Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The View From Where We Live

This is the land of outcrops, or at least this part of Mozambique is. Beautiful isn't it? Zimbabwe is just beyond that farthest mountain (not sure if it fits that category). The top picture was taken from the old farm across the fields. This bottom one is from the new mission farm, this is the view if you stand beside the new woodshop being built.

Here's the guest cottage we will be moving into. This is the day the roofing was put on (thanks Jeremiah).

A view of the inside. Foreground: kitchen, room at far end: front room, then a veranda off that. This is a pretty small house, so the veranda will have to house my washing machine, freezer, office desk, etc. It'll be a multipurpose room!

Well, I can hear the bang of thunder drawing closer and closer, so I should post this before I lose signal! Thanks for all your comments folks, it's the icing on a blogger's cake.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

African Christmas without kids, snow, etc.

At least we had electricity now and again to run the fan, lights and CNN! But that's not what made this year's Christmas feel weird. It was partly because we have no kids to provide some of the motivation to "get the show on the road" this year. Part of the weird ness was just because of the busyness of late, too many trips and being away from the house. The fact that all my baking pans and nice dishes were still packed in the container didn't help. Even our turkey had to go in a tin foil roasting pan this year.

Trying to decorate without power for lights and after a long, hot day working on the other farm. Not alot of Christmas spirit here!

Our Christmas day braai (BBQ dinner) in high 30's weather. Pant, pant. The food was great though, as was the company. After the sun went down we had a good game of Badminton. Then we were really sweating!

One of the nice tents we purchased for team visits. I just realized I pretty much match the tent colour!

My other two kids...or they might as well be since they spent TONS of time in our home when they were younger. This is for you, Russ and Amanda.

I better get this posted before I lose it all! Enjoy the white stuff for us:)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Smooth Sailing, At Least For Today

I write this paragraph as we drive south on Mozambique’s EN1 highway…the one highway that connects the capital, Maputo, in the south to the remainder of the country. We’ve made this trip many times, but today’s trip is different. Our maiden voyage along the EN1 in 1996 was tortuous. It seemed as if the 18 hour trip consisted mainly of negotiating our way through one huge pothole only to enter the next, and so on. Overgrown thorn bushes encroached on the crumbling asphalt reclaiming territory long lost. But where pot holes and scrubby thorn bushes ruled, there were few signs of human life. That was 10 years ago. Today, many sections along the EN1 are lined with patches of cleared land as people move in and plant crops of pineapple, cassava and spindly maize. The unruly bush has been cut back and subdued. The potholes are another story. They have stood the test of time and progress. Despite a number of road rehab projects funded by the nations of the world conspiring together to rid the EN1 of potholes forever…the potholes have managed to re-group and resurface time and time again. Today the EN1 is oddly different. As the result of yet another, apparently a bigger and better recent road-rehab effort, we have fairly smooth sailing (with painted lines to boot)! Apart from a handful of stubborn potholes that have successfully reclaimed their rightful piece of asphalt, the EN1 is currently 98% pothole free! Of course, the rainy season is yet to come. We’ll see who wins the next round.

The sun setting over Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. We made a 1 day quick trip there with Ed, Dorene and Jeremiah. It was a unique experience, the heat was intense, and this picture turned out even better than it looked to the naked eye I think! I love it.

Other news: (in point form to save time and the work of reading for you)

-Our dog, Mushu (NB: we didn’t name him), had tick fever (Biliary) just after Ed and Dorene’s arrival. He was so weak he couldn’t even turn himself over in his bed (read: this mommy had to turn him frequently and carry him places). I tried to treat him for the first few days in vain. Finally we took him to town and amazingly found a lab that ran tests (he’d rather I not detail them…he was not impressed). Equally amazing—he was diagnosed and the drug we needed was available so he got, yes, another poke. (Oops, that’s giving one of the tests away.) Point of interest about the drug: the only available form (in bulk—a powder for reconstitution) was a packet sufficient to inject 3000 kg’s worth cattle mind you! I think it took some fancy division efforts on the vet’s part to figure out how much to give a little 7 kg dog.

-After working themselves to a standstill for several weeks, Ed and Dorene’s return date summoned them home to cooler temperatures. We miss them already. Oh Dorene, another “squirrel” came to call after you left. May he rest in peace, tail intactJ. I guess he missed you too!

-Did I mention our Litchi harvest? Wow, here's a picture of just how wonderful it was. Around 5 tons were harvested altogether, 3 tons were of export quality. The company we sold to said our Litchis made up around 70% of Mozambique’s export market to Europe. Wow. We’re pretty proud. And wow, that’s not very many Mozambican Litchi’s on the world market! There are lots of farmers coming to us to buy seedlings but it will take several years before their trees can produce much.

-The local people have been asking me which days I’ll be working in the clinic. They say they need to see me because I “know stuff” J. Even though I haven’t had an official day doing work in the clinic yet with Ernesto, I’m approached on a regular basis by people with physical struggles. Some cases are baffling and some are straight forward. One of our staff, who may have had a mild stroke, was put on a sedative twice a day (for several months) and his complaint was that he was sleepy, stumbled often and was having weird dreams. I told him to drop the sedative, which he did, and he says he feels better already!

-Okay, end of point-form news items that were a long read anyway!

I had the below blurb ready to post awhile back but internet was down during our first few weeks back in the bush. I’ve decided to go ahead and post it now anyways.

November 22nd, 2006

…has seen many faces and lodged many people in the last 2 years, but it’s obvious the housewife has not been around! It was good to finally see our old home again, but the natural deterioration of things has made for a rough start. At a glance, the house itself looked fine, but housewives always see more than meets the average eye. At least that’s what my family tells me. The nooks and crannies, pantry shelves and many other places practically called out to me to relieve them of the dust, cobwebs and packages of obsolete items they’ve been holding for quite some time. Our attic is alive with a variety of energetic rodents, and my counter tops swarm with ants if I leave even just a crumb of bread behind. My flower beds on the other hand show signs of the struggle for survival against the long dry winter. The12v power source in our house also took strain during this time and the batteries have little reserve, so we’ve had a few candlelight dinners. And until we get our refrigeration up to speed I expect we’ll have warm water with those dinners L. The solar lights we brought back from Canada to place in our yard are definitely the brightest spots for miles around! On a more positive note, we know from past experience that re-entry to bush life is always bumpy, but in time it gets better. We only have a month and a half left before we move out of this house and hopefully into a finished guest cottage on the new mission farm. Many of this old house’s ills (mice, leaking taps, an ant invasion…) will simply have to be remedied by the new owners. If I can wait that long.

This is the day after our arrival home. I realized I couldn't unpack into the pantry until I had cleaned it out first. Here's a shot of that glorious moment!

Tomorrow we pick up guests in Beira (Ed, Doreen and Jeremiah) and I think we’re ready for them…sort of. We bought food yesterday and got a freezer working so at least we can feed them. There’s lots of work waiting for them so maybe they’ll be too busy to notice their slightly shabby surroundings! Ha, ha. Right.

Our pets were fine on our return having been taken VERY good care of. Mushu (the dog) seems happy enough to be back with us, but our cat, Ebony, is taking a bit of coaxing. She moved in with one of our Mozambican staff who’s living nearby and she’s in no hurry to give this young guy up for us. I guess we’ll have to beg, plead and bribe her back. Cats! That’s why they say cats have staff, not owners.

I guess this nutshell version brings things sort of up-to-date. When Dwight gets our generator up and running today we “get to” do laundry. Yes, when you take power out of the equation, certain things move out of the “have to” and into the “get to” realm. That’s probably true of most things in life.

Three girls sitting at the front in church listen to Ed preach. Looks like they're pretty intent on what he's saying! It's quite common for the women and kids to sit on the floor for meetings if there aren't enough places to sit. They don't seem to mind at all. I've tried it too, but I on the other hand, minded. Everything hurt after about half an hour, ankles, knees, back, even my wrists hurt from holding me up. Ouch! What was it the preacher spoke on that day??? I'll have to think long and hard about that one. But hey, I SURE remember the pain! What a pansy.

I guess I'll close with that. We'll be in South Africa over the next 3 or so days getting a ton of business done, then it's off to the bush again to celebrate a hot Christmas. TTYL.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Yes, after a rough re-entry with no internet hook-up for several weeks...we're online again. Sort of. There's so much to write, and I've started just that many times in my thoughts, but now that I sit down under the open sky in +37 weather I don't know where to begin! I also don't have much time so that sort of dampens creativity too. I've taken some pictures that are quite descriptive on their own, and as soon as I can, I'll post them. We had about a week to settle in, get our house habitable again and ready for company before they actually arrived. It's been a whirlwind of cleaning, rediscovering, unpacking, cooking, talking, building and laughing together. Ed and Doreen head home in just a few days and what a huge help they've been in helping us get roof trusses up, windows in and a gazillion other jobs we lured them into! We love them. Jeremiah is here a little longer and spends so much time in the hot sun it rather worries me. He seems to like life in Moz though and even has a friend Camelian (?sp).

Otherwise, settling in is going to take some time for me. I've been gone for awhile and will have to be patient with the process of readjusting. I still have our little doggy shadowing my every step like before, and our cat, Ebony, has come back home to us. (She had moved in with a young Mozambican gentleman, Joao, and they were pretty sweet on each other :D).

I better run along for this time. This is just to let you know we're still alive and kicking in Mozambique!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

A kid with an attitude...

and a REAL cute face I might add! While we were in Kruger National Park the other day with Gary we came across several herds of elephants. One herd had some real cute little guys, and this one took exception to our being on the road! He twirled around several times in his mock charges, fanned his ears, shook his little noodle-trunk and kicked up his feet (note the hind foot). He put up quite a fuss and sent dust everywhere. We were in stitches! I guess the youngsters are known for having a quick temper so this unprovoked behavior is quite common. Another not-so-funny incident was when a gianormous adult female elephant came walking up from behind then came to the side of our car, stopped an arm's length away, perked her ears forward and looked far too interested in us! My window was down and she was on my side, yikes! I sort of wanted to wind it up so she couldn't just poke that huge tusk or trunk inside, but I also didn't want to seem alive and threatening. We all sat dead still while we prayed she'd lose interest, which thankfully she did! There were a number of vehicles behind us and as some passed by us after the event they asked us how it felt at that moment. A bit like a bug actually! And isn't this just a sneaky guy? Come right in, the water's fine :)
After a fantastic day at the park it was time to take Gary to catch his flight in Johannesburg. We overnighted there then headed right back to Mercy Air to finish up some more business. Two days after Gary left, Nat Zook arrived and will join us on our flight to Mozambique tomorrow. So today there's lots of rushing around, packing, doing last minute stuff, etc. Our time here in south Africa has gone by quickly and we're very ready to head for the bush again! All going well (ie. satellite internet working) I'll try to blog again next week. In the meantime, stay out of the water!

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Trout Farm

Dwight & Gary at our favourite pitstop between Jo-burg and Nelspruit. This trip is about a 3 hour drive after 30 some odd hours in planes and airports...yes, we were tired! The car is a rental that we somehow managed to squeeze all our luggage into. Gary, who is from Red Deer, will be with us for a week as he completes our Cessna 182's annual inspection. It's great to have him here with us! Oh, and did I mention it's nice and warm here? (Sorry guys:)) ttyl

In a Faraway Land

Well, here we are in South Africa at last. Our flights were all great with just a bit of excitement thrown in here and there for good measure. Our first bit of fun was in London, surprise, surprise. We weren’t carrying liquids or vicious finger nail files as you might expect, but we were carrying our cameras and my purse separately from our carry-ons. This had not posed a problem on the 2 previous flights, but suddenly in London at the security gate we were ordered to squeeze all we were carrying into our 2 carry-on cases. Despite the good reason behind all this, it was absolutely (and borderline hilariously) impossible! No matter how we tried to re-arrange, push, pull, flip-over and repack our stuff, it simply wouldn’t all fit inside! Our exasperation elicited only one response from the security lady, “You must place ALL items into your carry-on luggage ma’am.” The “ma’am” was for me because my purse was one of the items that defied being shoved anywhere. Finally we resorted to piling things onto the tops of the open carry-ons, pulled the lids forward so as to suggest they were made to be closed, then sent them through x-ray. The x-ray guys didn’t even blink. Once we collected our things on the other side, we unpacked it all and carried it as we had been, and there were no further complaints. Go figure!

Another mildly exciting event took place on the flight from Qatar to Johannesburg. We were about 4 hours into the 8+hr flight, and nearly everyone was asleep. I was tossing and turning in my cramped space when I glanced at the screen in front of me and saw the message “We have a medical emergency. If there is a Dr. or a nurse on board, could you please report to the crew immediately.” I braced myself then summoned a stewardess over to report for duty. Apparently a passenger who drank several alcoholic beverages earlier in the flight also took sleeping pills and was now barely responsive. “We need to know if his condition warrants diversion of the flight so we can (land and) get medical attention for him.” Great. One small decision that would have repercussions for 100’s of passengers and their schedules plus the added cost of who knows how much for the airline. First I needed to assess the passenger, and just as a BP machine was brought to me, a Dr. was found and took over the case. I was thanked over and over again for being willing to step in, and if I had actually met the Dr. myself, I would have thanked him/her over and over again for doing the same. But instead, I simply returned to my tight little corner to try to catch a few more z’s. I guess the guy was okay because the remainder of our flight was uninterrupted.

Here’s a picture of the African sunrise over Johannesburg International Airport at 5 or so a.m. When we finally got out of the building we were welcomed by bright sunshine, chirping birds and diesel fumes. Just as it should be. And if you don’t agree, you obviously haven’t spent enough time in Africa!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

'Twas the Night Before Departure...

Not really, it's actually 2 nights before departure, but it might as well be one. That "harried" feeling is sneaking up on me. It feels like I've been rearranging cupboards and packing for days, yet all I see is what still needs to be done. Well, I've done this often enough to recognize the stages of departure (I'm making this up as I go, but the stages are there nonetheless). This is the reckless stage. During the early stage (when I start packing) I'm meticulous and everything I want has it's place in my luggage. The reckless stage begins when I realize that both suitcases are full to maximum capacity, overweight, and most of my earthly belongings are still lying on the bed! Quite a bit of reckless "stuff-turfing" happens at this point; it's re-prioritization really. Things I thought I needed, I suddenly realize I no longer need because other more important items would be left out if I did. I won't be-labour the point. I'm sure you get the picture. My Goodwill pile is ginormous by now! My next 24 hours will be spent weighing and re-arranging the re-prioritized, re-packed items. Packing is one of my least favourite parts about travel. What else can I say about my last moments in Canada except it's a flurry of departure related kafluff and a roller coaster of feelings as we leave our kids behind. "Sniff". I catch myself remembering what life in the bush is like and I wonder what kind of home awaits me now. It will be a rather empty one with a broken coffee maker, enough supplies to "get by" (just the way I left it), but with the added challenges of +40 weather, the beginning of bug and snake season and currently, poor water supply (let's not go there :)). And yet, I look forward to it all! God truly is good and compassionate on all He has made (including me). TTYL. And yes, if you remember, do pray for me!

Saturday, October 28, 2006


We've been back in Edmonton for a few days now and the count-down to our departure to Africa is on. This is going to be a hectic week! Our kids are stuck into their university studies and seem ready to see us go. We've talked about this for years and I'm sure that's helped prepare us all for this time in our lives. And although I don't want to say goodbye to them, I do look forward to getting back to the needs in Mozambique that seem to beckon my return. The other day while speaking to a group of nursing students, I likened my abilities and willingness to an elastic band; one which God uses to it's fullest potential by stretching it to unimaginable lengths! I've felt stretched alot in my life and I know as I return to nurse in the bush again, I'll be stretched anew.

It seemed uncanny not that it should snow in Edmonton in November, but that it should snow just before we leave for much hotter and balmier climates. It's like old man winter didn't want to miss his chance to bid us farewell. So while the rest of Edmonton grumbled about the beginning of mucky weather and slippery roads, I was outside gleefully snapping shots of beautiful white on fading summer colours. I guess that's what Fall is about...winter taking over where summer left off.
This was taken with a new 'tool' whose purpose will one day soon take on a less recreational role. But for now, it's been pretty fun learning--a few frustrating moments, I'll admit, but fun nonetheless. My next post will likely only be in about 2 weeks time from South Africa. So until next time, enjoy the snow for me!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Just a quick update here...during the conference last week a group of us decided to go to the town of Kimberley B.C. for supper one night. Our friends told us of an entire pedestrian-only street that has a Bavarian theme and that has a great German restaurant. The food was superb and the waitresses at the "Gasthaus" (?sp) genuinely German though thankfully they spoke English! Here we are posing with Klaus (my name for him). In the bubble he says, "Wilkommen! Take me home with you..." We decided not to and took this picture home instead. Sorry Klaus!
And if I can pull off the feat of adding two photos, the next one is simply one I found on dad's camera. I couldn't resist posting this for my kids :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I take it back. There is a picture after all! (Don't keel over now Russell...I'm doing this on my own.) This is proof that this spot is very user-friendly. And although this picture looks like it's from our current trip, it's not. But I took one yesterday that looks alot like it :). Just haven't downloaded it from the camera yet. When I get around to downloading it you I'll post it. One major difference is that yesterday's picture has a map that covers most of the dash. Yes, I'm the Navigator. And no, we didn't get lost. Not even once. (On this trip.) Maybe one day I'll write the story of when we did get a bit lost. But it was really the map's fault. TTYL.
This will be the first time I do a posting to my myself! Without the help of my family. Yay! Let's hope it works :). We're in Cranbrook right now attending the FCA annual Fall conference. Mom and Dad arrive today so that'll definitely be a highlight for me. It's hard to believe that the date for our departure is already so close. Part of me is very ready to return to Moz, but the other part still rather wants to mother our kids! From what I hear and see from other moms, that part never changes. But it does help to remember how anxious I was to be independent when I was 18. And if our kids are that anxious to be on their own, that helps me feel freer to go.

Sorry, no photos this time yet. I'm still learning the camera (this could take awhile). Thankfully there is an automatic setting for those of us who are technologically challenged. So there WILL be pictures eventually. Yes, please pray for me as I figure these things out. I've depended on my kids & husband for a long time now for all my computer and photo editing needs!

Until next time.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

First Blog

This is Lynn's first blog! This is actually her son Russell writing this. I set up this blogspot account for my mother since she is semi-computer illiterate. Anyway, enjoy all her WONDERFUL stories. If you never see another blog appear here, you will know she doesn't know how to post the entry.



Russell Lagore