Last week we went up to the town where we used to live. Our main goal was to visit our friends. We also knew that the harvest there was non-existent, so we wanted to help them out a bit financially (though what we gave them is nothing compared to what they need!).
We left home around 7:00 and got to the ferry before 8:00. It was still nice and cool then and some women were down by the river washing their pans, clothes, and bodies....and then taking water back home with them. Some of the water they take is probably for washing things at home, but doubtless much of it is for drinking.
Our first stop was in the village of D. There are actually two hamlets where Christians live, so we stopped to visit this family. The husband (in the pink shirt) has been quite sick since December with pneumonia. He showed us his x-rays and there was a definite improvement, though since we're not medical it was hard to tell what we were looking at. He still gets winded easily and is fatigued much of the time. Not being well-nourished is probably adding to the length of his recovery time. The two little girls in the picture are twins...Hassana and Husseina. The last time I saw them, they were new-borns! By the way, twins are always named the same thing. They are either Hawa (girl) and Adamu (boy) or Adama (girl). Those names mean Adam and Eve. Hassan is a boy, Hassana a girl and their twin is always Husseini (boy) or Husseina (girl). I've also heard Mecca and Medina for twin girls.
From there we went on to our former town. As we drove through town, we ran into our friend I. and another friend M. who I hadn't seen for ages. It was exciting to find out her oldest son is now a doctor.
Our first visit was to my friend, H. H is one of the most generous people I know. She used to bring me peanuts or sesame seeds at the end of every harvest. I don't think she ever asked me for anything. Her husband is a fisherman, but she said now he has a garden and leaves the fishing up to the boys. She was preparing some of the produce to take to the market to sell the next day. This picture cracks me up because she thought I wasn't dressed up enough for the picture, so she put her shawl over both of our heads. I'm not sure who the two men are! One was her uncle, I think, and the other lives on their compound. She also wanted me to take a picture of her son (I think that's who he is!). We also took a few minutes to go next door and visit this three-day old baby. He hadn't even received his name as that would be done on the 8th day.
Our next stop was out to the gardens to visit our friend, A. He works so hard, and on that day, anyway, his only helpers were his children and some nieces and nephews. He does have a pump that he pumps water from the reservoir up to his garden. But he still has to carry the water to the end of the garden in water cans. We are helping him with funds to build a holding tank to store water so he can move it more easily the length of the garden.
Even though A's garden is doing quite well, considering what he has to work with, he said it's hard to sell the produce in the market. This is a food-shortage year and every spare coin goes to buy millet, the staple food. Vegetables are, unfortunately, considered a luxury. In a good year when people get enough millet from their own fields, then they can enjoy buying some veggies.
One of these girls is his daughter who broke her arm last summer. She was taken to the capital city to have her elbow re-broken and re-set. She was in the hospital for months. Sadly, she has very little range of motion in her arm. It's pretty much stuck in a 90 degree angle.
From there we drove over to the other side of the reservoir to a secluded place to eat our picnic lunch. Then we went to my friend H's house. Her daughter, A. was home and it was fun to see her. She is 16, almost 17, and has become quite the young lady. We had hoped to see her brother, but he wasn't home. Thankfully we did get to see him for just a minute on our way out of town. We also found out that M., her daughter who lives in Ghana, had a baby after about six years of marriage and no children. M. was Suzanne's best friend and Suzanne has been praying for years for her to have a baby. See Suzanne's blog here for a good write-up of this story.
Our next stop was to my friend, M.'s house. I know all these initials are confusing! Her son, S., who was Daniel's best friend, teaches school in the bush. But he was home because he'd had chicken pox. Apparently it's been going around up there! Her husband and co-wife were also home, so we had a good visit with all of them.
Then it was on to John's friend, H's house. I also am friends with his wives, F. and B., so it was nice to see all of them. John was able to explain to him about what his studies will entail. He's a good networking contact because he knows everybody and is well-respected.
By then it was around 3:30 and time to head for home. On the way back we stopped in the village of D. again, this time in the other hamlet, to visit the believers there.
It was a good day, and we were looking forward to getting home and heating up left-overs in the microwave for our supper. Except the power was off and we couldn't nuke them. Thankfully our neighbors have a generator and let us use their microwave! We were happy we made the trip even though it was a long day. We were also glad it wasn't terribly hot that day, either.
A shower sure felt good, too, after having been outside all day, used the bathroom, shaken numerous hands, etc., etc. and never had a chance to wash our hands with soap and water. Thankfully we had hand sanitizer along with us!