Monthly Archives: December 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

Bonjour,

Joe left the house early to head to Abidjan.  He went to several banks, but the ATMs were out of money since it is the end of the month and the end of the year.  He was able to trade money.  Then, he went to the Ghanaan Embassy.  The man who was there yesterday that told him that they could do the visas today was not there.  The lady who was there told him that he could come back at 2:00 to see if they were done, but she would not guarantee anything.  So, Joe went out to watch a soccer match between the Anyama church and the Belleville church to kill time while he waited for the visas.  When he went back to the embassy, everything was still sitting in the same place that he had left it.  They had not even touched them.  So, he gathered everything back up so that we won’t be without our passports over the weekend.  They told him to come back on Tuesday, and they could have them done by Wednesday.
The karate teacher came this morning.  The kids were excited to see him.  I asked Danny what he learned today.  He dropped down and started doing push-ups.  They always get plenty of those in.  Danny asked me if I knew any karate moves.  I showed him a few.  He said, “That’s not the way we do karate, Mom.  You need to take some lessons from my teacher.”
Bonnie was swinging on the swing set with Brian.  As she was swinging, she saw the water turtle that roams the yard.  Brian said that she got very excited and said, “Gilbert, it’s terrific!  I see the water turtle.  Come and see, Gilbert!”
At nap time today, Gilbert was just going to lie down until Bonnie and Danny fell asleep, but he fell asleep too.  He and Joe both have the cough and congestion now.  So, he probably needed a nap.
This afternoon, Bonnie helped me make pizzas.  I don’t know if she got more cheese on the pizza or on the floor, but we had fun.  This evening, we went over to the Posts for pizza and games. We taught them how to play Dutch Blitz.  We didn’t quite make it to midnight to bring in the new year.
Happy New Year!
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bonjour,

I didn’t get an e-mail sent yesterday.  The air conditioner man finally came; Joe had to go pick him up because the taxis were not running.  He didn’t quite get finished last night; so, he came back today.
It is nice and cold in here now.  Joe was just looking for a blanket.  Danny said, “Shiver me timbers!  It’s cold in here.”  Bonnie was looking for her jacket, and Gilbert thought it was “as cold as a puppy’s nose” in here.  I think it feels wonderful!!
Joe went to Abidjan today to work on getting all the necessary papers to cross the border into Ghana if that becomes necessary.  We are just taking it one day at a time right now.  Things seemed calm in town today.  Joe got stopped several times, but they were just asking for their new year’s gift.  
Gilbert and Danny were having a discussion about aunts and uncles tonight at the supper table.  Gilbert said, “Danny, do you know why we have aunts and uncles?”  Danny said, “No, why, Gilbert?” Gilbert said, “So that they can play with us!”  Danny said, “And work with us too.  We need to learn to work, yep.”  Danny often agrees with himself just in case no one else did.
Bonnie keeps tabs on the boys at bed time.  She comes to their doorway to report everything that the boys are doing.  “Danny is trying to talk.  Gilbert tried to hit me.”
Joe and Gilbert seem to be coming down with bronchitis now.  We will have to get them started on the antibiotic tomorrow.
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bonjour,

We planned to go into Abidjan today, but after checking to see how things were, we decided to stay home.  They were burning tires in Koumasi, and we have to drive through there to get to Abidjan. Today in Yopougon, a UN convoy was attacked.  One man was injured by a machete, and one of the vehicles was burned.  Gbagbo said today that if countries close the Ivorian embassy in their country, then he will close their embassy here.  France closed the Ivorian embassy in Paris today.  Please pray for safety and wisdom.
The taxis were on strike today.  So, the air conditioner man didn’t get to come.  He is planning to come tomorrow if the taxis are running.
Gilbert was still searching for his camera today.  We emptied another barrel and brought more toys inside, but we still didn’t find the camera.
An electrician came today and did some work on our vehicle.  
This morning, Gilbert and Danny were playing with their tools.  Gilbert told Danny that he was building an airplane.  He was telling Danny each step that he was taking.  Then, he said, “The big brother can build anything!”  It was cute listening to them.  Bonnie had to get in on the action too.  She was trying to take Gilbert’s tools.  So, we had to set up a work station for her too.
Joe watched a football game with Dan this afternoon while the rest of us took a nap.  I made pizza for supper.
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Monday, December 27, 2010

Bonjour,

This morning, we needed the plumber to come.  The toilet has been backing up and leaking on the floor.  The taxis observed the strike this morning; so, Joe went to get the plumber.  The septic tank for our bathroom was full.  They emptied it out using the shovel and bucket method.  It is still not draining into the larger tank like it is supposed to.  So, the plumber is going to come back to check on the line that runs between the two tanks.
The air conditioner guy is supposed to come tomorrow to install our split unit.  I am excited about that.  It has been hot!
Yesterday at the restaurant, Gilbert saw some little kids with cameras.  He said, “I wish I had a camera.”  Joe told him that he did have one somewhere and that it was probably in a barrel.  Gilbert doesn’t forget things.  As soon as we got home yesterday, he wanted to go search for the camera.  We told him that we weren’t going to look for it on Sunday.  First thing this morning, he was ready to look for it again.  I told him that I would help him look after breakfast.  We looked through three barrels.  We didn’t find the camera, but we found all kinds of other treasures.  Joe said that we didn’t need to buy anything for Christmas; we could have just opened those barrels.  I did find some of my rugs for which I have been searching for quite some time.
This evening, I worked on sorting things that had been brought in from various barrels.  I think we are just about done going through all of the barrels.  In a couple weeks, we might get the stuff that we shipped out of port; then, I’ll have more things to sort.  I don’t mind sorting though.  I like to organize things.
Today, I called Bonnie a silly goose.  She said, “No, today I’m a duckling, not a goose.” She is a mess.
Danny keeps getting the words “tomorrow” and “yesterday” confused.  He was asking if we had done something tomorrow.  Joe told him, “No, we did that yesterday.  Tomorrow hasn’t come yet.”  Danny said, “Who is coming tomorrow?”  
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bonjour,

We all got to go to church this morning.  On the way to church, we go past a large pile of trash.  It has grown so much that it took over two lanes of the four-lane road.  It is right along the edge of the market.  Ladies sit right on top of the trash pile and sell produce.  Today, they had trucks and tractors working to load the “mountain” of trash up to take it to the dump.  Everyone was pulling over into the oncoming traffic lane to get around the trash pile.  We were right behind the Posts.  Bonnie said, “I see the Post boys.”  When the traffic started moving again, she said, “I ever see the Post boys.”  She meant “still” but said “ever.” 
We had a good day at church.  Jennifer and I sang a Christmas song for a special during the church service.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it.
At the Posts’ church, one of the nationals leads the service – announcements, service schedule, etc.  The man that was doing it today talked for quite a while. When Dan got up to preach, Danny turned around and said, “Three churches?  Are we going to have three churches today?”  We had already been to Sunday school.  Danny thought that the announcer had preached too and that surely it must be time to go.
Dan preached a good message about faith out of Hebrews 11.  During the sermon, he put Gilbert on his back; he was illustrating carrying a burden.  When Gilbert got off of Dan’s back, Bonnie headed up the center aisle; she thought it was her turn for a piggy back ride.
When it was time for the offering, one of the men was standing in front holding the basket.  Danny put a coin in the basket, and Bonnie reached in and took it back out.  We got her to put it back in the basket under protest.
After church, Joe took us out for lunch.  We tried a crepe place where we hadn’t been before.  On the way there, Danny said, “I see a sheep.”  Gilbert said, “I smell a sheep!”  Gilbert is the “nose” of the family.  A few minutes later, he said, “Something smells like bubble gum.”  He had just finished saying that when he grabbed his nose and was trying not to gag.  The smells change quickly in Africa.
They were still working on the trash pile when we headed home.  Gilbert said, “I wish this place was all clean!”  He is the organizer.  He is always coming up with an idea of how to better organize his bedroom.  He does get frustrated when he can’t carry out his great idea.
After naps, we went over to the Posts.  Jennifer makes chocolate shakes on Sunday evening.  I usually make a snack to go with the shakes, but tonight the Russian neighbor lady had sent some fried pies over that she had made.  Those were gobbled up with the shakes.
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bonjour,

Merry Christmas!  We hope you have all had a wonderful day.
We let the kids empty their stockings this morning.  Then, I finished getting the cream cheese bread ready for breakfast.  After breakfast, we opened presents.  The kids were so fun to watch.  They had a great time.  When Gilbert opened a bag of army men, he said, “That’s just what I wanted!”  Both boys got a police set.  They had to put everything on and then run right over to show the Post boys.  Bonnie took her doctor kit to help everyone feel better.  We opened some presents over at the Posts’ house.  Then, I made rolls for lunch.  We went over to the Posts house for Christmas dinner.  Jennifer made pork roast, hashbrown casserole, and broccoli and cheese.  It was all very good.  We had a good time of fellowship.
I am still not quite back to 100% yet.  I was ready for nap time.
We went back over to the Posts’ house this evening for sandwiches and dessert.  We had a birthday cake for Jesus.  We came back home and called our families.  Now, we are ready for bed.
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Friday, December 24, 2010

Bonjour,

I did not get an e-mail sent yesterday.  I was still not feeling well.  Dan and Jennifer went to Abidjan to do some Christmas shopping.  Joe kept an eye on all of the children.  I was in bed most of the day.
In Joe’s family, it is a tradition to see who can be the first one to say “Christmas Eve gift.”  Joe said it this morning.  I was explaining to the kids that the first person who said that was supposed to get a present.  Bonnie said, “The present says it is for Bonnie Blue-Eyes.”
Danny has been waking us up with the Christmas countdown the past couple days.  I am sure he will be up bright and early tomorrow.
Today, I am finally starting to feel better.  I am glad about that.  Joe is too.  He was ready to give me my kitchen duties back.  : )
Joe drove to Anyama this morning to get our split-unit air conditioner from our old house.  He picked up the guy who is going to install it.  He took it apart and cleaned it today and is going to come back on Monday to install it.  That will be a blessing!  It has been hot, around 110 every day this week.
I tried not to overdo it today.  I got some things done in the house.  I have cream cheese bread chilling in the refrigerator for breakfast tomorrow.
This afternoon, the boys were having a discussion about a bed in their bedroom.  Gilbert said, “Danny, that was my bed even in our old house.  That bed is very, very old.  I think it is seven years old!”
Tonight after supper, the kids helped me cut out cream wafer cookies.  Then, we read the Christmas story, sang some Christmas carols, and opened one present.  Bonnie really dove into her present; it was a little set of pots, pans, and spatulas.  The boys opened battery-operated jeeps.  The only problem is that I forgot to get batteries.
Bonnie enjoys talking to her grandparents on Skype.  If she can’t see their picture, she thinks that they can’t hear her.
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bonjour,

About midnight last night, the power went off.  Joe went outside to see what was happening.  The power at the Posts’ house was still on.  So, he thought maybe we had tripped the breaker.  The breaker is inside the Posts’ house.  So, he had to wake them up to check on it.  He discovered that it was not the breaker.  We are on a three-phase system.  Our phase was down.  So, he fired up the generator and ran it all night.  This morning, the power company was out fixing the problem.
I am still not feeling well.  Joe took me to the doctor this morning.  They did a blood test to check for bacterial infection.  Everything was fine with the blood test.  He said that all of the problems are stemming from bronchitis.  He gave me a prescription for a stronger medicine.
On our way into Abidjan, the vehicle was making a loud clanging sound.  So, Joe dropped me off at the doctor and took the vehicle to the mechanic.  The muffler and broken in half.  They got it welded back together.
I finished before Joe got back.  So, I bought a few things for stocking stuffers.  Then, I had to find a place to sit down.  I ordered lunch for us at a restaurant.  Joe got there after I had finished eating.  He ate, and we headed home.
Today was the first day that the boys did karate in a few weeks.  They enjoyed that.  Bonnie got in on the action too.  Dan and Jennifer kept the kids while we went to Abidjan.  Gilbert has been showing us new moves that they learned today.
I went to bed when we got back and have rested most of the evening.  Joe got supper ready and brought it into the living room.  We had the doors closed and the air conditioner on in the living room.  I am still not keeping much down, but I keep drinking so that I won’t get dehydrated.
This morning, Danny wanted hard boiled eggs for breakfast.  But, he didn’t know exactly what they were called.  He said, “Mom, can we have the kind of eggs that you cook so that they aren’t raw? Then, you peel them, and they have oak inside.”
For some reason, we can’t get Skype to connect right now.  So, we haven’t been able to make any calls.
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bonjour,

This morning, the kids decorated gingerbread houses with the Post boys.  They had fun.  Danny wanted to know when he could eat it.
Joe went out to Belleville today and worked at the church property with Matt Litson for a while.
After naps this afternoon, I wasn’t feeling very well.  Joe called and was bringing supper home for everyone.  By the time he got back, I was throwing up and went to bed.  I just got up to drink some water to see if it would stay down.  So far, it has.  It has been quite hot.  I don’t know if it is the heat that is getting me or some type of stomach bug.  I haven’t had a fever at all.
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie

Monday, December 20, 2010

Bonjour,

We didn’t get an e-mail sent yesterday.  I was sick in bed most of the day but am feeling better today.
Today, we got word from the US Embassy that they were evacuating everyone except for the American Citizens Emergency Services Personnel.  We have been debating whether to go or stay.  After praying about it and talking to others, we have decided to stay for the time being.  Please continue to pray about the political situation here.
Joe and Dan went into Bassam today.  They could see where things had been shot at.  But, things were open, and people were moving about.
Matt Litson took the Engelharts to the airport today and said that things seemed to be business as usual in Abidjan.  Things have been fine in Anyama as well.
Danny asked me tonight, “Mom, are we still in Africa?”  I said that we were.  Bonnie said, “No, Danny, we are in Bassam.  You can’t get to Texas from here.”  
I was trying to get Bonnie to go inside.  I said, “Come on, Tootsie.”  She said, “I’m not Tootsie.  I’m a Silly Goose.”  
Jennifer made gingerbread houses today so that the kids can decorate them tomorrow.  They are excited about that.
A demain,
Joe, Laura, Gilbert, Danny, and Bonnie