The Salamander and the Sparrows
Well, our trip back to the village was a very successful one, in many ways it felt like we had never been gone at all. Sure, some things have changed, like little baby Ma-Li taking her first steps, three new homes being built and many relatives returning from their jobs around Thailand for Chinese new year, but for the most part the village was just as we remember - full of people we love and who love us. There is a really bad cough/cold/fever that is going around the village - one mother has a baby girl whose temperature is hovering around 104. We were able to get medicine to all of them, but please join us in praying for their safety and recovery as we are back in the city over this next week.
Our biggest fear going back to our village home was that it would be infested with families of rats and monstrous spiders. When you leave an empty structure that is open to the elements this tends to happen. We didn't need to worry, however, as we came into a dusty house without the telltale droppings of either of these scary little beasties (on a side note, that should show you how big these spiders are - you can actually see their droppings).
We hope that we have finally learned how to seal everything up well enough to not attract the rats into our home, but the lack of spiders is directly related to our two newest house guests: Ricky and Lucy.
These two little birds have taken up residence in our roof, and we are happy to have them. The Akha like it when birds nest in their homes, and they build little platforms under the nests to keep things clean. The birds keep the bug levels down and provide a much more pleasant alarm clock than the standard village roosters.
Lucy and Ricky are a young couple, and have not yet decided if they are going to live in our home long term as they are currently just perching in our loft. Our hope is that they get the baby itch soon and decide to build a more permanent nest. Currently they spend all their time in playful flirtations as all newlyweds should.
We also had a slightly less welcome guest: a thirsty lizard made his way into our toilet and could not get himself out. Lori found him and scooped him out, hopefully a litter wiser for the experience, but not before taking this frightening footage...
...actually, he's kind of cute. if he sticks around we might have to come up with a name for him too.
For those of you who have been to our village: No, we did not take the rough 4-wheel drive road to get there. Instead, we took the long, curvy route. This way Lori didn't get bumped around - just a little carsick. No, the shortcut is off the route list until sometime after the baby arrives. Lori did really well all three days in the village, eating Akha meals and not getting morning sick at all. She did smell fish during our after-church lunch meal and lost it, but sensitivity to smells is still better than the misery of morning sickness. Thanks for all of your prayers!
We will be heading back up again this weekend and hope to have more news from our prospective helper/language teacher. We'll keep you all informed.