Monday, July 16, 2007

July 16, 2007

Dear Family and Friends, July 16, 2007
Finally, the rains have started and everyone is happily working in their fields. The orphanage is planting two fields this year. One is a field of peanuts and the other is corn and beans. Our children are also working in one corner of our courtyard. Each child has a small portion of land where they can plant whatever they want. Some have planted corn and millet. Some have planted tomatoes, green peppers, and onions. One boy planted watermelon. . . how fun is that! Some have planted okra. Some have planted peanuts.
In addition to working in our fields, our children have been diligently studying French and math this summer. We have two classes of two different levels for each subject. We have hired two local high school teachers, one for French and one for math, for the more advanced students. Valentin and Ernest are teaching the children in the lower level. The children’s attitude towards all of this work is really positive and we are thankful for these children that God has given to us.
We received another new baby last week named Jeannette. Jeannette came to us through Social Action with the story that she was 9 months old and that her mother had abandoned her. After just a short time with Jeannette we discovered that physically she is much smaller than 9 months but developmentally, she is much advanced for 9 months. As it turns out, Jeannette is actually about 22 months old. She is severely malnourished. Social Action has attempted to contact her father but according to the extended family, he has left the area and they do not know where he has gone. Only time will tell the real story for this child but for now we are giving her a vitamin substitute called Ambrotose, and as much food as she will take.
Please continue to pray for Thérèse, our little one with the enlarged heart. We took her back to see the heart specialist and she changed most of Thérèse’s medications. She explained that for some of them it was only safe to be on them for a certain amount of time. Please pray that the Lord will heal Thérèse. The medical expertise that she needs is just not available here in Burkina but our God is the Great Physician who can heal her.
I went back to Ouahighuia this past week to see Nemata who is HIV positive and suffering with Noma. She is still a very sick little girl. Please pray that our merciful God will heal her or else take her to be with Him. She is suffering terribly and so is the grandmother who is caring for her.
While in Ouahighuia (OHG), my truck broke down. It started making a terrible noise and lost all power. Dr. Zala recommended a mechanic who is currently working on it. It is really hard to find a good mechanic here. We have a good mechanic in Ouagadougou but OHG is 180 kilometers from Ouaga. Please pray that this mechanic will ‘really’ be able to fix our truck and not just a patch which would continue to give us trouble.
We applied for and have been assigned a Peace Corps volunteer to work with our soap and weaving projects. There is a new program in the Peace Corps here in Burkina which allows volunteers to work in small enterprise projects and our soap and weaving projects qualified. Sarah arrived this week and is currently learning how to make soap and how to weave. She will be responsible for managing these projects and will be marketing the sales of our products.
Love and blessings to you!
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma

Friday, July 06, 2007

Week of June 27, 2007

Dear Family and Friends, June 27, 2007
The past month has passed so quickly! There is no way that I can write about all that has happened but I will try to give you a condensed version of our activities.
We have received news a couple of times from Tene and her adoptive parents in France and they are doing wonderfully well. They sent us two beautiful pictures of Tene playing at school and in a field of flowers with two of her new friends.
I recently returned from spending a week in Ghana where I took a course entitled ‘Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills’. The course was excellent and we were a class representing 8 nations. The discussions were interesting and were seasoned with various cultural backgrounds and perspectives.
Last week was really hard in that several families with very sick children came to us asking for help. The first were 15 month old malnourished twin boys, Seni and Lassane, who weighed just 8 and 10 pounds respectively. We took them to Ouahighuiya where they were hospitalized. They will be treated with IVs and antibiotics until they are well and then will transfer to a Cren, a special clinic for malnourished children. At the Cren, they will receive good nutrition and their mother will be trained in how to continue the care of the children.
Then 2 days later, a grandmother came by with a little girl, Nemata, who was also malnourished and was suffering from noma. Noma is a disfiguring disease caused by poor dental hygiene. The disease is easily treated with antibiotics if it is diagnosed early but Nemata’s case is advance and has already started eating away parts of her gums, lips, and nose. We took Nemata to Ouahighuiya also where she was hospitalized. Blood tests at the hospital revealed that Nemata is also HIV positive so she has been transferred to another clinic to see if there is medicine available that can help her.
Then 2 days later, our little Therese fell to the ground, unconscious. We rushed her to the Yako hospital where the nurse inserted an IV and started treatment for malaria. I was not comfortable with this diagnosis and again made the trip to Ouahighuiya. Blood work there indicated that she had a bacterial infection and she was treated with antibiotics. This next week we will take her to Ouagadougou to see the heart specialist to be sure that the dosage of her heart medicine is still working properly for her.
We have been blessed with some wonderful visitors this past month. Nichole’s brother, John, has been visiting for 3 weeks and will be returning to the States this evening. John was an absolute joy to have with us and the children all love him. He played soccer with the big boys, played games with the little children, played with and packed around babies, participated in the widow’s distribution, ate tô, and opened his heart to see and experience everything that he could.
Arienne, from Canada, and Rebeccah, from the US, are also visiting right now for a period of two weeks. These girls are doing internships through their universities and have come to us through the mission organization, SIM. Arienne speaks French and Rebeccah is studying French so these girls have slipped right into daily life with us and are playing with and caring for our children.
Lynn returned from a 3 month visit home and it is great to have her back with us. The school year for the primary children is almost over and our school ranked first out of the seven primary schools in our community. This ranking is based on standardized testing that is given three times a year.
And, Ami Galaske joined us two weeks ago. Ami is from Columbia, MO and she has been to Burkina 4 times now. This time she has made a commitment to work with us for one year. Ami has finished her undergraduate work and is doing an extended internship with us through her university. Ami will have the opportunity to work in all of our projects and she is especially interested in continuing her studies at home to work in international adoptions.
We have received three new babies this month. Dieudonne is a little newborn boy whose mother is not well mentally. She gave birth in Gourcey, a small village nearby, and Social Action called us and asked us to take the baby. Social Action will do an investigation to try and find the family of the mother and to identify the father but if these efforts fail, Dieudonne will be available for adoption. We named him Dieudonne because this name means ‘given by God’.
Ibrahim is a little 12 month old boy who is the product of cousins within the same family. The mother is very young and the father is already married with two children. Because of the shame and embarrassment of this situation in the Mossi culture, Ibrahim does not have a place in either of his parents’ families. After a thorough investigation by Social Action, Ibrahim will most likely be available for adoption.
Another newborn, Harounna, came to us this month through Social Action. Harounna’s mother died shortly after giving birth and there is no one in the family who can care for him. We will keep Harounna for 12 months or so giving his father time to adjust and either find a new wife to care for the baby or else someone else in the extended family who can care for him.
So these are glimpses of daily life in Burkina.
Love and blessings to you!
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma