Monday, August 31, 2009

Babysitting and Wandering :)

Yesterday was our first Monday, which will usually mean our day off from school. This Monday us girls watched the Emerson's boys, Caden and Corban so that Brett and April could celebrate their anniversary. It was lots of fun hanging out with the boys and watching Veggies and Curious George!
Soon after we arrived at the Emerson's house, Jacque and I realized as it began to rain outside that we had forgotten to shut our windows and she had left her iphone... so we decided to leave Bethany to watch the kids while we walked back to the apartment to check on things. This was quite the adventure as it was still raining as we walked and this was our first walking expedition so we had to orient ourselves to where we were.
We arrived at our apartment after taking the scenic route... and then found Jacque's iphone safely next to an opened window that hadn't let any of the rain water in yet. We closed up the house and made our way back on a much more direct route... arriving back at the Emerson's soaking wet and laughing as we greeted Bethany to share our story. We have since realized that corn, red doors and chickens aren't good landmarks :)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Church in Ewede

Today was our first day to go to church in a village. We were planning on going to Njei for church, but instead we ended up walking to Ewede which was where I had gone for my bonding experience as an intern 2 years ago. It was fun to see the family I had stayed with and they asked to see me again for a meal.
After walking a ways through fields and puddles to Ewede, the church service had still yet to commence. We went to church with the Kennells and we met up with Matt and Grace Hangen once in Ewede and as we walked up to the church building chairs were gathered and brought into the church for us. Once we were inside and seated more people continued to show up throughout the service. The singing was fun and familiar, especially when they sang Ameya which Jacque, Bethany and I had learned in the states. Then there was the scripture reading, which we could follow along decently with our english Bibles, but once they started discussion all of us teachers were pretty lost in the slew of Kabiye vocabulary which we don't know. It was a good experience... Jacque made a list of all the things she learned about village churches today :) It is a fun list which includes our experience this morning with a cell phone going off during the service. After the ringtone played for a good bit, the man that owned it stood up, answered it and walked out.. I think that was one of the funniest highlights of today.
So, I probably will get a bit of online time before and after dinner the days of the week that we visit the missionaries for dinners. We don't have internet in our apartment, but we can access internet at most of the homes we will visit.
I will try to update often so you can get a glimpse of my life here!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Moving in!

Today I spent most of the day cleaning all the random things out of our closets in our apartment above the schoolhouse. I selected which tupperware will be kept for storing our leftovers and which dishes we will actually use and reuse for the next nine months. The leftovers of the dishes and tupperware will live under my bed in this nifty storage place where we can get them if we change our mind, or if we have a lot of company :)
I also went through two of my boxes and unpacked a majority of the things in them and placed them into our wardrobe and dresser... after of course cleaning out all the little gifts previous teachers had left for us and dusting. These little gifts included, but weren't limited to random wires to connect things, two old computer speakers, power strips, surge protectors, and some used old spice deodorant left by the gentlemen who once occupied our apartment (maybe if we get very desperate ;) ).
I have a couple bags that were left here at the Kennell's for tonight and I'll be finishing my unpacking tomorrow and then we'll be moving in officially :) It is so incredible to think of living there and making our little home there in the schoolhouse! It's really exciting!
We are visiting the market tomorrow .. we have been by it a few times already and stopped there to pick a few things up, such as "fast food" for lunch today, which included banana "donuts", and fried plantains... mmmm.. Anyways, April will be taking us to the market so we can stock our kitchen with essentials for creating all of our meals from scratch. We are lucky to already have some rice and sugar to start off with and a few other staples, but after writing out our menu we still have a lot of produce to buy as well as a few essential items for our apartment.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Yesterday we were able to visit the schoolhouse :) It was really neat to be able to check out our classrooms and to see what our apartment would look like!

Here are a few pictures of the first looks at where we are going to live this year:

The schoolhouse is two stories with access to the roof. We have a lovely terrace with an entrance from our stairs and also from our living room :) Our kitchen is equipped with a gas oven, a sink with a filter for clean drinking water and a few staples we'll need when we begin to cook for ourselves. We are still living with the Kennells for now, but we're moving our stuff into the apartment tomorrow!!! I'm so excited :)

This is one of the windows to my classroom which is in a separate building to the right of the main school building. I'm teaching kindergarten this year! I will be teaching two of the boys, Gabriel and Asher, so I am looking forward to figuring out fun boy themes for the room.

So today I spent the day setting up the classroom or rather tearing down old decorations and organizing old paints. Hopefully I can get the room cleaned out by the end of this week and start to really put up new things next week. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but since I only have my math curriculum so far I've been focusing on getting the decor situated for the next year. I hope to make things fun for the boys by changing up decorations for different seasons and I am full of many ideas to make the school year fun for us.
I was really enjoying spending time today with Grace Hangen who is one of the missionary wives here who won't have children that I will be teaching. It was fun to have her company as I tore things down from the walls and collected things I think I will be using for decorations. This year will be fantastic getting to know the missionaries here! They are all so much fun to spend time with and I feel as if I have so much to learn from them.

I wanted to share this picture of the two Kennell girls, Michal and Maddie. They have been fun to spend this week with! This is a welcome poster for us teachers that they made for us :) It makes me so happy how they are excited for the beginning of school.. and it seems they are anxious for it to begin soon! I love that they are happy to learn new things and I figure it will be a blast this year teaching all of the children french.

I look forward to this year with all of the new things I will learn and I know it will stretch and grow me into more of the woman God created me to be. Please keep me in your prayers!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

We're in Togo :)

I wanted everyone to know that we arrived :) We drove from Accra to Kara today which meant a long day! We arrived in Ghana Monday excited and happy to see Nicole and April... and very tired. After arriving at the guesthouse we emailed our families to let them know we were safe and sound in Accra and then we caught a few Z's. Then we awoke to an early start at 5:30 am.
We arrived here in Kara around 5:30 pm I think.. I am really tired after not really sleeping for the past few days :) Hopefully I won't be too jet lagged tomorrow after a good nights sleep.
Please pray for us as we adjust to our new environment and go through some culture shock. Also pray that all the preparations go well with the school as things are being fixed and setup at the schoolhouse while we stay with the Kennells.
I love you all and I want to hear from you and know what you are all up to, so please keep me updated on your lives as well :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

London Airport

Here is a random picture from my drive to Atlanta :) I love the memories that came back from visiting the Arch when I was younger. I remember being in awe at how miniature the semis looked from the top of the Arch.

Currently I am sitting in the busy Heathrow Airport in London, watching all of our stuff while Bethany and Jacque both get their last Starbucks :) The wifi is working the best on my computer so I'll be sharing it when they get back. Our flight from Atlanta to London went well-- kind of hard to sleep in airplanes, but we caught a few Zs.

We had been seated all at window seats in different rows on the last flight, but since we really wanted to sit together we ended up asking three people to move for us. We were so blessed to have a girl traveling on her own agree to move as well as a couple who had been sitting on the isle to take her place and one of ours :) This cleared a whole isle, which once we occupied it with our giggles I wondered if the couple might wish they hadn't let us move into their seats... We settled down and watched one of the inflight movies and then slept the rest of the time, so perhaps they didn't regret the trade.

So far our travels have been safe :) Thank you for all of your continued prayers!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Honey Grove

My first stop in my journey was to see the Dandy family :) It was great to see Rebecca, Jonathan and their kids! I had fun taking silly pictures with the kids and loved the time I was able to spend with all of them! Here are some of the silliest pics with them :
Now I am at Jacque's putting last minute things in my trunks while she finishes closing her trunks from the packing craziness of last night :) We leave in an hour or so to drive to Atlanta, so we're going to be moving our trunks out to the van soon. We'll stay the night in a suburb of Atlanta and then we'll be going to the airport after Sunday dinner (or a little before).
It is so exciting and a bit nerve-racking to be this close! I am so looking forward to seeing Bethany and flying to Accra and meeting up with April and Nicole there!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Beginning

So tonight I have completed the first portion of my journey towards my final destination of Kara. I am enjoying the free wifi at Denver International Airport. I have time to explore the airport tonight and enjoy some late night snacking at McDonalds. Perhaps the last time I'll be at one for a while. I look forward to the travels I have ahead of me with anticipation and excitement.
I wonder where the Lord will take me on this journey. I am so excited to be going back to Africa to teach in Kara :) I look forward to the experience and towards getting to know all the missionaries there even better.
I am a big fan of airplanes, they take us to our destinations with very little wait. We may have to stand in lines for a while going through tedious security, but all in all the process doesn't take very long. I can't imagine being a missionary in the days when leaving for another country meant for life. I'm not sure if I have the capacity to commit to something like that. Especially since I love being around my family, but I suppose if the Lord calls me to go, I will go.
While I was on the plane I read part of one of the books I brought along with me by Elisabeth Elliot. I have a few of her books and this one I decided might be a good read throughout the year, and perhaps some of the wisdom could highlight what the Lord has been teaching me lately. The chapters I read spoke of godly relationships and communication. I wish I was better at following some of her godly advice in my own life, but I must confess I often read a book with good wisdom and think "Wow, that is great stuff. I should do that." And way too soon I forget my intentions. This book in particular, I already read... and yet tonight while reading it, I realized how little wisdom I actually remembered and applied.
I have so much to learn.
As I waited for the flight to Denver from Portland and as I observed the people near me waiting I realized how they all wait so differently. Some just sit there staring into space, perhaps wrapped up in their thoughts. Others watch the tarmac waiting expectantly for their plane to come. While others spend their time reading a book they brought with or entertaining themselves with some work while they wait. I suppose I spent most of my time writing or people watching while I waited. It all made me think about what we all are doing as we wait on the Lord. Are we prepared for our plane to come?

Monday, August 10, 2009

To go to Togo

Although some of you reading this probably already know a good amount about Togo, I decided I should give some basic info about the area for those who would like to know more. The flag is made up of 5 stripes of green representing agriculture and yellow symbolizing mineral wealth, and a red square with a white star which represents patriotism and Togo's independence.

Togo is situated between Ghana to the West, Benin to the East, and Burkina Faso to the North and is slightly smaller than West Virginia. The city of Kara is in the Northern part of Togo toward the Eastern border. The languages that will be spoken where I am living will be the national language of French, and the local language Kabiye.

Before Togo was independent, it was a German protectorate and then the Eastern portion (what is now modern day Togo) was ruled by France. (The western portion was ruled by Britain and became what is now Ghana.)

I will be flying into Accra, Ghana from London with Jacque and Bethany, so we should be seeing something like this as we pull in towards the airport. There we will be picked up by the missionaries and drive to Kara, Togo with them.

We will be moving into an apartment in the top floor of the school house where we will also be teaching. The downstairs has a classroom area with blackboard and a little library and the upstairs has a couple bedrooms that the three of us will be sharing :)