Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Plans, a Cute Baby, and Funny Dog

Here in Guinea-Bissau no one really talks about Christmas until around the 20th. It was a little depressing last year, so this year Jase and I have been doing Christmas in a more American way. I made pumpkin pie for my classes on Thanksgiving and then the next day I got some white, red, and green ribbons and decorated all of the classrooms. On the Saturday after we had a big Thanksgiving dinner with us, Erica, Jens (a missionary from Germany), and two of the guys who work at the center, Tolos and Jerry. Since then I have been playing Christmas music a lot. I decorated our room and put a few things up in the kitchen here. I took a few pictures, so I thought I would share them with you guys.

This is our little tree in our room. Jason's Aunt Chris sent it over to us last year. The coolest feature you can't see right now. It lights up with little fiber optic lights that glow red and green.

This is the tree in our kitchen

Speaking of Christmas, Jason and I have been trying to make plans of fun stuff to do on our break. Jason doesn't have any classes in December, and I finish with classes on December 14th. We both start back on January 7th, so we have a few weeks to do stuff. If we can do everything that we want to do we will get to see quite a bit of Guinea-Bissau that we have not seen before.

On the first week that we both have off I think that we are going to go up to Ziguinchor (in Senegal) for a few days. It is a little bit of a tourist town, so it should be a nice vacation for us. After that we would like to go to Quinhámel which is a little village that's not far from us. We can take some nice walks there and I really want to go see a cool weaving factory that has been built there.

From the 20th to the 23rd we have a staff retreat for all of the people who work here at the Youth Center. We are going to a little town called Bula to play sports, have some discipleship time, and even hang out around the campfire. It should be really fun.

On the 24th Jase and I are going to go up to Sinchã Botchi to spend Christmas with our friends from Brazil, Gilson, Rosania, and their little 4 year old girl Nicole. She is very energetic and outgoing, so we have a lot of fun with her. We are going to stay there until the 27th. On the 27th the five of us are going to come back to Bissau, spend the night here, and then get on a ship to Bubaque. Bubaque is one of the islands of Guinea-Bissau. They have really nice beaches and the pastor of the evangelical church there has a guest house that we can stay in.

Here is a map of the places we will be going. All of the green is Guinea-Bissau and the thin black lines separate the different regions. I made all of the cities that we are going to into red dots. The pink route is the first trip that just Jason and I are taking. The blue one is the whole staff of the Youth Center going to our retreat. The dark red one is our Christmas and island trip with Gilson and Rosania. I know it's a little silly, but I had a good time making it .

I will let you know how all of this goes. I want to hear all about your Christmas fun times too

Oh, yeah, a few random things with pictures for your enjoyment...

Our guard dog likes to walk around with grass sticking out of his mouth, so we are pretty sure he is Arkansan at heart

Some of our good friends here had a baby recently. Their names are Pastor Beto and Ligia and the baby is Manaseis (not sure about the spelling). We went to see him when he was just two weeks old. Aparently Guinean babies are born with much lighter skin and then they get darker over the first month. Kind of like how most white babies are born with blue eyes and then the color changes after a week or so.

The new family

Me with the little guy

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Strikes and the Narco State

So, it seems that right now is the season of strikes in Guinea-Bissau. I told you about the strike that happened a few weeks ago with the drivers protesting against the police. About two weeks ago we had a teachers' strike. I am not sure if it was country-wide but it was in at least all of Bissau. After that there was a hospital workers' strike and then right around that time there was a rice strike. This week the postal workers are on strike, and since there is only one post office in the country this one is definitely country-wide.

I don't think that the strikes usually get good results here, but a few of these recent ones have, so I think that is what is spurring the increase. The drivers got the police to let them pay taxes one time downtown instead of paying the police any time the police happened to ask for it. The teachers had a strike because basically they haven't been paid for almost two years. During their strike the teachers finally got two month's pay and a promise of back pay.

With the rice strike basically what happened was that all of the people who import or sell rice in Bissau hid most of their supplies and told the government that they wanted to be able to sell the 110 pound bags of rice for $30 instead of $25 (the price for several things like that is fixed by the government). The government refused, so after a few days the vendors brought the rice back out and everything is normal now. Pretty much every family here buys a 110 pound bag of rice each month to feed their family, so they all still had rice (or their neighbors had some) so no was starving or anything like that, but people were starting to get a little panicked.

The hospital workers' strike was the saddest. The workers had not been getting paid for a while so they went on a strike. The government would not listen to them and many people started dieing in the hospital so they just ended the strike without getting any money or even the promise of it.

I am not exactly sure the nature of the postal worker's strike, but as near as I can tell it is because they have not been getting paid by the government (have you noticed a theme here...). The last few weeks that Jason and I have gone to the post office we have noticed big bags of mail sitting back in the room where we pick up packages, and we have not had any packages to pick up. All of the bags have country names on them, but we don't know if they outgoing or incoming. We know that many packages have been sent to us and should have arrived by now, so our guess is that they are all sitting in those bags, and since the workers knew that they were going to strike they just have not been working for a few weeks. It almost makes me want to run in there screaming like a crazy woman so that people will be afraid of me and then lock myself in that room so that I can look through the bags and get our stuff. Erica has one package that she has been waiting on for three months. She is leaving in two weeks, so I am sure she would appreciate finally getting it. Jason wants to volunteer to work as a scab in the post office, but I don't think that would be a good idea. J

Moving on to something totally unrelated, the other day I was looking around for something on the internet and I came across an article with an attention-catching headline. It was really interesting, so I thought I would share with you guys.

(Here is the URL: )

Drug barons turn Bissau into Africa's first narco-state

By Jonathan Miller in Bissau

Published: 18 July 2007

Welcome to Africa's first narco-state, a country with just 1.5 million people but a roaring drugs trade. Every day an estimated one tonne of pure Colombian cocaine is thought to be transiting through the mainland's mangrove swamps and the chain of islands that make up Guinea-Bissau, most of it en route to Europe.

Western intelligence sources describe it as "the worst drugs trafficking problem we've ever encountered on the [African] continent", and admit they have been blind-sided by the sheer scale of it. "The more we learn, the more we're shocked by the numbers involved. We've all been slow off the mark," said one top US Drug Enforcement Agency official in Europe.

Conservative estimates suggest monthly cocaine trans-shipments through this tiny former Portuguese colony on the West African coast are worth more than 10 times its gross annual national earnings, which mostly come from the export of unprocessed cashew nuts. The World Bank ranks Guinea-Bissau as the fifth poorest country in the world, yet flash cars with no plates brazenly cruise the streets of the crumbling capital, Bissau.

Western narcotics and intelligence agencies believe that up to two small twin-engine aircraft carrying up to 800kg of cocaine are landing on airstrips in Guinea- Bissau every night, having crossed the Atlantic from South America. The street value of a tonne of cocaine on the streets of European capitals is roughly £50m.

From the mangrove swamps and inlets that line its 400-mile Atlantic coast, and from an archipelago of 90 offshore islands, the cocaine is shipped northwards. Some leaves by ship, hidden in timber or containers. Some goes by light aircraft; some relies on the organised crime networks used to smuggle illegal immigrants into Europe; and some is carried by "mules" .

Last week, the country's leading human rights advocate, Mario Sa Gomes, launched a scathing attack on state complicity in drugs trafficking, which he said was "threatening the dignity of the people of Guinea- Bissau and our territorial integrity".

In a national radio broadcast, he said: "The quickest way to find a solution is the immediate dismissal of the heads of the armed forces and the police." Within an hour, an arrest warrant had been issued for Mr Gomes, who went into hiding. Interior Ministry police repeatedly visited his family home. His father, Jean Gomes, said: "I am worried because I think if they catch him they will kill him." We later interviewed Mario Sa Gomes in secret. He said: "What I say is true; everybody knows that in Guinea- Bissau the power is with the military. This is an international war we are fighting. We need protection." He said that he knew he was risking his life by speaking out.

And if the size of recent cocaine seizures by police in Senegal are anything to go by, the tonnage getting through must be enormous if, as enforcement officials say, the drugs being intercepted represent only a small proportion of the total.

The most frequent visa stamp to appear in passports recently seized in Senegal from three Colombians was that of Guinea- Bissau. An identity card, found with the passports, provided one Colombian with residency in Guinea- Bissau. It was issued by the Ministry of the Interior.

Guinea-Bissau's Interior Minister, Major Baciro Dabo, and the head of the navy, Jose Americo Bubu Na Tchutu, are alleged by multiple sources to be key facilitators of the trade.

The Interior Minister denies that his country is the newest narco-state, and the navy chief says he is not involved in any drugs trade.

"I just sit there waiting for evidence," Admiral Na Tchutu said. " Whether today, tomorrow or in a thousand years, I will never be a drugs trafficker."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Our Adventure in Sintchã Botchi

We had a great time in Sintchã Botchi! Our hosts were a missionary couple from Brazil – Gilson (pronounced Jill-son) and Rosania – and they were great. We enjoyed lots of different kinds of food (pictures of that to follow) and we learned a lot of new things. I'm pretty sure that my Creole improved a lot as well.

The people in the village were awesome. Sintchã Botchi is a Fula village, and Fulas are a Muslim tribe. All of the people in the village speak Fula and I would say about half can also speak Creole. (If you want to hear someone speaking Fula check out Jason's vlog.) Life is a lot slower in the village than in Bissau (didn't exactly think that was possible before) and it was really nice for a vacation. We did a lot of relaxing and were able to help Gilson and Rosania with their work. Jason did a lot of manual labor with Gilson which was a good change of pace for him.

It's funny, I don't really think of Bissau as a big city, but in a lot of ways it is. There is noise here all the time – radios squawking through blown out speakers, roosters crowing at all hours, cars honking, pigs squealing, people yelling, drums banging, things getting pounded, smashed, chopped, etc. I don't usually notice it much, but when we went to Sintchã Botchi I kept noticing that it was strangely silent. No radios, no yelling people, and absolutely no traffic. It was nice. They do have a lot of donkeys there which is funny because there are none in Bissau. I definitely appreciate the lack of donkeys here – those things can be really annoying when they want to! Many things about the scenery were different from Bissau also.

This is a termite mound. It's amazing that something so little can make something so big! These things are all over the place out in the villages.

We saw tons of really sweet, old trees like this one.

These were so amazing!

We took a sete-plus to Gabu, which is a modified station wagon that goes between different towns, and then Gilson picked us up and took us to Sintchã Botchi. We got there fine and we were having a great time.

Before we left.

This is at the place were you go to get the sete-plus to Gabu. Yes, that station wagon does have three rows of seats.

Well it wouldn't be a story about Guinea-Bissau if something didn't go differently than we planned, so before I tell you all about the village, let me tell you about that part. We left to go on Saturday and we were planning on coming back on Wednesday. You have to pay for your luggage according to its size so I was trying to go light. I did pack enough underwear and allergy medicine to last until the next Saturday though, just in case. On Monday Rosania asked us if we would stay until Thursday because they were thinking about going to Bissau on Thursday and we could ride together. Erica didn't want to because she had scheduled class for Thursday and Friday, so we said no. On Tuesday we discovered that all of the sete-plus and candonga (a big minivan with bench seats all around the inside that goes between different towns) drivers had decided to go on a strike for three days (Wed, Thurs, Fri); meaning, that we had no way to get back to Bissau. The strike was a protest against the police because they make the drivers stop all the time and pay "taxes" but that money does not go towards helping improve the roads, etc (most of the time the police just keep it). That same day Gilson and Rosania decided that they couldn't leave on Thursday because they had more work to do, so they were going to head to Bissau on Saturday. So, our trip was lengthened. Ironically, the drivers realized on Wednesday that they needed money so they tried to call off the strike, but the police were pretty ticked that the drivers had tried to defy them so they said that if they caught any sete-pluses or candongas on the road before Sunday they would take the driver's papers (license, registration, etc.) haha. I should have learned to always bring double of everything that I think I will need when I travel here... Maybe next time :)

Rosania is an OBGYN nurse and she and Gilson run a little clinic in Sintchã Botchi. They have some exam rooms, a storage area, and a pharmacy. It really is quite nice. The clinic is open in the mornings and most days Erica and I went with Rosania to work. She did exams and we organized the filing system. People come to the clinic with all kinds of problems. Rosania has been talking to the women in the village for years about the importance of monthly check ups while they are pregnant, but often they don't come in unless they have a problem. The women in the villages all work so hard and I think it is more common for them to loose a baby than to actually have one. Out of all of the pregnant women who came in while we were there I don't think that any of them hadn't miscarried. I kept hearing Rosania say, "I'm sorry, you lost your baby." They didn't really react a lot to the news. I think that most of the time they already knew. For example, one lady had noticed a week or so before that her stomach had started to shrink and then had been bleeding for four days before she came in.

This is Rosania waiting at the reception desk.

Rosania is performing a sonogram. It doesn't have a picture, only sound to hear the heartbeat

Erica and I organizing files in the clinic.

Rosania has trained several people who work with her in the clinic. They take blood pressure, weigh people, get their files if they have been before, and things like that before Rosania sees them. I actually have a pretty funny story about meeting those guys. The first day that Rosania took us with her to the clinic she was introducing us to all of the staff there and I was trying to make conversation with them. She introduced me to the guy who sells the medicine in the pharmacy, so I greeted him and then asked, "Então, bu bindi drogas li?" which I thought was "So, you sell medicine here, huh?" To which the man responded dramatically "Não, N ka bindi drogas li!!!" ("No I don't sell drugs here!!!") with a horrified look on his face. Turns out that in Creole the word "drogas" (drugs) only means the illegal kind. So basically I was asking him if he was a drug dealer. Rosania was laughing really hard and she explained me that there is a different word for medicine. I apologized and explained that I didn't know it was different and I was not there to purchase drugs... I heard that story being told to patients at the clinic many times throughout the week and every time I saw the guy after that he asked me if I was there to buy some drugs and everyone laughed a lot. I have to admit, it's pretty funny :)

Drug Dealer...

Check out the red cross shirt. Nice :) The people who work in the clinic with Rosania wear scrubs or other medical looking things.

I actually made quite a few mistakes in Creole during the week that were humorous. One time I told Gilson and Rosania that we eat using women (minjers) instead of spoons (kujers). Another time I told someone that a semester at our English school costs 500,000 fcfa ($1000) when I meant to say 15,000 fcfa ($30).

The family life is really sad in Fula villages. All of the Muslim men have more than one wife, sometimes four or five. The husband will have a house and then each of his wives will have their own little round house around his house where they and their children cook and sleep. You have to pay a bride price, so the number of wives you have is a sign of your wealth. All of the girls are "circumcised" at birth so that they won't ever want to sleep with anyone and girls are married around 14 or so because the parents don't want to take the chance that they could get pregnant before they are married and ruin the bride price. On Sunday morning, the first day we were in Sintchã Botchi, Erica and I went with Rosania in the morning to the home of a very sick woman. She was the skinniest woman I have ever seen in my life. It turns out she had AIDS. Rosania gave her an IV and encouraged her to eat, but she died that evening. Jason and Gilson went and took her body to her village in Gilson's truck that night. The saddest thing about this story is that the husband knows that he has HIV and he takes medicine for it, but he doesn't give any medicine to his children or wives. Rosania told me that basically in his eyes they are replaceable. He can always marry someone new and have more kids... Yuck!

In addition to the clinic Gilson and Rosania run a school in Sintchã Botchi. The have grades one through four. It is really good for the children to be able to get an education in their own village because not very many people have the chance to travel to larger villages for school.

This is the school. There are building another one next to it that is the same. Jase spent most of the week getting stuff ready for it.

These beams were cut from palm trees to make a roof for the new school building.

These are the desks inside the school. Model students :)

Studying hard.

I promised I would share our cooking adventures with you, so here ya go. One store in Guinea-Bissau got some mozzarella before we left, so we brought some with us; along with some pepperoni we received in the mail, and made pizzas.

Making the dough

Erica and I had an interesting cooking experience. Gilson slit the throat on a chicken and then handed it to us to make dinner. Neither one of us had ever cooked with anything but meat from the grocery store before, so we smiled at each other and got started. We let the blood run out of it, boiled water and dipped the chicken into the boiling water for a bit to loosen the feathers. Then we plucked it, passed it over the fire to burn the little hairs, and Erica cut off the legs and wings. We didn't know exactly what to do with the innards, so Rosania had to break the chicken open and take them out for us. Then we cooked it and shred the meat. Eating meat really is way too much work here :)

In Bissau everyone has pigs, but in Sintchã Botchi everyone has cows. They slaughter a cow in the middle of the village every day and then people come and buy their meat for that day (a good system in a place without refrigerators). We got to witness this event one day, so I thought I would share it with you.

We got there right after this one was skinned. The guys loved that we were taking their picture.

Cow intestines... Not exactly appetizing...

Yup, that's the head.

They kill the cow in one spot, then they carry the meat to this place to chop it up and sell it. This is one of the sides hanging up in the selling place so that they can cut it.

Yes, this is the eye of the cow that was tossed into the grass. Brings a new meaning to the whole idea of: "if your eye causes you to sin gouge it out and throw it away..."

The chicken and the cow were pretty normal, but did get a chance to eat some unusual food as well. Jason really wanted to shoot a monkey so we could eat that, but they didn't see any when they went out. Wednesday night Jason and a bunch of other guys went hunting for frogs in the rice paddy with machetés. They caught several and skinned and gutted them. The next day Gilson fried them and we ate them. They were good but hard to eat since they still looked like whole frogs without heads.

Before Gilson cooked it he was making it dance.

On Thursday some guys killed an iguana and brought it over. We bought the whole thing for around a dollar and then our neighbors cooked it and we ate some of it. The flavor was pretty strong, but not bad :)

You really can't beat the fruit here. I am munching on a guava. Their taste is kind of similar to a strawberry.

The cucumbers in the village were huge! Erica and I were cutting some up for dinner and the idea for a spa in Sintchã Botchi hatched. What do you think?

Another funny story happened Tuesday evening when we were cooking. I heard a splat and turned around to see a large, weird looking lizard that had fallen from the ceiling and was laying kind of dazed on the floor. I jumped a little which got Rosania and Erica's attention. They turned around and Rosania screamed so loudly that two guys who were sitting in the front yard came running in. Normally I wouldn't be that scared of a lizard, but Rosania kept screaming and yelling "kill it, kill it", and it was a little unnerving. The men grabbed some big sticks and with our help hunted it down and then hit it about 30 times, so I'm pretty sure it was dead. Later I found out that kind of lizard thing is venomous, so I guess it wasn't much ado about nothing after all :)

On Tuesday afternoon Rosania had Erica and I speak at a women's group she has been having. Some weeks two or three women are able to come, other weeks they might have a lot more. It just depends on whether the husbands feel like letting their wives go or not. I think only two or so of the women were Christians and there were about 15 there, so it was a great turn out. There were a few things that made it hard to communicate really well: one, we were speaking in Creole so we had to plan out all of the words beforehand; two, most of the women don't speak Creole well so everything we said had to be translated to Fula; three, there were lots of children there and the women didn't really do a lot to keep them quiet; and four, several of the women were topless, which is fairly normal in the village, but there is something about sitting next to a topless woman that you don't know that makes you feel a little weird.

One of the women who came to the meeting was named Binta. She and her husband are Christians and he is the only guy in the village that only has one wife and sleeps in the same house with her. He helps her with things and all of the other women in the village are jealous of her. Their marriage really is a great testimony to the people who know them.

This is Binta with Erica and I on the day we left.

This little boy is Binta and Mamadu's youngest. His name is Mussa (Moses in Fula). He is laughing because he had just caught me by surprise and put his lollypop in my mouth...

You can tell everyone is use to digital cameras because the first thing they want to do after you take their picture is see it. Mussa was pretty excited about the one Jase had just shown him.

It is really hard for a woman to become a Christian and most of them aren't as lucky as Binta. The lady sitting across from me on the stool is Kadijatu.

Her husband doesn't have a problem with her being a Christian because she is so happy but the other wives of her husband hate it. They are always telling her that she can't come to any funerals or marriages in the village because she is not a Muslim anymore. She has a new baby and she came to Rosania's house and was crying one day because the co-wives were telling her that her baby was going to die and she wouldn't be allowed to go to the funeral.

Most of the really little kids in village were afraid of us, but this one loved me! He is Kadijatu's youngest. The other children are hers too and I think that the guy is her husband.

Most of the children wear necklaces and waist beads like this to keep evil spirits away, etc. Also pretty much all of the boys this age just wear a shirt, like him, or are totally naked. The lady in the background is holding some fish freshly caught from the river there.

On the way home we ran out of gas right before we got to the gas station while we were in Gabu. We had to get out and use some good old fashioned muscle to move the car. Unfortunately, Gilson stopped the car because he thought we had a gas can, but we didn't, so we were pushing from a stop. It was fine until we started going uphill. It was only Jason, Erica, Rosania, and I pushing at that point and we were not strong enough, so some men who were laughing hysterically at the "brankus" pushing a car came over to help us out.

I hate to admit it but my hamstrings were sore for several days.

Ok, well if you made it to the end of this, congratulations. If you have any questions about the trip or you want to know more about any of my stories, let me know.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Road Trip!!!!!!!!

Ok, so next week Jason, Erica, and I are taking a trip to Sintcham Botchi. It is a village in the interior of Guinea-Bissau. If you are curious you can look at a map of G-B, find the city named Gabu, and it's right next to that, though it probably won't be on the map. We have some friends who are missionaries there from Brazil – Jilson, and Rosania. Jason and I have bumped into them many times in Bissau and we've become pretty good friends, so we decided to go see the work that they are doing there. We are leaving on Saturday morning in a seven-seater taxi to go to Gabu, and Jilson is going to pick us up there. We will be staying with them until Wednesday.

We are really excited about going because we have not seen village life in the interior of G-B before. We wanted to go on Saturday because then we will get to go to church with them. Besides that I don't have any idea what we are going to be doing there. Hopefully we will be able to get some good pictures so that we can share the experience with you.

There are a few things I would like to ask you to pray for. Jilson and Rosania speak mostly Portuguese. Jilson knows a lot of Creole and he is a pretty dramatic guy – he uses tons of gestures and mimes stuff out well when we don't understand, so that helps a lot. Rosania can speak Creole too, but she does use a lot of Portuguese pronouns and stuff like that which confuse me. My Creole is coming in spurts right now. It seems like when I really need it I have it, but other times I get nervous, and it leaves me completely. I think that we will be fine; it will just be a lot of brain activity. (Incidentally Jason thinks that missionaries would kick everyone else's butt in a charades challenge because of all of the times we can't think of the right words but still get the message across.)

Jilson loves to joke all of the time too, so sometimes he is kidding but I am concentrating so hard on understanding the whole thing that I miss the fact that it is ridiculous. Like the other day we were eating with them and discussing the trip and Jason was asking Jilson about food in Gabu. He starting saying that they have McDonalds, and Pizza Hut there and Erica's jaw dropped. She was like, "Really, wow that is so cool." It wasn't until I told her that he was totally kidding that she stopped believing him because he had such a serious face when he was talking.

The other thing is that I think that the area were we will be is primarily Muslim. Right now we live in an Animist area, so I don't exactly know what to expect. I don't want to offend anyone…

Ok, so hopefully soon we will have a Sintcham Botchi blog (and maybe even a vlog) for you'll. Thank you so much for your prayers! I am really looking forward to going. It will be quite different, and I think it will also be really good.

New American / Australian / Canadian Guests

Right now we have a group staying in a house near the Youth Center from Youth with a Mission. Some of them are from the States, a few from Australia, and two from Canada, I think 12 in all. They are going around West Africa doing a lot of different stuff, so they are here for a week. They have been on the road for a while so on Saturday we cooked them some pizza and took over some chex mix to share that we got in the mail from Grandma and Grandpa Atkins.

After that I needed to go to the market to pick up a new dress that I had made (picture at the end of the blog), so we took them with us and that was an adventure. They don't speak any Creole so we had this huge group of white people catching every vendor's eye and then only a few of us doing all of the negotiating. Like I've said before, I'm really good at shopping in Creole now, so it wasn't that much of a problem but it was super tiring. None of the vendors wanted to give us good deals, but I did manage to weasel some deals out of them. Several of them complimented my Creole after we had completed the transaction, which was pretty funny.
Everyone on the team is really cool. It has been neat to hear people's impressions of G-B who are from different places. Everyone has their own take on their experiences, you know? It is really weird to be the head Creole speaker when we go somewhere with a big group. It is also kind of weird that in a lot of ways Jase and I are the head Americans now that our teammates are not here. Tons of stuff gets run by us and sometimes it is difficult to know how much advice to give. We are trying to strike a good balance because we want to be helpful but we also want the Center to be operating with as little influence from us as possible.
Here is something I don't really get. Almost everyone on the YWAM team is sick. I think that 7 out of the 12 have tested positive for malaria and at least one of them has been in the hospital here for a few days. I honestly don't understand why they have the schedule that they do. They are having meetings from the time they get up until 10am, and then they head over to our church and teach a discipleship group for an hour. After that they do door to door evangelism with translators until 2, come home to eat, go back and do more door to door until 7pm when they have a service at the church for all of the people that they talked to that day that lasts until at least 10pm. They come home, do praise and worship together, go to sleep, and get up the next day and do the exact same thing again. I don't know about you but all of that time in the hot sun interacting with people that I don't understand, in situations that are totally unfamiliar, drinking water that is not what my system is used to, and eating fish and rice all day would get to me pretty quickly. No wonder their immune systems are so crazy that they can't stay healthy. I stay out of the sun, take at least two showers a day, and spend most of my day interacting with people in English and I still sleep hard for at least 9 hours a night.
Anyway, not to be down on YWAM, they are doing a great thing here. It is just interesting that they would expect that they could work as much here as they could back home, you know? It's a different world in so many more ways than one.
By the way, here is the picture that I talked about at the end of my last blog. Jase went to SITEC and posted the blog without me and he didn't see my note to include it. Aren't we cute? Again, I would like to point out the hot pinkness of the ice cream.

Erica and our tailor, Seku. His name is the same as the word for dry.

Me and Seku plotting out the new dress.

Tada! An Emily Atkins original. I drew it out on a piece of paper and he made it. Not bad.