Thursday, January 22, 2009

Irony in liturgy

One of the things I love about a liturgical church is the scheduled readings system. It's funny how often a designated reading, set by someone I'll never meet, a long time before my current needs and situations came about, will nail something I'm dealing with at that moment.

Take today's Catholic church of Southern Africa reading, for example. Rob was up all night with vomiting and diarrhea. It seems to have stopped but it makes for an exhausted day today. We won't be making the drive to Gaborone today that we had planned, let's put it that way. Anyhow, I got daily readings software from Universalis. When I open the program in the morning, it just has all the readings for the day right there before my eyes. Which is nice for the lazy girl in me. Anyhow, today starts with Psalm 37 in the Office of Readings, Habakkuk 3 in Morning Prayer.

Ah, Habakkuk – I have heard you, Lord, and my stomach churns within me; at the sound of your voice my lips tremble. My bones rot away, my steps stumble.

Seriously though, I think Rob will be just fine. He's accepting positive prayers on his behalf, nonetheless.

Monday, January 19, 2009

New digs

Well, here we are in Maun. We are, effectively, in a housesitting-
like situation again. That is to say that, yes, we are paying some
rent (albeit nominal) but the person who normally lives here is just
out of the country so all their stuff is still in the house. This
leaves us with the same problem we've had all along: where to place
our stuff where it won't get mixed up with or knock over their stuff.
It is, thankfully, quite a bit bigger than the guest house we were
staying at for the last 2.5 months. We currently have a bedroom, a
living room, kitchen and bathroom, which is 2 rooms more than we had
last. There are even 2 desks in the living room so we can work side-
by-side without tripping over each other. Luxury.

But the main difference in our situation is that the end is in sight!
We have arranged to rent the house next door. Woohoo! All that is
left before moving in is for the current tenant's paperwork for
Zambia to be finalized and for us to sign the lease. Then, we set up
house at long last.

Friday, we were wiped from the drive to Maun in the hot car so we
took it fairly easy. Our one big trip out was to eat lunch and get
some basic groceries. Funny thing: this house we're staying in comes
with 2 dogs. Now, they're pretty laid back, except when they're play-
fighting. Oh, and also whenever we open the gate to take the car out.
When we went to leave yesterday, one of them bolted out of the gate
while Rob was driving out and no amount of whistling or cajoling to
get him back. Thankfully, the guy who feeds them was in the yard next
door and he said we could go ahead, that he'd let the dog back into
the yard when he returned from running around. He also said that they
usually attach the dogs to leashes off to the side of the gate while
they pull in. I thanked him for his help, thinking all the while how
convoluted that all sounded. Like having to lock up your residence
doors and gates like Fort Knox every time you go anywhere isn't
enough. Anyhow, when we came back, both dogs were indeed inside but
obviously wanting out again. So, I unlocked the gate, slipped inside
and made little "come here, dog" noises while walking to where the
leashes were supposed to be. Come to find out there's only one leash
but, to my delight and surprise, when I held up the one leash, they
came over and sat next to the wall at my feet. As I I had actually
leashed them, they stayed when I walked away. They stayed while Rob
drove the car into the yard. They stayed until I locked the gate
again. Good dogs! And I told them so, in that gooey voice that I've
heard people use with dogs. I hope they continue to be as cooperative
on all our returns and departures.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Moving day again

So, tomorrow we move to Maun. Just a temporary housesit until we find our actual home but at least we'll be in the right area of the country for what we're supposed to be doing.

Which, at first, is just learning Setswana. But it's important to learn Setswana in the area where we'll be doing most of our Setswana-speaking, because of dialect differences around the country. But, also, Rob needs a place where he can do recording again. I mean, yes, he has a fully mobile studio. But he needs somewhere he can just sit and mix and master too. Also, I have a DVD of our ministry that we're trying to finish up and I'd really rather have the house thing not hanging over my head when I try to focus on that for the last few hours it'll take to do so.

Today, I'm photocopying the handwritten Shiyeyi New Testament that I found in the Shiyeyi files. Making 2 copies; one for the archives and one for me. Having to leave the copier to cool down for 10 minutes between every 10 pages copied certainly does slow things down a bit. Hopefully, I can get it done fast enough that we'll still have packing time when we get back to the guest house.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Traditional healing

So, we get into the Kalanga Bible translation office this morning, set about getting email. One of the translators thanks me for the brazil nuts and red wine I gave him last November, says he's been feeling much better since he started taking it. Warms the heart, to have my remedies work.

That's sort of been a niche I've fallen into naturally (pardon the pun) since I've been here; a dispenser of harmless food remedies that actually work. I treated a bunch of gals with stomach ailments with peppermint oil at the ELCB music workshop in Maun, with success. And I gave one of my fellow music camp mates some licorice for her persistent cough, also with success, within minutes. She then reminded me that I had treated her last year at music camp as well, for a stomach ailment (peppermint oil and white bread), also with success. She then said, “You know, you're the best traditional healer I know in Botswana.” Made my day. Made Rob laugh.

I love offering simple food treatments for simple physical problems and having people accept them without looking at me like I'm cracked in the head. It's not uncommon here to boil up a root or eat something to solve minor illnesses so I'm culturally “in” that way.

More video!

Yes, now that I've just discovered that my videos on facebook can be freely and easily shared here, I'm putting a few from the last year, for your historical perusal.

The burning bush

Monkeys around the house in Gabane

Goats on the road from Maun

Marimba class performance

Here it is, the final performance of my marimba class at Botswana Music Camp 2008. Yes, it is as much fun as it looks. The amazing thing to me is that so many of us were complete beginners prior to this 5 day class. Yet, here we are, hammering it out with the rest. Me, I had spent 1 hour the year before learning in an appreciation session.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Bible Stories published!

Yes, the time has come - the Bible Stories Retold in Shiyeyi have been published! I probably don't have to point out how exciting this is for me. I mean, more than 11 years after the seed was first planted in my heart, to be involved in the task of Bible translation, I am finally getting to hold in my hand a fruit of that seed, something that I helped bring into being. Yes, it's a small fruit, a mere 26 pages of 11 Bible stories. But it contains a good selection of events from the New Testament, including Jesus' birth, ministry, teaching, death and resurrection. The best of the good stuff, right?

While esthetics aren't everything, I must say that it's a fine looking book as well. There are distinct advantages to having married a guy with years of experience in publication layout. I personally think that it's great if the publishing quality of the first books in a newly written language can at least be on par with those of the national language. And this one, though small, is definitely professional looking. Kamanakao even had it printed in my happy color: green. And I didn't even tell them that I liked that color! God revels in the details, let me tell ya.

I'm thinking my first chance to see the book sales in person will be at the festival at Easter time, unless there's a workshop before then. I can't wait to see people while they're seeing it for the first time, buying it and reading it! And I can't seem to type without using exclamation marks! This is great!

“I will take delight in doing good to them. I will faithfully and wholeheartedly plant them firmly in the land.” - God, in Jeremiah 32:41

Monday, January 05, 2009

Blog hiatus 2

8 - First day of marimba class. Which, by the way, is the most satisfying class I've ever taken.
9 - Second day of marimba class. Begin practicing with Darius (marimba classmate) for the student night performance (Thursday). Teachers perform tonight.
10 - More marimba. Field trip to the set of the No. Ladies' Detective Agency film an T.V. series. Pro-Zimbabwe-aid play in the evening, donations collected afterwards for water purification tablets and cholera meds.
11 - More marimba. Student performance in the night: Rob plays guitar with an international group doing a Cuban piece, as well as accompanying me on my solo performance of Wayfaring Stranger. Darius plays flute in both pieces as well.
12 - Last day of marimba class.
13 - The big student performance night at Maitisong Theater in the evening. Braai afterwards; a very late night.
14 - We depart for a hotel in Gaborone as we have immigration business the next morning.
15 - Go to immigration. Find that one of the waivers is missing and are instructed to return the following day.
16 - So, we return the following day and collect the other waiver. Make a return trip to the car dealership to see if the one we had our eye on is sold yet. Have a meeting with the ELCB music team in the evening to assess the past workshop in Maun, earlier in December. Find out that one of the houses we had our eye on in Maun is now available for viewing.
17 - Drive to Maun. That's a full day trip via the Ghanzi road.
18 - Check out the house, get a copy of the lease to go over, make a list of repairs needed. Drive back to Francistown in the afternoon.
19 - Stop by the Kalanga Bible Translation Project office to give our Christmas greetings before they close for the holidays.

And I do mean “close for the holidays”. Many places close down until halfway through January. For example, after trying in late December to get a hold of business people about various things we needed to take care of (i.e. get the bakkie in for repairs, finalize the house rental, buy the new car), we discovered that everything shut down Christmas Eve and would not be available again until at least January 5. That's today. So, I called these places this morning. No answer at any of them. And, if they're not open today, that means they probably won't be open until January 12, the next big beginning of a business week. Anyhow, December continues…

20 - Take a day off: it's more than overdue.
21 - Another day off. This is when I started feeling not so healthy.
22 - Yup, I'm definitely sick and not improving by mid-afternoon.
23 - Go to the doctor, get a blood test for malaria (which comes back negative, thank God), start on some antibiotics
24 - Go to Christmas Eve service, then to Carl & Melody Knight's place for dinner and to spend the night
25 - Wake at 3AM with a fever, stay up until it breaks (around 6AM). Drag around all day at the Knights, go home in the evening.

It took me a week to get back to where I was feeling ready to be “up and at 'em”. Made an occasional foray out for food but would tire rapidly so Rob would have to take me home. I am now pretty much fully recovered, thankfully. Which is good because I have a lot to do. I'll keep checking the businesses I need to contact every day to see when they open, for starters. On the days that they aren't I'll keep working on my Setswana lesson plan for Rob & I, for a February start. Our hope is that we'll be settled and begin language learning the first week of February. We couldn't find a conventional language learning school anywhere so I'm having to make my own lesson plan from a few Setswana textbooks I found left here by a former LBT missionary. The plan is now complete. Next, I recruit a local mother-tongue speaker to record the vocabulary and example sentences from the lesson plans. Then, we study on our own for 5 days each week, meeting with a Setswana tutor (a lovely lady named Beauty) to fine-tune and check our progress for a few hours each weekend. Barring work interruptions, the whole study time should be 13 weeks. That means we should finish in the last week of April. Maybe we'll celebrate our completion (and our 8th anniversary!) with a touristy trip somewhere in the first week of May; that would be fun!

Speaking of being settled, we haven't found a house yet. We have found a number of options but none that have materialized (yet) into something fully viable or concrete. I'm actually waiting to hear from someone Beauty referred us to yesterday who is moving and, therefore, his place will be available for us to move into, if we're interested. The plan at this time is to move on the 15th to Maun and stay in the apartment of a Finnish missionary who is currently on home leave. That place is available to us until February 15, giving us a full month to finally get a place.

We haven't had our residence permits extended yet but we do have a waiver (sort of an interim residence permit), which has been extended until the end of March. At least we won't have to think about that for a while, eh?

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