We established a mission base that, for a while, looked like it was going to be our permanent home for Love Botswana Outreach Mission Trust. We built a camp where outreach teams came to learn and serve in the north of Botswana. When we had teams in, I did the cooking over the Big, black, cast iron pots over the open fire while Grandma Pat helped take care of the 2 very active Remick and Jordan Lackey. There was a period of time when we had a terrible drought in the country. (1996/97) The thick dust from no rain, the intense heat, and the stench of death were all around. The last pool of water from the Okavango Delta was right in front of our house. There were animals of all kinds that came from afar to get a drink of the life giving water. Sometimes they would get stuck in the mud and be left to die. There were hippos in the pool as well. Thirty- Two to be exact. At night, these huge creatures who were starving to death, would crash down our barbed wire fences that separated us from the river, and make their way onto the property to eat what was left of our fruit trees outside our bedroom window.
One night, Pat heard a sound that got her out of bed. She pressed her nose against the long narrow window to see what the noise was. To her surprise there was a hippo staring right back at her through the window. Indignant, as only Miss Pat can be- she pointed her finger and firmly whispered, as not to wake the rest of us and said, “Shoo! You get on out of here, do you hear me? Shoo!” And with that, the hippo turned and walked away in silent obedience. But that’s just the kind of spunk she has!
Grandma Pat was especially helpful when it came time to wean the nursing grandbabies. She and Jerry would take turns consoling the blood curdling screams of the uncooperative little ones while mommy (me) was in there other room crying in agony and pain from my side of the weaning! They would take the “sippy cup” with a spout and handles, filled with milk or juice, put the toddler in the stroller, fasten the seat belt and take off on a walk around the property. The further they walked, the fainter the screams became, at least to me, in the house. On their side, the kid would take a few sips from the sippy cup (imported from America, I might add), and throw it with all his might onto the sandy ground! A statement was made, and all of my (3 breastfed boys) made it very clear that they wanted no part of that plastic gadget!
Eventually peace would come. And the child was weaned. Remick was the first to give up his sippy cup at the age of 3. He, together with a young man we brought to the states with us on a trip, went to the edge of the dock in Galveston, Texas and threw the cup into the ocean, never to be seen again. At least until he realized what he had done. The tears didn’t stop till we ended up getting another one at Walmart to calm him down! You have to choose your battles, you know?
To be continued….
*hippo photo compliments of breadwig.com