"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)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer Wrap-Up

It's been nearly 3 whole months since we last posted on our blog!  Ack!  I'd like to blame it on our internet problems, but I can't say it was entirely all the internet's fault, though it didn't help.  Regardless, we're back.  For the moment, anyway, as we are in the capital wrapping up a very busy summer and getting ready to go on a week-long vacation to Bobo-Dioullasso, a city about 365 kilometers west of Ouaga.  I could write a long narrative about everything that went on this summer, but rather than bore you with the details, I think I'll use pictures and captions (with a few short explanations interspersed) to tell about what's been going on the last few months.  Enjoy!

The beginning of rainy season always brings lots of dust as the big rain storms swoop in and stir up all the sand lying around from the last few months; we weren't prepared for this particular storm so we didn't get the windows closed up fast enough - 15 minutes is all it takes to get a layer of dust over everything!
One of the 2 huge trees next to Betty's house fell over during a big thunderstorm in June; it just came up by the roots!  Thank goodness it fell away from the house, especially as the guys from the West Shore E-Free team were staying there at the time.
The guys from the West Shore E-Free Team helped replace all the outdoor electric wire and plumbing for the SIM medical clinic in Mahadaga.  Here, Sam Brenize and Paul Mank are getting ready to run the wires from the main breaker panel to the maternity building.
Sam Brenize and Ed Arnold finish pulling wire.

The guys didn't exactly have the most ideal conditions to work in as they tried to cut and bend conduit.  They did an excellent job, though, and managed to finish all the work in their short 10 days in Mahadaga.

On our return trip to Ouaga to take the West Shore E-Free team to catch their flight we had the car stacked several feet high as we were carrying plenty of empty coolers and storage bins for transporting the next 2 teams' groceries back to Mahadaga.

Don't worry, folks, he's still alive and learning to hold his breath under water.  Our trip to Ouaga to drop off the West Shore E-Free team was the first we'd been in Ouaga in 4.5 months.

Both boys enjoyed reacquainting themselves with the pool and are well on their way to figuring out how to swim on their own.

Two little monkeys climbing on the car.

On the road again!

With all these regular 8-hour trips to Ouaga, our boys have learned to be great travelers.

And Dale has learned to be a great Burkina Faso driver.:)

I always wonder how they manage to keep their balanced perched up their for any length of time!

Intense artists!  Grandpa & Grandma Johnson sent finger paints for the boys to enjoy, so we found a book on finger painting ideas at the CAH library and did all the projects in it over the summer.

We celebrated the 4th of July the Saturday before with the Walsh family.  The kids had fun running around with their American flags and I walked out to find them planted in the middle of the main path through the station.

Caleb and Thomas Walsh wave their flags from the play house in the Walsh family's back yard.

Stephanie Walsh watching over our 4th of July picnic spread.  We found real hot dogs in Ouaga!

The 4 older children ate their picnic up in the play house.

Matt and Dale attempted to create a Cincinnati fire kite.  It almost worked.

We decided to give gardening another good try.

Last year we had trouble with Africa squirrels eating all our green bean plants, so this year we fenced them in separately from the other plants.

Every Tuesday morning Caleb and Joel go to the CAH library to read books in French with their friend Boureima.

On Monday, the 4th of July, the French team arrived in Mahadaga.  We had a big meal together to welcome them, and Liz Barr baked a delicious 4th of July cake!  When it came time to cut the cake, we serenaded our new French friends to with the Star-Spangled Banner.

At the peak of the summer, we had up to 26 adults for one of our station meals; nobody's house is big enough for everyone to eat inside, so we ate on our screened-in porch instead.

One of the highlights of the summer was the CAH end-of-school-year field day.  There were nearly 30 different booths with activities for the kids to try, like the ring toss.

Caleb and Joel were invited to participate in the field day festivities.  Each child was given a tag with each booth numbered on it so they could keep track of how many they'd been to and which ones they "won".

Two CAH students battle-it-out in a sumo-style wrestling match.

Caleb was good at knocking over the tin cans with the ball.  Guess he's had plenty of practice!

The CAH staff had a Welcome party for the Messiah College and French teams.  For one of the games, whoever was left holding the "hot potato" when the music stopped had to do a challenging activity, like finding a specific page in a book without using your hands.

Ben from the French team had to pick the ball up off the floor and place it on the chair without using his hands.

The French team shared two songs with us.

The CAH school closing ceremonies were held on July 7th.  The ceremony gives us a chance to award those students who passed the primary school exam (CEP) and showcase the progress of many of our handicapped students whom the community often doubted would be able to succeed in school.  This 3rd year student read a short composition in braille for the parents and community representatives assembled.

Namoussa, a 5th year student, solved some long addition and subtraction problems presented by volunteers int he audience.

The graduating class of 24 (100% pass rate!) sang 2 songs about God's faithfulness.

The audience.

Dale (Director of the CAH) handed out graduation gifts.

Mondu, a primary school graduate from a previous year, is deaf.  He showcased his tailoring skills during the closing ceremonies, putting together a button-down men's shirt in the time it took to get through the whole ceremony.

More food and fellowship!

We enjoyed many cultural activities with the team, including learning how to make rice toh.

Little 2-year-old Evodi shows us the right way to eat toh - sitting on the floor and eating with your hands.

A rainy adventure to the waterfall with the Messiah College team.

The rain storm only lasted an hour or two, but it was enough to  make the waterfall enormous (and not climbable).  Keep this picture in mind later on.

On the way back from the waterfall, we found one of the wash-ways was  flooded  too deeply for the car to get across.

Everyone was soaked thoroughly and waiting outside in the cool breeze was making little boys' lips turn purple, so they crawled in the back with friends Kathy and Linnet and cuddled up under the towel to stay warm.

Matt and Dale came to the rescue, but there wasn't much they could do except continue to wait for the water to go down more.  After about 2 hours we finally decided it had receded enough to cross on foot.

Grandpa and Grandma Bomberger sent new, much-needed underpants with fun Disney motifs.  The boys love to "match"!

Several family birthdays occurred over the summer.  We were able to send a few small gifts home with the Messiah team, including this dress for cousin Lilia.  I wasn't sure it would fit her, so I made Caleb try it on first, since he's just 5 months older than her.

Making a birthday card for Grandma Johnson.

Each of the teams that visited us this summer led prayer meeting at some point.  Here, Jeremy from the French team tells a children's story about a snake who kept stealing the farmer's eggs.

Joel and Tessa Walsh.

Some of the crafts made and sold by the local Fuhlani women.

The kids eventually found a good use for the fallen tree by Betty's house.

Our French missionary colleague, Francoise, also celebrated a birthday this summer.  The kids helped her blow out the candles.

Two boys, two big toy trucks, and a mud puddle.

One of our summer art projects: we made cardboard cut outs of each boy's profile and painted them.

Add a cotton ball eye and pipe-cleaner hair and you've got two cyclops!

On her last weekend in Mahadaga, we took Liz Barr to the "Upper Falls".  When the "Lower Falls" (called Boundi) are not flooded, you can climb up above them to access this 2nd, bigger, more private waterfall.

Liz decides she must try for an adventure on her last weekend in Mahadaga - she must go stand under the waterfall.

Almost there...

We've made contact with the water, but that's not good enough.  We must get completely under it.

The rocks are slippy, so our fearless adventurer decides to try scooting out under the falls on her bottom.


But no, sitting under the falls is not good enough.  We must now try and stand.  It works...

...for about 2 seconds before she went sliding into the pool.  Adventure had and photographically documented!

French short-term associate Nicolas, who joined us on this epic waterfall hike and witnessed Liz's last Mahadaga adventure.

Remember the picture of the "Lower Falls" that were swollen by rain when we visited it with the Messiah College team?  This is the same waterfall two weeks later.  That's what 2 weeks of no rain can do!

Caleb and daddy driving the Yamaha Rhino.

Mahadaga sun sets behind the cliffs.

Two weeks later, this is the same wash-way we could not drive across in the Terrano with the Messiah College team because it was flooded

More gardening.  We've had to do a lot of watering ourselves this summer as we've had very little rain.  Most of the local grains are only waist-high when they should be 5-6 feet tall by now.

When there's no rain, little boys make their own mud puddles!

Messiah students Dena and Jo invited us over for some epic monkey bread!

The Yamaha Rhino takes on the Mahadaga Grand Canyon...and wins!

Tessa Walsh is not to be outdone by the boys; she told me she was "washing off" in the water.

We had a ladies night with the woman from the local French church.  They taught us to make toh.  Dena tries her hand at crushing the spices that will be going in the sauce.

Burkinabe stove.

Our sauce.  It had potassium, bullion, dried fish flakes, white (navy?) beans, a local spice called tsumbala, some rock slat, and some sort of local leaf.

Time to mix the toh: sorghum flour soaked overnight and poured into boiling water.

Beta shows us how to stir the toh so that it'll cook to the right consistency.

Messiah student Jo gives the toh a stir.  It's hot, tiring work!

The fruits of our labor: 2 pots of toh and 2 pots of sauce to share amongst 15 women!

Gathered 'round the table.

To eat toh, you first take a small ball of in your fingers, then dip it in the sauce and eat.

For those of us who are not used to it, it can be a bit hot on the fingers and a bit messy to eat!
That about sums it up!  A big thank you to the West Shore E-Free Church, Messiah College, French, and Grace Point Church teams, as well as the short-term associates (Jozi, Sarah, Liz, Nicolas, Dena and Jo), for spending the summer with us!  From wiring and plumbing, to investing in the education of local children, to playing with the kids, to cutting out summer VBS materials, to eating and playing games, to great in-depth conversations, to teaching new therapy methods, to learning about our culture - thank you all so much for sharing life with us!  It means a lot, not only to us, but to our community.  We hope to see you all again some day!;)

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