Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Changing Planets

I often say that North America and Africa are so different from one another that going from one to the next is like changing planets.

For example, the latest news/buzz here in Edmonton includes:

1. Federal elections that are underway. Hmm, who to vote for? Who to vote for? :)
2. Stanley cup playoffs (Well, some sort of important hockey games. I'm pretty sure it's Stanley cup. Poor excuse for a Canadian, I am!)
3. Current temperature: +18 and the snow is almost gone.

While the latest news/buzz at my African bush home includes:

1. The water pump broke a few days back and last I heard everyone was back to lugging water by hand and bucket bathing.
2. Crocs and Pythons are being a nuisance in our vicinity. Crocs have killed several sheep in the last few months and this Python was caught while attacking a local farmer's chickens.

Sorry Snakey, but I think your family better move back further into the bush.
3. Current temperature: +31 and late-for-the-season storm activity.

Today, I'm "changing planets". My time in Canada is up and my suitcases are packed weighed, labeled, etc. All that remains are the goodbyes, the long trip, and of course gearing my mind for re-entry into a very different world. I don't mind the reptiles so much, but I sure hope that water pump is up and running again!

Until next week, goodbye.

Oh, and here are some videos to check out.

Rick Cogbill and Bob Denesiuk's video after their Mozambique visit:

Shaw Cable interview before their trip out:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wrapping Things Up

Wrapping things up is usually a good feeling. We've put out, got something done, and now we (or others) can enjoy the fruits of our labor.

And I'm sure that's how Suzanne and Andrew feel as they wrapped up their time in Mozambique this week. What a beautiful sight as this health post nears completion! Blue paint: check. Glass in windows: check. Soon to come: a red cross and the logo/recognition of participation sign.

Here, Suzanne and the health workers do health checks on all the school kids. This information goes on their file for follow up and comparison during future, regular checks.

Even though school was officially closed this week, kids had their health checks done and got lunch in too. Not a bad deal!

Visiting Pastor Frank takes some time with the kids and keeps them occupied and entertained as they wait to be seen.

You have to admit...we're cute!

Andrew and Suzanne had a little surprise this week as a Mozambican marriage celebration was conducted for them by their Mozambican friends who were too far away to attend the Canadian wedding. Good thing they came to us!

The wedding party. (We have our own norms in the bush in Mozambique!)

(Story about the knee bandage further down...)

Another happy event was the distribution of clothing to the nearby orphan children who receive help from the mission.

Unwrapping things is probably even better than wrapping things up. Yay!

We're nowhere near completing the training center yet but every small accomplishment is one step closer to being done. Here, the ceramic roof tiles arrive and are unloaded. There were so many, they filled several rooms!

And in order to add a bit more depth to the topic of wrapping things up, I have to say that wrapping things up isn't always an entirely joyous event. Especially when it means wrapping up an injury. This week while on a hike up a rock outcrop, my husband suffered a serious gouge to his knee when he slipped on the rock.
It was a nasty, deep gash but I've done my best to tone down the graphics using new-to-me GIMP .

Poor guy, but he's such a brave soul! Thankfully there was something to wrap his leg with immediately to control the bleeding. And thankfully Suzanne was around to irrigate the wound, dress it, and put him on antibiotics right away. Thanks Suzanne!

And me? Well, I'm wrapping up my time at home as my return to the African bush looms near. I've had a busy time but I've also been able to accomplish quite a bit--and that's always good.

Some of the cargo returning with me: vibrant, laminated photo-ID's for precious school kids,
pencils and crayons.

In light of Dwight's incident last week, I have to admit that I'm sure glad my current wrapping up of things is purely figurative, not literal. No tourniquet required. No gashes, no irrigation, no large bandages. I'm such a wimp.

Take care and ttyl!

Check out newly uploaded videos:

Where There Is No Internet (Mozambique kids playing)

Brazil update:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I wasn't there as Andrew and Suzanne got to work putting some finishing touches on the health post at the mission school this week, but from the looks of it, it was quite the event.

First, a line on the wall had to be measured for the blue latex paint. Latex paint has a shiny finish that helps keep the walls clean. Very important in a rural health post!

Nice to see people smile as they work :)

Then there was the tedious job of puttying the windows. First, you have to "moosh" the putty with your hands until it gets soft. When it's soft and pliable it's easier to work with (hence the term "like putty in my hands"). Then you push it into the corners along the glass and smooth it with a putty knife. Not as easy as it sounds, but in my opinion it's GREAT fun. And if Andrew isn't enjoying his putty session, he's hiding it well under that smile.

And just to make sure the jobs get done right, a throng of school kids gather to keep a close eye on things. Such excitement over the new healthpost!

Suzanne busy with the task of putting the blue latex paint very nicely where it should be. I'm guessing that in between strokes with the brush, there were a few headache pills passed out and wounds bandaged as well.

And after more than a year of planning and construction, the moment of truth as the bridge is tested for the first time. Many hours of hard work went into getting things to this point and I bet the guys were smiling pretty big as they drove over this ravine for the first time ever!

Hard work pays off.

I got to do a bit of smiling this week too, albeit not until I had put in some hard work as well. I launched into several promotional projects that involved video editing. At the time I thought "this can't be that hard..." but since I'd never done it before, I was in for a surprise. It took many hours of selecting and cutting and pasting and exporting and inserting and reviewing and then re-doing the process again.

At one point, I moved a bunch of video files from one hard drive to another in order to create space for more video files (they're real space hogs!) ...big mistake though. Turns out they wre "source files" and the computer couldn't find them, so I had to start all over again. Yeah. I definitely wasn't smiling right then!

But finally, after much work, I burned my first little production. It's a humble start, but it's a video update nonetheless so here it is:

And last but not least of the smiles this week was when I was in the office meeting with Patti Green (SAM office administrator, below)...

and a lady with a beautiful smile arrived. She said she wanted to give a special gift to the work and asked "Which program needs help the most?" Well, I took the opportunity to tell her that the infant milk program could sure use some help since it currently has more babies in it than ever before.

She thought this was a good plan and smiled beautifully again. We all smiled.

And I think God was smiling too.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

On the move

Seems a lot of people are on the move right now. Many in the northern hemisphere who've had to endure one of the longest and coldest winters in many years are either on their way to, currently at, or just returning from some place sunny and warm. Some of these people have gone to enjoy a well deserved break, while others have gone to work. Rick and Bob (below) fit into the latter category. Last week they wrapped up their month of hard work on the mission in Mozambique and returned home to Canada. Thanks for your hard work, guys!

Dwight and Andy flew them to South Africa to catch their flight in Joburg.
Here they clear customs at Vilanculos airport, Mozambique.

Within a few days of their departure, Suzanne and Andrew arrived from Canada. Suzanne has led many LPN nursing practicums at the mission (which were always full of adventure, click here to read related posts), so for her the mission is like a 2nd home. But this is Andrew's first visit and we sure hope he likes it.

Suzanne and Andrew with Joao in the campsite gazebo.

Suzanne is focusing her efforts on the health program while Andrew has been busy helping out with a number of different projects. of those apparently being befriending big-dog Magnum
(who I see has his eye on items on the table?)

Another traveler this week was my dad who returned from a month long mission related trip to Brazil. He came back with good reports, but mostly it was just good to see him again!

My sister, dad and mom (saying farewell to me)

Which means that I, yes even I, was on the move this past week as I was able to spend a bit of time with my family in beautiful B.C. Some of the time was work related, but some was just fun, too :)

Any wonder it's called "Beautiful British Columbia"?
Photo Credit

We spent one night in a place where trains thundered through about every hour or so blowing their whistles into the black of night.

It was stupendous. And if I could have spent the night outside watching them, I would have. But it was a bit cold for that.

Oh yeah, and I found a "friend" too. Thankfully he wasn't eye-ing items on my table. (And no, he wasn't alive either :P)

Other folks who will soon be on the move back to Africa are Rick, Heather, and Tendai Neufeld. This 6 or so month trip home wraps up their first furlough and they are now "returning" missionaries.

A few other photos of the week's work:

Trusses in place on the Mercy Air house's veranda.

Beans for the feeding program growing happily under irrigation in the top fields.

And with that, I will close. For all those traveling, safe journeys!