Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kenya: Great Days in a Unique Land

We have officially ended our second week of our Kenyan adventure. The time sure is flying by! We continue to love being present in the lives of the children and are trying to live every day to the fullest, keeping in mind that we only have a short amount of time here. As Drea said in the last post these kids have come from some of the gravest conditions imaginable and to see them laughing and healthy is something beyond amazing. They are so full of joy and do not take what they have been given for granted. During the last two weeks we have been putting on a mini camp for the kids since they have three weeks off of school. The camp is called GAMES which stands for Games, Art, Music, Enrichment and Sports. I, along with three others have been in charge of Sports. Last week we held a basketball clinic where we are hoping to produce the next Michael Jordan:) The kids have had a ton of fun with b ball and it is great to see them so eager to learn about the game. It has been just as enjoyable for me to teach them.
Every Saturday and Sunday night we have a giant soccer game with the kids as the sun goes down resulting in one of the most epic experiences I have had. Our team has loved running around and going crazy when goals are scored. There is a mama for every ten children at Rafiki and one of the mamas, Mama Lydia, is an avid soccer fan. She always comes out with her hat backwards and try's to keep up with the rambunctious little ones (hilarious to watch). The mama's of these kids are some of the most impressive people I have ever met. I can't imagine being a single mother and having to take care of ten children under the age of 12. It's unreal to see the strength they have and they give all the credit to God. Truly amazing.
The meals continue to be our team's achilles tendon:) The kids on the other hand love every meal, eating everything on their plate. I have literally never seen such clean plates at the end of a meal, so we are trying to learn from their ways. At dinner tonight I had a boy ask me with a completely straight face if I was from the North Pole....Haha
The work this week after games has been challenging, but as we keep in mind who we are serving we get that extra encouragement. Eric and I extended the soccer field about an extra thirty yards with this massive machine of a lawn mower. We plowed over several small trees and bushes that got in our way. It was quite a fun task. We have also mowed an additional five acres or so in preparation for a Kenyan ministry of education inspection on Thursday. Drea and Megan have also been working extremely hard after Games is over, working on preparing books for the next school semester and organizing a library for the junior high students. They have taped and repaired a ridiculous amount of books.
As we get to know the people, experience the wonderful Kenyan culture, and become more acquainted with this unique land the more we fall in love with it. Blessings to all of you and we will continue to keep you posted.

Much love,

Monday, June 28, 2010

Haiti: Mangos are delicious!

Hey everyone! It’s been an awesome weekend down in Haiti. The mission team from Denby Pres in Virginia left for home Friday, leaving the 3 interns behind. We spent most of the day Friday working on creating a digital 3D map of the surveying data we took last week. We’ll start the actual design of the dam and canal soon. On Saturday, we got some good rest by sleeping in until about 8am. Bruce had a few tasks for us that day, but they were quick and easy. It was mostly just bending rebar and connecting some new parts to a car battery charger. We’ve had two visitors this weekend from a company called Protos that works with Bruce on many of the water projects. Martine is Belgian, and Julie is French. They’ve been working with Bruce on accounting stuff. We have definitely managed without his supervision though. With our spare time, we like to play with the neighborhood kids, start soccer games, explore the beautiful Haitian countryside, hang out…There’s always stuff to do here. Church on Sunday was an awesome experience. Everyone dresses their absolute best to worship the Lord. We went to Pastor Chrisbon’s church in Post Metier this time. He gave on great sermon on the 5th Commandment. After church, we got to accompany Bruce and Pastor Chrisbon to Madame Danielle’s house to pray with her for her family. It was really cool to see how the church community will come together to support each other in times of need. And, of course, Sunday afternoon was spent at Pastor Chrisbon’s house where we had a marvelous feast prepared by Madame Chrisbon. So good! Then Sunday afternoon we went to visit a Toutoun, a man who works for Bruce, and his family. And we spent Sunday evening eating amazing mangos and popcorn and hanging out with the Robinsons. What a great weekend!

This week is going to be really busy for us. Bruce has several projects he wants us to start working on. Wednesday we even get to travel up into the mountains to find the source of a river to see if we can use it to supply water to the towns below. And the rest of our team arrives on Friday, and we can’t wait for them to get here. We’ve got plenty to do until they get here though. We’re doing great! Hope everything’s well on the home front.

God’s grace,


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bonsoir! from Haiti

Hey everyone! we're having a great time in Haiti so far. Internet access is spotty, so this is kind of two posts in one. A lot's been going on, and we're excited to tell you all about it.

The Haiti boys (Jordan and Adam) are back from another tiring day of foundation building up in Foison. We are dust and sweat covered but we’re having an awesome time. We’re a little late on updating everyone so we’ve got a lot to talk about.
Our trip started out with about 26 hours of total travel time. We arrived in Port-Au-Prince (PAP) at about 8:30am after flying from Seattle to LA to Miami and down from there. In the Miami airport we met up with the mission group from Virginia that we’ve been staying with for the first 10 days. They are awesome and we’ve had a lot of fun hanging out at the team house and working with them. There is one other intern here (Kester) along with Adam and I. We arrived at Bruce and Deb’s house at about 7pm after battling the red hats at the PAP airport, sneaking oversized carry on bags onto the Tortug Airlines flight to Port-De-Paix, crossing a river in sinking boats, and a 40 min truck ride with Pastor Chrisbon over some of the bumpiest roads we’ve ever seen. What an experience.
Since then, we’ve been hard at work. The very first day we got the opportunity to survey a section of river where we will eventually be designing a dam for an irrigation canal. We finished the surveying on Thursday thanks to our brand new Nikon total station. Other than that we’ve been working with the Virginians on the foundation of a new school in Foison, a small village in the mountains about 10 miles South of Bruce and Deb’s house. That has involved digging holes; gathering, rolling, carrying, shoveling, throwing, and smashing huge boulders; tying rebar to make foundation columns; carrying and mixing cement. We’ve also had plenty of time playing with the local kids. Around the team house itself, we’ve put together emergency tents that were just delivered, moved building supports, attached a dipole radio that can communicate with the rest of the world, eaten delicious food with the Robinsons, toured Bruce’s previous projects and shop, and explored the area around the team house. We also got to go to the local outdoor market and bakery with Deb. A couple nights ago we attended a Haitian funeral, which was a very interesting experience. We met our first real opposition at a work site where we were building the base of a culvert. A man was throwing a fit that made a lot of the Haitians stop working. It was decided for us to leave the situation and so we went to a pastor’s house nearby. It was a nice drive back to the house with the pastor through the Haitian countryside.
We have loved getting to be a part of Bruce and Deb’s ministry so far and hearing their vision for the future of this remote corner of Haiti. So much of their vision has already come to life, and we’re very excited to see what other amazing things will happen here in the next few weeks. We’ve been very busy, but we’re having a great time. Please keep us in our prayers, especially that God would comfort us from homesickness, would give us strength to complete our tasks, and would be with us in developing our team unity.
We hope you’re all doing well, and we can’t wait to hear about the things God is doing with the other teams. Much love,
Note: The above blog entry was written several days ago, but we were unable to post it due to power and internet issues.
Today was Beach Day!
The week long mission trip of the Virginians is coming to an end, so we got to celebrate by spending the morning at a beautiful beach near Bay De Mustique. It was a beautiful sunny day. We got to swim, snorkel, and play all morning. We found Nemo, dove for sand dollars, and Adam even made a treasure map. All in all, it was a great day enjoying God’s creation.
Haiti is an all around beautiful place. Each little town is different. There are tropical beaches with white sand and turquoise waters near, harsh deserts with cactus and all things prickly, huge rocky mountains, lush tropical jungles, vast banana and mango farms. What an amazing place.
The Virginians will be heading back to the US tomorrow leaving the 3 engineers to continue working. We had a great time getting to know and hanging out with them, and we will miss them. But there’s plenty of work still to be done. Every day is a new adventure in Haiti, and we’ll do our best to keep y’all posted on our activities.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kenya: A week of adventures

It has been a week since we have been here. We finally got the internet up and running. I am very thankful that Barclay brought his computer because the one here is very slow. We have een very busy working and playing with the kids.

Our flight over was good. Nothing went wrong, we had a delay of about an hour in Ethiopia but our driver was still waiting for us. We are living in the village, which is surrounded by walls. All four of us are living in Wageni, which means guest in Kiswahili. There are five other people here and we all share the space. One more lady will arrive tomorrow. It is very nice. We eat our breakfast here by ourselves but every other meal is will the kids and momas. They do our laundry three times a week if we want and clean those days as well. They provide us with all the food we want, including the most amazing mangoes I have ever tasted. We run out of the a lot.

Our days are pretty routine. We get up at about 6 or 6:30 and get ready and eat. We then have devotions at 7:15 but for some reason, we never get there on time (or they just start early). The devotions are with the staff members and the village director. We sing and read the Bible. The next three weeks we are having a competition of sorts where we get asked questions about the books they just finished. We of course have no idea what the answers are because we havent read Ezra or 2 Chronicles. After devotions we pray and then prepare for the day. This week and next week we are doing games. It is just in the morning and the kids are in groups and go through different stations. Thankfully the kids all have shirts with their names on them. Otherwise we would be lost. There are about 90 kids and it is hard to know all the names. It is very cool to get to know the students though. We have learned some stories that break our hearts. One little girl Miriam was found in the bottom of a latrine. A latrine is basically a whole in the ground that is used for the bathroom. Two other kids, John and Susan, came to the village because their mom was killed by their dad while they were in the room. All the stories are very sad. It makes me so happy that they have come here and found a better life.

We have been mostly in the village. It is a completely different world that outside the village. We havent had much culture shock (at least speaking for myself- Drea) but we have a visit planned for the slums, which I am excited about. This past weekend we have been to the market and the tea farm. This weekend we are going to the market again and to the Giraffe center/Elephant orphanage. It is nice to see the rest of Africa.

The food has been hard for us. It is hard to adapt. We eat beans at almost every meal. We have had some interesting meals. The other night was a mixture of eggs, rice, and some green veggies(I think spinach). It has been interesting. A lot of the time we give our food to the kids when the momas arent looking. At dinner it is silent. No one talks, it is sometimes very awkward as we as Americans talk when we eat.

The kids are just amazing! I have fallen in love with some of them. They are all very quiet. They call me Auntie Drea. Megan is also auntie. The boys are uncle. Barlcay is trying to establish his own nickname. He has gone from BK to broccoli. The kids are calling him broccoli. It is really funny to watch them. On the weekends we play soccer. The kids are all very good and I get caught up in watching the sunset as the kids play.

We havent seen much wildlife yet. There are lots of birds and lizards. The other day I was wearing my only white shirt and an ibis ( a big bird that makes a lot of annoying noises) pooped on me. All the kids died laughing.

A lot has happened for me since I (Drea) have been here. My boyfriends sister had her baby, and it didnt make it. It has been hard for me to be here and have this all happen at home. I have never prayed more in my entire life. This week has already changed my life. I have learned not only a lot about myself but a lot about God and the way he works. I can't wait to see what else He has for me to learn. I am learning to trust more and more. It has been hard. I am asking for continued prayers as they are dealing with this issue at home. God has a plan and I pray for peace and comfort as I am here.

The team is good, I have a cough but overall we are ok. We are still getting used to the schedule and so we are a little tired. We can feel your prayers and we ask for more. We hope to get on later and update you more on our experiences.

God bless,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Team Kenya

Team Kenya arrived safely but has had limited internet access. Keep them in your prayers.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ecuador: Mosquitoes should die

Team Ecuador is here safe, and loving life.
Our brains hurt from trying to understand and speak in Spanish todo el tiempo.
We are like old ladies because we go to bed at 9 o'clock. Last night we stayed up till 11; we are so wild!
We have been sent to different families for Tuesday through Thursday each week. We help with dishes, sweeping, making the bed; we are just here to help :)
Erica had to cut up dead animals. Ha.
We live in the church, and it is always freezing. When we meet people and tell them we live in the church, they always ask us if we are freezing. Our immediate response is yes. Si, muy frio.
We need keys for the church, but unfortunately a few days ago we went into town, locked the gate to our church, and forgot the keys. People were not supposed to meet us at the church for a while, and it had started to pour. Kellie decided to break into our house; the only problem is there is barbed wire and spikes all around our gate. Did that deter her? Nope. She found a place where there was just chain link fence, and began to climb. It wasn't until she swung her leg over the chain link that she realized the chain link in Ecuador is NOT like the chain link in the US. It was sharp, and her pants got caught. So Kellie was stuck, up on the fence, which her pantalones ripped and stuck to the chain link, not able to move. Jamie was helping while Kellie screamed and laughed. Quite humorous. By this point she was soaked. Awesome.
She made it over, and she broke into the house, and she got the keys. She is a hero. Her pants are destroyed.
We´ve had a few aventuras (adventures) with the bugs here as well. Mandi´s family actually convinced her to try a fried grub of some kind. She won´t eat meat, but she´ll try insects. Go figure. We also found a giant centipede in our bathroom. Jamie was the only one brave enough to catch it and take it outside.
One night a very nice church member brought us a pitcher of some kind of fermented milk beverage. After we figured out that he was offering us a gift and not begging we took the pitcher and thanked him. Allyssa was the only one brave enough to try it. Everyone else was scared off by the curds floating in it. It tasted kind of like cheese. (Allyssa is still perfectly healthy by the way.)
Yesterday we went to Otavalo, which has a huge market. So fun.
We love empanadas here.
We tried to go to a waterfall, but it started pouring rain... and 11 of us were in one sedan, with two children in the trunk.
That is just how we do.
The mosquitoes? Too painful to remember the horror of their
More to come :)

Team India: The Adventure Begins

After 20 hours of flying and layovers in Vancouver and Hong Kong we arrived in Bangalore at 3 a.m. on June 16th. After a day of rest we went to Asha Kiran Special Needs School. This summer we will be assisting the principal and the teachers at the school. School begins at 8 a.m. each day and ends at 1:30 p.m. At 7:30 a.m. we take the school bus to Asha Kiran, the drive to school is one of our favorite things. The half hour drive takes us through the busy streets and slums of Bangalore. Several times we saw cows in the middle of the street, yesterday there a man walking a camel next to our house. The school teaches kids with a range of special needs; including Down’s syndrome, autism, physical disabilities, and hearing impairment. On Thursday Katie assisted the preschool age kids as they learned to count, name shapes, and know their abcs. The kids at the school are mesmerized by Katie’s golden locks, the teachers had to explain to the them that all of the yellow stuff was her hair; they had never seen blonde hair before. We get a lot of stares from the kids and locals as we are the only foreigners. Class is taught in English. English has become a necessity in the Bangalore, many of the overseas call centers are in the city. The language is used nationally, Rita, the Principal and our host, says that English has “united the country.” All Universities teach in English. Sarah assisted a prevocational class on Thursday. The twelve students learn different life skills and how to sit quietly for periods of time during their first class, breathing exercises. On Friday we helped in the prevocational class, we went on a field trip to the store to teach the students how to write a grocery lists and purchase items. On Saturday we went on a walk to CHM Street where there are a few shops. All of the streets are uneven and are broken and slabs of concrete are missing. Dirt piles and garbage line the streets and people are everywhere and cars constantly honk. From what we can tell there are no real traffic rules, or lanes. There are no stop signs, or working street lights where we live. Walking around the city is an adventure because we constantly have to be aware of ourselves, the cars and motorcycles, the garbage, and the broken uneven streets. A misstep can land you in a four foot ditch between concrete slabs; we thought the streets north of 45th were bad. This weekend we are planning our first shopping excursion to buy traditional Indian clothes and a Sari for the wedding we are attending on July 2nd. We are hoping the clothing will help us to not stick out as much. Sometimes locals ask us where we are from and why we have come. In our daily walk around the park next to our house a few elderly gentlemen talked to us about our trip to Bangalore and their kids in the States.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bethlehem's Got Photos

From Deputation

Me and Trey in Beit Sehoor (House of Waking) just south of Bethlehem where we're staying. We're on top of one of the more significant buildings in the area, because it's owned by a related member of our household (as is just about everyone on the block! Things are like that around here...huge families that cluster together.

From Deputation

Looking north toward Bethlehem

From Deputation

Me and the other Beit Sehoor-ers outside The Shepherds Field (Like, where the shepherds saw the angels! Or at least the traditionally believed location. Probably close enough )

From Deputation

The "Peace Wall." An ever-present reminder of the crazy prejudice going on here... from inside looking toward Israel, you'll see all the graffiti. Some it it is pretty powerful stuff...more to come. Not to sound like the political agenda is sinking in, it's just that the local politics are ever present and the grim reality of the situation inescapable.

I've got more pics from the other day too I'll be getting up here. We got Trey's bag from Jerusalem (Thank the Lord!) and spent some time exploring with one of our friends along with more of Bethlehem. Today we're doing some traveling also, I'll keep ya'll posted. ;)

Mas Salaam!

(Post originated from http://boundlesschrist.blogspot.com)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bethlehem: Day 1.5 -- A Journey Ends, an Adventure Begins!

Someone once said, to live would be an awfully big adventure.

I can certainly say that we have lived life in a big way these past few days.

Getting here amounted to what was probably the most stressful 24 hours of either me or Trey's life. Getting everything gathered and packed the night before leaving (with time for zero sleep) only compounded the problems later in the day: in Dallas, about an hour before our plane was scheduled to leave, Trey discovered that his bag had been misdirected to be dropped of in Texas. He had to run down, grab his bag, take it back through security... etc... terrible. In all, about an hour long process, all the while, I had no idea what was going on (no cell phones. O_o ). Got back in time to find out that he got booted from the flight, and had to make it on another, leaving us with no time to coordinate what we were doing once we were in London.

All I knew was I'd get there two hours before he did, and that he was now flying American Airlines, not Brittish. Along the way, I ended up sitting next to two Mormon gals who were heading out for their year-and-a-half long missions trip and were very interesting to talk with. Spent quite a long time talking about God and what we believe "Oh, I just love learning about what other people's beliefs are!" I think were "Sister Alexander"'s words. Mm... they were pretty cool though, left me with a couple things to think about. One of them was talking about how after she had prayed, God had given her a verse and how it was exactly what she needed to hear and how great having relationship with God is and etc. How this book has really changed her life... made me wonder what was really going on. When we departed ways at the airport, they gave me their only extra copy of the Book of Mormon (I tried to refuse... *sigh*... I have no idea what to do with it! At least it's not going to someone else, I suppose).

In London, I and Trey were met with another nightmare. Essentially, we spent the entire 14 hour layover not having a clue where the other person was and trying to wait in various places hoping against hope of finding the other. Trey did venture into the city, whereas I chickened out at the last second. Thought it'd be lame to visit all by myself, and from the sounds of what Trey said, it was pretty lame. Crazy stressful.

I figured that if all else fails, we were to meet at a terminal for our flight out at 1030pm. I woke up from a nap at 9:40, headed over there, and I'm telling you, there are few other faces that could make me feel so suddenly good as Trey's as we ran into eachother in the bathroom....

The flight to Tel Aviv was wonderfully uneventful. I will say that the food on these flights was absolutely incredible. I mean, I haven't had anything besides peanuts or pretzels to eat on a plane in goodness knows how long. Curried Chicken, rolls, salad, dessert, drinks, milk... so good! =D

Tel Aviv: turns out Trey's luggage didn't make it from London. -_- HOWEVER, we made it in the country without a hitch, which was such a blessing! We made it! Met at the exit by a man (not to be confused with this who took us to Bethlehem from the airport...where we met our host family (who are going to be pretty sweet, especially the food!!!! and the couple of kids that are totally awesome! I was playing with one of the kids and his mom told him that I don't actually speak Arabic... the kid disagreed, a fact I found quite amusing).

Trey is still trying to track down his Luggage and may have to visit the airport to get it all figured out... something that's just killing him. I don't blame him =/ . Be praying for his situation! That he get's his stuff! Otherwise, we're alive and well, thinking of home much... it's just starting to set in how far and away both in space and time we really are from Seattle...


Sierra Leone is on the ground

Emma, Jessica, and Victor have arrived safely in Freetown. They, along with other COTN interns are on their way to Banta where they will be living for the next 8 weeks. Please pray for continued safety as they travel.

Haiti Team has arrived

A message from Bruce Robinson:
Jordan and Adam are here and we are very impressed with them. The whole team’s bags are supposed to come in the morning. They are going to start working on an irrigation canal survey and design in the morning.

More later.

In Christ,

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

India & Ecuador: More safe arrivals

Team India and Team Ecuador have both arrived safely.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

DR team arrived!

The Dominican Republic Team has arrived safely in Barahona. Updates to come once they get settled in.