Friday, 28 March 2014

South Africa

Earlier this month, we got to take a vacation.
Our dear friends, Paul and Marlene came to visit us for about 4 weeks and asked us to go with them on a little vacation to South Africa - to Kruger Park.
It's been awhile since we've had a proper vacation - before Beni was born - so we decided to go for it. The kids school wasn't too excited about us taking them out for 6.5 days a week before exams started but hey - sometimes things only come along once in a lifetime.

The following are some pictures of our adventure.

Paul Kruger himself

Baboons .... great time watching them with the babies

All kinds of bird watching with Marlene... beautiful ones!

My favourite animal.. but didn't see as many as I had hoped.

Saw the hippos across the lake and then they swam over to us
and gave us a bit of show.

A baby hippo ... first time for that.

Crocs ACROSS the river. Big boys to say the least.

Yup... no zooming on this one. A bit close but fabulous
all at the same time.

And a baby... we all loved seeing it.

BIGGEST elephant ever ... and about 20 m from us.
Just rolled the car back and let him cross...

An entire herd crossed the road in front of us in another place.

A kudo

Time for ice-cream!


So we saw two in the bush and we SO excited and then...
they started moving. I was driving and realized I was exactly
parked on his path out of the bush... rolled the car back pretty
quick and then it was one.. and then the second right in front
of us! Unbelievable!

Another unbelievable... two male lions just chillin' beside
the road. Yup.. just parked on the other side.

All kinds of impala... or their relations. Be the morning of day
two, we were bored with them and didn't even get excited.
So many...

Loved the colouring on this bird.

Wilde beast...

We got a huge kick out of this tortoise. He was MOVING
up the road at a speed we never knew they could even manage.
Kids thought he was probably late for a meeting that was
the day before.

Pumbas... warthogs

Stork of some sort...

Zebra and their ox picker birds

The last animal we saw... a leopard... BESIDE
the road. Couldn't believe our luck - or
rather, how God blessed us with this.

One big pussy cat...
And that was part of our adventure. Was a great time.
We were blessed to hear that while we saw all kinds of things,  other friends had friends in the park the same week and they basically didn't see anything.
We were most blessed indeed and would highly recommend that trip to anyone.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Technique Control...

So... if you own a car in Rwanda, you must go and get your car 'certified' at the Technique Control place.
This only started a few years ago and I thought 'Now that's a good thing - making sure that cars are road worthy.' Much to my chagrin - emission testing is NOT part of the testing ... just everything else.
SO... all cars are to be tested in January, February or March. Our month is March.
Since the beginning of the month of March was a bit crazy for us and then we went on a little vacation (!), last Wednesday was the first day that Serge went off to Technique Control.
Serge was up at 4:30am and at Technique Control by 5am... only to be #60 in line. He asked a guy who was #4 when he arrived... 1am!!!
So... Serge gets to the front and they test our jeep. There some underneath that needs to be changed. So off Serge goes to the garage. Now the 'control guy' made it sound to Serge like no big deal. Now I don't know a lot about it ... but what I do know is that it involved taking off 4 bolts and it took them about FIVE hours to do that. I talked to Serge in the midst of it and all and he says to me, 'I think our car is going to be burned!' They couldn't get the bolts off and so after greasing... it was a the torch of some kind. Serge also said to me, 'Just be glad our jeep is diesel and not petrol...'
So it gets dark at 6pm. Serge grabs a bike and runs off to a shop to buy a lantern so that the guys have light to work after dark.
Then they are searching the whole city for the parts... can't find them.
Serge arrives home at 9pm of the first day... no car and definitely no fixed.
Thursday... Serge has gotten Patrick / Soda, a former street kid of ours who has just graduated high school with us, to be at the garage when it opens.
Morning of the second day, they find the part. They fix it.
Serge goes back to Technique Control and is told...'You fixed the wrong thing... it's this that needs fixing.'
Now... you need to know that Serge did fix what they had written down.
Back to the garage... late afternoon of the second day.
Once again... too late in the day to get the car fixed and Serge comes home the second night with no car.
Patrick is back in the Garage on Friday morning early... Serge finds him there.
The car gets fixed but it's too late to go to Technique Control. Serge being proactive... takes the car for an alignment. With all the banging around, he's sure that it's out and want to have all the bases covered for Monday when it will be back to technique control. Let me also just mention that each garage visit costs LOTS of money, and every time to Technique Control... another payment to get tested. ARG!
At least we have the car for the weekend. It's been an exhausting three days of getting around with taxis - kids to school in the morning, me to J.Lynn's, Serge to the car, Kids picked from school, me home from J.Lynn's, Serge home for the garage... needless to say, nothing else is happening.
Monday... Serge is once sets his alarm for 4:30 am. He gets to Technique Control... about 60 or 70 in line, he says.. He needs to be in meeting so he leaves Patrick with the car again. At noon, he gets a call from Patrick saying he's finished. When he gets there... 'The alignment is out!' ARG!! How can this be!!!???? He leaves in frustration... to say the least. Back to meetings and not sure what to do.
On Tuesday... Jules, Serges' best friend here, says... 'Go back and talk to the Commander and see if he will check for you. Maybe the car wasn't on the machine properly.'
So the go during lunch of day long meetings.
So they go back to Technique Control.. find the commander... he agrees to have it retested and gets a guy to move the car to the front of the line. It's put on the machine... and it's tested. And then he just walks away. You're not allowed to be where they are testing the cars so Serge as no idea what is going on - and so he runs after the commander.
He says that it's borderline but it passed. Serge basically begs him to for the pass paper. It's a private vehicle... not for hire... been here for 5 days... please.... please...
The commander waves to the 'pass paper guy' and Serge has the paper.
Whew... until next year.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

A connection to my Canadian home...

So yesterday, we had a short-term mission team through J.Lynn's.
This is not unusual. We often have groups that come through for lunch or to have drinks and a place to meet.
The team was from Bethel School of Ministry in Redding, CA. The former manager here at J.Lynn's goes to that church so she made sure they planned to have lunch with us here.
With 24 people, that was lots of pizza, bagel sandwiches and drinks... and a birthday cake for one of the team members. Always fun is the women here at J.Lynn's giving a robust rendition of Happy Birthday in Kinyarwanda.
So a couple of fun things for me...
I'm taking drinks orders at the counter and across the room a young guy in his 20's, flings his arms wide open and says 'I here you're Canadian!' 'Well, yes I am... and where you from?' 'Vancouver but moved to Winnipeg a number of years ago as my dads a pastor there... just about to head back there after 2 years in California.'
Awhile later as I'm checking on everything a woman leans over and says to me ... 'Where in Ontario are you from?'
Now when I get that question, I always answer , 'Just out of Toronto.' I never know what one knows about Canada and well, thinking most can connect with Toronto. She says back to me... 'No where in ON?' My next answer is usually always Kitchener-Waterloo, but I hesitated and she says, 'I'm from Guelph.'
'No way! Get out!!'
(As a side note, when I relayed this happening to my family later... the kids totally mocked me out the rest of the night with this expression...sigh!)
And then she says... 'You wouldn't happen to know Jim and Bonnie Tice?'
Ha... do I!! YES!! They were with International Teams when I started in 1995...
Turns out Ann and Bonnie are good friends, she was on the hiring committee when they were first hired on in some churches in Guelph, she was on a short-term mission team that I facilitated through IT for them... etc. etc. 
Made my day.
Not only was she Canadian but it was like a piece of home. And so random...
Blows my mind how God orchestrates lives to weave lives together. We never know where someone is going to turn up in our lives again or who will come across our life journey with connections to the past... and then we move forward together in life. What a blessing.
Before they left, Anne and two others sought me out and asked if they could pray for me. Not many people offer to do that in my life here. I'm usually the one praying for others. Needless to say it was a great blessing to be prayed and prophesied over... totally affirming for me in the midst of all going on in life and moving J.Lynn's forward.
I know that God goes ahead of me and that God is pleased. May I continue to be faithful.

Myself and Anne

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Komeza Women at J.Lynn's...

Komeza Women... Strengthening Women

That is what J.Lynn's is all about.
With an average of about 18 workers around each day, life is never dull or quiet! They are busy making the daily batch of bagels, fulfilling customer orders, or doing one of the various other task to keep life moving forward.
We will start to roll out the business entrepreneurship program as well in April. That will bring a whole new level of work and commitment for them. As we finish up the individual interviews for business and their current life situation, it's challenging and fun at the same time to be thinking and dreaming of what journey we can take these women on to be who God has created them to be. 
Most of  the women who make J.Lynn's happen each and every day!
Another grand addition to our team here is Stephanie Watson. Her husband Robbie is also in Rwanda and digging in - literally! - to make the grounds of J.Lynn's a better place.
Stephanie and I chatting through a cake order... SO fun to have
someone to bounce ideas off of.
Classic line... 'Sure we can do that...' and we have no idea but we
trust the skills we have to produce something that is saleable!
Like J.Lynn's on Facebook and follow the women and the cake creations.

Friday, 21 March 2014

I'm back...

... I hope.

Can't believe that I haven't blogged since November...

Life has been full - more than full. It seems that when life comes at me too fast, I don't have the time to process what to put on the blog as usually... it's just too much.

BUT I'm hoping that I've turned a corner in life and.. I'm back.

Onward to a blog post or two!