Love Will Return Video

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Whirling through the jungle in full makeup and a bohemian dress is simply the only way to live!   If you haven’t tried it, you simply must.  Or you can just click here to see the video “Love Will Return.”

Mango Sour Power

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If there’s anything I would love to bottle and import to the states and sell it in every grocery store across America, it would be hot, tropical weather.

But since I have not yet found a way to do that  – Mango Sour would be my next choice.

The preferred condiment to pour over plantain chips, chicken foot (a fried Guyanese snack) and pholourie (a fried Indian snack), Mango Sour is the spicy snack-time garnish that glazes and “sours” your between-meal bites to perfection.

However – sour (named because it’s made from unripened “sour” mangos) can get very spicy, and you can even spoil your lip! (I advise reading the hyperlinked blog post before attempting sour at home.)

Every time we eat something topped with sour, Roman says, “We have to find a way to bottle this and bring it to the States.”

Well, I don’t know about Sour’s shelf life, since it’s always made fresh, but it is so ridiculously simple to create that you won’t need us to import it for you!

So here is the recipe for sour, so you all can make it at home and save us from opening our own Sour Shipping Co.

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Ingredients:

2 green (unripe) mangos

1 wiri wiri pepper (or any hot pepper)

1 C water

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 tsp cumin

Salt to taste

Combine mangos (peeled first) with 1/2 C water and heat over a medium-high flame in a small saucepan.  The mango will seperate from its pit as it heats up, and you can gently pull apart the flesh with a fork.  Blend onions, garlic, pepper, and other 1/2 C water in a blender and add to the hot mango mixture.  Add cumin and salt.  You’ll know it’s finished when you have a golden, syrupy relish with tiny red flecks in it like this!

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Once cooled, you can remove the mango pits and use Sour on salty things like chips.  It’s best on plantain chips or pholourie, if you’re able to get your hands on such delicacies.  This recipe will yield about about 2-3 Cups of sour, which will last in the fridge for about a week.

Coffee with Tais

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Yesterday morning I was delighted to have a cup of coffee with my youngest coffee-drinking friend to date: Taís.

Taís is a 5-year-old little girl from Brazil that my student Naza (also from Brazil) looks after.  Taís is precocious and outgoing and the perfect grammatical assistant for me, since she helps me with my vocabulary and giggles openly when I mispronounce a Portuguese word.

Naza has been studying twice a week since November and is a beautiful soul – not just because she makes me cake and gives me coffee – but because she loves her study and prepares well.  She’s such a mild & kind person, and today when I invited her to the hall, I said, “I would love it if you came, even though the meeting is in English.” And she said, “I will come!  I can observe and listen.”

After coffee, Taís gave me the go-ahead to take her tablet and put some Caleb & Sofia videos on it for her.  So that was my chore for the day yesterday, and I will report back to Taís today!  I hope she’s ready for another cup of joe, pinkies up! ♥

 

Affordable Housing in Guyana

One of the first things you think about when considering a move to a foreign country is, “What kind of housing is available? What are the average costs?  What are floor plans like?  Are walk-in closets strictly an American concept or can I expect that in my ex-pat beach bungalow?”  For this reason, I thought it would be nice to compile a brief photo-tour of some of the properties available around Bartica.  Keep in mind it’s a buyer’s market and these properties are hot so there is no guarantee they’ll be available for long!

1. Gardener’s Retreat

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This single family, 0 bed/0 bath dwelling boasts superb landscaping.  Corrugated Zinc roofing is not only energy-efficient but also attracts lightning and hosts an orchestra of deafening rainfall during thunderstorms.

2. Handyman’s Haven

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 Dutch Colonial with traditional wood shutters. Pigeon accessible. Fenced-in yard. Renovator’s dream!

3. Earth-lover’s Enclave

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Tucked-away cottage with old-world charm! Property is along a quaint and potholed road and nearby junkyards, cow pastures, and rum shops that play music all night long!  Within walking distance of old abandoned vehicles and rusted shrapnel. Location, location, location!

4. Open-Concept for the Open-Minded

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This breeze-friendly, open-concept is window-negotiable and available today!  Rests haphazardly on a series of eroded cylinder blocks. Don’t let this one collapse suddenly  get away from you!

5. Stargazer’s Serenity

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Enviable water-front fixer-upper with great potential for multiple skylights!  Gaze up at star-filled skies from this mostly termite-free beachfront abode!

6. Move-in Ready for the Low-Maintenance Buyer

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Semi-furnished, renovation-ready first-floor walk-up with unlimited potential!  Internet, electric and plumbing unready. Could make an excellent starter home, room for expansion!

7. Artsy Split-Level

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Wood/cement duplex with contemporary finish.  Jigsaw inlaid brick siding with decorative concrete accents.  Consider adding paint or mortar or more bricks to update this cozy, sure-to-impress two-story.

8. Project House for the Outdoor Enthusiast

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Near-complete single-story is ceiling optional and design-vague. Consider adding flooring, door frames, doors or say the heck with all that and draw your own blueprint!

9. Ex-Convict’s Hideaway

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Privacy-conscious buyers will love this foliage-rich unit with authentic tool-shed feel. Appealing aesthetic for the criminal and/or nature lover.  Have a green thumb?  Consider adding nearby manure to this invasive and aggressive climbing weed!

10. Contractor’s Nightmare

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Visionary architects, this partially moldy foundation was laid within the decade and stands ready to support your ideal framework!  Section off a living room and master bath or divide into a series of closets.  Possible option for commercial venture.

11. For the Undecided

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This abandoned lot is a local treasure.  Envision your dream home on .6 acres of swampy marsh, dotted with moss-covered truck engines and tossed-aside car doors with vinyl intact.

I know you’re thinking, “Ok these are awesome, but where are the prices?”  Well that’s the really great part.  Each of these houses is not only available but also affordable!  If any of these properties interest you, please send me an email and I will direct you to an appropriate sales rep.  But please, serious buyers only. ♥

Don’t Spoil Ya Lip

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Once upon a not-so-very-long-time ago, Isabella and I were shopping in the market when we stumbled upon one of her most favorite snacks: ginnip.  Ginnip (prounounced GIN-ip, with a hard G) is a small fruit encased in a thin outer skin.

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To access the sweet and fleshy seed inside, you have to gently bite the exterior to break open the skin.  Ginnip’s outer layer is impressive; it always splits in half evenly when you bite it!  Isabella asked the Ginnip salesman for a sample (we’d had a few under-ripe bundles of it in the recent past), which he offered willingly, but before she could bite into it he took it back from her and rubbed it on his shirt and explained:

“So ya don’t spoil ya lip.”

His shirt-rubbing technique was his way of “cleaning” the Ginnip before Isabella put her pretty little lips to the skin.

How sweet.

Well, Isabella and I thought that was just the funniest expression and we kept repeating it over and over. “Watch out, don’t spoil ya lip! Hahaha!”  What a hilarious arrangement of words to repeat incessantly.

Fast forward to a few days later. Isabella and I are returning home from a study and we spy a woman selling Chicken Foot, a local snack that is not actually chicken feet but looks like them.

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Chicken Foot (left) and Plantain Chips.

Well Isabella just so happens to love Chicken Foot so she bought a bag and asked for plenty of sour (Mango sour is a delicious condiment – made from mangos and hot wiri wiri pepper – that heightens the flavor of almost any snack, especially plantain chips and chicken foot).

“Sure you wan’ plenty sour?” the woman asked Isabella.  “It’s hot ya know,” she warned.  Sour varies depending on who makes it, and this woman cautioned that hers was spicy.

“No problem, I love sour!” Isabella said, not knowing that in a few short moments, she would regret those very words.

The woman poured on the sour and we were off, Isabella munching on chicken foot and me on a mission to find coconut water.  We made our way to the market and Isabella said, “Wow – this sour is actually really spicy!”

We bought coconuts and took tourist-y pictures of the woman cutting them open for us, since she wielded her machete like a boss.  And then, as we made our way back home, Isabella said, “I feel like my upper lip is burning from this sour.”

I looked, and sure enough: Isabella had a bright red moustache, a streak of ruby-red painted across her upper lip.

Isabella had spoiled her lip!

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Now, I don’t want any of you reading this to feel wary.  I know you’re looking at Isabella’s upper-lip pigmentation and thinking, “Oh no – couldn’t do it.  Sour sounds way to risky.” But trust me, mango sour is one of Guyana’s great culinary gifts and even if it is a little spicy sometimes, it’s worth spoiling your lip for.

Isabella’s lip eventually returned to normal without needing a skin graft or having to leave her lip in the freezer for awhile.  And it wasn’t long before she was back to her chicken foot ways, plenty of sour and all.

Check back soon for the recipe so you can create your very own Mango Sour – and maybe even spoil your own lip! ♥

 

 

A Day in Service with Seth

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Yesterday it was my delight to work with Seth in service!

Seth is Sharda’s youngest son, and also the youngest participant in Bartica’s literacy class.  He is an incredibly verbal, funny and intelligent child!  His comments at the hall are always from the heart and he is not shy about speaking LOUDLY into the microphone.

When we were assigned to work together as partners, I thought I’d start him off easy.

“Ok Seth,” I said, “I can give the presentation and you can hand the person a magazine, ok?”

Seth didn’t really answer, but instead took off running towards one of the houses on the back road (complete with donkeys and cow pies!) we were working on.

“Wait, Seth!” I called. “What are you going to say?”

I chased after him, grateful that my sandals had treads so I could run and get ahold of him quickly.  I felt exactly a mother who recycles a dialogue of  “Stop running! Stay where I can see you! Don’t put that in your mouth!!” to her superenergetic-slightly-chaotic children.

He said, “I’m going to say, “Hi, my name is Seth, what’s yours? I would like to give you this magazine.”

Well ok then! I was surprised by his preparedness and gave him the go-ahead, taking my position as his assistant.

Seth was so excited to be in service (normally he’s in school during the week but he’s off now for the holiday break) that he ended up placing 8 magazines and 3 tracts!  The people that he talked to were so impressed by his articulate intro and commended him for the “good work” he was doing.  One woman we spoke to said, “It’s so nice that’s he’s learning to share the Word at a young age.”

I know Seth has a bright future ahead of him and I look forward to working with him again soon!  I’ll be sure to stretch ahead of time so I can keep up. ♥

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Literacy Class in Bartica

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This here is a photo of my good friend Seth, age 6 (the little orange speck on his chin is leftover Cheez Stiks ;)).  Seth is one of the students in the new Literacy Class being offered here in Bartica!

Literacy Classes  are organized in congregations worldwide where many have limited reading ability. Instructed by a qualified individual, the classes are arranged so that those from any age group can benefit.  The curriculum involves basic literary skills and grammar with the overall objective of improved literacy. Some who attend these classes are not able to read at all – some are striving to improve their reading.  Whatever their individual background, attending these literacy classes  has helped thousands.  In fact in 2011, Jehovah’s Witnesses helped over 5,700 people learn to read and write!*

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Students use a  booklet especially designed for those just learning how to read.  Each page focuses on a different letter, starting with the most commonly used letters in whichever language the class is being taught.  Simple words are used alongside pictures.

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(I love how the picture of the soccer ball is referred to as a “football” since Americans are the only ones who refer to the sport of “Football” as soccer!)

Roman has been assigned the privilege of teaching our local Literacy Class, held weekly in the small back school in our Kingdom Hall.  He does a great job keeping the hour-long session lively and fun, encouraging everyone to yell out their answers and take their time breaking down syllables.

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During yesterday’s class, one of the words Roman wrote for the class to read was “indistinguishable.”  He waited while everyone sounded out the word and broke it into syllables and when all had read and pronounced it correctly, he asked if anyone knew what the word meant.

One of the older boys in class, Ariel, immediately shouted out: “For when you put out a fire!”

Everyone – including the youngest among us – burst out laughing. Roman laughed and shook his head and said, “You’re thinking of a fire extinguisher!  You don’t distinguish a fire, you extinguish it!”

Well, I think it’s going to be a running joke because we all chuckled about distinguishing a fire for a few minutes after Ariel’s outburst! :)

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Each week, students are assigned homework according to their skill level.  Some  are asked to read several pages of a publication out loud to a family member who then corrects them on any mistakes.  Others are assigned a page from the Read & Write brochure to complete before the next class.

Roman tries to give each student one-on-one attention for a portion of every session.  If we have a large class, I assist in helping some of the students too!

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Every class has been super fun.  So far, it’s mostly been younger kids that attend but we know there are other older ones who would love the class, so we’re hoping they can make to an upcoming session!

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Shearjeshub, the second-youngest student in class.

Shearjeshub, the second-youngest student in class.

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Goof-offs :)

 

 

The link below has a short blurb of statistics and personal expressions of those who’ve benefited from literary classes in Peru, Ghana, and Zambia.  Very interesting, and I recommend checking it out!

*Source: jw.org   http://www.jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/activities/help-community/learn-to-read-and-write/

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