Wow! I can say that it has been a busy, but pretty mundane week! Hurrah! I can tell you about some of it, but there are few pictures. I did take one of me working in the office in my house in Baboua and my bed (!)
Monday Greg Nelson and his son Eric arrived in Garoua Boulai from Yaoundé. Greg works with ELCA missionaries, but usually in the US. He came to see some of us “in the field” to better understand our life and work. Also on Monday, Anne Langdji arrived from a visit to N’gaoundéré. I made dinner – see? I said it was mundane!
We all went to the morning meditation at the Bible School (that trains catechists) in Garoua Boulai. After meeting with Greg and talking to Anne and President Golike (of the national Lutheran church in CAR who stopped by on his way to Yaoundé for a meeting), I left for CAR.
I am happy to report that I had no trouble getting across the border. I was welcomed back to the station in Baboua with open arms; everyone was excited to see me. I met the people who work in my house and in the Troesters’ house next door. Then I walked to the offices of the Village School Program and Christian Education – both also on the station. En route, I saw the station guards and several other people who work here. How gratifying to know that they were awaiting my (our) return as much as I was.
I was able to meet with some people from both programs on Tues. at least for a bit. Wednesday the Christian Education Strategic Planning Committee (wow, that’s a mouthful) met all morning. We were discussing and furthering planning we had started together in December. We were able to complete the entire agenda (covering many aspects of our work) and then share a meal together (that was prepared by the director’s wife and some other women).
In the afternoon I taught a computer lesson to the Director and Curriculum Coach for the Village School Program. They will now practice opening a Word document and writing a letter or other file (and of course saving it…). They are pleased to gain the knowledge and are picking things up well.
Thursday, I spent the morning with the Director and Curriculum Coach again. The Community Developer was to be there, but plans to move the family of one of the directors of a school were delayed and then took longer than anticipated – life in Africa! (Well, life in the US is like that too, sometimes, but not quite as often…) We reviewed much of our work so far in 2013 and planned for March. We also talked about accounting and how to keep track of what we are spending – always a challenge!
The EEL-RCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in CAR – French version) has three “volets.” That’s French for wings, but in this case would probably be translated as divisions. They are Evangelism, Education, and Diaconia. The Village School program, and Christian Education, of course, are part of Education (in French – Volet de Formation). Twice a year this division has a church-wide meeting. That meeting will be held tomorrow. We will talk about what has happened, plans for the future, and other issues such as nominating scholarship applicants. Fortunately for me, the meeting is in Baboua (which makes sense since my two programs are here as are the Bible School and Theological School).
At noon tomorrow I am on the road again. This travel has been planned for several months. All the ELCA missionaries working in Cameroon and CAR are having a retreat for 2 ½ days in Kribi (a town on the Atlantic coast of Cameroon). We are fortunate that Greg Nelson will be there as will Rev. Dr. Andrea Walker, the new West (and Central) Africa Program Director.
On March 5, some people will be returning to work (including Greg back to the US and Andrea & Anne to Senegal) while 6 of us will be going on to Mutengene – further up the coast away from Douala – for a Bible Storytelling Seminar. It is organized by the Covenant Church and I have heard great things about it. (More on that after the fact…)
We are planning to visit Limbi on Saturday (a beach with black volcanic sand) before returning to Yaoundé Sunday. If all goes well, all CAR missionaries will be back home by mid-March!
Please continue to pray for stability in Central Africa and for a return to “normalcy.” It is the people in towns that have been held by the rebels who have been most effected: food prices are higher, food is less readily available, and many are still displaced.