Picture of Jon on the tractor mowing the roadside at the edge of the village. School had just let out so he had quite an audience. (We continue to love the tractor over here!!)
Last Saturday we had a very interesting day. Jacque, the pharmacist here at the clinic, asked if we'd like to go see a rubber plantation. We borrowed a car and Sandy, Sara, Jacque, his wife and daughter and I drove about 2 1/2 hours west toward the Liberian border. It didn't take 2 1/2 hours because it was so far, but because we only averaged about 25 mph. Jacque's wife even got sick at one point from the twisting rough roads, but seeing a rubber plantation from the tree to the factory and then to the exporter was worth the rough drive and a lot more. I had almost no idea how you harvest the raw product from the tree, much less process it and get it ready to export. Most of the containers in the warehouse waiting to be shipped were marked "Michelin", so they must have been a large supplier for Michelin tires. This particular area of Guinea has thousands of acres of rubber trees, all planted in nice rows with a little pot hanging on the side collecting the white rubber resin that drips from a groove cut around the tree. A most fascinating day.
But the most exciting thing about this week was the news we got from Jordan and Katie last night! We had been over at Katie's families house for the evening, and we noticed when we left to walk home about 9:00 PM, that Jordan and Katie went another direction. It was a beautiful full moon and a nice evening to go for a walk (and hope the snakes weren't out), so we smiled and went home to bed. About 45 minutes later they walked in, burst right into our bedroom, and Katie nearly leaped across the room with a huge smile showing us a nice diamond ring on her finger! The timing was perfect for everyone here, it's certainly the only time they could be with both her parents and us at the same time. Plus, it fulfilled Katie's dream of being proposed to in the land she's spent most of her life in. It looks like we'll be having a wedding sometime next summer when Stephen and Lori will be in the States on a short home assignment.
Sara and I had another interesting experience last week. We were finishing up the doctors house we've been working on when we heard some loud popping and snapping, almost like a gun on the other side of the wall along the road. We ran to a high place to see that the 10' tall grass along the road had caught on fire, and in this baking hot weather with a slight breeze, it was burning hot and starting to spread pretty fast. We sent out a shout and went running. Gbato, Ce'Kona and one of the guards grabbed buckets, and I hopped on the tractor. A few more came running from the village and helped carry water up from the swamp. I started clearing a bare area ahead of the fire to stop it while all the others fought the fire with buckets. For a while we thought it was going to take out one of the neighbors pig pens, but we were succesful before it caused any damage. The funniest thing I've seen in a while was Ce'kona racing around through the smoke and burning grass fighting the fire in flip-flops! I think his feet must be made of organic cast iron.
CAMA services is the umbrella organization that is now running this clinic. One of their other ministries in this part of the world is working with refugees. With the problems going on across our southern border in the Ivory Coast right now, there is talk around here of what could happen if refugees begin to flee Ivory Coast and come this direction. Just a couple weeks ago we thought we might have to leave Guinea, and now it looks like our neighbors might have to flee this direction. The lack of any kind of political stability is most incredible, and you would think it would make me complain less about our own government......but it probably won't :)
Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a Jesus focused time of celebration!!!!!