The Project Canaan Team of Five:Part Two Written By: Janet Scott

Moments To Remember: Blessings Upon Blessings

Not long after we moved into the Lodge, I organized a grand potluck dinner, with 20 attending, including all the Maxwells, all the PC staff including Sherri Gereke, Jimmy and Mike, our team of five and the HFA staff including Shirley Ward, Anita Stinnett and Amber Nolen.  The Kenyans brought their labor intensive Kenyan dishes, Janine brought Pick ‘N Pay rotisserie chicken, Rose baked triple chocolate brownies, Anita baked Rice Crispies treats, I cooked a big pot of rice and made potato-mac salad, of course, with nothing but the best…real Best Foods mayo we brought with us, all of which made our spread so gorgeous and exceptionally delicious, and if we had one more person, we wouldn’t have had enough room at the table.  We had a great evening filled with food and fellowship.  Everyone kept saying that it was the best gathering ever.

Being from Hawai’i, Frank and I, love Spam and so does Jere.  Janine sent us Spam in the container, a whole case of it.  We introduced it to Mark, Rose and Sherri, especially my concoction of teriyaki grilled Spam.  In fact Rose invented what she called “flakes of Spam” (like Spam salad) and made sandwiches for us one day.  We chomped on Rose’s Girardelli Triple Chcolate Mix brownies from a boxed mix, which Janine sent over in the container, using the crazy propane Celcius oven, and later, Mark’s fresh-baked, scratch chocolate chip cookies.  She had to guess at timing because the lowest temperature started at about 400*.  We enjoyed several batches of these delicious goodies.  Ice cream in Africa is the best, even richer than in America.  Ask ice cream lover Mark, and he’ll tell you we had ice cream almost every other night.  Jere and I brought chili powder with us because we learned in 2010 that the African version of chili powder is far from what we are used to.  We enjoyed different versions of chili when Rose, Lisa and Jere cooked their recipes.  Sunday mornings were always pancake mornings thanks to Janine’s Bisquick mix and good ‘ole pancake syrup.  The closest you will find to syrup in Swaziland is honey.  I introduced Rose to curry, along with the usual condiments of chutney, peanuts, raisins and coconut flakes.  She had a hard time getting her mind around an entree served with dessert ingredients.

Frank and his wife, Jane, lived for a year at El Shaddai Children’s Home’s Komati Campus in 2010 and when they left, they stored a lot of their things with Mark, who lived in Malkerns.  When Mark left Swaziland, he stored his things, along with Frank’s things, with a pastor friend.  Therefore, the men were able to watch videos, two Rubbermaid tubfuls sent by Janine, in the evenings while we women cleaned up after dinner and showered.  Our meals were enhanced because be had the use of Frank’s rice cooker and Mark’s sandwich grill, which even grilled hamburgers and teriyaki Spam.  Nothing smells as good as coffee first thing in the morning and Mark’s coffee maker was the best.  Africa makes surprisingly good coffee, but Mark also brought a lot of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee with him.  It seems that a lot of our blessings were based on food; not really, but leaving Africa heavier than when we arrived was a shock when Jere and I weighed in at home.

Moments To Remember: Wedding Vows Renewed

On July 19, 2011, Lisa Hackett arrived and joined the team.  She moved in with Mark so Frank had the pleasure of moving into one of the rooms that was completely finished.  Curtains, altered by Sherri with the sewing machine she brought with her, and drapes hung from nice wooden curtain rods (remember the rest of us used blankets), the cement floor and the bathroom walls and sink counter were beautifully tiled, and lighting was installed in the bathroom (while the rest of us still had to use our propane lanterns for illumination), and probably best of all, the ceiling was installed so we didn’t get to hear his snoring, LOL.

Jere, as a pastor, was supposed to have married Mark and Lisa, but due to commitments we weren’t available when the wedding had to be rescheduled.  So unbeknownst to Mark, Lisa brought her wedding gown and Mark’s tux with her in order to have a renewal of vows at the PC Chapel.  On August 2, 2011, the day before they returned home to New York, with Jere as preacher, Frank as Best Man and who walked Lisa down the chapel, and me as Matron of Honor, Mark and Lisa renewed their vows before Sherri, all the Kenyan staff and the HFA staff.  I don’t know how she managed it, but she was bare shouldered in her gown and we were all bundled up in the cold.  It must be the love that kept her warm.  Frank drove the couple up to the Lodge, while they stood up through the sun roof opening, waving to the five-car procession behind them, with all vehicles honking and headlights flickering.  We ended the evening at the Lodge kitchen with toasts given to the couple, chocolate chip cookies and ice cream.  What a great reason for a party!

Memorable Moments: Saying Goodby and Hello, Again

Saying goodby is never easy, especially for missionaries because we only get see each other when and if we serve together at the same place and at the same time.  Janine and her family left not long after Litsemba was wrapped up.  Rose was the first to leave from our team, in July, then Mark and Lisa in early August and then Frank, two days later.  A week later, Jere and I were the last to leave Project Canaan, so we had to shut down the Lodge and button down Kufundza.  Because the high security gate had not arrived before we left, Jere returned to Project Canaan one month later and stayed for two and a half weeks.  He was able to install all the machinery and equipment in Kufundza.  He was also able to work with Rose again because she and her husband, Albert, came with a team to get El Roi Baby House ready to be occupied, just like we had done with the Lodge.  During that  time, Jere made a prototype of a baby crib with more to be made during the summer of 2012.

Afterthoughts:

While riding around Medford to shop for essentials, we noticed that gas prices were just about the same as when we left in June.  Today gas was advertised at Fred Meyer (where we fill up with our Fred Meyer Rewards card and can get up to 10¢ off per gallon) for $3.65 per gallon and diesel for $3.95.  In Swaziland we paid as much as 10.05R per liter (about $6.09 per gallon) for unleaded gas for the generator and for the Pajero and for diesel, 9.95R per liter (about $6.03 per gallon) for our truck.  It really made me appreciate the price of gas here in Medford!

On this trip, I encountered a lot of frustrations with MTN network with my stick modem that lasted almost the entire trip, regardless of which office I sought help from.  In America we expect quality products, with a lot of options to choose from, as well as good service.  My experiences with MTN made me realize that without any competition, a monopoly can produce a complacent and sometimes even a hostile attitude among its staff.  We Americans can also feel entitled because we have become so accustomed to a certain level of expectations.  When these situations occur in the future, I need to remind myself TIA (This Is Africa) and that there’s no place like the good ‘ole USA.

In America, most people walk on sidewalks in cities and towns.  In Swaziland, people walk on the highways, the roads, the dirt paths, and even across rivers.  Ntombisfuthi, one of the PC field workers, walks through a waist high river twice a day to go to work at Project Canaan and then to go back home.  When she gets to the river, she removes her clothing, bundles it up and carries it on her head, as she crosses the river early in the morning when it is still dark, about 5:30, in order to arrive at Project Canaan at 7:00.  To go home, she repeats this process…EVERY WORKDAY.

The very first time I saw the construction crew leave the Lodge work site at 9:30 on a Friday morning and I learned from Jere that it was payday, I never thought that payday was a once a month event.  The minimum wage in Medford for 2011 is $8.50 per hour, but in Swaziland, the minimum wage is 35R ($5.30) PER DAY.  I wonder which ones in the construction crew made only 35R for an entire day of back-breaking labor?  Is it Brian, who made a makeshift set of steps for me to get from the kitchen hallway to the trash pit, or is it Sifiso, the painter, whose paintbrush looked like it had been through a garbage disposal?  Maybe it is Ntombisfuthi, who labors in the field all day, who has a family of children to feed while her husband works in the South African mines.  It makes me cry to think about how these people struggle 24/7 just to exist and yet they smile, they laugh; they are such respectful, appreciative people.  I am so glad God has given me the chance to know them and to pray for them.  Amen.

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