Monday, February 28, 2011

Ooh! What’s That Smell?

We tackled a big cleaning project this weekend.  Our home office has slowly transformed into a storage room over the past few years.  We’ve been wanting to clean it out for quite some time, but there’s always been something more important (or fun) to do first.  But alas, something died in the office several days ago so we were forced to dig through everything and find it.  It turns out it was a gecko that got squished behind our file cabinet.  We have geckos living and running freely throughout the house.  Who knew that something so small could make such a huge and terrible stench.  Thankfully we have both a functional office again along with a room we can walk into without gagging.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stampede

As you were celebrating Presidents’ Day in the States on Monday, we also had a holiday in Mali called Mawlid an-Nabi (or several other names depending on the country).  It marks the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.  Interestingly, different Muslim sects celebrate it on two different days.  The Sunni Muslims celebrate it 5 days earlier.  So the holiday falls on a different day depending on which country you are in and who the dominant Islamic influence is.  Mali, wanting to be politically correct with the various Islamic sects, declares both days as holidays.  So we celebrated Muhammad’s birthday today and last week also.

Unfortunately, the celebrations in Mali were marked by tragedy this year.  On Monday, there was a big religious and prayer assembly at Mali’s largest soccer stadium.  The stadium was filled beyond capacity.  One of Mali’s top Imams (Islamic religious leader) led the service and prayer time.  Following the service, there was a stampede as people were leaving the stadium.  There were 36 deaths as a result.  Last year, Mawlid was marked by a similar stampede tragedy in Timbuktu.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

We’re Gonna Party Like It’s Your Birthday

Birthday GirlWe celebrated Julie’s birthday yesterday.  John and Cole made a special breakfast of omelets and sautéed potatoes.  Later in the day, they baked a birthday cake – not too much of a challenge because John’s mom sent a cake mix and can of frosting from the States.  There was one difficulty when the directions called for heating the oven to 350° as our oven has no thermostat or thermometer so it was impossible to to heat to a precise temperature.  But the cake turned out beautiful and delicious.  We also enjoyed dinner at one of Julie’s favorite French restaurants in town.  Another treat is that her birthday fell on a 3 day weekend this year.

The average life expectancy in Mali is much lower than in the Western world.  We had thought Julie would pass this milestone this year.  But as we looked on-line at the latest figures, Mali’s life expectancy has recently gone up by several years.  It’s now 50.6 years for men and 53.8 years for women.  Looks like we both still have a few years ahead of us.  There’s only 16 countries in the world with a lower life expectancy, but it’s exciting to see Mali’s numbers going up.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crash and Burn

John received a special surprise on Valentine's Day - his new computer suffered a complete crash - yes, this happens to computer technicians too. The system is unrecoverable so he'll have to revert to using an old computer. It will take several days to get everything loaded and running, so he'll be up to his eyeballs in configuration tasks. Fortunately, he reconfigured his email a few months ago so everything resides on the email server, so thankfully none of his email has been lost. Oh, the world of technology!!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Cheers

We’re excited that Julie was released from the hospital today!  She was successfully treated for Malaria.  Malaria kills over a million people each year in sub-Saharan Africa – our area of the world.  We praise God that Julie did not become one of these statistics.

Julie was also treated for a serious infection most likely related to her kidneys.  The doctor found a few kidney stones, but felt they are small enough to pass normally.  As this seems to be a recurring  problem, Julie has been instructed to drink 10 liters (over 2-1/2 gallons) of water a day.  Even in the hot, dry climate of Mali, this will still be quite a challenge for Julie.  Drink up!

Thank you for your prayers.  Please let Julie’s healing and release from the hospital serve as a testimony of the power of prayer.