Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tan Lines

After five months in Sudan and a lot of time spent working outside on the water tower and construction of our housing, I have pretty great Chaco tan lines. This picture was even taken after I scrubbed all the dirt off my feet.

What goes up...

I am the new volunteer S1 (first year) physics teacher at Mundri Seconday School. Tuesday was my first class, and I had a lot of fun preparing a lesson plan and teaching the students. When I was studying engineering in college, I never would have thought that three years later I would be teaching high school level physics. There are approximately 50 students in the class, and we meet for two hours once a week.

I am truly excited to be teaching a subject that I enjoyed as a student. I am also looking forward to getting to know the students as well as the other teachers. Most of the students are very motivated and eager to learn.

I know that teaching this class will be challenging. Students don't have copies of the text book since they cannot be bought locally and are expensive. In addition, due to the recent teachers' strike, the start of this school year was delayed for over two months, which means teachers will be trying to fit the entire curriculum into the remaining months.

This class will not only be challenging for me as the teacher, but it will be challenging for the students. I was told several times during my first class that the material was very tough, and I expect that it will get harder as we move on from the scientific method to Newton's laws of motion.

As I teach physics over the coming months, join me in praying that I would remember that everything good that I am is Christ in me. If I am patient and show the students love, then the glory belongs to God. If I am impatient or get frustrated with the students, pray that God would show me my sin. Also pray for wisdom for all the teachers including myself as we teach the students are Mundri Secondary School.

If you have any words of encouragement for a first time teacher, send it my way!

Flowing Water

After months of work with the help of many people, we now have water flowing to the construction site and a new tap for the community. The work on the water tower is essentially complete. We took this picture of the completed water tower and community tap with two of the men who have been working with us for the past few months and the Bishop. Since Kyle couldn't be with us in person to see the water flowing, I made cardboard Kyle who joined us for the pictures. God has provided every step of the way during the construction of the water tower. There were even two short term teams here at the very times when we needed extra manpower to raise the tank and tower.

Everyone is very aware of the importance of water everyday in Mundri. The crops need rain to grow. We all need water to stay hydrated in the heat. Many people work hard everyday to keep their family supplied with water. We pray that many hearts in Sudan would flow with rivers of living water and that the provision of water would be a foretaste of a time when there will be no hunger or thirst.

Revelation 7:15-17 "Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Construction 201

Over the last week our team house has started to take shape. First the walls were marked out with string, and after a few minor changes, the contractor's team of men started on the foundation. By the end of today we should have two courses of blocks completed on the walls.

As construction progresses on our team housing, I am learning a lot of new skills and techniques. I would say that I've moved on from Construction 101 and started classes in Construction 201. Today I learned how to make structures out of ferrocement which we will be using extensively on our team housing.


Every Tuesday I cook dinner for the team. This week I decided to try a meal that reminds me of Brazil and all the good things from times I have stayed with my grandparents in Santos. I decided to make quibe, with several substitutions for ingredients available in the market or in our pantry. One of the main ingredients in quibe is bulgur wheat, which we did not have, so I used couscous instead. I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but in the end it tasted pretty close to the real deal to me. Acacia even announced at the dinner table that it tasted strange but she liked the quibe.

Learning to cook here has been a gradual process for me. As I gain experience and figure out the little tricks that make things work, I am really starting to enjoy cooking in Sudan. Next week I may just try a Brazilian version stroganoff.