Friday, February 17, 2012

So many posts all at once!

Here are the posts you have been waiting for. I've been typing them out on my computer and saving them for a day that I could go to the internet. You will need to click on "Older Posts" at the bottom of the page to see all of them. They start with one titled "School Bus?". Don't miss out on the pictures and stories.
I was afraid this morning because it wouldn't stop raining...but the clouds parted and I walked down to an internet cafe near my house...sorry to find that it is super slow!!! So I guess I will have to board a bus and travel to town for faster internet next time.
Thank you for your continued prayer and support.

Financial Update: I'm up to date on my finances as of now but there isn't much financially there for the coming months. Please pray that God will open the door to others that desire to join in the work God has for me here in Burundi.
Also if you are interested in partnering financially please send a check to:
Living Hope Church
PO Box 1726
Westport, WA 98595
check memo line: Rachel in Burundi


Bath Time

Yesterday I was able to participate in bath time with the two youngest of the family I’m staying with. First it was Angel, she’s almost 5, just ask her. She didn’t want to get into the bath. Let me first define this so you understand. Bath time consists marching a pot full of boiling water down the long hall to the bathroom (a room with a bath tub that is broken, shelves of clothing, and a shower stall, toilet would be in the toilet room the next door over). A large red basin big enough for two 4 year olds to sit side by side in is placed in the shower stall. Boiling water fills the bottom two inches of the basin. Then from the shower cold water is added to temperature. The first child in gets the clean water and by the last child the water is an earthy brown.
Angel was hesitant to enter the bath. She had a lovely princess dress up costume on and didn’t want to take it off. She climbed into my arms and held me tight. While holding her I was able to unbutton the buttons down her back. I then reached for the skirt and underwear; sliding it down as she held me even tighter. With her little legs dangling over the bath her arms got higher and higher making it easy to slip the blouse off. Still unwilling to enter the bath she stood in the basin with a playful look in her eye. I knew that there was nothing I could do to get her into the water except to tickle her. And tickle her I did.
My favorite part of the bath with both the children would have to be making bubbles with the soap on their bellies. And tickling their feet as we washed between each toe. Andy, Angel’s brother’s feet were so ticklish that I didn’t even make it to his toes before his whole body squirmed with delight.
Although thinking about it now there is nothing that compares to the joy of holding a freshly cleaned little body wrapped up in a towel. The way a child looks at you when they are perfectly content is beyond words and brings such joy. Some day I hope to hold my children in that way and see the look in their eyes that says mommy I love you. But for the time being, I will have to accept this joy from Angel and Andy.

Surprise Trip

This weekend I took a surprise trip up to Kibuye. The trip was such a surprise that I didn’t even know I was going until 30min before. I phoned Carol Ogden about a visit in the future and she said that her program was full of visitors until they leave except this weekend. Within 30min I had showered, packed, and was on a bus for the weekend trip. I have taken the trip to Kibuye a number of times but never without transportation arranged. Nevertheless I was up for the challenge. I knew there were taxis and buses by Hope Africa University that would take me to Gitega so I boarded a bus to get me to the “bus station”. From there I checked the price. Save $2 and ride in a cramped, sweaty bus making stops all along the way or pay the two dollars and ride in a cramped taxi and get there faster. I took the taxi. I also got a window seat! I was in control of the temperature.
Once in Gitega I found someone to show me to the next taxi to Kibuye. I was dropped off on the road. It was good I only had one shoulder bag and the drawstring bag Stephanie Harris made for me because I had to walk to the Ogden’s house. It didn’t seem long because the village women quickly joined me and we had lots to talk about in my limited Kirundi. Let’s just say there was lots of laughter. Ezekiel, the Ogden’s cook, greeted me half way. It was so nice to see his smiling face. The women I was walking with were surprised that I knew someone from their village.
The weekend was so refreshing. Carol is a great host and Frank invited me to join him in the OR for a C-section, which I gladly accepted.
The medical students from Hope are up at Kibuye Hospital doing their clinical. This was not the reason I went to Kibuye but visiting friends is always a benefit. Because the trip was a surprise for me I decided to make it a surprise for them as well. You should have seen Isaac’s face when I walked into the hospital! The hospital accountant, Hellen, was so excited by the surprise she almost gave it away.
It was nice to visit the hospital and see all the patients that Isaac has been having me pray for. I saw the premature baby that is being kept in a cardboard box with gloves filled with hot water to keep it warm because the incubators aren’t working.

I also saw the 7 year old boy who had to have part of his brain removed after a bad crash. So encouraging to see that my prayers have been answered and not only is he alive but he is looking around as I stood there watching his mother clean him up; there are no children sized catheters so they must change his sheets every time he wets the bed. Still an encouraging sight amongst so much lack.
It is so nice being about to walk around the grounds of the mission station and town and see people I know, friends. I am truly blessed!

Homework Help

I’m not the only one who gets to assist at homework time. Randy and Alice Matthewson (missionaries to DRCongo who I stayed with Christmas and New Years in 2010) are on their way to Congo. They are staying upstairs. It is so nice having them around. I really enjoy them.

Just being boys.

Often I will go to the park with the children here at the house. Most of the time the children play on the swings, slide or ride bikes. This time it was different. A girl from my class was also visiting the park with her family. She brought a ball to play with. She was playing toss with her mother when we arrived. Quickly a game of football ensued. Not before long three Burundian boys joined. They were about 10 years old. Two started playing with no problem. The third was short, very short. It didn’t take long to realize that he was “walking” on his knees. He had his knees wedged into sandals so that they didn’t get scraped up as he marched along. The rest of his legs and feet were shriveled up and nicely tucked under into a permanent “crisscross applesauce” of sorts. He moved with little trouble, except the fact that it took him longer to travel the same distance given his shortened stride. He looked at me hopeful; he wanted to play. I quickly kicked the ball to him. He pounced on it. He began dribbling it across the grass. No one dared take the ball from the boy with the funny legs. Well I had no problem with that. If he wanted to play then he was going to play. I quickly charged at the ball a squeal of joy burst from the boy. He was so excited to play like everyone else. We played for a good 45min. We were all having a good time. I’m not sure of the last time that boy laughed so hard or me for that matter. Every once and a while he would fall over in laughter. The only hesitation I had playing with him was the fact that the hem of my skirt came up to his shoulders. If I charged too fast he would have gone right under it. (I was careful to avoid that, not wanting to make a scene)
Today (3 weeks later) I saw two of the boys on the street begging for money. At once they recognized me and said, “Madam Football”. I was so excited to see them, yet sad all at the same time. They are smart boys and it makes me sad that they are using their time to beg instead of go to school. It is times like these that the mix of emotions is hard because I’m not sure what I can do for them. Perhaps in the future I will be able to take someone to translate for me and inquire more about their lives.
Please join me in prayer for these boys.

Friends from Haiti

I went to a choir concert at Hope Africa University after I got a photo of my Haitian friends who are attending Hope.


If you remember back to 2010 I went to a dote and wedding of my friend Glorious. Well she was happy to introduce me to the newest addition to their family.

Roommate? I don't think so!

My first morning staying in my apartment I was greeted by this “little” friend.

I had to make a decision…he had to die. Sorry big guy.

Books, Reading, and the Children I Love

I love children’s books and have taken an interest in the library. There is no one in charge of the library so the books are put this way and that. During break times I find myself in the library straightening up the shelves and putting books into their proper place. In the process I have become the “reading specialist” for some of the teachers. They ask me about books for their class and lessons they are teaching. It’s wonderful to be sought after for something that I love so much. From personal experience I know that reading is so vital to every part of education. It brings me great joy to introduce children to books that are at their level so that they don’t have to be scared by reading.
I have caught one boy on multiple occasions say, “I can’t read”. I quickly intervened and told him, “yes you can, just not very well now but you will get better”. He crawled into my lap the other day and said, “I am going to learn to read with Miss Rachel!” I was honored that he would trust me with something I know is such a struggle for him. I have four months until summer break and I want him to be reading by then.
Please pray for Christopher as he begins the wonderful journey of enjoying books on his own through reading.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

School Bus?

6:00 wake up
6:30 be to breakfast table
6:45 get helmet on
6:46 pose for photo
6:47 climb into the Buzz Bomber and pose for another photo
6:50 leave for school
6:50-7:00 wave at all the Burundians staring as we drive by (this is the only Buzz Bomber in Burundi, Ken created it)
Daily the morning schedule is the same, minus the photo shoot. Once at school I attend the staff devotion time. Then the day begins.

Mailing Address


Rachel Jacobs
c/o Ken Johnson
BP 122
Bujumbura, Burundi

If you are interested in sending me some snail mail :)
note:do not put AFRICA on the address, they get confused and send it to South Africa (I'm not living there)

Not in Kenya (change of plans)

I want to thank you all for your fervent prayers for my trip to Kenya. As with life plans must change with new information and circumstances. I am writing to you from Burundi. The tickets were purchased and bags were packed (mine wasn’t but I was thinking about it). Two days before our trip Sammy began to vomit and had a high fever. The trip was off. We are still not sure what is wrong with Sammy, we would love your prayers for him. He has been to the hospital three times now for different things. Please pray that God will direct the doctors in what is wrong with him.

As for my plans I am here at home working with Sammy on his counting. Today we used empty yogurt cups to build towers of different amounts. We did our best to knock down the tower after it reached 10. I’m trying to take the sting of math away by making learning fun. We will see how it goes.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Clear Goals for the Year

It seems so natural working at a school. Yet I found myself worried about all the things that need to be learned and goals that must be accomplished. I felt defeated by the invisible presence of things that weren't being learned. Then it hit me. I need to know the standards for the school.
I asked the principle and he gave me a short list of things that these kindergarteners needed to know. I can do that. It is attainable in 4 months to teach these things. Addition 1 to 10. Counting along a number line. It's possible!!! I can teach that :)
What a relief it is when the goals are clearly stated and fear is dissipated.
All will be accomplished...of this I'm sure

Internet Saturday

Today I spent the morning remembering all the things I have to do before the trip on Monday. We are leaving on the bus before dawn so things must be accomplished in the next 48hours. After my list was completed I wrote some emails and now I'm at the internet sending them off. It's nice to know that I have all the time I want to accomplish what is needed. My email box is FULL and so I'm spending the morning cleaning it out. I always feel good with a clean inbox :)
Blessings on your day.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Sorry I have been so silent lately. It is the transition phase of my journey and internet is far. So I have not been good at communicating with you.
Things are much better now. Those first few weeks were tough with illness, worms, lack of sleep and new job. But thanks be to God who carried me through and brought good friends around me during this time.
Monday I will be traveling to Kenya with the Mother and Sammy to see the children who are in boarding school. While there I hope to visit some special education schools in Nairobi to add to my research.
I hope to write again before I travel but if not please pray for me as we will travel via bus (a two day trip on a grey hound type bus) up and down bumpy and winding roads. Pray for safety and sound minds as this will be the Mother and Sammy's first time on the bus.
Miss you guys