11/05/02 More fascinating experiences and a prayer request
We have been without electricity and water for the last two days! It was nice to have so many emails when the power came back.
I just can't believe how little time we have left here. Every day I still see things that I never want to forget. This morning we made those twirl snakes with the compassion kids, you know where you cut a circle into a spiral. They couldn't believe what they were seeing when you lifted up the end of it and it all spiralled down!! I won't forget the shrieks of laughter and smiles followed by the fascination with pencil crayons! Such simple things....again it makes you think.
Our relationships with the girls in the area are still growing and they are all coming this afternoon. I think we're going to make pasta necklaces with them. We're already done things like Easter cards and modelling balloons. They love to come and we have to set times for them to come or they'd live here.
Amharic is still on the up. I feel quite comfortable with it now!! A few days ago Lexi and I bought Amharic and English New Testaments!! O.K. so we don't understand hardly a word of it but we are determined to have the Lord's prayer at least partially learnt in Amharic before we leave. It's wonderful and such an eye opener to see how they have culturally translated it. Instead of 'Give us today our daily bread," it says, "Give us today our daily injera," !!!! Great huh?! I love it!
P.S. Please pray that I stay disciplined in my quiet times. I am so easily distracted.
08/05/02 Only have six more weeks till we come home
We have two more weeks of teaching in Jimma. After that we go on the Home Schooling retreat in the north east of the country. At that point our visas will have expired and we will be leaving the country for the last three weeks. Still don't know where we will be going - watch this space!
06/05/02 News dated 23/04/02 but only just received via postcard.
Had a great time on holiday. God kept us safe and well. We rode mules up a mountain to visit an ancient monastery hewn in the rock face. It was a really amazing opportunity! At 3,200 metres up there was a great view! We also visited the 11 churches said to have been carved out of the rocks by King Lalibella himself. They are very impressive as you can see if you look here.
27/04/02 We're back
We got back from Lalibella yesterday all totally safe and absolutely no hitches!! Praise the Lord! We had a great time and saw some amazing sights! I'm telling you, the bus journey was something else! The buses are like our public transport buses, well that style but not that standard! It was three on a two-seater seat and two on a seat that comfortably seated one! We travelled for almost nine hours on the bus yesterday and we only stopped once!! It was so funny Lexi and I dared not drink anything in the morning for fear that we would have to have them stop the bus for us. They would have stopped it right there and then and we would have had an audience!! Anyway God gave us big bladders and we survived! Half way down one only slightly bumpy road one of the bus window panes fell out! Into the bus! It was so funny as the driver didn't even stop and the guy sitting by the window just threw the smashed glass out of the...well..hole!! It's amazing this country, it makes me laugh!
20/04/02 This week I am a tourist!
Today Lexi and I are off to Addis by bus. From there we will be flying to Lalibella in the north of Ethiopia where we will spend about 4 days seeing the sights. There are a number of historical sites in the area that we hope to visit.
14/04/02 Prayer Letter #5 now available here
14/04/02 Photos now available here
04/04/02 Back safe
I have had the most amazing time!!!! I'm back totally safe, absolutely no hiccups and I am just praising God for how gracious he is to have blessed me so richly with everything, the people, the place, the experience. Gambella was THE BEST totally relaxing and wonderful!! Please join in with me in praising God for his greatness!!!!
01/04/02 Latest update received from the Baldwins today.
Hello Hello, yes the girls .... Helen and Lexi are, by all accounts, having a fantastic time down at the refugee camp in Bonga and were recently seen covered in paper mache just before an ambitious Easter presentation. There were due to come home today (Monday) but there were not allowed on their flight because they had no ID with them. The next flight is on Wednesday so they have sent a radio message to let us know that they will be back with us then. SIM Admin will fax them some ID. Meanwhile I can assure you that they are being well looked after by the SIM folk down there and they should be back on line on Wednesday. They will have lots of stories I'm sure.
19/03/02 Easter "holiday"
This will be a holiday with a difference! Next week Lexi and I are going to visit three SIM friends of ours who are working with children in a UN refugee camp on the Sudanese border. The camp is at a place called Bonga near the town of Gambella in eastern Ethiopia. We will be helping the children to make an educational mural. Some holiday! Really looking forward to it.
19/03/02 Prayer points
17/03/02 Understanding dawns! - Slowly!
I found out yesterday that Addis Ababa means 'new flower'. I'm learning slowly! It's getting quite fun when you understand what is bring said to you!
10/03/02 Coffee from the tree!
This morning we went to the church of the guy who is teaching us Amharic then we went to his house for lunch...enjera and dorro wat (chicken, a special occasion!) I helped make the coffee right from roasting the beans that came form the tree in the garden, to drinking it! The whole kit and caboodle!! What an experience.
A few days ago I carried my shopping back to our house on my head! It's so much easier, I'm going to do it more often. The Ethiopians laugh but they like it!
08/03/02 Post - glorious post!
I had some wonderful post today. I got letters and birthday cards from Mum, Auntie Linda, Sally, Jen, Debbie and the most wonderful letter from Ruth P with messages from everyone at the Oakes!! They were all great! And there's a parcel waiting for me at the P.O. :-) It just gets better and better! Post is the most wonderful thing and I can't tell how grateful I am to everyone who has taken the time to write and stuff.
OK visa!! Yes we now know the answer. We are fine until beginning of April and then will be able to get another one month visa till early May. After that we will probably have to leave the country for a little while to get it sorted for the final two months. That's OK though, we won't have to come home, we are looking at the possibilities of Egypt, Kenya or the Seychelles!! It won't be too hard at all so that's an answer to prayer. OK hope that's clear enough, (yeah as mud....) anyway the gist of it is that it's all OK!! Thanks for your prayers.
06/03/02 Birthday Treats!
had a wonderful birthday!! I got a load of post and parcels. Lexi sent
me on a treasure hunt around Jimma to find my birthday presents, it was so
fun!! She's a love! I got the most amazing and different presents,
things like CHEESE! which, if I was at home I would think they were crazy but
here it's just GREAT!! You appreciate everything so much more here, the
smallest craziest things are what you really get excited about!
02/03/02 Food, glorious food!
Let me tell you just a little more about the lovely weekend that I am having. Last night we had pizza! The most amazing treat!! Diane made them with lots of special stuff that you have to save up for an occasion such as this. Things such as cheese (almost home cheese but still not quite!), sausage and salami (a real delicacy!!) And for pud the 'piece-de-resistance' ice-cream (WOW WOW), home-made with warm chocolate sauce and strawberries from the garden! It has to be the best meal I've eaten since being here. Mind you, some of Maura's creations come very close! You know you're in Africa when you call that an amazing meal!!
Anyway tonight there are more treats as we have been invited out for a meal at the hotel where our Dutch friends are staying!! It's just getting better and better. We are also hosting church on Sunday which should be fun as the crowd is growing, Praise the Lord!
23/02/02 We do some entertaining
I'm still all well and Lexi and I entertained last night! Four Dutch students, who are on work experience here in Jimma from a Christian University, came around for a meal and we played games. They are coming to our church meetings on a Sunday. It's good to socialise and with people more our own age who speak English!!
22/02/02 Our Visas need to be extended
The visas we have at the moment are only for a month at a time. They have already been renewed once and will need to be renewed again at the end of the month. There is a limit of three renewals so after four months we would not be able to renew again. Please pray that we may be able to obtain 60 day visas this time. Also, I am finding the language really hard. Please pray for stamina in this area. Thanks so much.