Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thanksgiving Outreach

Hi all--
I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We had a good time with friends who are like family to us.  We actually had a nice-sized turkey this year compared to the scrawny one we had last year.  It was a real treat!

Jim left the day after Thanksgiving to go on the Dakar Academy Outreach.  These are results of the teams that worked in several villages about three hours from Dakar.

The various teams:

• Harvested 8 sacks of peanuts

• 18 bundles of millet were pounded into grain

• Poured a foundation for a new church (mixing over19 tons of cement)

• 1200 bricks were made by hand using 8 tons of cement mixture

• 10 villages ministered to by the VBS team

• Drama Team presented the Gospel in 13 different villages

• Medical Team cared for 372 people

• Built 15 benches and 4 stools

• Setup and took down 35 tents

• Drew over 2,000 gallons of water from a well using buckets and ropes

• Hand-pumped and filtered 400 gallons of drinking water

• Ministered in 6 villages during evening campaigns

• Over 3,000 people heard the gospel

• 735 people prayed to accept Christ

Here are some pics from the Outreach.

Filling 55 gallon drum with water

Cooking Senegalese meal for 150 people

Pounding millet

Harvesting peanuts

Millet bundles

One of the villages

Medical team seeing patients

Medical patients seeing patients

Medical team seeing patients

Some of the tents already setup

Setting up tents

Filtering water

Drawing water from the well

Cooking pots

Donkeys hauling water

Making benches for a village church

Young girls hauling water

Cute girl with missing teeth

Food prep (note the chicken)

Drama team resting

More food prep

Hope you all have a great Christmas season.  It is hard for us to get into the spirit as hot as it is, but we will try!

Thanks for all your prayers and support!

Aunt Ramona

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Dramatic Week

As many of you know one of Dakar Academy's dorm dads was driving at night on a dark road and suddenly there was a body lying on the highway (there is no way of knowing whether the person was dead at this time or not), a motor scooter lay in the middle of the road about 40 meters ahead. John was unable to avoid hitting the person.

John spent three nights at the police station, then was placed in jail for another two nights. He then appeared before three judges who questioned him for 40 minutes. Through the prayers of many he was exonerated and cleared of all charges. Because paperwork takes so long here, he ended up having to spend one more night in jail.

Friday about 1 p.m. John was brought back to DA to the cheers of staff and students lining the parking lot! Thank you for all your prayers for his safe return!

Here is a video clip of his return.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Little of This & a Little of That

Have you ever had someone go to a store with you and offered to buy them something? On occasion I have done that, mostly with grandchildren.

First of all, I have to explain that I have two maids now; one works one day a week cooking for me and one works two half days cleaning for me. Since we live in a small apartment now it doesn't take as much time for someone to clean.

Several weeks ago I took my cooking maid with me to the grocery store to pick up some things for that day's cooking. When we went in, I offered to buy her anything she wanted and just told her to let me know what she wanted. What do you think she wanted? Cookies, candy, etc.?? No, what she wanted was a bottle of bleach. Can you imagine being happy with a bottle of bleach? Well, she was very happy to get it because she needed it!

For the last couple of weeks we have been using a missionary collegues' car while she was on vacation in Europe. Tonight she is coming back so I wanted our guard to wash the car for her. When I asked how much he wanted to wash the car, he said that whatever I gave him would be fine with him. He worked really, really hard and cleaned both the inside and outside of the car. When he was done I gave him the equivilent of about $4.00 and he was thrilled with that.

On a completely different note, Friday my cleaning maid and I went downtown to look for a sewing machine for the talibe center. The plan is that I will teach a couple of the older boys how to sew so that they can make some things that people will buy from them so they won't have to beg for a living. We bought a brand new Singer treadle sewing machine (in other words, non-electric) like my grandma used to use to sew on. Does this take you back a little??!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hi all--

Just wanted to give you a glimpse of what our new neighborhood is like where we are living this year. We are living in this apartment building on the third floor. We are subletting it from a missionary couple who serve with C&MA (Christian and Missionary Alliance) and are on home assignment for a year. It works out well for both of us because we can use their dishes, furniture, etc. and they don't have to pack it all up for the year they are in the States.

This is the view from the rooftop of our apartment building.

Notice the satellite dishes on the house in the right pic.

This is the not so pleasant view from our bedroom window. (A goat eating garbage)

The couple whose home we are subletting both work from home so have a bedroom set up as an office which is perfect for me as I work from home also. It is the smallest place we have lived in since we came to Africa, but works just fine for the two of us! It is also a shorter walk to DA for us.

As always thanks for the prayers; we really need them!

Aunt Ramona

Saturday, August 14, 2010

August 14, 2010 (our 39th anniversary)

Wow, I'm so sorry that it has been 3 months since I have updated my blog. The last two months we spent in the States seeing friends & family. We also spoke in several churches, celebrated birthdays & homegoings. We saw our medical doctor, dentist, and eye doctor. We took a trip to Washington State and Canada and nearly froze, but we had a good time anyway. The day we left it finally warmed up. (This pic is celebrating my 60th birthday with grandsons Dylan & Brandon)

(This pic is Jim, the grandchildren and son Jason getting ready to hike in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado)

The day after arriving back in the US, we drove to Nebraska to help my Uncle Smitty celebrate his 90th birthday. We had such a good time with him and he was doing quite well. Then several weeks later he suffered a stroke and after a week he went home to be with the Lord. We were so glad that we made the effort to go see him. (The picture is myself and my sister Rachel with Uncle Smitty.)

We arrived back here in Dakar, Senegal on Monday morning. We slept for a couple of hours, then we moved our things from the house we stayed in last year to the apartment we will live in this year. Tuesday and Wednesday we spent getting Jim's classroom all ready for the start of school on Thursday. Jim had a good first day of school. He has 13 children, mostly from the US and Canada.
Thursday I unpacked and put away our things in our new apartment. We live on the 3rd floor of our building. We are gradually getting settled in. It is hard to get used to doing all the necessary things, like bleaching fruits and vegetables and filtering water, etc. It isn't bad, just different.
Now, I need to concentrate on getting back to work for WorldVenture and doing the Senegal team bookkeeping.
We appreciate your prayers for us as the heat and humidity make it difficult, especially when the power goes off.
Well, hopefully it won't be so long until the next blog update.

Aunt Ramona

Monday, May 10, 2010

Blowing Bubbles

Last week at the center the t boys were having so much fun blowing bubbles. Jim's sister had brought out containers of bubbles, so we let them have them for use at the center. Can you imagine 15 year old boys in the States enjoying blowing bubbles? Well they do here because it gives them something fun to do that they have never experienced before.

It is such a joy to watch them just relax and have fun for a while before they have to return to begging.

Please pray for a little one who had marks on his back. He very softly told our worker that his teacher had hit him.

Aunt Ramona

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Window Shopping

One of the advantages of being in a huge traffic jam here is being able to shop from your car window! Of course, sometimes the sellers tend to get very pushy and keep knocking on your window. We just have to ignore them and keep our car doors locked.

Unfortunately, the times that we usually get into a traffic jam are on our way out of the city for a weekend away, so it is hard to relax until we are past all the sellers. Over the last couple of months while sitting in traffic I put together a list of things you can buy from your car window. Here you go:

A - air fresheners, axes (during Tabaski) & American flags

B - bananas, baguettes, baseball caps, bassinet mosquito nets, bathtub cleaner, batteries, beach balls, birds (live - they believe that if you release them it sends the bad spirits away), blankets, blenders, books, boxers & bracelets

C - candy bars, cashews, CD's, cell phone chargers, chinese paper lanterns, clocks, clothespins, coffee makers, coffee mugs, cookies & cream cheese

D - dates & dishcloths

E - eggs

F - flip flops & flower garlands (fake)

G - glass cleaner

H - hats

I - ice, frozen in liter bottles & inflatable toys

J - joysticks

K - keyboards, key chains & kiwis

L - luggage

M - magazines, mandarin oranges, marabu pictures, matches, meat grinders, mints & mint leaves (used for tea here)

N - necklaces & newspapers

O - oil (cooking & car)

P - peanuts, pears, perfume, phone cards & purses

Q - Q-tips

R - radios & rugs

S - Scrabble, Senegalese flags, shirts, shoes, sling shots, soccer balls, star cards, steering wheel covers & sunglasses

T - tea, tissues, toilet bowl cleaner, tools, toothpicks, towels & T-shirts

U - underwear

V - valves for gas bombs (gas bottles) & vegetables

W - wallets, watches, water (in bags) & window visors

X - xylophones (wood for souvenirs)

Y - yo- yos & yogurt

Z - zucchini & zwieback crackers

Hope you enjoy this video of window shopping!

Aunt Ramona

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hi all--

Just picture 35 t boys, 24 under 7 years old, all at the zoo for the first time in their lives! This is what we were able to do a couple of weeks ago because of a generous gift by a loving partner. The three women and myself that came to supervise the boys were really impressed with their self control. They were experiencing such excitement at this first time adventure, but were able to follow our rules and even be quiet when told to.

On the way into the park we purchased some little bags of peanuts so the boys could throw them to the monkeys. Toward the end of the time there we noticed that there were some peanuts left over and the boys were eating them! I guess they needed a little snack too.

We were even able to teach them not to litter (a huge problem here) in the park on the way out as they munched on M&M's and learned how to say it in English.

The next week a second trip to the zoo for the remaining 28 boys was taken with the older boys and a few younger ones. The younger boys were quite scared of the larger monkeys. Upon entering the zoo some of the boys became very nervous as the guard told them they weren't allowed in the park until he saw that they had supervision and then they were allowed in. It is common thinking that t boys are trouble makers which results in very few privileges such as entering a "public" park. These visits may allow them to go without supervision as until now they have been banned from entering the zoo even if they can pay the entrance fee.

The t boys live such a hard life that it was neat to watch the boys' reactions to the different animals at the zoo and to see them having so much fun!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Living in Africa

One of our day to day tasks here are purchasing fruits and vegetables at the market. The first thing we have to do when we get them home is to soak them in a bleach/water solution for 20 minutes. This must be done to kill any germs or diseases that might be on them. Then we rinse them with filtered water and put them in the refrigerator. We also do this same process when purchasing eggs. If you don’t, when you crack the eggs, germs could get in whatever you are doing with your eggs.

Another thing we must do is when we buy flour, we have to put it in the freezer for a few days. This is so that any bugs that are in the flour will be killed.

Sometimes when I want to buy meat, I go down to the local meat shop pictured. You have to hope that the piece of meat you are buying hasn’t had too many flies on it! The meat hanging here is sheep that someone just brought into the shop to sell. They had it loaded in the back of an old station wagon and got it out and hung it up. I guess you would call that special delivery!

Just day to day food preparation takes a lot of time here. Everything must be made from scratch. Any convenience foods that might be available here are usually too expensive to consider buying.

We also need to filter all of our water. Even when brushing our teeth, we must use filtered water. A bucket water filter system like this one is the most common ways to filter water. However, this year the home we live in has 3 built-in water filters, so that is a real luxury.

Even though we must do a lot to just live day by day, we have a lot more than most Senegalese people have. We have so much to be thankful for; we have water that doesn’t have to be hauled, electricity, a stove and oven to cook on and so much more.

So, next time you get a glass of water to drink, or bake or cook something, just be thankful for the many small blessings you have, I know I am!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hi Everyone--
It's been quite a while since I've posted anything on my blog, so I thought I should get busy and put something on.

I left on December 9 to go to the States to spend Christmas with two of our kids and spouses and two of our grandchildren. Matt and Courtney live in Longmont with their two dogs. Sarah and her husband Jerome and two boys, Brandon and Dylan recently moved from Pennsylvania and are living in our home in Littleton. Brandon is in kindergarten this year and attends the same elementary school where our kids all attended. Dylan is attending pre-school at our home church where all of our kids also went. It was a lot of fun for me to walk Brandon to school a couple of days; it really brought back a lot of good memories of when our kids went there. (Matt & Courtney with Brandon & Dylan)

Because the cheapest fare I could get on a ticket was to fly before December 10, Jim couldn't go as he was still teaching school. I got back home to Africa two days after Christmas but it was still hard to be apart on Christmas Day. However, Jim was well taken care of by our missionary collegues who invited him to spend Christmas Day with their family.

When I left Africa it was 80 degrees and when I landed in Denver it was minus 10 degrees. Talk about a rude awakening! Needless to say, our son Matt met me at the airport with my coat so I wouldn't freeze.

Even though I was only in the US for 2.5 weeks, I did a lot and spent time with family and many friends and supporters. I flew to Phoenix to see my mom, Rita for a couple of days. My sister Rachel from Washington State was also visiting at the same time so we had a good time together.

(Rachel, Ramona & Mom)

After I got back to Africa, Jim and I went with a large group of friends for two days to a spit of land just off the coast and almost into Mauritania. After driving for about 5 hours, we took a boat over to this land that has a river on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other side. We stayed in a resort camp, ate our meals together and slept in a Mauritanian-type tent which was nice. We spent time just relaxing, getting to know people better and taking long walks on the beach. It was fun.

Now Jim is back teaching and I am busy again with all my ministry and work activities. I wish you all the best and God's blessings as you start the new year.
Aunt Ramona