Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another Day, Another Adventure

For the first week here, I kept on hearing things at night, which is a little funny... we have to keep the windows open for any hope of comfort while sleeping and, as such, we hear every single things from our neighborhood- the small bar next door "Chou-Chou's Bar" (which means "Cabbage" bar- calling some one "cabbage" is a term of endearment... go figure!), the roosters, the music, the domestic disputes, etc. We hear it all. You can kind of tell when a noise is "close" though. I think it was the banana tree along our driveway that made the most noise that kept me awake. Then, one night, I was doing a little walking around the interior of the house (one last check on the sleeping kiddos) when I heard noise just outside of our front door- obviously something moving closeby. In my underwear, I opened up our front door, looked down the side of the house to the end of our front "porch" to see that our night gaurd had fashioned a little bed from a bamboo mat and was preparing for bed there! I was glad that it was only him... at least, I think it was him... it was kind of dark and I was still getting to know people. Well, I simply said "bon nuit" (good night), he replied the same, and I went back inside. I was suddenly impressed to grab a bottle of chilled water to give to him, so I did, and he promptly sat up and guzzled about 1/2 of it right away. He was very thankful. So, even it was not my night gaurd, I made a friend! HA!
Needless to say, I slept better that night.
The 3 footlockers that I sent from France have not arrived yet. At this point, I am imagining two ships on the Atlantic, one from France and the other from the States, racing each other to Gabon to see who will arrive first! HA! It will not be surprising if the container from the States (a 40 footer containing items for many missionary families in Gabon) arrives quicker. It will be ammusing though, seeing as it was sent from the States about 40 days after the one from France. France is closer to Africa, oui? HA! Either way, we have all that we need for daily survival here, although it would be nice to have some of our own familiar stuff.
Our neighbor's pet monkey Tomay (pronounced "toe-may") gets daily attention from Joey, Megan, and, especially, Sam. Sam will cuddle him and actually put him to sleep at times! Tomay is a dirty monkey, so the kids go right to the sink and wash up after their visits- no questions asked on that. Tomay's is bathed and his cage is cleaned regularly, but that doesn't keep him from being in there and walking around in his own "stuff" at times, so... I think monkey's, in general, have a reputation of not being the cleanest animals.
About sending stuff to us... just let us know when you have something (via email). We'll contact someone who is coming to Gabon from the States (which happens almost every other week!) and ask if they wouldn't mind making a delivery for us. Then, I'll give you their address and you can send it to them prior to their trip. That saves a lot of shipping costs! If you can't help but to send us something directly, our address is:
La Famille STRAW
B.P. 13.021
For SKYPE, here's the website to download: http://www.skype.com/intl/en/download/skype/windows/
The German pilot, Egmont, called yesterday and said that he may have a flight for me to go along to to Lamberene (southern Gabon) and back. However, his boss decided to cancel the trip, so I stayed on the ground. On Thursday he leaves for 2 weeks for flying up throughout western Africa, so I'll not have the chance for flying until he gets back and can go on shorter flights.
I'm doing alot of emailing with the JAARS / SIL pilots in Cameroun. They are being so helpful with things.
I'm finally writing a bunch of thank you's and getting the kids and Alace to sign them too. So many things happened this summer and so many people to thank. I'll send these letters with people that are travelling to the states and have them send them.
The kids had their first "gym" class yesterday. It was "off campus" at the US Embassy housing compound near the airport- volleyball followed by a dip in the pool. 4 other kids, who are also doing homeschooling, joined in the class taught by Cheryl. Alace says that Cheryl is a great athlete and loved teaching the kids the finer details of volleyball. This was the same place that we went last Sunday afternoon for dodgeball (of all things!) and swimming. The US embassy people seem to really enjoy new ex-patriates stopping in. They're great hosts. It was a lot of fun.
Yesterday was a full day. You never know what may happen each day. Here's some of the things I accomplished: grocery shopped; waited for a phone call about flying; cleaned, did the dishes; dried the soap and shampoo off of my body when the water company decided it was time to shut off service at 7am during the middle of my shower; waited for the water to come back on; made lunch for my family; successfully visited an ATM; had 20 thousand Central African Franks worth of deisel put in my vehicle (about $44 for a half a tank); visited a vegitable stand (and made several purchases); deposited my trash in a dumpster bin near the beach (so my neighbors don't go through it); downloaded music on my computer; went over the calendar with Arnie Solvig (Guest house director); moved furniture; emailed; etc. ... not necessarily all in that order, but it was all definately done while sweating.
We are starting to find a rythm to our water turning off- it seems to shut off around 7am to 11am, and then around 4pm until 8pm. Apparently the water company doesn't have enough water to go around the whole city of Libreville at once. We're starting to schedule water usage accordingly.
We are looking forward to Sept. 17th when a soccer team from the US will play against a team from Gabon in the big stadium downtown. I'm thinking it may be time to don the facepaint! It starts at 3pm in the afternoon and we'll buy you a ticket if you're able to make it. We have plenty of room if you need a place to crash.

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