Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Yesterday Mauye was here bright and early because he didn't have school, but I still had to go teach at Kingston so he just hung around most of the day and was waiting for me when I got back.  He said he had a surprise for me!  So when we got up to the classroom he made me close my eyes and led me in, right up to the marker board.  He had been hard at work while I was gone and apparently put lots of thought into this drawing for me.  So cute :) definitely was one of awww :) warm fuzzy moments teachers get from time to time! ;)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Report

Thanksgiving, especially here in Africa, requires hours, even days of preparation!  We cooked for hours in our room plus up in Sarah and Alyssa's room.  I will tell you though, the results were good!
This is the tofu that took about 6 hours on Tuesday... glad we got an early start!
A sweet potato that looked amazingly similar to a duck! (yes, these are sweet potatoes, not very sweet and not orange at all!)

Food EVERYWHERE!  Like I said, this meal took litterally days, tofu on Tuesday, sweet potato dish on Wednesday, and everything else on Thursday.  Did I mention we have NO counters, just our "desk" table.
Mary and her "home hat" :)
Our room was grand central station all day... there was hardly space to pass each other!
Two kids from church showed up to get in on the action and help out, Moye (in the green) is one of my kids that comes everyday for tutoring, but today he came for fun!  They helped us out and ground up some of our groundnuts for topping on the sweet potato dishes.
Gnochi :)
Veggies for stir-fry and fancy boiled eggs.... so much food filtered through our room and across this table, the order of events was literally a science!
When there's just no space left inside... you sit outside and clean, cut, and chop!
"Counter space" wasn't the only thing we were short on... dish, bowl, and buck space was in hot demand as well... so the potatoes had to wait in our water filtering pail.
Thanksgiving pumpkin pie!  Andrea tackled this and was greatly successful!
And after days and hours of prep!  Give thanks and dig in!! (this is only some of the food! the table had some too, and the DESERT was in the kitchen!).
Our Buea Family Thanksgiving 2011
(4 of our Cameroonian Friends had already left, but our group consisted of representatives of Cameroon, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, and of course, The United States!)

Yesterday us girls produced....Two large pans of stir fry with homemade tofu, four pans of sweet potato hot dish, two pans of apple crisp, gallons of gnochi, 60+ deviled eggs, and koki beans all with two burners on a gas stove... no, no oven!  God is so good! I have so much to be thankful for!  All my needs are supplied and provided for with great abundance!  Hope you all enjoyed a blessed Thanksgiving day!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving family, friends, and loved ones!  Wishing you a day filled with love and joy as you count your blessings and thank our heavenly Father for them!  God is so good and I continue to stand in awe!
I want to leave you with a thought to ponder, I don't claim this to be super profound or wise, just something I've been sorting out in my mind.  When I talk to people back home, my mother dear in specific, when we come blessings vs. needs there's often comments like, "oh I just feel so guilty."  But I would like to suggest that we should not feel guilty.  For example, feeling guilty for taking a warm shower does nothing for the temperature of the water in Africa, they key is to be thankful for what you have!  When there is something you can do to help others, do it, but when guilt creeps up, identify the blessing that is causing you that guilt and  then just thank the Lord for it!  People who have MUCH less than you can be MUCH happier than you if you're forgetting to thank God for everything.  Remember, it's really not about what we have, it's who we have!

  1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
    When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
    Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
    And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your blessings, see what God hath done!

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?

Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?

Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,

And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,

Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;

Count your many blessings—wealth can never buy

Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,

Do not be discouraged, God is over all;

Count your many blessings, angels will attend,

Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your blessings, see what God hath done!

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

God is SO GOOD! I am blessed beyond comprehension, and I am eternally thankful for each and every one of you!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Random and Thanksgiving Prep!

 First of all, let me just make it very clear that if I haven't already mentioned or let you realize, I want to say that I really appreciate the wonderful produce and fresh food options here in Buea.  The home-grown goods are definitely a big item on my thankful list!  I walked a little ways out of of my way today on the way home from school to swing past a tomato farm, my favorite place for wonderful, beautiful tomatoes and purchased a bowl full! When I got back I counted them because I was curios... 48 red beauties! (only some are in this picture).  Getting lots of tomatoes for cooking always seems like a splurge to me, but I like my little tomato farmer ladies and the price doesn't seem too bad.

So, before I tell you how much it cost me in francs, I want you each to tell me what you'd pay/expect to pay at your local grocery store for 48 of these!?

 Today's project was TOFU! :)  I've been looking forward to tackling this task for the special occasion of Thanksgiving! :)  It was a long process so we were in the thick of it when the boys came for tutoring... so they got in on the fun!  This is a shot of the pressing stage, trying to make it nice and firm!
 This is what 10 cups of soaked and ground soy beans plus 10 liters of water looks like!  Waiting to be strained, drained, cooked, pressed and prepared!  Since we know we're going to have kettles on every burner come Thursday, I wanted to get this project covered early.
 Last night I said goodbye to my braids and with some help removed them one by one over a 3 hour hair party!  It was quite amazing to see how much mesh came out of my hair and how my hair responded to being in braids for 3 1/2 weeks!
Yesterday at school they had a "program" basically, a talent show for the kids, it was incredible!!  The things those kids performed was just unbelievable!  Dances like you've (and I've) never seen!  This stage just appeared too!  and it is NOT portable, it was hefty duty wood, looks like it was built right there and will be taken apart right there!  It was a BIG DEAL! I had no idea this was going to be happening, but that's how everything is here.  I tried to find out today if/when my school has Christmas break, the teachers I asked (when they figured out what I was asking) said oh yes, we have one... when I asked when, they had no clue, the 14th? 15th? maybe 16th, no idea... So I suppose I'll find out the day before when they tell me there's no school tomorrow, or maybe when I get there and there is no school haha!  The program was being taped by CRTV, a television station from Yaounde, this is the most (or only) technology and equipment I've seen for 2 months! Wowzers!

I didn't have my camera or anything with me!!  I tried to ask around and find out how long the show would last, but couldn't get a straight answer or really fully understand anyone I asked, so I finally decided to try to get my camera and a couple of the girls to see this!!  But when we got back to school the show was over and  they were just getting one last shot of the two student representatives who served as MCs.  But just take my word for it, it was QUITE the show!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


The very first weekend I was here in Buea there was a special youth service at church and my heart just melted when I saw the kids and the Pathfinder club here in Cameroon, so similar to ours, so very far from home!  I set to getting my Pathfinder uniform sent ASAP, but (if you remember) we had no internet at all for the first two weeks so it was a process to figure it out... but I got word to mom who made the arrangements...
I was beginning to wonder and worry if my uniform was lost somewhere between here and there.. :( but then it arrived JUST in time! :)  (God's timing is always perfect!)  This week was Adventurer Sabbath at church and Mary and I were asked last week to teach the children's lesson.  The mission this quarter is the NAD, so we got to tell them about home!  It was SO much fun and scratched a major itch of mine to work with the kids and be involved with the Pathfinders!

I marched in with the pathfinders and the Adventurers, (12 and under) had the sermon.
A few of us :) the little girl in the corner is a twin :) so cute!! Not sure where the other one was :P
"The Gang"  This is my "family" away from family that lives at my "home" away from home! (SMs: Sarah, Me, Mary, and Alyssa, Doctor Trixy and Bill).
This is what African potluck looks like, just outside the church :)  We brought a rice, carrot, and green pepper concoction, it felt so good to belong, be part, and contribute!  We even got multiple compliments on our dish! :)

After you eat you clean the dishes right?  Well, this is just a small example of what I mean when I say everything is just different here.  We set all the dishes down in the dirt, got two buckets of water, one with laundry detergent in it, the other for rinsing... and got it done!

On the way back from church we practiced our African skills, I must say, I'm pretty good ;)  I walked most of the way home with our pot on my head and didn't even need my hands!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Moto Ride

Riding a "moto" has been on my 'to do' list since I arrived in Cameroon nearly 2 months ago!  Since motos are not allowed to be taxis within city limits I hadn't had the opportunity, till now.  Today my wish was granted when a moto driver offered to take Nate and I out to the deaf school (for a price).  When the three of us were bouncing up the rough road that a 4-wheeled vehicle could never manage, Nate commented about the uniqueness of the crowded, bumpy ride.  I had to smile, I have 4 siblings, a dirt-bike, and section lines at home... this ride felt more like a sweet taste of home than an unusual foreign adventure.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hugs from the mailbox!!

A little edit/addition to this post...
Dear Family,
Be watching for this "hug" to show up in your mailbox sometime in the next few weeks... I really hope it gets where it's going because the seemingly confused post office worker placed all 5 stamps on top of each other, the return address, and yet not one of them was fully on the envelope!!  I tried to fold them over and attempted to make them stick as much as possible... but there was only so much I could do... so I'm just hoping and praying this little letter finds it's way to you! <3
Our mail is "external" :) dropping it in there was so scary!

This afternoon Sarah, one of the other SMs, asked me if I would come up to the post office with her to mail a letter.  I had no reason to go to the post office but I did anyways.   And what to my great surprise did I find!?!  A PACKAGE for ME!! :D  I was thrilled to find my Pathfinder uniform, just on time for Adventurer Sabbath this weekend... which was packed full of goodies and treats from home! :) priceless!! Also!  My t-shirt from Union with notes and signatures from friends back at school!! Mary's came about 2 weeks ago and I was really hoping and praying that mine wasn't lost forever!  the whole package sure put a bright spot in my day!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

After 18 days....

...The braids are still in!  Today I straightened mine (with boiling water), it's a whole new look, and feel!  Originally my goal was December 1, now I'm thinking I'd like to have my own hair back for Thanksgiving.  So, I"m aiming for another week(ish) :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Random Pictures, Countless Stories...

It’s been 50 days since I said good-bye to family and friends and left my comfortable, familiar surroundings. 
50 days in the scheme of things is no time at all; it’s not enough time to learn a new language, understand a different culture, or reverse lifelong habits.  However, 50 days is more than enough time for the “little things” in life to trade places with what used to be the “big things.”  It’s plenty of time to start counting your blessings, and  forever change how you see the world!

Here's a little collection of random pictures from the past 50 days that contain countless stories...
There's a little place down the street that makes "spagettii omelets," one day while enjoying spagetii and beans there I asked the rhetorical question, "I wonder where they wash their dishes?" and almost simultaneously noticed the buckets on the floor where our plates were being washed. 
When we were in Douala with pastor Rich we saw a lady gut a fish and wash it in a bucket of water, then watched a boy run up to the same bucket of water and wash a plate.

This little boy was just sitting in the middle of bustling "Clark's Quarters" a little neighborhood center for vendors, a few of our favorites are a bakery, bread shop, and a little store in an old, blue shipping container.
The kids here are so independant and things that would make me cringe don't even concern the parents in the least.  Last time I was at the blue container store a little toddler stumbled by down the broken sidewalk, no parents in sight... not a big deal, just another little thing I'm not used to.

This is a prime example of the little street vendor shops.  For sale here we have fresh sugar cane;  The empty shelves you see on the far side of the chair are usually stocked with bananas, plantains, oranges, tomatoes, or pears (avocados).  You're never more than a few steps from one of these little stands, if you want bananas and they are "finished" at this one, just walk a few yards to the next one.

 This little girl just tears my heart up.  She's the daughter of the lady who braided my hair.  She laid on the floor the entire day, never stood or used her legs for anything.  her limbs, feet and hands are so tiny and underdeveloped that they are of no use.  Trixy said it's a combination of Cerebral Palsy and a malnutritioned diet.  Plus the poor thing had a cold on top of that.  Her siblings and other kids played circles around her and us all day.  When it was time to eat the oldest "scrubbed" the floor, and sat them all down in a circle around a little pot of food, and fed them one bite at a time with the same spoon.

This is the local car wash! It's so pretty and amazing!  You can barely see it, but way on the right side you can see that it's a small waterfall-like stream coming down off the mountain, they drive they vehicles right down into the water and wash away!
It was hard to get a picture, had to do it when we were driving by slowly, and even then they started yelling at us for taking a picture... but this gives you a little peek.

What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all.  11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for it's own time.  he has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people coannot see the whole scope of God's work from begining to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:9-11
Over the last 50 days I have almost worn out words like "WOW," "incredible," "amazing," "unbelievable," "awesome," "indescribable," and "crazy."  I can't have a conversation with my family and friends without saying, "I can't even tell you how much...," "I can't explain...," "I wish I could tell you how..."
Words cannot describe the things I am learning and experiencing here!  Try as I may there's no way for me to convey what I see, hear, smell, taste, and feel as I go through each day.  I often just stop and wish with all my heart that you could trade places with me for just 10 seconds and experience what I am living!

I've become overwhelmed with questions... I feel like my head is constantly swimming.  Striving to understand what is being said around me, remembering and processing cultural lessons I'm trying to learn.  And forever struggling with questions like how can I make a difference, what should I be doing, where do I start??  (I could go on and on, but "I can't even describe to you" haha).

Search me O God and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts Psalm 139:23

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Douala Weekend with Pastor Rich!

The last weekend of October we got to spend the weekend in Douala thanks to pastor Rich from Union College and some very gerous (unnamed) former student missionaries who show their support of and appreciation for SM each year by sending pastor Rich to visit and treat as many of us as he can.  I never knew how much this could mean to an SM until it was me!!  It was so great to see pastor Rich and the whole weekend was the very boost I needed!  I hadn't posted about it until now because pastor Rich was the one who took most of the pictures and I just got them from him!
 The beautiful ocean in Douala, he said if we were homesick enough we could start swimming!
 Gorgeous tree at the edge of the ocean
 A whale vertebra
 "My" hair! this was the day after I got it done, I've had it for 2 weeks now, it's not going to last 'till December 1st like I had originally set my goal for.... but I'm gonna give it another week or so... it's been so amazing to have thick, curly hair with no effort at all every morning!
 Sabbath in Douala, Unionites, and three Dakota kids at that!
 Christmas in October!!  PR brought us TWO suitcases of things from home, family and friends!!  They were filled with most exciting surprizes!!  We just couldn't even contain ourselves!  I don't think I stopped smiling all night!
Just seeing the Union College logo on his shirt when we first met up with him made my heart skip a beat!  The first familier thing in over a month!  It was a WONDERFUL weekend!