Waking up at 2 in the morning is not my idea of fun. Worse than that is not getting back to sleep till 5. After much prayer and bible reading on my infamous iPod, I rejoined the land of the unconscious. I forgot to mention that the electricity went out in Dany’s house last night so trying to get back to sleep when the air around you is 85 degrees is rather difficult. After waking at 9 I went to breakfast which included a hard boiled egg, bread and jam, and some muesli. Waiting for Dany to wake I read another chapter in my book. The day went merrily along with no real startling events. Lunch went the same way. It was a plate with rice and fish surprise balls. Very good again with a siesta to follow. Dave and John and I followed Jeebs down the street a little bit outside the compound to the market to buy some more material. Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb. After a little while i was able to hook up my computer, getting ready to work tomorrow on the dorm plans for Dany. While sitting and chatting about nothing and everything the infamous power outages that were describes to me. Fortunately the moon was light enough for me to make it to the other house and find my wonderful iPod that serves as a facebook interface, Bible, journal, and flashlight when necessary. Retrieving my trusted friend made it possible for Dany to find his flashlight as well. Dinner consisted of pasta and an amazing type of chili, followed by spiritual conversation which seems to be the topic of most discussions these days. My mind was then set at ease by an episode of LOST season 2 and a creamy cup of orange spice tea. For now it’s off to bed hoping that the electricity will stay on long enough tonight so that we will stay semi-cool. Interestingly enough sometimes my ipod can connect to the internet and sometimes it enjoys being stubborn. C’est la vie. For now, au revoir my good friends, and may the Lord bless you in all that you do and may He be glorified forever. IXOYE <>< -Lee
Thankfully, I didn’t wake up at 2 in the morning this time. Although I would have been worried if I did since I didn’t get to bed til around 1. (Dave, Dany and I decided to take a moonlight dip in the pool.) After breakfast, Dany had to go to Dakar to take care of some business. John and I hopped in the car with him and took off. If you’ve ever seen “A Bee Movie” you might remember the part where the main character and his friend were standing in the middle of the road and commenting on how amazing it was how everything flowed around them. That’s exactly how it is over here. Cars, trucks, people, bicycles and mopeds all crowd in the street. Sometimes there is a median between the two sides of traffic. For the most part if there is a lane open that’s where you are driving. Of course you are supposed go drive on the right side of the street but that’s not the most efficient when you have a wreck or a broken down truck on your side of the road. Gas is equivalent to about $6 a gallon. Thus you see lots of public transportation and very few SUV’s. When I say “public” I mean some guy who bought a bus and has another guy standing on the back bumper letting people get on for a fee. The guy on the back will yell the name of the city the bus is going to and anyone who wants a ride will hop on the back, give the guy some cfa (local currency) and go in the back door and find a seat. Many of the busses called car-rapids ( with a long ee sound for the i ) will have the phrase Allahumdoulalihi which means God is great. They also have a saying here, inshallah which means if God permits. Which is another way of saying that God is sovereign but is abused in order to do what you want and then say the phrase and then you’re off the hook. For the most part the city is pretty dirty and trashy but it’s just the way things are. Lots of street vendors and guys carrying things to sell; tissue, phone cards, peanuts, and we even saw a guy that was selling remote controls. We stopped at a local food vendor and had chawarmas ( pita, meat, french fries, and hot sauce) and a semi-cold beer ( I guess you could say it was semi-warm too ). Construction there is completely concrete everywhere. I don’t know that I’ve seen a carpet except for the occasional prayer mat. There are certain laws that are existent but not enforced. ( when transporting something on a truck you are supposed to have a cover on the back but rarely anybody does) There are others that are enforced but not strict. ( all vehicles have to pass a certain inspection but if you have enough money you can pass as long as you have at least 4 wheels). After a fun-filled day we got back to the compound and had a nice swim, shower, and reading time. In the illustrious words of Judy Garland, “There’s no place like home.” Even if it’s a home away from home. If you want to see the pool that we swim in these are the coordinates that you can plug into google maps or earth. (14.794598, -17.33513). Dinner consisted of freshly cooked shrimp, pasta, bread and salad. You would think in a country where the average temperature is equivalent to the fires of … an oven, that you would want nothing to do with anything else that is remotely warm. On the contrary, I find myself enjoying the comforts of hot tea every afternoon and evening. I find that in this country of extreme poverty ( in relation to what I’ve always known ) the people here are content. Perhaps it is that they are not weighed down by possessions or it could be their devotion to Allah and relying on him to provide. Maybe their families they live with bring them joy and contentment. ( I recently learned that the men of the family stay at home much longer than Americans. They are also allowed more than one wife of which Keely would be more thankful of than I would =). All in all, I am continually impressed by the sweet nature of the people here and could only wish that others could have this same joy as they have found it and as I have found in Christ. For now I will continue to learn the language, swat more mosquitos than I did in Missouri and take in the experience. Good night my friends and remember 1 Thess. 5:16.
This morning the guys all sat around a table in the shop and read out of first John chapter 3. Although they didn’t say much you could tell that they all respected the scripture. After that Dany showed me his plans for the dormitory. I remember him saying before that rarely does anyone get a mortgage or building loan over here which made me appreciate the way he wanted to design this building. He wants to start with the bottom level and add onto it later when he has the finances. The first level consists of a staircase and three rooms; an office, a sewing room for Jeebs ( which he currently works out of Dany’s house ), and a room for living quarters. Dany and Herma love to entertain guests. Many times they will have people knocking on their door asking for help and they always try to accomodate them. This is one of the purposes of this building as well. The second story is comprised of dorm rooms and the third story is an apartment loft with two rooms for a family if necessary. While drafting today I was greeted by the sound of drums. There are a stock pile of djembes and a couple dumdums ( long u sound ) that have a more distinct bass sound. I went out to the shop and was handed a djembe. One of the guys would start a simple rhythm on the dumdums and then those on the djembes would start in following the given rhythm. It was very easy to get lost in the sound and even harder to keep from dancing while listening. Thankfully, I’ve been reminded so many times of my dancing abilities that I restrained myself with little effort. Luckily ,the power didn’t go out today. We have to keep candles and matches close at night because there’s no telling when you’ll be happily reading along and all of a sudden you’re in complete darkness. However the moon has been beautifully bright lately. Although, because of the humidity and clouds it always has a slight haze around it. Instead of my usual cup of tea tonight I had a nice cup of cappuccino. Instant of course but still good. I’m half way through another book called “The Prodigal God.” I like it so far. Using an alternate definition than we’re used to of “prodigal” the author ( Timothy Keller ) wants his readers to understand that it was the brother that left that was found and the other brother, that lived at home, was not. If we live our lives serving God and obeying his commands hoping to get something in return for our good deeds than we have missed the gospel message altogether. Our lives are to be spent in submission to the father, knowing we are his children and completely loved. The son who left was reunited with his father and brought back into the house while the brother who had lived his life in selfish submission was still outside the house at the end of the parable. I recommend it to anyone if you get the chance to read it. As for now I will say good night and pray that you will rest in the arms of the father and know that he loves you and wants you to join him. IXOYE – Lee
I think I’m finally getting used to the schedule here; wake up at 10, go to bed at 12 or later. We usually eat lunch around 3 and dinner at 8 or 9. After breakfast I started drafting another building that Dany wants to get going. It’s a circular hut with 2 stories. The first level is just a kitchen and living room and the second level has two bedrooms and a bathroom. It’s a little difficult to get used to the metric system. Normally I will equate a meter to a yard and that works out to be pretty close. After finfishing the rough draft, Herma took Dave and I to the beach. We were greeted by the sight of men from a local village fishing, though their definition and my definition are slightly different. A fish net consists of a long ( probably about 3-400 yards ) rope. In the middle would be a net about 100 yards long that would hang down. 20-30 men would hold on to one end of the rope and the rest would be put into a boat. The boat would then head out to sea and make a big horseshoe shape and come back to shore. It would then drop off the other end of the rope to another group of 20-30 men. Both sides would then start slowly pulling the net into the shore. They would start at one end of the beach and have to walk down the beach while pulling because of the motion of he waves. After watching them for a while Dave and I finally jumped in the water. It was an excellent temperature. There were lots of little waves, but nothing to write home about … but I’m going to anyway. We had the priviledge of having a private drum lesson from Jeebs. He would show us a particular beat and we would continually botch it up. =) It’s interesting though because Jeebs would start out a rhythm and we would follow his lead. After a while we would finally catch on and we would sound really good. Sometimes we would mess up but he would keep on playing in rhythm and we would have to stop for a second and find it and then we would jump back in. What an amazing parallel to the Christian life. If we are not following Christ then we are just living to the beat of our own drum. However, if we let him lead and follow his lead we can create quite a beautiful sound to the world. If a brother next to us gets out of rhythm on accident we don’t laugh and point fingers you just smile and keep on playing the beat that has been started and they will eventually find it again and if they don’t then you sit next to him and guide him out of love. Because Christ is the head of the church and since there are different churches throughout the world, I’ve noticed that there is a different rhythm here. Not a different leader, just rhythm. As long as we are following the right leader those around us will be drawn to our sound and will want to be a part of it. Dinner consisted of some scrambled eggs with sausage, tomatoes and cheese. Good stuff. Watched some LOST, last part of the world cup and now it’s off to read and bed. I bid you all, fondue. IXOYE <><. -Lee
Perhaps I’m not as used to swimming as others but I didn’t get to sleep until around 3 this morning. My left ear was so clogged that it was either putting a sharp pain in my ear or it felt like the left side of my face was going to implode depending on which side I slept on. Luckily the Lord had mercy and I was able to get some sleep. After breakfast Herma decided to take John and Dave and I on a walk that was supposed to only take about 45 minutes. Like I’ve mentioned before, Herma loves to entertain guests. Once she welcomed a couple that were guided out into the forest and were robbed and tied to a tree. The first place she said she was taking us was … the forest. I was a little hesitant to go at first but she assured us that we wouldn’t end up tied to a tree. Of course being so close to the desert it is extremely hot here. Thankfully the forest was pleasantly breezy. With the shelter from the sun and being so close to the beach the forest provided an excellent temperature for walking. There were some evergreen trees and eucalyptus trees growing there. Unfortunately, because if the trash dump being so close, there were piles of trash everywhere, which is commonplace around Malika and Dakar. Coming out of the forest we ventured onto the beach of which there were no trees to shade us. I did have a hat which I kept switching positions to keep the sun off my neck. Needless to say, the beach was beautiful again. The waves would crash off in the distance. The surf would slide along the smooth sandy beach and reach your legs and provide a quick moment of coolness before the tide would sweep them back out to sea. Jeebs came with us and tried for a while to catch a crab by laying a loop of string around the top of a crab hole and waiting for it to peek it’s head out. He tried this for a while to no avail. We started the hike back to the compound which was not covered with trees. There would be an occassional building that would provide some momentary shade and it was welcomed whenever the chance arose. What was supposed to take 45 minutes took almost 2 hours. Just like returning from Dakar, the compound was an oasis of refreshment. We had a quick glass of water and then put on our swimming suits for a dip in the pool. Lunch was served outside by the pool and consisted of a ring of salad on the outside and some chicken on a bed of noodles. Following a quick siesta after lunch was a mosque prayer call like I’ve never heard before. Most of the time it is someone singing solo into a microphone with ,usually, a soft tune. This time there was a duet of what sounded like a couple of teenagers that were expelled the first day of choir. Well let’s hope I sleep better tonight. Good night facebook world.