Friday, October 31, 2008

Messiah comes to Hallowe'en

So, not only are we moving this weekend but we have a full docket of activities for the next 48 hours. Here's how it's going:

6:30PM - arrive at Maitisong to begin setting up for tonight's performance of Messiah
7:30PM - perform Messiah (Rob sings bass, I sing alto)
11:00PM - pick up the Goulds from the President Hotel downtown (the couple we've been housesitting for)

9:30AM - drive to the Lutheran cathedral to set up to record the choir festival, for an indefinite period of time (could be all day)
6:30PM - back to Maitisong
7:30PM - final Messiah perormance
11:00PM - short time at the afterparty

6:00AM - load up the car
8:00AM - hit the road for Francistown
3:00PM - arrive in Francistown (hopefully), find out where our new digs are, move in

We did most of the rest of our packing this morning and early afternoon. We also did a move-out housecleaning, in prep for the Goulds' return. I scrubbed the shower with curlers in, trying to keep my clean hair off my sweaty neck. In the end, we dragged all our stuff to the upstairs room where we'll be sleeping for the next 2 nights and ran away to an air-conditioned restaurant with internet in the city. The heat was pretty roasty and we knew that we'd be wasted for the evening performance if we didn't go relax away some of the toil of the morning – we'd been up packing and cleaning since about 7:30AM. We tried to get it all done before the heat hit. We nearly succeeded.

One thing we've learned in the last 6 months is that we don't want to live in a thatched roof house. Rob has observed that they always seem to be whatever temperature you don't want them to be. Like, they hold in cool up to a certain point against the encroaching heat. Then, suddenly, the house is totally hot. Then, even when the breezes come, you can't get rid of the heat. Same principle applies in cold weather but in reverse; you can't get rid of the cold once it gets in. It's uncanny.

Here's a recent news story about the choir we've been singing with for the last 6 months:
BIFM and The E.U Continue in Supporting the Arts

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wedding party

What do you think of Rob's new suit?

What a great time we had last night! We were invited to Lydia's daughter's wedding at the Gaborone Sun, a really nice hotel here in Gaborone. The food was great, the celebration was boisterous. There were a couple of traditional dances done and the second one was announced as “the Wayeyi dancers”. On their way out to the foyer to get prepared, Flora grabbed me and said, “Come dance with us!” I said, “I don't know the dances,” but she said, “Just come.” So, I did! We processed in by twos, me behind Flora and next to Lydia. I've seen them dance before and the entry was not too difficult for me. I got the words and the clapping and bowing right. Missed the curve at the set-up on the stage but that was OK. Got the rhythms for the next 2 songs. The whole thing is still a bit of a blur. I was so tickled that they invited me to dance with them! It was a late night and we were only there for 5 1/2 hours. I have no idea how long it went for. But we outlasted the bridal party and 1/3 of the other guests so I think we did OK. Still straggled home around midnight. I hope Lydia's photographer got pictures…

Friday, October 24, 2008

Exciting project

I've been working on an online Advent calendar, based on Scripture verses from Isaiah and pictures and experiences from out last year here in Botswana. It's pretty cool, if I do say so myself. :) It's set up to automatically post something each day of Advent so it'll be updated whether I have internet access or not. It's almost completely set-up; just have about 9 more days to upload and set-up to post.

We're going to pick up Rob's new suit shortly. Tomorrow is the final recording session with the Catholic choir and the big wedding that we're attending at the Gaborone Sun. Looking forward to it, much. Gotta get a lot of sleep tonight in preparation, though. I'm betting it's going to be a long haul tomorrow night. And we had a rough night's sleep last night. Rob had an allergy thing kick in (from choir practice at a house with cats, I'm betting) and then there was the crazy thunder storm. It was so loud that, not only did it wake us up repeatedly, I could feel the thunderclaps right through my chest. The bed shook. Wild stuff. I glad the thatch roof didn't leak anywhere. Did need to reset the fuse in the morning, though.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mass effect

Today, Rob had the opportunity to record a mass written by Lynette, a friend of ours from the Gaborone Musical Society. Lynette has been working with the choir at Christ the King Cathedral here in Gaborone for some time. She's actually moving to the States soon so Rob agreed to record her mass with her group before we both leave the area; she to the U.S and we to Francistown, early November. He also recorded the material they were working on for Sunday morning, since the mic was already set up. Afterwards, they took turns listening on Rob's good headphones to the raw recording. It's always gratifying to see all those smiles when people hear how great they sound recorded with the right equipment.

Rob recorded while I took photos, listened, enjoyed and occasionally fetched water for Rob. Tomorrow, Rob will get the tracks ready and put them on a cd (not mastered yet) for Lynette to hear after our own choir rehearsal on Monday night. He'll go back next Saturday to record them again and then master a “best of” for them.

Another cool thing was that Rob was able to consult with one of the guitarists on equipment purchase for some of the guitarist's own upcoming recording projects. He recommended, as always, Sweetwater. Rob has been dealing with Sweetwater for years, for longer than we've been married, in fact.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Birthday fun

Rob's birthday was yesterday and we celebrated it by doing… nothing! Actually, Rob spent the day working on musical things because those aren't like real work for him. I spent the day doing house-planning and newsletter article writing stuff. You know - puttering. Then, we had leftovers for dinner and played Age of Mythology in the evening.

Actually, we're kind of celebrating a bit today as well. We came into town to register for music camp (in December) and to get measured for Rob's vest. He was supposed to have his new suit by now but Lesedi said that the tailor that she trusts to do suits had to go back to Zimbabwe. She hopes that the tailor will return by Friday. We hope so too - Lydia's daughter's wedding is in 10 days. Lesedi says the tailor can turn it around in 2. I hope she's right. Here's hoping there's not going to be an emergency scrabble for a suit next week.

Went to an Indian place for lunch, are now doing internet work until dinner. After that, we're going to see a screening of “The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency” at the No. 1 Ladies' Opera House. Should be an adventure. Tomorrow, Rob has a music consult with one of the ELCB music people. Saturday, he's recording a mass written by one of our choir-mates, from the Gaborone Music Society. Looks like I may be coming into town again on Friday to meet with Lydia at the university, work out some pre-publishing details.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pictures from recent past

Rob, as seen from inside a cluster of papyrus while boating on the Okavango Delta

A Goliath crane - note the other full-size cranes flying nearby to get a sense of just how huge that bird really is

The thatched chalets we stayed in at the retreat, Shakawe Fish Camp, as seen from the river

Another sunrise on the Okavango

More cheeky monkeys outside our current place in Gabane

My newly hennaed hair - loving it!

Potential partners met with in Rundu, Namibia: also from LBT in this photo are Rich Rudowske, Jim Laesch (standing right behind me) and Rob

Driving through a bush fire outside of Ghanzi, Botswana

Hugging a baobab

House hunt

We found a room to stay in at Francistown for the month of November. Only major trouble is that it has no eating facilities. So, we need to get a mini-fridge and mini-stove to tide us over until we move to permanent digs. We're also trying to plan how we're going to get everything from one place to the next in one trip or multiple already-planned trips, so we're not making moving-only trips. It's too many hours from here to Maun to get into moving-only trips.

Yesterday, I did a Numbers spreadsheet book to keep track of household fund expenditure and budget for purchases. It's very pretty and functional (Rob called it pro). I feel like I have a handle on what's coming now. It will also help track things that I buy out-of-pocket, contrasted with LBT fund purchases. At this point, it looks like the fund will cover everything, unless my guess was off on how much a water reservoir costs. I went with 3600 pula. I hope that's not too low of a guess. Tim Beckendorf assures me that water outages are frequent enough in Maun that we'll definitely want wherever we stay to have the back-up water container.

So, housing and moving is in the forefront of our minds right now. Also, car-shopping and test-driving should happen soon. Once the visa comes through, we want to get settled ASAP.

Rob looks out on the river in the back yard of a potential housing spot in Maun

The house and back yard

Side view of same house

Closer view of same house

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ah, yes. Thanksgiving.

From one scrawny bird to y'all.

Comic by Mike Bannon - check out his other very funny comics here:

Friday, October 03, 2008


Well, it's official: I've been assigned to the Shiyeyi language project. Woohoo!

What does that mean? It means that we move to Maun at the beginning of January. Our housing here in Gabane ends mid-October so we're in a scramble to find new housing now. We're looking at temporary housing in October until January, to make it easier for Rob to work full-time with the Bakalanga on the New Testament launch coming up early 2009. Then, we go to Maun so I can get into working on Shiyeyi language materials with locals. Well, first we'll do Setswana language learning and get settled in to the new place, finally spend our household set-up fund. We'll also need to buy a car, which we are greatly looking forward to. The repairs on this old one that we've been driving for the last 6 months have already gone into the quadruple-digits. Ack. About mid-year, my focus will switch to full-time Shiyeyi work. Rob will have been working in vernacular media all along. With 3 New Testaments from LBT projects being published in in the next couple of years, Rob is about to have his hands full. Double woohoo!

All this is pending our immigration processing, of course. Our visas may be extendable and that would make the next couple of months much easier. Rob has applied for a 3 year extension, which we would then extend again at the end of that time, if the assignment calls for it.

Just got back from another big trip yesterday. We went to Domboshaba festival (Kalanga) and then on to Maun to see about housing possibilities. Found at least one really nice housing option, are waiting to hear if it will be available to us (he said he'd get back to me around the end of October). Nothing yet on Francistown housing but we're continuing the search. We're also needing a serious break after the last 2 months. Not enough true rest, way too much time on the road... in 102° heat, through the bush, without air-con.

The kitchen of our favorite housing possibility in Maun.

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