Crisis Mode

It has been a little over 3 weeks with both of us running in crisis mode.  What I mean by this is that we have been running around, trying to get things done just barely before the deadline, and everything we are dealing with is very urgent and needs to be completed NOW.  It has felt like barely keeping afloat, not quite far enough ahead to deal with our responsibilities appropriately.

It has been exhausting.

This has been a result of a few things:  On January 7, we began a 5 month Discipleship Training School (DTS) with 14 students from 5 countries.  The first week of a DTS is always chaotic, with many details needing to be taken care of.  In this case we are working with a brand-new DTS leader, on a base where Mike and I are unfamiliar with many of the small day-to-day details [Where do I get mosquito nets from?  Where can we find mattresses for the beds that don’t smell like old pee?  How can I get cash to buy the fruit/cards for student welcome packs?  Do the students know that they will pay a fee for the pickup? The copier is broken – how can I print handbooks for students?  Is anyone going to finish painting these rooms before someone is supposed to live in them?  Do we have proper beds in each room for the students (ie, surely this mom shouldn’t have to sleep in the same bed as her 10-year-old son)?  I think you get the point.]

In addition, most of the base staff did not return from Christmas holidays until Jan. 7 (three days after students started to arrive).  This meant we had to solve many problems without proper information or tools.

AND, there have been some gaps in some of the staffing needs here.  There is a phenomenal woman named Margaret who was returning from a year-long sabbatical to step into this role.  She will be working with us to co-ordinate workduties, as well as with Mike in the kitchen.  There were many things waiting for her to deal with when she returned on the 7th, plus she was our DTS speaker for the week.  (This means she spent half of her days teaching.)

This week feels like we are starting to get our heads above water.  The students are starting to get into a routine.  Some of the things we have started to implement are starting to be understood (Mike isn’t meeting with work duty leaders every day).  We are starting to be able to work on non-urgent things (such as accounting for the $500 I was given the afternoon everyone left for holidays to buy food, electricity, etc for the base staff and visiting team that were here over the holidays).  We are even starting to be able to do things before the last second and plan ahead!

We are both feeling more hopeful, and are looking forward to the weeks to come.


Celebrating Christmas and the New Year!

OK: first of all, sorry for our absence. By the time we had holidays to write about, we were suddenly crazy busy. More on that in the next few weeks.

ArnoldWinnieCinn245795567Christmas seems so far behind us, but it is still a story to tell. On Christmas Eve we went to the house of a friend and baked cinnamon buns. It was a great treat and fun to spend time with friends!


We returned to the base for the evening. There is an outreach team from Hawaii here, so we fired up the projector and watched a movie together. As we returned to our room in the dark, I walked barefoot into our bedroom to turn on our mosquito repeller. It took dead bird143347947me a moment to realize I was walking on broken glass. Then I saw a dark shape on the floor in the middle of the glass: Maybe someone threw something through our window? Nope. Dead pigeon. Ugh. (The curtains had even been closed!) So, as Christmas Eve progressed towards midnight, Mike was A-MAZING and cleaned most of the glass from our floor, our bed, our carpets, etc. Without a vacuum. And he dealt with the dead bird. I felt really awful, like someone had specifically invaded and wrecked our comfortable space. On Christmas Eve! IMG_8381IMG_8390

We got up Christmas morning feeling a little less invaded and made french toast! Our loose plan had been to go to a pool for the day, but it wasn’t a very nice day (only about 18 celcius 🙂 ), so we decided to try to wait for another day. We celebrated all together with MEAT for supper. Sadly, Mike was ill that night, so we didn’t go swimming the next day, and we delayed til the next day our private special meal to make us feel less homesick: perogies! YUM! They were wonderful.IMG_8399

By now you are surely getting the feeling that our celebrations were mostly about food. You are right.

New Years Eve we went back to our friends’ house (now it becomes important to know that he is Dutch). We made olliebollen, which I often make with my mom at New Years. YAY! We also reprised the bread dough and made a kind of braided pizza bread.

We are making some great friends, Godfrey & Hope. They live about 5 minutes away from the base. Godfrey runs the finance/administration office for YWAM. Hope runs a ministry with prostitutes. We are taking kinyarwanda lessons with Hope. They invited us to go out with them in the evening for a meal and bowling. We hopped on motos (its a good way to travel quickly without breaking the bank), and felt like a moto-gang as we went to the Chinese restaurant. We walked around back to the beautiful garden restaurant, and saw that the place was almost empty. “Do you have reservations?” they asked. We almost laughed, seeing all the empty tables. “We’re full,” they told us. hmmm… OK. So, we tried to regroup. None of us go out very much, so it was hard to come up with another place to go. We wondered, considered, and Hope volunteered that she knew of a Mexican place – we thought we could try it. So, we recruited 4 more motos, and our little moto gang travelled to the Mexican place. CLOSED.

We couldn’t believe it – strike 2. We dithered for a bit, didn’t want to go backwards, and finally decided to just go to the place we were planning to bowl at: apparently there was a small cafe there. Motos again. When we pulled up to the place, some guys were handing out flyers: for a New Year’s party, that apparently went until 4 am. Well, we weren’t really looking for a party, but no one else was there, so we decided that if we were at a place we could get food, we would stay. So then a mzungu came along and explained to us: “They are all busy getting ready for the party later.” Apparently, the party starts at 4 am. Its the after-party that everyone comes to when all the other parties close. Last year there were 1500 people!!!! We couldn’t believe that. “So… can we get some food anyway?” Sure (he told us, disappointed that we weren’t really excited abouyt partying until noon the next day). So by 10 pm, we finally got to eat. It wasn’t the amazing Chinese we had originally been planning on, but burgers were still a nice treat.

Then bowling! Theres not much in the way of recreation available, so this is very exciting. Godfrey, who had never bowled before, left us all in the dust.

And we took motos one more time on the way home!

All in all, our celebrations were pretty low key, a little disappointing, but we did get to hang out with some good friends and have a some rest before the big plunge. We had great communication from people at home and even got one of our Christmas packages!