Monthly Archives: May 2003

Garage sale

The Gigantic Garage Sale is now past history except for the junk that didn’t get sold. People sure do buy some odd stuff. The useful stuff is the last to go. Old jewelry, even old Sunday School attendance pins were hot stuff. We even had a purple Kool Aid stand that one of the men was threatening to buy and take home. His wife was praying that anyone else would buy it. Not sure what was the end result.
Tonight we are up late doing what a well organized mother would have made sure was done earlier, except that I was already doing too many other things. “We” are doing laundry. You see we have in our house an unwritten rule that everybody has to make sure that their own clothes are clean. We also have some procrastinators living in this house that just didn’t get it done. I think my procrastinator of the moment is not admitting to being a bit stressed and excited. Patrick leaves tomorrow for Vancouver and although he was home most of the day, he is doing his laundry as he packs. Patrick won the Saskatchewan French music competition for performance of three of his compositions. He will now go on to the western Canada competition in Vancouver so he is justifiably pretty excited in a “cool” sort of way without admitting it. I guess this is a chance every budding guitarist would love because he has a chance of going on to Quebec to compete there, he’ll meet lots of well connected people in the recording industry as well. So if anyone is in Vancouver take it in at the Waterfront Theatre on Friday at 7:00 or watch CBC – the French channel and you will see Patrick Kongawi perform. And yes I am a bit proud of him! Patrick

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Leo moves offices

Leo had to move out of his office today. He is not doing enough clinical medicine to justify using up space in the clinic so he has to pack up all his books and bring them home. We are wondering where we are going to put them here. I guess we’ll fit as many as we can into the office space at home and then who knows. We seem to have lots of bookcases but not as much floor space as they require. I suggested he take as many as he can to his MHO (Medical Health Officer) office but he doesn’t think he has room for them there either. When it comes to books, he’s not a good thrower outer. Me neither. Good news – He got his American Society of Addiction medicine certification and should get the Canadian one soon. Between the books and the diplomas and certificates we don’t need to worry about needing more artwork to cover our walls. Leo’s quite proud of his new certificate and I guess he earned it by his hard work so should be.
Christain, Grace and I went over to the church to help set up for the Giagantic Garage Sale. It is a fund raiser for CHIC so lots of the kids were there. We are hoping Christian can go but we don’t have his US visa yet. He is a landed immigrant but still a Congolese so has all the hassles of being labeled as a potential assylum seeker by the US. Can you imagine! Anyway this garage sale sure has a lot of junk! It always seems to me that we take some junk there and bring some different junk home but we never really get rid of any appreciable amount of junk.
So tomorrow my day is already mapped out for me – help at the sale and then get some groceries before I get fired as a mother for having no Pizza Pops in the freezer.

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Beyond Magazine led me to a fantastic piece of reporting on the Congo done by David McLaughlin and others at the CBC. Take a look. You need time but if this sort of thing interests you it is time well spent.

Just had an e-mail this am from our boys dad in the Congo. He was bit by a cat. He is worried. We are worried. Rabies is prevelant there. Vaccines and immune globulin are not so easy to come by. Bring Jacques before God today.

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My Prejudices

I was reading the story about the Pharisee and the tax collector this morning. It is so easy to play the role of the Pharisee at least for me. The material I’m reading asked the question “Who do I despise, where do my prejudices lie?” On the surface, I look pretty good. Yet the prejudices are deep in there and come out in my attitudes towards people. I know I come across as prejudiced and hypocritical to my oldest daughter but I chalk that up to her life choices that are not compatible with my values and what I hold dear. There seems to be a very fine line between being pharisaical and trying to live according to Christs principles.

The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he understands how weak we are; he knows we are only dust. Psalm 103: 13,14

God help me watch my attidudes! Remind me again and again of your compassion to me.

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Lingala Lessons

It’s a beautiful evening. I sat outside in our new porch swing but then the mosquitos began to come out in full force. Now, under the remote threat of West Nile Virus we are exhorted by our good sense to think about applying some of that vile smelling stuff to ward off the little beasts. Sometimes it’s just easier to go inside.

Greg is over tonight. Lingala lesson number three or four. Patrick has taken it upon himself to teach him since Greg is going to be spending several months in the Congo for his field experience towards his degree in Intercultural Studies from Providence. Greg will be working with Patrick’s dad – a doctor(Congolese) with American Leprosy Mission.
Lingala is my third language and a pretty simple one as languages go. If you can’t find the right word or if no word exists in Lingala(this happens quite often actually) you steal a French word and lingalacise it. Works great! I guess we are not above doing that in English or French for that matter. It still strikes me ear as strange when my kids who speak French Canadian French use the word “fun” as in C’est du fun. Just sounds weird to me. But then we commit faux pas and write resumes so I guess with time my ear will get used to it and I won’t cringe when I am in a situation where I actually use it myself.

I can see where I may need to add a page explaining a bit about my family if I keep mentioning them in my blogs. Can’t be a mom without mentioning the kids and the man in our lives. Our family is a bit unconventional – large and multiethnic, multicultural, and even ecumenical in a sense. However I think I will use this site a bit and get used to the changes I’ve made before I do another big change.

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This internet stuff is a challenge for me. I think I am catching on a bit. Thanks Randall.

When I was the age of my kids there were a few huge computers somewhere but I had no illusions I could ever use one. We started using a PC in the Congo. Both Leo and I had to develope a lot of our own teaching materials and found the computer to be very appropriate technology. Now it is the way we communicate with friends around the globe. Wow! If we had had the internet while we were back in the Congo I would have done a prayer letter on a blog site. I guess we had no phones either but now with SAT phones its a possibility. Actually that is how we communicate with our Congolese boys father and mother via e-mail and occaisional voice communications. I might just have to take a laptop with me when I go out there next summer. The possibilities just seem incredible. Bear with me – I’m a dreamer!

Reading Jordon Cooper on the Congo really shook me up tonight. Why are we so helpless to do something. Sorry, I guess I am too close, too entangled in the web that is the Congo. The hurt is too much for me and my tendancy is to put it on the back burner somewhere in the recesses on my mind so I can go on functionning. We Canadians agonize over one lost child. What would we do if all the children in our city were slaughtered over the short span of a few weeks. There are no flowers on sidewalks in front of Congolese children’s homes and no mothers left to weep. Sorry I am having a very hard time dealing with this slaughter.

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I still seem to be having trouble changing my template. Sometimes machines are frustrating.

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