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!!!