Monday, September 21, 2009

Work Day

Although we didn't expect to find ourselves in Timu today, we got there and we got down to work. The Patrol made some funny sounds but it drove. The Lord provided safety through the 'bush' (wilderness areas). We wondered if we'd run into any trouble because the Karimojongs just raided the Turkana across the border yesterday. Nothing unusual happened. So...the objectives for the day were to clean and paint in the houses. Both were filthy from cement dust and an accumulation of dirt. I also uncovered a nest of mice. I squealed when the first ran out while I was moving a brick. I squealed in a higher octave when the second almost ran over my hand. The Ik were standing near the fence outside and burst into laughter at me. Needless to say, we either need mousetraps or a cat. Terrill helped me clean the dust off the barrier wall in our house. Ron & Beth Moe (Wycliffe friends who are staying with us while working on a dictionary project) worked on the guesthouse.

The guest house is getting a nice pistacio-green coat of paint. The four of us were exhausted by the end of the day. We left Timu at 5:30pm and arrived in Kaabong at 7pm. Thank the Lord for a little joint called Riverside. They're the only place in town we ever treat ourselves to. The food is tasty and comes out in five minutes. It's become a Timu, traveling-day tradition. After a plate of beans and cornmush (atap)...I was ready for bed. We hope to move furniture to Timu on either Wednesday or Thursday. We'll go up again on Saturday for more cleaning. Move-in date is drawing near.

Oh yes...we saw these fires along the way. The Karimojongs are burning the grass in Timu forest to make way for new grass at the first rain. When we drove to Timu this morning, nothing was burned. By the time we went home, several miles were blackened.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Death of a Papaya Tree & Other News

This was our healthy papaya tree in January. Below is how the papaya trees now look. Whether it's lack of rain, termites or some disease...our trees are dying. We had some sprinkles of rain yesterday morning but nothing materialized into a full-blown shower.

We awoke on Saturday morning to this sad sight. A papaya tree had fallen during the night. This is the third papaya tree to die this year. Pray that we figure out what is killing them. Trees are precious in Kaabong.
Termites killed this papaya in July.
On to happier news: we had a girl's night on Friday. The MedAir gals came to join us for pizza-making, eating & some Pride & Prejudice.
Beth, Fiona, Sarah & I made five pizza (shared some with the boys, 11 people total). We made a mess but there were four of us to clean up.

This is the most recent house picture. We've put a walkway in front of the door that slants south so that rain won't flood our house.

The yard is cleaned up and it's almost livable. We're going to Timu again tomorrow to clean and paint. We hope to move the furniture up within a week. There is still solar work to be done, plumbing, and a water system to set up...but it's coming along and we praise God for how far we've come.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Where the rubber meets the...wood?

We think, pray, talk, dream...etc. about traveling and road safety over here in Uganda. In our orientation two years ago, they told us traveling was the most dangerous activity we'd be involved in. Since coming here, Amber and I have covered thousands of miles, mostly in our trusty Nissan Patrol. We are thankful to many of you for praying for our safety. I've been stopped four or five times by the Police, each time for breaking a real traffic law (!). (I assure you, my traffic record in the US was nearly perfect. :) There's just something about driving in another country.)So far we haven't been involved in any accidents, apart from bending a door backward when backing through a gate with a the door open.

Until last Saturday, we'd gone 18 months in Uganda without a single flat tire. Then, on Saturday, we had two in one day! Reaching Timu that day, air was escaping around a screw that had been driven into a back tire. The Ik eagerly helped me change the tire. On the way back, the spare tire caught a jagged piece of wood and blew out in less than 30 seconds. A large crowd of Dodoth children started to gather around, so I asked Amber to please entertain them while we changed the tire. They were certainly entertained by having their pictures taken and shown to them. We had no choice but to put the original flat tire back on the truck and stop every mile or two and pump it up again. We 'limped' the 15-odd miles back to Kaabong. Despite the rude surprise of having two flats in one afternoon, all I could do was smile and be grateful for this chance to live in Africa and taste the out-of-control side of life.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday with Susi & the Ik

This weekend we were blessed to have our language programs supervisor come up to Kaabong for a visit. Although Susi could only be with us for three days, we're trying to make the best of the time. Thus, our Saturday was spent with the Ik. They always like to welcome visitors and meeting Susi was no exception.

Even the smallest children turned out to meet & greet us. Some awake, others having a nap..
We're seeing more progress on our compound and it looks almost livable. This is the water tank that we'll either fill from a well (down the hill) or store rainwater within.

I had a need for a structure to put my kitchen sink into and the builder produced this result within two days of my telling him the need.
This is the guest house toilet, esp. made for those with trouble squatting. A work of art in the eyes of some...we must be in Africa for too long...:)
This is our long-drop latrine toilet, for those that are up for a challenge.

Aleper. The precocious daughter of our cook. Can you see it in her eyes?
A chicken being held captive at our site. Dinner for someone.
An Ik girl grinds corn on a grinding stone.
Fresh corn (maize) and laundry dry together in the sun...what a combination.
Susi visited an Ik village with us that overlooks Kenya.
What a privilege it was to have one of our supervisors take the time & effort to get involved in this way. Besides having a great group of supporters back in the states, we have co-workers in Bible Translation who are standing beside us in this endeavor.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

'Greasing' & 'Spraying'

Our mechanic reminded me when we were in Entebbe that it's good to 'grease' our truck on a regular basis. Slight oversight on my part. I took the truck to a service station the next morning. Greasing involves injecting grease into various moving parts on the underside of a vehicle. This helps prevent wear and tear. I watched the guy do the greasing, and then he proceeded to ask whether I wanted 'spraying' as well. Hmmm...I thought, 'greasing & spraying' sounds like some kind of routine maintenance, so I agreed. To my horror, the guy took an air-hose and a quart of motor oil and started spraying motor oil all over the moving parts under the vehicle. After getting over my initial confusion, I told him to stop and asked him why one would do such a thing. He said "to get rid of the squeaks". Okay. Whatever. Aside from making a terrible mess, I wondered if their weren't better ways of lubricating, perhaps more strategically. Unfortunately, on our trip back up to Kaabong we discovered that 'spraying' not only gets rid of squeaks, but if you're not careful, it will get rid of an assortment of nuts, bolts, and expensive parts. Ten hours into our trip, the truck developed a worrying bumping sound. As it got worse, we pulled over and I applied my extensive and enviable knowledge of mechanics (not) but didn't find anything. That's when we literally prayed ourselves the rest of the way to Kaabong. Several times since then, I've had to get under the truck and tighten nuts and bolts. But today, Medair was kind enough to let me use their service bay, where hopefully I was able to exercise enough torque to keep us out of trouble.