Thursday, November 28, 2013

Day of Thanks

This is the day Americans gather with family and friends to reflect on the blessings of the past year and to give thanks. Today I experienced a unique Thanksgiving.

Our celebration was held in Bobo where Andrew and Esther opened their home to more than fifty people of various backgrounds and cultures. Some from Finland, Switzerland, America and Africa, all ministering here in Africa. Different people, different works yet a single goal, serving the spiritual and physical needs of the People of God in Burkina Faso.

We sang.We prayed and we feasted on turkey , stuffing, pumpkin pie and all the traditional foods of the holiday.

The main reason for the day, however, was to give thanks. And I have so much to be grateful for this family, my friends, my community of sisters , donors back home , new friends in Africa and my teammate Ruth who daily provides encouragement and support.

Every day is a day to give thanks!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bon Appetite !

Sometimes baking a cake Kimini-style takes a little tweaking of a recipe and a lot of creativity. Ruth had all it took to put the two together and satisfy our sweet tooth.

The steps go something like this :

First, eat a large can of sardines and save the can. This is very important. It becomes the cake pan.

Next, substitute missing ingredients for your banana cake and cross your fingers.

Fill the bottom of a small roasting pan with sand from outside your door.  Place an empty tomato paste can in the center of the sand.

After that, you are ready to add the cake to your Dutch oven. Cover and cook on low heat on your little camping-type gas stove. Don't leave the room ! Your cake will be done in no time ! Slice and enjoy!

Voila !

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Kimini Clips

The morning of November 7th was not like any other day for me. At last, the time had come to pack the van and begin our journey to Kimini. Frequently, on our four hour trip to Bobo, the first leg of the seven  hour trip from Ouagadougou to Kimini, Ruth and I would take turns saying, "I can't believe this is finally happening."Psalm 118:24 sang within my heart,"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."And every day since then, I continue to be thankful for the wonders and new experiences that are mine each day. Although daily challenges exist , they are far outweighed by the blessings we are granted.

Our first stop after arriving in Kimini was to greet the chief who warmly welcomed us to his village. Soon we were surrounded by curious children who stood at a distance but soon sat at our feet sharing a song.

As daylight faded away,we unpacked and settled into our new home, which for now is an unused classroom, where we sleep on cots and cook on a small gas stove.We have gotten very creative in our cooking. I never knew Slim Jims could be used in SO many ways! Bedtime comes early when there is no electricity. It took me a few nights to get used to the sounds of critters sharing our abode. The flutter of bats flying overhead was a bit unnerving at first and I would pull the covers over my head. I guess you can get used to almost anything. 

Babou, a delegate of the chief and president of  the village development commission, has been instrumental in our transition to village life. His daily visits and concern for our well being are very reassuring.

Awa, a young woman from the village, stops by each day to check on us and brings us water from the nearby well.There are two wells in the village. To meet the water needs of a village you need one well for every five hundred people. The population of Kimini is about 4, 000.We are praying that in the future more wells can be drilled to meet these basic needs.

Awa has also taken on the role of language tutor. Jula, the language spoken in Kimini, is 
not for the faint of heart. A recent"field trip"to the local Shoppette provided a long list of new vocabulary words for us to learn. I am impatient to learn to communicate but realize this is no small task.

As Thanksgiving approaches this year, I do not want for things for which I am grateful. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Amazing Day of Celebration

What an amazing day this was in Yako! Today October 31, was the day of transfer of directorship of the Sheltering Wings Yako Project from Ruth Cox to Mike Riddering. Preparations began early this morning  with women readied food for this special "fete" .  Cucumbers , tomatoes and peppers were peeled and cut by women sitting in circles enjoying commoradory.Our house was filled with the wonderful aroma of beef and vegetable brochettes (shish kabobs ) cooking in our oven. Young men and the older boys undertook the task of killing , plucking and preparing the chickens for the feast. It was obvious that this was not their first time doing this. 

Around  two thirty , dignitaries, local officials and other invited guests  dressed in their African finery began to arrive .  Festive music played over loud speakers welcoming all to this important gathering.

 Babies were bathed and dressed in their best outfits. Even these little ones sensed that this was no ordinary day. Tantes ( baby care takers ) , teachers , staff and children took their places under the tent erected to shield everyone from the African sun. While under an adjacent tent , guests  greeted each other with the usual African hospitality and warmth.

Soon the master of ceremonies commenced the program by stating the significance of this ceremony. Ruth Cox shared a heartfelt speech , delivered in French , in which she outlined the growth that has taken place here at SW since its inception in 2000. Orphans were given a loving home, education was provided  with the addition of both a primary and secondary school  which continue to expand to meet the growing need. A medical clinic was constructed to serve the orphans living at SW as well as sponsored  children and adults living in the local community.Ruth assured everyone that while she would be leaving Yako to pursue her dream of constructing a new project in Kimini, a remote village in the south , she will not be leaving Burkina Faso.

Mike Riddering , Ruth's successor, then spoke of the projects undertaken since he and his wife, Amy arrived in Yako two years ago. The Lord continues to work through them to bring new projects forward to enrich the lives of the children of Yako.

Presentations were made, prayers of blessing were shared , and children sang in celebration. The festivities concluded in the newly constructed dining hall where food and fellowship were shared.

It was a privilege to be present at this amazing day of celebration!