|Our new home|
The guards on our compound have some chickens and Joshua loves watching them eat and helping the lost chicks find their mamas. The boys are even starting to name them.
I have been so proud of our kids. Despite culture and language differences, Isaac, Evan and Josh have been taking the soccer ball out every day to play and make friends.
Yesterday we went to the river for a swim and as you can see we had quite the audience!
|The boys and their soccer friends|
And now I'm going to copy and paste an email I wrote to my family about our first days here:
There is so much I want to share about our new life here. I have been amazed at the ease of unpacking and getting the house to a functional state. And honestly, I’ve been amazed by the boys and how beautifully they’re adapting! Isaac especially started taking initiative a few days ago, he takes the soccer ball out to a clearing and plays soccer with a group of about 12 boys. Yesterday Evan warmed up to the idea and today Joshua joined! After playing soccer for about an hour yesterday afternoon, Isaac and Evan came home sweating and red-faced and asked if we could walk down to the river with their friends. Sara, a new teammate was here visiting and she said she’d enjoy going to the river so we walked, along with the boys’ soccer friends. It took about 30 minutes to get there but then they had a blast swimming! The water was brown, like chocolate milk and did not appeal to me at all, but our three jumped in right away and soon other kids were splashing around too. On the way home, the boys joked and some of them even held hands with Isaac and put their arms around them. I know making new friends with people of a different culture and language is hard and totally out of their comfort zone but they’re doing it and I am so so proud of them.
Joshua is excited about all the different kinds of birds we see here. We got the bird book out and he’s spotted some cool turaccos and hornbills. I’m attaching a photo of Josh watching the chickens being fed. There is a rooster and several hens and their chicks on our compound that belong to the guards and Josh has enjoyed watching them, feeding them, and helping lost chicks reunite with their mamas. So far the rooster has been named Barney and by the end of the week maybe even the chicks will have names. J
We really like the guards. There are four total, usually two here at a time. There are two sons and their fathers. The older fathers have several wives and they come to visit almost every day so I’m trying to learn names and learn who goes with who. It’s kind of challenging. But the boys are getting to know them as “Ami” which is their language for “uncle”. Yesterday the boys and I planted a veggie patch and our “uncles” were very interested in these strange seeds we were planting and asked to have the leftovers. They have already planted maize, groundnuts and okra in different sunny areas of the compound.
I can’t remember if I told you this already but one major blessing during this first week has been the Lunch Club. SIM has Compound A (the original compound where some missionaries live and where the main meeting/dining hall is.) Then there is Compound B where the rest of the team lives and on that compound there is also the water project office and a small Bookshop that a teammate has opened recently. Behind both of those compounds, another few minutes’ walk is our compound. We are on a compound which is right next to the SIM/SIC secondary school that moved from Yabus. Sorry that might be more details than you wanted but just wanted to give you an idea that we’re not all together on one big compound. So back to the lunch club. The Lunch club is available to any SIM missionaries who want to be a part of it. For $1 a day, you get lunch cooked for you, Mon-Fri! For now, we have joined the lunch club which is going to be great next week once I start school with the boys. We can focus on school all morning and I won’t have to stop to start lunch. We can just go through until 12:30 and then walk down to compound A to eat. It got a little tricky yesterday when some friends came to visit right at lunch time and I knew it would be right to feed them so the boys and Eli ate with our guests (but didn’t eat much) and then we went over to compound A and filled up the rest of the way at lunch club. J
Eli and I are amazed that every time we go out, especially to the nearby Doro market, we run into people we know from Yabus days (so from five years back!) I always keep my eyes open and of course when I see a familiar face, then I have to try to remember the name! J But it’s definitely fun being reunited with so many dear people. We are also making new friends. Eli is so good about getting out and walking around. He’s also been “shadowing” some of our teammates and hearing what they do and learning about the tribes and community and needs here. Today he went with Bubba (we studied Arabic together in Khartoum) to the Ingessena camp. This morning I went along with a teammate to visit a friend of hers who has a little 2 month old who was born with quite a few complications. One of the major complications is that he has cleft lip and cleft pallet so they have to feed him through an NG tube and also with a special bottle brought from the States that the mom uses to feed her expressed milk. It’s been a very hard few months for this new mama as she struggles to feed her little one. He also has a heart defect. We spent a few hours taking turns holding him, feeding him, and encouraging the mother to keep doing what she’s doing. On our way home, we were invited to stop and drink coffee with a group of women so we did. It is so great to be back in this culture.
I’m finding that the days are very full and physically draining. I think especially since everything is so new, it takes a lot of energy out of us. Last night after getting the boys into bed, I took my bucket bath and then came to bed with the laptop, hoping to download pictures, write emails, catch up with Eli. Eli and I did share about our days but somehow in the midst of it, I fell asleep! I know these first weeks will be the most busy as we try to figure out how to do life, as we meet up with so many friends (which means more visitors than usual) and as we learn where everything is. The market is only a 10 min walk away so I’ve been going almost every day. I’m soooo thrilled that if I need anything, it is close enough to run over. I want to show Isaac and Evan around the market so that soon I can send them on their bikes if I just need one or two things when I’m in a pinch.
Tomorrow we’re going to attend the SIC Doro church which is right here in neighborhood. We want to greet the church and let them know who we are and why we’re here and then other weeks we might start visiting the different churches in the camps. There is really soooo much going on ministry wise in this place that it’s hard to keep everything straight but we know it will all come in time.
Today is Saturday and German came again. He’s been hanging out with Isaac riding bikes and the two of them have been helping Eli fix a motorcycle that one of our teammates basically gave to Eli. He’s thrilled about it though it needs some TLC after being in storage for so long and Eli will need to figure out how to get it registered and get the needed papers so he can drive it around. It will be wonderful when he needs to get around to all the different camps. Some are quite far. This motorcycle is just one of sooooo many ways that God has provided so abundantly and beyond what we could have expected. Seriously, it’s quite overwhelming how God has been so present, so near, and so totally involved in all the details, big and small. We are humbled and always thanking Him for everything.
One other funny tidbit I wanted to share is my cooking. You know how when you move somewhere new you have to learn how and what to cook there. Well, okra is in abundance here and this is definitely its season so I’ve been cooking a lot with it. Last night we had okra in our spaghetti sauce and the night before we had okra fried rice. Both were a huge hit with the family and again I’m amazed at my boys and that they can even get excited about okra. Today when Isaac saw that I bought more okra at the market he said, “Good! You can never have too much okra!” What a kid!
Well, this is getting so long. Since we don’t email every day, it seems I have so much I want to share. For now the internet set up is that we walk down to one of the SIM compounds for internet. It’s been working well, it just means it doesn’t always happen every day.
Thank you for all your prayers! We are definitely sensing God answering your prayers.
Eli, Bethany and the boys