Saturday, April 9, 2011

This is not my beautiful house....

When we returned from this memorable trip to Africa, I fell in love with my home country all over again and with a new appreciation for seat covers, clean water, OTC medicines, and paved roads. At the same time, I'm finding it difficult to go shopping as usual. I walked into a major retailer today in search of one item, a trash can. In the past, that one item multiplied by the time I reached the check-stands. Today, however, I roamed throughout the store and could not find anything that I needed. Seems like a healthy outcome, except that I'm swinging toward the opposite extreme; I am growing a subtle disgust toward my own American culture. Instead of adding to my "kingdom" I'm compelled to purge. One can only imagine my husbands perplexed reaction when I came home and said, "I love this car...let's sell it".

I think there's a term for this re-entry condition, and I hope to make sense of it all soon. It's quite confusing.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Journey of the green coat

We were encouraged to bring warm, discardable clothes with us to NY at the beginning of our trip due to the length of our layover. So, naturally I grabbed the most hated piece of clothing in my closet, a size small green in color American eagle coat, with faux fur lining . Loathed, not for color or style, but because I have had it for years and many times have tried to give it to goodwill and somehow it works it's way out and back into my closet. I truly laughed as I grabbed it out of my closet thinking this time I will get rid of you once and for all.

The joke was on me because when we arrived at the airport in NY, with all the distraction of gathering and moving luggage, one piece reeked of cat spray, I forgot the coat in the airport for our short chilly outing. I mean really it was saint Patrick's day in New York and I forgot the one green thing I brought in the airport. When we returned I cursed at the coat and as I went to throw it out my friend Debbie said, "I think I will carry it to morocco to use as a pillow on the plane." fine with me as long as I don't have to be responsible for it any more. Be gone with you green coat!

As we exited the plane in morocco we were made very clear to not be a spectacle and follow exact direction. "do not deviate from the plan or the route." we quickly boarded a shuttle off the plane and waited further instruction, all of which is either in French or Arabic. A flight attendant boarded our shuttle and was questioning everyone about who knows what, and us white women sat quietly trying not to draw attention to ourselves beyond the obvious spectacle we already were. The more time that went on the louder the women got until finally she waved franticly back at the plane as the captain walked towards our shuttle. To my horror he was carrying the STUPID green coat! I quickly questioned Debbie and she said "I knew we didn't need it and figured someone would take it later." she was right, on air Moroc flights that is a normal assumption, but not today! Everyone kept saying "your coat Janna, it's your coat." Oh, someone hide me!!! To be anywhere but there! So, again the coat mocked me. The next flight we were on, Debbie decided that she wouldn't run the risk of leaving it on the plane and having the same reaction. Why not take and give it to the missionaries in burkina heat,middle of the summer,110 degrees daily with little to no real winters.Makes sense to us. I secretly wished they were going to cut it into a million pieces and use it as kindling.

When we arrived at the missionaries house we had a wonderful lunch that included amazing stories and even more amazing people. As we were getting ready to leave Deb remembered the coat was in the van. We quickly retrieved it and I stood next to her as she sweetly gave them the garment with a smile and a "hope you can use this." I threw in some sort of snarky comment, sarcasm being my second language, "oh, the coat that keeps on giving." to our surprise Amy started crying and thanking us. Well that coat about brought me to tears once, but only out of complete distain. She followed with a story along the lines of, " my daughter is headed on a trip were she will need a warm coat and all week I have struggled with Lord, I know you have this team coming and lots of plans that include me, but my daughter needs a coat." she explained how she had felt so torn about her time with us and the responsibility of finding her daughter a warm coat in the middle of west Africa. She cried praises to God for providing a coat for her daughter and peace for her day. We shared the story of the coats journey and thanked God for using what was such an irritation in my life to provide comfort in others.

God is not unaware of our lives and he cares about the details!

Our friend Amy on the left....much love for you sister!
Location:In Transit

posted by Janna

We are home

home sweet home! ask lots of questions and give us lots of hugs and kisses, especially Lori, thats her favorite!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

stuck in morocco, but sense of humor still intact

we had a 8 hour delay in ouagadougou which caused us to lose our connection here in Morocco to NY. So we are here from Sunday to Tuesday.....this video is our tribute to all who feel the need to complain, us included.

posted by Janna

Friday, April 1, 2011

All Gods creatures

Ode to our new friend Rebekah:

Rebekah is an eleven year old animal enthusiast! It has been so much fun spending the last couple of weeks with this missionary kid and all her african creatures. she has such a gift with these animals even the dog they have name "deka" which we have nick named "doctor deka" because of his Jeckle and hyde tendencies. one night while coming in for dinner, he quickly turned vicious over a crepe debbie gave him, the next morning he came up to her wagging his tail. Rebekah loves all Gods creatures great and small, crazy and more crazy....God bless her!

posted by Janna

Toads wild ride!

a picture of a thousand words:

this was a taxi we caught after spending a few hours at the market here in bobo. first notice the lack of door handles, lights, and window handle. you almost felt trapped in this tin can. the best way to describe it is imagine driving 65 mph through the state fair. one of the things that makes me laugh the most in this picture is the man driving past us in another taxi staring at the "tu baboo" (white women.) this is such an accurate portrayal of the spectical we are here, a circus on wheels. on our ride home we ran at least one red light, as to which our driver said in broken french "I'm responsible, no problem." when we finally arrived at the guest house he reached through the window and pulled the wire sticking out of our door to let us out. In the words of my dear friend Deborah, "it was hilarious."

posted by Janna

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Burdened for the Widows of Burkina

Saturday morning we spent some extended time with a local church’s widow’s group. I was greatly moved upon hearing some of their stories.

When a woman in Burkina loses her husband (which sadly is not all that rare) she not only has the tragedy & grief to deal with but also faces many additional challenges from her community.

Regardless of how she is widowed (Malaria, HIV, car accident or appendicitis like my dear friend Sarah’s husband) the wife is blamed for the husband’s death. They believe that if a woman’s husband dies suddenly then SURELY she has put a curse on him & killed him. He could have died while serving in another country with the military, but she is still responsible. Thus begins the social alienation from her community.

In Burkina (and other West African countries) a woman is considered property… property of her husband. When her husband dies his family inherits all of his property, wife included. Most families are quick to descend on new widows (who most assuredly have conspired & killed said husbands) and pillage their homes & belongings. They then decide if a brother, uncle, or other relative then inherits the woman, as well. Without her own consent, she can lose her husband & be remarried to a virtual stranger within hours.

Sometimes being remarried like this is actually a best-case scenario because then the woman can keep her children. Even her children are now her husband’s family’s property, and if they DON’T marry her off to another member of the family she may never see them again.

Sadly, many of the Christian widows are remarried to Muslim men & severely persecuted for their faith. Many are beaten, and all of them work non-stop to tend to the households. Add to that the fact that most households here are Polygamist, and that adds a whole additional dynamic of stress as a woman enters a new, established home.

Regardless of where they land, they are considered cursed women and outcast from their own community. No one associates with a widow. In fact, children of widows also suffer- they often can’t find a suitable spouse to marry as they are also branded as “cursed” and no family would marry their son to a daughter of a widow- surely she would kill her husband, as well!

It is just tragic & heartbreaking to see these otherwise loving, social & loyal people (Burkina means “the Land of Integrity”) turn their backs on those in need & even kick them when they’re down. It is the opposite of what we believe & aim to practice as Christ-followers…

“Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor.” Zechhariah 7:10

“Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.” 1Timothy 5:3

“Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless.” Exodus 22:22

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure & faultless is this: to look after orphans & widows in their distress & to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

“The Lord watches over the foreigner & sustains the fatherless & the widow…”Psalm 146:9