Friday, December 23, 2011

Flies on poo

…they got nothin’ when  compared to toubabs in strollers.

Getting to know people here has been difficult .  Meeting people has not.  Heads are constantly turning and looking at us when we are walking places.  It’s not just the stroller (although we have only seen a handful of them…all steered by white people (toubabs)).  Charlie and Maeve are magnets to our darker skinned neighbors and strangers. They love to come up and shake their hand, touch their hair, just touch them in any way.  Maeve is usually more up for the commotion than Charlie. 

They are quite the “in” if we had any language skills to get to know the people.  I took a walk with them today and it made one lady’s day just to come up and have Maeve shake her hand and Charlie squirm away when she tried the same with her.  She then went and got two white towels (she had a stand selling them), as gifts for both Charlie and Maeve.  Just a small token of her appreciation. 

The people here are truly special.  Just like any other place, though.  Hope you have a good holidays with the “special people” you surround yourself with this Christmas. 


p.s. my parents and sis are coming in tomorrow for a week!  We are all very excited!  Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Walking Away

note:  this is kyle speaking here: school is out and I've had some time to think.  thus, here comes a thought or two your way (beware...there will be more in the coming days).  hope it provides a window into our life here

It has never been my strong suit.  I’m a people pleaser.  I like people to be happy.  Saying “No” and sticking to it has always been hard.   Turning around and walking the other way is a notch or two higher in my book than just saying “No.” And on top of that, it’s harder saying “No” when it comes to people seemingly worse off than myself.  I’ve struggled on 2 fronts with this walking away phenomenon while being here in Africa, one good and one bad, amidst my people pleasing mentality.  Let me explain:

Input this people pleasing tendency in an African marketplace. We went to one yesterday.  If I were to stick to my natural bent, I would leave with empty pockets and hands full of bags every time we go shopping.  The persistent business owners would devour my approval addict affinity (we both usually walk away drained from all the bartering and incessant desires to have us “come and look.”).   Africans love to see white people…especially ones in a marketplace.  Saying “No, Merci” upwards of 4 times is almost necessary to pound the point home you don’t want to buy something (along with the occasional “not today” line).  Them pleading you to “just take a look” because it would “make me so happy” is the first step down this path.  Walking away is something every toubab (white person) out here needs to learn…especially in a marketplace.  Walking away is necessary here. And I’m getting better at it.  It gets easier the more times you do it. …But it is something I don’t want to get used to by any means.

Scenario #2: Input this mentality anywhere outside a marketplace.  Kids coming up to you with yellow bowls and no shoes, torn shirts and dirt ingrained jeans asking for money (your typical talibe kid…good article here).  Handicapped people along the roadside begging.   Women who are seemingly widows or whose husband is no longer with them and with 3 kids sitting on the side of the road (all day).  A man in tattered clothes slowly walking barefoot alongside you on the street.   Taking the girls for a walk and seeing people living in shacks next to buildings only 4 “blocks” from your home.  It’s pretty unnerving.  At least it can be.

Given those scenarios, walking away doesn’t always seem the right thing to do.  You can become calloused to these sights.  The sights are wrong.  What do you do?  Things shouldn’t be the way you see them (at least in my Western eyes).  “What can I do?” is usually the question I think.  And don’t get me wrong.  People are wonderfully happy here and have managed to look out for their needs despite their scant resources and position in life they find themselves.  Nonetheless, I think turning the other way and walking away can be a slippery slope.  I don’t ever want it to become easy. And unfortunately it has become easier.

It’s been a fine line, with ignoring leading to acceptance on one side and disturbance, hopefully leading to action motivated by compassion on the other. 

So what have we been doing?  We’ve been trying to impact those outside our own “American bubble” here but still in our world.  Those we can get to know and build relationships with.  It’s mostly boiled down to befriending those around us not connected to the school(often the guards we see hanging out around the neighborhood)  and baking cookies/giving them goodies when we have the chance (as well as always greeting them, as this is very important here).  Mainly just trying to show small acts of love.   Planting seeds.  Exercising prayer and patience (neither of which are my strong suits at least).   It’s tougher to help in tangible, practical, relational ways given the assumed “need “here than I had envisioned but we are trying to do our part.  The language barrier has been a HUGE stumbling block to really engaging and knowing the people, rather than observing the culture.  Nonetheless, it’s the situation we find ourselves in.  It’s been a process. 

And I hope the walking away feeling continues to disturb and disrupt.  I hope that part never changes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

the blog i hoped to never write

well it happened. we kinda thought it would at some point. didnt make it any easier.

my rambuctious, stubborn, loveable daughter turned sad, cuddly, and feverish. no eating, no drinking.

to the hospital we go.

pretty sure i cried more than she did the first day. it was the worst feeling to see maeve sick and have no idea how to get help. i had limited resources in my foggy brain. kyle thankfully kept calm and led me to call some friends who work from home and speak french. they quickly came to the conclusion that the best option was to take her to the emergency room at the best hospital in the city. repeat, best hospital in the city.

we arrive unsure of where the emergency room is. not a problem, as there is currently only one pediatrician in house and he is in his office seeing patients.

he takes us next, asks a few questions, checks her over and confirms what i suspected. she is dehydrated from whatever it is that is causing the fevers and diarrhea. she needs fluids. we then make our way to our room. before we can settle in though and get poor maevers taken care of. first we must pay. we pay a cap of 750,000 CFA (500cfa roughly= $1) and are informed we will get reimbursed upon discharge with whatever money is left over. different, but ok. lets get on with it.

we make it to our room and the staff quickly arrive ready to draw blood and insert an i.v.  we are asked to step out. my heart aches to hear her cry "mama" on the other side of the door

coming from a medical background there were some things that i felt were a bit off.
for example, there are no name bands or i.d. of anysort for the patients.   for nursing buddies-can you imagine JCAHO here? it kinda made me chuckle in a not so funny kind of way

staff wear sandals and no socks.

there are no towels in the bathroom, i was informed to use toilet paper to dry my hands. this made me question what the staff use to dry there hands. or, do the staff even wash there hands...

they checked maeves temperature every four hours, but never once any other vital sign or assessment, except for the one time i asked them to listen to her lungs.

the room had a hospital bed without side rails for maeve and i to sleep in. she only fell out once.

other than those observations the hospital was pretty nice. it reminded me of an american hospital, just dated.

although quite modern for african standards...we are in africa. we passed a nurse doing his daily prayers on his prayer mat in the hall. there were ants in our room despite the fact that housekeeping cleaned twice a day. at 4:30pm everyday they delivered tea to your room, dinner at 7.

we saw plenty of no smoking signs (good) in the hospital, but apparently opening a window and holding your head out while you smoke is allowed. i guess "technically" you aren't smoking inside...

by the end of her stay she was getting pretty accustomed to pushing around her own iv pole.

the day we left she met her doctor at the door and reached out to shake his hand. (a senegelese kid at heart!)

i think that was a good indicator that she was back to her old self.  we left that evening, happy to return home and rejoin our family.

thanks to all here in Dakar who helped us out in many different capacities and to those all over who prayed for her. she is back to her happy, hydrated self!

Monday, November 21, 2011

food sentences...ya know, sentences about food

our fridge is currently on the outs. our whipping cream is curdling.

our freezer is stock full of rice and whole wheat flour. really, like 8lbs of flour. (to kill weevils)

sometimes we go through an insane amount of matches trying to get our oven pilot light going.
instead of just containers of flour and sugar on the counter i have also added insecticide.

there is no dishwasher or garbage disposal. luxuries i certainly miss.

i have learned to make my own ranch dressing, syrup, and ricotta cheese. who knew???

a staple senegalese meal consists of rice, potatoes, carrots, and sauce and lots of onions.

i love that you can get fresh bread at any of the neighborhood boutiques.

kyle typically watches the girls while i finish dinner, however, last month i came out of the kitchen and found the following...true story.

patiently waiting charlie

mischievous maeve

kyle, self-explanatory...

some regular items at stores in the states look a bit different in Senegal.  guess the vegetable below.

answer: the wimpiest celery i have ever seen.

bleaching fruits and vegetables doesnt sound strange to me anymore.


my cooking skills here in Senegal have been seriously challenged. i will overcome.

Monday, November 14, 2011

maybe we aren't so different after all

tabaski, oh tabaski...basically its alot of sheep.

once upon a time a man named abraham had a son, ishmael (and isaac). God had abraham sacrifice his son,ishmael. sad. just before the sacrifice was to be made, God provided a sheep instead. happy.

so to celebrate the Lord's provision, muslims celebrate once a year on the holiday known as tabaski.
sheep lot

a few weeks prior to tabaski sheep lots started going up. muslims rushed out to pick the best sheep their money could buy ($200-$1000).  the sheep were thrown in the back of cars and trucks or strapped to the roof and happily delivered home.

ram in the back of a taxi

preparations were made for the big day well in advance, new clothes tailored, gifts bought, special dishes brought out. travel plans made to return to the village to see friends and family.

a bit nuts here in muslim country.

other side of the globe...

a fallen world seperated from God. sad. Jesus born to be our ultimate sacrifice to restore our separation from God. happy

so to celebrate God's greatest gift, christians celebrate once a year on the holiday known as Christmas.

picking out the christmas tree to bestow in the window. figuring out a way to get it home...

black friday christmas shopping, new outfits for Christmas pictures and church, Christmas lights and Christmas dishes, crazy holiday travel from one family to the next...

the sanity of a christian country?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Who is in my shower?

my knight in shining armor comes in the form of a late 20's, Senegalese lady who comes to my house 3x a week.  we call her Therese. 

oh the things she does!  she cleans. goes to the market and gets fresh fruits and vegetables. cleans and cuts the produce. watches my children.  takes me to the fabric market and barters for low prices, helps me with my french. and is a seamstress by trade. 
on top of that she has a great personality and i really like her!  it is amazing how God answers prayers. before we even came to Senegal, kyle had on his prayer list to help us find a good fit for us in regards to househelp. Voila! or maybe an Amen!

most of the missionaries in Dakar have househelp in some form. whether they come for a full day, 1/2 days, or have cooks. 

it is pretty well expected that us, as white(toubabs) americans, would and should have househelp. we are quite wealthy in comparison and it is seen as right for us to share our wealth.

therese came to us by a recommendation of an employee at Dakar Academy. Therese cleans for them 2 days a week and was looking for more work. i found out on a Weds that my previous help was no longer available and on Friday Therese was at my door by 8am. No interview or contract or background check...

Some oddities of house help are that they leave a pair of shoes at your house and take showers in your bathroom before they go for the day. Senegalese deem outward appearence as very important so Therese will show up for work looking all fancy. Head straight to the bathroom and come out 5 mins later ready to work.

We definetly have some language barrier issues, but for the most part everything gets done eventually. so what if i end up with 4 green peppers when i asked for pears. or it takes us 5 trips to 2 stores over a course of 3 hours to get 1 frozen chicken. we are making it work and am pretty sure i am going to desperately miss her when we are back in the states!


Thursday, October 13, 2011


here begins my feeble attempt to explain a talibe center...

Who: volunteers (missionaries) create centers in the city for talibe boys.
          and who are the talibe boys?
talibe boys are boys (ages 5 and up i believe) who are sent from their village to the city(Dakar) to learn and study the Koran from a teacher (known as a Marabout) and live in a daara (communal living 20-30 kids). Marabout go out to different villages in Senegal and recruit boys to come and study Islam and the Koran. Most of the day however is spent begging for food and money rather than learning. giving alms to the poor is one of the 5 pillars of Islam. the talibe boys get plenty of practice learning that principle!

talibe boys and neighborhood children at the center

What: the Talibe Center is set up to provide one meal a day, showers, reprieve, laundry, medical treatment/first aid, Bible teaching
shower room

Where: there are multiple talibe centers in Dakar, one number I heard was 4. maybe more. the one i volunteer at is in a courtyard of a christian church.

When: mon-friday. 9-1. doors close at 1pm, but the volunteers continue to treat everyone who is there, just no new boys allowed in after 1. the volunteers i work with also receive house calls

How: this is the cool part. the marabout are fine with the christian talibe centers. while these boys are "learning" the koran the marabout are in charge of them. these boys have left their families behind. it is easier and cheaper for the marabout to have the boys go to these different centers to receive medical care and such. the talibe center i help at works with about 10 different marabout and their boys. the missionary ladies say that most of the marabout they work with are pleasent and appreciative and compliant. This is not the case for all. as in all things, some marabout are corrupt and use the talibe boys as a means to make money and are abusive.

A day at the talibe center
doors open at 9am. set up mats and toys/games for the boys. 

begin cooking breakfast. breakfast is the same everyday here. hot grain cereal cooked on a propane tank-like contraption, scooped into a large bowl, milk poured over top. 5 spoons to a bowl and the boys crowd around and eat communally.

dirty dishes

first come first serve: each boy receives a number when they walk in (we write a number on their arm/hand in marker). this is to help keep order with who gets to shower first and receive medical care first.

the boys then come up to jane and "mama" for first aid and pressing ailments.

"mama" at the medical table

jane (started this talibe center)

man oh man do we see a variety of things. mostly wounds, from either a disease or abscess or physical infliction. and lately malaria. last monday we had done 5 malaria tests; 3 positive. today Jane had performed 9 malaria test by the time i left at noon. 3 positive.

wound care

malaria testing
okay that was my attempt at explaining the talibe center. i will hopefully have more stories from there as i continue to volunteer. (every monday 9:30ish to noonish)
i just wanted to put out there a general blog of what a talibe center even is.

truely, it is beautiful organized chaos.
small glimpse: two women behind a medical table treating wounds and malaria while 30+ boys hang out washing clothes, talking on their cell phones, or working on their rap careers with the Psalms sung in wolof playing over the boombox.
not a bad monday, faith

Monday, September 26, 2011


Alright, so there’s a staff retreat every year at Dakar Academy in the fall.  They would have allowed us to take the girls if we wanted, but then we caught wind of another couple with a kiddo that wasn’t taking theirs.  Ideas sprung into mind.  “What?  We could have a weekend without the kids and relive our days of freedom and no responsibilities?  Sign us up!” Plans came into our minds like mosquitos in a muggy bathroom…I bet we could get a couple of the senior girls to watch Charlie and Maeve for the weekend?  “Yeah, that’s good.”
Needless to say, mom and dad were excited with the thought.  We moved forward.  Mission was accomplished.   2 nights away from the kiddos living it up with other DA staffers around the beach and pool and playing childish games was in our near future.  We anticipated much fun.
Friday night rolls around.  I (Kyle) feel like crap.  Wake up 12 different times throughout the night taking care of necessary functions.   Weekend of rest and relaxation and getting to know people on a deeper level turns into laying on your back for 2 days waiting for things to subside.   Faith puts on the nurse hat again.  I go home worse than when I left.  Faith’s in the same boat.  Africa strikes again!


Full disclaimer: The girls did great while we were gone.  We came back to both of them as they were waking up from naps.  Charlie came in jumping on the bed as I was trying to let my stomach settle…to no avail.  But how can you get upset with your daughter jumping on the bed in excitement?
 I feel MUCH better today. Its amazing how things can turn for the better…and worse so quickly here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Urban Myth Dakar style

I have the Apollo real bad.

The Apollo? You ask.

Hush please; quiet your voice…its bad, real bad.

 It’s red.

 It’s irritating.

 It blurs your vision.

It’s highly contagious.

 It’s… conjunctivitis (you might call it…pink eye).

 It was mid-July 1969. All was right with America. Children played in the streets. Neighbors conversed gaily with one another.  Doors were left unlocked. Cats and dogs were friends.  America was the place to be.  Gas was cheap.  Politicians were honest.  NASA was sending Apollo 11 to the moon.  

Senegal.  Same time.  Different story.  Mass chaos had broken out all over the streets of Dakar practically overnight.  Cab drivers with blurred vision were rear-ending each other. Chefs were misreading their recipes. People were tying up their horses in front of the wrong shanties. Neighbors were killing each other’s chickens for dinner.  What was wrong?  They had IT.  Yes, IT I say….the red, the irritating, the blurred vision.  IT was here. Everyone’s eyes were infected.  No work could be done!  What else could it be, but the Apollo?
 At the exact time that Dakar had an outbreak of what Americans call pink eye, Apollo 11 was landing on the moon. Coincidence?  Think again. What else could explain it?  Senegalese with puffy itchy eyes.  Americans sending space shuttles to the moon.  The connection is obvious.  Apollo caused the outbreak and is now appropriately named.

One small moon landing for America, one big eye infection for Senegal.

Disclaimer:  the aforementioned farce may have been exaggerated for our mutual satisfaction.  However, the underlying truth remains, Senegalese point to Apollo 11 as the root cause of pink eye. Are your eyes itching yet?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

14 ways you know you're a Kinsinger living in Dakar, Senegal

- you crave a cold shower at least 3 times a day

- you have breakfast for dinner more than real dinner items because you are confounded as to what to actually eat.

- you get a day off of school to celebrate the end of Ramadan, since 94% of the population is Muslim, rather than a day off of school for Labor Day, since unemployment is about 50% here.  (interestingly enough, I guess this shows that Africa has some democratic tendencies)

- you get your butt kicked in soccer 11-0 your first game (yep...11-0!)

- the temp in your living quarters is almost constantly a thick 86.5 degrees

- you have power for 8 hours straight and you think in your head, "Wow, we've had power for quite awhile now" ...but you dare not say anything for fear that it might jinx it or something

- maeve is constantly sweating and loves bath time

- a fan pointed on you is a necessity for falling asleep

- every person you see on the street you semi-recognize you feel the need to greet, as greetings are of utmost importance here...and if you do it right (which we don't because we don't know Wolof or French that well), - you will go through the series of questions beginning with how you are, followed by how your wife is, followed by how your family is doing.

- your kids feel like celebrities when you take them in a stroller ride, as everybody smiles at them and the little kids want to come up and just touch their hand. 

- it takes your wife 3 hours to make a normal meal that would otherwise take 45 minutes...and you think to yourself, "is this really worth it?"  ...and eating out 7 nights a week sounds like a very wise use of time and money.

- you sweat profusely while putting on kids clothes with those stupid little buttons and you all of a sudden don't care how cute they look, you would prefer a metal snap-on one just so you wouldn't have to sweat so much while doing simple tasks.

- you go to the store and anything Western, such as peanut butter or American cereals costs 3 times as much as what you would pay in the States...even though peanuts is one commodity they produce here. (this doesn't make sense to me)

-...and are all of a sudden the minority...and many of the ways things are commonly done here are foreign to you...and there's a certain sense of exploration and fun about that on good days and a certain sense of despair and frustration on all the other days.'s to living for a day of adventure over despair! I hope you can do the same!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

bugs, bugs, bugs

where to begin?  all week has been full of new and exciting things. talibe center (more on that later), drama club meeting, kyle and i's first date night in Africa.  all this and i believe i will write about bugs. awesome.

i kill ants daily. ants in the sink, countertops and the floors. no ants in my pants. whew! 

we have a measly fly swatter. it does nothing. the flies here are really fast. (or i am really slow) kyle tries to catch him in his hand.  Mr. Miyagi style. again it does nothing. apparently we are both slow.

cockroaches. i have seen 4 in our apt. one which landed on my shirt. where it came from i have no idea. kyle chased it around the house smacking away unsuccessfully. he doesnt like to hear/feel the crunch. i would say "man up" but i prefer to just scream irrationally. if only high pitched screams were lethal to cockroaches.

and lastly mosquitos!  if ever i am having self-esteem issues i can take comfort in the fact that mosquitos love me uncontrollably. almost to the point of stalking. they hang out in my closet, wrap themseves up in my bath towels, and buzz around my ears while i try sleep. i wore long pants to bed last night hoping to keep the mosquitio bites at bay, unlike the ants, i did end up with mosquitos in my pants.

itchy in africa, faith

Monday, August 22, 2011


when kyle and i arrived here in africa we knew we would be coming during the rainy/hot season and we were mentally prepared for the heat and mosquitos. 4 cans of bug spray, bug repellent clothing for each family member and raincoats were readily packed. we both agreed that we would rather have "the worst" at the beginning, knowing that things could only get better.
however, what we didnt know was that 3 days into the trip (is 11months still considered a trip?) ramadan would start. this truly does make our arrival possibly "the worst" time to get settled in. since senegal is roughly 90% muslim, most everyone partakes in ramadan to some extent.
Ramadan from faith's perspective...
is a month long time when muslims fast in daylight hours...fasting from food and drink and other worldly pleasures.
it rotates on a lunar schedule so this year is especially difficult due to the hot and long days.
apparently muslims can get quite cranky in the afternoon, so you need to mind your p's and q's. (whatever those are)

anyways, it has been interesting to observe...there is a call to prayer 5 times a day (according to my Christian Worldviews teacher/husband). it is not unusual to walk in to our apt building and have our guard doing his prayers on his prayer mat at the base of our stairs. for some reason charlie seems to find this the most opportune time to continually yell hi to him.
we (non-muslims) also need to be respectful of the muslims and only eat indoors and not out in public. while driving to the beach with some friends last weekend, we got lost so we had to hide our pastries we were devouring while we asked some locals for directions so as not to upset them.
apparently the strict muslims dont even swallow their saliva. i have seen a couple spitters!
even though fasting during daylight is protocol, the night is apparently a different story. more food is sold during ramadan here than any other month.

So the worst is just about over...approx. 10 more days and we will see the senegalese as their happy eating and drinking selves! 
bon app├ętit-madame faith

Saturday, August 13, 2011 name is maeve

hey there, i gotta make this quick. mom is in the other room taking a nap and dad never has a clue to whats going on. just wanted to give you all a quick shout out and let you know what the skinny really is. 
so most of you all know me as maeve, maevers or sissy.  today i turned one.(really my birthday was yesterday, but we celebrated it today, whatev) mom thought it was a big deal. what a nut!  she kept calling me her african princess. really?  could i get any whiter? 
anyways it was a pretty awesome day. for starters we had rice pudding for breakfast (we eat a lot of rice around here BTW, tuna rice casserole, curry rice, rice and is bound to get old soon).  then we all hopped in a car with some friends and headed to the beach.  i LOVE riding in the cars here. no carseats!  mom tries to hold me down but i have some pretty sweet moves to get out of her grasp. back to the beach...i attack the water. i must have been a fish in my past life. the waves and sand love me. if there ever were a sports illustrated toddler swimsuit edition i am pretty sure i would have a good shot at the cover. just sayin.

some senegalese kids came to play with us. they gave us cookies and picked us up and carried us in the water.  mom got a little nervous. i dont know why, again i say, a fish in my past life. i guess she was right to worry though b/c one little senegalese did drop charlie in the water and she got all wet and man did she wail. thankfully mom was right there to help out. some might have thought it was scary, but i thought it was HEEE-LARIOUS!
after the beach we came home and crashed. i slept for over 3 hours! dad had to come and wake me up. which i am very thankful for cause i had a party to get ready for.
all my friends showed up around 7pm. i opened gifts which were all pretty quality. best gift of all though was charlie having to watch me open my gifts and not being able to participate.  again HEEE-LARIOUS.

afterwards all the adults( i think that is what they call themselves) played animal charades. seemed pretty juvenile to me. all they did was grunt and howl and flap their arms a bunch. me? i played with my new toys and crawled around with Hayley (my BFF) and Charlie.
Finally the best part...cupcakes!

mom and dad made me wait while everyone sang some silly song and then i got to indulge in the sweet goodness of chocolate frosting and duncan hines cake. delish! 
k, thats all for now. i think i hear mom stirring...gots to get back to my crib. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

i'll try that, and that, and that

no surprise, i love food. i thought africa may let me down in this arena.  sanitation practices arent always a high priority.  flour needs to be frozen and sifted to remove weevils(ugh...shiver); who wants to eat when it is so hot. apparently none of the above have affected me like i thought they would.

kyle and i attended a friendly futbol game between morroco and senegal yesterday. i am not a huge soccer fan, but wanted to catch some culture. and culture i recieved, culinary culture!  my favorite. if i were to get a food borne illness-last night would have been the time. i cant resist cheap stadium food. our first delicacy was a frozen concoction made from baobab juice that is contained in a plastic bag with the loose end tied. to eat it they kindly wrap one end in torn newspaper and you bite off a corner of the bag and suck it out. AHH-MAZING!  next we enjoyed a citrus loaf of some sort. not exactly sure what it was but i wanted bread.  then a fellow DA game attendee insisted we have some bissap juice. minty cranberry juice is how i would describe it. after the game kyle and i were still ravenous. we decided since we had already indulged in some local street food that we should continue the trend and if we got sick then we wouldn't know what did it. we walked to the "meat stick" guy. i am sure he has a real name, but this is all i have heard him referred to as.  he has meat on a stick, grills it, puts it between a bread loaf with mustard and onions and some seasoning and calls it good. and man is it! 

best part is, kyle and i both feel great 24 hours later. 

Baobab tree

frozen baobab juice (those are plastic bags, mind you...filled with goodness!)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

come to my shop..just look no buy

As part of new staff orientation we went on a condensed city tour saturday. 8 toubabs (white people) smushed into a white dakar academy van and dodged our way around town. literally dodged, the driving around here is insane. kyle will have a great time once he gets behind the wheel!

the highlight was an artisan village across town. the creativity and skill was amazing. and most done right before your sitting on stumps carving out women and elephants from logs, scraping leather for book bindings, women hand stitching stuffed dolls...smell of urine and the constant heckling of merchants only enhanced the experience! 

to barter and to say no is a must for market shopping! even though the people typically only speak either french or wolof (local tribal language) all seem to have picked up on a few english phrases.  miss, miss, come see my shop!  no buy just look!  make me so happy!  i was exhausted after shopping from constantly smiling and saying "no merci." 
i did indulge on a few items, one being an african print dress for miss maeve's 1st bday. i was quite proud of my bartering skills, talking the lady down from 4,000 cfa to 2,000 cfa.
bartering a totally new concept for me, a way of life for my "craigslist loving" husband.  sometimes i think kyle may have some senegalese roots...

the learning experience behind it all was really that the senegalese truly do want you to see their creations. to them that in and of itself shows you value them. to buy is icing on the cake...

come and see my blog, make me so happy, faith

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

eternal camping

some things here take getting used to!  here is my short list thus far
1. my blog shows up in french here so i have no idea how to modify the site
2. i currently have to walk down 3 stories, cross a dirt path and climb 4 stories to a rooftop to do laundry.
3. water buckets in the bathrooms and kitchens which need to be refilled once or twice a week just in case the water goes out.
4. bleaching all fruit and vegetables and even eggs before eating
5. electicity has a mind of its own. it has gone out 3 times in the last 30mins. which makes writing this blog difficult. yesterday it was out for a total of 13hrs.
6. ironing all the laundry. no mango flies here please!
7.skirts, skirts, and more skirts

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


OIEUGAIGN, okay i have never written a blog (or anything for public eye) for that matter.  i didn't know how to start my very first posting, so i just needed to put something on paper (so to speak) to get the ball rolling. okay, i feel good. i can do this.

we leave for Africa next month. Dakar, Senegal to be exact. So many things have been running through my mind that most of the time i just tell myself to stop. God bless naivety.

However kyle and i do get the chance to talk once in awhile and we decided to write down some questions/hopes/expectations to have answered/addressed throughout the next year. mind you we know some of them are quite lofty...

1.get a feel for what world missions looks like

2.experience 3rd world living does it feel to be the minority-not only in race but in religion see 'public health issues" first hand

5.hoping our kids remember some inkling of life in Senegal

6.expecting our kids to adapt to life in Africa quicker than us

7.expecting the heat to be similar to that of hell

8.kyle says he is expecting to be challenged more by the students than by him challenging them

in a nutshell, we are ready(or so we think) to see what life outside of America looks like.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


It has taken us 4 weeks to get this silly email out.  We are both relieved.  Yeppee!  Thanks for visiting the blog.  More to come...