Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Good ol' Boney M

So this morning I am driving to J.Lynn's and drive by the small shops close to our place. What is blaring but Mary's Boy Child by Boney M.
Caused me to laugh.... you see, Rwandans don't get into Christmas - if they do that is - on December 24th ... so I know they were somehow just liking the music and had no idea what the lyrics were.
Reminds me of all the times I have heard music in Rwanda that made me pause...
My first trip into Rwanda ... 2003... I'm in some remote village and what do I hear wafting through but Phil Collins. A bit surreal to say the least.
Before we were married Serge and I would go to this one restaurant up one of the mountains in Kigali for some Fanta and nice view of the city.  Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton Christmas was ALWAYS playing! Makes me tempted to go back and see if they are still playing it eight years later. Probably...
Rwandans LOVE Celine Dion ... anytime. They also love Don Williams. Nothing like the leading furniture company here having Don Williams playing in the background of their TV commercials.
I think this one takes the cake though... we were at a good friends wedding this past July and I about lost it during the reception. You see... in the middle of it all, the DJ played 'You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille'... again by Kenny Rogers.
For the most part... they like the music and have no idea what the words are saying. I wonder if / when it will change.
In the meantime, it's good entertainment.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Refugees at the Gate

This morning our gate bell went. Everyone was where they were to be ... so who was it?
Boniface our day guard came to say that it was two women and he thought they were beggars.
Serge went to check.
Indeed two women were at the gate
Congolese refugee women.
Both widows - their  husbands killed for being Rwandan heritage Congolese citizens
One had seven children and I didn't get how many the other had.
They had walked from the Byumba Camp to Kigali looking for anything they could find - food, money, clothes, a job...
It takes over an hour to drive to Byumba ... not sure how long it would take to walk .
Our  hearts broke.
You see... with the current events in Congo, so many - thousands upon thousands - have lost their hope to once again live on the land that has been in their families for centuries. These women and their children are a product of that.
They have been in the Byumba Camp for five months.
From the statistics and realities in the Kiziba Camp which we work in, I am sure they are not registered and there have not been given a home, a monthly food ration or any access to any other amenities within the camp. Who knows when that will happen, so ... they walked to Kigali to try to find means to provide for their family.
Serge gave them each money - enough to take the bus back to Byumba and get some food for themselves and their children. He also urged them to not beg in Kigali. Who knows who could take advantage of them and when what about their children. We pray that they take this to heart.
My heart was heavy as we left to take Isabella to the doctor.
The women had been so grateful for what we had done for them but I know that the money won't last long.
I also know that Serge's heart is so weighted down with the happenings in Congo and the realization that his people have no home.
I about cried when I thought about us taking Isabella to the doctor, just because we could, to get her checked out for whatever is ailing her.
I prayed today many times that if God would want it, our gate bell could be rung by any refugee who needs help. May they somehow find their way to our gate and may we be home to be able to respond to their needs as we're directed to.
Just what I'm reflecting on tonight...

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Library in the Refugee Camp!

Just got an update today from our teammate Joel on the library in the Kiziba Refugee Camp.
SO exciting what is happening there.
It opened in September with over 100 coming through the first month.
In October they have had on average about 80 per DAY!
Pray that the last shelves arrive in the next few days so all the books we have can be properly displayed. We also have donated books in Canada that need to get here... May God make a way for that to happen!
May the activities which happen in the library not only educate but also bring people into a deeper knowledge and relationship with Jesus.
May it also be a safe place - a place of refuge from the ongoing daily life in the camp.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Choosing Joy and Gratitude

The last weeks I have made a conscience decision to choose joy and gratitude in life.
I have been reminded by the Apostle Paul to rejoice always.
I bought a cute ring that has the word Joy inscribed on it.
I read an insightful article the other day about choosing joy and gratitude in life. One can be joyful but do we have gratitude? Are we truly thankful when all life circumstances happen to us?
One of the things the article talked about was how we live in fear and scarcity mentality. It was an American who wrote it so that sort of took me by surprise - the scarcity mentality bit - as I live in a developing country and I think I have a grasp of what scarcity mentality is - when one can't think beyond the moment because they don't know / believe that that they will be alive tomorrow so get all you can today and use it.
That said, what stuck me was how the author talked about when things are going well, it's really easy for us to think that something bad is going to happen. Life is too good. We don't deserve this.
It caught me. Over the last years, I have caught myself thinking those things about my husband or my kids. I have been given these incredible gifts from God but they aren't forever. All kinds of thoughts can go through my mind when I know that I live in a country where I can't call 911. I must live with enough faith and trust in God that if something were to ever happen, I would rest in peace that passes understanding. I know that and have known that for many years.
What I was challenged again as I read the article was to live in joy and gratitude - each and every moment. We do not know the future but we have been given the present and we must live it in all things.
SO making that conscience effort - it sure has been put to the test so many times over the last few weeks. It's like I'm being tested... will I in fact choose joy and gratitude in the situation?
Let's just say... it's a good thing I spent $17.99 on a ring (which I love) to help remind me.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Our 15 Minutes of fame...

One Saturday on the way to J.Lynn's, Serge made the comment that we might have a film crew in that day but wasn't sure. ARG!
So did NOT have my camera face on that day - oh well.
Here it is... 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Why Finiyas?

Serge got a call yesterday saying telling us that Finiyas was put in jail.
He is the last of our former street kids that we would think of to be in jail.
What the heck for?
Story was he filled out a form at immigration for a  regional passport and got it filled incorrectly and they arrested him. We now know it wasn't immigration but local leadership that arrested him somehow.
He has three names and last time he used two and this time a different combination, and he got some places mixed up on the form.
What I know is this, the forms are complicated at best for anyone to fill out.
Finiyas is a guy who has worked hard since 2005 to improve his life. He was the first to get a 'real' job. The first to open a bank account. The first to rent his own home and live on his own. He was the first for many things ... but one thing he did not have was education.
I have wrestled for years that he is probably dyslexic and with little to no resource in the country to properly diagnosis him, life moves forward for him as it can. He did decide to go to a 'catch up' school this year in the evening, for which we are helping him to pay for. He is thoroughly enjoying it and seems to be making progress which he is thrilled about.
BUT... not enough obviously.
My heart breaks.
Last time he applied for this regional passport, someone helped him to fill it out. This time, I am sure he figured that his reading and writing had improved enough to do it on his own. 
Clearly not.
I can't imagine how he's doing... what he's thinking... 
God protect his spirit and his heart.
Serge worked the phone most of the day today, along with a  few other people, to try to sort through this mess. We haven't heard that he has been released yet. May it be sooner than later.
He was just being proactive in getting a region passport so that he would be ready to travel with his office team when the time came. They had been told they might be traveling to Burundi to see another branch office and he wanted to be ready. 
He just wanted to be ready... he was being proactive ... he was doing what he thought he could do.
Oh God... give us and the people he works with, wisdom.
My heart breaks tonight. The world just isn't fair ...

Monday, 15 July 2013

View from my porch today

As I work from my upstairs office... this is the view.

I just have to smile that God can provide 'home' right in front of my house - in the city!
Not sure they're 'true type' Holsteins but they'll do.

Notice the two little herd boys front and centre ...

Saturday, 13 July 2013

More Birthdays to celebrate...

Team life ... celebrating the birthday of Liz (here long-term with her husband Joel from Australia) and Aliza, an intern here for 2 months from Canada.
Got most of the team together plus a few extras to celebrate last night.

Happy Birthday Liz and Aliza.
Candles... Rwandan.
Couldn't find 'real' birthday candles!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Wedding'd and Dowry'd Out!!

Today... marks the 14th!!! yes FOURTEENTH Wedding, dowry or civil wedding we have been to in 6 weeks!! 
Serge has been Best man twice, I have been Matron once, Isabella has been flower girl twice and I have done 7 wedding cakes.
Enough already!!
And that is all close family and friends not to mention the umpteen other invitations we received and didn't even consider!
Today was the civil wedding for Solange, our former house girl.
Who knew when she showed up at our gate about 5.5 years ago that we would be at her wedding today.
She came with no experience  but we quickly grew to love her in many ways.
We journeyed with her through an abusive relationship, encouraging her time and time again to leave ... so glad she finally found the strength to do that but what a journey it was.
And today, she civilly married a good Christian man - as she says. He's younger than she is but she says he loves her and will do her and her son good.
Serge and I met him, D'amour, today for the first time. He was so warm and appreciative to us. We are blessed. I gave him a stern, big sister warning that if he ever did Solange wrong, he'd have us to deal with! :-)
One never knows when you allow someone into your life, where the journey of life will take you together and how you will impact the lives of each other - no matter what the social class, race, etc.

We have another wedding on Saturday... then believe it or not.. no more weddings until July 27th - Solanges!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Beni's 4!!

He's all about anything construction these days...

Was SO excited about his cake

LOVE this picture of Grandma and Beni

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


Today was a crazy day.
I was supposed to be at J.Lynn's all day today as it was Jolies' day off but I didn't make it until about 3:45 pm. Glad to have staff that know what they're doing and can manage life.
As I sorted through the end of the day, Noella asked if she could see me.
All the women have J.Lynns' have stories.... hard life stories.
That is why we exist. To help women whose lives have been hard, and by hard I mean, death, poverty to great to bare on their own, sickness, outcasts of society. Most women have and are dealing with all of the above.
The previous manager had told me about Noella. She was a new widow and just needed a job - somewhere to go each day.
As I heard Noella's story one of the first days, I cried.
She married young to an Italian NGO worker in her homeland of Congo. He made her come to Rwanda during the aftermath of the genocide in 1994 when it spilled over into Congo. (She told me, 'He saved my life.) She and the kids followed him around the world as he was granted one job after another. They lived in affluence but never taking life for granted. She had lost a brother as an RPF soldier and to this day tears come to her eyes when she talks about him.
A few years ago they settled back in Rwanda. Her husband went back to Italy on some business and there he was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. She was a widow at 38 years old with two teenage children and no skill except a high school diploma. How would she provide for her family?
As I interviewed her, heard her story, she openly admitted that she had little to give - no computer skills, no degree of any sort - but that she would work hard at whatever I asked her to do. She just needed to belong somewhere and had found that at ABC - now J.Lynn's.
A couple things struck me about Noella... she came from the same region as Serge and we share the same birthday.
When Serge picked me up that night back in late April, my heart was heavy. I had no idea how to best help her but I knew that she was to be in our lives somehow. I asked Serge if he knew the family. When I mentioned the family name, Serge immediately knew the family - ' Who in Goma doesn't know her family?'
Turns out her older brother was best friends with Serge's oldest brother.
Small world.
Today.. she sat in my office in tears thanking me. School is out for her 16 year old daughter and she came with her to J.Lynn's yesterday.
It's been 13 months since her husband was killed and the year has been hard. The kids worry for their mom. She worries about them. They wonder if she will find something in life to find joy.
She told me today.. 'Thank you for allowing me to work here. Yesterday my daughter saw that I just don't leave the house so they think I am working but that I actually have a job and work. Her heart is at peace for the first time about this. '
One never knows.
I still don't know how we can best help her but I do know this. God  has brought her across our path for a reason and we'll stay on the journey together as long as He wants us to.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Our House as of today...

Pictures of the outside anyway ...
I am waiting for curtains and furniture to show you the inside.
Patience for a few more weeks... :-)
Front yard

Side yard

Rock garden left

Rock garden right
THANK YOU Dennis!!!

playground ... mom says they need to wait for the grass
to grow in before the sand goes in and the swing goes up
Our East West palm is growing ... as are the kids!
Backyard ... laundry, garden, compost, rabbits ... etc.

One of the best smelling flowers!
Anyone know what it's called??


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The start of J.Lynn`s ...

May 1st started the newest adventure of our life...
... owning a shop which makes homemade bagels, donuts, pizza, salsa, tortillas, tortilla chips, bagel chips, peanut butter, cinnamon buns, bread, cookies, cakes ... and I'm sure I'm missing something. It's also a training centre for 17 women to give them the tools and skills they need to lift themselves out of poverty. i.e. pay the rent every month, feed their kids every day, pay the school fees for their children each semester, not to mention clothes and other things to make basic life happen.
I had written in an earlier blog that I had 8 days to learn this new business before we took ownership on May 1st. Well, on May 1st, I was being discharged from the hospital from my second round with malaria.
Up until today, it's been a ride - a great one need, but life has had to be managed like never  before. Instead of taking the week of rest at home... I was the first week into a business / ministry. Crazy! I have managed - mostly by going to bed about 8 pm! Getting stronger by the day though.
I finally found our camera charged yesterday! So want to share some pictures with you.

We rent a house with a yard. It is a nice setting for our clients
to come and sit, work, meet up with friends and enjoy some food.

Front yard left

Front yard right

The counter ... Noella is there most every day to greet our customers
Look forward to sharing her story with you sometime

Joel and Liz from our team and new intern, Katrina making use
of one of the seating areas.
(Thanks to Liz for helping with a new look!)

Some of the ladies in the kitchen

More of the ladies boiling the bagels.
We make plain, cheese and onion, herb, everything, sesame,
 and cinnamon raisin to sell

The charcoal stoves where we cook about everything ...

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Round Two

Of malaria.

April 3rd I found out I had malaria.
I took treatment, had some really crappy days but got better - or so it seemed.
I was feeling good and moving on with life.

Well... this past Saturday night I knew I wasn't doing so great about something so Serge was like - we're off to the doctor in the morning.
I was very weak but otherwise feeling fine.
Turns out my blood pressure had plummeted and so what was going on?
They took blood and I fainted. Thinking that was the first time in my life.

Well... stage 3 malaria. Last stage before cerebral - which is not the good kind! Like there is a good kind I guess. So admitted to the hospital to be put on Intravenous drugs and voila... 72 hours later I was discharged feeling so much better.

Serge was the ultimate husband during my stay as he was the one to look after me. In most all hospitals here there are not enough nurses so you need someone to be staying with you to look after you - help you in anyway you need it. He made sure I was comfortable, not too bored, got to the bathroom on time and brought me food to eat. Even spent the nights with me. Let's just say Serge earned his gold husband star!

The nurses were all saying that there is an epidemic of malaria happening in Rwanda. Seems the mosquitoes have come back here to roost or something. Sure hoping they move on sooner than later.

Malaria seemed to come at the worse time ever... I'm in the hospital and May 1st is our first day of ownership of J.Lynn's, the new business / ministry we're starting. Just keep being reminded that we always need to trust God's timing even when we might think it's the worst timing ever!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Ten years in the making...

When we say that God has His own timing or that He doesn't forget the desires of our heart... well I'm testimony to that today.
Ten years ago, on my first trip into Rwanda, God put the women of Rwanda on my heart.
There were all these women walking around with baskets on their heads - just trying to sell enough to feed their family for the day. Not to think about paying rent or school fees, or clothes... I was moved.
The dream of a coffee shop was born (there was none in town at the time!), where I could employ women, train them to be successful entrepreneurs and send them back out into the world to better equipped to stand, to support their families and with their life transformed.
Well... I've carried that dream for ten years.
Today, it started to become reality.
I have 8 days to learn a business.
May 1st is when we officially own J.Lynn's - the business part, and start Komeza Women, (meaning strengthening or to move forward) the ministry part. 
It's twofold.. make money for ministry and train entrepreneurial women.
There are 14 women who are already part of the existing program.
They make bagels, pizza, tortilla chips, salsa, hummus .. and donuts to sell.
We'll be adding cake, cupcakes and cookies as well.
Who knows where this journey is going to go but I can tell you this... I have a VERY good feeling about it. So many pieces have come together over the years to make this possible and it basically landed in our laps about a month ago.
On that morning when we got the email asking if we were interested in having the ministry, I was reading from 'Jesus Calling' by Sarah Young. She was reminding me in her writing that God is the giver of gifts... was just the confirmation that Serge and I both needed - was like the cherry on top of all the other stuff leading to this point.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Gone to Heaven

My mom called today.
My Aunt Vera died this morning.
Oh that makes my heart sad. I have some great aunts and she was one of them.
My memories go way back with her. Some of my earliest that I can remember in life
- teaching me to float in the lake at their trailer
- making seemingly hundreds of dozens of Christmas cookies to sell. The strawberries were my favourite
- watching Saturday night hockey
- squeezed around the dining room table for yet another great meal she made
- campfires in their backyard
- always the encourager
- always a big hug - coming and going
- Forever the smile and laughter
- lots of spunk and determination
I just loved my Aunt Vera.
This is a part of living thousands of miles away from your family that sucks quite frankly.
Not that I could do anything right now... but I could be there.
I miss not being able to be there. 

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Ten years ago this week...

... I came to Rwanda for the first time.
Having already served with International Teams for 9 years and travelled more than 20 countries - some multiple times - and seeing the 'not so nice parts of the world' - it was my first time to Africa.
What I did know is that God had something here for me unlike any other place I had travelled. I had no idea what it was but I knew I had to be open. I definitely didn't think I would end here long term.
Well... ten years later.
International Teams Rwanda is alive and well and moving forward.
Empowering Rwandans for holistic life transformation
Health and Nutrition
Income Generation
Shelter and Security

I came with RuthAnne and Pastor Wilfred
She introduced me to the need for
education in Rwanda

Pastor Wilfred (on the right) introduced
me to his country and the varying
needs - refugees, those with HIV/AIDS
As we say... the rest is history.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Another wedding...

Today our house girl, Kayitese got married. She had her civil wedding.
When She came into the hall, I teared up and it took me everything to not be a blubbering mess.
We're the first job she has ever had. She came young, naive, wondering if the kids would learn to love her and more than a bit scared about working for a 'muzungu'. She's been with us for 1.5 years and she's great. The kids love her. They were begging to come to the ceremony today but they so don't understand the boredom that their mom and dad spared them! :-)
She has become like a daughter to me somehow ... she's an orphan and has a rough life. We just wanted to make sure that she feels like she belongs somewhere and that people care about her and I think we have accomplished that.
So... hence me tearing up. SO grateful that Isabella won't be getting married for MANY years and I have forbidden Prince to get married before he's 40... but I back down to 35 when he rolls his eyes at me! Not worrying about Beni just yet.

Kayitese and her husband Jean Claude

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Interns - Yes or No?

So a conversation I had with a fellow missionary here a week or two ago keeps rolling around in my brain.
She had come over to pick up a few things and we caught up with life. We got into discussing interns.
Definition - An individual who joins our ministry for a period of time up to one year is called an intern.
Are they worth the hassle?
Are they really worth the time and effort needed to orientate, lead, participate in meaningful ministry...?
International Teams Rwanda, whom we minister with, will host up to 4 interns per year. We`re getting three this year for periods of time from 6 weeks to one year. Looking forward to having each of them here for sure.
BUT there is always the risk.
Will they turn out to be all that we think they should and can be?
As we look over the years, we only see a few blips along the way in all the interns we have hosted. Most have been incredible assets to the ministry here - while they were here and after. We do know that hosting interns is part of who we are.
Our friend is just getting into hosting interns but thinking they`ll have more in the future. If they`re all like the current one, they are having second thoughts!
As we chatted, I reminded her that yes you need to screen them hard, it is okay to say no when they don`t seem to fit for one reason or another and that also God sometimes has other plans for that person - maybe they were brought here, not to fulfill all that you had planned for them but to speak into their lives - to allow them mature and grow up just a bit more in themselves and in their faith. Not a waste of time or money... just different than what we had planned.
I have no idea who said it ... `Make the interruptions - God interruptions.`
Sometimes they just last for more than a few minutes...

Friday, 8 March 2013

International Women's Day

‘Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women’

That is the theme for Rwanda this year.
They want to sensitize people in Rwanda to the ongoing need to promote girls education in the country.

As I reflect on our ministry here, I too have seen that need since the beginning. Girls can easily get jobs here as house help. They quit school, or more like, they are forced to quit school to work as house help to bring in some extra money for their family.

It's been a year or two now that Rwanda has mandated that ALL are to be in school for at least 9 years. That is good.

But just the other day I was sitting at my table talking with Liz about the refugee camp. Education there is a mess these days. They had a handover of leadership for the education in January and to say the least - life is not happening, and it's not the fault of those living in the camp. ARG! That said... Liz and I were talking about the Nathalie's dream. Nathalie is a go getter woman to say the least. She lives in the camp as a single mom with 5 kids and constantly and consistently does all she can to better the lives of others. Her latest...'Now there are even more girls who cannot go to school. What can I do for them? What skill can I help give them so they have something to try to earn a living to keep their dignity and self worth?'

That is what Liz and I were spending some time sorting through. I have no doubt that with Nathalie taking the lead, Liz working alongside her and the rest of us supporting as we can, the lives of girls in the camp will be changed.

Girls who feel they have no option but to prostitute, have no worth, no value, no purpose in life, will gain some and become the women they were created to be - women with purpose, women who are light.
Who knows how many girls will be impacted .. that doesn't matter. What matters is that we're doing something and will continue to do something until the world is just and there is no oppression.
Thinking it's called ... job security on our part!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Hot Water!

We moved into our new home on the weekend.
What an incredible blessing to us. Still so much to finish ... but that's okay most of the moments!
What I am loving... HOT water!!!
I have taken a HOT bath and a HOT shower!
If you live in the developed world, you probably take this for granted.
You turn on the tap each time and hot water is expected to be there - you don't even think about it.
For over 7  years, I have heated water either with a kettle or in a pot on the stove for a bucket shower.
This involves planning each time one wants to take a shower. You actually have to plan the time to heat the water into your scheduled life. If you know me... water often couldn't be heated fast enough. It was common for me to call home to whoever was there to get the water on as I was coming! Not to mention getting the kids showered as well...
No more!
I can turn the tap on and voila.. hot water!
Oh the bliss of hot water running over your body.... so great and enjoyable!
Hot water... just one of the perks of our new home.
Have I ever mentioned the view... :-)
(Guess the only thing now... to make sure the water heater is plugged in... ha!)

Friday, 15 February 2013


I enjoy reading a good book. 
I also enjoy reading stories of peoples lives.
A few weeks ago, I finished Bonhoeffer Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas.
What a great read.
I learned so much about Bonhoeffer, his personal life, his journey with God, his family, WW II, Bonhoeffer's involvement in the conspiracy, and the German church.
Sounds like it a lot and it is BUT it is such a great read.
Don't be daunted by the number of pages, the era or anything... find it and read it! :-)
As I said, it 's been a few weeks since I finished and a couple of quotes still are rolling through my mind.
pg. 241
There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God; not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.
pg. 531
Whether you are young or old makes no difference. What are twenty or thirty or fifty years in the sight of God? And which of us knows how near he or she may already be to the goal? That life only really begins when it ends here on earth, that all that is here is only the prologue before the curtain goes up - that is for young and old alike to think about. Why are we so afraid when we think about death?... Death is only dreadful for those who live in dread and fear of it. Death is not wild or terrible, if only we can be still and hold fast to God's Word. Death is not bitter, if we have not become bitter ourselves. Death is grace, the greatest gift of grace that God gives to people who believe in him. Death is mild, death is sweet and gentle; it beckons to us with heavenly power, if only we realize that it is the gateway to our homeland, the tabernacle of joy, the everlasting kingdom of peace.

How do we know that dying is so dreadful? Who knows whether, in our human fear and anguish we are only shivering and shuddering at the most glorious, heavenly, blessed event in the world?
Death is hell and night and cold, if it is not transformed by our faith. But that is just what is so marvelous, that we can transform death.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Culture Overload

I've lived in Rwanda for over 7 years now full-time.
I'm pretty good at knowing what it is about the culture that pushes my buttons. 
Today ... I wasn't so good at recognizing it and I had a meltdown.
We're on our last big push to get our house finished. We want to be in by next weekend. Hence, there continues to be lots of work going on - painting, tile, finishing the washrooms .... all the finishing stuff. Takes lots of time and money to do it but we're managing through it.
Today I was not managing.
I thought the doors were finished. I thought the ceilings were finished.
Guess not. The workers all said they were finished this past Friday ... and they looked good to me!
On a Monday, in a week where I thought life was moving forward, life seemed to move backward. ARG!
I sat down in the corner of my soon to be new office / library and cried. Cried my eyes out.
It was in that time that I recognized that it was culture clash.
I did want the doors to look good. I did want the ceilings to look good.
I had just been blindsided with what words and actions meaning something different.
Coming from a culture where your word means something ... it's not always easy.
A good cry, time to be apart ... and some chocolate ... and my day turned for the better.
As Serge and I debriefed it later, he asked me why after 7 years plus in this country, this sorts of things still surprise / get to me?
I don't know why today.
What I know is, tomorrow is a new day, God's mercies are new every morning, and I'm ready for what tomorrow brings!

Friday, 25 January 2013


In 24 hours is the Gusaba of Serge's sister Linda at our new house - the one we are still in the process of building.
A gusaba is the dowry giving. It is when the groom's family comes to officially ask for the bride's hand in marriage. Traditionally they would have gifted as many cows as the asking price. Today, most of the time, only some money is paid.
Well it's about noon ... we've been working hard.
Here's a little of our craziness!

Scaffolding everywhere and I'm panicked BUT I might win
my bet with Serge .. it's off before nightfall... or he owes me 
something nice!
The decoration people are finally arriving. They had said they
were coming last night... it's noon the next day. Oh well..
12:17 pm
View of the front yard
Front porch steps still being tiled ... God help me!!
The doors are FINALLY on site ...and we're giving the
living room / dining / kitchen a second coat of paint
2:18 pm
Toilet going in
This is the room which is yet to be transformed. It's the one
which Linda and her party will get ready in.
The guys plastering the outside of the house still have it!
3:35 pm
Tents are up but the black clouds are rolling in fast!
4:43 pm
My bet is looking good... still scaffolding on the house - but
I`m thinking this is a bet I actually want to lose!
5:43 pm
The water tank finally shows up!
We might just have water for tomorrow - we better!!!!
You can imagine my stress level was pretty high at the thought
of no water and about 200 people!
5:56 pm
Decoration heap... hope it looks like something tomorrow!
6:50 pm
Working by flashlight
Electrician - getting us some light
Painter - trying to get Linda`s ``dressing`room sorted
7:30 pm

9:04 pm
Me taking a little break... waiting on the door guys to finish so
we can paint some more
10:45 pm
Home .. dinner, shower then bed!
We`ll back at it early in the morning!
BTW... I lost the bet on the scaffolding ...


Sunday, 13 January 2013


At the end of 2011, Prince asked us if he could grow his hair for a year. He knew we were headed back to Canada the end of 2012 to visit family and wanted to come through on a bet from his uncles about his hair.

So the growing began.

Well, it's now early 2013, we have been to Canada and back and today it was time for the hair to come off!

One year of growth ...
Hacking off in chunks

Uncle Jean Luc doing the honors

The hairball...
No hair! Welcome 2013