hey all..the last few days have been a whirlwind. we, as a team, went out into the bush to see some agriculture sites and landed in a city named st louis. obvisouly, i know nothing about ag..but some of the other engineers are looking for projects to partner with from the US. really neat. anywho--i posted pics on my facebook account from the last few days. ok back to saint louis--it was the former capital of senegal until the 1900s. it is a run down version of new orleans. pretty interesting history that i will not bore you with. onto the highlights---hmmm, let me see. we stayed in a rustic hotel--no AC and complimentary room bombing for bugs and mosquito nets. needless to say, i might have slept 4 hrs. a good experience, nonetheless.
the best part of the trip was yesterday. Pastor Malik and his wife Feliune--who are the only known people trying to minister to the most unreached people group in senegal--the Wolof. these 2 individuals blew me away. they set up a womens center a few years ago and the Lord has given them favor. within the center--is a school where women from 14+ can be trained in sewing, embroidere, cooking,ect so they have a valuable trade. most importantly, they share the gospel with them daily. the women know when they attend this school--they will hear about Jesus. they are meeting such a practical need to change the lives of so many women--as well as meeting a spirital need. imagine how this opportunity will change generations to come.
this brings me to the highlight of yesterday--KIDDOS! it is really hard to take pics of people as a whole here b/c they believe you are going to later cast a spell on them or take the pic to a Maribou who will. Maribou are prestigious men in the muslim faith who dabble in the occult. their shrouded veil images are ALL over here. you havent seen creepy until you have seen this. the most mind blowing aspect is--people give, yes give, their children to these men. one maribou may have 50-200 kids that he takes loving care of...NOT exactly. he makes them panhandle all day and if they do not come back with 500 CFA (~1 USD), they are mistreated. because giving alms is one of the 5 pillars of islam, money is frequently given to kids. ok so--feloiune and her husband contacted a maribou (which is rather unheard of) and with Gods favor--they provide a free meal and heathcare for the boys once a month. a nurse is on staff who checks them out, takes a pic for documentation, and basic meds that are donated from the US are given. well...news is traveling and now 3 maribou have allowed their boys to come. i was able to witness 53 boys being taken care. some of my pics are the young ones--who are still longing for attention. they were in my face, holding my hand, singing to me and so excited to just be kids for a day. the older boys--are so hardened. they have this certain glaze over their eyes...breaks my heart.
also in the pics---are the neighborhood kiddos that heard we had balloons. they LOVED them. we played for hours though i can not speak wolof. they sang song to me...i tried to sing along...they laughed. it was awesome. little girls just wanting to be held, doing my hair, and scratching my arms to see if there was black underneath. so sweet.
a great day...needless to say. today--i was able to be alone for the 1st time since arriving. it has been wonderful. we are going to the market again today and tommorow is church where...drumroll....i will be wearing my african outfit. a beautiful top and skirt. i cant wait!!! pics to come with that on. my host family says they can find a groom for me--esp with that outfit on. im sure my dad would love that.
everytime i sit down to write just a bit---i write a novel. sorry for that. love you all....
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
( i think), and i spent 3 great days in england. had a great time with my friend nicola and reunited with an elementary school friend that is marrying a brit. i love how paths twist and turn in life--and if you are lucly enough--you get to re-meet some people. anywho--after 3 days in england, i met the LEGS team and we took the "chunnel" to paris then a flight to senegal. yes, that means i was in 3 countries in 1 day. i felt like i was on the amazing race...minus the glam. landing in senegal was surreal...looking out the window onto a flat, dry, dusty and unknown country sent a rush to my heart--with a tad of fear, if i am honest. after making it through customs, i always take deeper breaths and thank the Lord for his provision. all of our bags arrived and we were off to the missionary home. oh--key thing--we were greeted by missionaries that have been in west africa for 20 years--and they speak wolof and french. my french is improving by the hour--as i am trying to communicate. as far as wolof--well, im in trouble :)
today was our 1st day on the ground and it was incredible. we met with 2 handicap centers--to discuss our role, goals, and i offered up my services. they were excited to have me--so i will spend tom with a group of 15 physiotherapists (some of which were trained in europe). should be interesting. here is where i wish i could rattle off french and didnt need a translator. unfortunately, bonjour doesnt get too far.
my translator today was awesome--her name is Ndeye and she shared her testimony with me when we had an alone moment in the taxi. keep in mind that 95% of this country is muslim as i tell you this. she distinctly remembers thinking Jesus Christ was truth at 5 yrs old. how amazing...as she had not been taught about him in her muslim home. at 20, she prayed for the Lord to confirm that He was the hope for her future and eternity. She asked that He would confirm that mohammad was not the true savior. in that very moment, she felt a flood of peace. she knew Jesus was her Lord and saviour. this made my eyes well up with the tears. the cost of becoming a beliver for ndeye: her husband left her with 2 small boys. she was a single parent in a 3rd world country with few opportunities. the reward--her father saw her strength amongst the pain and accepted the Lord as his saviour. this is what life is about. the pain and refinement--so that the Lord is given glory. Her story makes me want to get up in the morning. I love that we serve a God who redeems and restores. He is indeed good.
another highlight of the day--i had a meeting with a group of PTs which was a tad unnerving. i walked into a room with 5 women and 2 men--and my lovely translator. they wanted to hear from me. about what i asked??? i hate feeling unprepared. its not as if i knew id meet them...but still, its like showing up to a test without studying. i took a deep breath and prayed that the Lord would bridge our cultural gaps. He did. He gave me peace, words, and we became friends. how you might ask?? fashion. these woman are decked out in the most beautiful african clothing, gold jewerly galore and head coverings that would make your jaw drop. after discussing business, i commented on their clothing and how i admire that they do rehab in this. they laughed...and walls fell down. its amazing how laughter does that. i commented on one woman's bracelets--and she quickly removed one and put in on my wrist. she insisted i keep it. i said all i know to say--merci beaucoup--thank you very much. so i sported a beautiful gold bracelet with my boring scrubs today. its always humbling how giving people are.
alright--your eyes must be tired from this novel. thank you for taking time to read my thoughts and life. please pray that the Lord would make use of me tom in the handicap center. pray that i would be salt and light in a muslim country.
ps--i stood on the western most tip of the african continent today. thus--i was the closest i could ever be to you guys while in africa :)