Friday, August 31, 2012

odds and ends

Just a bunch of guys, showing off for the girls (who do not seem to be too impressed) like they do anywhere.

Wonder if these guys will be around come Thanksgiving?????
Missed opportunity....  Some one has nine million dollars in US $$$$$ and needs my help to get it.   If only I was not so cynical.........
  1. cyn·i·cal/ˈsinikəl/

    Adjective:
    1. Believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity.
    2. Doubtful as to whether something will happen or is worthwhile.
Again, blogspot did not get the picture right, but i did get the boxes (with postal damage)  Lost one dvd (smunched) and had some bent aluminum.   Bibles came through fine and so did bag for motobike.  Next box on the way.  Make that two on the way.  Yea, me.  reminds me of looking for a box from Brenda when I was in Vietnam.
For Easter, Brenda sent me a box of chocolate covered pop corn.  After we were married I thought of it again and told her how much I enjoyed it.  Then asked; "What made you think of chocolate covered pop corn?"  She replied; "I never sent you chocolate covered popcorn.  I sent a chocolate Easter bunny and packed it in pop corn to keep it safe."  110 degrees in the shade for two weeks rendered it unrecognizable but eatable. (did explain the little candy flowers in the middle of the mess).....  Still enjoy getting a care package.
twenty sets of flash cards for English class.  initially there are 51 cards in each set.  will add to it as new sounds are learned.  Ask me about the ng sound as in ing, ong, ang, and ung.  I can tell you all about it.  My English teacher in Junior High (and Senior) could not get me to learn what I am learning to teach now.....  Miss Reed, I am sorry I did not pay attention in class.
Some of the ladies in the market get creative in displaying what they have for sale.  Instead of a basket or bag, like we are used to, each stack is a unit of sale.  These are real oranges without being painted or dyed.  They even taste better.  Bananas are tree ripened, not shipped green and gassed to turn them yellow for the US market.  Bought a slice of pineapple (raw) to eat as i walked through the market. (200 francs = $.40)  Two bite into it and it slipped through my fingers and fell on the ground.  remembering the four second rule for dirt, I scooped it up quickly.  Spent 25 francs ($.05 cents) for a plastic bag of water.  Rinsed it off, finished eating and had enough water left over to wash my hands.  Did I mention that I love this place???

Electrician called that the wire we ordered had arrived.  I went to town to pick it up (by myself) and needed 300 meters of four conductors  in one piece.  100 meters is a foot ball field in length.  They took one end of the bundle and ran down the street with a tape measure. First 100.  bend in wire and carry double down till first end back at start and repeat carrying three down till bend back at start.  Make sense?  Trust me it does work.  Knocked over wheel barrow and tangled in two moto-bikes....... added about three meters and cut the wire.
Bought ten poles like these
and electrician strung wire to Bertine's house.   Yea, she has electricity now.  This is exciting, as she is a very hard working helper in the ministry here and has been on the waiting list for electricity for months.

What would any tale be without food????  Noelle, I think I found the ten pounds I lost.

Note:  (by myself) means I had no interpreter or anyone who knew me with me.  I throw that in to impress     those who understand that I am in a foreign nation that speaks French and local dialects, not English and I can survive.....

building awana play area 23Aug2012 part one

AWANA program at church!!  Well not exactly Awana but patterned after it.  Sort of like it.  Our version.  
Pastor Moussa, Christian, Christophe, Atiyodi and Tchaa working together have made up a program for the youth at Tchandida.  Two hours in the afternoon of the first and fourth Sunday of each month will be divided between Bible memorization, game time, message from the Bible and some treats.

Laying out a play area, between the church and Sunday school buildings, it was decided that this tree had to go.  My son Shane (24 hour tree service) allowing that 5000 miles was out side of his service area was not called and the tree went African style.
Everyone helps in what ever way they are able and the work goes forward.  While the men start on the tree removal.....
...the children carry buckets of sand and stone.
Digging out the roots disturbed what might have been a lunchtime snack had we some fire. Instead, he became a doggy treat.
Dig, shovel, cut, chop, pick, chop, dig, cut......
this is going to take a while
tote, carry, fetch, Manpower is the greatest commodity available in Togo and it accomplishes the most.
Modern tool is one that is machine made in the last 150 years.  Most are made as they were 1000 years ago.
Having had his treat and tired of all the goings on, our guard dog/mascot/ possible lunch, naps.
Oh.  Here is real lunch.  This was a treat prepared by one of the church women.  Kinda of like a steak fry dipped in hot fish sauce.  Actually quite good. (Have not found something I will not eat, yet)
Went for a little walk to enjoy the neighborhood.  
We are well below ground level and still cutting roots.  This is a really efficient way to take a tree down and not have a "stump removal" problem.
With little warning and no call of "timber"  it is on the ground.
As the tree is reduced to manageable size pieces, it is hauled away by a professional crew.
love their work ethic.
No stump grinding and an easy back fill.
One of the hardest working of our crew.  Every time I interact with the men and women of our village I am impressed by how hard they toil.  Atiyodi is not only a hard working young man, he is very intelligent and a leader of men.  Probably the most active worker in all aspects of the ministry at Tchandida.
As the tree disappears, work is directed once again to the play area.  This picture was taken from where the tree stood, looking back toward the church.

Monday, August 27, 2012

building awana play area 23Aug2012 part two

This is interesting, as I have yet to learn this game.   First a large square, with an equally large X and 0 are laid out.  (About 17 meters square)
The lines are then trenched with a pickaxe.  (About 3 inches wide and four inches deep)
While this is being done the material is prepared for making concrete.
Final touches to the satisfaction of the Mason.
These are some of the young people who have been hauling sand, stone and water.  Everyone wants to help.
Atiyodi makes the concrete.  He mixed the sand, stone, cement and water all afternoon. I like this young man.
[Blogspot is free, so i should not complain if occasionally it does not work exactly right.  I am sure there is a way to fix this picture. However, it takes nearly eight hours to upload this page of pictures and you can double click on it if you want to see it.]
Mix, carry, pour, trowel, carry, pour, mix, trowel and  repeat....
On any project you have the man who everyone follows.  A craftsman, such as a mason, gets to direct what he is responsible for.
When he is done he is entitled to take credit for as well as responsibility for his work.
Momma knows when you disturb the earth she gets food and brings her brood......
When a worker drops some food from his mouth, it does not go to waist nor to waste.
The work is done for the day and just in time as it starts to rain on our way home.
Driving is going to be so boring back in the states.........
You do not have to live here long to fall in love with the people and the land.  
Next post are just some odds and ends again.  However, the first of September may be an adventure day on my own and Sunday the second will be our first Awana program.  Stay tuned . . . . .

Friday, August 24, 2012

Newest Family Member

PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSING FLOW


 Mommy in the morning
and in the afternoon

Proud and happy Jon with Heidi and "Emma"
Three beautiful girls
To love and protect
 "that makes me the middle child"
 "and I am the big sister"
Paparazzi arrive to take pictures........


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekend 18-19 August 2012

A collection of random bits and pieces of the past week. The first two for Jon and the next two for Heidi.  lol

 This is the extra fuel filter for the Toyota.
 Look, eight out of ten times I get it parked right on the first try...... Getting better.
 Heidi, your bougainvillea in the garage area is nearly six foot tall.  Well actually it is having some trouble with it's root structure.
 Duct tape can only due so much.  Will buy another plant and try again.  I am not much of a gardener....
 Love the market in the village.  Was up on the second level looking for material to make bean bags (actually "corn bags") for the games at Awana at Tchandida.  Had seven little kids climbing all over me and their mothers thought it was hilarious.  Next time I will get Christophe to take some pictures.  Hope to have our version of Awana started the first Sunday in September.
 Guinea fowl are actually a native African bird.  Those in the neighborhood are really nice to have around as they eat ticks and weed seeds.  The control of ticks helps reduce the spread of diseases among animals and people.
 Now to find something to help the okra.  The people work hard to get a living from the earth.  Thanks Adam.
Every Sunday is a new challenge on the road to church.  This was today's.
Love to see kids not more than six years old doing their part in getting the benches out to the sunday school.
Newella.  Alafea. Alifea. That is all the Kabye I know so far, but it works. Good Morning.  How are you.   I am fine.
The time between services is the fellowship time.
These two gentleman asked to have their picture taken  and I will print a copy for each of them for next Sunday.  
Singing lets everyone know that church is starting.
The song leader does it all.  The only musical instruments we have are tambourines. 
Hey, I know this one.  Voices blend in French, Kabye and one low volume English.
Everyone participates in singing and answering questions as well as asking them of the preacher.
Early afternoon rain as seen from the "upper room" at home.
Not much chance of loosing weight with meals like this.  Corn, meat, salad and my Tonic.
One for Abby.  While eating on the porch, I saw something st the wall looking for his lunch too.  
Here is a good question.  Hope I can come up with a good answer.  Right now I am enjoying this adventure so much that it seems like it is all for me.  trying to sow some good seed........

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sunday at the conferance

Sunday about 0900hrs i left Tsiko and headed toward Adeto and the youth at Kpalime.  As I approached Adeto I came across ten or more government trucks with police and several big black SUV's with well dressed men in suits.  It looked like the start of a political rally. (was)  I stopped along the main street to see what was developing and asked a policeman walking by What?  His reply "Prime Minister".  Since it was only the President I was interested in meeting, I drove on.  Not far.  Stop here and shut off your engine was the next policeman's order.  Sat for five minutes and he waved me on.  As I traveled down the road I met at least twenty more government vehicles, several large buses loaded with well dressed people, taxis and private vehicles in abundance.  Will not find out all of the story until I am back in Kara.



Arrived at conference and got to center of grounds where we agreed to meet.  Since it was not yet noon and there was a morning service in progress I went to see....
a Pastor from Texas had the message for the young people. 
he was "on fire" and brought a challenge to all.
from all those empty seats, to this
After the service they had an awards ceremony to thank those who served.  You have to skip down to the last video as they are out of sequence at this point.  Anyway the last video clip is of the "kitchen" ladies who fed 1500 mouths for three days.  After they were recognized, they returned to the kitchen to prepare Sunday diner.  Cooking over an open fire in the courtyard, they had prepared rice, fish and water for all.
I was made welcome back in the cooking area and enjoyed their happy attitude while they served.  Discovered that it is customary for everyone to bring their own eating utensils (like your own mess gear in the military) and I had none.  Bought a loaf of bread from vendor and hollowed out heal to use as bowl.. Filled with brown rice, it was delicious.  Did I mention that I love the people of Togo..???
Little change to return trip.  Taxi was leased by other church group and they did not have room for all of ours on return trip to Kara.  So, in addition to the six that came with us, we had two men in back of truck with additional luggage.  What wonderful attitudes.  No complaint about riding in back of truck for two hundred miles of bumpy roads.....
This is all thirteen of our group.  They are great.  On the way back I talked the ladies into singing from eight till after nine p.m. and it was wonderful. Many were tunes I knew from when I was a youth at camp.  The return trip was a blessing in and of itself.
These were the ladies from the kitchen.  I can not really begin to appreciate what it took from all those responsible for making this conference "work".
We arrived back in Kara after eleven p.m. and were home by midnight.

Getting out of town


Having finished early at the Toyota dealer, I went to the "SuperMach" to do some grocery shopping.  Got in the store at 12:20 just as they dimmed the lights to tell everyone that it was time to close for midday "break".
Six tangerines five onions and two chocolate bars was all the shopping I got done.
thought I would run by the American Embassy (did not know they moved) but could not find it.

Typical Togo traffic, just a little more than Kara.  Enough, time to find my way back to the road to Kpalime.  Let me see,  go down here turn left, no left turn, or, here I can turn left......
WOW Vehiclespedestriansandvendorsalloccupythesamespace.  Someone left a taxi in the middle of this and I had less than four inches clearance between the truck and it on one side and the vendors actually had to pull some merchandise back from the front of their stores so I and those following me could get by.
I love a challenge.  Once I got out, I went around the main part of Lome three times and could not get to the road I came in on.  Finally found by following a taxi and another vehicle down an alley and across a back street, the connection to the road I wanted.  i think.  o.k. this looks kinda familiar.  (pulls into Total Gas Station)  "Bon Jour" (point down road in direction I am going) Kpalime? (receive affirmative nod and "Kpalime" in response) 
Now this is familiar.  Back thru Kpalime and to end of good road and ten kilometers of bad road and left turn at Adeda and 3.5k to Tsiko.   Yea me.
Welcome guest house at the ABWE Baptist Hospital at Tsiko.  This will be my haven for Friday and Saturday night.  even though the Media Center and bookstore were closed they allowed me to buy a case of Hymnals and Saturday they opened again for me to purchase some coloring books, childrens Bibles and other material we may be able to use for Awana program at church.  These people are an oasis for pilgrims in a strange land.
this was the view from the front porch of my room.  Up those steps and to the left is the dining hall and good food with good fellowship.  I could write several pages on the conversations and fellowship I experienced in forty hours here.  Rested and refreshed, I left Sunday morning for the youth conference in Kpalime.

Lome Adventure

Now it was my turn.  The hotel I stayed at the first night was in Kpalime where the youth conference was.

Named Chez Fanny, it turned out to be excellent by anyone's standards.  Clean, neat and well furnished.

The large double bed was very comfortable.
The room was so well ventilated that I did not need the air conditioner, only the ceiling fan.
If you look closely on the dresser you will see both a battery lantern and a candle with a box of matches.  Another sign of a well appointed room in Togo.

Thought I would go for a little drive before settling down for the night and headed out of town for a ten kilometer ride.  Wound up going fifteen before I  found a convenient place to turn around.  Saw a white couple and a Togolese man by side of road and stopped to talk.  The young couple were on holiday from Spain and the Togolese man was their tour guide.  I gave them a ride back to Kpalime and a gift shop they were going to.  Exchanged cards with the tour guide, Gregoire K. DOM, and learned that the young couple were staying at the same hotel I was.  Leaving them at the gift shop, I returned to Chez Fanny.

Next order of business was diner.  I pointed to the menu and said mixed salad, then covering the word Avocado I pointed to the words "vinaigrette dressing" to indicate that was what I wanted on my mixed salad.
Nodding her head and saying "we" she left and returned with my mixed salad AND the avocado salad with the vinaigrette dressing.  Naturally I ate both and they were good (even the avocado).
Before my entree arrived, Josep and Alba joined me for diner. While they spoke no French, their English was very good.  We had a most enjoyable meal and talked of music, travel and history.  They were excellent diner companions and I am thankful that God put them in my path.
Since they drew a promise of my calling on them if I ever get to Barcelona, I must consider a trip to Spain and perhaps Germany and Greece and .........
Not about to rule out any adventure.
Next morning was an excellent breakfast before "hitting the road".
Even the coffee has extra flavor in a foreign land.
Typical of Togo, everything carries extra.
Jon, this one is for you.  Do you see what is not there?  
Got to put a plug in for the people at CFAO Motors.  Especially Jerome FLEGEAU, who is responsible for parts and service.  I arrived at 10:55 am and was introduced to him by a salesman named James.  Mr. FLEGEAU speaks wonderful English and personally saw to it that the fuel filter was replaced, an extra filter provided and all in twenty minutes.  Then, as a courtesy, they cleaned the truck inside and out.  In less than an hour I was back on the road.
Hello.  Anyone in Togo needs Toyota, Citroen, Yamaha, Bridgestone, or Massey Ferguson product or service, this is the place to go.  Jon, when you get ready to trade this truck, you have to talk to James.... I'm just saying.

Any way, I love how my God not only opens doors but makes the way smooth.  Now we see how I "get out of town".