Friday, January 27, 2012

Teaching and sick

Doug taught one of the bible classes at the primary school today. This is
the second time this week he was asked to fill in for a teacher that had to
go to town to work on getting his wife transferred here so they can be
together. That teacher has been here since we came last June/July without
his wife. They are anxious to be reunited.
I (Tamara) started feeling unwell during the night last night. My stomach
was feeling yucky. This morning I have serious diarrhea. I have taken
activated charcoal and it has already made it through my transit system. I
am feeling very weak and tired. I am a bit achy also, but don't know if it
is from laying still in one position so much or a symptom. My temperature a
little while ago was in the normal range. I would appreciate prayer very
much regarding this.
Our family was invited for lunch at one of the other missionaries' houses.
Doug and Joshua have started out walking to their house a bit early so
Joshua can play with the youngest boy there before the meal. I had hoped to
join them, but I am unsure I could walk that far. If I am contagious, I
certainly don't want to share. We heard talk that one of the missionary
families did have some kind of stomach issue just before we came here. We
have been around them a short bit. Whatever the cause, I hope it is very
short term.
Today is Friday, tomorrow is church and Sunday we are to travel to the
language school. I certainly don't feel like I can travel right now.
The water situation has not changed at all. Doug checked our tank again
yesterday and there is no water coming into it at all. He was able to walk
across the way and get a bucket of water.
I did make myself eat some mango and a cracker with peanut butter this
morning with my family. I felt that I would throw it up, but I didn't. I
took another round of charcoal. While looking for the thermometer we came
across some pro-biotic that we had brought last trip. After I took that
capsule, I again felt like I would throw up. So far, I have not. That
would be adding insult to injury.
With the water situation being as it is, unless something changes
drastically we will not be able garden year round as we had thought. That
will make our food budget and food supply more of a challenge. We will work
on a budget more after we return from language school.
We have been asked to hire a local lady to help around the house. It is
only about 33 cents per hour to have her. But that adds up on a missionary
budget. She is very thankful for the work, and she came yesterday and today.
Yesterday for 8 hours and today for a half a day. She is a very good
I have been told that she never married and needed work. So far we really
like her. We wanted to try to give her a little work before we were gone
for six weeks. She is very anxious to earn some money so she can give some
to the Lord. We met her sister and brother-in-law (which both work for
Kibidula) when we were here six months ago.
I am hopeful that it will work out well for and with her.
Doug has taken my hard drive with him to the Waber's. It is his external
drive case. We hope he can access some of my information off it. He might
not have time today. I don't know.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mouse, Water & Laptop update

After several nights of failed rodent catching, last night on the third
attempt we caught one. The trap that we have borrowed doesn't always trip.
We were lying in bed and heard the trigger click, but the trap not activate.
Doug got up and reset it. We went through this twice and the third time it
did trip and the critter did not get away.
Doug decided we would deal with it in the morning. The trap had flipped so
the rodent stiffened up in a very life-like position. It is really cute.
This is a picture of it on a rat trap (not a mouse trap.)
Too bad it was eating up things and making such messes. We actually think
it is a wood mouse. That is the best that we could identify it. Doug saw a
different rat yesterday around one of the walls. He said it had a very
different tail (and longer.) So we will set the trap again and see what
Our water tank does not appear to be filling. So as we use the water, it
just keeps going down. Today looks like the day that we will run out of
water. Then we will learn what to do when we have no water in our tank.
Life is certainly an adventure.
Doug checked the batteries on the current solar system. Many of them were
very low on fluid. We were able to use three bottles of distilled water,
but it is not enough. We have asked someone that is in town today if they
can try to find some more for us. Doug has requested 6 liters. We hope
that will get our batteries up to better status. They have not been holding
a good charge. The water showed up as I was typing this. We now have at
least the plates covered in the batteries. We hope this will help with the
battery capacity.
Another missionary has an external case for the hard drive from my laptop.
We have taken it out and placed it in it, but our other computers are not
recognizing the new device. The laptop does at least stay on without the
hard drive in it. This makes me wonder if the hard drive is the issue.
This does not sound good to me. As I am typing this we are also trying to
search for a driver that might allow us to access this external drive with
my hard drive in it.
Thing are certainly challenging.
It is funny looking at this tiny box realizing how much information, books,
audios, videos, documents, pictures, emails, and such are (or were)
contained on it. I hope we can still get to it somehow.
Sunday we leave for language class.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rat, computer, animals and rain.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Today had some unusual activity.  I got hit in the chest by a rat!  As I was putting things away in the cabinet, there was a rat hiding in there and when I pulled out something to rearrange, it jumped out and hit me in the center of the chest.  I barely saw it, but I definitely felt the solid thud and I let out a yelp.  But we did not see it land or where it went.  I was starting to really wonder what had happened, but then I saw that it had been eating an avocado in the cabinet and there were fresh droppings.  I didn’t imagine anything.  It was a rat.


We took our “new dog” for a very long walk today.  We enjoyed going around and sharing gifts with our neighbors.  We also got our compost pile started along with sorting through some of our luggage.


I was able to get an internet connection barely long enough to get some business emails sent off regarding the container. 


I am using my old and a bit dysfunctional, Dell Netbook again.  I am doing this because my new laptop is totally dysfunctional now.  It will barely power on when it powers off and then starts the process over again and again until the battery is removed.  There is a lot of very important information on that computer.  I hope we can recover it sometime soon.  If there are anymore important emails or other to-do’s they will be unknown until I get a reminder from someone or that gets fixed.  I don’t even know where to start with it right now.   Doug is having a few issues with his new computer also!  He never was able to get online with it since we arrived.  It may be the internet connection.  I hope it is that and not the operating system, or something that we picked up on the wireless in Ethiopia or anywhere else.


Here are some of the answered prayers that happened along our way on this trip.

The two “questionable” items that we brought along were allowed to travel with us without any problems. 


When we got to Washington DC, we were allowed one carry-on each at 15 pounds each.  We had 6 and three were over weight.  The agent weighed each and put a ticket on each that was overweight and wrote the weight on them.  She made us take two pounds out of the heaviest and put in any other bag.  They she had us go on. 


At the gate, the gate agents were taking many people’s carry-on bags.  We were expecting that they would take our three extra and overweight bags.  When our turn arrived, I showed him our tickets and he asked if we had any bags.  I said yes and he looked at our pile, and he said go on.  So we did!  We were very thankful.  We did not get charged extra nor was anything taken from us. 


When we got to immigration, the lady asked me a question but I did not understand her, she then said something else, then I understood her to ask me where we were from.  I told her the USA and she told us to go through.  Later Doug informed me that she was asking about our immunizations, but since I didn’t quite hear her she finally changed the question.  So we had no issues regarding that either.  We only had a copy of our residency permit.  We were told by two people afterwards, that they usually require the original before they will let us in the country.  We didn’t know the director had the original with him just out side the exit area.  We knew he was there, but didn’t know we needed it.  The immigration person accepted the copy without question even though it is a different size.  Then at customs the man let us through after talking a bit of politics with us when he found out where we were from.  There were no issues with anything that we brought.  It looked like at least one bag was inspected at one airport, but nothing beyond that.  I got patted down twice (once in Kansas City and again at the DC airport.)  Six months ago when we were came here we transferred at Ethiopia just like this time.  That time we had to go through TWO security checks, one in each terminal.  We were hoping to avoid answering any questions about some of our unusual carry on items.  When we got there this time, they bypassed both security points with us.  We were so thankful that we didn’t have to explain our items.  We did in the US, but it went well.  We were unsure if the language barrier might be an issue at this check point.  We never had to deal with it. 

There were a few of the answered prayers that we had along the way.  We also had no problems with carrying cash or getting it exchanged safely.  We were also able to get our errands done very quickly Thursday night so we could leave very early Friday morning and be in Kibidula about 1:30 pm.  It was a 9 ½ hour drive. 

After we got to Kibidula we realized that we had some important emails that had to be dealt with immediately.  We could not get internet at the house, and just then another missionary stopped in for a quick hello.  He told us to take his truck out a certain path and we should get signal enough to send our emails.  We had just enough time to do so (with a quick trip back to the house to get the other computer since mine had crashed and I didn’t have the documents in this old computer.  Doug drove back quickly and got his computer and we transferred some files over and I emailed out what we believe was requested along with some corrections.

God’s timing was perfect.  We had to be somewhere at 7 pm and we barely got done in time.


Then we received another email asking for something that I had completed on my other computer.  Doug had the file but it was only about 80% complete on his.  The final copy I had not emailed to him.  Now we could only work with what we had and estimate the remainder.  It was regarding the weights of each item in the container.  I believe the original documents we left at my mom’s in the “burn trash.”  We thought all the paperwork had been requested from us, and that never was (the only reason we had it was because another missionary had done it.)  We emailed out what we had with the remaining estimations.  We hope that it will be acceptable to them.  We did have the total weight so we had an idea on how much to estimate on the final items in total. 


It has been a very adventurous several days.  I hope this computer will keep working and Doug’s will start working better.  I hope that we can recover my “new” laptop.  I didn’t even drop that one.  This one that has a few issues has been dropped two or three times.  It has an excuse.  But the new one, I have been very careful with it.  Lord willing and much prayer and answered prayer, we will get it fixed or at least recover all the important information off of it.  We might be able to purchase a new one in Dar es Salaam.  I don’t know what the cost will be, but I believe someone told me that the prices have started to come down just like they have in the US.  Please pray for us to have wisdom on how to approach this new challenge. 


Another prayer request is that we can get rid of the rats.  We didn’t get the cats because one of the missionaries stayed (which is great!)  So we don’t have a rat patrol, only steel wool and a trap.  We have many more rat traps coming on the container. 


Please pray that the container and all of the contents arrive safely.  The entire trip and theft are an issue, but especially once it is being moved on the road there is a huge hazard of it crashing.  We saw several containers that had “rolled off” or tipped over during their travels on the road, and especially through the mountain passes.  We really do not want that to happen.  So we ask for you to join us in prayer regarding that.  


On our way through the National Park area we again saw many beautiful wild animals including the following:  wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, impala, baboon, and another large antelope type animal which I do not remember the name.  It was larger than the zebra, though.  We also saw cape buffalo.  Jason was so kind as to slow down and even stop several times so we could see the animals better.  There were many very close to the road.  We saw a giraffe and other animals cross the road.  At one time we saw a very large group of baboons on the road, also.



The people with whom we have been working here are wonderful.  They have made us feel very welcome.  We know this is where we are supposed to be right now, and that is a very peaceful thing.  God is so amazingly wonderful.


Being disconnected from all the rush of instant communication isn’t so bad.  I think it has a real calming effect. 


Joshua is doing a good job so far of his “new dog owner” responsibilities.  I haven’t seen a more cheerful pooper scooper in all my days.  I hope it lasts.  He does enjoy having a companion, and so does Lassie. 


When we were here last time we either were misinformed or misunderstood about the water sources.  All of campus (that has water) is supplied by springs and not all the same spring.  I believe there are at least three (if I understand correctly this time.)

The spring that fills a large water tank that then fills the tanks to several houses including ours is the one that I am hearing the most about.  With a lighter rainy season last year and almost drought this year, the spring is very low.  It is so low at times that the ram pump will not function.  This means that the tanks don’t get filled.  This is should not be an issue during rainy season.  If we have this issue now, then we will be in serious challenges during dry season.  We have not had any significant rain here since we have arrived.  We have heard thunder and seen lightening, but no rain, or very light and little. 


So we are not on a well (and none of Kibidula is.)  We are dependant on the springs. 

We are rationing our water usage.  If things don’t change, this will also greatly impact our ability to have any garden in the dry season (which lasts about 6 months.)


So I wanted to correct my mistake, because we have told people that we were on a well and that it was solar powered.  We were wrong on both cases.  I don’t know how we got so messed up, but we did.  This I hope will set some of the record straight.


So here are the current local most urgent prayer requests:

Good serious rains for the rest of the rainy season (or some solution);

For us to resolve the computer issue and recover the important documents and information;

To resolve the rat issues; and

For us to learn VERY well the language during language school so we can be very effective when we start our “real work.” 


Monday morning update.  It did rain some last night and this morning.  We continue to need more though!  We praise the Lord for that which he did send us.  The rat got the bait off the trap but did not trigger it.  I also had my first try at making dog food.  I hope the dog will eat it.  Today we will do some more cleaning, more rat hole plugging, more unpacking, some visiting, and study Swahili.  At least that is the plan.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Arrived Safely at Kibidula

We have arrived safely. Thank you to everyone that has been praying. We
have started unpacking some. We have no internet connection at the house
(the wireless router that we purchased.) A neighbor loaned us their truck
and told us where to drive to get a connection. It is quite slow, but at
least I am getting this out. All packages arrived safely with us without
issue. All baggage arrived, also. Please PRAY FOR DAILY GOOD RAIN for
Kibidula since there are not that many more days of rainy season to
replenish the springs. We have a correction... our water supply is not a
well, but a protected spring that needs the rain to supply it. There is
much to do over the next week getting the house cleaned up and some projects
done before we go to language classes in one week. If I have better
internet at the language school, I will update more then.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Container in Kansas City - and a MIRACLE!

The container was picked up and taken to Kansas City.  After MANY phone calls and emails between three different companies (the container company, the towing company and the international shipper) the billing was processed (answer to prayer!)  The billing did finalize before the container arrived.  BUT, the rail yard stopped lifting containers before it arrived, too!  So it is with MOKAN for a few days.  They have said that they will take care of the extra cost of having it brought to them and taken back to rail yard again (another blessing.)

 I saw another miracle today!  I prayed that I would see my daddy walk before we left for Africa.  Today, via Skype, I did just that!  God is so wonderful.  He loves to answer prayers.  Dad even drove his pick-up, too.  He spent a couple of hours at the gym swimming and working out.  Dad got out of his wheel chair and took several steps forward and then back to his chair.  It is obvious that he is in a lot of knee pain, but HE IS WALKING!  Thank you everyone for your continued prayers.  Praise the Lord for His love.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Urgent Prayer Request, Dad, Snow & Mouse

We got an email from our contact that is helping us with getting our container to the Kansas City Rail Ramp and we were told that “the billing wasn’t in place” and the container will not be accepted until it is.  If the driver taking it to the ramp has to wait with the container, we will be charged (most of the quotes on waiting truckers has been at least $100 an hour!)
The shipper informed us Thursday night that they do not get the rail billing in place until they have the vessel booking complete, and the vessel is not accepting bookings until Friday!  Then it can take several hours to finalize the billing.  Not to mention the shipper is on the west coast, the vessel on the east coast and we are on central time. 
The driver called last night and asked when he could pick up the container.  I told him as “late as possible.”  He said that is not good for him.  I understand this.  He has to drive from Kansas City to my mom’s (at least 1 ½ hours) load it, and drive it back.  He would like to get it done early.  They will try to work with us, but they can delay only so long.
So please pray that the shipper will get the billing in place as early as possible this morning and that the container will be delivered today with the billing in place.

I talked to Dad on the phone Thursday evening.  He is gaining strength.  He went to the doctor and to Wal-Mart yesterday.  Instead of using a wheelchair, he used crutches!  This is a huge step.  He is in a serious amount of pain.  His said his knees were giving him severe pain.

God loves to answer prayer and give us the desires of our hearts.

Joshua has been praying for snow one last time before we move to Africa.  God saw fit to answer that prayer, and we did get snow.  In this picture it is still snowing, but my camera didn’t pick up on it well.  Joshua enjoyed taking the snow shovel and clearing the deck and walkway.  He wanted to make a mini snowman, but decided that the snow was just too cold to deal without using gloves (wherever those are packed!) 

On another note, my mom’s cat Misty likes to bring in “presents.” 
Here is one of the presents with the kitten, Stormy (formally named Comfort.)   He was quite the squeaking little mouse.  I didn’t realize that mice can climb just about anything!  This little guy kept escaping the cats.  I was at the table and felt something on my skirt.  It was too light to be a kitten, and sure enough, it was the mouse.  (Maybe I smelled safe, being a vegetarian?)  He certainly was a cute thing.  Within moments when he realized I saw him, he took off and hid for a while.  Then later in the day, he was up in the widow.   
He was climbing the wall and window seal.  I didn’t know those little claws were so efficient.  Maybe this is a lesson to prep us for rats in Africa. I don’t know.  He got away again this time.  Mice can really jump also.  The mouse is dead now, but the cats didn’t terrorize it more.  He accidentally got smashed under someone’s shoe while they were trying to keep it from escaping.  It was probably best for all involved.  It was a bit distracting trying to cook with a mouse in the kitchen, and it is sad to see the cats playing with it. I am looking forward to Heaven where things are not destructive (mice, cats, etc.)  God is faithful. 

Please pray for the above shipping issue regarding the container, and every aspect of the container shipping.  The “seal” that goes on the container is so easily cut, that only God in his mercy can keep that thing protected against theft on it’s two-plus month journey to our new home in Tanzania, Africa.  We appreciate all of your prayer more than I can express.

We will be in Africa this time next week!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dad's improving, container is packed FULL.

We spent several weeks in Arkansas with Dad.  He continues to improve.  The doctor has now released him to be weight bearing on his legs.  We are very thankful to God for this answer to prayer.  He has started using his legs and trying to walk again.  He is experiencing a lot of pain and weakness, but he is determined.  Today he was able to go swimming at the local gym.  I am so thankful that he is working towards his healing.  God is answering so many prayers. 

My family has returned to Mom’s house in Missouri.  We finished the last of the packing into the shipping container, finalized the inventory paperwork and closed up the container.  It is such a relief to have the packing done!  The container is very full.  It is to be picked up Friday. 

Dear friends are driving us to Kansas City on Sunday.  We will have two nights in Kansas City (using frequent flyer miles) in a hotel, and be shuttled over to the airport Tuesday for our first flight.  We will fly to Washington D.C. and spend the night in a hotel (provided by the airline.)  Then we fly to Africa Wednesday.  We arrive in Tanzania Thursday, with a short layover in Ethiopia. 
We ask for prayer for safety for us and all that we are shipping.