambassador for Christ here? Oh right yeah, messed up sinners who have been forgiven are the ones God has chosen to reach out to other messed up sinners.