Friday, December 31, 2010


Wow I feel like death! Nauseous and pain in my stomach are a bad combination. Alice said that I’m warm, I’m freezing though.
Today was good though with limited pain. I took a nap! Not long enough though. Spent most of the day working on a cleaning project or laying on my bed reading. I’m not well.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

12/30 Day 10 Thursday

I need out.
Market day.
Worked on school plan, sewed up more screens, thought about cleaning more windows, cleaned up living room, worked on organizing kitchen cabinets
Went to the market today. It was so weird driving there. I wasn’t hot or sweaty at all! We got out, I wanted to wonder but had to follow. I found fabric I really liked. So I bought it. It was 11 bucks! In Buja the same stuff is 13-16! Go me!
When back I worked on the school plan again. Cows, about 30 of them, came wondering up the road, across the grass and to the front of the house. So fun. I had to stop to watch them. Silly looking creatures.
Warm shower from the shower bag was really nice!
Pain in my stomach was less today. I hope it goes away completely soon.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More Rain! 12/28 Tuesday

Well we asked for it. Yesterday it rained in the AM and cleared up by afternoon, though we continued to work at our inside projects. Today there was no choice it poured in the morning and then rained all day. I’ve been so cold!!! Yesterday even when the sun came out I still work a striped black and white long sleeve button up over my long brown dress with blue flowers and blue sweater. That was fine while in the house but when the superintendent took a picture of me watching the orphans sing I looked down at my attire, it was functional yes but not fashionable at all!
Today I scrounged for an outfit. Yesterday was laundry day but all my shirts were left in the basket! Grrr. Plus because of the weather nothing was dry. I kept out 1 skirt for that reason. Alice had to help me with one of her tops, which I covered with the black and white top that has become my makeshift coat. I’m going to freeze when I get back to Washington.

Today the cleaning went to windows and organizing books and spices. I had lots of fun organizing the books. I picked out a few to read.
My stomach hurts, perhaps bugs…we will see.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Receiving Rain 12/27

Yesterday was Sunday, a day of rest. We went to church. In the afternoon walked to one of the Matthewson’s friend’s house. He was very sick and they wanted to visit him sooner than later. We were almost there when the children gathered around. They waited and walked back with us. One had a ball so I taught some English words: toss, ball, bounce. Then one of them started to sing. All 40+ children joined in. It was great. When it was time to part getting them to stop and go back was difficult but with some locals help it happened.
Alice has been reading a book out loud. Last night was the last chapter. I fell asleep partway though then awoke to her sneeze. Good ending and then I crawled into bed.
This morning I woke, the first time, to a loud church bell (an old oxygen tank beaten on by a hammer) at 5:30. The second time was to the sound of the rain beating on the tin roof, trees and ground. It dumped for 30min after I woke up. All the buckets are now full. Just in time for laundry day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wishing for Rain 12/25

Christmas morning started as it always does, Mom gets up and makes a sugar plum tree. I lay in bed for 30min deciding whether I was willing to put for the effort to be “mom” today. I’m happy with my decision. Alice and Randy were too. I quietly snuck down the hall and unlocked the door; quickly returning it to its place to block out the noise I would make in the kitchen. I had to search all over for the ingredients, being that we haven’t fully unpacked or put things away yet.
Finally the dough was ready. I put it on the stove outside where some coals from last night still gave off warmth. I had just cleaned up when Alice came in and said, “I’ve caught you. What are you up to?” “Nothin’” was my innocent reply. She looked around and saw nothing but wasn’t convinced. I then reminded her that it was Christmas.
When the dough was ready I made a huge sugar plum tree. The extras were made into doughnuts but because of the lack of oil they were baked. I figured chocolate frosting was a must on doughnuts. Forging ahead with no guide I added too much water to the pan and was forced to baby sit it at the stove. Jerome, the cook, showed me how to cook the sugar plum tree “Dutch oven” African style. It was so easy!

Read the Christmas story and opened presents, a kitchen towel and ruler, protractor, campus set. Oh and chocolate! Alice and Randy are good to me. Church and feast down, now it was time to focus on the real issue, we were running out of water!
With the lack of rain our water barrel was depleting quickly. Earlier in the day there was hope rain but now with the lack of clouds the hope had died. Now there was a problem. The night zamu (watchman) suggested he take some debbys (jerry can/water jugs) to the pump, a 20-30min walk down the road. Randy offered to drive; Alice and I joined the fun. I’d never been to a pump before. Bishop Bucconyori would be proud, I’m “facing African realities” (the university’s motto). After cleaning the debbys out I was on pump duty. I filled two and Randy offered to pump. I told him I was ok. He didn’t offer again though after the fourth debby I wish he would have. The pump was smooth, up down, up down. But the small debbys took 62 pumps and the large ones 78. The next day my hands hurt. I had earned the water for my, now, much needed shower.
The phone didn’t work to call home that evening. I tried to convince myself that it was ok, but the tears still streamed down my face reminding me of the sad truth; I missed my family.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 5 12/24

Today my patience was tested. Breakfast was late and my stomach and body were complaining. We went to church for the Christmas Eve service. I expected a longer service but it was only 1 1/2hours.
Once home, 12:30, we were told that lunch was “almost done”. It was 2:30 before lunch was served. I couldn’t understand why it took so long. I would be fine to inform my stomach that it had to wait but when my whole body gives way and I must lie down on my bed or faint that’s another story. I don’t like waiting for food. We sat and talked for a long time after the meal. Then it was time for tea. I had just eaten and now tea! More sitting and talking, it was nice.
More cleaning and book reading filled the day along with the stream of visitors that hasn’t stopped or lessened since we arrived. It’s fun to meet new people, especially when they hear I’m from Burundi and begin to speak Kirundi to me 
Dinner was cheese, spam and crackers, then stories of the Seymour family. Lunch the Sargents were discussed so it was the Seymour’s turn. I got very homesick. After dinner I spent much time holding back tears. After another bucket shower I lay on my bed and cried silent tears. It’s hard being in a new place. I craved family, HAU friends and my Buja home. I wanted something familiar. I wanted to feel at home. But I’m learning that this holiday isn’t about me, tradition or family, it’s about Jesus.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 4 /Night 3 12/23

Well it might have been time for bed but it wasn’t time for sleep. I was asleep for only about an hour when all of a sudden I was sitting upright in my bed with my flashlight shinning on a creature making a loud squeaking noise. I told myself to be calm; it’s only a small rodent but then came another, bigger one. This was the momma coming to the rescue of its frightened baby. It crawled up to the noisy thing and bit down on the scruff of its neck. Then it crawled down to the floor. I couldn’t be brave any longer. “Alice? ALICE are you awake?” “Yes”, was the reply.
After about 30min we had the things cornered in the bathroom, flashlights in hand, randy with a stick of rebar and Alice shouting “Randy, don’t you hurt my new bathtub.” We locked it in the bathroom and removed all hiding places in my room. Then we were all back in bed. I fell asleep, again. Then I awoke to the pounding rain, rolling thunder, and flashing lightning. I could hear the wind whipping through the trees. Then the noisy creature was again calling for its mother. But I knew it was locked behind the bathroom door (we blocked the gap under the door so there was no escaping). Sleep came once again.
In the morning I awoke surprisingly refreshed. The day was spent cleaning. I again was back to the sweeping and mopping. My room and the living room are now droppings free. The 3ft wide puddle formed overnight on the floor in the master bedroom is also gone.
A break during the day to walk to the mission station was gladly welcomed. When the men went down the road to the market in search for charcoal, us girls happily went along.
The evening was spent around a kerosene lantern playing Phase 10. Life with the Matthewsons is hard but good.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Congo Trip Day 3 Dec 22

Yesterday was a lot of sitting around and hoping. Now that we have arrived at Nundu I know why we waited the extra day. The road was long, slow, bumpy, and very muddy. I’m so glad God protected us from getting caught in the rainstorm while on the road. We crossed 7 rivers with water (they seemed like creeks once we came to the RIVERS we had to cross). We crossed 3 RIVERS! By crossing I mean actually going down one bank, though the sometimes, cover your wheels, get the body of the car wet, water and climb up the bank of the other side. There were stretches of road that were just filled with a few pot holes. There was other parts that were all mud and no road, some places 1-2 ft deep. I, along with the Congolese women, were amazed at Alice’s driving. I kept telling her how great she was doing. She would just reply, “I’ve had some practice.” It was 6 hours before we pulled into the mission station but Alice filled the trip with stories of her and Randy’s life and about their time in Nundu. They were great stories, I loved hearing them. They were interrupted though by continual greeting of many onlookers and fellow travelers. “Jambo” we would echo back and forth. As we neared the station the “Jambo” was replaced by “Matthewson!” I was so surprised by the fame of my travel buddies.

Once we arrived the crowd of men grew and grew. A pastor prayed for us after singing at least 3 stanzas of an unfamiliar hymn sung in Kiswahili.
Cleaning and unpacking took us all evening stopping only for dinner, then back to work. Bucket “shower” and now time for bed. This is a beautiful place and I’m excited to see the station tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Congo Update

I'm sitting at a friend of the Matthewsons' internet cafe. We are in Uvera. It is just south of the DRC Burundi boarder. This is our second day in Uvera. The plan was to drive quickly through Uvera on the way to Nundu but God had other plans. Car trouble made our stay longer than expected.
We are fine just eager to get back on the road and to our destination.
Please pray for our trip. We plan on leaving tomorrow morning early.
I have an internet device with me and will try to get on and leave messages updating you on the trip. But as things go here...I can't promise anything.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dec 20 Day 1 Congo Trip

Finally I have a “missionary” experience. Woke up and left for Congo early this morning. We left an hour late. Boarder crossing was easy. Then we were off. Alice thought she had started the car… she had but it didn’t work. She started it again and we left the boarder. Driving along the head of the lake I kept thinking it would be great to stop and get a picture of it from this view. Well I sure got that opportunity. Driving along and the car just slowed to a stop, unresponsive. Alice tried the key a few times, the battery was fine. Randy pulled up, us girls og out to wait in the shade. It was a quiet spot along the road; wide gravel/dirt road running east to west, beach to the south and a few homes to the north. Alice and I took time to thank the Lord for protecting us from whatever he was protecting us from. After about 15min Randy had 15 onlookers, 6 men and nine children. I began to play paticake with the children; something new. One girl had trouble crossing her centerline, strange that I’m on vacation and still am thinking special education things. Later we did the “Paul Seymour quarter on the elbow caught in the hand trick”, but because of the lack of quarters in Congo we used rocks, there were plenty.
A wave of 13-16year olds came by. One got out her English lesson book and practiced with me. She started by singing “My bonny lies over the ocean”. Some of the words had been changed but the tune was the same. The crowd of children and adults was growing. I went to my backpack and got out some of my Seattle Aquarium stickers that they donated to the trip (Thanks Cherie). The children were so happy. I only gave them to the polite children. The pushy, loud ones weren’t happy when I ran out of stickers. The stickers have an octopus on them with roller skates on. A boy came up to me with a very puzzled face and said in French, “what is it” I understood his French and tried to explain in my best English and gestures. I think he was more confused from my description.
Problem unfixed we got in and were towed to guest house with a garage. Randy has come here many times and knows they are trustworthy.
After much needed lunch (1:30pm before we made it to the guest house) Terry, a good friend of the Matthewsons brought us cold soda. Mine had ice crystals in it. It was wonderful, like an orange slurpy…I was back at 7-11. Conversation started and I almost fell asleep. I needed it. Randy and I went to get our luggage and it began to rain. Randy got a tarp and I got the rope. The wind, thunder, lightning and pounding rain made it difficult to cover and tie down the tarp over the luggage on top of the jeep. Randy and I were soaked; literally not a spot on our clothing was dry. We were also very cold. It poured for 30min! Standing under the garage, we waited for it to lessen up, but we were soaked. Randy looked at me and said that if we had been driving in this rain on the dirt roads we could have been washed away by the rivers or something. Praise God for stopping us with car trouble in Uvera, a major city.

New clothes and many layers helped the cold but it persisted all evening. Alice kept reassuring us that she was sweating hot!
All evening we waited for Terry to return to escort us to dinner. Finally after being reassured he would be “right back” he came at 7pm. The fish and fries were good, Mukeke (8-10in fish fried and served on a plate whole, then eaten with the hands) I’m getting better at eating it. The first time I was scared but now I just dove in. Each time I eat Mukeke I eat a little bit more of the head, still not brave enough for the gills or eyeballs.
Back to the guest house and ready to prepare for another day of adventure.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas and New Years

Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year!!!
I'm traveling to DRC (congo) for Christmas and new years. Please pray for my travels and stay there. I'm going with friends, a missionary couple from Stanwood, WA. They tell me that their house has no roads, water, or electricity. A friend here joked with me, "now you will be a real missionary."
I'm excited to see their life in Congo since I've been hearing about it since I was 3 years old.
I will return back to Burundi on Jan 7 (please pray for our travels)
Then I fly to Egypt on Jan 10.
Thanks for your prayers and support. Sorry about the slow internet and lack of pictures.

Graduation and...

Internet is so fast right now...let's see if I can post pictures.
Well it didn't work. A written message will have to do for now. :)
Graduation happened and now students are leaving campus. It's so quiet around here but there isn't a lack of things to do. In the last week I've gone on two day vacations to beautiful spots around Burundi, moved twice, dropped off material and drawings to get made into an assortment of clothing items, given two final exams, turned in grades and said good bye to a number of very good friends.
I figure that because I'm saying good bye now it will make my departure Jan 10 much easier. Most of the students won't return to HAU until Feb for classes so this week has been a good bye for at least 10 months. :(

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Categorized Update :)

I keep trying to upload pics from Nov but the internet is too slow and after 15min of waiting for it to load it tells me that it won't work! Frustrating.
So I think I will bag it for now and just share with you in words. :)
After such a long time since posting it's hard to know what to say. But let me try.

Classes:Finals on Monday and then classes will be finished. It's weird not having next semester to prepare for. This is my last semester of teaching at HAU for this trip. The semester has gone very well. I'm finally getting used to the teaching style and grading system of Burundi which makes my job easier. I'm sad to leave my students, especially the ones that I've had in class all year. It's weird to think that I've taught them 5 courses in the years time.

Friends:I'm past the acquaintance stage and have made some quality friends here. Not to say that there aren't many people still in the acquaintance category. It's nice to have a core group of people to go to when I'm having a great day, or I'm bored, or the day is terrible. It makes life easier when it happens in community.

Special Education:I've never been good at networking but living here I've had to improve that skill. The other day I was invited over to a person's house who has a child with a disability. It was a great to encourage the mother and answer her questions. I hope to help more in the coming weeks.

My Apartment:It seems lonely here. I put up the pictures I've been saving for Christmas. I brought last years Christmas card photos to put up this year. It was a great idea. The visitors to my apartment love them. They ask me all sorts of questions about who the people are and where they are standing. I'm now playing Christmas music all the time. I've switched from tea to hot chocolate as the hot drink of the day :) The weather might be wrong but my heart is in the right's Christmas time!!!

Church:I've not been to "my" church in over 2 months. People keep inviting me to their church. I have had a great time experiencing different types of worship and church cultures. The last Sunday there was a visiting pastor from USA who I went to listen to. She reminded me (while speaking to the whole church) that Jesus has been through all the loneliness that I have and he wants to help. What a great reminder for this season.

Future:In just one week I will have nothing official to do. I'm very excited about the possibilities of ministry and networking with the special education community here in Burundi. Please pray that I will be disciplined to get up and out of the apartment.

Well I think that's a pretty good update for now.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

October Friends

Random pics of friends during random times in October...just thought I'd share some :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Old Man!!!

I taught class and the students asked some good questions. Then in the afternoon I went for a walk and met an old man. We had a whole 10 min conversation in Kirundi! I was so proud of myself. Now the conversation was just small talk and I had to have him repeat many sentences but I understood what he was saying. We passed a group of men hanging out on the street corner and they were shocked. They must have known that the man didn't know English. They asked him if I knew Kirundi. The old man told them yes. He didn't have any doubt in his tone. They were shocked and had a good laugh. It was great. I had dinner with friends then went to Campus Fellowship. Friends came over in the evening for a cookie and to discuss a child care event that he is putting on for his church. I was able to help him with his planning and brainstorming. It was a great day.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Birthday Party

Some students from Bible Group threw me a surprise birthday party, cake and presents included. It was so nice!!!

3rd Floor View

There are many cool things about living on the third floor of a building. First off the breeze that blows though is very welcome!!! Another fun thing is that I can see most of campus from any of my 3 north facing rooms. The library in across the way and so a down side sometimes is that students who should be in class find themselves gazing into my home. I guess it's fair play since I do the same thing.
The other day when I surveyed the library windows I saw the President of the University giving a tour. He went into a room and when he came out he, like so many others surveyed the land. His gaze met mine. I smiled and waved. He was puzzled for a brief moment then a giant smile filled his face and his right hand went up to wave at me. I was filled with joy! It started me off for a great day.

Preparing for midterms

My ASL students hard at work.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bible Group Overnighter

Student lead overnighter. Worship, speakers, dramas, dancing, and just a lot of fun.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Still Living

Please Forgive me!!!
I am still alive. I realize it has been a long time since I've posted. Almost a month.
Well classes started, had a meeting with the rector about my future, made some new friends, had an excellent birthday, doing some fun ministry with firends and most importantly took some great pictures. I've been very busy. This last week I was very excited about the time I had set aside to upload all the photos and write lots of stories but...the internet is down at school. I understand that there is something with the provider and the government...I don't know really. I try to stay out of it all. Either way I don't have internet in my apartment currently so images and long stories will have to wait. Just wanted to inform you all that I still would love your prayers. Also it looks like March you will get to see me again. :)
Thanks for your faithful reading and prayer.
Miss you guys.
More later
Oh I saw Stephen in the market again! It was fun. We know each other now. It's cute.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Spider's Reflection

As I'm sitting here working on a proposal for the Bishop I can't help but be distracted by the spider on my fan. I have told you before about these funny spiders that don't build webs. They are attack spiders. They hunt their prey. Well the little guy walked up on my table. He marched up to the top of the fan base and stopped. He looked as if he had spotted his next meal. I was puzzled, there was no fly or bug for him to eat, what was he doing?
Well he had spotted the buttons. Now the buttons have been painted with metallic silver paint so that you can see your reflection in them. This spider was hunting his mirror image. It is so funny!!! He has been at it for 30 minutes so far. He has pounced and tapped, tried to bite and get a good angle, all to no avail.
Poor guy...but he get's an A+ for persistence.

Preschool or the Street

Today as I walked through the market a small hand was placed into mine. These little fingers gently grabbed onto my skin. I looked down, this hand was so small and dirty. It looked so different from my large, white, clean hand. I looked back at the face attatched to the hand. He couldn't have been more than 3 1/2 years old, dirty and torn clothing, no shoes.
This is a common occurrence at the market. Children are sent by their parents to beg for money. It's not because I'm white, just that I'm a person that they put their hand in mine.
I recognized the face. I stopped and knelt down. A little girl, with the same appearance came up. I said hello then asked them their names. The little girl giggled. It could be that I was speaking in Kirundi or it could be that I was looking at her and talking directly to her. The boy said, Steven. Her name was Bella.
Mom and Steven had a conversation about 2 weeks ago when they were here. I told him I remembered him. Bella again giggled. I tickled her belly a little and she continued to laugh.
Part of me wishes I will never see them again. That will mean that they will be in school or be cared for by their parents, not having to work on the streets. Another part of me wishes that I will get see them again. They were so cute, still full of joy. Next time I think I will give them a hug.
It's hard to cope with Burundi realities but I have to find the joy and humanness in it all or I would fall to pieces every time I go to the market and see such hopeless situations.
Lord please protect and guard Steven and Bella. May they one day change the future of Burundi for your glory. Amen

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


July 27
Have you ever been to a baptism of 500 souls? It was quite an experience. Watching 10 rows of 50 people each slowly move into the lake seemed to take forever. After they were baptized they stayed in the lake and had a party while waiting for the rest of the group. What an experience, may God be praised!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Mid July

Coming up the stairs I greeted one of the staff members here at Hope. The entire conversation we had was in Kirundi! I was so impressed with myself. It’s coming along.

Barbershop Music Anyone

It’s amazing how God provides. I’m blown away at his faithfulness each and every day. Brandon left for America and it was so hard to see him go. He had been a good friend from the beginning of this trip. When Javier, Stephanie and I would do something we always planned on 4 because we knew that Brandon would join the fun. When Javier and Stephanie left for the summer it was just Brandon and I. Things didn’t change. If there was something fun to do, it was done together. Because he worked close to Hope he regularly came over after work or for lunch break. Seeing him go was very hard. One of the great things about Brandon was that we attended the same university and both call Seattle home. Being able to chat about things from back home was wonderful.
It was amazing how the day after he left that my prayers were answered. God knew I needed a visit from someone. A group of singers came to visit. There were about 12 of them. All from Seattle! Some of them actually attended First Free, which is on SPU’s campus. I only got to see them one day but listening to them sing barbershop and bigband was a treat. After, I thanked them for bringing me Folklife Festival. They smiled and told me I was welcome.
God is a great provider, even when my needs are so small.


Late July
Driving in Buja is great. It stresses me out sometimes but it’s not that bad. When traveling to town I get all sorts of people wanting to tag along. It’s funny that I can pull out of the parking space on campus and before I even exit I can have 3 extra passengers. The van holds 8. As I drive towards town I see friends, professors and staff either walking to the bus or waiting for it. I happily stop and let on more people. I’m thinking about quitting the professor gig and taking up a taxi service…what do you think?


late July
Karen and Laurie wanted to go swimming and I begrudgingly went along. I really don’t like swimming; even in the Buja heat it doesn’t tempt me. I think it was too many times of Adam holding me under the water as a child.
We drove to 3 different pools before we found one that was open. The pool was huge and packed with little children. We were told that in 15 min the adult swim would begin. So I went on a walk. I found a soccer field filled with children. I sat in the grandstands to watch. I think that it was a PE class or something. There were so many children on the field!!! I counted 27. It was great to watch, nothing like PE soccer in Kent. These kids could play! I was so impressed by their skill with the ball and how they passed to each other. It was great to just be alone for a while and think, even though there were people all around. My thinking spot was found out by the driver. He came to inform me that the pool was ready. Super, I was thrilled.
Karen was the first in the pool. She said the water was cold. I was even more excited about this swimming endeavor. Laurie was scared to get in. I knew I couldn’t climb in but had to jump in, just like going into Lake Meridian. All at once, no hesitation, get it over with. It wasn’t cold at all. I was pleasantly surprised. 5 min later Laurie finally joined us. Karen swam her laps. I hugged the wall and Laurie did a little of both. My foot did manage to find a rusty pipe; after we put a bandage on it. Good thing I got a tetanus shot before I came ;) In the end I’m glad I went, perhaps Laurie and I will go again. That time I’ll hug a wall without a rusty pipe.

Living Museum aka The Zoo

July 22
There is nothing like going to the zoo to make my day. Karen, visiting from Michigan, and I decided to head for the zoo here in Buja. I really enjoy hanging out with Karen. I have to say that she might be one of my favorite people . We got to the zoo and there was a girl, about 6 years old, screaming at the top of her lungs. When I looked around and assessed the situation I realized that there was a chimpanzee, bigger than her just walking around the grounds trying to climb up on people. The officer who was with her had picked this screaming girl up to try and comfort her. The girl successfully climbed to the top of this man’s head in hopes to escape the chimpanzee. And this all before we paid and entered.
It didn’t take long to figure out that these three girls were sisters and spoke British English. Apparently their father works in the government in Burundi and so one of his officers was taking the girls, who were visiting from London, to the zoo. After a few more visits from Tina, the roaming chimpanzee, the screaming girl found me as a safe person to be with. We traveled the whole zoo together, hand in hand. Zoos are great to visit but there is something to be said for seeing animals through the wonder of a child’s eye.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Safari Update

Seeing animals are great but hanging out with mom and dad is the best part!!!
Enjoying them but wish we were back in Buja. I'm craving rice and beans...explain that to me!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vacation Update

Just thought I would give you all a quick update. I'm currently in Kenya experiencing the coldest weather I've had in the last 6 months!!!

I just finished a lovely vacation in Uganda. I dipped my toes in the source of the Nile River and took a morning walk to the bank of Lake Victoria as far as tourist things goes. Most of my time was spent with good friends meeting their friends and families. It's great to get to know more people and see beautiful land. I do have to report that I ate way too much. I stepped on a scale once I arrived in Kenya and I gained 5lbs while in Uganda. The food there is good, to say the least.

I will post pictures and stories when I get back to Buja. Right now I'm waiting around for my parents to fly in. That's right they fly in in 10 hours!!!! I'm so excited, you can't imagine, unless of course you have gone 6 months without seeing your parents while living in a foreign land, they you could imagine.

We will spend around 10-15 days here in Kenya and then travel together to Buja.

It's weird to say because I've only been gone for 14 days but I'm already homesick for Buja. It will be good to get back to my home and my friends.

Thanks for all your prayers while I'm out and about on vacation. Please pray for safety and for my parents as they experience a whole new world (like Aladdin)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Leaving on Vacation

I have so much to say and had so many good intentions of bringing this blog up to date before I took my vacation's midnight. The day has been filled with visitors coming to pray for me as I leave and many text messages from people wishing me a good vacation.
So I'm leaving tomorrow morning at 6am to board a bus headed for Uganda. I will spend some time in Uganda and then head over to Kenya. I will meet my parents in Kenya and visit the Indian Ocean and go on a safari. Then I will bring them back here with me to Buja. I'm sure by then I will have so many stories and pictures to share with you.
Summer semester finished well and I'm all excited about my class schedule for Fall. I will be teaching intro to Special Education and first year sign language, it's the first time sign language has been taught here at HAU!!! Along with my other responsibilities I will be a very busy girl.
Please keep my travels in your prayers as I travel through countries, who the US embassy says are dangerous, but then again that's what they say about Buja. ;)
Please pray also that God will use this time for me to be used by and refreshed by him.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bible Group

I forgot to tell you that I spoke/preached at Bible Group, a student lead Bible study/chapel time on campus. During the school year about 200 students attend. During the summer it is much smaller.
I was asked to preach for the next week. I said yes. It took me a long time to come up with a topic. I finally came up with "where is home and who is your family", but I knew that wasn't what I was going to share.
The morning of God woke me up at 5 o'clock in the morning. He told me to remember. I read in my Bible, where I happened to be reading. It's amazing how the Lord uses the things were we are at to teach us. He had me remember about his faithfulness to me. I had my topic "Remember".
He gave me a wonderful opportunity to share about my life, about where he has brought me. The faithfulness he has shown me. I believe that preaching that day was more of a blessing for me than for the ones who were listening.


In Burundian culture the dote (dowry party) is very important. This was my first dote to go to. The bride to be is a student at Hope and works at Sister Connection. I have gotten to know her through Stephanie because of Stephanie's work at Sister Connection.
It was fun watching the exchange of words from the father of the groom to be and father of the bride to be. It was all in Kirundi but parts here and there were translated for me to get the main point.
It was a fun night for sure!!!


Nothing like a concert to bring people together.
I went to the concert with two people in the van plus me.
The concert was great. Sitting between two friends I watched some amazing musicians. It was an amazing night.
As the three of us made our way to the van I looked behind me, noticing that someone was following me. I was mistaken it wasn't someone, it was a whole herd of people. They were students from Hope. They must have seen me and guessed that I was driving the school's mini van. As I unlocked the door I said, in my best soccer mom voice, "everybody pile in". I didn't get photos of the concert but my co pilot wanted to capture the crazy group of happy concert goers.

Papaya Leaf Tea

Papaya Leaf Tea is a form of malaria suppressant or cure or something like that. I'm not really sure but it's what I drink to keep the malaria away.
My friends, the students, see me picking the leaves off the tree and carrying them back to my apartment. One stopped me and asked what I was doing with it. I explained and he looked confused.
Not two days later he came to me saying that he thought he had malaria and would like to try some tea. I gave him some, he didn't look good. He drank it and went to bed. The next morning I saw him and he said he felt 100% better.
Some friends came to visit the next day and it was my day to drink some of the tea. I made some for everyone to try.
It is the most bitter tasting drink I've ever had in my life!!! They agreed. But the benefit out weighs the taste I'm sure.

I'm alive

So I got a phone call from my mom. Imagine my cell phone rings and I look down and it says "Private call". I answer it and it's my mom!!! Super exciting. I look at the students around me and I say, "It's my mom, in America." They seem almost as excited as I am!
Mom asked me if I was dead.
No mom I'm not dead it's the internet that's been dead.
Sorry for those of you that have tried to follow my blog when I haven't posted anything.
But I'm alive!!! And midterms are over so life isn't as crazy anymore. It's so funny to me that students don't think that midterms are busy for me. I have to remind them that I have to write the exam and have to grade them. They look at me with blank faces and then say, "oh".
Now I'm planning my trip to Kenya to pick up my parents and bring them to my home. I can't wait!!!

God Provides, even in the small things

Last week I wanted to have some friends over to my apartment for a pancake feast. Though I was running low on syrup.
I've been told that making syrup is easy but I disagree. I tried it once and failed miserably. So a month ago when a friend
was coming from Kenya I had her bring some. That bottle is almost out, but I felt that I was supposed to have a pancake
feast with these friends of mine. I put it out of my mind, I didn't have enough syrup. The last few days the thought keeps
coming back into my mind, eat pancakes with your friends. I'm not sure why but it does. So this morning I was brainstorming
all the possible toppings I could have on pancakes that isn't syrup. I came to the solution of making a mango or papaya
syrup to top the pancakes, even though I really don't like either. Today the answer. I picked up a package from my aunt and
uncle, and cousins. Inside was pancake syrup!!! From Fred Meyer's no less!!!
I will now be able to have a pancake feast without fear of lacking pancake syrup.
The pictures and hand written card was the ultimate gift! As I was putting the pictures up on the fridge I began to cry. I accept
tears as a part of my life here, those bitter tears that burn as they fill my eye. I can't help it as they stream down my face. I love
it here so much but that doesn't change the fact that I miss my family. As wonderful as my friends here are I know that I will
continue to weep for the lack of family, for those who I love very much and are far away.
Blessings also came in the box. These are things that I could buy here but haven't. Sometimes it's nice not to have to shop for
the things you need.
The last few days I have also been craving honey, inside was a giant bear of honey.
I am almost out of salt, now I don't have to buy any. I now have enough for the rest of my time here.
I was talking to my friends and they were explaining that they want to learn how to bake. Corn bread is at the top of their list of
things to learn. Something about me inviting them over when the bread is in the oven, me forcing them to try this crazy American
food, drink Burundian tea, and spend wonderful time talking and getting to know each other. They say I'm sneaky luring them with
tasty food :) Last night they commented that they wanted to learn how to make cookies. I explained that the chocolate chips
Wouldn't arrive until August when my parents arrive. Today Chocolate chips filled the package!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Friends and Home

I think the hardest thing about feeling at home here is that it makes me miss home there.
This weekend was wonderful. I couldn't ask for better. I had a visit from a good friend. It was nothing special. I was working on writing the midterm exam and my friend was sitting and doing other things. We didn't have an agenda, just hanging out. It was comfortable.
Sunday I went to church with a different friend. I sat in the foreign language section. The church translates the service into English and French. I got to wear a set of pretty snazzy head phones and hold a receiver. (I was pretty stylin') The service was in Kirundi and Ki Swahili, I was wearing headphones, and sitting amongst strangers, but I felt like I was with family. It was so nice. There was a woman sitting in front of me. She was so friendly. I found out that she was from Canada. She asked me how long I was here for. I told her one year. She said, "That's how long I was here for 12 years ago. Careful." I laughed. She told me about a bible study that she attends. I'm very excited about the possibility of a mentor in her.
After the service my friend and I walked to his house. There is nothing like a long Sunday walk to make me feel at home. I met his family and shared some rice and beans, the little fish staring up at me from the plate I didn't eat. After he escorted me to the US Marine's house for a 4th of July party. Because of security only US citizens were allowed to go. I arrived late but the potluck was still out. I was back in America for a moment looking at all the random dishes, think church picnic where everyone brings something that is a little weird. The roasted pig was good though :) and someone brought the most amazing brownies I've ever tasted!!! I made an apple pie, very American of me.
I met a couple who just had a baby. I joked about babysitting and the wife joked back but then said, "I'm totally serious." They live up the mountain, about a 30 min drive. They seem really cool. I'm hoping that we become friends. Another family, who I've met a few times, invited me over to play games sometime. They live across town. I'm going to call them this week. :)
Bob and Laurie drove me back to HAU. Bob said, "do we drop you at your apartment or are we going to our house." I told him that I would drop my things and then be right over. We watched a movie and ate popcorn that was so buttery. yum
This morning when I woke up tired and sad. I didn't want to wake up. When this happens in the states I just call my dad, who is at work, and he wakes me up and cheers me up. I reached for my phone, then I remembered. Tears filled my eyes. I couldn't call my dad. I thought of a friend here to call but figured that he would still be sleeping.
The weekend was so great. Working, hanging out with friends and making new ones. I went to sleep in comfort and woke up wishing for that comfort to continue, wishing to see or at least talk to the family I love so much.
I went to class to give the midterm. We didn't have a classroom so I waited for my students to find a class. Standing in the middle of the HAU campus I was not alone for more that 60 seconds at a time. It was different friends of mine on their way to class or getting ready for the day. Each of them taking time to greet me, to ask me how I was and wish me a good day.
Yes I miss my family but having friends that care help me keep going, help ease the sorrow.

Daddy Happy Birthday. I love you lots and lots.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Burundi Independence Day

What is a girl supposed to do on Independence Day? Celebrate her independence and leave the walls of campus! I haven't had ice cream in at least a month so that was my mission. Little did I know that I was in for a day of adventure!
Karen from Spring Arbor just arrived and so I invited her to join me on this ice cream quest. I invited some of my friends to go with as well.
After convincing them to get into the van, with a crazy American behind the wheel, we were off.

We drove to the other side of town, after dropping off one friend. The best ice cream in town was our goal. They were closed. Don't worry I had a back up. We drove almost all the way back to the school. The second one was closed as well. It was now up to the students to direct, Boaz took the lead. On our way down a back street the students pointed out where a friend lived. We called him up and two minutes later he had joined the adventure.
As my dad always says, third time's a charm.
It was funny to watch these Burundians eat ice cream cones. They were trying to be so proper but they didn't have the right technique; melted ice cream dripped down the cones and all over their hands. I gave a quick lesson on eating an ice cream cone. I reassured them that eating a cone is survival of the fittest in the states because if a child isn't fast enough a dad will eat half their cone in the name of "helping".
I was having too much fun eating my cone I forgot to take photos. Here is one of us with happy taste buds.

We couldn't stop there. The adventure had just begun. We decided to go to the lake. On our way we came to a large round about. The boys joked about going around it 3 times. Not something to joke about. I did it.

We didn't stop at the lake, we just kept driving. We were rocking out to the radio. Hope Africa University's station. We called in and requested a song. All of our names were said on the radio!
We finally made it to the Ruzizi River. We parked and walked to the bridge.

After about an hour and half of enjoyment we left our independence day adventure and drove back to the HAU.