My obsession with our move continues. My relentless thoughts range from the mundane (comparing the costs of airline flights) to the ridiculous (how will I get my eyebrows waxed in the middle of rural Africa??!?). Some details have been worked out, somewhat.
We have found a nanny! Her name is Laura, and she is the daughter of a good friend of mine from the ED. She is a college graduate, with a degree in Commuinty Health Education (which I am hoping will somehow translate to effective childcare skills), who is interested in living and working in Africa. She is bright and enthusiastic, although she has not yet met my children, and for some reason she believes that living with my nutty family in a foreign country for approximately $2/hour is a great opportunity. In fact, I have had to ask her to please stop saying "You don't even have to pay me", lest the prospect of free labor becomes overwhelming, and I have to take her up on it.
I have decided on the international school for the older two. After looking at it more closely, it seems to have some hippy tendencies, and I am starting to feel a little more hopeful that it will be similar enough to what the kids are used to that it won't be a devestating change. Plus, it has a pool.
I will have Laura stay home with Malawi, as she would only have a 5 hour day for her $10,000/year, and she is not even in Kindergarden yet. I am hoping that we can rent a house in the neighborhood of the school, so that Laura can walk them there and back. Their school day, unfortunately, begins at 7:15...in the morning. Considering that we already cannot get everyone to school by 8:15 without several large glasses of Diet Coke and multiple melt downs, this has me concerned, but I will deal with it as it comes up.
Dave has been unofficially offered a (paying!) job, which is exciting, but it has not yet been finalized, so I am waiting anxiously for that minor detail to be settled.
Preparing for the trip is beginning to feel surreal. Even as the date approaches I feel as though time is not moving, as though I am in a dream where I am nearly paralyzed and trying so hard to move forward but cannot. I have begun to study HIV in the morning before work or on the weekends, and already I feel that slow fury growing inside of me. I look at pictures of children with wasted limbs or toddlers with open sores in their mouths or faces covered with warty lesions, and I am afraid. Angry and afraid. I go to work and play with clear-eyed cherubs and make sympathetic sounds about rashes I cannot see and imagine how soon I will be faced with dying children and have to say "I'm sorry" and "I can't" to their broken-hearted mothers.
Every moment of my day I am aware of all that is about to change, and I have to force myself to live in the moment, to notice the beauty of the impending spring and see the joy in my children's faces. I do not understand why I have been so lucky, and I feel a superstitious dread at even mentioning my gratitude for the gift that is my life. It is so easy to forget that people are suffering needlessly. It is so easy to become complacent or even to start to believe that the challenges that I face (high gas prices, dirty dishes in the sink, squabbling siblings) are worthy of complaint. The average Malawian earns 80 cents per day. Per day. The standard HIV medication combinations that children need to survive in the developing world do not exist. Why? Because children in the rich countries (like ours) do not use them, so there is no profitable market, so the drug companies have not produced them.
Soon I will be unable to forget the disparity, the inequity that, for whatever reason, exists in our world. Soon I will try, to the best of my ability, to give thanks for all that I have been given by serving those who have nothing. If I may quote Spiderman, "To whom much is given, much is expected." I pray that I have strength of heart and courage. I pray that I can help make childrens' lives better and bring peace to the families of those whom I cannot help. I pray that my children are not afraid, and that they remain safe and strong. And I pray, most of all, that there are not a lot of snakes or gross bugs.