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January 14, 2013

Last week we hired a new nanny.  Our first day together was for her to get to know the kids, the house, and our routine a bit.  I talked with her about what the kids do and need, showed her where everything is.  We eventually talked about our old life in Alaska, though describing -40F (which is also -40C) is not possible to someone who is a native to tropical zone.  She saw pictures (via the computer’s screen saver) of the kids as babies and we chatted about how fat Amelia was.

By the end of the day, my brain was tired.  Because, you know, she doesn’t speak English, so we were relying on my French and Lingala.  But it went really well and it was encouraging.  You see, I will admit that I was concerned that the issues that came up with our last nanny could have been (and most assuredly were, in part) due to my inadequacies as a teacher/employer, or due to the cultural differences in expectations, especially when it comes to the children, despite my best efforts to be sure that my expectations were culturally understanding and, if possible, universal.

One of the biggest, and probably most important, differences between MaCele (pronounced mah-SEH-leh) and Jocelyne (our old nanny), is that MaCele is a wife and mother.  She understands and has experience with caring for children and how it relates to keeping up a home.  Jocelyne simply didn’t have reason to already have that experience, and my few teachable moments didn’t seem to make a long-lasting impression.  MaCele is excited for a few months of work and she loves kids (and has her struggles with having her own).

Tuesday evening she came over, assisted with dinner clean up and watched the routine of getting the gets to bed.  Once they were in bed (and they are VERY good at going to bed, usually completely silent as soon as close the door), we left for Bible study and I told her it was okay to go to bed whenever she wanted.  We get home too late for her to head home (she walks, it’s probably at least three miles in a very dangerous part of town after dark), so her husband is okay with taking care of her daughter and she sleeps in our guest room.  She was already doing the dishes when we finally left.

Wednesday, she was up before the kids and asked what she could do for work.  I honestly had nothing for her, so she puttered in her room until they were up.  She helped with breakfast and clean up, then it was time for me to head out for the day.  I told her about the usual Wednesday food plan (apples, peanut butter, pretzels, bread, chocolate milk powder, yogurt – see?  American kid food!) and we had established that she would make dinner and have it ready for that evening when I got home and she left.  It was an experiment, but ya’ll – it worked so well.  She had that house cleaner than when I left, the kids were happy and well cared for (even in new clean clothes) and dinner was hot and ready to serve.

She was also to work Friday, when I would show her how to change all of our sheets and towels, wash them (which means explaining how to operate a washing machine and dryer), and perhaps some other small duties.  However, that didn’t end up happening.

Thursday afternoon, I was flat on the couch, dreading the signs of things to come.

Friday morning, Macele came at 9am, as previously scheduled, but Jocelyn had been there since 8am to help with the kids, since I was told not to leave my back-laying position.  We explained to Macele what was going on and she took over.  She had the kids content and I was able to go to bed and sleep for over two hours.  Once we realized I needed answers, and got hold of the doctor, it was apparent that we’d be out later than Macele’s leave time.  She was totally okay with this, as were the kids, and we took off for the doctor’s office.

We didn’t come back home until 7pm.  The kids were in bed, but struggling, because the power was out and that never makes for a good bedtime.  Plus, the dinner options I had offered her didn’t include a lack of power.  We were also without a sentinel to help her since Mosengo was out at a funeral, but she did great.  She was okay to go head home right away and left.  The house was perfectly clean and tidy, the dishes done and put away, the laundry folded, and everything put away in its place.  What a blessing to come home and just grieve.

We explained to the kids what had happened, fed them a little more, and stuck them back in bed.

The rest of Friday evening was not good for me.

Saturday morning Macele called to see if I needed her that day.  Matthew was home, and we had lots of offers for help, do I didn’t.  She called again on Sunday, and I assured her she would be okay until her next time to work on Tuesday evening.

Today, Monday, Matthew stayed home to work on paperwork and little things around here.  I had been feeling better, so I forgot and lifted Amelia – and haven’t felt better since.  So, not lifting little ones is hard with them around.  So, hopefully she can come back and work tomorrow morning before Matthew leaves.  But her phone is off…ah well, that happens here in Congo.

However, all that to say, God has provided for us.  Macele is a great lady and we are so excited to be blessed by her in all these ways.  I cannot imagine what we would’ve done if she hadn’t been around during our tough time.  God is good.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tally in Congo permalink
    January 15, 2013 0829

    Sorry for your loss, Lisa….how good to hear that Macele is such a tremendous help.

  2. Deborah Spann permalink
    January 15, 2013 0829

    So glad you found such good help – especially while you are having an emotional/physical crisis.


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