Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Galore

Besides thinking about the amazing gift of Jesus Christ, my favorite parts of this Season are baking and watching my son enjoy the Season. : ) I am not working as much these days and I have had time to get a "jump start" on the Season. In fact, here we are the 9th of December and I am done shopping! I am almost done wrapping! The Christmas cards are mailed, the packages are sent, and the baking is done! (Okay, I admit that I will probably create more baking needs!) I have been working on decorating here and there. I think I am going to leave some of the decorations in the closet this year. I can only handle so much clutter!

This is some of the baking that has taken place...

A couple of the pies went for the bake sale we have each year for Moms Together
Hoards of cream cheese mints...

And for some of the baking I had a little helper who was excited about gingerbread men

We got our first artificial Christmas tree. I've been wanting a slim tree and last January when all-things-Christmas went on sale I found this one online. I got it all ready for my little helper to come home to finish it off.

He loved opening the new ornament that my mom sent. She sends one every year. : ) This year he got Garfield!
And his best buddy was over for a sleepover so he joined in the ornament fun

It was a great time together!
And ta-da...the finished product!

K/1 Christmas Program

The Prairie Kid had a part in his Kindergarten/1st Grade Christmas play last night. Although there were only 2 lines it was so much fun to see him in this program.

Here is a little snapshot for you to enjoy:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Farm

We spent 4 days at the farm. Our plan was to finish building a shelter for hay. We learned quite quickly that things don't always usually go as planned in West Africa. : ) The blessing in this "plan gone out the window" is that the shelter DID get put up! It just wasn't us who put it up. Our trip was encouragement enough for the dairy farmer and her workers to get this shelter up! They were working diligently on finishing it while we were there.

Here is a feed storage area on the farm

A great contrast between old cart and new tractor (in the background)

The old tractor is shot and the new is being borrowed


Milking stanchion

Milking machine

Vet vaccinating

I love this...the vet's cell phone : )

View across farm

Rice fields

City America

We set up camp early in the morning the first full day in West Africa after driving to the farm. We left the capital city at about 5:30am to miss the traffic and that gave us the ability to set up camp before the heat of the day struck.

There were a couple of workers on the ranch that could speak a little English. They called our camp "City America." It was fun the way they said it with an accent. : )

There were 3 couples in City America: our friends that we went with, the host missionaries, and us. Each couple had their own tent.

The host missionaries were very good to us and brought some mattresses for us to sleep on. It made all the difference for me. They also brought a solar panel to run 12 volt fans to help keep us all cooler at night. Another blessing! It was HOT and HUMID to say the least (like 90 degrees with 60-80% humidity) . I think I sweat BUCKETS while there!

Now let me warn you...City America was HIGH TECH! Try not to be jealous of all our amenities!

The "bathroom"
(that is a toilet seat on a wood frame on a cement slab over a hole in the ground)
We decided to put a sheet over the doorway when we realized that we didn't have privacy Day 2. Our "signal" that someone was in the bathroom was that the toilet paper roll you see on the doorway branch would be gone. We shared our bathroom with lots of ants, other bugs and even some lizards!

And the "shower"
Our "plumbing" (spit bath, anyone?)

"Clean water" (We used this for everything but drinking!!! That is called SURRENDER! It had leaves, dirt, and sometimes bugs in it)

The "dish washer" (and we used the "clean water" to wash dishes!)
Our "garbage disposal"
The "laundry room"
The "stove"

"Fridge" and "pantry"...the bucket with the hanging cup was our "sink"
Here is what part of our lunch looked like one day
(and guess what? They don't refrigerate mayo!)

We collected some of our trash for the local kids and families...
some people's trash is another's treasure

Monday, November 21, 2011

Taking It All In

We left for the farm early in the morning. It was an hour and a half drive. All I did was watch and try to take in everything that my eyes were seeing. You cannot just take pictures of everything you want to in West Africa. You need to have a relationship (aka. permission) to take pictures of people. So, for the drive to the farm I just soaked up the sites with my eyes. I was able to take pictures on the way back though. This is what part of the drive was like:

There is a constant "clash" of you can see the big house in the back with shanty's directly in front of it

Many buildings are not finished. This is on the outskirts of the capital city:

There are many mosques

Ever been to a furniture store like this?

This is an unusual site...
All along the roads in the city there are shacks (aka. homes/stores) that people are living in and/or selling from
This is in the is the livestock sale area

A kiln...randomly placed along a road
There is trash all over. Here they are burning it along the street:
Out of town a ways we saw this pothole

The river by the farm
A main country road

The bush
Some beautiful mountains