It has been a quiet month for us as we have had no teams here and the work of the school is nearing completion. As we cannot move our construction crew on to rebuilding Temple Baptiste Church yet, as funds are still to come through, the crew have not surprisingly slowed down and although their quality of work remains very good they are making the work last as long as possible. They have discovered the pleasure in making concrete benches and we now have plenty of seating beside the clinic and in the shady part of the entrance way to the school. These benches are for Jenny’s pharmacy, however, it is also already become a resting place, meeting place and general “go to” place when you want to get out of the way!
There is little left to complete in the school project, it is a bittersweet time for us all, we are proud of the school but sad to lay off the workers.
Please pray that the funding for the church construction comes soon. In prior blog entries you will see that we need between $80,000US - $100,000US for the church and the council would also like to rebuild the pastor’s church too!
With a bit of extra time on our hands; we have taken the opportunity to spruce up the staff house. A little bit of paint and a rearrangement of the use of the main rooms sees a significant improvement. We hope to up the momentum with a fresh coat of paint in some of the other rooms and the creation of a private area on the roof to relax in, without being a spectacle to our neighbors and passers-by. Getting the blocks delivered from the construction site to our house has proved somewhat illusive!
Through the past generosity of our mission teams we have discovered that we have accumulated a store of children’s crayons, activities and sweets. Mme Moise came up with the idea of giving the children a Christmas party and handing out the “booty” as gifts. We are preparing the gift bags today and looking forward to joining the party tomorrow afternoon – Christmas Eve.
The long saga of a community well at the volunteer house seems to be near completion, again! After our disastrous attempts at providing the community with well water via electricity from the solar panels we are now going for the other option, a hand pump. To offer the community water and keep the volunteer house safe and private, a wall has been erected around the well with two gates, one for the house and one for the community. We are purchasing the hand pump equipment and soon all will be in place and at long last the community will be able to get water from the well at the volunteer house.
We have been honored to receive gift money to use at our discretion. We decided to use some to purchase some more hymn books. This time, at the request of the church council, the majority of them will go to the sister churches in the mountains. We were told that one of the churches needed only 2 books as the community are mostly illiterate. This is a sad fact and we hope that with other NGOs help with schooling and our efforts through our self help groups in the area; that this will be reversed in the near future and the community will be blessed with teachers passing on the gift of literacy.
Some days really bring home to us the fact that we live in a third world country. On Tuesday we needed to do a grocery run to town to pick up the things that we cannot buy locally. The Canter truck needed to be taken into PAP too, so we combined the trip with Gesner, our driver, so he could drive the Canter in and we could bring him home. Gesner’s son was happily returning home, from the USA, for Christmas, so we added a trip to the airport to our day. No problem. However, our trip around the grocery store which was successfully completed in an hour resulted in a trip lasting 11 hours from door to door. On top of that when we arrived home we found that we had no water. So now cold showers have become a luxury that we are doing without. Buckets of water filled up at the local well are now the order of the day. “It’s going to be fixed today” has been the call since then.
Postscript - within 20 minutes of posting this blog the water was fixed! Hoorah
Each day the sun is shining and the nights are cool and clear enough for star gazing. We hope for a joyous and peaceful Christmas, for everyone.
|Us, together in the USA, during our 14 mile walk!|
|The benches being made.|
|The new office|