Tuesday, October 21, 2014

simple woman's daybook

FOR TODAY October 21, 2014

Outside my window... red, gold and green trees beneath a gray sky.

I am thinking... of my dad.  Today would have been his 69th birthday.  Miss him!

I am thankful... for a new perspective of my 'old' life.

In the kitchen... thankfully it's pizza night for dinner.  I don't have to strain my brain to figure out what to eat tonight.

I am wearing... gray and blue sweatshirt and jeans.

I am creating... a photo book about my mission trip to Burkina Faso, Africa.

I am going... to start training classes with Milo (the dog) again.  Hoping to get him certified as a therapy dog by the end of 2015 or sooner.

I am wondering... what I will do with all the apples I have in the house and garage.  Peel, slice and prepare for freezing, make apple crisp and then?

I am reading...Words Unspoken

I am hoping... to adjust the household budget to free up more 'giving' money. 

I am looking forward to... getting together with friends.

I am learning... not to have any expectations.  This is a bit challenging for me.

Around the house... the dust bunnies are threatening to take over.  Today, I will whisk them all away.

I am pondering... change.  I feel the stirrings of some kind of change coming.  Wonder what it will be?

A favorite quote for today... "We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do." ~Mother Teresa

One of my favorite things... an early morning walk on a crisp fall day.

A few plans for the rest of the week: return some overdue materials to the library, go pant shopping for my oldest who seems to have grown another couple inches overnight, shoe shopping for the youngest, get together with friends on Thursday & Friday (woot, woot!) and prepare the garden for winter.

A peek into my day...
Link up with Peggy at The Simple Woman's Blog.  Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Whispered Word

But we have this treasure in jars of clay,
to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 
(2 Corinthians 4:7, ESV)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dorcas House: Day 1

When we discussed what activities would be part of our trip to Africa, we talked about visiting Dorcas House and putting on a 3 day camp for the girls who live there.  As an American, I envisioned a 3 day camp full of fun activities that the girls would participate in just like a vacation bible school or sport camp in the US.

And that is exactly what it was with one exception.  It was so much more.  Sadly my vocabulary cannot even begin to express the love and warmth that is all around at Dorcas House.  Do you remember me saying that in Burkina Faso relationships come before anything else?  My poor little brain only scratched the surface of what that meant.  The Burkinabe are so trusting and have a great desire to get to know you.  They welcome you with open hearts and a forgiving attitude.  To walk with them is to feel like family.  It is rather indescribable how full my heart is right now and they are the ones that filled it to overflowing with love and acceptance.

Dorcas House is a home for girls.  You can read more about it here.  Whatever warm and fuzzy feelings you get when you think of home, that is what it's like within the walls of  Dorcas.  I just re-read what I wrote and had to laugh at how much I'm gushing, but that's truly what it's like.

Our van, packed and ready to bring us to Dorcas House.

On the way to Dorcas.

The Dorcas House water tower!  Almost there.
Gathering together for our first meeting. 
We started every class with singing and dancing to the beat of the drum.
Part of our teaching from Colossians 3:12.
A non-traditional student.

Tanti Sara and Tanti Amy giving instructions for our first craft, headbands.
The Jaune (Yellow) group making headbands with Nicole.
Jaune, modeling our finished products.
We taught the girls how to play baseball...
and ladder ball.
We ended the day with more singing and dancing and Smores over the campfire.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Long

long1 [lawng, long]
I took a long journey across the Atlantic ocean to Burkina Faso, Africa.  All told, there and back I traveled over 60 hours.

I was there for 10 days and I'll never be the same again.  My heart was filled.  My cup overflows.  The people are warm and welcoming.  The climate is hot and not so welcoming.

I heard roosters crowing, goats bleating, airplanes overhead, horns honking, motorbikes zooming, a language foreign to my ears and birds calling.

I smelled wood smoke and spice.  The odors of animals and the perspiration of humans.  The aroma of southern cooking in Africa as well as French cuisine and native foods.

I touched little children's faces and held babies in my arms.  I hugged the women and shook hands with the men.  I felt the heat rolling across the dry ground and the welcome relief of a brief shower.  My feet were always dusted with red dirt and water never felt so good upon my lips.

I saw fisherman in boats and standing waist deep with nets at the ready.  Women carrying items upon their heads with babies on their backs.  Vibrant colors of a fruit stand and the sacrifice of animals during Tabaski.

I tasted frog legs, pizza, Tô, peanut sauce, taco bake, deep fried eggplant and Mango juice just to name a few.

I gave and received love.  I long to go back.

Five Minute Friday is a wild and wonderful flash mob of words.  Five minutes on one prompt. No overthinking or editing.  Please visit Kate Motaung and link up with Five Minute Friday to see more.

Making Soap

One of the skills the girls are taught at Dorcas House is how to make soap.

The secret ingredients.
One of the ingredients is shea butter which is locally grown.

After all the ingredients are added, the stirring begins.

And continues....
until just the right consistency.

The soap is poured into flats.

Worked into the corners and smoothed on top.
The soap is then let to set for a few hours.

The soap is then turned out of the mold and cut in half.

It is cut into it's final shape by being slowly pushed through cutting wires.

The 'DH' is stamped on the top and stripes are stamped on each side.

Many hands make light work.

The soap is then allowed to sit and harden.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

That is Burkina

The feel of red dirt clinging to my feet.  The salty taste of sweat on my lips.  The smell of wood smoke and spice.  The sound of drums beating, goats bleating and roosters crowing.  The moto bikes clogging the bumpy roads.  That is Burkina.

Warm smiles.  Handshakes.  Genuine interest.  Thankfulness.  Exuberance.  Dancing and singing.  That is Burkina.

Disabled forgotten.  Malnutrition.  Starving widows.  Wide-eyed children.  That is Burkina.

A hand extended.  A well drilled.  A bike given.  A soup served.  Hugs shared.  That is Burkina.

My time spent in Burkina Faso has gone too quickly.  The love shared has filled my heart.  Just a few short years ago I never would have thought I'd be sitting under a roof located in Burkina Faso, Africa.  Yet that is exactly where I am.  In a few short days I must ask to take the road.  When I do, I will take precious memories with me and a love of a country I never thought to see.

Trust.  Friendship.  Love.  That is Burkina.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Thursday's Journal Entry

It’s 12:30am here and the phone just buzzed with new email.  I’ve been disappointed because the internet has not been working all day here.  Not really a surprise.  However, It has been a disappointment from a blogging point of view.

Today was the Compassion visit with Clinton and Assana.  When it came time to meet the kids, I was told Clinton was not there. That made me very sad.  However, in her broken English, the woman told me he was running late and would arrive shortly!  Yay!  God has great timing and is in the details, because that time allowed me some one on one time with Assana.  She is the cutest!  I have a great photo of her.  (That reminds me, photos DO NOT want to load on the internet because the connection is so horrible!  I waited over an hour yesterday to load one picture to the blog.  Such a disappointment to me.  But, God has his plans.)

Anyway, Assana is SUPER shy!  She didn’t want to even touch me when I wanted to hold her hand to walk her to our chairs.  She didn’t want to look at me (kinda cultural too) and I really had to work to get her to talk.  Since she’s a twin, my guess is that she feels more comfortable with her sister around.  I gave her the backpack and we started going through the photo book and talking about our family.  She really liked the picture of herself that I put in there.  We talked about Logan, Ethan, Megan and Mason and what they like to do.  She finally asked what I did for work.  Then Clinton arrived.  He was a complete surprise to me.  For such reservation in his letters, he is a very active, joyful and compassionate 13 year old.  He smiled, talked a bit, asked me what I did for work.  We went through his backpack and I explained the photos and showed him the games and candy.  Assana was there with someone from her village and a Compassion representative, and Clinton was there with a Compassion representative.  We also had a translator there to help us out.  When we came across the UNO game that I packed in his backpack, I opened it to teach him how to play.  You should have seen the looks on their faces when I started shuffling the cards.  They were amazed.  That won me some points with the children and adults alike.  Yeah, I’m a card shark.  It was so fun.  I then had to try and teach the kids and adults how to shuffle the cards.  None of them could quite get the hang of it, so I was respected even more for my mad shuffling skills. 

We finally got to playing the game and it was a big hit.  The adults were getting quite competitive and seemed to be ganging up on me.  They would laugh when someone would throw a draw four on the pile for me.  It was a great time!!!!!  One especially tender moment for me to observe was when Clinton went to bring his chicken from our special meal together, outside to some of the boys who were looking through the windows.  I have a good picture of Clinton too.  Assana took some bracelets from her wrist and gave them to me for Megan.  How touching.  This child that has so very little was willing to part with her very own bracelets.  Reminded me of my own daughter.
After the Compassion visit we headed over to the Artisan Market where we could barter and purchase items.  I found a bead guy that did all the bartering for me.  I would look at an item, ask how much it was and he would say, “5000”.  He’d hesitate a moment and then say, “But you can have it for 4500”.  5000 was a good price to begin with so when he knocked off a couple hundred before I even opened my mouth, it was great.  This place was comfortable and really quite empty.  It was an enjoyable shopping experience and didn’t make me uncomfortable in the least. 

We ate dinner at a French restaurant in Ouagadougou and spent about 2.5 hours there.  Burkinabe are more about the time spent together than a timely meal.

We got home and had a team meeting and devotion time together and before I knew it, it was 11pm and I wasn’t even showered yet.  I tried to go online to no avail so I showered and tried again.  It still didn’t work so I decided to close up shop and head to bed.
Tomorrow we head to Tabitha Center to visit and see how they make their paper beads.  Tabitha center used to be for only widows, but they now include all women and it's located in one of the poorest areas in Ouaga.  It educates them and gives them a skill they can use to support themselves.  It’s very hard for women here to live on their own.  They are very much inferior to men. 

Well, I better get some shut eye if I’m going to be pleasant when the rooster crows tomorrow morning.