Yikes, I have been back for nearly 2 weeks . . . time is flying! These first few weeks have been a whirlwind. I have taken over the US History course, been helping with whatever I can to help complete the apartment, lending a hand with a lot of miscellaneous stuff at the school, and trying to adjust back to this very different world.
For the moment, I am staying in the UBAC hostel which is on the same compound where I will be living once the apartment is finished. I am so blessed that both hostels have been so welcoming and hospitable! I just show up for supper at one or the other and they set an extra place for me. I definitely can’t complain about the quality of the food (Though I must admit that eating this well has had some minor consequences for my lower digestive system ) Cojack, the parrot, lives a couple of yards from my window and greets me each morning with about 30 minutes of whistling, honking (he imitates horn from the hostel van well enough that it can sometimes be a bit confusing), and talking (in many different voices – some recognizable as people I know . . . it’s a bit creepy.). Luckily he doesn’t start his daily stand-up routine until they ring the bell to wake up the kids – at which point I am generally awake. He is really quite entertaining. The first morning when I walked out of the hostel he greeted me with a “hi mom” in a little kid’s voice.
The CMF hostel, under which my apartment will be located, hasn’t changed since I left, but they have done a LOT of work on the grounds including the addition of this Bookaroo out back. Generally when I mention ‘they hostel’ in my newsletters, it is this one I have been referring to.
I can tell already how wonderful it is going to be living this close to the school. So much of my time was spent riding back and forth before (and on someone else’s schedule). Now, I have a short walk to the corner of our compound and up through the back corner of the school’s compound – it is maybe 300 meters. It is also wonderful to be a little outside the city where it is more peaceful. This beautiful picture at the bottom of the page was taken earlier this week. . . it is a really pretty walk. BUT – the day before yesterday a snake fell out of a banana palm as one our boys was walking, and I have barely been able to make myself walk under a tree since then! Especially in the context of one of the hostel moms almost stepping on a huge green snake last week, and them finding a huge empty snake skin the week before….. Have I mentioned recently how much I HATE snakes?!? Sadly we have had what appears to be a snake related casualty too. One of our guard dogs (Puma) went missing last night for several hours. When we discovered her, she was crying and barking as if she were in terrible pain and/or extremely frightened. By the time someone figured out where she was and got to her, she was mostly unresponsive and having convulsions. She made it through the night and has been both eating and drinking today when someone brings it down to her. She still doesn’t appear able to move her lower half, but at this point we are allowing ourselves to be optimistic. Guard dogs serve a real purpose here in securing the compound, but they are also family pets to many on the compound – she would be both a practical and emotional loss for all! Please pray for Puma and our other dog, Tozer, who seems lost without her. Also pray that if she deteriorates and difficult decisions need to be made that all the kids (and adults!) will handle it well.
As I mentioned in my blog just a couple of days ago, I am absolutely shocked by HOW humid it is considering we are at the height of Dry season! It is always pretty humid here, and I have said before that dry season really just means there is no rain, but when I walked across campus one morning last week, you couldn’t even see all the way across campus because the fog was so thick! Though I wish it were a bit less humid, it was a beautiful sight to see and wanted to share the picture
Progress is being made on my apartment. I have been spending every moment of daylight I can sneak away from the school trying to be useful in that process. Most of what I have been doing is just varnishing and painting, but I am glad to be a part of the process (and that I have the time and freedom to do so!). Sadly both the varnish and paint are oil based which means TERRIBLE to clean up – I have scrubbed my hands down with more acetone and kerosene in the last few days that I care to think about and am still covered with random white speckles and smears. I spent the afternoon today painting the bars that will cover some of my windows. For security, we all have some sort of bars over our windows (which can sometimes make you feel like you are in jail). I am happy with what they designed for mine, but still a bit anxious to see how much they change the atmosphere of the apartment (which feels very open at the moment).
1 March 2014
The next day Puma (the dog I mentioned above) was up and walking around – we could hardly believe it! By all appearance she was doing great, but sadly she took a turn for the worse again Thursday (seizures) and had passed away by Friday afternoon. Her loss will be felt deeply, but everyone who saw here!
It is dry season. By all guesses and tradition, we should be dusty and hot for at least another two weeks, but this week the rains have started! YEA!!!!! We got a massive thunderstorm the other night, and it is pouring again right now. The air is so fresh, and the sound of the rain pounding on the metal roofs is one of the sounds that I think I will always connect to Africa. (and yes, the kids are almost all outside playing in the rain )
. . . I had trouble getting the pictures to upload, so here is a pdf file you can click on to see this blog post WITH the pictures
Week 2 update