We finally got it done. =) Well, at least part of it. Took a while and lots of concentration. I used iMovie HD on my Mac. There are somethings I would change about the program but all in all, I would use it again if I needed to. I remember hearing the background clip on a Republican ad that came out and thought it would be perfect. Most everyone seems to like it and I’d love to get 100,000 hits on youtube. Maybe Matt and I can do something crazy if that happens. One person suggested sky-diving. Would be cool but kinda costly, unless someone’s willing to fund it. (Anyone … anyone …) Hope you enjoy the video and we’ll see you from around the world soon, hopefully.
First day in Senegal. We arrived at the airport at 4 in the morning and it was just like being at home in Hermann. the humidity was almost refreshing. the smell of diesel and body odor reminded me of Saudi Arabia. Not a bad smell, but distinct, to say the least. after gathering all our luggage (dany, dave, john, and i) we headed out of the airport to look for herma, dany’s mom. after finding her we were welcomed by a barage of young senegalese men who were eager to help, realizing that their help came at a cost. =) herma and dany climed into the front seat of the truck while john, dave, and i piled in the back; squished, mind you but not too incredibly uncomfortable. that is, until, we realized that herma was not alone in picking us up. jeebs needed a ride back too. now wer were uncomfortable. i had asked dany before we left how far malika was to dakar, the capital city and he said only 20-30 kilometers ( 15 miles, i think). he also said that it could take about 3 hours to drive it. this was because of the traffic and people that crowded the streets. this is one of those moments where the Lord made his face to shine upon us becuase it only took us about 20-30 min. to get to the compound. at 6 in the morning everything was dark. after being showed our rooms, my head hit the pillow and I crashed. i woke up to a breakfast of bread and jam. dany showed us around the compound and his house, the pool, the malika monkey mascot, the basketball/futball court. it is like an oasis in the desert; eucalyptus trees, coconut and date palms, beautiful flowers. after meeting the guys in the shop, dany took john and i to our new rooms at his house on the compound. john and i unpacked and talked for a little bit. i started reading “a wrinkle in time” and fell asleep again. this time i woke to john telling me it was lunch time. luckily i remembered dany telling me where the “lunch” was. i was greeted by a round table of senegalese men and a large (2.5 foot in diameter) plate filled with rice, fish, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables. each person had their own imaginary pie slice of the plate and you ate from there. after lunch, herma and dave and i talked over a nice cup of tea and biscuits. i was then commissioned to replacing a separate vcr and dvd player with a combo unit. while the exchange was taking place i was greeted by the familiar site of LOST season 1 and 2 on dvd. even better was the snow filled picture on the tv set of locke and ben speaking to each other in french on one of the local stations. after finishing this project and reading another chapter, i joined in a friendly game of futball with the guys. this consisted of a partially inflated, half-size soccer ball and two man teams. if you scored, you and your teammate stayed in. if not, you rotated in with the others on the sideline. being hot and extremely thirsty, i treated myself to a cup of water and a dip in the pool with dave and john. i then took a shower and sat down to write the first part of this entry. herma solicited my help to try to get the dvd player to output to the surrounding speakers. unfortunately, to no avail. without the luxury of air conditioning, a local wal-mart, and a commonality in languages with everyone, i feel at peace. siestas are a common occurance. after lunch all the guys head to the work shop to sleep and rest in the heat of the day. dinner is almost ready, so i will say au revoir for now. love you all and thanks for your prayers. In Him, Lee
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