Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The innocent and the soldier. . .

Last week we house sat for the Bylers, other missionaries here, while they were in Uganda for a week.  Our laundry helper and her sister came to do our laundry and brought their baby girl.  I sat in a chair with my notebook and pen in hand to listen to the women talking and trying to discern what some of the words they were saying meant.  Abigail and the little baby (that I can't remember her name, let alone pronounce it) were joyfully playing on a mat beside us.  I heard some rustling, people chatting, and vehicles in front of the house and at our gate.  Recently, a gate was erected around the entire airstrip that is next door to the Byler's compound.  The Byler's were given a key to the gate because they, as well as all of us missionaries, come and go by plane and receive mail often by plane.  HOWEVER, they were apparently the ONLY ones to be given a key and it was received by the gardener.  So, we didn't know who had given us the key.  A United Nations soldier came to the Byler's gate and asked me to open the gate to the airstrip.  I didn't feel it was my responsibility to be the gate guard and knew that the Byler's were not always home to be able to open the gate when people needed on or off the airstrip.   I told the soldier I was surprised the UN did not have a key and firmly stated that they needed to get their own and then opened the gate.  The sacred moment in all of this confusion and misunderstanding, was when I returned to the backyard where the ladies were doing laundry and the girls were playing on a mat.  I saw a beautiful picture of a Bangladeshi soldier smiling through the fence at our innocent babies.  He even called his other soldier buddies to come and look.  Neither of them spoke Arabic or English and were trying to say something to us. We couldn't understand.  I looked up at the other mother, shrugged my shoulders and smiled as both of us watched these men with machine guns smile and coo at our babies.

A UN Helicopter (I borrowed these UN pictures from a friend to give you the idea).

A Mission Aviation "MAF" plane.  The Byler's home is in the background to give you perspective of how close the planes land.  

The building of Hope for Sudan continues!

The kitchen for the orphanage.  The walls and roof are complete!

Simon, our welder from Kenya, welding doors and windows for the buildings.
Kevin planted an herb garden.  He has been planting some fruit trees and other various "African" trees for the compound.  He is really enjoying being a farmer!

Remember the oven Kevin designed?  Our compound cooks, Grace and Margaret, daughter, and administrator (for translation) came to our kitchen for their first baking lesson.  I had to use a coffee mug as a measuring tool and proportion each measurement according to it (they don't have measuring cups).   We baked a basic loaf of bread.  When it was done, the cooks were a little nervous about tasting this "white woman" bread.  I told them it was bread just like they can get in the market.  I hope they will agree to come for another lesson and I will watch them make the mix.  We desire for them to learn to bake for the staff and the kids!

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