Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
You've been asking for photos of the progress on our new home. It will still be at least a month before we can move in but it's come a looooong ways! The pictures are:
Monday, August 2, 2010
FS was hired to make the bags for an International conference held in Hawaii last week. Everyone who participated was given a bag. Here are a couple of photos of something VERY special to us. People that we know and love like family from Fiji at the conference----with their bags made by the women that we are beginning to love like family here!
Friday, July 30, 2010
- Heather always writes these blogs but I thought it was high time I (Steve) penned an entry. There are many fun advantages of living where we are. I thought I might mention just a few:
- 1. Where in the West can you stand 3 stories high on bamboo scaffolding wearing regulation safety boots (flipflops) with no safety equipment at all?
- 2. Where else can you drive on the wrong side of the road with traffic coming straight at you and it be quite normal ?
- I have not used a seat belt since I got here.
- Where else can you drink 12 liters of water in a day and not pee once ?
- For us guys, we can pee on any wall we want to any time you like and it is quite normal (I actually have not tried this yet!)
- You can play your music as loud as you like in your house or anywhere and no one complains.
- When driving, the main point is to use your horn as much as you can so that people know that you are there. You try and overtake on any side you like whenever you like even if someone is coming from the other direction.
- My electrician turns up to work sometimes in bare feet and wires the mains board live!
- Last week we lifted a 400kg machine 4 stories high---with just bamboo scaffolding.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Many people have talked to us about how we're pretty neat to be willing to live like we do. But it's really not true! It's often a struggle, but one that we have Help coping with since He provides the gace to do what He asks of us. It's also made easier by the fact that our neighbors have so very little. How can I complain when they live with so much less?
I don't think Steve struggles with it much but I'm ashamed to say that I don't always make it beyond that and walk in the direct opposite of not complaining---- into an actual attitude of gratitude.
It always seems like when my heart's a bit hard there's something or someone that challenges me out of it enough that I struggle with it and finally sort it out inside. This week it was one of our co-workers who at this point is only here for a half a year or so but wants to be here long term. How's she challenging me?
Next week she's moving in with one of FS's women. She'll be living in one tiny room with this woman and her son. It's not even big enough for her to stand up in. She will have to go to the communal toilet to bathe and do other things, she will be washing her clothes by hand, enduring the heat without a fan, eating what this family eats and probably being sick part of the time from it.
Why? Because she feels called to love others by living among them. Sounds like Someone else whom I admire!
Do I feel called to live like that right now with our kids? No. But the big question is: Am I willing to at some point? Not sure I can answer that right now.
But what I can definitely do is shift my attitude back to being humbly grateful for all that I DO have!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
There's a homeschooling forum that I've gone to for years and even though I'm not homeschooling anymore I still enjoy checking up on my friends there who also live overseas. They've been a huge support to me over the years since we understand each other's unique challenges of living outside of our homeland.
At the top of the forum today is a note saying that a certain lady will be missed. It's probably been there for a while but I hadn't noticed it. She's not 'International' but I remember had joined in the conversations in the International corner now and then. When I looked further I found that she died a couple of weeks ago of the ovarian cancer that she'd been fighting for the last 4 years.
Then I noticed the most profound thing I've seen in a long time. Under everyone's picture on the forum page is a place to put your location that is attached to every post that you make. Most people have 'Texas' or 'Thailand', etc. on theirs. I had noticed what this lady's has said in the past but it hit me like a lightning bolt today. Still on the forum put there by her well before she died, her location says, "Exactly where I'm meant to be."
I've been very lax about our blog lately! Very. Sorry about that! Life's been a bit crazy. I was in the States for two weeks talking about the business and as a side bonus (a big one!) getting to see various family and friends. Steve did a great job as Mr. Mom/Mum and the kids stepped up and helped out, too.
Some recent events since:
-We're pretty sure a new strain of Swine Flu that's in our city hit everyone in the family except Steve and Aaron last week. I think I had the other one last year when we were in Fiji so got this one less intensely than the kids. They're pretty much over it now--but was not fun!
-The teenage daughter of one of the ladies who works with us committed suicide last week. This obviously had a huge impact on everyone here.
-On the flip-side, one of the women took a 'swim' over the weekend. Was precious to witness! There were others who wanted to join her but couldn't because of interference from family members.
-Speaking of the business, we NEED ORDERS! There are some for later in the works but in the past week there have been a number of days with no work for the women to do. They still receive their paycheck regardless, but we need orders to continue to function and grow so that more women can be free!
-Steve's made huge progress on our future home lately! There's still a big job left that involves a lot of welding which the local workers can't do. This means that Steve will have to do it all himself and will take some time, but we'll get there! Pictures soon.
-Meanwhile, the huge rat that lived in our drain finally took the bait and bit the dust the other day. Adam especially was relieved!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
We just got back from a wonderful break in the cool mountains of Darjeeling! Our city apparently had the hottest four days of the summer while we were away and we were not sad to miss them.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
I was in a taxi at a stoplight. Usually beggars and people selling things come up at stoplights and try to engage you. And the windows are always open because it's too hot to shut them.
Unexpectedly, I had a cobra shoved in the window at me! There are men who take them around places, show them (somehow it 'blesses' you) and then you're supposed to give them money.
I had carefully memorized the phrase, "Not my custom," in the language to calmly say on just such an occasion. But did I remember that in the heat of the moment? Nope! The only thing I could remember how to yell was, "No, snake! No, snake! Go away”
Thursday, April 8, 2010
It's not easy to find ways to relax here. The guys in our family have managed to find a couple, though! Steve's had a motorbike here for years and that gets taken out for rides now and then. Backyard cricket games are popular as well! I WISH I'd gotten a picture of Adam yesterday when he came home from school and wanted to help with the construction. He was carrying 4 big bricks at a time up two flights of stairs. The local workers were amazed. Guess for him that qualifies as recreation as well!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Lots has happened towards our permanent quarters recently. Lots of BIG things, helped along by a lot of sacrificial sweat on Kiwi brows by teams that have been here recently.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Monday, March 1, 2010
There's one crow that is giving me a new perspective on his species, however. In fact, I've found myself going out of my way to watch him. He's probably not unusual, but he's giving me a cameo glimpse into a different side of these creatures.
There's a large mango tree right outside the window of what will be our living room eventually. And there's a nest in view from that perch that's not available from below. A mother crow and three or four little blue eggs rest in it. The crow that impresses me, however, is the male who is an excellent example of the word 'devotion.' He is absolutely vigilant and aggressive in his efforts to protect the nest and his mate. He's is on guard every time I see him, his head turning and his black eyes constantly scanning the area. He goes to battle with other crows who come too near at the drop of a hat (or flap of a wing?) and will even fly up and sit within arms reach from where I stand to watch him if he sees me as a threat, fluffing his feathers and cawing a warning. He only leaves his post briefly to quickly provide some food to his mate's waiting beak. It's a heart warming display.
How often, I wonder, do I pass by other things thinking they're unattractive, not useful, or not worthy of notice, and miss the beauty that their Creator put there just beneath the surface? And what a wonderful mental picture of how He watches over His creation!
Sunday, February 28, 2010
We've had quite a bit of deliberation in the past week as to how our family was going to respond to the day. We finally decided 'to each his/her own.' After all the paint is said to come off completely in a week or so. And we've only heard ONE report of blond hair taking three months to right itself....
Rachel's getting over being sick so that made up her mind for her. Steve and I weren't too keen to play actually, but Steve got his face and hands done up by K. when he went down to take the picture! Our other three? See if you can pick them out of the crowd! And, no, that's not an overexposed photo. They really are mostly a weird, bright purplie pink!!! It's much brighter than it looks in the photo. And they don't look too much better yet after a shower.
Experiencing the culture at it's best?! (They actually had a blast!)
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Yesterday I was behind a young man in this very situation and what I wanted to say (but couldn't think quickly how to say it in his language) was, "Just step out." It got me thinking. I've been using escalators my whole life. I have no fear of them. I know that when I put my foot on that step it's going to be OK and that when I step out in faith it will catch me and carry me along. I mean who's ever heard of 'The Great Escalator Tragedy of 1998' or the like anyway?!
It made me think about life in the One. How sometimes it's hard to watch someone we care about scrabble in their fledgling faith just like people forcing themselves to step onto the escalator for the first time. Their particular trial may look easy to me but how can I after my own years of experience in 'escalator riding' frown on their false starts? All I can do is smile, take them by the hand, and step on beside them just like I have to little elderly ladies and children in Metro stations here.
Or how at times I find myself trying to hang on with my own two hands to something I can't really control just like people grabbing the handrails before their feet move. The end result is the same but it makes for a lot more uncomfortable start! At those times I need to, "Just step out," myself!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
A. reminded me the other day of a very sweet connection with the yard. It was Steve and teams that he brought over that helped to clean it up. He himself welded together the swing set------not knowing that HIS kids would only a few years later be playing on it! Isn't our Father good?
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
A council representative came by yesterday afternoon to look around and K went to a meeting with them this afternoon. They told us to get on with the project! The man who came yesterday was very impressed with some of the methods being used in the work that he'd never seen before and wanted to know how to do them.
So relationally in the district we're better off now than we were before the bricks fell yesterday and the mob came. And the team can get cracking on some of the more intense stuff again tomorrow!
Just want to add that even through the drama of the previous day we always were aware that Someone else was in control! Situations that we can't control on our own seem to heighten our awareness of that fact. People in our building were a bit nervous but no one was terrified. Two people there had been reading about Nehemiah rebuilding the walls that morning and the difficulties they encountered and immediately felt like it was reassurance that we were also just under attack. Everyone involved is rejoicing that it's clear now that it was allowed for the good!
Tarps had been put up on the sides of the building so that should any stray bits of brick wall accidentally break off and come down the wrong way, the tarps funnel the rubble to the side of the pathways and away from people passing by.
This happened yesterday and the tarp worked exactly as planned. Unfortunately, the impression of the people walking past at the time was that they narrowly escaped serious injury. An understandable reaction really! But when a perceived wrong occurs there is no checking it out first here. People react and think, "A wrong has been done so we must do something about it," and mob justice begins.
Steve was the first on the scene and quickly tried to calm 30 screaming men. I was about to take Hannah to her afternoon classes at school but we couldn't get out the front way because of the mob. K quickly arrived from across the street bringing his fluent language skills with him much to Steve's relief. At that point I took Hannah and slipped out the back exit. I didn't like leaving my husband in that situation but knew I couldn't do anything and really didn't want Hannah to be there either. The other kids were already at school.
After we left the mob swelled to about 60 and a few tried to come in the door. Steve sent the team upstairs to lock them inside where we're living just in case. The local workers had escaped out the back exit as soon as the trouble started since they would have been the most likely to be beaten by the crowd. The police arrived about 30 minutes later and when they said to go ahead and clear the rubble from the alley, some of the most ardent protesters turned around and helped!
We were concerned to leave the half finished work sitting without the tarp there for safety but feelings were too hot in the neighborhood to do anything about it last night. Early this morning Steve and K put it back up to the smiles of people walking past. Everything was peaceful and normal again!
An interesting and important cultural lesson! The main thing is to stay calm and in no way be aggressive back. There have been times K. has just stood there and only said, "I'll talk to one of you but not all," until everyone left except a spokesperson.
Most people here have to simply accept so much in life without the ability to do anything about it. It's understandable really why frustration levels run so high and people can become volatile. (Read the above for the rest of the story!)
One main by product has been a larger world view and a whole heap of perspective. We had a young lady for dinner last night who worked here for a couple of weeks and then did a tour of the rest of the country. She kind of debriefed at the table and it's clear that she'll go back home a person ready to serve way beyond her previous comfort zone. A few minutes ago a gentleman who is here on a team was making comments like, "I'm so grateful for my hard pallet back at the guesthouse because at least I won't be sleeping on the street tonight."
And then there's, Adam, our own little family philosopher. On the way home from school yesterday he said out of the blue, "Mom, there are lots of different things here. There are things that are beautiful. There are things that are sad. There are things that are disgusting!"