Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Beginnings

4th of July Fun

Ben and the Cocoa Tree

My Market Friends

Riding on the Airplane

Ben's Class

Karis' Class

Ben is Jammin' with the Band
New Friends
So, I've clearly been absent for some time.  This is partly due to the arrival of a new family in our city.  We've been helping to orient a new family to the field that will be spending their first 1 1/2 years here with us learning French, West African culture and a little about urban work.  We also spent a couple of weeks in Burkina Faso at a retreat/planning meetings for our area.  It was very nice to see old friends, including some from Parkwood in Gastonia, and meet new friends.  We love these times to get to see colleagues that live far away, but are dear to our hearts.  It was wonderful to sing and hear scripture in English as that is another rare treat.  Another fun thing was getting to see many women from all over west Africa than had gathered for a bi-annual meeting.  We dropped by whenever we had free time to visit with the ladies and encourage them. 

I got a good trip down memory lane of what it is like to not speak the language well.  The local language that I have learned here is the unofficial language of choice in the part of Burkina we were in.  French usually works, but most prefer Moore.  I was able to study Moore a few years ago, but only get to practice occasionally since my best Moore speaking friend moved away.  Even when I do use it, it is mostly for small talk and telling a few simple Bible stories.  We like to share things when we get together for our meetings and this time one of the things the gang was sharing was a nasty flu like virus.  Mike woke up one morning feeling lousy and asked me to run out get him some medicine.  Unfortunately it was Sunday morning and we don't have Wal-Mart supercenters.  All over the counter medicines, including cold and pain relievers, must be purchased at the pharmacy.  In some areas, there are specific pharmacies that are always open, in others they take turns and leave a list of who is open for specific dates.  Since we flew to Burkina, we didn't have a car to drive and I wanted to avoid needless walking around, so I asked the guard for the mission where I might find a pharmacy that was open.  He knew I spoke some Moore and so he changed the conversation into Moore.  Well, I don't know and/or remember direction words, so I was in a mess.  I repeated what I thought he told me, which was basically to just walk straight down the street in front of us about 3 blocks.  I thought at one time he said to turn right at the end of the street, but he wouldn't verify that, so I wasn't sure.  I set off wandering around the city on foot.  I managed to walk a couple of miles.  Within 5 or 6 blocks, I'd scrapped his directions and was looking for a pharmacy I had been to before.  I kept looking for someone else to ask, but we were in a mostly business section of the city and not too many people were out on a Sunday before 8AM.  When I finally found the thing, it was CLOSED!  I half heartedly checked the posted list of who was open, knowing that I didn't have a car and I don't know the city.  I called the guard over to ask him if any of them were close, but he ONLY spoke Moore and I'd already decided I was done with that!  All of a sudden a pharmacy name jumped out at me.  It had the name of a hotel just 1 block away from where we were staying.  YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!  Why, you might ask, didn't I go there first?  Because I asked and "got directions/instructions".  After 1 hour and 15 minutes of solid, fast walking except for my two brief stops, I arrived back home with the medicine from one block away!

We've got some busy weeks ahead, but I'll try to keep up better with our news.
With love,