The past two weeks have been full of visits and work. Several came for help in completing ELCA scholarship applications which must be done in English. None of this work is yet finished, but we made a dent in working together.Various Central African leadership teams came to work on reports and planning.
Last week Dr. Christa, who worked in both Baboua and Gallo, came for a visit from Germany. She and I had not met (since she left several months before I arrived), but we had the pleasure of getting to know each other since she stayed with me. Many Central Africans came to visit her – both at my house and in town.
UNICEF is digging a well at the hospital. Hospital water needs have been filled from the same spring as the rest of the station, but they will now have their own well. The new well will also supply the Doctors without Borders camp. The hospital continues with other improvements, too. For a couple of days, the sound of a chainsaw could be heard throughout the camp. Workers were removing stumps and large roots. The area (not far from the new well) has been leveled and grass planted. Also, on the other side of this area, more latrines are being built and several more rooms will be fixed up. They have also gotten more asphalt to pave part of the road leading from the hospital to the station.
Yesterday, some ministers and other officials were in town for the grand opening of the new town hall. I didn’t attend as I was working with Central Africans at the house. The market and shops were closed Thursday morning to clean things up and Friday because of the activities. Today is Muslims’ Feast of the Lamb. The market was almost empty as Muslim-owned stores and stalls were closed (of course). I went to the market this morning since I have not been for several days. Fortunately, I went for sweet potatoes and vegetables. There was only one meat stand open with a very long line.
It is obvious that UN troops and materiel continue to go to CAR. Most of them come by road through Garoua Boulai. As I went to the market, I saw a large handful of big trucks loaded with little trucks. May this bring the needed stability and peace to the Central African Republic!
I continue to hear that most towns in the west (where the Lutheran Church is found) are peaceful and beginning to rebuild slowly. The problem is the continued presence of bandits that sometimes stop cars along the main, paved road. They extort money (most common), and occasionally kidnap people and burn the cars. I am hopeful that more international troops will make the bandits leave the camp/village where they have been for several years. Or, maybe they will be caught. (Of course, with a non-functional judicial system, would that do much good??)
It continues to rain a lot and hard. As I started writing the heavens opened and buckets fell – what we would call raining cats and dogs! (I wouldn’t mind having a cat or kitten stay around for company!) Within a very short time both my front porch and carport filled with people sheltering from the rain. (I certainly don’t mind, but they talk loud! Maybe it is to be heard over the rain. I turned off the radio I had been listening to since I couldn’t hear it.)
Now the rain is slowing down. Maybe it will clear so that I can walk into town – or maybe I will wait until tomorrow since so much is closed!
Tomorrow the new class of Bible School students and all the teachers will be presented at the Lutheran church that is closest to us. We are asked to attend both the French and the Gbaya services. It will be a loooong morning. I often attend the French service (1 ½ - 2 hours). The Gbaya one has more people and is usually significantly longer, especially tomorrow since there will be communion at both services. And, the Cameroonian Lutheran church administration has moved pastors around, so tomorrow is the farewell service for pastor who is moving to another church here in Garoua Boulai.
May you find peace in your daily life and work.