"For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God." (1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Never a Dull Moment

I had originally thought of naming this post "Settling into a Routine", but then I thought better of that.  There's never really a true routine here.  Every day is different and brings something new: a new sight, a new friend, a new experience, a new thing learned, a new adventure, even.  That said, I thought I'd simply catch you up on some of the "new" things happening this past week.
Missionary friends of ours working in Fada (halfway between Mahadaga, where we are stationed and Ouagadougou, the capital) have decided that God is calling them home and are finishing up their last term in Burkina in November.  We are sad to see them go and will miss them so much!  With their leaving, however, we've had the opportunity to acquire their motorbike: a Honda 250.  Like the Yamaha Rhino we had shipped over on the container when we first arrived, it is strictly for ministry purposes, of course!;)  Seriously, though, during rainy season especially, motorcycles are such a convenient way to get around the rural Mahadaga area to visit clients.  So we are blessed to have the use of a well-taken-care-of, fairly powerful bike.
[caption id="attachment_691" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Business use only, folks...really!"][/caption]
We've decided to start our own garden in our backyard.  In the past we had been sharing a garden with the Walsh family, but we felt we needed a little more space and we thought we might do a little better job at actually taking care of our garden if it was in our own backyard.  So, we've started the process of prepping the ground and outlining the site for the garden, hoping that Dale can transfer a few of the tomato and pepper plants he started in "recycled" tin cans.  After finally agreeing on which corner of our yard would work best for a garden, we also realized that we would need to have one of our trees cut down in order to allow for enough sun in the garden.  We hate to cut any trees down around here, but we want to give our garden the best chance we can at succeeding, so we finally decided to bite the bullet and have it done.  There is actually a chain saw somewhere on the station, but it is not very big and none of our Burkinabe helpers know how to use it, so the tree had to be cut down the old-fashioned way.  They lopped off all the branches, then got about halfway through the trunk and then they tied some rope to the top of the trunk and attached the other end to the winch on the front of the Yamaha Rhino.  If we get a chance to in Ouaga, we'll try and post some video of it, but suffice it to say that it came down loud and hard, but it was pretty cool!  And I have to salute the guys who worked so hard to chop through that trunk, and then chop it up again into smaller pieces.  Now they've spent the last two days digging a crater in our backyard in an effort to get the trunk and roots out of the ground!
[caption id="attachment_689" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="It only took them about 30 minutes to get this far into the trunk with the puniest little ax I"][/caption][caption id="attachment_690" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Another 30 minutes of tying the rope to the tree and the winch, then gunning the rhino and the giant finally toppled. "][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_700" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="I can't believe they actually managed to pull that thing out of the ground! It's a monster!"][/caption][caption id="attachment_703" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="There's the hole that monster was in!"][/caption]
The highlight of our week was a trip to one of the nearby waterfalls.  The four of us hopped into the Yamaha rhino and drove it about 4 kilometers before turning off the main road and weaving along a bunch of donkey-cart paths through the cotton, millet and corn to the lower of two waterfalls.  I can never really figure out how Dale remember where to turn or how to get there, but somehow we find it every time.  Once at the lower waterfall, we had to continue on foot.  We skirted around to the right side of the pool at the bottom of the falls and then climbed up through towering weeds to the top of the waterfall.  Then came the treacherous part: crossing the top waterfall in order to continue on up along the stream bed to the upper falls.  Besides a little scary and dangerous, it was hot and sticky going, but when we arrived, it was worth it.  The upper falls don't get much "traffic", so we had the place to ourselves, and the waterfall is beautiful.  Perhaps if you show up for a visit sometime, we'll take you there!
[caption id="attachment_698" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The boys are piled into the Yamaha Rhino, ready for our trip to the waterfall."][/caption][caption id="attachment_697" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="This is THE Mahadaga bridge. Looks like the donkey isn't too keen on crossing it. Glad I was riding a Rhino instead of a donkey."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_694" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Driving along the donkey-cart path to the lower waterfall, we came up on this "road block" - a donkey cart full up with freshly harvested millet. We had to drive through their millet field to get around it."][/caption][caption id="attachment_696" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Turn left at the next corn field and voila! There's the lower waterfall!"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_709" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Had to carry Joel through the tall weeds...we woulda lost him otherwise!"][/caption][caption id="attachment_699" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Through the jungle of weeds and out we come at the top of the lower waterfall."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_687" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="It may look like a simple matter of wading across, but the rocks underneath were very slippery, and just behind Dale was..."][/caption][caption id="attachment_688" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="...the edge of the waterfall! Slipping really isn't an option."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_686" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Caleb had fun looking for monkeys with his binoculars as we tramped up the stream bed toward the upper falls."][/caption][caption id="attachment_702" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="After a long, sweaty climb, the reward is in sight."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_701" align="alignleft" width="214" caption="Beautiful!"][/caption][caption id="attachment_693" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="After crossing the lower waterfall and wading through the stream, our socks and shoes needed a little drying out."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_695" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Yes, folks, I did it. I carried Joel on my back the whole way back down to the lower falls. AND I was wearing a skirt."][/caption]
Today the mason crew finally arrived to begin work on our kitchen expansion/renovation project.  I'm so excited!  Not to complain too much considering that my neighbors usually cook outdoors, but I've been feeling a bit cramped in my little kitchen for the last 3 years.  Actually, cooking outdoors (at least when it's not raining) doesn't sound half bad.  At least there I'd have some space!  But then, I guess I wouldn't have cupboards and counter tops within easy reach.  Not that I do now.  So, this lack of storage space and work space has finally driven us to bite the bullet and invest in a kitchen upgrade.  We are basically planning to double the size of our current kitchen (which is only 8x12 at the moment) by adding on a 2nd "room".  At the moment, I can't even fit the fridge and freezer in the kitchen, so they are sitting in our dining room.  The addition will allow us to move the fridge/freezer into the kitchen, add a 2nd utility sink (which will be really helpful for laundry), add more counter space, and add a bunch more cupboards and shelves for storage.  Considering that we generally only go grocery shopping every other month, you can imagine that I usually bring back quite a load of canned goods whenever we return from one of these shopping trips.  Finding space to put it all away can be challenging.  And then there's the problem of finding storage space whenever I start canning.  So, today they started digging the foundation, and maybe in two weeks or so they will have the outer shell (walls, floor, roof) completed.  After that, it's painting and installing cupboards and counters!  I might actually have room to do some real Christmas baking this year!!!:)
[caption id="attachment_692" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="It may not look like much, but it's a start!"][/caption][caption id="attachment_716" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="By the way, thought you might be interested in seeing what a \"septic drain\" looks like here. We dug this one behind where the kitchen sink and laundry area will be."][/caption]
In other, not so fun news, Joel is sick.  He started with fevers and vomiting Sunday afternoon, and has had the low grade fever off and on ever since.  The vomiting has turned into diarrhea, and since he seems to have suddenly developed an aversion to disposable diapers, we've been having a lot of "fun" dealing with the aftermath of that.  So, some new experiences out here have nothing to do with living in another country, I guess!  Little boys are always an adventure!  And for those who are wondering, I did go have him tested for malaria, and the test came back negative, so at least we can rule that out.  Now if we could just know what it is!  Joel is not one of those cuddly, sleepy patients, so it's trying and interferes a lot with Caleb's schooling.  We are planning a trip to Ouagadougou, leaving this weekend, so if he's not better by then, we'll be able to take him to a doctor next week.  And, we should have better internet access, which means we should be able to skype with any of you who might be interested in doing so!
Until next time, may your adventures draw you closer to Him!


  1. Thanks for the great post. Yikes, the "old-fashioned" AFRICAN way looks a little treacherous. Glad it worked out. We'll be praying for Joel.

  2. Thanks for keeping us updated on your lives! It's great to read up on it. The lower falls look like the ones just past the market east from the mission station, where we met a man (I think it was Bapoguini?) who showed us his large garden - is that where it is?

    The motorbike looks like fun! I could see how that would be easier than the Rhinos on some of the narrow trails off the main road.

    Praying for you as you adjust back into your roles at the Center and on the station!