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Hey Look! An Update!

August 6, 2012

I thought, perhaps, I would simply give you all a brief update on how we’re doing, since I don’t think I do that very often.  Daily life is not all that exciting.  Well, I take that back.  Daily life is fairly normal, interrupted by bursts of “oh-yeah-we-live-in-Congo” moments.  The best example of this is from Saturday.  The chain of events reminds us of our dwelling place.  My produce lady, Mama Victorine, had stopped by with her weekly visit and to bring my order.  As she was leaving, she hoisted her bag onto her head, in classic African style.  Unfortunately, one of the watermelons rolled out of the bag and crashed onto our porch steps.  The mess was minimal, the watermelon had cracked perfectly in half and landed with both sides upright.  She looked devastated since she had hoped to sell it, so I offered to pay her half price for it.  She took it and I took the watermelon inside, where Matthew was already feeding the kids an early dinner.  We then proceeded to have an impromptu watermelon feast.  Amelia LOVES watermelon and ate a TON.  Hours later, I was wandering through the room and noticed I had missed a puddle of watermelon juice that had run off the table.  As I followed the trail of juice to the floor I saw that I was not the first who had noticed it.  There was a cockroach, even bigger than the previous one two weeks ago, drinking the juice.  It didn’t even notice me.  Since Matthew was home, I had him take care of it.  He was even nice enough to clean up the rest of the juice.  How sweet (pun intended).

Matthew has been busy working at the MAF house across the street starting the building that will house our internet.  Matthew is taking lots of pictures and will probably post about it once it’s finished in a few weeks.  Already there have been delays, like the blocks not being delivered on time, but there is already most of a building standing.

I have been busy keeping up with the kids.  Amelia is very near to walking now, suddenly having the ability to stand whenever she comes to a stop and has taken a few one-steps.  Her first molar is bursting through and caused her some pain yesterday, but she’s tough.  She spent half of church yesterday looking around, recognizing friends, and smiling and waving at them.  She saw our neighbor’s sentinel, Excellance (yes, that’s his real name…say it with a French accent, of course), and cooed, laughed and waved until she got his attention.  Then, she heard Papa Mosengo singing two rows behind us and did the same thing.  Oh, sweet Millie-bean.  She recently got her foot stuck in her crib slats (it’s a locally built crib, so none of those ridiculous safety precautions).  I wasn’t home, so my sweet sitter, Lydia, and Papa Mosengo were able to rescue her by prying the crib slats open.  Levi has been talking about it ever since.

Oh, Levi.  He talks and talks and talks.  He has talked non-stop since he was just under two.  The kid’s vocabulary is bigger than mine.  Now, he’ll speak some nonsense, and I remind him to use “real words” and he looks at me, deadpan, and tells me that was Lingala, as if I’m simply not able to understand.  He’s clever and smart and gets life here just as much as we do.  He wakes up in the morning and asks if the power is on.  We were having water issues yesterday (see below) and he heard the neighbor’s generator come on and asked if the tanks were filling, even before we put the two together.  He’s scary smart.  But, that’s not to say he’s ahead.  He still refuses to use the toilet – he has never used it.  Not for lack of trying; he sits on it regularly.  He just isn’t interested.  You can lead the boy to the toilet, but you can’t make him use it!

SNEL has moved on to some other poor neighborhood and left their issues in our wake.  Our neighbors did have to pay a little, once everything was settled.  We were able to get out of further harassment and it seems to have worked out so far.  However, it is the time of year when the dams get too much silt and sand in them, because the equipment is the original Belgian equipment from the 1960’s, just like the power lines running through town, and are not in proper repair.  So, we power share.  The first week it was on EITHER from 9am until 3:30pm OR 4pm until 10pm.  We did have power all night, mostly.  But, then they switched it up and last week it was on Monday and Tuesday, and went off Wednesday morning.  It hasn’t been coming back on until after 10pm, going off again between 6 and 8 in the morning.  Our generator runs to keep the food cool during the times I make lunch and dinner, but otherwise we just hang out and continue life without power.

Our neighbor next door is some government dude, head of import, we’re told.  I’ve never actually seen him, but he hires moonlighting policemen to guard his house and has a collection of cars that are the envy of anyone who thinks those things are important.  He also runs his generator anytime the power is off, turning it off only to fill it with fuel, I think.  His banana tree is hanging over our wall with a hand of bananas ripening.  Matthew says “Congo law” is that we get those bananas.  Hee hee.  Anyway, he bought and paid for the well that is on our property, because he didn’t have any room on his own land for it.  So, the well itself is on our plot, but the pump and control belong to him.  Well, he spent all last week fattening a goat that bleated all day and then, for the weekend, suddenly stopped.  He was out of town, we assume having a feast featuring said goat.  And we ran out of water.  The guards told us they weren’t allowed to run the pump without permission, so we had a few days of confusion before we figured out the why’s and how’s of the tanks and our new house pump and the confusion with the power outage.  It was frustrating at times, but we got through it.  Now our tanks are full again, Alex had the chance to clean the algae out of our gravity tank, and the dishes only piled up a little bit.  My washing machine is still down, so it’s not like I had to do that anyway.  🙂  Not that I would’ve had power…

So, the power went off this morning at exactly 8:05am, so we know it was switched off versus a random trip of the breaker.  I can hope that we’re back to the original power sharing schedule and it will be on this afternoon, but I plan that it will be off until 10pm and adjust my day accordingly.  At least Matthew moved the internet to be battery powered now!  Yay!  Contact!

Last week, back home in Washington, our dear friend was laid to rest.  He was one of Matthew’s closest friends, the best man in our wedding.  It was the first time we wished we were only a short plane ride from home.  We wanted to be there, to hug and offer comfort to his family and our friends.  We will miss him terribly, sad that we can’t share the rest of our Africa experience with him, since he loved Africa so much and had hoped to return sometime.  We take comfort and hope from knowing that Lonnie is resting in peace and we will see him in Heaven!

We are working on our August prayer letter, so you can anticipate that readily.  If you’re not on our mailing list (via snail or email), then you’ll just have to wait a bit longer for us to put it on our website, OR you can send us an email and we’ll get you added.

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