Tuesday, January 29, 2008

African Memory Quilt Under Construction

If it's Tuesday, it must be quilting day :-) Since I'd finished the rag quilt over the weekend, I was ready to start the African memory quilt. I decided to "weave" green fabric with the brown bark cloth from Uganda to create a new piece of fabric. Looked a lot easier on "Simply Quilts" so what I thought would be a fairly quick project took most of the day. The bark cloth is even rougher than burlap and it kept snagging on the cotton fabric that I'd ripped into strips. But the end product looked great!

Hubby printed out an outline of the African continent that I copied onto transparency so I could project it onto the wall and enlarge it sufficiently. My Africa is 21 inches wide and 25 inches long. I'm very pleased with how it came out. I did sew all around the edge to anchor the fabric and keep it from unweaving (is that a word?).

Next up is a stylized African woman with a basket or pot on her head. The plan is to put Africa on the left of the quilt and the woman on the right. Several batiks will *float* in the middle of the quilt.

I dug out a small knick-knacky thing I picked up in Uganda: a man and woman on a bike, with the woman holding a pig. It stands about 5 inches high and is probably 8" wide. The people and pig are fashioned from fabric and paper mache and the bike from some sort of metal. It's too small to really display (gets sort of *lost* on the shelf) but I thought it would be a great addition to the quilt. I'm going to sew/glue (or something) it so it looks like the couple are riding into Africa :-)

I'm having way too much fun with this!

And now here's the second letter we sent home from Uganda:

July 2001
Hey all! I am going to try to send an update weekly, but that may change as we get busier. For now I'm enjoying the slower pace that comes with being new kid on the block :-) Ivan hasn't been so fortunate. He's got just a couple weeks to learn the ropes from Mark before they leave on furlough and this week Ivan's fighting a bad head/chest cold.

We're getting to know some of the kids. On Sunday evening we were invited to share the evening meal with one of the Family Groups. They prepared quite a feast for us: metoke (steamed cooking bananas), dodo (fried greens), rice, beans, meat sauce, peanut sauce, and grilled chunks of pork. Since they usually eat posho (cooked corn meal) or metoke with beans, it was a treat for them as well. We also sang (the Ugandans love to sing!) and played a game. It was a lot of fun. One of the girls, Sarah, is in 7th grade and plans to attend a vocational course in cooking/catering. She's already getting plenty of practice! The kids in each family group take turns helping with meal preparation. They work in groups of 4 or 5 to cook for the whole unit (usually around 25).

And yesterday I got to help fry chipotees (flat bread) for a gathering. First I watched Mama Daisy mix a whole bag of flour with other ingredients, and spend about ten minutes kneading this massive thing of dough. She gradually worked through it, forming little balls, which she then rolled out and we fried. Very tasty, but not exactly a diet food! Close to 30 kids came over for the evening. After some volleyball they played a spirited game of crab soccer with a huge inflated beach ball. The ball died about 15 minutes into the game, but before it did the kids had a great time crawling on hands and feet like crabs while trying to kick the ball. After the meal we sat and shared. A very special time.

Ivan came home from Kampala yesterday a bit discouraged. The city is so dirty, with sewage in the streets, cracked and crumbling sidewalks and buildings, huge potholes in the road...But it's not surprising when you remember the country had civil strife for about twenty years, and that wasn't so long ago.

Kasana Children's Center, in contrast, seems an oasis of peace and abundance. All of the family groups and some staff families have gardens, there's a poultry farm on site, most family groups are also raising rabbits or some type of meat animal, and everyone makes an effort to keep the place neat and clean. This is not typical. On our first day here we stopped at a fruit and vegetable stand. We bought some small bananas to eat right away and when we asked where to put the peels, they just pointed to the ground. Sure enough, the ground was littered with peels and other vegetable refuse.

There are many ongoing projects that Ivan will be overseeing. The newest family unit still has work to be done on it: cisterns to be dug, three of the round houses need grass roofs, the electricity needs to be extended out there...They're breaking ground on an administration building on secondary side next week. A duplex which will serve as Ugandan staff housing is under construction. The cafeteria at secondary school needs some work, and they'll also be installing three wood stoves for cooking. Plus a myriad of smaller things. Certainly no lack of work! We'd appreciate your prayers for Ivan as he gets a handle on all the ongoing projects, and learns how to prioritize his time.

Tina is going to be helping teach third grade math. She went today for the first time and was happy to discover they're using Saxon math and that's what she used in third grade! She's had fun hanging out with the missionary kids, running errands and finding things to do. Like building a bird cage for the two birds they caught -- but alas, the birds escaped before they could take advantage of their lovely new home. We did, however, get a photograph of Tina with the African emerald cuckoo before it made its untimely getaway. She's also excited to be getting a tan. Well, it will be a tan after the burn fades :-)

Three Thursdays a month we'll meet with other new staff for a Bible study; the entire staff is gradually working through a series called MasterLife. On the fourth Thursdays everyone gets together for a time of worship and sharing. Tonight will be our first Bible study because last Thursday was fellowship night.

We were glad to hear from Jon that he'd arrived safely in Argentina and was excited about his time there. He did say he wished everyone would talk a little slower :-) We're sure by the end of the month, his language skills will be much improved. We're glad he has this opportunity and we're SO thankful for the friends in Argentina who are helping him.

Several of you expressed concern about Ivan attending the men's retreat on secondary side, where large pythons have been known to swallow whole calves. Well, rest assured that he'll be safe. They've decided NOT to camp, but just go over Friday evening and all day Saturday, but spend nights in their own homes. Anyway, they tell us they've never lost a staff to snake bite yet. Snake swallowing I don't know about.

No comments: