Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Erickson Visit

 On Monday night Mary's mother and sister flew into Douala for a visit to see our little home in Africa!  Another volunteer came in on the same flight so we knew there would be limited room in the vehicle on the way back.  I wanted to be there to welcome our visitors at the airport so Sarah and I went along intending to take public transport back... it was late and the taxi drivers at the air port were all trying for outrageous prices, litterally 10X more than a fair price, we held our ground and waited.  We only needed to get from the airport to a place in town where cars go to Buea.  When one taxi that we were going to take filled up the driver motioned for us to come, I told him that it was too full and we wouldn't fit (taxis are always too full, but there were already 7 people in the tiny little car).  They insisted we come and I joked with them, telling them in French that I was fat and we were too big to squeeze in... then they opened up the back hatch and said c'mon!  Jump in!  Sarah and I looked at each other and said "why not!?" so we hopped in the trunk and got our ride for the original price we wanted!  They took us from the air port to the place to find a car to Buea and after "discussing" with about 10 guys that wanted us to ride in their taxi we got a ride home.  The total trip for both of us from the air port to Buea cost less than the airport taxis wanted to take one person into town!
This picture was taken in our trunk ride, it's not a very good picture, but it's a crazy amazing memory!  It was pretty incredible to witness African driving, in the dark, from the back of a car, with cars and mottos on your tail and shining their lights very brightly!  We must have been quite the sight because we sure seemed to entertain all the drivers that passed us, even had about 15 mottos following us, laughing, taking pictures, and videoing the event.  At first I thought the pictures and video was kinda weird, but then I thought of all the things and people I take pictures of, and decided it was ok!
Tuesday was Heidi's 30th birthday!  A pretty big day and very exciting to be able to celebrate it here in Africa, so we had some extra curricular activities during my tutoring and the boys helped me make a banner! :)
A box of goodies from home!
Heidi's Birthday celebration crowd :)
Fabric shopping!
Making birthday puff puff! 
one of the sweet fabric shop ladies up in Buea Town today taught us how to tie a headdress and then let us have them! :)  It's been great fun having Heidi and Cheryl here and we have much more fun to come!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tole Village 2nd Visit

We went back to Tole on Friday to deliver medications and ointments to the kids we saw last week... However, I'd like to think we delivered more than just their meds, I think we delivered some smiles as well!

 Twins!  They are so precious!

 Big sister.

I was saying and acting out something like this...
"Use this soap and scrub you skin, clean your whole body very well!"

Friday, February 24, 2012

February Harvest

The radishes are in!  It was pretty exciting to pick the radishes from the garden tonight for supper, but I must admit, there's a few things in the garden that are looking kinda sad these days.  The rainy season is coming back which makes it nice to carry less water by hand, but I think the African sun has been a little much for my little ND seeds to bear.  While I think some will still produce and all is not lost, I have 3 foot corn trying to tassel and put on cobs!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Joseph's Family

 When we were in Koza we got to know Hache and had a meal at his home.  Hache told us about his brother Joseph who lives in Buea and is a Gendairm (police officer) in our region.  He put us in contact and strongly encouraged us to meet him.  We have met with the family several times since we got back from the north and invited them over to our "home" this week for a meal.  We hosted them in the conference room of the hospital where we had enough room to eat and entertain the kids, since we don't speak French and they don't really speak English, substantial conversations are not really possible, but we had a great time!
 We did our best to make an extra special meal, I made "homemade chopletts"  This brought back SO MANY sweet memories of growing up.  In recent years we just cheat and buy gluten flower that doesn't have to be washed out; so really the last time I remember helping mom wash out choplett dough was when I was just a little tike, standing on a chair in front of the kitchen sink.
 This is my masterpiece, when I took a bite of my finished work a flood of memories from grandma's house and every other place we celebrated holidays with family and mom's famous chopletts were a non-optional component of the family feast.  Good times!
 The oldest four of Joseph's kids, in their adorable matching traditional wear.
 Mommy and Edmond.
 Mommy and Clarise.
Like I said, we did our best to put on a big spread, we had rice, beans, and stir-fry, and homemade salsa to stuff into homemade tortilla shells, along with my chopletts and gravey to eat with rice, and a fruit salad and fresh banana bread for dessert.  We wanted to be sure and have plenty, and we did... when the family went home there were so many left-overs, and it was such good food... haha, we had to eat a little more!

Monday, February 20, 2012

184 Snakes

... It will be about 290 by Wednesday... Last week I went through a process of transitioning to a new school here in Buea.  There were actually two schools at the beginning of last week where I could have started full time, I spent the week in both trying to feel out the situations and think and pray about where to settle in.  I'm now working at CRC, a school just around the corner from our compound, as the Arts, Crafts, and Activities teacher!  Yes, this is something absolutely my forte! CUTE kids, and I get to do fun crafts with them!  Today was my first "real day at work" at CRC and we made snakes!  I let the kids color round pieces of paper with a head that I had cut and when they were done decorating, I cut them in spirals... it was a HIT!  I cut 90 snakes today, have another 94 scheduled for tomorrow and about that many again on Wednesday, then it's time to look for a new craft!  I think I'm getting blisters from my scissor!

Proud of her work.
The sample snake I made :)

True Story

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tole Village

Today we went to the chief's house in a little tea plantation village, just a few miles away today and did consults on 45 little kids with rashes and fungi and painful looking sores, we needed a picture ID of each to help match them up with the meds we'll be taking back to them next week.  So, being the only non medical person in the bunch, I was the official photographer.

We did "just the babies" today because there were SO MANY, young and old, who wanted to consult but we just didn't have time, we'll be back next week to deliver meds and do more consults... we didn't even get to the school kids.

A lot of them had such bad infections on their rashes and sores that their lymph nodes were just huge. 
They all had a rash or fungus of some kind
Scabies was the most common
One little girl had a tooth abscess or just something wrong in her mouth and she could hardly even open her mouth, I can't imagine the pain that would cause!  This little boy had an abscess on his head that they had cut open, it looked like they tried... but I don't think it was kept very infection-free...
Sorry if you feel this is in-appropriate, but this is a typical sample of the rashes and sores these poor kids live with.
There's so many slightly different boils, sores, and infections, we wonder how many of these kids are HIV+, thus aren't, and really wont heal.
When we asked one mother how long the child had had these rashes and such, she replied, "since birth."
Pictures just don't tell the story!

These pictures were not "staged" like I said, we had to get one of each kids' face to help match up the info later, I asked every one of them to smile, and did my funky little photographer faces to encourage some happier looks, but every single one of them returned sober looks like these.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

North Trip Part Seven ~ The End

When our time in Koza and adventure in the north came to an end, we had to say some sad good-byes to some amazing brand new friends!  It was a really sad little taste of what we're going to have to do in May!
When we were loading up in our 11 hour van from Mokolo to Ngaoundre, our pack job included a "motto" on top of the bus/van (look closely, yep, that's a bright yellow/patterned seat!).
This is the outside of the train station in Ngaoudre, the architecture is very random and pretty, and just kinda odd to me for a train station, reminds me of something you'd be more likely to see on an airport or something.
I got this shot of a lady doing her prayers at one of the bus stops, our bus stopped several times along our entire day's drive so that the Muslims on our bus could pray.  The culture in the north is very different than the southwest where we live; the Muslims are very respectful and kind people and the overall culture is much more relaxed.
The mosque in Ngaundre.
(Aylssa) You'd feel like this too after 33 hours of African transportation... each way!
Ahh... We're "home" (!!!)  I praise the Lord for the countless safely traveled miles, amazing experiences, precious new friends, and priceless memories!

What a MIGHTY God we serve!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

 Happy Valentines Day from Cameroon! Mary and Alyssa made this beautiful message in the grass with the amazing flowers from our compound!  The patients and staff, and everyone loved it! 
 There was "no tutoring today" because of Valentines Day, but of course Mauye showed up anyways, and we had a GREAT time making cookies and cards for the other girls!
 I took some of my cookies and some little candies I bought and visited our regular little stands, the fruit lady and our Quaker Oats lady :)  Then I walked through market and wished some friends, and new ones I just met today a Happy Valentines Day, and I treated myself to a few little Valentines purchases... (a new pair of shoes!!).  It was great!
 Mauye was glowing as he handed out our treats to the girls!!
We made a HUGE supper and had a wonderful time being a bunch of girls! :) Happy Valentines to all of you, Remember how much our heavenly Father loves YOU!

"For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life!" John 3:16