Thursday, May 21, 2009

Moringa Trees!

Dear Family and Friends, 21 May, 2009

We received a wonderful visit this week from a missionary family, the Richters,who are preparing to live and work in Dano, a small village between Ouagadougou and Bobo. The Richters visited the orphanage last February and then called us offering to bring us some Moringa trees. The Moringa is being called the miracle tree in that its leaves are very high in vitamins and nutrients, oil can be pressed from the seeds, and the seeds can be used to purify water. It also thrives in a semi-arid climate such as ours.

In February the Richters offered to start some trees for us and would bring them to us in May. This past Monday, they arrived with their 4 children pulling a trailer with 350 Moringa trees in it!

Jean had organized our children and we had 350 holes dug all around the walls of the courtyard and holes for 3 small 'gardens' of trees.

Some of the tiny trees are still under a bit of stress from the transplanting but most of them seem to be doing very well. With all the excitement going on in the courtyard, our primary school children really couldn't study very well so we brought the older ones outside of the classroom for a practical course in tree planting. As you can see by the pictures, many hands make light work. Everyone worked hard and 350 trees were planted in about 3 hours time.

Francois – Broken leg
We went to visit Francois last week and he seems to be doing very well. Francois is the little 5th grader from our school who fell from a tree and broke his leg. The mother preferred that we not take him to the hospital so Francois has remained at home and is receiving traditional treatment for his leg.

We thank the Lord though that the break was not a compound fracture and that it does seem to be healing. Francois is still not putting any weight on his leg and the pain has subsided. Also the swelling that was in his right wrist has gone down and he is now able to eat with his right hand.

Mariam – the mother of Estelle
Mariam's blood work came back with normal results and the sonagram indicates that the baby also is doing well. She is carrying a little boy and he should make his entrance into our world in just a few more weeks.

Mariam is living in the courtyard of the father of the baby but the situation is very tense. The father does not have the means to provide for Mariam and the soon to be born babe. And since Mariam, just 17 years old, still a girl herself, and rather immature even for 17 years of age, is not ready to be a wife and mother.

Please pray for Mariam and the soon coming birth as well as the father trying to take responsibility for his actions.

Standardized tests--
The month of June is the time for standardized tests given after 6th grade, after 10th grade, and then after 13th grade to finish high school. This year we have 17 children in the 6th grade at our school, 7 children from the orphanage in the 10th grade, and 3 from the orphanage in their last year of high school.

Please pray for these children as well as all the children in the community who will be taking exams this year. The exams are very hard and in general, the students are not well prepared for them. They are pass/fail tests which allow the student to continue to the next grade or force him to repeat the same year again.

Love and blessings to you!
Ruth. . . . Mom. . . . Grandma

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Back in Burkina - May 2009

Dear Family and Friends, 9 May, 2009

Must try to report on a whirlwind trip home for two months. What a wonderful trip it was! I know that I say this each time but really, this was the best trip home ever! It was wonderful to connect with family and friends again and with the Body of Christ in St Louis. We had special times of laughing, crying, and praying together that will hold me through the rough times that will come during these next months that I am again far away. The physical distance between us is far but my heart is there with you.

The Lord did miraculous things this time of putting his children together in the right time and at the right place. His ways and His timing are completely perfect. Through new friends and then the introduction of more new friends, the Lord gave us a matching funds offer of $30,000 and an outstanding fund raiser evening in St Louis where almost all of the matching offer was given. Truly, God is so good! He has blessed us beyond even what we could imagine.

I have returned to Burkina, rested and refreshed, and ready to return to the work with all my heart. Only our God can work in our hearts like this.

This year, I left the projects here completely in the hands of four local workers who have been working with us for several years now. Liz and Brittany were here and they are both great helps, but since they are still new, I left all of the decision making responsibility in the hands of Adiara, Jean, Ernest, and Innocent for the orphanage, the school, the sponsorship program, and the clinic.

I want to report to you that on my return I found everything completely in order! In the orphanage, the children have been well cared for and well fed. In our school, the teachers, and the children have continued to thrive. The sponsored children have been cared for and looked after. And, the clinic project has continued to move forward. The money that I left for the two months of operating expenses completely balanced. And, the grounds had been properly cared for and maintained.

I am thankful to the Lord for the progress that He has helped us to make in training up these young leaders who carry much responsibility now in our projects. Please continue to pray for them and for me as we move into this next phase of working together and moving the work forward.

Just yesterday we received the news that one of the little boys in our fifth grade class fell from a tree and broke his leg. His mother refused to send him to the hospital because she knew that she did not have the money for any treatment that he might need. Instead, she sent him to her home village about 10 kilometers away for 'traditional treatment'.

In the past we have had several severely handicapped children come to our gate asking for help. In talking with the parents we learn that many years ago, their broken bone was treated by traditional methods and it had left the child unable to walk or to only walk with much difficulty.

So, tomorrow we will go out to the village of Francois to see if the family will allow us to at least bring him to Ouayaghuia for an x-ray. With that, we can determine what can and should be done so that the bone has the best chance of healing properly.

Also this week, the mother of one of our little ones, Estelle, age 20 months, appeared at our gate, about 8 months pregnant. Big sigh! The mother's name is Mariam and she is now 17 years old and nearly ready to give birth to her second child.

Mariam has been working in the gold mines about 10 kilometers from Yako for some time and most recently has been sleeping at the bus station in Yako. Mariam is sick and was asking us for help. She identified the father of this new baby and Adiara began to use her negotiating skills and persuasion skills with the named father to get him to take responsibility for Mariam and this new baby. And, the man said that 'yes' this is his baby and allowed Mariam to move into his courtyard. He is a young man but he made some huge steps towards maturity and adulthood in accepting his responsibility in this coming child.

On Monday, we will be making a trip to Ouayaghuia to get x-rays done on Francois' leg and a sonogram and blood work done for Mariam because this is a high risk pregnancy.

I am sorry that I do not have some photos to show you of these stories but I will try to give you the next chapter in each story real soon and include photos.

Love and blessings to you!
Ruth. . . Mom. . . Grandma