Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Odyssey of washing

Psalm 51:2 - Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! 

"You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.” - See more at:
 John 4:14 - But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Isaiah 12:3 - Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

Proverbs 5:15 - Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

I feel like Homer would have enjoyed my Odyssey in washing...I feel like a character in his work - although I certainly hope I don't encounter any cyclops, but the adventure continues....

After my last washing blog, a few things have changed...

We are not authorized to use the tank well water, we MUST hand collect our water from the lower well water.  This is definitely a 2-person job - took us four trips to get enough water to use for the wash cycle, and then the rinse cycle.

Headed down to the well...

However, this was not before I needed to hand scrub some clothing I knew would not come clean in my simple washing machine - so I took  my soap (specifically made for this process) to the scrub board which is conveniently located next to the well.  I hand scrubbed the item of clothing, then moved up to washing my clothes.

We were then informed about the huge cost of electricity (nice to know after the almost month of being here), so our clothes will be line dried as much as possible (baring rain, etc.) then thrown in the dry cycle for at least 10 minutes to kill off any lurking bot fly larvae.

"You visit the earth and water it,
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide the people with grain,
for so you have prepared it.” - See more at:

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Washing my clothes with my "semi-automatic" washing machine

So...I purchased my washing machine...opened up the box...and had NO idea what to do.  The instructions, as rudimentary as they were didn't offer that great of information - so I had  to go ask my team mate to give me a lesson on doing my wash.  Here is what is involved:

The well (in the foreground) has water pumped up to the tower (in the back ground) - that is of course only when we have electricity.  The water is then gravity fed to the water source at my house...

This is where I tap into the water with my hose...
Then I run the hose to my washing machine to fill..

This is assuming we have electricity, or water in the well.  If neither is the case, then I have to take my very large bucket and walk down to the end of the property...

To this well - where I lower a bucket, and fill my very large bucket (takes about 4 times of lowering the bucket to fill enough water for a wash cycle...

THEN...I add my clothing...

Set the timer...

 Set my other dial to wash...

 when the timer goes off, I select the switch to drain - and the water drains out of the tub...

Then I refill the tub for the rinse cycle...

Set the tub to rinse...

re-set the timer...let it run it's cycle...

then set the knob to drain again...

then I wring out my clothes, and put them in the spin container....

After all that is done - I have semi-clean clothes.  Water coming from a well is tainted with dirt afterall, so you are washing clothes in dirty water...As you can see, this process does not allow me to go very far from my washing machine as it requires constant attention.  I guess I can now see how the machine is labeled "semi-automatic" - still not so sure what part is the automatic part!  HA!

Goes without saying, this is all assuming we have electricity - no electricity, no washing machine, no dryer - all our clothes go in our dryer so we don't get those pesky bot flies in our clothing, and then into our bodies...(and this was the LEAST  offensive picture of a bot fly larvae emerging from someone) time you throw your clothes in your washing machine and return 45 minutes later, think of us, say a prayer for our ministry, and add your Downy dryer sheets to the dryer.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The market

Went to the market today for my fresh vegetables.  The grocery store has barely passable fruits and vegetables because most people do not buy them at the grocery store, they buy them in the outdoor market.  So - if you don't want veggies that are already starting to rot - you head to the market.

One of my finds is a leafy vegetable called Endung.  They use it to make a spinach like side dish for dinner.

Another treat was fresh avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, lemons, papaya and carrots.

One of the sweet Guinean women made me a very special dish called Bambucha.  It's typically made for weddings or other special events as it takes all day to make.  It's made with yucca leaves and palm nut oil which is ground from fresh palm nuts.  I absolutely LOVE it!  Hoping it is a good source of iron as I am extremely anemic!
Pine nuts are ground in a pestle and mortar.  In Honduras this common nut was used as a bio-fuel, but here it is used as a common/everyday oil to cook with.
yucca plants - typically the root is used but in this delicious dish, the leaves are ground up and cook for a day

End result - super, delicious bambucha

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Feeling alone

That moment when you feel like you are all alone.  People speaking a language you don't understand, eating food you don't know, wearing clothes that don't feel natural.  You don't have a car, take showers with a hose, cook on a stove you don't get, and with food you aren't sure about.  Only wear dresses or skirts, eat and breath sweat, with electricity that is questionable at best.  Can't even figure out where to throw your trash, how to get rid of the flying cockroaches, and the deadly mosquitoes.  Water is deadly, snakes that can kill, and microbes that want to invade your body.  No transportation, 6-8 time zones away from those you love, stores that are closed for half the day, and food that costs more than in the States. 

The reality of missions.  We read books and watch movies, and it all seems so glamorous.  Even our time in Honduras seemed like it was "easy."  But reality has struck...the honeymoon is over...we have been told more than once, "Equatorial Guinea chews up missionaries and spits them out."  No one stays.  Africa is no joke.   

Galadriel:   “You are a ring-bearer, Frodo. To bear a ring of power is to be alone. This task was appointed to you. And if you do not find a way, no one will.”—The Fellowship of the Ring

When Frodo says he cannot accomplish his task on his own, Galadriel responds with the quotation above. She means to encourage him but also to let him know that his journey has just begun. The fellowship has given him a start, but the task ahead is his and his alone. He no longer needs the others, and, indeed, he separates from them at the end of the film. These words also serve as a warning for Frodo, alerting him to the solitude he’ll struggle with as long as he has the ring. Frodo will wrestle with solitude even after he’s destroyed the ring and returned to the Shire.

We left Honduras.  We started it from scratch, created a team, ministry and a family...and then we left it...and we left those behind
I left my family behind as well.  My mother passed away almost 5 years ago, and my dad so recently (less than six weeks ago), my, on to start a new path.

My daughter is in college pursuing her dream, and my in-laws are in Sacramento.  My best friends are continents and huge time zones away....

My husband and I travel this path alone...

And at times it feels so very alone... let's face it - we cling to what we know.  We cling to our church friends, our best friends, heck - even our favorite coffee shops.  But remove ALL that you know - and when you are left with nothing familiar, not even the language or food or the "comfort" of reliable electricity and a hot shower that you can step into, you are left with what you cling to.  And so I cling to my savior.  He is sufficient for me in my spirit.  In this I know.  But in my flesh I am human, and so I long for things I don't have.

I am weak, and in that, He is strong.  I know that this is a Season, and that He will meet me where my needs are most.  I cry out to Him, and He responds in kind.

Please be patient with me as I find the balance in my the life of a the life of trying to be obedient to Him who has sent me...

Friday, April 15, 2016


When EVERY DAY you feel like a kindergartner, learning something new, and kind of feeling dumb...when everything / everyday is pure frustration...when the small victories come - you celebrate them without question!

Today was that kind of day.  We successfully directed someone to our house to deliver our bed ( more small bed) - granted, it's still on the floor, but that will come another day.

I successfully hired a guy, gave him a drawing and dimensions for my island, and it arrived today - so I now have a place to prepare my food and store some thing!!!!

Same guy who built my island made the table, so now our bucket-to-bucket water station is set up and already filtering water!

And no ice trays?!?!? Check out what I found!  One-time use ice bags....just fill with water and they go in their own little sections - tie off at the top and put in freezer.

AND...I caught a taxi down town - got to the internet office, purchased a ridiculously expensive wi-fi hub (so now our USB chip goes into this hub and Mike and I can both use wi-fi at the same time!)...THEN I actually recognized where I was,  and walked to the grocery store, and found boneless/skinless chicken breast!  I can home on a high!  I know it seems silly and small, but trust me - after 2 weeks of feeling lost/in a daze/dumb - I really needed today! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

All I want is a warm shower...

It's early morning, time for a shower to wake you up, or in the evening, a warm shower to end your walk into your bathroom, turn on the tap, wait about a minute, and then step into that glorious shower to be live in a part of Africa...and your shower looks a little bit different... shower takes 10+ steps...and here they are:

1. Fill up hot water heater
 2.  Heat water
 3.  Fill up camp shower 2/3rds full
 4.  Put heated water in camp shower
 5.  Foot pump the camp shower to make it pressurized
 6.  wet down
 7.  Soap up
 8. continuously pump shower throughout shower to maintain pressure as water is released

9.  rinse 

 10.  when shower is completed - hang to allow to dry and not accumulate mold
And there you have it - one warm camp shower in Africa :-)  Come visit!!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

First Week in Africa

We have arrived in Equatorial Guinea, and are trying to settle in.  This entails getting our house set-up including un-packing, cleaning, and purchasing items.  We still have a long way to go, but are trying to figure it all out.  Our cute little 900 square foot house is coming along nicely.

We did experience our first day with no electricity, but we came knowing that was going to be our new not surprised.

Front Room

Guest Room