Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hi all--

I want to tell you about the talibe boys here in Senegal. Some of you have already had the talibe system explained to you so this is just a reminder or this could be new information to some of you.
Translated, talibe means student. We are more familiar with the word Taliban which also uses the same root word. The talibe boys are common throughout West Africa, but especially in Senegal.
Dakar is considered the begging capital of the world; giving alms is one of the five pillars of Islam. As a result, marabouts and talibe boys have been moving to Dakar from all over West Africa. They squat in vacant, unfinished buildings, or construct shacks on vacant land. Most of the “homes” have no running water or sanitation facilities. In contrast, the marabout may live in a nicer home with his family.
The boys are between the ages of five and fifteen. Families give their young boys to a marabout, an Islamic religious leader and teacher. This is impossible for us to comprehend, except for the fact that many of the families are too poor to care for, let alone provide an education for the boys. The marabout is supposed to raise and train the boys in koranic education, providing a free education for them. In reality the boys become child slaves. They must beg for him and are often beaten and mistreated if they do not bring in enough money each day. I should point out that not all of the marabouts mistreat the boys, but many do, and the system itself is open to many abuses.
You see talibe boys everywhere in Dakar. They are there when you step out of the terminal at the airport and they are seemingly walking every street begging. They go out early in the morning and often stay on the streets until late at night. They carry empty tomato cans where passersby place their alms. They are barefoot and dressed in rags. Many are sick with malaria or other diseases, and nearly all are underfed. The younger, smaller boys are often bullied by the older, bigger boys who steal the money they have collected.
A marabout may have as many as 40 talibe boys. Some of the marabouts do not feed the boys, so they must get their food by begging. In general, the boys are required to give the marabout a certain amount of money each day. If they earn more, some marabouts allow them to send the extra to their families.
Even the noble gesture of giving the boys food is problematic. If you give them food, they will often sell it to meet their quota. It is possible to give them something like a peeled banana that cannot be sold and must be eaten.
I have been working at a center in a very poor area of Dakar which is run by a WorldVenture colleague of mine that provides food and care to these boys. The boys come mornings Monday through Friday and receive food, showers, French lessons, first aid care, clean clothes, flip-flops, water to drink, etc. The center started out with about 16 boys coming and now we average from 45 to 50 boys daily.
This last week the center, Xaley Boroom Bi (Children of the Lord Center), celebrated being open for one year. When we were home this last summer one of our donors gave us some money and asked us to buy ice cream for the boys. So at our party, we had cake, ice cream, games, and a program by a Christian singer who is well known here in Senegal. The boys were so excited to have a party and we are praising God for the blessings that have been mine to work with these boys this last year and show them God’s love.
A sad note regarding one of the boys. One of the regular talibe boys may have run away from his daara (the marabout’s home where they live) two weeks ago and has not been seen since. He was asking how to get to his village and how much it would cost him, so they are assuming he was trying to get back home. We are concerned for his safety as it is not safe here especially at night. There is also the possibility that he could have been kidnapped as that has been happening here recently. He is only 8 years old at the most and a very sweet, softhearted boy. His name is Ousman(oos-mon). Ousman has been with us at the center from the beginning so he has probably been gone from his family for 3 or more years. The last day he was with us at the center he saw the Jesus film in Wolof. Please pray for his safety.

If you are interested in giving to help the talibe boys, our mission has a special project that was set up to help with the daily costs of running the center and buying food and clothing for them. You can send a check to the address below with an attached written note indicating - for Talibe Street Kids – SP#6403-931. See the address below.

Some have been asking us about little girls here in Senegal; what happens to them and if they have to beg, etc. Basically, the girls aren’t affected by this as they stay in the villages to help their mothers with the cooking and farming.

Thanks again for your prayer and financial support of our ministry here in Senegal.

Change the world, one life at a time,

Jim and Ramona Adams
Serving in Dakar, Senegal, West Africa
with WorldVenture

E-mail: Jim: (the 0 is a zero)
Skype: Jim: jim_adams_n0vpm
Ramona: ramonajoy

Internet Phone: (303)586-1757 – This is a Denver telephone number. (Remember that we are 7 hours ahead of Denver )

If you feel called to financially partner with us, you may send checks payable to WorldVenture, writing our name and the account number on an attached note – not on the check memo line. (i.e. Adams / #6154-963) Mail to WorldVenture, 1501 W. Mineral Ave., Littleton, CO 80120. You can also give donations or commitments online at For donations click on GIVE. All gifts are tax deductible.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I thought I would just give you a little glimpse of what it takes to "just live" in Africa. Some of the tasks for "just living" takes much more time and energy than it does in the States.

The mundane, like doing the laundry, is an example of what takes much of our time these days. It's great to have a washing machine but when the electricity goes off, a load can take a long time! Once it's washed and hung out to dry, the rains often come and it has to be taken in. On the low wall in the house or possibly on stair railings, we lay our clothes out, but in the humidity of this rainy season, it can take 12 hours to dry. Are we in the second day yet? Finally, most things need to be ironed to kill any mango worms in the clothes. Will the electricity stay on for the ironing? Will the load be finished the third day?

Please know that it is easy to get discouraged when these mundane tasks take a lot of time, but when I look at others here who don't even have a washing machine, or something as simple as a clothesline, it doesn't seem as important anymore!

Thanks for keeping us in your prayers that our focus would be for the ministries that God has called us to here in Senegal!
Aunt Ramona

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hi all--
I wasn't planning on sending an update out again so soon, but wanted to let you know that we need special prayers right now.

We have had a rather rough beginning to our time back here in Africa. The night before school started at Dakar Academy, there was a terrible storm with lightning; we heard a pop then the next morning realized it had fried our modem and router. Just a few days ago we finally got everything fixed. Also, our refrigerator wasn't working for about three weeks, but now is up and going. It sure is nice to have ice cubes and cold milk and water! It is very hot and humid right now, which really zaps your energy.

The main thing right now is that it is Ramadan here. This can sometimes be a time when the people here are more open to the gospel. They are questioning more. We personally can't communicate much since we don't know the language, however, we can pray. I wanted to let you know about a website where you can get a booklet on praying for 30 days during Ramadan. It is a little late, but it doesn't matter, just pray the 30 days anyway! Here is the website:

Also, on my last blog update I gave you Jason's mailing address. I thought I would just let you know that his birthday is coming up on September 11th, so thought it would be nice if everyone sent a card to him.

Talk to you later!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hi all--

Wow, life certainly happened quickly since I last wrote on my blog. Sorry for the delay in getting out a new blog post. We had a whirlwind of activities from the moment we landed in the US until the moment we flew back to Africa.

We spent many happy hours visiting with family and friends. We met new friends, spoke in several new churches and some old familiar ones. We enjoyed sharing what God is doing in our lives and in West Africa! This is a picture of our grandchildren at the 4th of July parade we went to in Bristol, Rhode Island. (Sierra, Dylan, Brandon and Caleb) The cousins had a great time together!

We had Mexican food at least once a week and sometimes more often than that. Yumm! We miss good Mexican food!

Shortly after we came back to Africa, our son Jason was deployed to Quatar for six months. He would appreciate getting mail and care packages. His address is a US address, so it costs the same as it would to mail something in the States. His address is:

Ssgt Jason Adams
379 ESFS/S3K
APO AP 09309

Here is a pic of Jason with his working dog Sinda who was deployed with him.

Next time I'll try to tell you a little bit about our life since we've been back in Africa!

Aunt Ramona

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hi All--

Welcome to my new blog. The reason for the name Aunt Ramona is that in Africa all of the children (missionary children & students), call me "Aunt Ramona". In my blog I will try to describe our life living in Africa.

We have been in the States now for a little less than one month of our two month visit. We have had many adventures here, too numerous to list. Right now we are in Massachusetts after five days of driving from Colorado. In those five days we have been in nine states. Our two grandchildren, Caleb, 10 and Sierra, 7 have been traveling with us. (The pic is the four of us at Niagra Falls) We are currently with Jim's sister Joyce and her family.

Tomorrow we will be visiting in our 10th state, New Hampshire, where Jim's other sister Marion lives. His brother Ray and wife are visiting there from Arizona, so it will be a little family reunion!

July 3rd our son Jason, Caleb and Sierra's dad, will be flying here to meet us. We will spend July 4th at Jim's nephew's home in Bristol, Rhode Island, so that will be the 11th state we will have been in on our trip! In Rhode Island we will see our daughter Sarah, her husband Jerome and their two boys, Brandon and Dylan.

After a couple of days visiting here we will start driving south to San Antonio, Texas to take Jason and kids back there. Jim and I will drive back to Colorado where we will be for about three weeks before flying back to Africa on August 8. Our summer visit is flying by way too quickly!

I would like to wish all of you a Happy Fourth of July celebrating our country's freedom!