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....