Thursday, March 26, 2009

1 night without a mosquito net!

These are some pictures of Tim's arm and face after spending the night in Muembe without a mosquito net. He literally has hundreds of them, on his fingers, neck, face, arms, and hands. He had a sleeping bag, but got so hot he had to stick his arms out and this is the result. Needless to say he barely slept. We are thankful for mosquito nets and will have to be really careful when living out at Muembe. The mosquitos aren't as bad here. We are praying he doesn't come down with Malaria.

This is a bunch of bananas that is growing in our backyard. We have a bunch of banana trees lining our back fence and we enjoy fresh bananas frequently. The kids enjoy grabbing a banana as a snack right off the tree.

We also have an avocado tree in our yard, so we have avocados galore and have fresh guacamole almost everyday we want it.

Here is one of the many lizards that sun themselves in our yard.

Here is Kallen. One of the dogs on the property couldn't pass up an opportunity to cuddle up with her and jumped up in the chair and curled up.

Here is sunset from our back porch. We have seen many beautiful sunsets. It is really amazing to watch an African lightning storm and gaze at the stars. We have never seen so many stars as you can see here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ant Wars!

We have two kinds of ants living in our house. Big ants and little ants. We found the little ants attacking the big ants today. We think they are fighting over who takes over the house. We cannot get rid of them despite the bottles of insecticide we've been spraying at them. I guess that is life in Africa! Luckily we have not found anymore large spiders or scorpions in the house. Tim went running the other morning and saw a bunch of monkeys in the trees playing. We decided to take the kids and go find them, but after a two hour walk and much crying and complaining and not finding any monkeys, we decided not to do that again! We feel like we are back in our first days of Portugal without a car, except we don't have the option of the bus here, so walking is our only option. It is the rainy season as well, so if it raining and your only mode of transportation is walking, it's almost like a snow day, you can't really go anywhere.

We have begun our language training already. There is a young man who comes to our house and teaches us Chiyao and we in turn teach him English. This way we trade services and are not required to pay him and he is thrilled to be able to learn English. Tim has been spending a lot of time with a Mozambiquian man that is married to an SIM missionary from Romania. He has enjoyed this growing friendship and has already been asked to teach/disciple another young man here in Bible. He will start this on tuesday and the teaching will all be done in Portuguese. We have had great opportunities to practice our Portuguese and we are finding out that Chiyao is going to be more difficult than Portuguese in a lot of ways. It is not latin based, so there is no where to start from. It is going to be a lot of memorization. Please continue to pray for us as we struggle to learn...

Here are some pictures of the inside of our house and the church that we will attend while learning Chiyao and a just a few other things...

This is the church. It is an Anglican church and the service is done in Chiyao and Portuguese.
Here is the kids bathroom. It is really pretty good size.

This is Kallen's bedroom right now. Eventually it will be Traeger and Karis', but for now it is Kallen's. All of the furniture was left here from the previous family who lived here. Once our container arrives, we will move everything out and move our stuff in. They will be coming to collect their stuff the end of this year.

This is our bedroom. We all have to sleep with mosquito nets. The kids thought it was so fun at first. Kind of like sleeping in a tent.

Here is the kitchen. It is really big. Much bigger than my kitchen back in the states!

Here is Traeger and Karis' room. The floors are all cement, except for the kitchen and bathroom, which are tiled. It makes it really hard to keep things clean. Cement just doesn't come clean.

This is a picture of the road out to Muembe where we will be living. As you can see it isn't much of a road and when raining like this, the clay is very slippery.

Here are the kids playing in our yard, the neighbor kids like to climb the trees and watch them. They sometimes try to talk to them, but Traeger refuses to speak Portuguese with them. We are really hoping that he will warm up after a while and start speaking Portuguese again. He seems intimidated right now by everything being so different and unfamiliar.

Here is the scorpion we found in the house.

And here is that very large spider. I can barely look at this picture.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Our Muembe house.

Here are some pictures of our house in Muembe. It is very small, but they have done a lot of work on it and it is looking pretty good. They put in screens and painted the mud and even built the bamboo fence around it, so we have an area for the kids to play without fear of snakes and other dangers in the tall grass surrounding the area.

This is the well where we will have to get our water. Our house is actually a couple hundred meters from this well, so hopefully we will be able to have some help hauling water every day.

Here is a picture of the front of the house. It is divided into three rooms. The two ends are bedrooms and the middle room is a living area. Here is a picture of the area they fenced in for us. It is big enough to keep our car in as well as have some room for the kids to play. We even have a shade tree! The car in the picture is Janice's, our field director.

This is the kitchen. It is located next to the house. It has a small clay grill and sink we can fill with water from the well for doing dishes or whatever. This is Janice and Pastor Mateus, who is our neighbor and his family will help us with getting adjusted to living out here and he has a short wave radio we can use in case of an emergency.

This is Pastor Mateus' kitchen. The kids thought it was a fun play house, just their size!

This is Pastor Mateus' family. His daughter(with the baby) will help us with laundry and cleaning. We will mostly be learning Chiyao from this family as we live our daily lives with them. Pastor Mateus told us when we were there, that while living in this house, we will be family. Every family(which includes extended family) lives in a group of houses or huts and they work together as a community cleaning, cooking, working, etc. As we live among their family, we will be considered family and will take part in all the family duties.
Here is Traeger and Karis making silly faces. Grandma George's rainboots have been a big hit. The kids wear them everywhere and they really help with all the mud during the rainy season.

We found this turtle in our garden. We have also found 2 geckos, a scorpion, and a very, very large spider in our house while cleaning.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Our Lichinga House

This is how we have running water into our house. Water is pumped into this big cistern and then gravity brings it into the house through pipes. It really works well, other than there is not much water pressure at all.

Here are the kids all enjoying the beautiful weather here.

Here is the view from the back porch of our Lichinga house. It is a beautiful veiw, but as you can see we are surrounded by mud huts with grass roofs. It really puts things into perspective and makes you realize just how much we have living next to those who really have nothing.

This is the front veiw of the house. It is really pretty cute. We will take pictures of the inside after we move in so everyone can see what the inside looks like.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

We made it!

I just wanted to let everyone know we made it to Lichinga, this afternoon. It is Saturday, March 7th at 2:50pm right now. It has been 4 long days, but overall everything went better than we thought it would. Despite having a rough start at the GR airport(we had to repack all 9 of our bags and pay for 2 overweight bags, as well as drain the battery in our solar power pack before we could take it on the plane), everything else went very smoothly. The kids did great. Karis has had the hardest time with lack of sleep and crazy schedule. Kallen doesn't even seem to have any clue that we have been on and off airplanes for 4 days. She is her same happy self. Traeger has become a master at his Nintendo DS game we bought him for the trip. We spent 2 nights in Maputo with our friends Damian and Nancy McCrink, who we became friends with in Portugal. We had a great time visiting with them and they were great hosts, fed us great and let us get some good rest. Now we are temporarily living in the SIM guest house in Lichinga until we move out to Muembe. It looks like our move there will be pushed back a little, because our car is under repairs right now and it will probably be a month before we get it back. We were disappointed to not have it waiting for us like expected, but they wanted to make sure everything was in great working condition before we took it over and moved out to Muembe. We will be visiting Muembe on wednesday and be able to have a look at our house and figure out what supplies we will need to bring out with us. So hopefully we will be able to post some pictures of the house after our visit on Wednesday. Thanks so much for all the prayers. We are relieved to have the travelling done and are now trying to let it sink in that this is where we will now be living....

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mozambique, here we come!!!

Just wanted to write one last update before our huge trek across the world. We are only hours away from the first leg of our journey. We are full of emotions at this time. Excitement that we are finally to this point and relief that the packing and planning is done. Nervous about this forever long plane ride. Anxious of the unknown that awaits us. I listen to my kids running around and playing and laughing and I think they have no idea what is happening. Their lives are about to change....again. I am so thankful they are young and seem to rebound so well and that God knows better than I do. I thought I would include our itinerary, so you will know where we are at the next few days. I put everything in EST so you don't have to convert anything. We will make sure we let everyone know when we have arrived. Thanks for everything the past three months and thanks for praying.

Tues. Mar 3, 1:31 PM Grand Rapids
Tues. Mar 3, 2:32 PM Chic Ohare (United 7208W)

Tues. Mar 3, 4:45 PM Chic Ohare
Wed. Mar 4, 2:10 AM Frankfurt (Lufth. 431W)

Wed. Mar 4, 5:35 PM Frankfurt
Thur. Mar 5, 3:00 AM Johannesburg (Lufth. 572W)

Thur. Mar 5, 6:50 AM Johannesburg
Thur. Mar 5, 7:55 AM Maputo, Moz. (So African 144L)

Fri. Mar 6 11:40 PM Maputo, Moz.
Arrive ??? Sat. around 5:00 AM in Lichinga, Moz. (LAM)