Saturday, November 22, 2014

Looking Forward

Twenty-three days ago yesterday Burkina Faso was is the midst of violent protests. Crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands marched on the capital city of Ouagadougou manifesting their frustration and outrage with Blaise Campaore, president for the past 27 years. The attempt to pass a referendum changing the constitution so he could run for re-election next year ignited embers of smoldering anger. Demonstrations became ugly. Lives were lost and parliament was set ablaze. Blaise Campaore fled the country leaving the door open for new leadership.
Parliament ablaze

This week a new interim president was installed just one day after being elected by a unanimous vote. Michele Kafando comes with impressive credentials. Mr.Kafando served at UN headquarters for almost 15 years and was
 Minister of Foreign Affairs for Burkina Faso. He is an experienced diplomat with many international connections to help move the country forward.

US Ambassador Tulinabo Mushingui  and Pres. Kafando

His first act as president, appointing army officer Col. Isaac Zida as prime minister, came one day after his installation.

PrimeMinister Col. Isaac Zida and President Michele Kafando

Our prayers are with Burkina Faso and its leaders in the months leading up to the presidential   elections next fall.

Presidential photo

Days of waiting are over. Our new truck has arrived! All that remains is getting needed paperwork, inspection, insurance and license plates. Then we will finally be on the road to Kimini where much work awaits us.
It is difficult to find words to express how deeply grateful we are to each and every one of you who helped make this possible. You have done so much more than provide a reliable means of transportation for us. You have helped us fulfill our mission to care for the “least of these” in Burkina. Each time we get into the truck we will whisper a prayer of thanks for each of you.

“ I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy for my every prayer for all of you because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now.”  Phil.1: 4

Monday, November 10, 2014

Burkina Foliage

Majestic Baobab
Lately, much of my email has contained messages about the colorful panorama of autumn foliage in the Berkshires. This caused me to take a closer look at the foliage surrounding me in beautiful Burkina.

Riding through the Berkshire hillside provides a palette of magnificent red, orange and yellow. Burkina Faso’s environment, though not aflame with color, is nonetheless splendid in variety and beauty.                                                      

Baobab, banana, palm, flamboyant and eucalyptus trees replace the forests of maples, oaks and pines of home.
Sesame Plants
Cultivation is the mainstay of life in Kimini and the surrounding area. Fields of corn, rice, okra, millet, sesame, cotton and sugarcane dot the landscape.
Seed spreader
Burkinabé are hard-working people who do the back breaking work of planting and harvesting without the aid of modern machinery. Farmers commonly use a short handled hoe-like tool called a daba. Occasionally, you will see a primitive plow or seed spreader being utilized. I have gained a new appreciation for those who make a living by farming.
May  all farmers rejoice in a bountiful harvest and may we say an extra prayer of thanks for those who toil in the fields.

 "Through him all things were made;without him nothing was made that has been made." Jn.1:3

I feel blessed to have experienced the beauty of creation from both sides of the 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Transitions and Changes

This has been a week like no other ! On the one hand , we have had a delightful time preparing Guelil  to meet his mother and grandmother. Medical appointments went smoothly.He is a delightful little man and has brought us many smiles. His mom, Christa and grandma, Joan arrived in country on Friday afternoon October 24. Early on Saturday morning we were on the road to Yako where a along awaited meeting took place at Sheltering Wings.
Grandma, Guelil and Mommy
 Spending time together in the place Guelil called home for more than two years was important for understanding his daily life experiences.

While in Yako , Crista met her two sponsored children, Maimounata and Remi.  Joan had the pleasure of  meeting the widow she sponsors and paid a visit to her home. What a special treat for all involved.

As we prepared to return to Ouagadougou on Monday morning, Guelil asked if Mommy was going with us. When we said she was, he could not contain himself and burst into dancing and shouts of joy.

On our way back to Ouagadougou,we stopped for a quick visit with  Delphine and Paul, recently married friends whose wedding we attended this year. Delphine shared the joy she experiences as a new teacher and young wife. We had a great visit but left abruptly when we heard of impending demonstrations in Ouagadougou and hurried to return back before dark.
Ruth holding her gift of a pumpkin , Delphine and Paul 

Once back in Ouagadougou, our family settled into their hotel and looking forward to a peaceful time of becoming better acquainted.

What a difference a day makes ! The next day, October 31, chaos reigned in Ouagadougou as political turmoil manifested itself through marches, demonstrations and violence in response to Thursday's vote seeking to pass a referendum to extend  presidential  term limits. Blaise Campaore, the president for the past 27 years  was hoping to continue his reign. The opposition party had different ideas.Parliament was stormed,voting thwarted and Campaore removed. He was ousted and fled the country. People vied for power in the days that followed. Hour by hour the transitional leadership changed.
The American Embassy sent out daily alerts suggesting we stay hunkered down and restrict venturing out into the city. Curfews were put in place to restrict further pillaging and violence.

 Although we did see  the burnt carnage of the parliament building and charred remains of vehicles in the parking lot, what was more impressive was the sight of the Burkinabe people coming together sweeping the streets and cleaning up after the turmoil. Throughout these events we remained safe and sound.
 Calm has returned to the city. Airlines are flying and land borders have been reopened.  Ouagadougou has returned to "normal". It has been quite interesting being in the center of history in the making!

Friday night,Nov. 7 we bade  farewell to Guelil and his family.  They departed for America with our prayers for a wonderful future together. We certainly will miss them but look forward to hearing all the wonderful stories of their new life together.

Please pray for the people of Burkina Faso. Pray that calm may continue to replace chaos.
Peace may replace anger and God may guide the hearts and minds of  their leaders.