Thursday, December 27, 2007


Alright, it has been a few weeks...but I have finally been able to post! My laptop is still in Delhi. I received my shipped luggage yesterday - 2 weeks after it's arrival in the country. The shipper said they only had one piece; but upon gaining permission to go to the warehouse to see it, I spied my other piece not 5 feet away. So that was very good! First Impressions: 1. It can get VERY COLD - especially at night - especially indoors, where it never really warms up during the day. During the second week, we finally located an electric blanket which made all the difference in the world for my nights. 2. It is beautiful. Kathmandu is a capital city located in a valley amongst the foothills of the Himalayas. In that aspect, the city seemed to be reminiscent of Tegucigalpa. The foothills are green with trees and very steep. Anandaban is located on a foothill to the south, on the outside of the mountain facing south (away from Kathmandu). The Himalayas are visible on clear days from Kathmandu (KTM), but not Anandaban since it faces the south. The Himalayas have to be immense, since they are miles away yet can seem part of the sky since they span sometimes above the clouds above the mountains here. Anandaban overlooks a sharp and narrow valley between more foothills. The mountainsides are populated with people, mostly it looks like small farms. It takes about an hour and a half to drive into KTM. About 20 minutes to drive to the other side of the mountain - then another half hour or so to drive through multiple neighboring small villages. The villages seem to have electricity, bnut have communal taps where the women mostly seem to go to fill up jugs/basins of water, do their laundry etc. Then after the villages, you will enter the outskirts of KTM, where the roads and busineses change a bit and there are more people. In general, there are people everywhere walking about - in the villages, along the roads, in the valley. There are several gravel pits working on the mountain sides. They consist of piles of rocks, brought in by trucks running I think sometimes around the clock. An engine with a conveyor belt then rumbles dawn to dusk, as women and men load the conveyor belt with rocks to be crushed into gravel. It is then shoveled or hauled via back-baskets to piles or trucks. The sound of the machines echo throughout the mountain and valley all day. 3. It is extremely dusty here. Monsoon is during the late spring and summer. Other times of the year, it gets very dry and very dusty. Truck drivers and people even walking alongside the roads often cover their mouths and noses to keep from inhaling too much dust. 4. The people are very friendly. Many of the hospital employees speak english. I began language training last week. At the end of this week, I will know all my letters and can sound out some words. Nepalis have repeatedly told me that their langage is easy! :) I found a parallel new testament. 5. I spent Christmas with Rachel, Murdo, their two kids (Esther, 4yr, James 8mths) and Jolanda (a visiting Dutch physiotherapist). Rachel roasted a chicken in a toaster oven, carrots, broccoli, christmas pudding and cake and I made the garlic mashed potatoes. We ate outside. 6. Elisa will be arriving from Australia this Sunday, December 30. she will then go with me to languge training for the next month or so. 7. There are a number of children living on the compound, many of which speak pretty good english since they go to english medium schools. They are beautiful. :) 8. I have taken video and pics, but due to internet limitations and access - I haven't gotten to post them yet. I will eventually. 9. Do you have specific questions?? Post them in a comment and I will see what can be done... Thanks for your prayers!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Week in London and then...Kathmandu

This week, I will be staying in London near TLM. Since there were no more rooms available in the guesthouse, I've been placed in a pub/inn (like a bed and breakfast). Next Monday, I leave the UK and fly to Kathmandu, Nepal (connection and transfer to an Indian airline in Delhi). I would truly appreciate your prayers! This week, I will be trying to catch up on some work, rest, sight see a bit and make final preparations to leave. I need to find some thermals and really warm socks... items that were impossible to find in Baton Rouge, especially in August!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Leaving ANCC tomorrow morning...

Today is the last day of classes at All Nations, and the last couple of weeks have been particularly busy, of course, in a good way. I promise you that there is work and studying here...I just don't take pictures of that to show you, honest! So, here are some scrap odds and ends photos:

A couple of Sundays ago, I went with a group to help a missions service in Takely Chapel. It was a small church that also runs a school and helps to support some homeschooling families. The fellowship was very enjoyable. We ate lunch with two of the families and had a nice relaxing afternoon. By the way, it gets night dark here by around 4pm.

Originally, I had thought to make sweet potato casserole for Thanksgiving in the cafeteria (turkey is a Christmas meal item here). When the potatoes were out of stock, we turned to lime meringue pie. It is so much fun to cook new things for people.
A kind couple, Adam and Moira, invited the other American student, Christina, and I over last Saturday for Thanksgiving dinner. We helped to cook it during the afternoon. That is the cranberry/pineapple/ginger ale punch in the pitcher!
This is photo I took one evening in the main hall.
We had a small group social at Paul and Wilma Davis home. Wilma made excellent chili con carne with multiple options of hotness. She and Paul worked in Argentina for several years and in Mississippi one year. Salsa with sour cream dip did well. Left to right: Paul, Emma and Wilma.
Left to Right: Wilma, Miriam, Bernice, Seda
In class, we each had to give a presentation on culture or country. Here is Chillie (Norweigan) talking about Japan. She and Akiko made suishi for us to try.
Listening in the classroom.
This is what the cafeteria looks like on a normal weekday. Only Carolina noticed me taking the photo. Her parents (Norweigan and an Australian) worked in Kosovo.
She decided to make the picture more interesting.

Bitte, her little sister, then also needed a picture taken.

The next week, the potatoes came in - so I made sweet potato casserole with pecan crumble on top and then a sweet potato pie for nut-free people. Last class day photo for "en route". The three facilitators (Carolyn, Ruth and Andrea) are in front.

Everyday in class, we have had this participant on the floor. Sophia is so good. I have never seen such a quiet and contented baby. The most noise she generally made was gentle baby cooing - which of course, you know, just made the atmosphere better. They joked and said that her first word after "sitting" in on the course may be "contextualization". The college really encourages couples to attend together, so therefore there are several families and infants here.

We had an evening "en route" dinner. Huai En and Sophia.

Eva's chilled bean soup for dessert.

Bridget and me. Bridget spent some time in Kathmandu.

One night, the en route people and a few others got together for fondue (courtesy of Huai En). We had alot of fun putting it together and, of course, harassing one another. Thea took the video.

Carolina and Phil with a dodging Norweigan behind them. Carolina is Brazilian. Phil is British. They will be going back to Brazil and hopefully working with university students.

The children like to play after dinner; and on this particular evening, Chris, the chef, was mobbed.

German language lesson:

Tonight we have a fancy dressup - farewell dinner. My roommate says that will be a schicky-micky party or smarty carty party. Or in other words, etepete (pronounced ate-a-potatuh).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Breaking News

Hey, I went to London by train to finally have my psych evaluation today. While the written report is still yet to be processed, I've essentially passed. Sufficient coherent sanity was exhibited for the duration of the 90 minute interview. Thanks for your prayers. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I won't be flying in on this airline, but...

Nepal Airlines suspends international flights from Dec. 18 to 31 Kathmandu (PTI): Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC), the country's national carrier, will suspend all its international flights for two weeks in December due to the shortage of aircraft, airline sources said. The airline's only operational Boeing 757 is scheduled to go for overhauling to Brunei in the third week of December, while another aircraft is currently undergoing a C-check there and will take a fortnight to become operational. "The airline has stopped selling tickets for all international flights between December 18 and 31," said an airline official. The NAC needs to extract one of the two engines on the operational plane and install it on the Boeing in Brunei and then fly it back to Nepal to resume flights, sources said. The carrier would be able to resume its international flights only from January 1, 2008.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Scrap Odds & Ends Pics

This Korean couple invited me and a classmate to dinner at their flat. It was so nice to go to home! Their daughter, Joy, will be 3 in February. For weeks I had been tolerated at a only distance. A little candy bribe gained me a measure of favor. She now deems to at least speak to me, even if it is a strong, "No!". It was a real treat to spend some time with them in their home.

This was a shot of some fellow "En Route"-ers during a Sunday afternoon "walk".

This is a pic Thea took during a class project.

This is Victoria train and underground station in London. I stopped at a nearby Indian restuarant for lunch. If you can believe it, the Indian food here in the UK has been significantly spiced "down". I had to ask for something spicy - a chutney or something - to add and even then it was not really that "hot". This is in the kitchen of a family Olga and I visited in Southend by the sea in Essex (across the Thames from Kent). We went as part of a group from the school to do missions services at their church. Pictured below with me is Jolly, who is originally from India but moved to the UK when she married years ago. We were cleaning up after a very good lunch.

Then the family kindly took us to the seaside (the Thames river opening up into the sea), which was just about 5 minutes drive away. Here is the Barber family (John, Matthew, and Jolly) with Olga (my roommate). Because the Thames river is tidal, the tide comes in and out and the water drops significantly - so there is a very long pier out into the water: 1.3 miles long. It is the longest in the world.

We rode a train out to the end of the pier, and then had fun with the bell. I was so grateful Jolly had an extra coat to lend me. I had left my heavy coat back at the school and the temperatures were falling with strong winds off the water.

Olga took this shot of me on the pier. Those lights behind me in the distance are Kent.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

ANCC Games

Someone had a bright idea. Just for fun, there was an game competition held for the students and faculty for an hour one afternoon. We were placed in teams. There was a competition involving shaving balloons. We did not win.

We had to creatively wrap a strange object using odd items provided in a trash bag and then come up with good reasoning for it's appearance. Yes, that is the British Prime Minister. Don't ask. We lost.

We had to see who could build the tallest free-standing object using only tape and newspaper. I do not think there was anything like an engineer in the building, much less our team. Since they said we could use tape, we tried to use it as "stabilizing cables" connecting the top of the tower to the floor (like on a cell tower). Someone reported us during the game and the rules were changed to disallow tape touching the floor. We lost.

Other team's entries:

The finale, however, involved creating an "outfit" for someone in the team from an assortment of newspapers, (cello) tape and odds and ends provided in a trash bag ("rubbish bin liner"). Each team representative then participated in a "fashion show" while another team member "creatively" introduced the "design". The resulting contestants were rather interesting.

We didn't really have a se when our team put ours together. Rather, we knew we had a time limit and that things in the bag needed to be attached to Bernice somehow. I don't want to necessarily speak for the rest of my team - but this is not my area of gifting (the shoes are particularly my fault). Before I knew what was happening, someone made her a torch at the end and said she could have something to do with the Statue of Liberty. Doesn't that just make you feel so honored?

Our representative:

The honorable judges are on the stage behind the contestants. Other teams:
Janet's nose ring was rather noteable.

This was impressive.

But this was the winner.

By the way, he and his family work in southern Nepal.

So, now you've seen alot of photos representing a one hour activity.

Guy Fawkes Day

Here in the UK, November 5th is Guy Fawkes Day. From what I've gathered, hundreds of years ago there was a plot headed by Guy Fawkes to blow up parliament. He was caught before they could detonate the explosives his team had smuggled beneath the building. Although sentenced to be hung until almost dead, drawn and quartered and then burnt - Mr. Fawkes avoided much of it by jumping off the scaffold after the hanging part, thereby breaking his neck. Nice. This holiday is celebrated by firecrackers (for days preceding the actual big day) and then a huge bonfire.
A group of ANCC students and I went to Cambridge to watch the evening fireworks display followed by a gigantic bonfire (from a distance it looked similar to the Texas A&M pics I've seen). Thousands of people were there. We arrived at the grounds at 7:35. Fireworks were over at 7:45. Nice display.
Then, apparently, fish and chips is the thing to eat afterwards - wrapped in wads of plain paper. We walked back to the grounds and around the carnival and the, by then, smaller bonfire.
We then walked to a student's sisters home. The family is from Cyprus. Since we were a bunch of students that have lived in dorm housing for weeks now, we gratefully entered and filled the couches and floor of the living room. Most agreed, it felt so good to be in a regular home.
One of the extended family members at the house was a guy named Eric Leonard from Central. Here's a pic of him with his wife (expecting in March).
Anyone know or recognize him? His brother Philip goes to Central high. Eric used to live by Central Middle. His dad owns some window and glass company. He was in the Air Force, stationed here, met his wife and now lives in the UK (since ~ 2001). He's only the second American I've met the entire time here (8wks), and he lived only maybe 5 minutes or so from my apartment in Louisiana. One of the ANCC students said, "He has the same accent as you!"

Thursday, November 1, 2007

"You have to have been in prison to know what being a free man means."

While I was in London, I read a 1989 Reader's Digest interview of a man who was kept captive in Beirut for 3 years (Jean Paul Kaufmann). The interviewer asked, "Do you still think about the foreign hostages still in Beirut?" He answered, "I am obsessed by them. Knowing that at this very moment they are suffering is intolerable to me...Until they are rescued, I won't feel entirely free." These words caught my ear. Christ came and suffered, lived as a "captive" in humanity. He was tempted even as we are tempted. He was limited to human weakness to personally endure pain, rejection and suffering. Now that part of the Trinity no longer lives in this world as the individual "Jesus Christ". He is seated at the right hand of the Father - constantly interceding for us. What this former hostage said rang near what Christ could say from having "lived in our shoes" as hostages within humanity - to live in and bear what occurs on this earth. He also somehow experienced separation or a feeling of disconnection with God (somehow) - "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" He experienced life and suffering - among us - as one of us. Consider what does God think of His brethren still here - those suffering in this world? "I am obsessed by them. Knowing that at this very moment they are suffering is intolerable to me...Until they are rescued, I won't feel entirely free." The interviewer went on to ask, "Do you feel..guilty...leaving comrades behind?" The redeemed captive asnwered, " I think we need to talk more simply of a brotherhood of sorrow...(We) faced suffering everyday. Together, we felt hunger, cold, fear...This brotherhood will bind us forever and attaches us firmly to those who remain... I have often thought of those years as an initiation." Initiation into a brotherhood. Do you see it? Do you see Christ? The High Priest in Hebrews who suffers Himself to become the perfect Intercessor. He made us His brethren. This man was taken captive along with others, held for 3 years in a windowless room without light and air. His name was changed. He had no possession of his own. Everything was taken or lost. Afterwards, he was released while others were not. He said that he believes in the redemptive aspect of suffering and insists on forgiveness. He said, "I knew my suffering was going to open hidden and difficult things to me...suffering reveals a great deal...(before) I lived a charmed life. I went out on stories as a reporter to verify what I had read in books. I'm not renouncing the past, but it is no longer enough." Do we live like that? Suffering has a way of decimating idealism with brutal reality. Ideals alone may not survive the pain. It is not enough. In class today, they asked, "Is there a difference between a Christian that has suffered and one who hasn't?" Fellowship with Jesus in suffering can strangely alter a person. But where else is there a God who can enter into suffering with you? By being both the Son of God and the Son of Man, He willfully chose to be linked with us in such a way that we can know that He knows. "I am obsessed by them...Until they are rescued, I will not be entirely free." As Christ loves the Church...We are His Body...if one part of the body suffers, the whole body suffers...remember those in we must love one another even as He has loved us. Until they are rescued, I will not be entirely free.