it was finally time for my last child to return home. He went
on a 3-week tour through Mali with the YWAM kids dance team. Time
was short, as I wanted to take a new family picture that reflects
the recent changes, and Jérémie's presence was necessary
for that. So we waited impatiently for his arrival that was delayed.
told all the kids to dress nicely - and that's how our new kid
Daouda's picture came about, where he's wearing his new clothes
that he only just got for his birthday.
set up the bench, and then we were just waiting for Jérémie
as well as Christian and Paul who had left to pick him up. We
had a fun time of playing around - as you can tell from the other
picture. I'm actually "sitting down" on Hama there.
they returned - in time before the sun went down, and so we were
able to take this beautiful family picture of all the resident
construction continued, and two of my older boys helped, working
hard. Our construction manager had a few truckloads of soil delivered,
and now it needed to be put in the right spot. So they kept going
back and forth.
the end of the day it looked pretty nice, and the space between
the houses was flat for the very first time. I'm curious to see
what it looks like once the tiles are laid.
the evening, not long before I had to leave for the airport, it
started raining real hard again. I was worried that the rain would
wash it all away, but it would certainly all turn into mud. Which
is why we have the wooden planks everywhere. I had to walk on
those, and kept my feet relatively clean that way. Unfortunately
one of my boys dropped my bag into the mud - the top part down
- so the handle and everything was really dirty; not fun.
was going by fast today, and I was constantly ticking things off
my to-do list. Still, in the afternoon, I showed the kids the
latest video presentation, and then we watched all the old ones
as well. Then I hurried back to what was left to do.
moment has come - I have to say good-bye for two long months :-(.
It's so hard to leave, as I have never felt so great being in
Mali. I'm going to miss everyone and everything big time. But
I have to keep in mind what I'm paying this high price for...
I'll be returning with a book that will hopefully make a difference
in the world, and then the sacrifice will have been worth it.
I'm flying out towards Paris where I arrive in the early morning
hours. I then take a plane to Atlanta, and then from there to
Kansas City. A friend will be picking me up from there and take
me to my hosts' house. They are so kind to let me use one of their
cars during my time there; I just have to pay the extra insurance.
been spending this last week on memory lane, preparing for the
book. As soon as I arrive and master jetlag, off I'll go.
pray for a safe and smooth journey to KC, and especially for the
writing of my book!
later - I drove myself to the airport, together with Paul
and Christian, and said good-bye to them before Christian drove
back. My bag was wet and dirty, and since the bag's handle had
been in the dirt, my hand was dirty as well. Oh well. I checked
in, went through immigration, and up towards the lounge. They're
making big "improvements" to the airport, but it might
all be bigger than before, but the person designing it all has
never designed an airport before, in my opinion. It's worse than
went to the lounge and asked the lady when boarding was. She had
no clue. She just knew that the plane had come in late, and so
boarding would be later. I didn't stay long but went back out
to the gate. There is ONE gate, and a big room full of people
wanting to get onto different flights. No board, no announcements,
nothing, so you have no clue what plane the people are boarding
and when it's your time. People were running round confused, asking
other passangers, and I did the same. It seemed like our boarding
young lady came up to me asking whether I spoke English. She was
so happy when I did. She needed to get onto the same plane, and
so we started talking, and she stuck to me. By chance we found
out that boarding had finally started for our plane, and so we
got in line. We had a great time talking and getting to know each
other. She works at the American embassy in Bamako, and she'll
come visit us once I'm back in Mali.
went through another bag check, and got onto the bus that would
take us to the plane. We were just leaving, when the bus stopped
again, and we ended up waiting inside the bus for quite some time
without moving. We could see that they were moving the plane,
though it looked like it ended up in the same location as before.
Later I asked an airport employee, and he said that the plane
hadn't parked at the proper position upon arrival because it had
rained so hard. Okay. It meant additional time lost.
we got to my seat, I said good-bye to my new friend and that I
would wait for her outside the plane in Paris. At the gate I had
been "upgraded" to the new class that Air France has
introduced - it's something between Business class and economy
class. Supposedly nicer seats with the same food as economy -
basically. The screen was bigger, a nice reading light, and the
seat was a little biggere with a footrest, plus a nice built-in
headset, but you couldn't tilt the seat back at all, just slide
down a little which didn't put you in a more horizontal position
at all. Too bad.
was very tired, having slept little the night before, and now
we left nearly 90 minutes late, just after midnight. I started
a good movie I wanted to see, and then the meal came. The movie
seemed pretty long, and at one point I simply couldn't continue
watching and put it on pause. I had a hard time getting comfortable
to sleep a little bit, not having a window seat, not being able
to tilt back, but I guess I dozed a little.
has the week gone? Time keeps flying by... The older I get, the
faster time goes by. Scary.
past few days I've relived the second half of the nineties and
the first few years of the new millenium. It's been an interesting
trip down memory lane, reading all my old newsletters that I started
writing in 1994, a year after my conversion. I wished I had newsletters
from that first year ;-). I've been reading all this to refresh
myself of the events of the past in preparation for my book-writing
that starts in a few days. It's been helpful.
also been strange to get to know the Claudia in her twenties;
she seemed like a different person, and I have to say I admired
her, and she inspired me, stirring a hunger for more of God in
my heart today. I feel like I'm ready to jump into writing the
book, while at the same time, I feel so totally inadequat... what
do I have to pass on to the people out there... Only God can make
this book worth reading!
felt as if some warfare over this book has already started as
some logistical problems concerning my next few weeks have already
arisen, just today. I'm praying it gets all sorted out before
I leave Mali the day after tomorrow.
In Rainy Season
past week Kossi had earth delivered to our property that needs
to fill the space between the first two houses to bring the ground
level up to where it should be. Unfortunately it's still rainy
season, and it rained all day on Friday, and so the fresh earth
turned into mud. This picture was taken from my door. Even now
we have wooden planks lying around to walk on safely from door
to door. This morning it was also raining for a while.
the same time they are working on putting a concrete roof on the
house we're currently building; I wouldn't have wanted rain coming
in through the metal sheets. I'm glad house #2 made us aware of
these next two months while I'm done the roof should be finished,
the space between the two houses as well, and all the plumbing
and wiring done.
the middle of last night Amadou knocked on Christian's door and
told him calmly that the bathroom was on fire. So he rushed inside
to find one wall on fire, and used a bottle to extinguish it with
water. We had a little light above the mirror, and obviously the
fire started in that lamp somehow. A good thing that Amadou needed
to use the bathroom.
lamp is gone, and the plastic board burned through. The electrician
is coming tomorrow to take care of those electric cables that
are half-burned. By the way, the power went out as a result of
the fire. I was so relieved when it came back on when I restarted
thank God for His protection last night!
we decided to go to the restaurant Tin-buctu where we've once
gone before, but at the time they wouldn't show us the hotel rooms,
and we needed to see them to consider putting up a visitor in
there. I ordered their famous dish in advance, and was curious
what it would be like. We usually take one kid with us - one that
deserves it the most - and today that kid was Boubacar.
the rain was starting to cease as we were driving there; it's
not too far away. We ended up being the only guests in the restaurant,
and even though I had told them we'd come at noon, it was after
1 pm before we received our food. It was couscous with a simple
onion sauce and lamb. It was good!
the meal, they finally showed us the rooms; they were decent for
the afternoon everyone went to Dara, as always on Sunday. Paul
led the service, and today Joseph (17) got to say a few words
as well - but he was nervous.
the service, they had the task of taking down the stories of a
few widows there, and to take their pictures. One wasn't there,
but they were able to write down Assitan's story (picture). We're
starting to support her with a bag of rice per month, plus making
sure her children can go to school.
are more widows we will possibly support, though there are more
than we can support. You can read the stories of those we pick
on the FAMILY SPONSORSHIP
has only been with us for a month, but we have his real birth
certificate and so we knew it was his 11th birthday. So not only
was Daouda celebrating his first birthday ever, he had also never
witnessed a birthday celebration. You could tell as he was a little
overwhelmed by everything.
is the tradition, I baked a cake, decorated it, and put the number
11 on top as candles. This time it was a strawberry cake. We put
the "birthday boy" sticker on Daouda's shirt, and a
crown on his head.
gathered in the living room, and Daouda sat down on our one comfy
chair. Then I brought out the cake, candles lit, and Daouda blew
them out. It was time to distribute the cake to everyone, and
Daouda had the biggest piece.
he received his gifts. One by one kids and adults gave him what
they had for him. My gift was beautiful Malian clothes for him
to wear to the service. Can't wait to see him in them!
we prayed a blessing over him so he'd get a spiritual gift. We
also instituted a new tradition; the birthday kid gets to choose
something special to do. We gave Daouda the choice between three
things, and he chose what we had predicted: Amusement park, going
swimming, or going to the restaurant. He picked number 3! He could
choose one boy to go with him, and we were surprised when that
boy was Florentin (14) rather than Bakary (6) who he often plays
we went to the restaurant at noon today, first going to the supermarket
just opposite the restaurant. Both boys ordered the Western chicken,
and loved it! They also had dessert - chocolate ice-cream. All
in all, I'd say Daouda's first birthday was memorable!
flying by. In just over a week I'm already leaving Mali on my
2-months book-writing break. Funnily enough, this is the first
time I really don't want to leave but stay here with my children.
I really don't want to miss the beginning of the school year,
but I don't have a choice. I guess in the end it will be worth
the sacrifice, as I'll come back with a book.
was our first week without Eva, and we're really missing her.
It seemed to hit Hama - our handicapped 9-year-old - the hardest
as he sat around looking forlorn for the first few days. We all
got to talk to Eva per skype - and see each other - in the middle
of the week so that was a great joy for everyone. She misses us
a lot too, and I hope she'll be back with us soon.
Eva we also lost our great photographer, so there won't be as
many pictures any more. These are a few pictures from this past
little ones are dancing by the kitchen, while the older ones are
creating the music. Video on youtube.
a few times per week we do sports together with the Wii. On that
day we worked on the upper body. The kids are all using canned
food from my kitchen as weights :-).
Friday we received the temporary papers for our bus, and so we
were finally able to drive it for the first time. And the first
trip was to Dara where Paul is pastoring a church we planted.
These pictures were taken inside the bus on the way there today.
was our new driver Benjamin who was driving. Right now we call
him when we need him since school hasn't started yet. Once school
starts, he'll be driving every day.
lives in our neighborhood which is a great advantage. We've had
several drivers of the last few years - and they all lived with
us - and none of them worked out. So I think it's an advantage
that Benjamin does not live on our base. Hopefully things will
work out well with him.
Saloum (20) also started working for us - today! He moved in after
the service yesterday. Saloum lived with me for nearly 2 years,
but had to leave the house a year and a half ago because of his
behavior. I believe it was a good thing for him to return to his
family's house (he had been kicked out which is why we had taken
him in). He said he soon appreciated what he had with us so much
more. He's very happy to be back with us. And he returned as an
adult, while he left a kid. Saloum is working for us as a day
guard. We had this little guard house built for him so he has
shade and a fan for sitting there all day. When school starts,
Saloum will be going to evening school, in 6th grade. At our family
meeting last night we welcomed him into our family and prayed
Tuesday Abdias returned from his 3-week trip to Senegal with the
YWAM kids dance group. He had the time of his life! It was his
first time leaving Mali, and seeing the sea, plus many other experiences.
He took 500 pictures, but I'm sharing only this one with you :-).
It was so wonderful to see my 17-year-old again! I had missed
few days ago Fanta was outside our base with Jonathan. One of
the neighbors asked him where he lived. He answered, "With
Hawa." (That's me.). They asked, "Where's that?"
He answered, "With Paul." They asked, "Where's
that?" He answered, "With the Christians."
also had an "unforgettable" experience this week. He
started having tooth ache at the end of last week, and by Sunday
it was really bad; he even missed our time of saying good-bye
to Eva. On Monday Paul went with him to a dentist that had been
recommended by missionaries. The dentist gave him antibiotics
against the infection and told him to come back on Wednesday so
he could pull the dead tooth - which he did. Christian was actually
happy to go to the dentist, and to have this taken care of. He
said it was actually a positive experience; the dentist lived
up to his reputation.
Friday I walked through our current house under construction with
our construction manager Kossi. I told him where I wanted plugs
and lights, and how many, and he marked it. They will be doing
the plumbing and wiring in the next few weeks.
now they're doing a permanent roof since the metal sheets don't
really keep the rain away. Those metal sheets will be used to
cover the area between the first two hours. We'll first use it
to park our bus in that shade, and later the ladies will cook
under there, once the paving stones will have been laid there
- which is coming up as well, as soon as we have the money.
thing they're FINALLY tackling is the pipes between kitchen and
sceptic tank. The water has been standing in my kitchen sink for
weeks and not flowing off. They are changing the pipes now. Hopefully
it's done soon.
Sunday night there's an English speaking missionary service that
lasts 1 hour. I used to go there from time to time to stay in
touch with the missionary community but hadn't gone in a long
time. For a while it collided with our own service, and then there
were other hindrances. Due to recent events one thing I learned
was that I need to be more connected. Christian was curious to
go there, and I thought maybe he could connect with some missionaries,
especially since I'll be gone for two months. And so we decided
to go tonight.
got there just in time, found a parking spot, and went inside.
I hadn't been there in ages! There were many I recognized, and
some I didn't. After the service, I introduced Christian to some
missionaries that I knew, and he also got invited to a weekly
men's breakfast I hope he can figure out how to get to.
singles usually go out to eat after the service, and today was
no exception. We went to an Asian restaurant. I enjoyed talking
with those missionaries I hadn't seen in such a long time, and
Christian got to know a few people. He really enjoyed the whole
experience. We're planning on going there once a month after I
get back, which is what my intention has always been. Unfortunately
we missed our nightly family meeting. When we got home at 9:30
pm, everyone was already in bed.
has already been emotional about leaving for quite some time;
more than anyone else. For her last day we decided to go out to
eat to her favorite restaurant. We took Paul with us for the occasion,
as well as Christian. It was a chance for our oldest to shine,
to show he's trustworty to be left in charge. Christian looked
really bad, with one side of his face totally swollen, even affecting
his eye. He joined us anyway, but took a cooling pad with him
to put on the swelling.
crossed all of town to get to the supermarket where you sometimes
get stuff you don't get anywhere else. It was pretty crowded,
but we managed to park our car and go inside. We did our shopping,
got back into the car and pulled out to continue on to the restaurant
which is just around the corner from there. When we got to the
restaurant, it was being renovated and was closed. However, we
had seen their new location on the main road we had just come
from, and so we turned around to go there.
was just parking my car, when a policeman pulled up by my window
on his motorbike. He immediately complained about me not reacting
to his whistle. Excuse-me? Whistles are CONSTANTLY going off,
with cars and motorbikes everywhere. How can you ever know it's
meant for you??? I apologized and told him I had no clue I was
meant. He asked my car papers and driver's license, and I asked
him what was wrong. He said that I had made a turn at the supermarket
earlier that was not allowed. I've ALWAYS made that turn, in front
of policemen, and had never been stopped before. I was puzzled.
And ignoring his whistle then, and when we came by the second
time, had obviously made him angry.
checked our yearly technical control and insurance, and found
everything in order. I'm sure he wasn't happy about that. He decided
to keep the car papers anyway, and told me to come pick them up
tomorrow at some office somewhere. I asked him where. He told
me the part of town, and I asked Paul whether he knew where that
was. He had remained silent so far (don't know why). He asked
the policeman more exactly where the place was, but the guy was
not in a mood of telling us, and finally just drove off to return
to his post at the intersection. I finished parking the car, and
when I got out, I realized that Paul had disappeared. He evidently
took off after the policeman!
we could do was to go inside the restaurant and wait for Paul.
Because he was so angry, I was fearing he'd do something rash
and would be put into a prison cell. It took a long time before
Paul showed up again - with the car papers! He told us that he
continued asking the guy where the place was, and then he started
telling him all the policmen Paul is friends with. Finally he
called one of them who turned out to be the guy's boss. Paul handed
him the phone, and the boss told him to give us the papers back
- which he promptly did. Praise God! It's all about connections
were able to enjoy our meal after all, before starting our long
journey back. The ride home turned out to be a nightmare, as they
closed the second bridge, which left only one bridge open in a
city of nearly 3 million! It took us 90 minutes and being stuck
in traffic for quite some time. It was NOT fun!
was not doing well at all, and lay down for the rest of the day.
Eva was finishing her packing; we'd leave for the airport at 9:30
pm. I needed some rest from the driving. The afternoon went by
fast. Before I knew it, it was time for the family meeting.
was already all teary-eyed. We did our daily stuff, and then the
kids had a chance to say what they wanted to say to Eva. Eva also
said some "last words", having a hard time with the
tears running, and Paul also gave a speech with tears. Then we
surrounded Eva and all prayed for her.
finished the meeting, and Eva had one hour left before going to
the airport. That hour passed very quickly. We put her bags onto
our truck, and everyone said their final good-byes. Fanta was
also in tears; Eva had been a great help to her in the kitchen.
off we went; I enjoyed my last few minutes with her in the car.
We dropped her off at the airport, hugging her one last time,
and went back home. It was really sad. Eva was the longest-staying
volunteer we've ever had, and the one to leave behind the biggest
hole. She did her job amazingly well, and loved all the children
dearly. Pray for her transition, and for God's will to be done
as she's looking into coming back for a few more months before
a new commitment starting in March.
a week! It was Eva's last week with us, which was pretty sad.
Thanks to a donation from a friend of hers, she was able to invite
everyone to go swimming. They all had a blast! This picture shows
Sarata and our many gimmicks for the pool.
was Eva's last night with us, and with the remaining money she
bought a few pizzas that we cut up and distributed among the kids.
They were all very happy about the pizza!
picture shows Joseph pouring the sauce over the rice at lunch
time. The other one shows Karim and Boubacar washing their clothes.
was also Eva's last church service with us. Originally Christian
was supposed to preach, but half of his face was all swollen up
because of a bad tooth, and I've been sick with a cold since Wednesday
night. Paul did a great job preaching!
you haven't seen our "new" 18-year-old bus yet after
we've had it painted white - so here it is. We haven't even used
it yet since we're still waiting on the papers, and have already
had the second flat tire!
construction crew has been working on this little guard house
right by our main gate, so that we can employ a day guard again
who will actually be by the gate at all times. It should be done
soon, and we'll be talking with our former kid now 20 Saloum these
next few days to resolve old issues and find out whether he can
be our new guard.
morning we had an awesome prayer meeting that lasted 90 minutes.
We praised God, and interceded. We also prayed blessings over
the lady who is threatening us and spreading lies about us. In
the end the kids prayed for me, primarily for peace. I've also
been sick with a cold since yesterday. Still, I declared a fast
for all of us to make it through this attack, and every kid fasted
at least one meal.
the afternoon we had a meeting with our lawyer; we had a good
time together. We're very blessed to have such a wonderful man
morning we set up the projector and Nintendo Wii in the dining
hall again to work out together. I'm always amazed at how out
of shape the kids are! We had fun, though, and played a few games
at the end.
the afternoon we had English class again. Today is the first day
without Jérémie, which is sad, since he left this
morning on his 3-week tour through Mali with YWAM's dance team.
Abdias is coming back next Monday. And Eva is leaving us next
Sunday. You can tell that she's already leaving mentally and emotionally.
it was raining pretty much all day, and it rained so hard in the
morning, that our outdoor kitchen was flooded. It was an amazing
sight! So they moved one car away from its parking spot, and set
up everything under the roof there, since we're cooking on an
open fire with wood.
2-3 weeks ago we took in 11-year-old Daouda. He has a problem
with urinating in his bed at night, doing it nearly every night.
If any of you have suggestions on how to combat this, please let
right now writing my book's table of content since the publisher
is asking for it, plus a summary of the book. I also have to suggest
a few options for titles to them. The book is on how to become
someone who changes the world. So if any of you have suggestions,
they'd be welcomed.
week they're finishing the roof on the little guard's house by
the gate that our new day guard will sit in all day. So if everything
works out, Saloum (20) is going to move back in with us to be
that day guard, and go to school at night.
construction manager actually needs some money now to finish some
work, but we don't have it. I would have liked to get as much
done before I leave on my book-writing break as possible.
no news on the container. They can't tell me when it's leaving
the US, which is not good. And no news on the construction guy
who did not get on the plane as planned, or whether we can save
(part of) the ticket.
Kid Karim (14)
has been with us since Friday night, and he's doing very well.
This is his story:
was probably born in the Sikasso region in the south of Mali around
1995, and lived with his parents while he was small. At the age
of 7 his father sent him away to another town to go to a Quranic
school; Karim stayed with the mayor there. After 5 years of the
Muslim school, he had enough, and his father let him return to
his home. However, he had divorced his mother in the meantime.
the age of 12 Karim started first grade in a regular school, and
finished it. He had a hard time with his father's other wife,
though, and decided to run away. That's how he arrived at the
bus station in Bamako where he got into drugs and sex, but did
not resort to stealing. After two months on the street Florentin
(now also one of our children) invited him to our center. When
we opened our base for the kids to sleep there in Sep 2008, Karim
was among the kids of that first night. During the following two
years he grew in the Lord, was baptized, and learned to read.
When we took him in, he was one of the most faithful street children
to sleep on our base, having logged over 500 nights.
still needs a sponsor, so contact me if you're interested.
has been an intense week of bad news, but today came the worst
blow, and not long after I got up.
I checked my emails, I had one from the ministry's secretary that
informed me that she was stepping down. I was in total unbelief
and shock, with those news coming out of the blue. God sovereignly
brought her to serve in this ministry, and she's been an absolutely
amazing blessing, skilled in every area necessary. I couldn't
have asked for anything else in a person to serve in this capacity!
I believed that one day she'd be employed by the ministry, and
traveling with me as my personal assistant. All this was shattered
with this one email. She's leaving because she wants to travel
with her husband who is on the road for his job all the time.
felt like my heart was pierced, and couldn't help but let the
tears flow. I was devastated. I had a hard time concentrating
on anything else. It was as if someone had died. I was wondering
whether I'd be up to the board meeting in the afternoon.
yearly board meeting started at 3 pm my time, and ranged from
9 am in CO to 5 pm in Austria for the board members in the different
time zones. It was a conference call on skype. Only one board
member was missing. The meeting lasted nearly two hours. By the
time it was over I felt so much better. I had been nervous about
it, but then I realized these people are my friends and truly
care about me. I felt very blessed, and felt a sense of peace
again by the time it was over.
I missed our service because it was at the same time, but as always,
Paul did a great job.
the meeting ended at 5 pm, I realized how drained I was from the
emotional challenges of the day. I was totally exhausted, and
kept the family meeting as short as possible.
under the influence of the bad news I wrote about yesterday, and
without any new news in my inbox, I decided it was time to do
what we had talked about doing - take the workout into the dining
hall and make it available to all kids. That way they're having
fun, and I'm making sure I'm doing my workout.
got everything ready in the dining hall; putting up the screen,
the sound system, the projector and of course the Nintendo Wii.
It all took a while. Eva was running errands with Paul, so it
was a shame she missed it.
did a 45-min cardio workout, and I was shocked to see in what
bad shape the kids are. It didn't take long for them to lie down
on the ground and "rest". Too bad we didn't have the
camera handy when they were all "resting on the floor".
None of them pulled through the whole 45 minutes! I enjoyed it
everything was up, I thought I'd let them play some games. So
I put in a competitive sports game, and let them play against
each other. They like sports a lot more that way! The picture
shows Christian playing against Jérémie.
was pretty wiped by the time I returned to my house at noon, and
sure needed some fuel. I wanted to eat some canned peaches as
dessert (there's not much fresh fruit right now), only to discover
it was apricots, and they weren't that great to eat that way.
I was wondering what to do with them, when only one thing came
to mind: traditional Austrian "Marillenkuchen" (apricot
I looked for a recipe online, and discovered I had all the ingredients.
I enlisted Jérémie to help me, and so we got started
making the cake. It wasn't really that hard, and the end product
I took it out of the oven, I was very happy with the result. It
looked just like at home, and tasted delicious! Though not quite
as good as my grandmother's.
and Paul were gone on errands in the afternoon as well, and so
I surprised Eva with the cake when they got home late. She didn't
even recognize it without tasting it! She simply didn't expect
"Marillenkuchen" in Mali.
also had our daily English class in the afternoon. It's not that
easy with one half not able to read and write yet. And everyone
has a hard time remembering vocabulary. In the picture you see
them do a matching exercise with some papers.
had talked about (handicapped) Hama moving into the house, and
so we asked him in the afternoon if he would like that. I was
amazed at how happy Hama was about that! The rest of the day he
talked about nothing else! Fanta also seemed relieved to have
him out of her room.
was not the only one to move in today. Eva and Paul drove the
90 minutes to Karim's father's house, though they had a hard time
finding it, and so it took them much longer. They were actually
gone for 8 hours!!! They eventually found the house, and Karim's
father gave permission for him to stay with us.
when they returned at 8:30 pm, I gave Karim his moving-in kit,
and showed him where he was sleeping. One of the boys showed him
how the shower works. Karim is 14 years old, and I'll post his
asked me whether his sponsor Anita was coming to Mali for his
birthday. I had told him that someone wants to give airmiles to
Anita to come to Mali, and Bakary wants nothing more than for
Anita to be here in December, for his birthday.
a day it's been! I've had a headache the past few hours, and am
looking forward to going to bed.
Tuesday I found an illegitimate sale on my credit card expenses
list. I contacted the credit card company, and they were able
to tell me that someone in Augusta, GA, had made a copy of my
credit card and gone shopping with it. They canceled my card immediately,
and are refunding the money to me. Thank God. But it's a nuisance
not to have a card now.
today the next horror news. A construction guy from Colorado Springs
was scheduled to come to Mali for close to three weeks, leaving
this morning. Last Sunday they prayed for him at church and sent
him out, and the church also gave him two suitcases to take with
him to Mali. We were looking forward to the clothes inside.
I had an email from him saying he did not board the plane because
of lack of finances. I was in total shock. When you don't use
your ticket, it's forfeited.
else is in as much shock as I am. Disbelief, stunned, horrified
at losing $2000. This is the first time we paid a ticket for someone
to come, and it was not easy to get the money together to pay
for it, and now this. Everyone had spoken so highly of this guy....
have a feeling it will take a while to get over this. Right now
I'm investigating whether there is any way to save (a part of)
construction manager Kossi needs money to continue the work; those
$2000 would be useful right now, especially with us being in a
tight spot financially right now.
though I was in shock and didn't feel like praying, I decided
the weekly prayer meeting was just the right thing to do now.
So we started worshiping God, and prayed for the constrution guy
and this whole situation. Unfortunately it didn't really bring
me the relief I had hoped for.
children had been saving their money to buy the new clothes the
construction guy was bringing (they pay a tiny amount for clothes
so they take better care of them since it costs them something).
And they had been practicing their English, since I teach them
daily right now, looking forward to applying what they had learned.
woke up quite a few times during the night, though I don't know
why. Around 7 am I was up for good, and we all got up not long
after that. At 8 am we went to the breakfast room with much anticipation.
then the debauchery began, as we took full advantage of the beautiful
breakfast buffet. I think Christian was also impressed; in any
case I was amazed at how much he could eat - and he paid the price
for it, suffering for a couple of hours from being too full.
10:30 we returned to our room stuffed. The only decent channel
on TV was CNN, and so Eva watched it - from the front, while Christian
watched it from behind! He was too stuffed to move! While they
were watching TV, I was working on my computer, making good use
of the time, and the internet connection.
called the reception desk to find out whether we could stay until
3 pm, but we couldn't. So we packed up and left the beautiful
room. We checked out, and then went to the pool to enjoy it for
a while before heading home. While Eva and Christian were in the
pool, I went into the fitness room to enjoy it one more time and
came in, just to have a picture taken, but she's only posing,
not actually working out! After a while I joined the others in
the pool, and later Christian also went into the fitness room.
We also sat in the sun, letting it dry us; I was a little red
3 pm we decided it was time to head home. We wanted to take one
last picture, of the hotel on the outside, and got into trouble
with the security guard. We had to ask permission at the reception
desk, and were given an exception to the picture-taking ban.
crossed town and arrived home pretty quickly. We had really been
lucky with the weather, as it had only rained a little yesterday.
However, it was raining tonight, and Christian was able to take
this great picture of the channel along the outside of our wall
being full of water.
had a wonderful 24 hours at the hotel; a worthy good-bye gift
for Eva. It's going to be extremely sad when she leaves in just
a few days.
just 10 days Eva is leaving us after half a year with us, and
it won't be easy. Since she had so loved our stay in the hotel
in May, I decided to give her another night there as a good-bye
gift. Since Christian visibly needed some good food as well, we
decided to take him along, leaving Paul to handle the kids on
left the house at 1 pm, after an eventful morning for me. I found
a fraudulent charge to my credit card and had to call the credit
card company in Austria. They told me that obviously someone had
made a copy of my card while I was in Augusta, GA, and then went
to an Apple store to make purchases. They canceled my card, and
the money should be refunded to me eventually.
first stop towards the hotel was the restaurant that is close
to our house; it was Christian's first visit there. We had a good
time. Then we continued on our way towards the hotel, which is
on the other side of the river.
big construction work on the way had advanced considerably, and
so we were able to pass through quickly. Then the question was,
would we find the hotel more easily this time. We did pretty well,
and already arrived at the hotel at 3:15 pm.
checked in, and were told that the room wasn't ready yet since
they still had to put up the third bed in there. They told us
to sit down and wait. We waited about 40 minutes which was a bit
room was on the 5th floor this time, and we could see the pool
(picture) from our mini-balcony. The room was the same size, though
we had a business room this time, with the standard rooms all
being booked. However, Christian and Eva were happy about the
espresso machine (I don't drink coffee) that we didn't have last
got changed and went down to the pool. Eva straight into the water,
and Christian and I into the fitness room by the pool. Christian
ended up working out hard for 2 hours, while I joined Eva in the
water after one hour. It rained from time to time (it's rainy
season) which is even nice when you're in the water.
6:15 pm Eva and I went into our room, while Christian worked out
some more. We got changed, and ordered pizza for dinner. Then
we sat down on our bed and watched some TV. It was wonderfully
relaxing! Christian returned a while later, in time for the pizza.
pizzas arrived, and we enjoyed eating them while checking out
the movies on demand available. There wasn't any movie that was
too exciting, and we watched the first few minutes of several.
we ordered dessert, using room service. It looked absolutely amazing,
though it didn't taste quite as well. After we were done, we sat
down on our bed, having settled on the movie ALEXANDER (in French).
Eva was somewhat bored by it, while I soon started doing translation
work I had to do. Christian was the only one who really enjoyed
the LONG movie.
was finally over at 11:30 pm, and we went to bed at half past
Friday we had our weekly prayer meeting. I was still recovering,
so I wasn't present, and Paul was running errands, so Christian
and Eva did it with the kids. You can see Christian trying to
play the drums.
love this picture of Bakary (6) and Hawa (1) who's named after
me. That's the first picture of her smiling!
Saturday Paul preached. In the evening we all watched a movie
in my living room.
Sunday we reinstated an old tradition - having a special breakfast.
Instead of the traditional rice and millet porridge style breakfast,
we bought white bread and jam and chocolate creme, and they had
hot chocolate to drink. They were pretty happy about the tradition
that was new to most of them! It's a keeper!
the afternoon everyone went to Dara, the village where Paul is
the pastor. That's where this picture was taken, of Christian
and the kids in this old Baobab tree.
I'm still not feeling too great. However, at night we did an interview
with another potential candidate to be taken into our house. 15-year-old
Karim has been sleeping on our base for most of the past two years.