Thursday, December 29, 2016

randoms from life out here

 some random bug in the village


 Yes they have Voortmans.... normally $3 a package

 dinner going for a ride

 local woman carrying some wood

 One of the toilets in the village (not sure if its still around though)

 thirsty kitty, apparently food soak water tastes good

 future guard dog
 He's grown up since these pics and likes to chew on everything.... 
couch cushions, flipflops, brooms/dustpans, you name it

 power bars are always well used out here
Most are found full in rows of 3.

 future milk source wandering around the resort grounds....

 monkey roaming the streets

I'm pretty sure the fuel truck hit the electrical pole

yup, thats the wires just laying there being walked under or driven over. 

River Nile

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Road work

I was happy to see that the road near our church has been redone. When I first came out here to visit J (back when we were still dating) the road was in decent condition however over time things changed and it became literally impassible. In the dry season you probably could get a motorbike down it but during the rainy season, even a dirt bike wouldn't work. One thing I always found amusing about that was it seemed to be the worst road in the city...... and it was next to the CAT dealership of all places..... big equipment to fix was parked right next to it.
Anyhow here are some pics of when it was bad and some of what they have done in the last few weeks. There still is some work to be done on the driveway/sideroads but its vastly better than before. 

When the road was bad....

 The only dry way through was over these bricks

 New and improved:
 As you can see on the right some culverts are done but others are not. The road itself though is a vast improvement to the previous road and has really deep ditches which hopefully mean it will last longer in future rainy seasons.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Traffic in the city

While driving skills in general leave much to be desired out here, traffic jams are pretty much non-existent which is why I was shocked a few weeks ago when I got stuck for 10 minutes or so in traffic that wasn't moving. I had been heading to a meeting and was already late (the taxi guy that normally picks us up in a minivan came with a car instead thus needing 2 trips since there were 5 of us). We were about 4 cars back from where I think the jam started as I could see the police officer walking in the road and no vehicles were being allowed past that. I never did learn what the exact cause was of it but chances are it was some important person that was coming through given how close we were to the presidential palace. One habit people have out here that actually makes traffic worse is when the lane is blocked they just start another lane. Motorbikes and rikshaws will also fit where ever there is space. As a result I wasn't overly shocked when the traffic jam went from one lane (its supposed to be only one lane each direction) to 2 lanes and then finally 3 lanes.... thankfully the oncoming traffic had just enough room to squeeze through on the edge (though they did make good use of the sidewalk in some spots) or we'd be in a gridlock. 

This past weekend there was again a mini traffic jam when the university graduates paraded from the university to the nearby cultural centre. This time it was on a main road that had 2 lanes in each direction and a barrier down the centre. The graduates took up one side of the road and the traffic blocked behind them felt there was no reason to wait so they took over one of the 2 lanes coming in the opposite direction then the 2nd lane. It worked semi-decently until the graduates turned off the main road and everyone wanted to get moving again.... then it was pure chaos as the only way to switch back to the correct side was at an intersection that is normally chaotic. 

 both oncoming lanes full of wrong way traffic (I'm in a minibus in the bus stop area)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Sewing stuff

Since I ended with a sewing post last time, it seems appropriate to start with another sewing post. I did finish the curtains in the offices but never did do any curtains for the main conference room as there was a change of plans and it was decided curtains weren't needed there (the main reason was for the projector usage and the tinted windows were deemed to be sufficient). The trampoline is set up again and was in use regularly for a while until the child using it went to his passport country on furlough. Since then I've sewn up one more hole in a different trampoline and am trying to source locally more thread to do a full restitching on another one.
I stopped sewing for a while as there wasn't any more to sew (and I was kind of sick of it after that many curtains). When we returned in mid September I was approached by some ladies from church regarding helping them learn to sew as a way to increase their income. This started soon after and have each made one. They are now each making 3 at a time which I have actually found to be more useful in teaching them due to the repetition of 3 at once. One person joined a week after the first two which was also interesting as I noticed that some things weren't initially understood by the first 2 ladies. I changed how I explained things and it seemed to be understood better for the 3rd person. Its a learning process for all of us.
I'm also learning more Arabic working with them as their English is limited. this forces me to use my Arabic more and look things up later on. I also find myself using “shoya shoya” a lot for a few different reasons. It basically means “little little” or “slowly slowly”. so whether its used for telling ppl I don't speak arabic well or use the sewing machine more slowly... it works well. I've also learned about “baraow” which is used in a similar fashion. 2 of the ladies bring kids with them sometimes and the kids are getting used to me. This can cause a bit of a stir at church when they want to come to me instead of their caregiver (someone other than the mother). During the service one little girl decided that she wanted to sit on my lap so reached for me. I initially thought it best to take her so she'd stay quiet.... It worked to keep her quiet but not the kids behind me....I quickly heard loud whispers about the “kawaja” (white person) with the baby.

4 of the dresses I made before the ladies started the sewing lessons. They are making similar dresses in different sizes and patterns. I'm hoping in the next week or so they will have another 6-8 completed. Then we'll start making boys shirts. One thing I love about them is that I can adjust the length to what I need for each kid. Most of the kids are really tall and very thin so I find that the dresses are simply too short for their body structure. What fits on the top results in the dress being too short, and if its long enough then it doesn't fit up top.

where has the time gone

Well its been a really long time since I've blogged. I saw a friend's blog post and was reminded that I should get back into the routine of things. On checking my blog I've realized its been over a year since I posted anything.....ooops. I did have plans in June/July to write up a bunch of blogs for future posting as I had more free time then however I didn't get to it in June and July was a rough month with everyone being evacuated again. Thankfully I and a few others were already out of the country at that time however its still tough watching from a distance. We are back in country again and its been busy. Many of you probably get the newsletter which has some details of life these last few months however for those of you that don't (and for those that do), this will have a bit more detail on life here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sewing activities

One of the things I've been doing in the last month is sewing. The new buildings need curtains and a trampoline had a hole in it. The trampoline repair I was planning on taking to a local upholstery place but that meant either walking with the mat or bringing it on my motorbike.  I figured it was alot of hassle for a small hole so I figured I'd try using the sewing machine I brought with me. Its one that my dad's cousin and his wife helped me get. Although it isn't a commercial machine it was made for sewing jeans and other thick material. It worked but it was kind of a two person job since I couldn't really manage guiding the stiff material and holding down the reverse button every so often. A certain 3 yr old was a great helper for that. The repair material is not available out here so my mom sent it to a friend who was in Canada and she was able to bring the material and thread back to Africa with her. 

The curtains for the new offices I'm still working on. In total there are 6 rooms with a total of 28 windows. I've completed 3 rooms and am almost finished the 4th. Much of the African print out here has  a wax coating which makes things much easier. Although much stiffer material, it folds better and stays in place.

Below are some pics of whats been done so far.

Someone is hiding .....

The hole, not too big but we don't want it to get bigger.

The challenge in sewing was 8ft of very stiff material but it worked well with E pushing the reverse button when I needed it.

The finished product.

Office curtains version 1. 

Office curtains version 2

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Word workshop

Some of you are already aware of what has been happening here as the word workshop was in our last newsletter that went out. For those of you that haven't seen it, the word workshop is where people from one of the local tribes get together and list all the words they can think of regarding certain topics. There is a huge list of topics in English That they work from to help them think of the words and they then list all of the words in their language that are affiliated with that topic.

For example - The term head would result in thinks like skull, brain, ears, nose, mouth, face, hair, and so on. There also may be subgroups within this as well. For example the term "mouth" would result in things like teeth, taste, chew, bite, and so on.  There will be overlap and some one will work through all the data later to organize it and create a dictionary. 

Although I'm not directly involved with this particular workshop I have been called to help some of the participants translate medical terms from their language to English. All these words will be the basis for a dictionary that will be developed over the next couple of years. check out to see what this is all about. 

A big thank you to P and S for all the work they did on the new buildings over the last 2 years. We have 4 new apartments, 5 new offices and a new conference room. The space has been well used for this workshop and I'm sure in the future.