Sunday, August 28, 2011

Still alive!

When you get an e-mail from your mother inquiring whether you are alive or not, I guess that means you might need to do a blog update too!

There is about a week and a half before term starts up again—this is our longest break, but once again it has flown by! I’ve got my house mostly clean and organized again, some sewing projects have been finished, and I’ve done a lot of reading for the coming term. I will be sitting down to some heavy duty planning this week, as well as working on my classroom and getting everything organized for the coming term. I’ve started working on the music for the Christmas program, and I’m working on mapping out what I hope to accomplish. I also need to plan for handwork—I finished making the 12 handwork bags for my girls, and now I need to decide exactly what we are going to finish the year out with. In between getting these things done, I’m also enjoying the freedom to take afternoon naps and sleep in a bit while it lasts!

Jill and Bethany are both back, so we are once again fully staffed—it was so good to see them getting off the plane! You don’t realize how close you are to people until they go away for at time…

Friday, August 12, 2011

Call me crazy...

Wednesday started out a little earlier than I would have liked with the guy from the bookroom coming by for some more books, but after doing that and getting the watchmen’s trays sorted out for the week (our watchmen change every Wednesday), I finally had time to go home and eat breakfast. A little later that morning Beth, Jackie and I went into Ikelenge to check the mail and poke around the shops a bit. Beth told us that Doug was planning to go to Mwunilunga that afternoon to look for some stuff for the building project, and we came up with the mad idea to go in for him. After a little begging, obtaining a list, and talking to one of the workers about places to possibly find what we are looking for, we squished into the cab of the land cruiser pickup and bumped down the road to ‘town.’

Now, Mwunilunga is where the pavement ends (or begins!), and is the first bit of ‘civilization’ that you reach driving out from here. Now that part of the road has been re-graded and because it’s dry season, you can make it there in about an hour give or take. During the rainy season it can take longer than 2 hours, depending on the puddles. Mwunilunga is a very small town full of hole in the wall shops, people, and dirt. The dirt is very red down there, and already the sides of the road and pretty much everything else is getting a film of red dust.

We drove up and down the main road a few times and finally found a shop that had the pipe we were looking for. To our surprise, we had to go up the road a bit to their ‘warehouse’ to collect it, and then we were faced with the interesting problem of lashing two 6 meter (18 foot) PVC pipes to the pickup. We managed it, and then gingerly went down the road to another shop to see if they had a saw we could use to cut the pipe. Thankfully they did, so with the much more manageable 3 meter pipes secured to the back we headed back to Sakeji. We arrived a little after supper time to find Janette, Phil and Gwen, and Vickie safely back from their trips.

When I took a shower later that evening I was disgusted to see how much dirt I had collected during the day—between the dust from the road and the dirt of Mwunilunga I looked like quite the ruffian I’m sure! It was so nice to be clean again, and enjoy a quiet evening with Beth. Nothing like a little crazy to spice up the week!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Some very tiny pictures..

Sorry I can't get these bigger--issues with photobucket!

This is how the dining hall looked shortly before term ended. I'm standing in front of upper school, and the part you can see is the dining room.

Again, shortly before school ended. This is showing how close the old dining hall (on the right after the arches) is to the new dining hall (from the arches to the left). There is about 4-5 feet from the old building to the new!

These pictures were taken today. This is what was the cook side of the kitchen, with the cold room on the right about four feet above the new slab. I'm standing by the door that used to go into the cook side. Past the tractor on the left is the storeroom that was part of the old dining hall and is being integrated into the new one.

This is the front of the dining hall--the new one is on the left and the old one on the right. That door on the old dining hall is the old boys entrance--the girls door has been closed for over a year now because of construction.

Friday, August 5, 2011

August Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

Now that the whirl of term is over, I finally have some time to sit down and write another update. Second term is our shortest term, but often seems to be the busiest. 10 weeks is not that long to fit in all the school topics, report cards, an end of term program, and all the little side projects that come up! It was good to get to visit in person with the parents of our students and to talk about our joint concern—their children. I am constantly encouraged by how supportive the parents are of our efforts. Since we have so much less contact with them than a day school would, it’s so important to touch base and coordinate our efforts to disciple their children.

Second term had many challenges, but many blessings as well. We had two MK student leave shortly before the end of term as their families are going on furlough, one student who had to go home early because of a broken tooth, and another student who was suspended for stealing. At the end of term two more of our students left Sakeji for good to join their mother in Canada. Our prayers are especially going with those two as they have never known anything other than Zambia, and to be thrown into big city life will be quite the transition for these two. It’s always hard to say goodbye to students, but at the same time we know that the same Lord will be with them who is with us. We continue to seek the Lord’s guidance in dealing with our students who are in need of discipline, as well as for help in clearly teaching His ways to all the children.

One of the highlights of this past term was a baptism on the last day of school where 22 of our senior students publicly proclaimed their desire to follow the Lord. It was pointed out yesterday that this wonderful event was only possible because of years of effort from many different people. It is times like these that are so encouraging to look back on in those hard days when it can seem like all our labor is in vain. The Lord is working in the hearts and lives of children at Sakeji, and we look forward to seeing the continuing faithfulness of our God!

This term break I am staying on station and working on projects around my house, preparing for next term, and helping out with different duties on station. This month I am going to participate in a Lunda learning week at Kalene to try and jumpstart my language learning. Please pray for all of us who will be attending and seeking to learn more of the local language. There have been several occasion just this past week that have reminded me how important it is to be able to speak the language!

While the kids are gone, some important stages of the new dining hall are being finished. The old cook-side of the kitchen was demolished, the floor lowered, and a new slab poured to finish off the end of the new dinning hall which will include the old kitchen and store room. The roof is mostly on now, and the inside is starting to take shape. The old, faithful wood stove was successfully moved and will be able to be used in the new kitchen after all. There was some concern that it would fall to pieces when it was removed! Our cold room used to be in the corner of the old kitchen, and now it is about 4 feet higher than the new slab and accessible by a little strip of the old floor. Simple tasks like getting milk and eggs are a little more adventurous now! Next term will be a real challenge for the kitchen staff and building crews as they try to finish off the project and get everything closed in before the rains start.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support, and I hope you are all enjoying a lovely summer.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The break so far

This term break has not gone exactly as I had anticipated; a bad chase of bronchitis evolving into a nasty head cold have left me pretty useless, but between the coughing and the sleeping I have managed to get a few things done.

*Beth and I are in charge of the morning teas for the Brass Tacks teams, so we have been having fun baking up stuff for the guys to enjoy.

*Beth and I also had the Brass Tacks people over for a meal--a little of a challenge with my small table, but it worked out really well in the end. It's so nice to have people over!

*I'm in charge of the day watchman and the two night watchmen's trays, so I've also been involved in the veggie buying.

*Next term I'm going to be teaching "Europe in the Middle Ages" for social studies, so I've been doing a lot of reading to prepare for that.

*Leah (a former teacher) is visiting from Canada, and we have been reading a G. A. Henty book together as well as doing different cooking projects.

*Beth and I went to Kalene yesterday (the closest mission station--it's about an hour away) to check out the market for chetengi. Kalene is really close to Congo, so they get nicer material and (sometimes) a better variety than we get in Ikelenge. While there wasn't near as good a selection as when we went last year, we both managed to find several chetengi to give as gifts when next we're home.

*Beth and I also took a little side trip out to the rapids yesterday as we were in the neighborhood. The river river bed there is made up of huge slabs of rock, polished by decades of water thundering over them. Right now there is very little water going over as we are well into the dry season. Beth and I waded across and had fun taking pictures, sitting with our feet in the frigid water, and generally enjoying the wonders of God's creation. We are so going to have to go back there again!