"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, October 5, 2010

Catching Up

It's been over two weeks since my last post and a lot has happened! Not the least of which includes a week-long trip to Ouagadougou (the capital) and Dale getting sick, which, aside from making him miserable, made things pretty insane at home. So, things are settling down and I figured I better catch you all up!
The week before our trip to Ouaga, construction finally started on our kitchen addition. I'm so excited to finally see some progress on it, even though I realize it'll still be a while before I can use the new space. I realize that in my previous post I mentioned the kitchen project, but did not actually show you any pictures of the current kitchen, so here's a few pictures of the current kitchen as well as pictures of the progress made on the addition.
[caption id="attachment_740" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Peering in through the doorway of my current kitchen."][/caption][caption id="attachment_739" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="View of the current kitchen from the opposite corner."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_734" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Here\'s what the kitchen-side of the house looked like before construction on the kitchen addition began."][/caption][caption id="attachment_724" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="This is how you get cement bricks out here. The brick maker shows up one morning and you tell him how many bricks you want. Two days later, there are 650 bricks laying under your mango trees."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_736" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The foundation is poured and the fill is ready to be spread before the floor gets poured."][/caption][caption id="attachment_733" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The fill has been tamped down and the floor is raised and ready for concrete."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_726" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The concrete floor was poured just before we left for Ouaga."][/caption][caption id="attachment_747" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="When we got back from our week-long stay in Ouaga, we found they had finished putting the walls up to our kitchen addition."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_745" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="The carpenter arrived late last week to put the roof beams on. There are actually metal roof panels on there now, too, but I forgot to take a picture of that. Next time!"][/caption]
Our garden project is also coming along...slowly. We haven't had a chance to plant much in it yet, but it's starting to look nice anyway. And we have a couple of banana trees and a papaya tree in our backyard now in addition to the mango trees. And we plan to add a lime tree and a guava tree soon. We also had another tree cut down. This one was a humongous eucalyptus tree that was no longer healthy and stood a bit too close to the side of our house. It was quite the job to cut it down and it's massive root/trunk is still sitting in our side yard 'til it can get chopped up into smaller bits.
[caption id="attachment_732" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The rock wall marks the outline of our garden."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_731" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="I can\'t believe how far down these guys dug to get at the roots of this monster."][/caption][caption id="attachment_730" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Triumphant! Not even help from the Rhino this time!"][/caption]
Life in Mahadaga is, I'm convinced, an MK haven. Our boys love it here. And so I thought I'd share a few pictures of MK fun!
Our trip to Ouaga was a bit more busy than we'd anticipated. Dale participated in an agricultural development conference hosted by ECHO, while the boys and I "hung out" at the SIM guest house in Ouaga most of that week. For the boys, this meant lots of bonding time with some of their MK pals they don't usually get to see much of. For me, it simply meant that I tried to navigate the paper work we always seem to have to take care of by myself. There just wasn't enough time to meet with everyone we wanted to or run all the errands we wanted to. It doesn't help, either, that up until this trip, I had never driven in Ouaga before. There is a reason for that. If you haven't seen our post on Driving in Ouaga, check it out and you should understand a little better. Anyway, this makes it harder for me to simply go out and get the shopping done while Dale is at conference, or to take the boys out to entertain them elsewhere when they are going stir crazy in the much-smaller-than-they-are-used-to play area at the guest house. We still did manage to go swimming a couple of times and to take the boys to Faso Park, a small amusement park that is open on weekends.
[caption id="attachment_744" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="That does not look like the most comfortable seat on the bus!"][/caption][caption id="attachment_743" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="I don\'t think this could be comfortable for very long. The guy was texting on his cell phone."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_741" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="In addition to climbing this mango tree, Caleb discovered that climbing the swing set (in the background) allowed him to peer over the wall and drop leaves on people walking by..."][/caption][caption id="attachment_738" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Caleb had a blast playing with his pals Thomas Walsh and Samuel Gibson."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_735" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Joel had fun playing on the slides at the amusement park."][/caption][caption id="attachment_725" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Caleb rides Thomas the train on the carousel."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_729" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="While the boys amused themselves with the rides, we amused ourselves with some of the interesting designs they chose for the park. Next time I\'ll try and get a picture of one of the boys actually sliding out of the elephant\'s rear end!"][/caption][caption id="attachment_728" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Not sure if it\'s safe to ride on that dwarf\'s back..."][/caption]
I feel the need, at this point, to clarify once and for all a certain automotive incident that is becoming widely publicized due to a certain "friend" posting it on her blog. If you've been following our blog long enough, you've probably come across a mention or two of the WAWA phenomenon. WAWA = West Africa Wins Again. It's a phrase some missionaries use to describe the fact that, no matter how you try to "outsmart" the way things work here in Africa, you're generally doomed to have to do things the "African" way. Or, at the very least, that things will happen to you here that would never happen back home!
So, for example, it is a definite WAWA experience that no matter how careful he is to get his rest, eat good food, drink good water, Dale ALWAYS gets sick when we go to Ouaga. And this particular time, just when we thought he was going to get away with it, Dale got VERY sick the last night we were in Ouaga. The following morning Dale was in no shape to drive, and it fell to me to get us out of the city and on to our mid-way stop, Fada. I plucked up my courage, figuring I wasn't going to have to drive downtown, after all. Just two little turns and then I'm on the road to Fada. It's all paved road, so it shouldn't be too bad. I hadn't counted on how narrow the road that leads into (or out of) Ouaga is. I hadn't counted on how many motorcyclists and bicyclists there are on the road, or rather, on the fact that they don't seem to have any healthy sense of fear despite the big SUVs and trucks that are also on the roads. And I hadn't counted on having to face down a "perfect storm" in traffic terms: a taxi hugging the center of the road coming the opposite direction, a bush taxi (mini-bus) "pulled off" to my right (but still mostly on the paved road) and a bicyclists who chose that moment to go around the bush taxi. I really had no room to maneuver, and I thought that if I slammed on my breaks, the first taxi might hit me, and if I swerved, I'd hit either of the two taxis, so the bicyclists got it. It was a VERY scary moment. But I am most humbly grateful that, despite the fact that I actually did hit the guy, the Lord protected him (and, as a result, us), and he was not injured. He was probably a little sore, but after a few minutes of discussing the incident with a policeman and a crowd of onlookers (all gaping at the white woman who hit a bicyclists!), the guy got back on his bike and left. Needless to say, the rest of my drive was fairly tense (I will NEVER complain about driving in PA again!), but we did make it to Fada without any more incident. The next morning Dale decided he was feeling well enough to drive.:) He did let me drive the last leg of the trip, though - the one with the worst potholes and ditches so that I could barely get out of 2nd gear the whole time. Maybe he thought I couldn't get into trouble there, but I did manage to get the car stuck in the mud once!:) Thank goodness for four-wheel-drive!
A trip to Ouaga always means some pretty intense days right after we get back. There's all the unpacking to be done, not just our suitcases, but the two months worth of groceries we managed to purchase. And usually we have a couple of coolers full of produce to process as well. Some of it we eat in the first two weeks here, but some of it gets cut up and frozen (or canned). Thankfully, I have Buama. When we first came to Burkina, I was embarrassed at the thought of having someone else do all my work for me, but now I don't know how I could ever survive without her. She's better than a wash machine, a dishwasher, or a food processor, (which is how the average housewife makes housework manageable in the US) and she's a good friend, too!:) I was particularly grateful for her help this time as Dale got worse again and was not able to help around the house much for a few days. It was also the end of the month and with the Walsh family on vacation, it fell to me to distribute salaries and close up the station accounts. Needless to say, it was a tiring, busy, and somewhat stressful week, but it's over now, and I have lived to write a blog post about it!
[caption id="attachment_742" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Minced celery, shredded carrots, chopped green peppers, chopped onions and watermelon chunks!"][/caption]
One last adventure worth mentioning was a trip out to see our pastor's rice field this past Saturday morning. I had never seen rice before it had been harvested and I got lots of questions about it when I was on home assignment a few months ago, so I thought I'd get a few pictures and post them up!
[caption id="attachment_750" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="It may look like tall grass, but there\'s rice on there! When it\'s ripe it turns a light brown color and looks a bit like wheat."][/caption][caption id="attachment_749" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Pastor Dialenli (Etienne) in his rice field."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_748" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Rice grows in swampy, wet land. Burkina isn\'t exactly known for being wet, but during rainy season, the farmers will build dykes to help trap the water in their rice fields. If the rainy season is good enough, they can still get a decent yield."][/caption][caption id="attachment_753" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Tramping around a rice field is muddy business. I figured, \'When in Rome, do as the Romans...\' so I followed Pastor\'s example and left my flip flops back at the Rhino."][/caption]
Until next time, may you trust His love enough to persevere through the rough spots of life!
PS, stay tuned for pictures of my "friend" *cough* Liz Barr *cough* learning to ride a motor bike. Not that I'm vengeful or anything.


  1. Love the info. Dale, please stay healthy!!!!

    Blessings to you ALL,

    Ann and Dave et al

  2. Gotta love that elephant slide!!
    MK life isn't half bad, as we know :-)
    I enjoyed all the stories and pics...