Saturday, October 25, 2014

God's Creatures and Maintenance

God's Creatures 
I am fascinated by ants.  Can’t say why.  I don’t like them living in the house with me and I have written about them before, but I continue to be fascinated by their hives and activities.  So, as I was walking this week, I took a picture of a thriving nest in the grass. (Yes, the swampy grass that has been saturated with all the rain we have had!)  Too bad you can’t see the ants themselves as I could.  They also form smaller nests in the dirt, around the base of my porch, and just about everywhere!  Small and mighty.

The children this week have been fascinated with grasshoppers.  I
saw a couple of boys in my yard; it looked like they were whipping the grass.  Each had a thin stick with smaller branches at the top that they were using like whips.  Upon reflection I realized that they were aiming for grasshoppers.  You should have heard the shouts of triumph when they got one!  They will eat them – extra protein that I am not sure I’m ready for…  Kids have been in the lawn around the station most days this week.  Grasshopper season, it seems.

OK, this last one isn't a creature, but it is fascinating.  Not far from my house are two cell phone towers (for two different companies).  I was talking a picture of cloud formations (which always catch my attention) and caught a picture that looks like God is talking directly through the tower! We need more of this direct communication to bring peace and cooperation on earth…

Most people in the US know the value of regular maintenance of property.  Many Central Africans and Cameroonians have not yet learned or accepted the need to do it.  (Personally, I think it comes from subsistence living for a long time.  How can you learn to think about the future, especially a long-term future of buildings, etc. if you are worried about what you will eat today?)  Fortunately, the Cameroonians responsible for the station where I live understand the value and need for maintenance. 

So, not too long ago, I got some electrical outlets in my house fixed and 2 weeks ago, someone came to fix my kitchen light when it suddenly stopped working.  This week, workers are repairing and extending a fence around Drs. Solofo and Joely’s house.  They are also working on the water tower.


For the water tower work they first had to cut some branches and a tree that were too close to it.  Then, when it was empty, they got inside to clean out the gunk and seal a couple of cracks.  Soon, it will be back in service with cleaner water and no leaks.  In the meantime, we are getting water from the bladder.  That big, yellow, balloon-like thing on the ground belongs to Doctors Without Borders.  The same pump that usually fills the water tower fills it.  (It’s empty in this photo.)  Regularly, a truck with another bladder comes to take water to the nutrition center where DWB work.  So, for a few days I have no running water, but containers of it.  Temporary inconvenience for permanent improvement.  (Isn’t that what they say in cases like this?) The last picture is a seat that guards of the bladder use.  Beautiful wood, no? 

I have had some maintenance this week as well.  I picked up a respiratory infection, probably because of all the rain and germs that grow in abundance as a result.  Fortunately, I live beside the Protestant Hospital.  It is also fortunate that we live in a time of antibiotics and medications that can take care of such pesky bugs.  I have felt fine but recognized symptoms that told me I need to go in for a check-up! 

The CAR/Cameroonian border is still open.  The Cameroonian military have used a bull dozer to knock down building between the two barriers and just across the Central African border.  This provides an open zone to enable officials to see who is coming.  I have not seen it as I don’t go that close to the border for security reasons.  Even if I did go, I wouldn’t take pictures; it wouldn’t be appreciated with all the increased security. 

Central Africans have been able to come to work with me although less than I might like.  They are busy with project activities, though, which are more important.  We are moving forward, though.  Today I worked with Sani-Salaa Mouhamadou who will begin computer training classes in Baboua.  Money for this project comes from my home church, East Liberty Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, PA and Lutheran Disaster Response.  It is part of capacity building for the community – enabling Christians and Muslims to work together positively.  Note to ELLC: the plan was to start a pilot program with people coming from Baboua to Garoua Boulai but that got complicated with the border closing.  Then, we found someone who could do it there.  The travel money is going toward paying for part of the stipend for Sani.  Here we are working together so that he could take money today.  Classes start Wednesday!  A committee of five Central Africans has been instrumental in planning this project and getting it started.  What a pleasure to work with dedicated folks.

The situation in CAR remains much the same.  Bangui has calmed down again.  Many people are trying to go back to regular activities.  There is more security than last year, but pockets of problems.  Pray for peace.  

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