Sunday, January 3, 2016

Christmas in Ikland

When we returned to Timu after a busy month of November and early December, we were searching for peace and quiet. We found the area still green as the rains have continued through late December. Who knows what this excess of rain will mean for the agricultural season the following year? For one thing, people will not burn the land as usual in January. For another, they are not sure when the rains will return this year. If it is later than usual, people may not have enough food from the last harvest to sustain them until the next harvest. Things that we ponder living in an agricultural society...
We found green friends,
flowers still blooming,
and sadly, more deforestation. 

While we were away, Karamojong shepherds had moved closely by our homestead and cut down many trees to make a temporary corral, which they evacuated within a few days. We get so frustrated to see this and feel so powerless to stop it. There is no respect for the environment and little thought of how long it takes these adult trees to grow (long years in our rocky soil). This tree was a demarcation of our land boundary, and was carelessly chopped down without respect for it's marking. On top of that, they didn't even use this precious tree. To us, it appeared that they chopped it down either for fun, or to make a statement. Either way, it was a waste. More and more in Timu, this is happening as the Karamojong are bringing their animals and moving onto Ik lands. Do they ask? Nope. Just another example of how the Ik continue to be marginalized.
Returning to Timu meant returning to homeschool. One of our favorite parts of school is getting to do science experiments together. In the above experiment, the girls and Terrill created a volcano. We colored the 'lava' pink and when it spewed out, the girls wanted to taste it. They forgot that we had used dish soap in the mixture.
Returning to Timu also meant getting out to see our neighbors. This man has had crippled feet for years, and has begged for a wheelchair for months. Now he gets the adventure of learning to use it.
To get into a festive mood, we listened to Christmas music while making our own decorations. Simple pleasures.
On the 22nd of December, Janet celebrated her 7th birthday. She had pancakes for breakfast, Shepherd's Pie for lunch, and hummus for dinner...all by request. She had friends come over to play with water balloons. She had lego-time and movie-time. It was a good day.
Our beautiful daughter on her first birthday as our adopted child
On the 23rd of December, we had a nice Christmas celebration with our German friends, Christoph & Heidi Rauch who now live only twenty minutes away. They are cozy in their little house on the Timu ridge. And, they are currently building multiple other houses for team members who will join them in July. These are the AIM folks who we've been waiting to join us for so long....and they're here!
We had a quiet Christmas morning of family time. The girls received some neat presents from home (via snail mail), and were delighted by our Christmas rituals.
Thanks to our friend, Kay, the girls were dressed 'to the nines'. Living in the village doesn't mean a gal can't look her best! Thanks to Grandma Velma for the new purses.
Christmas brunch of banana coffee cake and hash browns
Around noon, we heard singing at the church, so we went over to investigate. They were holding a Christmas day service. Pastor Jacob preached a wonderful, gospel-filled message. 
After church, we saw a party going on at Aunt Esther's house. We stopped in to find a goat being roasted and other local foods being cooked. My girls can't resist some chewy pieces of goat.
And then the day ended with a beautiful sunset,
and another day ended that way,

and another day began with a beautiful sunrise. This is our life, and we are resolved to enjoy it for as long as we have it.