Dear Family and Friends,
Hello! I hope that you are well. Thank you for all of your prayers and support.
I apologize for the lack of new posts on my blog in recent months. A lot has happened during this time. Now that things are settling down I will try to give you a concise update.
The Sisters in Aru and Kampala were so helpful and understanding during this time, for the wonderful warmth of the VOICA community in Aru, and for the support of my family, especially my uncle Bob. Thank you also to all of you who prayed for me.
In Aru, the computer center classes are going very well, the new classrooms for the elementary school are nearly completed and there are big hopes for a new library. On November 21, Luca returned home to Italy after completing his year of service. His presence is certainly missed. The bakery continues to produce bread thanks to the two Congolese men Luca trained as bakers. Fausto is back in Aru after spending over two weeks in Kampala for medical care. Liz and Kyle are quickly learning about mission life.
I am planning on staying in Colorado through the holidays as I discern my next steps. Going back to Congo is a possibility. Please continue to pray for the sisters and volunteers in Aru, and that I discern wisely which direction to take.
I wish you all a blessed Advent season.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Here's a post I wrote almost two months ago, but wasn't able to get on the internet.
I hope that you are well and enjoying the falling leaves and autumn breezes. Sorry that it's been so long since I've written!
A lot has happened here since I've last posted a blog. After the short-term volunteers departed at the end of August, we enjoyed the visit of Luca's cousin Andrea. A week later I took the bus to Kampla to meet the new long-term volunteers Liz and Kyle. After a short night with the sisters in Kampala we got on the 6:00 bus to return to Arua where Luca and Fausto awaited us.
Liz is from Rhode Island and just finished her studies in Math/Elementary Education. I'm really happy to have some female company, and especially hers. She is a lot of fun, very helpful and thoughtful. Kyle just finished his studies in psychology and is from North Carolina. It's nice to speak in American English with other native speakers. Seven weeks after their arrival, we are gelling into a community of five, and they are learning to speak the language of VOICA (our strange mix of French, Italian, a little English and some other words and grammar structures that were made up ourselves.) Liz and Kyle have already received the "baptism of Africa" (as the sisters call it): malaria for Liz and typhoid fever for Kyle.
Classes began September 1. I am teaching Sophomore, Junior and Senior year English and working with the pre-schoolers once a week, as I did last year. There's still talk of a strike as the government hasn't paid the teachers for February and March of last year, but for now the parents are paying extra and the teachers continue to work.
I also have begun teaching English at the school for the promotion of women. The class is small and the women are eager to learn. There is a group of eight aspirants this year. I will probably spend an hour each week working on English and music.
We were happy to receive the news that all but one of the eighty or so seniors at our high school passed the final exams last year. Last week there will be a big celebration at the school.
I am hopeful that before I leave we will have a functioning library. We have some friends in Italy working on fundraising to construct a new building to serve as the library. On my next post, I will also let you all know how to contribute if you would like to support this project There may be a container coming within the next year. We hope to make contacts in France to get books donated there and shipped in the container.
I've been tired, but healthy and enjoying community life and teaching. The time goes by quickly here. We are still getting a lot of rain, so everything is green and beautiful. We have a problem with the inverter for our solar panels, so many times we are without electricity. This means problems preserving food and a lot of washing by hand. The last few days we've had more consistent electricity, so maybe the problem is solved.
I continue to learn a lot. Fausto and I began taking Lingala lessons, and lessons for life are constant. I thank God for answers to prayer and for his creative ways of teaching me.
I miss you and pray that you are well.
Fausto has been sick with malaria and typhoid fever for the last week. Please keep him in your prayers.