Thursday, July 25, 2013

Burgers and washers and traffic oh my!!!!

A little messed up time wise---3:30 a.m. here and I'm awake. 1:30 p.m. in Ethiopia right now. Oh well-it will take a while to adjust back. 

But what a great day and country!!!   I had my In-N-Out about 3 hours after landing,  I washed my clothes twice just for good measure---the sound of the washing machine was music to my ears!  And I drove into Sacramento at rush hour--traffic with no cows, goats, people on the road!  All three in a matter of hours...AMAZING. 

Great flights home---watched a few movies, napped and got VERY excited when the flight attendant handed me a toblerone chocolate bar!  I asked if I could have a diet coke with it and he said yes...would you like ice?  I got tears in my eyes I was so happy.  

Joyful to be picked up by Michael...and my parents are at my Aunts house so family time too:).  Book club last night-- fun to tell some stories and catch up with a few dear friends!  
All in all-'re-entry' is going well.  Lets see 10 re-entry observations:
1.  Efficiency
2.  Smooth roads and traffic flows--all lit up at night!
3.  Summer heat!  Means no rain- or mud- or jackets. 
4.  Appliances--washers, dryers, refrigerators, microwaves, air conditioning and fans
5.  Wireless...ease of access
6.  Indoor plumbing--everywhere!
7.  Ease of communication--not having to use hand motions and 'simple' English to be understood. 
8.  Greeting people---much less hugging and hand shaking. 
9.  Comfort level sitting here at night--doors open and not concerned of bugs, creatures or source of light. 
10.  Food--rumbles have calmed down quite a bit in the last 15 hours. 

Not sure about frequency of blogs going forward but thank you for your comments, emails and following!  I am excited to go back in November--- I will probablly post updates about that coming up. 

Life is good---I do enjoy it very much and God has proven to me through experiencing the last five weeks in Ethiopia that He is everywhere and again....waaaaaayyy better!
Hugs to you:)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Re-entry is a weird deal...
1.  Traffic/roads---so, so different.  And will I really be the one driving again soon?!  I do enjoy driving:)
2. Food---this is talked about by many, not just me. We all agree In-N-Out is the first stop. Ahhhh...a diet coke and cheeseburger with fries!  #2 with no onions please!
3.  Shopping---supermarkets!  One stop shopping like Wal-Mart or Target. Just the thought is a tad overwhelming. I remember my nephews coming to America from Ukraine and there was some concern when I immediately wanted to take them to Toys-R-Us...such excess!
4.  The speed of life. I do enjoy the quickness of my life and doing/getting things done quickly. But there is something to be said for this different, slower, pace of life as well. Lazinrss is not good but pace is an interesting dilemma really. 
5.  Cleanliness---rainy season brings mud and I'm a mess!  I truly cannot wait to put in a load of clothes...I may wash them twice for good measure.  I have not seen a washing machine here...all hand washing and air drying. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Showers and asking...

Showers...such a simple pleasure. But go a while without one and boy howdy!  I let the water wash over me and said 'sweet Georgia brown'---yes, I really did:). Thank The Lord for whoever invented them.  Not too common in the villages of Western Ethiopia:)
Having said that---I was torn in leaving Masha. Such a good time with people but Addis does have a few more amenities readily available!
Leaving---some people ask for things as we are leaving-not a lot but some. would be so easy to give 1,800 birr (approx $100) and they would do what they want and we would just leave. But that has proven to not help---in fact---it hurts!  Thankfully the church is very 'complete' here and they care for the mind, body and spirit. So various funds (medical, educational, small business) funds have been set up and people can go through those avenues to receive assistance.  In fact, if there is family etc that SHOULD be caring for that person...they will be approached to assist by appropriate folks. 
It's a fine line---so I found inviting people to a macchiotto or soda or a meal is very acceptable  and the cost is minimal (6 of us had a full meal the other night for 200 birr--$10.75). WOW...right?
So it goes, I trust when I return I can give much---appropriately--but much. That is what my heart enjoys...!  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Good times

We had a party!  All the Presbytery and translation families were invited...hosted by the forenjis:). Good times---Ethiopian ladies did the cooking which of course is better than my cooking!  Karen cooks well...but forenji food and this was traditional Ethiopian. It was excellent and I had talked of some games with kids so we were able to do that too. Three legged race---funny!  Of course we got adults involved---fairly competitive folks I must say. Our driver probably the most--he wanted to win!  We did a word match deal English word and a Shekka ( local language) word. Each person had a word taped to them and they had to find their I was shocked on this one.  Ethiopians are pretty quiet spoken for the most part but this group of 40-50 got pretty loud and chaotic!  It was awesome---Andualem (high school director) was with us as well and he did not like the chaos:)...forever a teacher I guess.  We were all outside and the rain stayed away...thank The Lord.   It rained later that night but not from 4-7 (10-1 Ethiopian time). Perfect. 
Anyway--the party was kind of a parting gift. Our last day in Masha is tomorrow (July 20).  Big market day (Saturday) so will need to make it to that. Sunday we fly from Gambela to Addis and then fly out of Addis Tuesday night.  About 22 hours later hopefully land in SFO!. I have only done the 2 day drive to and from Masha so I feel pretty spoiled flying--a new experience for me. 
Great trip-great people-beautiful country-and some plans rolling along for my return.  Life is good---God is definitely way better---proven over and over this trip:). 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Blog by candlelight today (July 16). The power was on and off the last few hours so here I am!
One of my students from 2007, Amanuel Haile, came to see us the other day.  He is working for the beer distributor here in Maasha and taking distance learning (online courses) for Accounting thru the University in Tepi. Yaaaay!   That is great news!  He gifted me today with a bottle of some kind of honey.  It is like a liquid and he said they use it to treat colds etc.  Hmmm...I will ask some more questions to other people to see if I can understand:). 

While we were in Tepi we saw the University and they are building a lot. I didn't see any of the students wearing jerseys or sweatshirts with 'TU' on them....and I wonder what the mascot is?!!!  That area is lower elevation and is known for their pineapple, warm weather and bugs (yes-I got mosquito bites!). So I think they should be named the Tepi Pinebugs!
Ok...not sure when I can post this...all is well and we head home in a week.    I still have 2 1/2 weeks off after I return and I think I'm okay with that!  Will be nice to catch up with family and friends. 

We are heading to a literacy class on Wednesday. Imagine--having your 'heart' language never written down before!  That is what people are going through here in Maasha---in the 'Shekka Zone' of Ethiopia. Spoken language only until about 12 years ago. Then Bible translation work was started by Wycliffe/SIL and the need for writing became fairly key to the whole deal. So now people are learning how to read in their 'heart' language. Amazing!  That, my friends and family, is GREAT stuff!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My return

Ok....I think it is official---I will be returning.  Training on computers...some have them here but don't really know how to use them or care for them. Then I will do English---meaning conversational most of leaders and nights/weekends at the local high school. It helps to know the Director!  And some work with kids/youth at the local churches ...sounds good to me!  
The housing---yet to be determined but getting estimates on a house to be built---very simple but with water/electricity and plumbing!  Amazing--I keep having dreams of people coming to visit---the estimate is for a six bedroom house!  
All the discussions have been very humbling--very kind words and encouragement. Again; life is good-even great BUT God s better!

We are in Tepi--better Internet connections---have a great weekend!  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Random thoughts

I opened a bank account today...Commercial Bank of Ethiopia!  I think that will help for when I return. When we are in Addis again I have to go to the head office but I have an account book and the whole deal. Kinda makes it real huh?! Excited!  

Last Sunday....drove to church as far as we could then had to walk about 30 minutes....MUD!!!!  This past Monday-invited for breakfast to our driver's home---MUD!!!
Guess what I did?  Yep---fell each time. First was going up an incline so that was embarrassing but today was going down an incline...I did the 'snow ski' move...fell on my side and popped back up. I felt so bad.  Dumb. 
Ahhh well so goes life--I'm thankful we were in Metu and I had a warm shower to clean up.  Now---unpacking the 'real' shoes/boots and we will see if that helps:).  

6-sadist (no...not the same)
8- cement 
10- asir

I like pillows, in to sleep with a LOT of pillows; building somewhat of a cocoon for myself:). As I lay here in my different kind of cocoon...mosquito net/tent thing...I was thinking how great life is. And as I've said in my past posts /blogs...God is better!  I lay here with no pillow...using a pair of pants and shirt for my pillow and I sleep like a baby:)!  I think that is awesome...those that camp may usually enjoy this life but I grew up in a camping family so when I left home I was happy to leave camping too. There are stages/seasons to life and I'm enjoying this one...camping more or less and definitely without my pillows! 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Ethiopian food...

Ethiopian food is not my favorite but I've been doing good!  I don't think I've offended anybody--I hope not:). 
Injera---with EVERY meal. The best I can explain I think is a cross between a pancake and a burrito. It is doughy like a pancake but thin like a burrito. Depending on who makes it--can be sour. I remember sour from last time for some reason but have not had sour so far this year. I'm okay with that!
Roll injera out partially on your plate---part of it stays rolled up and you put the meat; lentils, vegetables or what have you on the part that is rolled out. Typical---some cooked spinach, maybe potatoes cooked in some oil, and chunks of beef or lamb cooked in sauce---usually hot but they tame it down for us forenji type.  Sorry I can't seem to upload pictures to my blog:)! eat with your RIGHT hand.  Always--never with the left.  You tear a chunk of injera off, grab one or two items and pop it in your mouth. Voila---Ethiopian food. Washing hands before AND after the meal of course ( no towel or napkin-air dry).  
Now breakfast---they do serve porridge (oatmeal more or less) that I like a lot. We order eggs quite a bit too and usually have it as a sandwich or they do serve forks. One morning a plate came with no fork but bread showed up so we used that like injera. Good times. 
And by the way---usually at restaurants we do have pasta and rice as options---usually very popular items on my list:). 
That is my Ethiopian experience for now---this week we will be in Maasha and Tepi. Hope all goes well--Tepi trip last year did not go so well apparently so folks are a bit nervous. 
Gelatoma (Oromo for thank you...yes-new tribe=new word) for following!  It seems that people here want me to come back so that is good news!  Sounds like Metu may be the place---most 'live able' should we say. We will see how it all plays out---My heart is more Maasha:). 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's Sunday!

Well we went 'to the end of the earth' as the people in Begi called it.  Border of South Sudan and it was nice.  We saw two refugee camps and I am very sad to say we could not enter them. The one we thought we were going to; we did not have the correct papers. Maybe that is for the best but I must say I was disappointed. There are 10,000 refugees staying in the camp--- it is ran by the UN and the Ethiopian govt gives food.  Apparently a lot of the food comes from Anerica ultimately so it does not help the local economy. 
It had a gated entrance, barbed wire fence around a lot of it but it did look like some people could come and go. Apparently some do attend 3 different local churches.  Majority are Muslim but the local Pastors/congregations do go in and visit, give and put up tents. Most of the structures were tent like...white tarps that had UN on them. Some buildings were near the front--those had tin roofs etc and were offices apparently. 
In 2006 there was a Muslim uprising so a lot of Protestant churches were burned.  People died then and the situation is still fairly tenuous. 
So all in all an interesting trip....back in Nejo now, back to Metu tomorrow. Oh my gosh...I almost forgot---we saw some kind of cat (leopard/cheetah?) run across the road today!  AWESOME!  On the other side were baboons so we think it was being 
Happy Sinday to you all...I love Sunday:). Life is good, God is better:). 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th!

Traveling to a new area for me and it is just amazingly beautiful. We left Metu at about 9:00 and went 225 kilometers (140 miles) and we arrived in Nejo at 4:30. We stopped for lunch, fuel and Dave was sick the last part (not good...he is resting now hopefully) so about 6 hours travel time. The road for the first 150 kilometers (94 miles) was tough to travel. 
Cabin in Michigan: cut-across road
John Day area:  Canyon Mountain trail but a bit wider
California:  off road like where Coleman took me in the jeep to the zip line!
Sounds of Ethiopia:
1.  Dogs fighting/ barking/ howling at night, maybe over food?
2.  Horns honking---short honks talking to people and animals on the road. Long honks when fairly angry or they see somebody they know--a wave is added:)
3.  Rain on the metal roof...hail in Addis!
4.  Clapping in a restaurant---to get attention of servers etc
5.  Call to prayer--Mosque
6.  Kids choir practice--listened to them learn a new song--no music to learn off, just repeat and memorize. 
7.  Cows mooing, goats bleating (?)!
8.  Kids yelling 'forenji' or 'you' or 'hello' when we drive by them. 
Happy 4th of July to you all!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Time! took me two weeks to stop wearing my watch.  Probably should have been two days but...slow learner!
We were invited to be at Tesfaye's house at 10:00 ( or 4:00 Ethiopian time) and we got there about 10:30. We were served a cold soda and popcorn/snacks at 11:00.....Hmmm what would have happened if we were 15 minutes early like my parents are to everything?!!!  We will never know but there you have it!  Time is on a whole different level here:).

We arrived back in Metu this evening--we will meet with leaders here tomorrow ( some future planning for me--did some this morning as well!).  The accommodations here are nicer than Maasha--loved my shower!  Right now it is raining---metal roofs are the 'nice' roofs here-the sound of rain is like music to me---I love it!  Soothing...

Thursday (happy 4th if July!) we head to Begi- a two day trip I think. There is a Sudanese refugee camp we will visit. Could be a bit tough...but looking forward to it actually....think I can play and/or sing with kids maybe??!! Our church took an offering for this camp so it should be good.

Much love to all of you:)...PS--feeling good again--thanks for prayers!