Sorry it has been so long since we posted an update. We have been so busy that we honestly just haven’t had any time. It’s definitely not for lack of bloggable moments! We have also been mostly without generator power since our last post (it keeps breaking), so it has been hard to work on our computers with limited ability to charge them… and then last week our internet was down for 5 days! That being said, here is our next blog…
On July 6th, we decided to write down all of the events that happened through out the day to give you an idea of what goes on during a typical day – if there is such a thing.
July 6, 2009 (Monday)
2:00 am – There have been three mice that have kept us up consistently each night. Shane tore apart our bedroom a couple of days ago until he was able to spear one of the mice. (Couldn’t find a broom!) The other two proved elusive until now when we heard one of the mouse traps snap. There was a mouse in it flailing all around. Shane was shining the flashlight on it so we could pick the trap up and throw it outside to deal with in the morning. Suddenly, the mouse yanked his head out of the trap and jumped up on all fours looking right at Shane. Shane screamed like a girl – we were dying laughing!
6:15 am – Moses woke us up. Shane got up with him and checked the other mouse traps. The third mouse was in the trap – victory!
7:04 am – Shane got his crossbow and shot one of the big baboons outside our house. (For those of you that are new to our blog, the baboons here are very dangerous and hungry due to the famine – we shoot them for protection.)
7:10 am – Merga, one of the guards, brought the arrow back to Shane after the baboon pulled it out of his body, dropped in on the ground, and ran off – these guys are monsters!
7:15 am – Woke up the girls for school.
7:45 am – Guards showed up at our house wanting a wage advance.
7:55 am – Due to clouds the solar water pumps aren’t pumping water. Shane starts back up generator to pump water for the camp.
8:00 am – Kids headed to school, Allyson went to do radio (short wave radio between all the remote mission stations throughout Ethiopia) and then headed to the clinic.
8:05 am – Shane met with manager of the guards to go over guard schedule for the next month and to pay the part-time guards. Also, Urban Ministries (local NGO), left camp after breakfast and the second week of Sport Friends camp started today around lunchtime. Worked to make sure cabins were set up and kitchen had everything they needed for meals for the week. Also started working on invoices for the guests.
8:50 am – Shane helped Urban Ministries team transport their supplies to the bridge. (Large groups can’t load up their bags, people, etc. until they first cross through the container bridge. The busses can’t fit through the container.)
9:35 am – Shane shot the second baboon of the day.
9:45 am – Shane reviewed menu and work requirements with kitchen staff… with lots of pantomime.
10:00 am – Shane left with carload of Ethiopians to go to Arsi Negelle (45 minutes away) for kitchen supplies. This was the third trip in four days. Trying to get the kitchen staff to plan beyond the next meal has been difficult to say the least. Tried to coordinate trip with Allyson who needed to go to the health office to take paperwork to the government, but had to leave since she was tied up at the clinic with an emergency.
10:45 am – Shane arrived in Arsi Negelle. Dropped Tenishu (guard) at the main road and told him we would pick him up later. Dropped Deeta, Mulatu and Yeshi and rest of the Ethiopians at the market while Shane tried to find gas for the truck. He needed fuel in order to make it to Addis the next day. After driving to the next town (additional 20 minutes) and checking at four gas stations he finally found fuel.
10:45 am – Allyson left for Arsi Negelle with government paperwork, an emergency patient that needed to go to the hospital, Usman (clinic gardener), and the rest of the car full of random people who needed a ride.
11:35 am – Shane drove back to Arsi Negelle after getting gas. He went to the market to pick up the rest of the gang, but they hadn’t finished shopping. It took another 30 minutes to finish buying vegetables.
12:00 pm – Kids out of school.
12:10 pm – Shane stopped at multiple “sooks” (roadside shops) trying to find toilet paper for the camp. Finally found one that has it. Shane saw Allyson and Usman and had a quick visit before heading back to Langano.
12:55 pm – Shane arrived back at Langano. Realized he forgot Tenishu in Arsi Negelle.
1:00 pm – Cow was delivered to be slaughtered. Shane paid for the cow and the workers slaughtered it. Both meat grinders broke and eventually the beef went bad before we could get new grinders from Addis (4 hours away). Argh. Back to square one.
1:15 pm – Guy who brings fish for camp showed up. Shane paid him for the 120 fish he delivered for dinner.
1:35 pm – Shane shot third baboon of the day.
1:45 pm – 40 kids and their leaders arrived for camp.
2:30 pm – Allyson arrived back at Langano dead tired and realized the kids hadn’t had lunch yet. Lunch from scratch…
3:00 pm – Allyson noticed that Deeta, our house helper, was just about to use the dish sponge to clean the toilet!!!!!! After barfing, Allyson stopped everything to TEACH hygiene yet again.
3:15 pm – Allyson went back to the clinic. No need to detail that craziness here!
4:00 pm – Hannah informed us that Deeta was “mopping” the kitchen by dipping the broom in water. Then when she showed him the mop and told him to use the mop, he explained to her that the mop is used to dry the floor. What were we thinking all these years? 🙂
4:10 pm – Guard showed up at the door asking Shane for wage advance.
4:15 pm – Shane started working on cash report for June. Computer ran out of battery.
5:15 pm – Allyson returned home from the clinic.
7:00 pm – Dinner with all of the campers. There wasn’t enough food for us, so we went back to our house to figure out dinner plans… in the dark.
8:00 pm – Back to the dining hall for meeting with campers / skits / introductions.
8:45 pm – Bathed our dirty selves in our chilly shower / family time / put kids to bed.
9:30 pm – Guard knocked on the door to let Allyson know there was an emergency at the clinic… Allyson headed out the door.
10:00 pm – Shane packed and put shopping list together for Addis. Plan was to leave the next morning.
10:15 pm – Allyson back from the clinic after taking care of yet another malaria patient.
10:30 pm – Fell into bed, gave thanks to God that there were no mice in the house and went to sleep.
We had a wonderful visit from the Kennedy’s, friends of ours from home. It was so refreshing to be able to spend time with old friends, share our life here with them, and laugh a lot. All of the kids had an absolute blast together. We’ll include some pics from their visit:
Sports Friends camps are in full swing. Life is never dull around here. We have about 100 new people here each week including leaders, campers, and American short term teams. Shane is working from morning till night with everything he has to juggle. The thing that makes it so difficult is the lack of electricity. Everything just takes so much longer. Here is a small example: Shane is responsible to print up invoices for the groups each week. First, his computer has to have enough juice for Shane to even work on it. Assuming the computer has enough battery power, he has to type up the invoices, then go to the camp office and disconnect the printer, carry the computer to our house, plug it all in, go to our backyard to start our generator, print the invoices, turn off the generator, unplug the printer and then return it to the office. Imagine that kind of frustration with task after task. Then, couple that with the language and cultural differences, and it makes for some very tiring days!
That being said, we are loving having the camps here. It’s been so awesome to see these kids have their first camp experience. When they first get here on Monday they are so quiet – dinner is almost silent. Then by the last night, they are louder than ever and having the time of their lives. Some of them travel 3 days to get here. On Thursday night of each week we have a feast for the campers and we put together a slide show and project it onto the wall. The kids go crazy when they see their pictures.
It was also great to be able to spend some concentrated time with Brian and Tripp, the founders of Sports Friends. We really enjoyed getting to know them and their families better. It was also good for Shane to be able to discuss his role here at Langano and do some long term ministry planning with them.
Hannah, Mia and Mo are still in school since they got off to such a late start this year. They do schoolwork with Mary from 8-12 and then in the afternoons they are free to join in with the camp activities. It has been a blast for them.
Mary has been the biggest blessing for our family. She works so hard to give the kids the best education possible and has also become a close friend to all of us. We know we couldn’t be living way out here in the bush if it weren’t for Mary being willing to come school our kids. Thank you, Mary! (Not like she can even read this blog with our crazy internet out here! 🙂
We have all enjoyed having visitors here at camp for the summer. It’s nice to have some company out here in the middle of nowhere! We are grateful for all of the great role models our kids have been able to spend time with. It has also been a blessing to get to see our children mature in their faith this summer…
Many of you have asked about the status on some of the prayer requests we sent out last month…
1. We hired a new camp cook, Yeshi, who started work the day camps started! She actually rode down with the first group. Poor thing – it was quite a fast start to a really overwhelming job. Yeshi has caught on really fast and she is a great fit for the team here. We are really enjoying getting to know her and we are so GRATEFUL for all of her hard work! We would be in serious trouble if she wasn’t here. Yeshi has a great sense of humor, so you can imagine all the antics that Shane throws into the mix! They are always cracking each other up even though they barely understand each other half the time. 🙂
2. There is a famine here due to the lack of rain. We have had some rain, but it came a month late and the local people had already planted their seed in anticipation of the June rains. Due to no rain, the seeds dried up and now that some rains are coming, the seeds are useless. People don’t have enough money to go out and buy new seed, so now there is a big problem in this area. It’s really humbling to realize that subsistence farmers literally live one season away from starvation. Here at the camp and the clinic we have received many, many requests for help and lots of job applications. The government has set up feeding centers and SIM is meeting with the government to come alongside them to provide seed for the locals to replant. For some crops it is already too late to plant, but there are some crops that they can re-plant. On the right are pictures of the fields. By this time, they should be full of maize that is at least 6 feet tall. They are completely empty.
3. Shane’s physical and labwork came back fine. He weighs 23 pounds less than when we left, but other than that, everything is fine. Praise God! We were a little worried since his weight has never fluctuated before.
4. With the baboons being so dangerous right now, and with this being a busy work time for both of us, we were having to try to keep Moses inside in the afternoons and it was killing him! Shane had the idea of hiring someone to watch over him in the afternoons so he could still play outside when we didn’t have our eyes on him. It turned out to be a great idea! We hired a local boy, Negash, the son of one of our clinic translators. He just completed 8th grade. All of the Ethiopians here call him Moses’ “zubunya”, which basically means his “bodyguard”. We laugh that he is the youngest kid to have a bodyguard. He is going to grow up thinking he is hot stuff!
5. The new camp manager that we were hoping would move here didn’t end up coming. There is still a chance that he will come, and we are really hoping he does since everyone keeps telling us how wonderful he is! Once we get a camp manager it will free Shane up to do more of the business development end of things and he can turn over the management of the kitchen and the guards. Having an Ethiopian as the camp manager is really critical to us being able to understand the culture. Right now Shane is doing the best job he can given the fact that he has limited language and limited understanding of the culture… but we are trying! Please keep praying that we can find a strong, godly Ethiopian manager to come join our team at Langano.
Photos of the drive into Langano…
Language learning has been a challenge, but a challenge that comes with a lot of laughs. This week Shane was trying to talk with Yeshi, the new camp cook. She had come over to our house to talk to him about something. After lots of charades and clarification back and forth, Shane’s takeaway was that “Yeshi wanted to make breakfast for Deeta (our house helper) tomorrow with our eggs.” Then Yeshi motioned for him to follow her to the camp kitchen. He got there and she pointed to the butagas tank that powers the stove – the tank was out of gas and she needed Shane to get more! Wow – things can really get twisted in the process of communicating! We were all laughing so hard.
Another funny language moment was in church last week when Laura, our teammate, pointed out that the literal translation of one of the songs we sing is, “Jesus, you painted me with your butter.” The Oromo people put spiced butter in their hair on special occasions and then the butter melts and drips down their heads. It’s their way of “annointing”.
In the clinic Allyson heard a nurse asking a patient, “Chitalu?”, while looking at a gross leg wound. “Chitalu” happens to be Moses’ middle name (his last name in Zambia), so she was curious about the meaning of the word. Apparently it means foul odor. So, now the girls have been calling Moses “odor”. Poor thing!
We had an exciting morning last weekend. After Shane spent the whole night barfing, we woke up to a knock on our door at 6:30. The night guard, Genamo, was at our door announcing that he had just speared a warthog and needed us to take the car to go get it. The kids were out of bed in no time! Allyson loaded everyone up and drove off through the rain to go pick up the prize. We hired a few guys to butcher it and ended up with a ton of meat for the camp.
Here are some recent photos of our house and life around Langano…
Moses has a new obsession with masks. Every day he makes a new one – hippo, warthog, motorcycle man, baboon, etc. He even made a mask for Negash! He makes these masks and then just duct tapes them directly to his face.
Some interesting clinic sidenotes…
-There is a rabies outbreak in the Langano area and Allyson had a rabid woman come into the clinic last week. It was pretty sobering to look at this woman and tell her she had less than a week to live and to know that if she had come in to get rabies shots right away, she may have lived. She died 2 days later. We also killed a rabid dog by our house last week. It had bitten 3 other dogs before the guard killed it.
*Last blog our comment section was messed up, and we had offered for you to ask questions that we would answer in our next blog. So, try again this month and we will answer your questions next month!
-Allyson (and Laura) delivered a baby last week after the woman had pushed for over 10 hours! She came into the clinic in labor at 8 pm and after pushing a couple of hours, Allyson realized nothing was happening fast. Since we can’t leave for the hospital at night (you saw the photo above of the roads…), Allyson went to bed at around 11 pm and just prayed that the woman and baby would live through the night. The plan was to transport her to the hospital the next day. At 6 am there was a knock at the door from the clinic guard saying that the patient needed Allyson and Laura to come back. When they got there, they checked and the baby still had a heartbeat. The patient had made a little progress after pushing the entire night, so with a little extra “help”, the poor patient FINALLY delivered a healthy baby girl!
-When the Kennedy’s were here, Bryan and Shane drove a 16 year old girl with tetanus to the hospital. She ended up dying that evening.
-Allyson had a patient in early labor most of the day one day. At the end of the day she checked the patient before she went back to the house to cook dinner. The patient had a prolapsed cord! (big emergency). It was dusk, so technically we are not supposed to drive a patient to the hospital, but Mary offered to drive with Abera, another one of our nurses. We were pretty sure the baby wouldn’t live, but we found out a few weeks later that it did. Total miracle! But then a few days later the mother came in to get her stitches taken out from her c-section and Allyson asked to see her baby. The baby looked horrible! The mother hadn’t realized how sick he was, especially since it was her first baby. Allyson admitted the baby right away, finished some things up in the clinic, and then went back to check on the baby a few hours later… and he had died! We seriously couldn’t believe it. How in the world did this baby survive a prolapsed cord only to die 2 weeks later from something else??
We made a video for family camp skit night. Here is a link to the video on YouTube… enjoy! This picture is your sneak preview…