The Grand Experiment

Written by Scott

Topics: Archives, Uncategorized

There’s an issue we’ve been battling with the older kids lately…a lot of complaining and ingratitude. But–and all the credit goes to JoAnn for this–we’re doing something we did something about it on Saturday.

We sponsor a girl in Malawi, and have now for a few years now. Our updates and letters from her have showed us a lot about life there, and we wanted to show some of that to the kids so that they understand how fortunate they are, and in turn, hopefully be more thankful. So we decided today we were going to Africa, in a way, and as best we could.

We brought the kids–without lights–to the living room and explained it. This room was about the size of her entire house, so that is where we’d be for most of the extent of this. By candlelight, and with the heat turned down, we allowed them to pick one toy and one book (though the latter would be uncommon for kids). They went outside (to our outdoor spout) for water, and we talked to them about having to go to get water, and not having running water. We did a little change for the toilet, more along the lines of my times on Mexico, where septic systems could not handle toilet paper, so it had to go in a trash bin. The kids were fairly ok up to this point.

For breakfast, we had nsima and fried plantains. And this is where things began to settle in. They didn’t like the nsima much at all. (I, on the other hand, being the non-picky one, didn’t mind it–was like a corn version of cream of wheat). And the plantains, well, they didn’t go over well either. (I liked them–was an interesting taste combo of squash, potato, and banana…). When we talked about this being the main part of what they would eat, Mika began to break down. She wanted this to stop, and didn’t want to have this again for lunch and dinner (or alternately, going hungry).

So after talking about the reason behind it to both her and Sammy, we had them do little essays about three things: what it was like in Africa, what they thought about the experience, and lastly, what they learned about and what they are thankful for. Sammy finished pretty quickly, but initially Mika was having a hard time. We explained we were giving her the opportunity to end it by doing this, and then left her alone for a while and she finished. Believe JoAnn will post their stories, and I’ll link at that point. (JoAnn’s version of the time)

Needless to say, I do believe we’ll have less complaining around here…

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