We were so excited to have our first visitors, John and Rebecca Thibaudeau (from our home church, The Village Church). What a blessing it was to have them and to get to share our new life with them. They came simply to encourage us – and it worked! It was so wonderful to have company and to hear news from home. What troopers to come such a long way for such a quick visit – they even packed all of their own stuff in their carry-ons and used the rest of their alloted baggage to bring us all kinds of goodies from everyone back home! (Thank you to all of you who contributed!!) They jumped right in and helped with many different things. We worked on laying the floor for our veranda, John played handyman around camp, Rebecca helped at the clinic, you name it, they were game to jump in and do it! The timing of their trip was perfect. We were literally exhausted when they got to Langano. It had been 6 weeks of nonstop stress and we had one week left before we headed up to Addis for language school. There was so much to get done in that last week and we seriously never could have done it without them. John and Rebecca, thank you so much for following the Lord’s leading in coming to visit us. You will never know the full impact you have had on us!

Rebecca even helped do the dishes… my most “unfavorite” part of bush life (besides cold showers!).

Injera – this is a spongy kind of tortilla-like-thing that is really sour like sourdough bread. You unroll in onto your plate and then lay your “wat” on it. Then you break pieces of the injera off and use it to pick up bites of your meal. No silverware! And no napkins. Is that kid heaven or what??

Doro wat -the feast meal here in Ethiopia. “Wat” literally means spicy stew and doro means chicken. There are all different kinds of wat. This photo is of doro wat – it consists of chicken (bones and all), eggs, onions, oil, and beri-beri which is a super-spicy Ethiopian seasoning. Of all the Ethiopian food, this is our favorite, but honestly, Chick-Fil-A is sounding awfully good right now.

You’ll have to ask John and Rebecca how they liked doro weut…

Here is the gang laying the tile on our veranda – it’s basically just cement tile laid over a base of sand. The bottom picture is the view of the back of our house, where the veranda is. The veranda will be our living room and dining room. It will be enclosed by screens. We have calculated that our house is about 550 square feet! Tight, but cozy. The kids’ bedroom is 6×12 feet! All three of them will be squeezed in there. We are trying to figure out a way to build a loft or something to make a little more space in their room. Once we move in we’ll take some pictures and give you a tour of our place. Hopefully our house will be ready enough to move into by the time we are finished with language school. There is still a ton of work to be done, but there is a construction team coming out next week that is going to work on it.

Playing Phase 10

John and Moses on the 4-wheeler that John fixed. John quickly became Moses’ hero!

A few days before John and Rebecca were to leave we started to get worried. We were almost out of diesel in the clinic car and were completely out of diesel for the generator at the camp. We had tried to get diesel a few times, but all of the gas stations in the surrounding areas were completely out. After clinic runs to the hospital and a lixo, we were in trouble. We needed fuel to get John and Rebecca back to the airport in Addis. Shane and John left to get fuel three days before the Thibaudeaus were supposed to leave. They drove to Arsi (45 min) where the gas station was closed, but were told that there was fuel in Sheshamani (60 min), so they drove there only to find out those gas stations were also out of fuel. They were then told that there was gas in Awasa (60 more minutes)… so they drove to Awasa. Just as they arrived in Awasa, the gas station ran out of diesel! They drove back to Langano and we started to wonder how things were going to work out. The car had enough fuel to make one more attempt, but would not make it back to Langano without getting gas. They waited until the day before the Thibaudeaus left to try again. John and Shane drove to Arsi and the gas station was still closed! By the time they arrived in Sheshemani both tanks were on empty. They pulled into the gas station just as a fuel truck pulled in. They were about the fifth car in line and were excited about the timing of everything. Within minutes cars were lined up for a mile in each direction and the cars in front of the pump were nose to nose. Shane commented to John that he hoped they were facing the right direction. In the meantime the fuel tanker began pumping the gas into the tanks. The station would not start pumping gas until the truck was empty – this took 2 1/2 hours!! Once the truck was empty, the police arrived to make sure there wasn’t a riot and to organize the cars. They told Shane to go to the back of the other line! Shane began to argue with the official that he was there when the truck first arrived and that if he went to the back of the other line he would not have enough gas to make it back to the gas station. Their conversation was a little heated and the official told Shane, “You can either argue with me and go the end of the line or you can beg and I will put you at the front.” Shane begged. As soon as he backed up to the pump, the owner of the gas station announced he was shutting down the gas station because he was scared of a riot. Shane, John and Moses waited for another hour until more officials showed up. Finally, Shane found a policeman who spoke English and explained to him that the car was a clinic vehicle for Langano and operates as an ambulance. The policeman explained to the gas station manager that Shane needed to get fuel, but the manager wouldn’t budge. Finally, a very high official from Sheshemani (we are guessing that it was the mayor) showed up and took control. Shane again explained that they needed fuel for a clinic vehicle and the manager of the gas station was told to start pumping fuel for the clinic car immediately. After 5 hours, they returned with fuel and we were able to make it to Addis for the Thibaudeaus to catch their plane! It was a close one!

Shane and John heading off on their diesel adventure…

Typical road obstacles along the journey…

Just before the Thibaudeau’s arrived, Hannah came down with malaria. Poor thing, she was so sick and just when we would think she was better it would hit all over again. Then the night before they left, Allyson got malaria! We spent much of our first week up here in Addis trying to nurse everyone back to health. The first bout of malaria is supposed to be the worst, so we are hoping with all our hearts that it won’t be that bad again. It was pretty brutal all the way around and it took a long time to fully recover. Thankfully, we have a great place to stay in Addis complete with a flushing toilet and a hot shower! It has been a blessing to be up in Addis staying where we are. The people here are great and it’s been a welcome little breather from life in the bush. We’ll try to post another blog entry in a week or so. We’ll take you on a little tour of our typical “route” each day…

For those of you who have been asking about Genale (the sick baby at Manna Abdii), she is doing a little better but not great. We are pretty sure she has tuberculosis and she continues to struggle to put on weight. Hopefully Genale can get tested soon – we need her father to take her for testing. On a very sad note, we lost a different baby at Manna Abdii named Jamal. He was with us for a little over 3 weeks. When we delivered his body to his father (who is also very sick), the father just dropped his face into his hands and sobbed. Many of these Oromo people truly struggle to live and experience the death of loved ones constantly. It just breaks our hearts to see a father bringing in his newborn baby into Manna Abdii shortly after his wife has died. It is such a somber occasion. What an opportunity we have to minister to these families in their time of such profound loss.

Challa with his mother (Tayiba)

There is a lady named Tayiba that comes to the clinic who we absolutely love. Her son, Challa who is 3 years old, has spinal TB and she has to walk two hours each day to the clinic for Challa to get treatment. Tayiba’s husband recently died of malaria and she has no job. Most of the Ethiopians we work with are very resilient and very few seem overwhelmed by their circumstances, but when she starts talking about her situation, she breaks down in tears. The TB is deforming Challa’s spine and she is in a state of complete despair with the loss of her husband, and now the prospect of losing her son. When we were leaving Langano to head to Addis for language school, we stopped by the Rodgers’ house to pay them some money we owed them. It happened to be the last of the cash we had on us and we were going to get more when we were in Addis. Mike would not take the money, so we went ahead and left Langano driving down the bumpy, dirt road. A few minutes outside of camp we saw Challa and his mom. They had just left the clinic after Challa’s treatment. We stopped the car and talked to them for a few minutes and we were able to hand them some of the money we had left. (Usually we are not able to do this since there are other patients around.) Tayiba initially would not take the money, but when we insisted, she broke down and started sobbing and was having to lean on the car to hold herself up. Our hearts just break for her. We desperately want to show her that God cares for her and Challa and that she can have hope again. It’s hard to imagine the feeling of desperation this mother must have. Since we see her every day for Challa’s treatment we have really been able to develop a bond with her. God brought this family into our lives for a reason and we are looking forward to continuing our relationship with them once we get back to Langano. Please pray for Tayiba and Challa!

One last bit of big news… the guards killed one of the baboons in front of our house at Langano today! The baboon was next to the house and one of the guards threw a stick at it to scare it away. It charged at him and he speared it! Finally! Maybe now they will fear us. Below is a photo the Rodgers sent us to let us know the big news. By the way, this is one of the medium sized ones. The “Big Daddy Baboons” (as Moses would say) are still lurking out there somewhere…

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