“That’s what poverty teaches you.”
Abner said that to me when I asked him how he learned to do all the things he knew how to do. Like make me kerosene lamps out of ketchup bottles aluminum foil and medical gauze when my “real” lanterns broke after just a few days of use. Abner grew up in the Philippines and didn’t have much. Not much in the way of possessions anyway, but much in the way of determination and ingenuity.
I got to spend a few hours with Abner when I was in California last week. You can see how much he misses Africa just by looking in his eyes. I longed to be able to sit with him under the African night and all its stars, and to sit in the freezing cold by the hot coals glowing in the brazer, and to laugh about our day’s adventures and plan for the adventures of the next day. We seem out of place together in America where things like our jobs and our cars and the messes of our romantic and other relationships muddy the waters. I’ve never worked with somebody so seamlessly as I did with Abner. I never felt safer than I did in the two months we lead our team together. We never, not once, found ourselves in conflict with each other. It was just another one of those miracles. Boy. Do I miss that.
Mama Lou and Daddy Abner, March 2007
But I wax nostalgic. The subject was ingenuity, so back to THAT!
See what poverty is teaching Africans. Necessity IS the mother of invention!