Archive for September, 2009

Weekend Adventures


Having weekends be over Sunday and Monday continues to be weird and throw off my sense of time and what day it is. However, they are still days when we can rest, and that’s what matters. Sunday we went to church at the village of Ajada with the Reeves family. It was lovely to be part of worship with some Togolese Christians again. Becky is incredibly patient to bring her four small children out there and spend church keeping them quiet and entertained. I guess that is the feet of mothers everywhere, but it must be harder here with all eyes on you anyways because you’re white and in a tiny church building and with the service taking place in a language the kids can’t really understand.

After church, Jacque and Sarah and I had fun trying to learn Kabiye phrases from the kids. They thought our attempts were pretty hilarious and I don’t blame them. Jacque and I each ended up giving our pens away. On the drive we had to cross three smallish rivers. One had a big sand hill on the far side and we weren’t sure the truck would make it, but Dave Reeves, master driver, got us through just fine.

Our weekend adventures continued Monday with Brett Emerson taking us to a wildlife park, Sarakawa, where we saw antelope, cob, interesting birds, a crocodile, giant tortoises, cape buffalo, ostriches, and zebra. The following are pictures from our drive through the park.

girls on truck SMALL


many zebra SMALL

zebra scape SMALL

Sarakawa scape2 SMALL

monkey in tree SMALL

turtles SMALL
sarakawa landscape SMALL

Our weekend adventures came to an end after an entertaining episode with a cockroach in the kitchen Monday night. I can say entertaining because Sarah killed the roach while Jacque and I watched from a safe distance…and a safe elevation. I will kill any bug except a cockroach. That’s where I draw the line.


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My internet access is limited to times when I’m at one of the missionary’s houses who have internet. Togo is 5 hours ahead of Central time in the U.S. and we are at people’s houses in the evenings. 

Here is my schedule:

Sundays: dinner at the Emersons (with internet)

Mondays: day off, no regular plans for internet

Tuesdays: dinner at the Kennells (with internet)

Wednesdays: team worship and bible study, rotates houses, usually with brief internet access

Thursdays: dinner at Reeves house, (as of now, they have internet that works sometimes)

Fridays: dinner at the Hangins (no internet)

Saturdays: dinner at the Millers (with internet)


Now you know when you can expect me to be online to email or skype or facebook (or blog). My evenings would be between 12 and 3pm ish for you all in America. 

Prayer request: Michal Kennell, one of the children on the team, has malaria and an infection and an amoeba. Please pray for her healing and health.

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link to goat story

For a more thorough explanation about Peter Dexter the goat, you can read Jacque’s most recent blog update at:


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Quote of the day:   “When I put my finger on the tip of my nose, that means we need to refocus on the lesson.”

We are beginning to settle into a routine. I must stress beginning because we only have a week of school under our belt. Even though I have been a student all my life, being a teacher is a completely new and challenging experience. This is true teaching three well-behaved and very self-motivated girls, so I marvel at teachers who jump into classrooms of 30-40 public school children of all varieties of backgrounds and dispositions. Granted, those teachers have years of college classes and guided instruction to prepare them, but I have a feeling that even for them experience is the best teacher.

The first couple days of school were kind of rough. I didn’t feel organized enough or confident that I knew what I was doing. After the first day I was filled with irrational fears that I would never be a good teacher, that I would never be in control or confident, or teach in a way that was effective or interesting for the students. Thankfully, those fears will not come true. I can see improvement already in organization, confidence and enjoyment of this work. There’s still a long way to go, but I can see a hope for progress, and I’m grabbing hold of that hope. I believe the Lord opened doors and lead me to this place. He is faithful and will continue to provide wisdom, strength and peace. What he has promised is true. Matt Miller, one of the missionaries here, told a group of Harding students my sophomore year that we should do something that is risky- something that we would fail at with out God’s intervention. May this year be a testimony of God’s intervention for me where I would surely fail in my own strength and abilities. 

Recent News: We are now proud owners of a young goat. His name is Peter Dexter and prefers a diet of corn stalk leaves, which some of our kind African friends are supplying him of their own volition. I’m very grateful for them because we don’t have any corn at the schoolhouse and I would feel awkward tearing leaves off someone else’s plants. There’s corn all over the place but it all belongs to somebody, surely… Peter needs a bath and cries a lot, but otherwise is perfectly lovely. If the Africans knew that we only want him as a pet, and not to eat him eventually, they would think we were pretty ridiculous.

peter dexter 1

peter dexter2

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Some Moments


This is my 6th grade class on the first day of school, which was this past saturday. From left to right: Abby Miller, Maddie Kennell, Hannah Reeves. They’re great girls, each one full of character and life and intelligence. We should hav ea good year together.

6th grade class

These are 2 girls that were following us on our walk to the Emerson’s house tonight. They were too cute to pass up a picture opportunity. I haven’t attempted taking many photographs yet, I’ve just been taking everything in. Soon I will take my big camera out with me.me and kids

This is the road in front of our house. You can see Sarah and Jacque almost to our gate. This was after our first trip to the market on our own.
school road

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Dinner by Candle Light

Quote of the day: “Why did the chicken cross the road? To let the electric company know they should keep the power on. When it runs halfway across the road and then turns around to go back, they turn it off. That is why electricity in Kara is sporadic.”  -loose paraphrase of Mark Kennell’s explanation to power outages. 

cooking by candle and flashlight

Last night the girls and I attempted our first full supper at our apartment. Pulled pork with curried coconut sauce over rice and corn on the side. Right after we began cooking the pork, our electricity went out. Thankfully, we have a gas stove, so that didn’t keep us from cooking dinner, it just made the experience more blog-worthy. :o)  In our cozy kitchen with a torrent of rain coming down outside, we made a diverting scene. Me: pulling pork with forks by candlelight. Jacque: with a flashlight in her mouth, sautéing more pork and garlic and stirring sauce, and Sarah: reading the recipe and finding spices by another candle. Our drinking glasses doubled as candlestick holders. It went on and off a couple times, and we enjoyed a romantic dinner by candlelight.

After supper the power came back on, so Jacque convinced me to cut her hair. This was the 2nd haircut I’ve given her in 2 weeks, and we both like this one much more than the first. It’s super short, but very cute. I’m becoming the beautician of the team. I’ve cut Sarah’s hair once and Jacque’s twice.

Today we’ve worked hard on getting ready for school. We moved furniture around, itemized expectations and a point system for the school, looked at curriculum more, and started ideating for classroom decoration themes. Any ideas for a garden themed classroom?

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I don’t have a dramatic or exotic tale about the wonders of Africa today. I only have a collection of non-spectacular daily events. This past week has been spent continuing to get ready for school, and learning how to be in Africa, and be around the same two people constantly.

I’m anxious to start teaching and have the abstract and hypothetical be realities. My brain can take in lots of ideas, but I will feel better once I can be learning be experience how to implement those ideas. I am excited about what I will be teaching, and learning along with the kids. I’m excited about thinking of ways to be creative with lesson plans, learning about the personalities and potential of each kid, etc.

Last night we went to the Hangin’s for dinner. They are the youngest/newest members of the team and it was interesting to get their different perspective on the work here, and to hear their story of how they met, got married and came to be here in Togo. God has worked out circumstances and details for them in a mighty way, leading them to a desire to come to Africa, introducing them to the Kara team, and opening doors for them to have financial support.

Wednesday night bible study was a blessing. One of the things I will miss most about my life in America is the small group I was a part of on Wednesdays in Searcy, AR. Nothing can replace what those people have meant to me, but it is nice to know I’m still around people who are seeking God and are willing to be real with each other. This week we talked about the idea of having monuments of sorts in our lives of major things God has done or brought us through. Different people shared experiences along with connected scriptures. I was a blessing and encouragement to hear what God has done for the others, and to share how he has poured his grace on me as well.

Praise: Before leaving I was having pretty bad jaw pain and headaches almost daily, and since being here I’ve only had a day or two of that. And that the missionaries are wonderful, and are making such kind efforts to make us feel welcome and taken care of.

Please pray for: us 3 adjusting to a life that is so new and different from everything that has been familiar.

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