Thursday, August 21, 2014

It's different here.

What's it like here in Rwanda? It's different than America. There are big differences - differences that I can't even explain in this format. But, mostly, there are a million small differences.
It's helpful for me to think through and reflect on that stuff at times, but it's also dangerous. Comparing can lead to perspective, but comparing can also lead to dissatisfaction or arrogance. Despite what my snarky, sarcastic (negative) tone might imply, I am much more prone to self-satisfaction than to dissatisfaction.  I love it here. The weather. The beauty. The school. The friends. The newness.
Let's discuss some of the differences.

We have help.
We have two workers - Eddie who is our night guard and also performs various outdoor duties. Eddie might be one of my top 25 people in the world (I think that number safely leaves room for family at the top). So far, he has hauled one guy off to jail who was trying to climb our wall during the night, he has made countless runs for Vitalo (my beverage of choice), he's killed a chameleon/iguana/lizard thing, he opens our gate when visitors stop by, and he's currently replacing all of the screens on our home windows so the mosquitos can't get it in. He smiles when I try out the two phrases I know in Kinyarwanda. He's fixed the netting around the trampoline so the kids won't get hurt. I don't know when he sleeps.

Imaculee helps me inside the house. She cleans. Everything. Daily. I mean, really. It's not even necessary to have a bathroom cleaned every day. Or your bed made. Or your exercise clothes ironed. But she does it. She also cooks for us a couple of times a week.

Having help is a wonderful thing, and I have to admit, I am ashamed at how necessary it feels to have someone clean up after us. But, I'm not comfortable with it. Nor do I really wish to be, I think. I CAN do these jobs, and in my home culture, it would fall on me and Ben to do them. Yes, we are providing jobs for people who need them, but that isn't satisfying to the deepest part of my heart that cringes at the idea that someone else is cleaning my toilet. Yes, we are kind and fair with our workers (more so than other potential employers MIGHT be), but still. It is not right. It is not wrong. It is also not comfortable. And, no thank you, I don't want advice on how to be comfortable or uncomfortable with it. It is the nature of our new life. And I am thankful for these people who are always around and who help us learn.

We also have a babysitter, Grace. Grace is a 19-year-old American third-cultue kid who comes on the three mornings a week I teach at KICS to watch Annie. She also babysits once a week for date nights.  Grace is an answer to prayer. She lives near to us and I can count on her to be on time when I need to get to school. Being a grown TCK, I love having her as an influence on my budding TCKs.

The Food.
One of things people wonder about living in a new country is the food. I've found that people associate foreign with weird and spicy and Africa with rice and beans. As a mom to four American children, I've had to develop new routines for planning, procuring, and preparing food. It's that tricky balance of leading them to embrace things that are different, while still realizing that they are kid and need to eat something.

So, there's lots of fruit. We are in a tropical location, so it's easy to get pineapple, mango, and tiny sweet bananas. Our two Rwandan favorites are tree tomatoes (Japanese plum) and passion fruit. The things we miss are strawberries, blueberries, and grapes. Imaculee usually buys our fruits and veggies at the market. These things seem a lot cheaper to me than they were in the States, obviously, because they are grown here.

Grocery shopping. Imaculee does our market shopping, but I shop for meats and dairy products at one of several grocery stores. It's not kroger. It feels about the size of a Trader Joe's. And the selection is similar too in scope, but obviously the specifics defer. I can get fresh meat (but not so fresh that I can hear moo-ing in the background), sometimes fresh milk, yogurt, and gouda cheese.

So, the challenge is finding a rhythm to shopping. The grocery stores are rather spread out and tend to carry the same things. So, either all the stores have fresh milk or none of them do. (By fresh, I mean the kind that has an expiration date). All the stores have vanilla yogurt or none of them do. Today, strawberry yogurt was what was available, so that's what I bought. Yes, I could make my own yogurt. Maybe I will, thanks.

Our staples have had to change. We can get cereal, but the familiar kinds are pricey, so we usually eat yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast. We can get peanut butter easily, and deli ham, so sandwiches are what the kids get for lunch.

Remember back when everyone's blog was full of pictures of what they bought at the grocery store and boasting about the deals? Well, here's my version of that. This is what I bought at the German Butchery today. (If you assume that the German Butchery is a butcher shop operated by Germans, you would be in good company (with me) but incorrect. It's kind of a chain here.)
Clockwise, starting with the brown bag on the left:
2 kilos of chicken legs: about $12
1/2 kilo beef fillet: about $5
strawberry yogurt: $1.16
Temmy's Sweet Flakes: $3.63
Honey: $6.53
Rwandan Peanut Butter: $3.19
1 bag of sugar: $2.03
a tin of popcorn kernels: $2.18
Nutella: $6.53

I passed on the cheddar and feta cheese because I thought it was too pricey for something relatively unnecessary. 
So, for a little over $40, I bought meat to get us through the next couple of dinners, some goodies for breakfast and lunches and snacks. And I'm sure I'll be back at the store tomorrow. Because we don't have wide aisles, huge carts, and a minivan with automatic doors, it is difficult to do a week's worth of shopping at one time. Yes, some people do. They're much better adjusted than I. But, I'm happy and at peace with my temporary system.

Ex-pats handle it all differently. Some shop around for the best prices at the different stores. I tend to buy what I need wherever I'm at. Just like I didn't coupon in the States, I'm not spending time on the price comparisons here. We also try to look out for each other. Today a friend found (shredded!!!) mozzarella cheese and pepperonis at a store I rarely go to, and she picked me up some. Therefore, pizza will be in our future.

Rwandan food is not spicy. We brought in our luggage a wide array of hot sauce, sririacha sauce, tabasco, buffalo wing sauce, etc. Ben is hanging in there, much as I did when we lived in India.

School
A lot of people have asked about Charlie. He is in pre-K, which isn't offered at KICS, so he just started at a school called First Impressions. He swears he hates it, but he seems happy. One thing I love about it is that it seems to be the most "Rwandan" setting our family has been in. I haven't seen a white kid at the school. At KICS and at church and around town, we are certainly in the minority (from a complexion standpoint), but there are foreigners like us everywhere. 

Charlie's first day of school.


School is about the same here. The kids are happy.  A few (blessed!) differences for us: no uniforms. less homework. two recesses!

Well, it's not deep, but I find these types of details interesting and it's fun to introduce you a bit more specifically to our Rwandaful life. 

Oh, I did decide to teach 6th grade Bible at KICS, at least for a couple of months until their teacher returns from maternity leave. I'm enjoying the students and imparting my excitement (if not my knowledge) about the Bible. Please pray for them to grow closer to Jesus and for Mrs. Hanlon and her baby in the States.

And, you guys, thanks for your support. Ben is shining in his new job, and I love having a front row seat. Not many people (I know of one other) can love hundreds of kids so well, but still have room in his heart for four favorites.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Firsts

Many have asked what have our first 6 weeks in Rwanda looked like.  The last six weeks have been full of firsts.

The first time we set up a house in Rwanda.  The first time we ran out of water.  The first time we went to the airport to pick up friends.  The first time I played golf in Rwanda with Simon and the first time I've seen goats on a golf course.  The first time my wife called me because she was lost and I honestly had no idea where she was or how I could get to her.  The first time I took a Moto-taxi and wondered why the driver only had one hand on the handlebars as we were going downhill.  The first hike up Mt. Kigali.  The first day I sat across parents and their child as we talked about their dreams for their future (that has been a lot of fun).  The first day of admin and staff orientation with a new team.  The first day with reliable internet..and the list can go on.

Tomorrow, the firsts continues with our first day of school at KICS.  The first day of third grade for Simon.  The first day of first grade for Talya.  The first day Susie will be teaching 6th grade Bible.  The first day I will greet Simon, Talya and each student at the door as the Director of KICS.

We are thankful for all the Lord has allowed us to experience in our first weeks here in Kigali.  We look forward to many more firsts.  Thanks for your prayers as we begin the school year at KICS and officially begin this first year in this season of life in Rwanda.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Down a hill, without any language skills

Ok, so I have to be honest. I know it sounds a bit impressive that we're in Rwanda, but we don't have it that hard. Rwanda is known as "Africa Lite," basically an easy version of what people picture as "Africa." It's clean, fairly easy to get around, and there is a large community of ex-pats here to make you feel like home isn't too far away. Sure we run out of water at times, and go through many a power outage, but we have toilet paper and internet and our iPhones work.

I'm a total wimp, and I've been doing pretty great here. I've been driving around, which has been stressful because of not knowing where I'm going, but the driving itself is not anxiety-inducing like it is in India. Many of the roads are not paved, and while that's bumpy, it's fine. When people ask how I'm transitioning, I feel like I'm able to reply, both honestly and enthusiastically, "great!" I usually follow with the caveat that there may be a day when I don't do great.

It was bound to happen. Today is that day.

With all the kids in the car, I followed a friend to another friend's house, where I've never been. It wasn't far, and it wasn't far off a main road, but I didn't pay close attention to where I was going because I was following. But, due to the normal and universal circumstances of motherhood, my friend had to leave an hour early to pick up a sick kid, and I was left to drive home by myself. Which shouldn't have been a big deal.

But I went downhill when I should have gone uphill. I blame it all on Simon. He is my navigator and he totally fell asleep on the job. Anyhow, I was not on a paved road and it was narrowing quickly. It wasn't bumpy; it was mountainous. On these types of roads, it's very hard to turn around, and usually better to just keep driving forward until you get out to another road. So, I kept driving. Down. I heard the bottom of my car crashing against the mountains sticking up out of the road. Charlie and Annie were playing some sort of squealing game, which works wonders on my sanity. I ended up in a valley, surrounded by a large number of Rwandan children screaming "Mzungu!!!" (white person) Truly, I couldn't have looked anymore Mzungo than sitting in my car on a road that was never intended for vehicles with four wheels, nearly crying, and muttering under my breath. I had to stop my forward progress when I came to a bridge that was narrower than the width of our car. I had steep ravines about one foot from each side of my car.
Accompanied by my adorable yet annoying audience, I completed a one-million-point-turn to go back up the hill. My audience followed, laughing and begging for money. And then I got to the part of the road that was narrow, mountainous and both dusty and muddy. The tires started spinning. Rwandans were howling with laughter. My kids were looking uneasily amongst themselves. I scanned the crowd, and was pretty positive that no one in this valley spoke English (why should they?) or drove a car. Certainly, if they were able to drive, they'd be too smart to bring a car where I'd attempted to bring one.

I called Ben and asked him to pray for me. I wanted to ask for help, but as I had no idea where I was, I couldn't very well direct anyone to my location. In Kigali, there are street numbers, but no one knows them or uses them. I'm actually not sure what they're for.

A guy (an answer to prayer?) flashed his wallet at me, giving me a glimpse at what I think was a driver's license. So, desperate, I flung my door open and let a stranger in my car with my keys and my  4 kids. (Mom, how are you doing?) 

I had mixed emotions as I watched him grind and spin the tires deeper into the dirt. 1) Vindicated, that it wasn't just me, and 2) ashamed that I'd brought my car down this stupid path that wasn't a road.
Eventually, he got out of the rut and took off up the hill. I scrambled up in my flip-flops, after my kids, and was given back the keys and the driver's seat.
My new friend having not much more luck than I.

the rut I was stuck in.

help to the rescue!

After a morning like that, it's ice cream for lunch.
And, still, I had no idea where I was, or how to communicate with anyone in the vicinity. But, I did learn my lesson. I announced to the kids: "New rule: we never go downhill, only uphill." I called Ben and began shouting the words on random signs I was passing, but ultimately decided to just keep driving. Uphill.

I ended up on top of a hill that seemed to be overlooking Kigali, which meant I'd gotten myself outside of the city (I think). So, I went back down to a backseat chorus of, "Mo-om, we're going downhill!! You said we can't go downhill anymore!!!" I found a mototaxi driver and called Ben. Between my mototaxi driver and Ben's kinyarwanda-speaking waiter, we arranged for me to follow the driver to a location I knew. Guys, it took a long time to get there. I have no idea where I was.

Anyway. I truly love it here. But today, Africa got the best of me.* Although, I can't blame Africa. I was the one dumb enough to not ask for directions before I left the driveway.

For those interested in the details, we drive a pimped-out Rav4 with sweet rims but not enough seat belts. It's the school's car, but they've allocated it to our family. We are currently exploring some changes to our transportation situation, but doggedly making this work in the meantime.

A mototaxi is a motorcycle that operates as a taxi. That is how Ben generally gets to and from work. It works great for one person, less great for 6 people.
mototaxis waiting for riders.

Next on my to-do list: find a kinyarwanda teacher.
There are many ways that my amazing husband is like my amazing dad (aside from the new vocational similarity). One of my favorites: they answer the phone when I call. Even if they're in a meeting.
*Africa didn't beat me, because Africa is not my opponent. Today, what got the best of me was my own foreign-ness, ignorance, and insistence on independence.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pictures of Life

These pictures are in a perfectly random order, but I want to get this posted while we still have internet service so you can see a little of what our life is like here. 
Pulling up to our house - The houses here are walled in with a gate. When you arrive somewhere, you honk until their guard lets you in. Eddie, our guard, sleeps during the day, so Simon has taken charge of gate duties.

Please don't judge. The car seat laws here aren't what they are in the States. The school provides us with a car, and we are so grateful for that. The car isn't big enough for all of us to be belted properly. It's quite nostalgic, really; it makes me think back to when we were kids and would pile in cars, smooshed in and falling asleep on our siblings. 

See, despite the uncomfortable, jostling road trip to Kumbya, she is happy!

This is our road. The way the dust has been smoothed out gives us hope that pavement is in the plans.... 
Ben in his office at KICS

Despite making new friends, they are still each others' most consistent playmates. 

Friends. 

One of the kids' favorite activities (obviously) is to twist themselves up in the swing and then let go until they spin themselves dizzy. 

looking down our driveway

Home Sweet Home. Fun trivia/history fact: Pre-genocide, our house used to be the headquarters for Campus Crusade in Rwanda. 

It took me a while, but I finally found a map of the city.  
After dragging these kids all over following a hand-drawn map, we finally made it to the place that sells tortillas, hummus, salsa, bagels, and smoothies!

Our room. Where I'm sitting to type this. 

Your room when you come to visit us. 

Our dryer. 

This is the inside of our water filter. Just thought you'd want to see the fun stuff (ants) that gets filtered out of our water before we drink it!

Simon playing in the yard. 

Imaculee, our helper around the house. 

This is the room we've designated for toys and books and stuff. 

You may remember that one of the most exciting things about moving here is that Kigali is also the current home of our dear friend the Thompsons. Of course, when we arrived they were back in the US (showing off their beautiful new baby), but Hunter just returned and we are so excited!!!!

Annie hated the trampoline for the first week, but once she turned two, she was sold!

Annie has also pretty much hated all water her whole life, but today she couldn't get enough of the pool!

Charlie was also pretty proud of his swimming abilities. 


That's all for now. I'm going to say a prayer and hit publish, and hopefully you'll see this soon! Oh, and then I get to run and open our very first care package! Yay! A word to the wise - it is not cheap to send things to Rwanda. If you want to send us granola bars and cheez-its, we recommend buying a plane ticket and hand delivering.

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's a new day

Hi from Rwanda! We've been here a little over a week now. I wish you could have seen the giddy joy on the kids' faces when we pulled into our driveway. After a month of suitcases, sleeping on floors and sharing others' toys, they finally had a sense again of "ours." It was beautiful and fun.
Our house is great and the school had a couple of people who worked so hard to get it ready for us. They truly went above and beyond duty, as this is their summer vacation, and our house is older, thereby "quirkier." If I had known just how well they would have stocked this place, I would have stressed out less about packing. :). We were warmly received by the school family that is here for the summer, and have felt supported in the midst of our transition.

Our dear friend and one-time nanny Stephanie added a week to her busy summer travel schedule to come help us out and hang out with us. It was precious and we were sad that it could only be a week.

There's so much more to describe... Figuring out grocery stores and cooking, having a house staff and figuring out how to communicate with them, meeting new friends and trying new churches, experiencing two 4th of July events at the US embassy, driving a fav 4 a again, and the eternal hunt for crackers.

But, for now, there's today. After over two years, it's time for Ben to pack his briefcase and go to work. Actually, we need to drop him off at work :) I've truly missed seeing him do the good work that God prepared beforehand for him to do (eph 2). I grieved his resignation and longed for the day he could get back to it again. But that day is here and I'm super sad.

Please keep praying for us and join us in thanking God that we are here in Rwanda, we are loving it, and God is providing everything we need.


At least we found the pizza place :)


Monday, June 30, 2014

Away we go

Ben's family threw us a beautiful send-off here in New York and my parents came to be a part of it. It was wonderful to see and be prayed for by so many supporters and friends.  
That dreaded day is here, when we have to decide what is actually going to get stuffed into our suitcases and what we're willing to say goodbye to for the foreseeable future. How many books can one child carry in his or her own backpack? How many books will one child actually read during 24 hours of travel? How many hours can any of our devices hold a charge? And most importantly, when I finally beat level 350 of candy crush (embarrassing confession), how will I be able to wait until I can connect with Facebook to ask for tickets?

Today looks like this:
1) Laundry
2) Pack
3) Argue over what goes and what stays
4) Break the kids' hearts that they have to carry their own stuff
5) Get the kids excited that on international flights there will be plenty of movies
6) Drive to various banks to get all our money in bills printed after 2006.
7) Spend precious moments with family.
8) Load up my Kindle
9) rest

Tomorrow looks like this:
1) Pack up all the things you can't pack ahead of time (toothbrushes, pajamas, chargers, etc.)
2) Showers for Susie and the kids
3) Make sure the kids are each dressed in their US World Cup jerseys
4) Ben, along with his dad and brother, will take 26 pieces of luggage to the airport in a rented cargo van.
5) shower for Ben
6) Final prayers, hugs, words and tears in with Ben's fan in Merrick
7) Go to the airport and meet Susie's parents for more prayers, hugs, words and tears.
8) Check-in
9) Security
****My genius idea for this trip is to leave the stroller behind and use this to transport kids and items. I will have family members standing by with a stroller in case the TSA disagrees with my ingenuity. ****
10) Hope the World Cup game is on in the airport terminal.
11) Sit at the Brussels Airlines gate outfitted in USA soccer jerseys while the US plays Belgium. Try not to act like loud, ugly Americans while enthusiastically cheering for our team. Feel slightly awkward about that.
12) Board. Hand out headphones, water bottles and gum. Explain to Charlie and Annie that they are too young for gum, or give them special gumdrops called "gum."
13) Preemptively apologize to all those seated around us, and be glad that on an international flight, their drinks are free and we don't have to spring for them to take the edge off.
14) Watch movies, read books and relax on our way to Kigali, via Brussels.

Where do you stand on the idea of drugging kids for flights? Honestly, we tried it when Simon was a baby and, while it fortunately didn't key him up, it didn't seem to have any sedative effects either. So, we've never done it since. Plus, this Friday's episode of What Would You Do centered around drugging kids to make them sleep and it seems to be generally disapproved of (except by every mom I've spoken to who has taken a small child on an overnight plane trip). Thanks to the magic of on-demand media, Annie will probably be our only tricky one. She may be content to repeat her favorite word loudly (alternately "mama," "Talya," or "airplane")....for the first 45 minutes. Then she'll want to explore and eat off her neighbors' trays and roam the aisles and bother flight attendants.

When we land in Kigali it will be evening. We don't yet know if our house will be ready for our arrival or if we'll be temporarily crashing with friends. We will be welcomed by the small army required to transport 6 people and 30 bags and boxes. We will attempt to convince the kids it's time to sleep (again) and wake up to start our life in Rwanda.

Thank you for your prayers, and please keep them going. We are tired and we haven't left yet. Pray for peace, contentment, confidence in God's presence with us, and for those who are assisting us in getting settled. We leave completely dependent on God for His leading, providing, and sustaining.

'Til we get internet,
Susie for Team Thomas


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Candlesticks

If you've followed any of our web updates, our prayer letters, or Facebook, than you are well acquainted with our schedule and know that we're in New York for our last few days before departing for Rwanda on Tuesday. I don't even have to feel weird about telling the internet we're not at home, because - guess what Thieves? We have no home, and no stuff in it. Knock yourselves out. I can't vouch for the new owners' taste in valuables, but they're much more likely than I to have a big dog and a gun.

So,  I'll refrain from giving you a play-by-play of the last month. It's been busy, frantic, happy, sad, rich and full. Instead, I'll focus on something I don't usually talk about on this site (although I'm happy to speak about in person if you ask) --  how I'm doing spiritually; what God's been teaching me lately.

If you need background, there's this. Refresh yourself and remember that I'm recovering from a pretty dry and lonely existence spiritually. So, it is with awe and gratitude that I say, things are good. I am peaceably and consistently aware of God's work in my heart and his presence in my day. It still surprises me sometimes when I'll have a thought I quickly recognize as thanks and not cynicism. (Of course, cynicism is still there too).

Ben and I have been part of an intense mentored dischipeship program called Sonship. The basic point is learning how to practically apply the gospel to our lives. We started it about 2 weeks before I got sick, and started intense treatment, so we are on the slow track, but it's changing us. And perhaps the slow track is the best place for change to happen, right?

Our mentor's name is Stu and we enjoy every time we don't forget we have an appointment and get to talk to him together. He's had some great ways of explaining the gospel to us - not the gospel for salvation, but the gospel as Christ's righteousness given to us. I'm sure you've heard some of those analogies too. I'll try not to get too preachy, but my secret dream job is preaching, and I'm sure I can find a quiz on Facebook to tell me that that's the job I should have, my abysmal record of breaking into hysterics behind the pulpit at my brother's wedding notwithstanding.

So, I know the gist. The gospel is more than just God's forgiveness of our sins. That's the first part. We owe one thousand dollars and God cancels that debt: forgiven. But, there's more; the second part. God then deposits ten million dollars into an endowed account that will NEVER go broke.

It's a beautiful truth that was made more beautiful for me last night. Last night, Ben's parents watched the kids while we went to Broadway to see Les Miserables, which I've seen before (20 years ago?) and Ben has always wanted to see. Due to some great teaching, we already knew the gospel themes of the story, but I mean, does it ever get old? In an early scene, Jean Valjean, a paroled convict steals silver from a Bishop who offered him help. The police catch Valjean red(silver)-handed, and he lies and tells them the silver was a gift. The Bishop, presented with this evidence, displays two candlestick and says:
That is right.
But my friend you left so early
Surely something slipped your mind
You forgot I gave these also;
Would you leave the best behind?


The Candlesticks are the best part of the gospel, the part we often leave behind. You see, depending on your perspective, Les Mis is also a story of a false gospel. It is often described as a story of redemption, where Valjean uses his gifted silver to improve himself. And, that is what we want to believe: that I believed the gospel for salvation and self-improvement. And so, as a Christian, I often spend my time proving to myself and my friends and my family and the world my improvement, my redemption. And every time I rise to defend myself, or lie just a bit to improve my side of the story, or give thoughts as to why my anger is justified, I am telling Jesus, "I don't need the candlesticks, I'll just take the cup."

Ahem. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Is this blog post not a bit of that very sin: informing you of my righteousness? I am so stinking aware of that as I type. Yes. I know that sins taints my every choice, and I know sin is here now too. So, with fingers busy on the keyboard, I've got the candlesticks firmly between my teeth. And, if it sounds like false modesty to you, you are probably right. But, there is still a voice in my heart that is not the cackle of the braggart or the whine of a Judge Judy defendant (those are there too), but the song of a sparrow that was created to sing. 

God changes me, and as he changes me, he fills me with song. And if that's not a dag-gone miracle.....

Also. I am still working on Scripture memory. I read a book that shared a method on how to do extended Scripture memory. I gave the method a try. It wasn't for me. It stole from me the devotional magic. So, I ditched it and have gone back to the old standard of repeat, repeat, repeat. Out loud, quietly, when I lay down, when I wake up. No matter how good my book is, when rocking Annie for her nap, I close my Kindle app and open YouVersion, and we speak life to ourselves. And, I truly believe that the moments spent in that sacred exercise are the moments that lead to me seeing grace on Broadway and having the courage to sing my own song. If you are inclined to pray me through my  goals or join me on the journey, I'm hoping to have the book of Ephesians memorized by Thanksgiving. I just started chapter 2. And Paul. Oh, Paul and I still have issues. I'm not sure what it's like in Greek, but it just seems like he's out to use at least 5 prepositional phrases each sentence. And I want to call Mrs. Heath for help diagramming the sentences so I can make sense of it all. 

One more thought on Les Mis. I remembered the gospel in the play. But, I had either forgotten or was never aware that the musical ends essentially with an amazing altar call:

Do you hear the people sing
Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people
Who are climbing to the light.

For the wretched of the earth
There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end
And the sun will rise.

They will live again in freedom
In the garden of the Lord.
We will walk behind the ploughshare;
We will put away the sword.
The chain will be broken
And all men will have their reward.

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing?
Say, do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring
When tomorrow comes!

From a girl who will never sing on Broadway, this post is my song: "The music of a people who are climbing to the light."

Candlesticks, people. 
xoxo,
Susie (can you tell the difference when we write or should Ben and I identify ourselves?)