Monthly Archives: June 2009

More from March 2009

Young Nuer Woman

Young Nuer Woman

This young Nuer woman came to all of our teachings in Dajo.  I thought she was very striking looking.  She never smiled or reacted or spoke.  One afternoon I got one of the translators and went over to her and told her I thought she was beautiful and that we were very glad she was coming to hear what we had to say. She showed no reaction to what I was saying, but after that, every time I saw her she gave me a big smile.

Ethiopian traders

Ethiopian traders

We were only a few kilometers from the Ethiopian border and one day when we were out in the area where the school was before it burned down, we came across some Ethiopian traders who had set up to barter with the locals.  Coffee, sandals, and other items were available.

Lewo and Simon bicycle outreach

Lewo and Simon bicycle outreach

The young men help the missionaries and the compound clinic by riding bicycles out to the villages to encourage the mothers to bring their children to the clinic when they are ill.  They also take immunizations out to the villages and do health related teaching in addition to evangelizing.

Riding a bicycle in that area is no easy task even though it can be faster than hiking.  There are many areas where the bicycle has to be picked up and carried.  The trails are not smooth and you can hit a rock and fly off — I think I would prefer to walk.

Sudanese woman and child

Sudanese woman and child

Compound kitchen and one of the cooks

Compound kitchen and one of the cooks

This is where our meals were prepared.  There are three cooks in the compound.  Our meals were simple — rice or a flat macaroni at each meal.  The toppings would vary a bit — chicken stewed with tomatoes, peas stewed with tomatoes, green beans stewed with tomatoes, sheep or goat stewed with tomatoes.

Local woman

Local woman

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Sudan March 2009 Pt. 2

Church in Tedubi

Church in Tedubi

 The people in Tedubi sat waiting for us to come and teach.  It took us three hours to hike there, so you can imagine how long they sat there waiting for us to arrive. It is not easy terrain to hike — maize fields, dirt trails, up and down through the dry riverbed, etc.  I was fine getting to Tedubi.  Coming back was another story.

Return from Tedubi via the dry riverbed

Return from Tedubi via the dry riverbed

Village on the hike to/from Tedubi

Village on the hike to/from Tedubi

Woman on the trail to Tedubi

Woman on the trail to Tedubi

Resting at the riverbed with Michael and Lewo

Resting at the riverbed with Michael and Lewo

Michael and Lewo are two of the young Sudanese men that I was privileged to get to know while I was in Dajo.  They both spoke English and had been educated in Khartoum.  Lewo had converted from Islam to Christianity about 2 months before our arrival in Dajo.  They are both extraordinary young men.
Michael was one of the young men who wanted to learn how to play guitar and learn all the songs.  He certainly has a heart for worship and for teaching the local people.  Watches were coveted gifts for the translators and when we left, Michael was one of the only translators who did not get a watch.  My luggage got left in the States and I did not get my suitcase until our return to Nairobi — that is another story in itself — and so I didn’t have my translator gifts with me.  I left other gifts for Michael, but not a watch.  So when the missionaries return to Dajo in September when their furlough is over, Michael will get a watch.  I am sending several things back with the missionaries and a watch for Michael is one of those items. 
Simon on the hike to Tedubi

Simon on the hike to Tedubi

There were probably a dozen of the young Sudanese men on the hike with us.  They go along to guide, translate, tell their story — they are very caring and very willing.
And now a few pics of the compound, which Eric laughingly refers to as the “Dajo Marriott”
Tukul

Tukul

We lived in tukuls while we were there.  A tukul is a mud brick building with a bamboo framed grass roof.  Here is a photo of a woman gathering grass to roof a tukul.  Women do most of the work in the area.
Local woman working on tukul

Local woman working on tukul

Compound showers and sink

Compound showers and sink

This was heavenly compared to many parts of Africa where you may just be given a bucket of water to use to wash up every 2 or 3 days.  We had showers like Mash 4077 — but it was great.  All cold water –which felt good in the climate — and the local women hauled the water from the well and filled barrels which were hooked up to the shower head.  Water is precious, so we tried very hard not to waste it.
Night time at the Dajo Marriott

Night time at the Dajo Marriott

The tukuls were like ovens.  We pretty much just kept our stuff in them and spent as little time in them as possible.  Because it was so unbearably hot, we all pulled our beds out under a clothesline, hung our mosquito nets from the line and slept outside every night.
Gutidi

Gutidi

This is Gutidi.  He went everywhere with us.  On the hike to Tedubi, Danny and I noticed that he was wearing men’s black leather shoes and the soles were coming off and his toes had worn through the leather.  He most likely got them from an NGO and who knows how well they fit.  We were told that he was poorer than some of the other young local men, so when we were handing out translator gifts before we left, Danny and I put together a special package for Gutidi. I left him the sandals I bought in Lokichokio, Danny added his tennis shoes, a pair of pants and two tee shirts, and I had a couple of new pairs of men’s white tube socks.  Gutidi walks long distances to get to the compound, so I also gave him an extra water bladder that we had.  We gave him our gift and one of the translators showed him how to use the water bladder.  He was so overwhelmed he didn’t know what to say. 
Kenya Sudan Trip March 2009 1345
These are small children in one of the villages we hiked through.  Toddlers and infants are generally naked.  And many are malnourished.
Dajo Presbyterian Church

Dajo Presbyterian Church

On the Sunday we were in Dajo, we all split up and went as honored guests to the various churches.  Nancy and I went to the Presbyterian church.  The church was actually a tukul and it was fairly comfortable when we arrived and the service started.  But as the morning went on, it became increasingly hotter and I couldn’t wait to get outside.  The church service actually lasted 3+ hours. 
More in the next post.

Sudan March 2009

After we left Nairobi, we flew to Lokichokio and spent the night at a nice lodge where the NGO pilots stay.  Lokichokio is in the northern part of Kenya — the film The Constant Gardener was filmed there.  The asphalt roads are in such disrepair and full of potholes that the taxis and people with vehicles there just go off road when they come to a spot that is bad.  You would think they would just fix the road, but I guess not.  I have read, however, since our trip, that there are NGOs moving back into the area to feed people due to drought there. Here are a few pics from Lokichokio — before Dajo and after Dajo:

Relaxing in Lokichokio

Relaxing in Lokichokio

Trying to email home from Lokichokio

Trying to email home from Lokichokio

Thumbs up for the strawberry ice cream in Lokichokio

Thumbs up for the strawberry ice cream in Lokichokio

While we were in Dajo surviving the 130+ temps everyday, ice cream was the joke topic of conversation.  Upon arrival back in Lokichokio after our 8 days in Dajo, I saw ice cream listed on the menu board at the lodge.  Everyone thought I was joking because it had not been listed when we were there previously.  So Danny bought everyone ice cream.  And so I was giving a thumbs up for my huge bowl of strawberry ice cream.  It tasted wonderful!

Our Arrival in Dajo

Our Arrival in Dajo

Greeted with singing at the airstrip in Dajo

Greeted with singing at the airstrip in Dajo

Nuer and Buldit Women of the Dajo area

Nuer and Buldit Women of the Dajo area

Compound training center

Compound training center

Compound medical clinic

Compound medical clinic

Teaching a song to the women

Teaching a song to the women

Holding one of the local children

Holding one of the local children

I was sitting and listening during one of the teaching sessions and kept feeling someone touching the back of my hair.  This little boy had walked around behind me and was fascinated with my hair and how different it felt.  So he sat on my lap and followed me around nearly everyday.
Teaching a song with help of translators

Teaching a song with help of translators

I was responsible for leading and teaching worship while we were in Dajo.  I realized when I got there that I needed to take some time and scope out the situation and rethink my approach.  I tried teaching the women a new song through the translators while playing the guitar.  But they had never seen a guitar before and it proved to be too distracting.  So I did everything acapella.  And even though I had about 40 songs with me, I chose to only teach 2 songs so that they could fully learn them.
I did teach some of the young men some guitar basics and three chords at their request.  And during those lessons, I taught them some of the other songs.  They wanted very badly to learn everything I could teach them so that they in turn could teach the people after I was gone.  It was very gratifying to me that they wanted to learn.
More in the next post.

Kenya March 2009

Yesterday our mission team gave a presentation of our trip.  I am still processing everything that happened, but I thought I would post a few photos.  I have 1600+ photos from the trip on my laptop and I have not even looked at all of them yet!  I did not take that many photos — they are a compilation of all the photos taken by the group, which were six of us from ICT and the two missionaries on the ground in Dajo. But here are a few from the trip:

Sudan Team at ICT Airport 3/7/2009

Sudan Team at ICT Airport 3/7/2009

Nancy and Eric in Nairobi's Sinai Slum

Nancy and Eric in Nairobi's Sinai Slum

Nancy and Eric with school children at the slum school

Nancy and Eric with school children at the slum school

Slum school children

Slum school children

Nairobi's Sinai slum

Nairobi's Sinai slum

Human waste in Nairobi's Sinai slum

Human waste in Nairobi's Sinai slum

Team at Flora Hostel in Nairobi before Dajo

Team at Flora Hostel in Nairobi before Dajo

Three of us had not been to Africa before, so we attended an orientation before going into Sudan.  While we were at orientation, Nancy and Eric went to the Charisma Tumaini school in Nairobi’s Sinai slum.  The school was originally started as a feeding center, but is now a full time school.  We took soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, pencils, erasers, and crayons for the children.  And our church has funded a project to build a latrine for the school.  As you can see, there is human waste everywhere in the slum because there are no toilet facilities.  The people live in tin shacks and human waste is gathered into plastic bags and just thrown out.

Next post will be more about Dajo Sudan.


Long Friday Afternoon

My boss is in Tuscany on a food/wine vacation.  I am holding down the fort, so to speak, and this has been a very long Friday afternoon.  Fifteen minutes to go, so I thought I would write a quick post.

I have been rather scattered this week.  Having the Little Buddy for 4 days threw me off stride.  I bought the fashionista a container of edamame hummus two days ago and kept forgetting to remove it from the office fridge and take it home.  So this morning I told her to text me in the afternoon and remind me — which she did.  So it is now sitting by my bag ready to go.  I HAVE to get on the computer tonight and choose the photos I want to use for Sunday’s presentation, and I have to figure out what I want to say.  I hate talking in front of people — funny then, that it is actually something I do fairly well.

We have been just kind of foraging this week so I want to spend some time in the kitchen also.  I want to make regular hummus, zucchini bread, a green bean salad, a summer squash salad, and some cooked zucchini with thyme.  All are new recipes I have found recently except the bread.  I have a good zucchini bread recipe that I found several years ago  and to which I add crushed pineapple — yum!

And I need to get caught up on household tasks, yard work, and other projects.  I wanted to work outside the past few evenings, but it has been so darn HOT out that I have stayed inside with the A/C unless I have had to take the fashionista’s dogs out to potty.  Yes, I am a wimp when it comes to hot weather.  Still not sure how I survived the 130 to 145 degrees in Sudan.  I suppose because I had no choice, no escape.  At home I choose to be outside in the heat or inside with the artificially cooled air.   I wonder too if one’s blood is thinner in the hotter climates.  I saw children wearing sweatsuits and long sleeved articles of clothing and sweaters and the men would dress up in suits for church — I thought I would die in a short sleeved shirt and skirt or lightweight cargo pants.  And they would sit by the fire at night. I couldn’t even sleep inside the tukul at night — it felt like an oven.  We all pulled our beds outside and slept outside, though it was not much cooler until sometime in the middle of the night to early morning — even if there was a breeze.

Ah, finally time to pack up and call it a day.


Bookish Wednesday

Testimony by Anita Shreve tells the story of the lives changed — none for the better — by the consequences of a single action.  The story is set at a private secondary school in Vermont.  The headmaster is given a tape of three male students 17+ years of age engaging in sexual acts with a 14 year old female student.  The headmaster tries to deal with the situation as unobtrusively as possible to avoid scandal for the school, but is unsuccessful.  The book is written as a narrative by the various characters in the book, chapter by chapter.   Each chapter leads to the final telling of the events as they occurred.  It was an interesting read and very well written.

Life and plans are always changed by unexpected events.  Last Saturday the eldest daughter phoned me at noon saying that she was pretty sure she had strep throat and could I drive up and get the Little Buddy for a few days.  So I spent Saturday afternoon driving to Manhattan and back — 5 hour round trip.  It was good to see him, but I had to put off all kinds of things I had planned to accomplish.  This coming Sunday the Sudan team is giving a presentation.  I don’t have a clue as to what I am going to say or what photos I am going to use for my part.  Great.  And I am sending back some things for the young men who are learning to play guitar, and I still have quite a bit to do on that.  The missionaries will be leaving after this weekend, and I have to have all that stuff ready to give to them on Sunday or it won’t get to Sudan. And today is my brother’s birthday and I have a family gathering to attend, tomorrow night is praise team — eh.

So I spent much of what was left of the weekend sitting at the park, playing with the hose, playing Chutes and Ladders, going for ice cream and answering endless questions.  By the end of the evening, I was too tired to do anything else.

Last night was a drive to Herington and back to give Little Buddy back to his mother.  She was late, so we had ice cream at the Dairy Queen while waiting.  He loves vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup.  I left with him at 5 p.m. after work and got home just before 9 p.m. Another evening shot.  But I would have to say it was for a good cause.  Sometimes trouble ends up being a blessing.

So I am currently reading Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo, and hopefully I will finish it before the next Bookish Wednesday —


Friday in ICT

Ah, Friday is finally here.  Last weekend seemed to fly by — I was gone a lot and spent little time at home.

Last Saturday was our firm’s summer party.  I had invited eldest daughter and Little Buddy to join me, but she thinks her vehicle may have some issues, and she did not want to take it out on the road.  The fashionista would have gone, but we were not getting back early enough for her to get to work.  So I went solo.  Not a bad thing.  We hopped on a charter bus and went cruising up to Salina where we spent a few hours at the Rolling Hills wildlife zoo.  It was a much better zoo than I expected, and it has a really great museum.  I enjoyed myself there.  Then we hopped back on the bus and went to a winery and vineyard in Salina — Smoky Hills — for a wine tasting, tour of the vineyard and dinner.  The wine tasting was great!  They had some nice wines.  I bought two bottles of their Simply Red which is a semi-dry red, and a bottle of the Premium Auslese, which is my favorite of the wines I tasted.  And I drank it through dinner.  I thought dinner was a buffet, and I figured I could fill up on salad.  But we were served instead.  There was salad with chicken in it, so I ate around the chicken, bread with butter, and then a serving of lasagna and a piece of chicken parmesan.  So I mainly drank wine seeing as how dinner was mainly meat.  I likely drank my year’s quota of wine on Saturday.  Luckily, I did not have my car and got a ride home.  Why did I not have my car?  Well. . .

The local humane society is moving this week into a brand spanking new state of the art facility.  The fashionista has a good friend who works there, and last weekend they had a big adoption promotion to cut down on the number of animals they had to move.  The street address number for the new facility is 3313, so the cost to adopt a dog over the weekend was $33.13, as opposed to the usual $178+.  Considering every animal has the basic shots (depending on age), spayed/neutered, microchip, tattoo, basic medical care, etc. it is an excellent deal.  So, the fashionista determined that she wanted another dog.  And so she dragged me to the humane society to stand in line an hour waiting for them to open on Saturday.  And she ended up with a Cairn mix male puppy.  She has named him Oliver.  And he is cute, but busy, and she has her work cut out for her with potty training him, keeping him from chewing up everything in my house, and the jealousy of the pug. The pug enjoys having someone to play with since the cranky ancient Siamese in the house shun her — but she would prefer that he be put away unless it is play time.  She will adjust eventually — this will be an interesting experience.  And I am trying not to let it drive me crazy.  I am a minimalist in terms of decor and other things — perhaps I am a bit claustrophobic, but stuff laying everywhere, too much clutter, and things like that really bother me.  And now I think we have too many animals.

My mother seems to collect animals, and it would drive me insane to live at her house.  She has rescue birds, rescue cats plus her own cats plus the cats she terms “porch cats” because they live in the neighborhood but she feeds them on the porch, her own dog, usually a foster dog or two — frankly, I could not do it.  And I grew up that way — we always seemed to have a sizeable assortment of animals — dogs, cats, horses, a goose, lizards, snakes, a chinchilla, turtles, rescued baby rabbits and birds — you name it, we likely had one at one time or another. And I added to the menagerie myself by rescuing animals.  When I was a teenager, my cat would always bring home baby rabbits and I would end up with several in a box in my room and I would have to feed them evaporated milk with an eye dropper until I could turn them loose.  One day while driving home from school, I came across a box turtle that had been hit by a car.  I stopped and its shell was a bit cracked and one leg had been smashed.  I of course took it home and put it in a box and fed it bologna and chicken and lettuce and eventually it recovered and I drove it far out into the country and let it go.  So I have done my share. But I think that 2 cranky cats, a rabbit, a pug and an active puppy may just do me in.

So last weekend I missed out on going to the farm market, so tomorrow morning I will get there early — we are low on fresh veggies.