Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This first week of English classes and language studies is going well. The first few afternoons as soon as we got back to the apartment Chris and I both would pass out and nap for an hour or two before we begin to study. I had never thought that something as simple as talking and listening could be so exhausting! The body has begun to be accustomed to the mental workload that it now has, gradually over the past few days I have been more productive with my evenings.

In the class setting, I have the privilege of starting from the ground up with a student, he has the same grasp on English that I have on Somali. So, in the sessions that I have in the afternoon language learning sessions I have been prompted to model the English class in the same manner. This looks to be a promising way of teaching. I think that to see someone who has just moved from their home country, immediately want to grab ahold of and learn a new language to be awesome. The guy I am helping learned the alphabet yesterday, and today we went over a bit of what primary sound each letter makes.  

Today, which is Wednesday, we had the opportunity to leave the English center after our lessons and walk through a bit of Mayfair. This was an awesome experience. There are butcher shops, spice markets, curtain shops, roadside food vendors and open-air shwarma and Indian “restaurants”. Crowded streets with all sorts of vehicles and people jockeying for space in the traffic. Horns and shouts were flying everywhere! Unlike in other cities that I have been in there were no overpowering smells of garbage and the like, in their place were the smells of the spice shops and the outdoor grills. We could smell the meat cooking a block away from the shops and the smells were enough to feel the need to go into every place that we passed.

We eventually made it to an open air mall/market. This place was kind of like a mall (more or less) and a lot like a multi-level market. Since we were there, of course we had to look the place over, and stop to get a bite to eat. Samosas were the choice for today’s street dining, they are fried triangular pastries filled with a type of curry/masala. They were tasty, some odd but still good. I think that I described one of them to Chris as “taking a really delicious bite of sweaty armpit, that tastes like steak in less than a second!”. While they were great I think I’ll stay with the chicken ones for a while!

Also while out in the markets we stopped at some spice stalls, and for anyone familiar with purchasing spices, you will understand the deals that I got in buying street spices. For under a dollar U.S. I purchased zip-lock sized bags of ground chili, cayenne, and other spices. In the States each of those would have ran 5-15$.

I think that the next time we go to buy meat that we’ll try out a really nice Halaal meat market that is just a block away from the ESL center. Getting the opportunity to get out and mingle with the community where we are working is really nice for us, in being able to better understand the culture and beliefs of the differing peoples that make up the community as well as getting the community used to seeing these two white guys from the U.S. Having the call to pr@yer during the middle of language learning keeps us aware of where we are. A person would have to drive several miles to find a BLT!

So far there have been no chances to take photos of the places where we are teaching, or of the area that we have been walking the streets. Taking random pictures at this stage will look suspicious and may close doors for us that would otherwise be open for now.

Thank you for all the pr@yers and support,


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Hello and blessings, from Joburg

My teammate and I are getting situated to live in the city now. there are these things called rolling blackouts that happen and are scheduled, the "Powers that be" here locally decide that it is better to turn off the power than to produce enough for all to use (and buy, there is only one power provider for millions upon millions of people.). the same goes for the water supply. I was told earlier today that I should get a few buckets out of the tap, because the water will be shut off until tomorrow night.

I know that it may look as if I am complaining about the current state of things, but let me get it clear for every readers sake, I am not complaining!...I am simply trying to paint a description of the day to day life and flow here in the city. I am much too blessed to complain about a bit of light or water!

This is by far the most populated place I have ever lived, and I find it more than a little odd to go shopping in the way of the cities. Everything is organized in malls, so groceries in one part, computers in another. I find it a bit confusing, but it works.

Tomorrow we will get to meet up with a local congregation, and learn what
fellowship and w0r$hip is like here.

Monday will mark the beginning of the ESL classes and the language learning for us. I have high hopes for the upcoming work and interactions. please pr@y for our upcoming time here, that we will be effective and that we as a team and as individuals learn and mature in our Walks. Also that ears would be open to hear, and opportunities would present themselves for sharing.

Thank you for reading this and for your thoughts. If you want you can email me at . and please remember to be social media sensitive. no posting! anywhere!


Hey everybody,

This is Ethan and I am finally in Jo Burg. The last week was awesome… as soon as we were off the plane in Botswana a member of each team was blindfolded, and that member for my team was me! We were then lead from the airport to begin the time of orientation, our luggage was taken from us to be prepared for situations of living out of a Go-Bag for weeks if need be. The training that we received was like super intense lecture period followed immediately by trips into the markets for application. This was the first time that I had ever hailed a public transport (called a kombi) and the trip was interesting, the fare to anywhere along the route was 3.5 pula (exchange rate of around 10/1) so that means that transport fare was 35 cents to get across the city.

We were instructed to go to the outdoor market and talk to people as well as to find certain items. One of these items was toilet paper and another was mpani worms. These worms are actually caterpillars that are harvested and then prepared either by frying them or boiling them as the main ingredient in a dish. The style that I took part in consuming were the fried type. After the mind over matter issue, they tasted similar to corn nuts or bugles and had a really great crunch. The people in the market watching this tasting demonstration went wild when I ate the first one and then started to open up and talk as I continued to eat them casually. Truth be told the idea of eating worms was odd, but after I broke through that first aversion it was much like eating snacks while watching sports.

We spent much of that time last week in training for the upcoming months and to get acclimated to this continent. Our whole group went to our separate countries where we’ll be at for the next several months. Part of that training was a short “homestay” we were taken to a village and dropped off with a local host and were told to lie and learn as much as possible during the next few days. While at the homestay I was challenged by the life that our host was living in this rural village. Kevin, was our hosts’ name, and he was devout and on fire to share The Message as well as being one of only 3 or 4 adult age men in that congregation. While staying with this young man I realized that even without having much in life, as long as you have that relationship with Him then your purpose has meaning and you can have joy in your life.

In the village we learned how to make pap (the “a” has an “ahh” sound), which is a main filler food for this part of Africa apparently. The area of Botswana is a desert, less so where we were but still a desert. So, that being said, bathing was with a bucket and a washcloth! Also in the village I had the opportunity to share a story out of Mark with an individual during a day of door to door “Sharing interactions”, in addition I was also given the opportunity to share the story during the Sunday morning worship time.

Once we left the village we went back to the city of Gaborone (pronounced haberonee) (“g’s have a ha sound.) The lecture style training recommenced. On the next to last day in country we were afforded the opportunity to climb a boulder mound that was shadowing over our hotel. There were Baboons living on this hill/mountain, and other wildlife. It took the group of us nearly an hour of hill climbing and rock scaling to reach the top of the rocks, at places the climb was vertical, and at the summit we were rewarded with a view of the whole city.   On the trek down the mound we stumbled across an animistic ritual site among the trees and rocks. The ground had been cleared as well as swept, geometric designs had been built out of piled rocks and there were remains of fires from the day before. In some animistic beliefs, there are spirits in the mountains that are worshipped. Our group stopped to pr@y over the place, and then we left.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I do not have a large amount of time for this first update, but after a week in Botswana I am going to have much to write about as soon as I get to the next destination. The recent week has been a time of instruction and growing. some ideas of stories to come are ones of taxi's hailed that were not taxis, mpani worms, and the joys of village life as well as city life in Gaborone. hopefully soon there will be more freedom and opportunities to expand on the accounts.
With love,

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I think that as I continue to prepare for this journey that I may use this page as a sort of journal. Of course this won't be a kind of diary expressing all of the innermost feelings and thoughts that arise, but I believe that I should include the big events (obviously).
It has been bitter cold out recently and I am sure that the transition to a southern climate that is currently in the nineties is going to be quite shocking to the system, but I am most definitely looking forward to the opportunity to warm up my bones! I suppose that packing in earnest begins tomorrow and decisions on the essentials will have to be made.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

This is Ethan and I am new to the blogging world, so here goes to see if it is working!