Thursday, August 14, 2014

Running Friends

Running Friends

       Kamau wanted to be a long distance runner. He lived in the Kenyan Desert near the city of Bura and he practiced running every day.His friend, Abiria, often ran with him. 

      One day, as they were on their way to school, Kamau said, “I saw the new teacher. He looks mean, and he is missing one leg.”

Abiria’s eyes opened wide. His mouth was wide open too. “How will he teach us Physical Education without a leg,” he asked.

Kamau shrugged. “I don’t know, but we are scheduled for his first class.” The bell rang as the two boys stepped into the school yard. They hurried to get in line where the new teacher stood.

“Straighten your line,” the new teacher barked in a loud voice. “March,” he bellowed.

Kamau marched tall and confident. He was the best marcher in the school. Abiria trembled, but tried to keep in step with Kamau.

When they got to the field for exercise, the new teacher, said, “I am your new teacher. You will call me Mr.Johnson. Yes, I have a prosthesis for my right leg. I have learned to use it for many things.  So, don’t try anything.”

After class, Abiria said, “Wow, Kamau! How did he get us to do all those stunts with one leg!”

Kamau made a face. "He scowls at us. Why can’t he be jolly and laugh once in a while.”

“I don’t know,” Abiria said.  “Maybe the leg hurts.”

Next day, Kamau asked the teacher a question about the exercises? “Sir,” he asked. “Why are we doing this exercise first?  The other teacher did this one after we practiced running.”

“I am not the other teacher. We will do it this way,” Mr. Johnson said. Kamau saw the teacher was staring at him and waiting for something. Kamau stood still. The whole class was quiet. Mr Johnson stared at Kamau.

Then, Mr. Johnson barked, “Yes, Sir!”

Kamau mumbled, “Yes, Sir.”

“Speak up,”  Mr. Johnson barked at Kamau.

Kamau shouted, “Yes, Sir.” Mr. Johnson continued the class.

On the way home from school, Kamau complained to his friend. “Abiria, I don’t like that teacher.”

When he reached home, Kamau announced, “Papa, I am not going to Physical Education class.”

“Yes, you are, Kamau,” his father said.

“But I don’t want to go while that new teacher is here. He only has one leg and he’s mean.”  Kamau pouted.

His father said, “Kamau, that is not an intelligent decision. You need to learn the skills of Physical Education.  You don’t hurt the teacher by skipping class. You hurt yourself.”

Kamau said, “I don’t like him!”

“Kamau, everyone likes to be liked.  Like him and you will see he will like you.   Do you know how he lost his leg?”

‘No, and I don’t care,” Kamau said. But next day, Kamau decided to see if what his father said was true.

During recess Kamau walked over to Mr. Johnson who stood alone near the school door. Kamau swallowed and tried to keep his voice steady as he asked, “Sir, How did you lose your leg?”

“It is a long story, young man. I wanted to be a runner. I did not have a teacher and I ran on a highway.  I got hit by a car. Thank you for asking. You are brave to ask,” the teacher said. He smiled at Kamau.

Kamau got all flustered. He said, “Yes, Sir.” And ran back to where Abiria waited for him.

“What happened?” Abiria asked.

“He was nice. He didn’t yell,” Kamau said.

“But what did he SAY?” Abiria asked.

“He got it running. He was running like I do, on the highway,” Kamau said.

Next day, the teacher asked, “Who wants to be a runner?”

Kamau and four other boys raised their hands.  Mr. Johnson said, “Meet me after school.”

After school, Mr. Johnson gave the boys tips on what would help them to run faster. He taught them how to breathe effectively, when to stop, and how much water to drink.

Each day after school, Kamau and his friends ran. They practiced hard. Mr. Johnson selected Kamau and Abiria to run in the District Competition.

They practiced everyday. They could not wait for the day to arrive. “Tomorrow we run,” Abiria said to Kamau on the eve of the District Competition.”

Kamau said, “Yes, and my father is going to take us there.”  Kamau could hardly sleep that night with excitement. In the morning, he jumped up, ready to go to the competition, but his father was very sick. He seemed to have some acute pain in his right side.

Kamau's mother said, "I am sorry, but you must stay here to care for your little brothers. I must take your father to the hospital. “

When Abiria arrived to travel to the District Competition, Kamau told him to go to the school. He could travel to the competition with Mr. Johnson and the other boys.  Abiria was very sad. He did not want to go without Kamau.

Kamau insisted and Abiria went off to school.

Kamau held back his tears until his parents had gone to the hospital. He sent his little brothers out to play. Then, he sat in the doorway watching them. Tears flowed down his cheeks. He did not weep about not going to the competition.  His fear was much deeper.  How could he go on without his father?

When his mother returned, she said his father would stay in the hospital for a while, but he was going to recover.  “Kamau,” his mother said. “Your father has pain, but he seems even sadder that you had to miss the competition because of him.”

Kamau swallowed hard. He said, “Mama,”, “There will be other competitions. Papa is more important than a race.”

Kamau’s mother patted him on the head. “Your father will be happy to hear that you said that.”

Next day, Kamau went to class. Mr. Johnson announced to the whole school that Abiria had done very well in the competition.  “We must practice now for the National Competition,” he said.

Abiria whispered to Kamau, “I would not have won, if you had been there. Practice, you can win the  National." 

Kamau slapped Abiria on the back. "You are a good runner, Abiria, and YOU won, but thank you for being such a good friend, too."

The boys continued to run after school. Mr. Johnson coached them. They won many competitions, and their friendship endured.  When they finished school, Kamau went on to join and win many races. Abiria became a doctor, specializing in Sports Medicine. When Kamau competed in a race, Abiria was always there to cheer for him. Abiria married first. He named his first child Kamau. When Kamau married he named his first child Abiria. Mr Johnson was godfather for both children.

Friday, May 9, 2014

           Benny liked his new home. He could see a park from his window. Next day, Benny went to the park with his mother. He ran about, looked at bugs and butterflies, and had a great time.
           He found a tree he liked very much. It had high branches and big, happy green leaves. He took a nap under the tree.
          When Benny wakened, he saw the tree was shaking its branches.  He watched his tree for a bit.  
         Then, he ran to his mother and said, “Mama, is the tree afraid of something, or is it sick ?  It is shaking all over. The branches are waving and waving.”
         Mama smiled. “No, Benny, the tree isn’t afraid. That is the wind shaking it. Hold up your  hand. Feel the wind.”
        Benny held up his hand. “Oh,” Benny said. “I feel it on my hand. Oh, I feel it blowing my hair, too.”   
       His mother gave him a beautiful, big, red ball.  Benny bounced the ball here and there. And then it bounced right up against the tree trunk.
       Benny heard a whooshing sound. It was a sad sound. Benny wondered if the tree was not only shaking, but if it was crying.
      Benny went up very close to the tree. He put his arms around it to give it a big hug.
     “Tree,” Benny said. “I didn’t mean to I like you.”     His arms didn’t reach, but Benny hugged the tree again.
     After Benny hugged the tree, he sat beside it. But the tree continued to make little, sad sounds.
     Benny stood up. He looked up at the tree. Benny asked, “Tree, do you hurt somewhere?”
    The tree did not answer, but it continued to make the sad sound.
     Benny said, “I’m sorry. You must hurt somewhere.” Benny noticed the leaves were turning inside out.
    Benny said, “Tree, my mother is right over there. I’ll go and ask her what would be good for you. She knows all kinds of ways to make me feel better. She will help you.”
    Benny ran to his mother. He said, “Mama, the tree is shaking and making a sad sound, and its leaves are turning inside out.
    His mother said, “Get your red ball, Benny. When the tree shakes and the leaves turn inside out, and you hear a whooshing sound, it means we are going to have rain and maybe a storm, too.” 
    Benny and his mother hurried home before the rain came.
    Benny watched the tree from his window all during the storm. He could see his tree get all wet, but when the sun came out it, his tree had clean, shining leaves.
    Benny said, “Mama, my tree looks happy  now. It was only sad because it did not want a bath."
    Mama smiled at Benny, "It is time for your bath now. Are you going to go 'whoosh' like the tree?" 
Benny laughed and said, "No, Mama, I am not a tree!     

Sunday, March 30, 2014


      Benabab was the King of Manapani, the kingdom of Basket Makers.
He was looking for a wife to be his queen.
      He walked about in many villages. One day, he came upon ten lovely young women.
 They were weaving baskets. They worked carefully.
Benabab examined the baskets and saw that they were well made, strong and useful for many things.
Benabab asked the young women to empty the baskets.
One by one, he invited each young woman to throw her basket in the air.
     The first young woman tossed her basket high and caught it gracefully.
The second young woman tossed her basket and caught it gracefully.
Again, Benabab smiled and thanked her.
Each young woman took her turn. Each one caught her basket gracefully, until the last young woman took her turn. Benabab had smiled and thanked each one. Each young woman was certain he was going to invite her to be his queen.
      Then, the last young woman tossed her basket into the air. She did not catch her basket. All the young women gasped.
    That basket bounced high in the air and Benabab caught it. Benabab bowed to the young woman.
“Will you be my queen?” he pleaded. 

      The young woman bowed deeply happy to be chosen by her king.
      Benabab said, “My queen was not afraid to trust me to catch her basket.
      So, we too, must trust in God to carry us when life tosses us about.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Elephant Joan

ELEPHANT JOAN of the J Family
   Elephant Joan lives on the vast plains of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania on the African Continent.
Tanzania is a beautiful country where people respect the earth and all that is in it.

    Many beautiful animals roam the plains freely.
Elephant Joan and her sisters stroll about and show themselves to the tourists who come to see and admire them.

Some of Elephant Joan's family live far away in a zoo, where people who cannot come to Tanzania may see these giants of the Serengeti Plain.

   One day, Elephant Joan saw a tourist drop something. She wanted to help. Winding her trunk in an arc, she twisted it around and picked up the small black glistening box on the ground.

   Elephant Joan is curious. She likes to learn new things.
Holding the tiny box up to her face, she saw little pictures. 

   She gently rubbed the box with the end of her tusk.
Oh!, she gasped. “It’s alive.” She was frightened. All the little pictures were gone and she saw a  picture of something she had never seen before.

   Elephant Joan rubbed the tiny black box again. She held it with her trunk at eye level. “Oh! Oh!” she rumbled deep in her trunk. Now she was truly frightened. She held the black box with her trunk. She ran home to find her sister.

   Elephants can really run. They kind of tramp or plop or bungle along, but they can move quickly. When they are frightened this frightens the tourists because elephants are so big.

   If an elephant should step on you, you might not get up again. So, the tourists watched as Elephant Joan banged and bumped across the plain.

   Half way there, Elephant Joan met Elephant Jill, her little sister. Elephant Jill knows many things about the world and the tourists. That is because she was borrowed once for a zoo in the city. That was a year ago, and she is still bragging about all she learned.
   Elephant Joan stopped, Her eyes filled with tears, and she made a sad sound. “Little Sister, help, help, this little black box has stolen my face!”
Elephant Jill of the J Family
   Elephant Jill said, “Calm down, Big Sister! What is the matter?”

   “This box! Look! It has stolen my face.”
Elephant Jill took the little black box from Elephant Joan’s trunk.

   "It's only a box."  Elephant Jill said. "Tourists hold them to their ear and talk. The box did not steal your face! It took a photo of you."

   “Do I still have my own face?” Elephant Joan asked.

   “Of course, you do! You are talking to me with it.”

   Elephant Joan smiled. She was not frightened anymore. “What a wonderful day!” she said. “The tourists have taken my face. They will show it to everybody. I will be the most famous elephant in all the world!"

    Her little sister said, “Not unless you return it to the owner, silly.” 

   Elephant Joan bumbled off happily to find the owner of the little black box. Her sister shouted,  “Be careful, don’t frighten the tourists!”

Thursday, January 23, 2014

This blog is dedicated to stories I test for later publication.
I have another blog where I offer information on 
my author visits by SKYPE

You can find that blog by clicking
or just Google
Elizabeth V Roach Blog

SKYPE in the Classroom

This is an organization that offers teachers and authors an opportunity to visit classrooms all over the world.
All sorts of classes and presentations by authors are available free on Skype. You can access it through my blog or directly, if you Google  
 SKYPE in the Classroom
It is a wonderful organization and 
I am delighted to be a part of it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Saiset Time Out

A Saiset Time Out

- No! That's my airplane!
- But it’s my turn!
Peter and Marisa were fighting again.
Dad said, "Stop that, if you want dessert for supper."
Peter raced to Grandfather's room. Marisa ran after him with the plane.
"Gramps," Peter said, "Girls are awful. They don't play right."
Marisa said, "Don't believe him, Gramps. He always wants to be first."
Gramps said, "That reminds me of Chin and his sister. When I was an engineer in Taiwan, they had a quarrel.”
Peter and Marisa forgot their fight.
They always knew when Gramps had a story to tell.
Gramps said, "Just like you, Chin and his sister had a quarrel."
Peter said, "Gramps, you knew a person named Chin."
Gramps said, "Yes, that was his last name. We called him Chin. Chin and his sister were angry with one another. They belonged to an aboriginal people who migrated from New Guinea to Taiwan a long time ago.”
"Abbbor.., abbbor.. what’s abbbor . . .," Peter asked.
"Aboriginal. The first people who live in a place," Gramps said.
Peter opened the big atlas Gramps kept on his table.
Marisa said, "Let me see. Let me see, too."
Peter found the map of New Guinea. Then he found Taiwan.
"Where were you in Taiwan, Gramps," he asked?
"Right here in these mountains. I got sent up there to fix the water supply."
"And did Chin and his sister have a big fight, or did they just fight with words," Marisa asked?
Gramps said, "Oh, they were so angry, they weren't speaking to each other. And they belonged to the Saiset Tribe. Saisets like peace. So, the elders told them to take their rice bowls and go up to the mountain top."

Peter said, "They had to climb a mountain because they had a fight?"
Marisa said, "Sometimes Mom sends us to our room, but so far she hasn't made us climb a mountain."
Peter said, "And she doesn’t like us to take food to our room."
Marisa said, "What did they do on the mountain, Gramps, try to push one another over?"
Gramps said, "No, no. The Saisets really know how to make peace. They took their bowls of rice and they went up there to talk to God. They call God, the Grandfather of Heaven."
"And what did God tell them," Marisa said.
"According to their custom, they had to stand there silently. In their hearts, they told God all about their quarrel."
Peter said, "Oh, I know, that's like when Mom says, we have to have a time out."
Marisa said to Peter, "You always make a mad face. You don't talk to God."
Gramps went on, "After they told God all about their quarrel, they stayed there and listened to God. Then, together, they tossed their rice into the air. When the rice mixed, they were at peace, because they had talked to God and God had listened to them. They could come down from the mountain, and live in peace."

"Gramps," Marisa said. "If Peter and I toss rice in the air to make up, Mom won’t like it."
"I think you're right, Marisa. Rice is very precious to the Saisets. You would need to use something you really want."
"Marisa  always wants what I have," Peter said.
"That's it," Marisa said.
"What's it," Peter asked?
"We can toss your plane into the air," Marisa said.

"Okay, I'll toss it and you wait for the landing, then you toss it back to me."

Gramps said, "You're forgetting the important part.”
Peter folded his hands and bowed his head. Marisa did the same. They talked to God.
Marisa and Peter thanked Gramps for the story.
Then the plane flew out of Gramps' room and into the living room.
It flew over Dad’s newspaper.
Marisa whispered, "Maybe we better fly it in your room.”
"Yeah," Peter said. "I wonder what's for dessert."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Immaculate Conception of Mary

Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary
December 8

File:Immaculate Conception anonymous CTB-2006-30.jpg
                                            Wikipedia Commons
We remember the Feast of The Immaculate Conception on December Eighth.  We pray and sing:
Oh Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you.

The Immaculate Conception of  Mary is the national feast of the United States of America. 
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is located in
Washington DC
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.jpg
The Feast of The Immaculate Conception is also the patronal feast day of Spain, Korea, Portugal, Brazil, the Philippines, and Nicaragua. 
 This feast is celebrated in many special ways throughout the Catholic World.

The Virgin They Could Not Move

By Charlie29 Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Attribution not legally required.

Nicaraguans call this feast that of The Most Pure One. 
La Purísima.
       In 1562, Pedro Alonso Sanchez de Cepeda y Ahumada*, the brother of St. Teresa of Avila, was sailing to Peru. His sister had given him a lovely statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. During the long ocean voyage the ship endured many storms. Those on board prayed to the Virgin.  One storm occurred off the coast of Nicaragua.  Pedro  decided to land there.  The port was hot and humid.  Pedro and his men traveled on to a nearby settlement, El Viejo.
     They carried the statue with them. When Pedro got to the village, he asked the Franciscan missionary to place it in the church for safekeeping. The people there came to pray before the statue. They were happy to have such a lovely image of Mary.
    When the weather improved, Pedro packed up the statue and went to his ship. The people accompanied the statue as it was carried there. They did not like to see it go, but Pedro had to get to Peru.  After the people had said their last prayers before the statue, he set sail.
As soon as Don Pedro reached the deep of the ocean, he met another storm and was forced to return to the port. 
When the people saw this, they insisted that the Virgin did not want her statue to leave them.  Don Pedro seeing how much the people wanted the statue to stay with them, decided to make a gift of it to them.

Then, he sailed on safely to Peru. They people placed it in their village and today, five hundred years later, the statue is still in Nicaragua in the  cathedral of El Viejo 

On this feast, Nicaraguans honor Mary with songs, prayers, processions, and firecrackers.  In the city of León , they call their celebrations, “La Griteria” which literally means 
The Shouting.
They have a lovely custom at this time. Families make shrines to Mary. Everyone, all the children, the neighbors come to pray and sing and celebrate their love of the Mother of God.  Families offer sweets and drinks and gifts to those who visit the shrine.  They share what they have as long as it lasts.
        In the city of Leon and in other towns, too, they greet one another saying, “Who is the cause of so much joy?”  
 (“Quien es la causa de tanta alegría?”)
     Nicaraguans, like Catholics the world over 
love Mary, the Mother of God.

 *Some accounts say it was Lorenzo, not Pedro, but Pedro seems more likely to be the one.