I got to learn about all of them last week!
As may be evident, classes have been quite interesting lately. This last month I have learned lots of things that will be useful in the future when I can’t necessarily buy pre-made food, live in a bug-free environment, and call the plumber or carpenter when I need work done on my house. Instead of telling you about it, let me share with you a few glimpses into my life from this last month . . .
Meet Alo, our good friend who lives on an island in the Pacific Ocean and views life from a completely different point of view, not to mention the fact that he speaks a different language. Well, actually he’s a teacher who lives on the other side of campus, but by playing his part and letting us interact with him we learned a lot about learning the language and culture of someone completely different than ourselves.
Class this Monday was cooking – a group of us learned to make some food that is typical of the food I may find in West Africa. What a great way to spend class – cooking and eating the whole time!
This would be a glimpse into our building class. Here, we were learning how to make a pole stand up straight in the ground so that you can make your house level. I also learned how to make stairs that you won’t trip over on your way up. A level house and stairs that are all the same height – these are things that we take for granted here in the US, but if I’m helping to build my own house overseas someday, these skills may be important for me to know!
Yup, this is me making cookies. These past few weeks I also made bread, pretzels, ice cream, tortillas, and noodles, all from scratch. For just over a week, everything I ate had to be made from scratch. The goal was to help prepare us for when we will live overseas and won’t have all the mixes and pre-made food that we can get here. Meals took longer, but they were quite yummy.
Another day of class was about pressure canning and pressure cooking. And thanks to a $1 investment at a rummage sale this summer, I have a pressure cooker that I can practice with! Pressure cookers are nice, and can even work to keep your meat preserved if you don’t have a fridge. You just heat it up on the stove each night until it’s pressurized enough inside and the meat will stay good if you leave it in there for up to 24 hours.
I’d still prefer to call a plumber if I have a problem, but now, after my plumbing class, I have a little more idea about what goes on through that maze of pipes hidden behind the walls and under the sinks. And what do I have in my hands? A big valve which can block the path through a very fat pipe.
Besides our classes and cooking from scratch, we also had to limit our electricity. That meant no microwaves or other appliances (well, we were allowed to fridges, freezers, stoves, and ovens), no tv or videos, only an hour of e-mail a week and no other internet use except what we needed for class, and all of our lights had to be out at 9 pm. Making brownies becomes more difficult when you make them by candlelight, from scratch, and to melt the chocolate you have to melt it over the stove instead of in the microwave!
As part of our class, we also went camping for a night. It was fun, cooking over the fire, learning to tie knots, finding constellations, finding our way with maps, compasses and GPSes, and spending time in the great outdoors. The not so great part? Sleeping out in a shelter made of tarps when it got down into the lower 40s at night. But with enough layers I stayed warm!
Well, there’s a brief glimpse into my life this last month (though I didn’t even mention shapening chainsaws and learning about cockroaches). Thanks for praying for me!