Monday, January 28, 2008

Another week

And so the new workweek begins. I type this, hoping that the internet comes back soon and I can actually post before we leave here today. We're trying to not spend too much running back and forth to the Megahans' place to use internet. We usually make a couple of trips a week, spacing the days, sometimes coming 3 times. This week will probably be a 3-timer as we're trying to finalize our next newsletter and need feedback from the LBT service center.

We had a relaxing weekend, working on creative projects and playing games together. The weather was cool, with the rains and all. Still too chilly to make yogurt so I have officially run out of homemade yogurt. I am holding on to a couple of containers of store-bought to use for starter, now that it's heating up again.

I am just a few printed pages away from having entered the full Shiyeyi dictionary into Toolbox – yay! Then, I can start my interlinear checks of the Bible stories. Very exciting stuff.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Roundabout miracle

We were at the office (the Megahans' place, which has internet) when the rain started to come. Gently at first, it really hit by the time we made it to the car to leave. We should have stayed, I suppose, waited it out, but elected to leave anyway. We were regretting that decision by the time we made it a few blocks and found ourselves stuck on flooded streets in desperation traffic. People were in a hurry to get home out of the weather and were making 3 lanes where there were only 2. Bad enough on a clear day, worse when visibility is terrible, there are pedestrians everywhere and the roads are beginning to flood so that you can't see where the edges of the road are. Reminded me too much of the big storm last year on the west coast (of the U.S.) when we were on our way to worship team practice in Bellevue, got caught in similar weather. Drivers were doing the same sorts of things.

I was pretty keyed up by the time we made it to the roundabout downtown. People were driving very aggressively and I couldn't see how we were going to make it into the roundabout (traffic circle) unscathed. I was praying pretty intently that we'd make it in and out and the rest of the way home safely. We were 3 cars away from our time to edge in when, suddenly, a police car stopped in the roundabout, just before our entry-point. The officer stuck out his arm and stopped all traffic next to and behind him, something I'd never seen happen before. With a great sigh of gratitude to God, we easily entered and exited the circle. How's that for an everyday miracle?

We didn't even go all the way home but stopped at Galo Mall, for dinner and some groceries. Also, we were both shaken up and needed our adrenals to stop pumping. After we calmed down and the rain had fully stopped, we loaded up the car with groceries. The security guard came over and talked to us while we loaded up. His name is Clever and he'd seen us around. We talked weather for a bit, had a few laughs. He welcomed us and we said we were glad to be here. Nice end to what had seemed for a bit there like it was going to be a harrowing afternoon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Nearly done with entering the Shiyeyi dictionary into Toolbox.

Now, finishing up internet things before heading home to get groceries. Tomorrow, we go to renew the Megahans' title to their car. Also mailing some much belated Christmas gifts to some of the little people in our life.

Just wanted to point out how much Botswana looks like Texas, on the map.

Botswana - 224,606 square miles

Texas - 261,797 square miles

[both images courtesy of wikipedia]

Friday, January 18, 2008

Christmas in Botswana… pictures!

Finally, the pictures are online, in a Mac webgallery. There are 57 pictures that you can look at and/or download. View our Christmas 2007 memories by clicking here: Christmas in Botswana


Thursday, January 17, 2008


Yesterday was exactly the kind of day that I've been talking about; busy but boring to the people who aren't me. In the morning, we drove to the Megahans' place (who are on furlough) to do internet things. I was updating as much software as I could, given our internet speed here. I also uploaded a song for Ouma, one of my fellow dancers at Botswana Music Camp. She did a couple of improv pieces that Rob recorded live and I managed to upload one to Facebook for her to access before lunch rolled around.

At lunch, which happened late as my software update took until 1PM, we stopped at the grocery store to get eggs and vitamins. A downpour started and we decided to eat lunch at Mimi's Cafe, wait for the rain to subside. It was just drizzling when we headed back to the car. 

For the rest of the day, I did things related to the Shiyeyi language project. I worked through more of the Shoebox tutorial before beginning to work on adding to my Shiyeyi dictionary in Toolbox. Then, I started a new Shiyeyi dictionary database. The one I had been working on lists the words are they are written in the most recent printed dictionary. The one I'm working on now breaks the words down into morphemes, for interlinear text analysis. It's a fairly repetitive and time-consuming process but one that is necessary and that will speed the translation and checking processes immensely once a working lexicon is in place.

See? Not particularly glamorous and not much I can say, when I'm doing the same thing for hours on end. So, if you don't see anything up here for days, it's because I'm not near an internet hub and I'm doing Shiyeyi data entry.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Temporarily unchurched

We went for church at 8AM and there was no one there. The doors were open so we figured it would just be a minute before the pastor came out to get things started. 15 minutes later, we were still the only people there so we left. I was so exhausted when I woke up this morning anyway, I'm kind of still spacy, wouldn't have gotten much out of a service.

Yesterday morning, Rob let out a yelp when he was coming out of the spare room, followed by further exclamations of disgust. He came out and informed me that he had stepped on a centipede, which had then skittered behind the bookshelf in the bedroom. I need to explain what we mean by centipede. We're not talking a couple of inches long here. We're talking a foot long, glossy red-brown, with antennae. Ew. I was grossed out and couldn't get out of my chair for about 1/2 an hour, just thinking about his bare foot on a centipede. Then, for the rest of the day, I just kept thinking about it behind the bookshelf next to my side of the bed. I'm pretty sure those beasts can climb things. When I was in Haiti, my friend Donel told me about one that was in her bed there. So, I was pretty freaked out going to bed last night because I can't remember which ones are poisonous, the black ones or the colored ones. Something else to look up online tomorrow, I suppose.

So, yeah, last night I had nightmares about centipedes, in the bedroom, under the bed, climbing up through a hole in the bed, multiplying. The last part of the nightmare is me, on the bed, struggling to get away from the centipedes but my limbs are all frozen. Rob is calling out to me, telling me that I need to move but I can't. I say, “You need to pull me away, Rob!” but it's almost too late. They're almost there, at my toes. And that was my night. I couldn't sleep very well and was like rubber when the alarm went off. Which made it that much more tiring when I actually dragged myself around and got ready for church, only for church not to be happening when I arrived at the time when I thought it was supposed to be happening. They probably just decided on a joint service and we didn't know about it.

So Rob and I finished reading Baruch together. The Apocrypha gets translated here as well because of all the Catholics so we figured we'd better read it. My favorite line from Baruch, NET Bible version? “My spoiled children have travelled rough roads.” Baruch 4:26

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Making yogurt

By the way, here is my method for making yogurt:

I take 3 boxes of UHT milk and put them in a clean pot, lid in. I heat the milk until it is hot enough that, when I stick my little finger in it for a second, I have to pull it out and say to myself, “Ouch! That hurt!” I remove the milk from the heat and ladle it into a large measuring cup. I use the cup to pour the hot milk into the clean glass jars, which I then close the lid on and leave on the counter until cooler. I leave an equal amount of space at the top of each jar. For 3 boxes of milk, I use 4 large Black Cat peanut butter jars and one Postum jar.
The cooling usually takes more than 1 hour, less than 2. Once the jars of milk feel pleasant to touch, I add plain yogurt straight from the fridge. “Pleasant to touch” means not so hot that I can't just sit there holding the jar but not so cold that it's heat cannot be felt to be significantly warmer than my warm hands. I add enough yogurt to make the jars full to just below the threads on the mouth of the jar. Once I have added yogurt to all the jars, I stir the yogurt into the milk and seal the jars.
I place the sealed jars in a clean black ash bucket and put the cover on the bucket. I place the bucket in a sunny spot near the clothesline (so it doesn't get run over by parking cars or attract undue attention from curious neighbors). I read somewhere that it is important not to move the yogurt around during the bacteria-growth process as that slows the process, making the yogurt take longer to become firm. I like it firm so I only move the bucket once during the day, to keep it in direct sunlight as the shade moves. When the sun goes down and things begin to cool off, I take the bucket in and set it in the kitchen, waiting as long as I can before refrigerating it. I find that the heat will stay in the bucket for at least an hour after taking it inside the flat.
I usually heat and bottle the milk sometime before 8AM. That puts the yogurt mix in the yard by 10AM, giving it a good 8 hours or so before the sun is going down. It can sit in the kitchen after being taken in until maybe 8PM. I will check the bottles throughout the evening to see that they are still warm. When they get closer to that “pleasant to touch” stage again, that's when I refrigerate them. I also like to tilt them just before I refrigerate them, to see how firm they are.

They say to start a new batch within 5 days, so the bacteria are still active. I've just been starting new batches from store bought tubs whenever I'm outside the 5 day range, just in case, though I would like to be able to keep a steady stream of home-made yogurt going, reducing the amount of store-bought yogurt and its contaminants in each batch. That'll be easier later in the summer, I hope.

Train station

We're giving a lift to the train station tonight to our upstairs neighbor and her foster daughter. They're taking the overnight train to Gaborone. This is a great chance for us to find out what taking the overnight train entails since the drive to Gabs is such a long (6 hours) one. One of Rob's pending projects will be there and it would be nice to meet with the guy he may be working with but not having to be exhausted from the drive to do it. They have sleeping cars and I guess we'll find out tonight how hard it is to get a sleeping car same day. The train leaves at 9PM.

I'm also making yogurt today. It's been too cold lately to be able to do it when I want to so I'm making a bigger batch than usual and planning to make it every time the weather is either bit warm at all so we don't run out.

Old Weeks

I'm currently doing a little Saturday morning reading, catching up on old issues of The Week magazine, a weekly news summary magazine that draws from a wide variety of international news sources. We have our subscription being sent to LBT headquarters, which they then send on to us in our monthly mail packet. I am actually more behind reading it than I am receiving it - I'm just getting around to reading the news from the week of November 2, 2007 this morning with my coffee.

Highlight of the news so far; Stephen Colbert as presidential candidate in South Carolina! If I were at LTSS right now, I'd totally be involved in my first political campaign. I just love the guy!

Oh wait… he didn't make it as a candidate. Pooh.

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