Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Life on our compound:

We have 2 donkeys named Smokey and Teddy who haul our water from the nearby river. They're very tame and let Isaac and Evan ride on their backs sometimes. We also have a white cat named Muzungu which means "white person". She's good at hunting down rats and lizards around the compound.

We've also got about 20 chickens. Eggs aren't available at the market so we depend on our own chickens for eggs. We get about 3-5 every day and share them amongst our team of missionaries. We've even let a few of them hatch and had baby chicks. Whenever we need some protein/meat, we butcher a chicken for dinner. The only problem is that they're free range so they're not very tender.

We also have a nice vegetable garden with zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, spinach, pumpkin, okra, carrots, and watermelon! We've been eating lots of zucchini lately fixed all kinds of different ways.

Since the river water is so dirty and takes 2 different processes to clean and filter it, we collect rain water in giant barrels off our tin roof for drinking and bathing. We have a lovely solar shower (a bag we set water in the sun all day) for nice warm bath water for the boys in the evenings. Our lights at night run off solar energy and Eli even built us a solar oven using bricks, mud, and silver, reflective cracker wrappers! He's such a genius!

We really enjoy this kind of living. It took a month to adjust and now after 2 months it's feeling normal. Of course I'm still skiddish around all the lizards, frogs, and bugs of every type. You wouldn't believe the size of some of the spiders and beetles here! But I'm not afraid to go to the outhouse at night anymore and I deal with the moths mobbing me during my shower, which is also outdoors.

Isaac and Evan think this is paradise. They run around with our neighbor children, play with the animals, dig in the dirt, and even speak a little Arabic. This morning I told Evan to "jeb salaam" which means greet our visitor. He stuck out his hand to shake hands with our friend and we all laughed because I had not used any English and he understood! Isaac will surprise us every now and then by using an Arabic word. The other day I was dishing out his supper and he said, "Mommy, that's enough. Khalas!" Khalas means enough. :) We're so proud of them. They do so well here, meeting and greeting new people every day, sitting through long church services, walking miles in the heat to visit someone, etc. God truly has equipped us for our ministry here.

I just finished my first week of teaching. It feels so good being back in the classroom. I'm teaching basic literacy to people who don't have a single educated person in their whole tribe! Just in 5 days they've come so far, writing and reciting their ABC's and even sounding out short words. I only teach from 9-11 a.m. and we have a lovely young teenage girl named Radiya who watches the kids while I teach. Our school is just down the road so I'm accessible.

Eli enjoys going out on the 4-wheeler with our Ethiopian colleague doing evangelism in areas who haven't seen a Christian in years or ever before. It's exciting to make connections and encourage isolated believers and share the gospel with people who have never heard. Last week they even shared the gospel with a witchdoctor who now says he is saved and renouncing his former ways. Amazing what God is doing! It just blows our minds.

We wouldn't want to be anywhere else. It's amazing how perfectly we fit here - and only God knew. We just came in faith and He's showing us peace and joy that comes from obeying and following Him.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Oh where is my paintbrush?

I find that one does not think outside the box in Sudan because one does not have a box to begin with.

I found myself once again stumped. We had several paint brushes but all of them were at least 4 inches wide. The mouth of the paint can was half of that. Mushkelah Kabiir. (Big Problem) Where was I going to get a 2 inch paint brush in the middle of Sudan?

I remembered back to my days as an adolescent where my father used to use his boys as cheap labor during the summers. He was wise enough to pay us in one lump sum so it looked like a whole lot of cash but now that I think back, he was making a killing off of us. Every four years we returned from Kenya to find our house in need of painting. He would round us up as soon as school was out and set us to work in the blazing heat of summer. There was one paint brush we boys always fought over: The Pig Bristle Brush. Coveted for its ability to hold 1/4 gallon of paint at a dipping, draw a straight line, and clean out like new after each day, it is no wonder the brush mysteriously disappeared. Rumor has it that Christie Rupp took it. I never knew if it was actually made of Pig hair, but this got my mind working several years later as I stood over the box, puzzling about where I could find a paint brush.

Pigs we did not have, Bethany would kill me if I shaved Evan's head, so what was I supposed to do? And then it hit me...we do have donkeys! A quick haircut for the donkey, a little bamboo for a handle, some string and a zip-tie (thank you Ottos), and we are back in business. It is no Purdy, but this paint brush got the job done.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Highlights of the week

Monday: Killed a scorpion in our house

Tuesday: Killed a spitting cobra in our compound. Eli skinned it and is drying it to show off to y'all when we return to the States.

Wednesday: Meseret and I ventured across the roaring river to visit a lady from church who recently had a baby boy.

Thursday: We attended a celebration for the new baby, walking a total of 5 miles (Isaac walked the whole way!) Eli also constructed his own paint brush using hair from our pet donkey and bamboo! What a guy!

Friday: It rained buckets and buckets, watering our growing garden and giving us several barrels full of crystal clear water- so nice for drinking and bathing!

And we'll see what the weekend holds!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The art of making peanut butter

Today we tried to make our first batch of peanut butter. About a week ago Eli bought a giant sack of peanuts at the market and proudly brought them to me, saying he wanted me to make peanut butter and his favorite peanut sauce (a Ugandan delicacy.)

First we had to crack them out of their shell, then roast them, then grind them, and after adding some oil and salt...VOILA...PEANUT BUTTER! But it is quite the process and just 4 cups of nuts took 3 hours for the whole process! To grind the nuts we used 2 large rocks. The bottom rock was flat so we could grind the nuts between the two. It worked beautifully, not Skippy's but it will be great.