Saturday, February 13, 2010

Brace Yourself

It’s been quite the week and I have LOTS of photos to show for it, thanks to a cooperative effort by all the budding photographers around here (Carey, Heather, Matthew, and others)

I’ll start off with this photo of supper at our place

with Ron and Barb Wayner (left) who are just back from the U.S. and ready to continue work on the house

plus the air strip, hangar and other buildings and infrastructure at the mission. They’re currently staying at our old place, which is pretty bare, so it’s quasi camp-style living. We’re doing what we can to help them get settled and they help us remember to laugh. ☺

Others in dinner table photo: Jeff (far end of table) who is here to help them prepare for a visiting team (due to arrive on Monday); Andy, who just arrived this week from Switzerland; and Joao (beside Dwight) a sponsored university student who is just finishing up another volunteer term with us.

Below: Carey, Joao and Jeff at the campsite which is getting fuller by the day

We had to deal with a few urgent situations this week. One was an evening call from the mission’s sponsored kids who are boarding at and attending Chitundo school. Apparently, there were a few thugs in the community trying to abduct children (link). The community and the kids were terrified so we sent the mission’s guards to spend the night there to help bring a sense of security and calm.
One of the perpetrators was caught although a lynch mob had already formed by the time the police arrived.

After that incident, we had another call from Chitundo saying that one of the sponsored students was very ill. Carey and Keren took him to Vanduzi Hospital and while they were there, an angry mob came screaming past the vehicle pursuing yet another of the same group of child abductors. This problem has existed for quite awhile, but it has intensified recently.

Meanwhile, back home “at the ranch” (it was a crazy week so my chronology may be a bit off…)

A new, big and much more capable generator was finally hooked up and the old, tired one (foreground) will be used for back-up and weekends when the load is light.

Work on existing projects carried on. Here's Gabriel, busy in the woodshop.

Progress was also made on the structure for wood storage for the training centre.

And the training center’s water tank got installed, yay! This will make it MUCH easier to do construction there rather than haul a smallish tank, which is what we have been doing. We don’t have big machines for big jobs here so it’s all grunt work.

(Ok everybody, just roll the tank up the ladder :P)

Jeff, Dave and Charles

Out in the field, holdin' 'er steady.

Hooking up a portable generator to the borehole to fill the tank.

We also heard that one of the elderly widows in our Mercy Ministry program has not been coping well recently. She is quite debilitated from years of leprosy and although she manages fairly well on her own, she has the occasional fall. Since her last fall, she's had a very sore hip. When I mentioned going to hospital to her she flatly refused and said she’d be better off right where she is: at home.
Here, Simon (Socorrista/preschool teacher) talks to her.

Problem is, the only way she can get around is by shuffling along the ground using her hands (specifically to use the latrine). She has help by some very supportive neighbors and family for her activities of daily living, but we clearly had to invent some sort of “en suite” bathroom facility. So that became Friday’s project for our head bricklayer.

Peter and Dwight make a plan.

Somewhere, amid the week’s emergency calls, home visits and other work, a few snakes came by. Too close by for comfort, according to the litchi orchard workers who are particularly vulnerable since birds and frogs love the orchard and snakes LOVE hunting birds and frogs. And there is no antivenin nearby.

Orchard Snake Hunter (left), Helper (right), with a (dead) spitting cobra

Obviously this snake became a very popular photo subject :)

"Hi Mom"

Then there was the puff adder:

A puff adder packs a nasty bite but I still think they’re beautiful.

Keren had her hands full not only of snake, but with a few challenges of her own. She’s working on legal paperwork like her visa and passport renewal—never easy when you live at the end of the world far from major centres and with only a select few spots within cell phone range. Here she had to sit under the trees and write notes in the dirt while talking to the Canadian Consulate in Maputo.
"Nobody walk here...k?"

Challenges aside, she’s pretty excited about her family who are due to arrive next week.

Then, the orphans in our program came out for a fun time this Friday with Rick, Heather and others who joined and participated.

Rick’s parents have been here visiting since last week too. Here they have a chance to do what they do so well even back in Canada…love kids!

No photo for this development, but Bero is now booked for his first burn contracture surgery on February 24th in South Africa. What a big step for him!

And that I believe wraps up the bulk of this enormous post. Oh, hold on, bugs! Can’t forget the bugs! A bat too.

This guy decided our closet was a great place to sleep for the night. Uh, no mister!

Dragon Fly (not sure the red abd and blue outline show up very well here)

And this beetle is about the prettiest I've ever seen. This green on his ?head was like an iridescent green marble. Actually, it looks like an eye :)

His back is just as intriguing:

(Yep, just for you Royden)

With that, all we who have had a hectic week here at the mission in the Moz bush, do bid you a restful weekend. Hopefully we’ll have one too!


robbie said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


ruth said...

Ah he will love that beetle (he is currently sleeping beside me...exhausted after a long afternoon of shooting geckos and poison dart frogs in T Town aka Tacoma).