Friday, October 28, 2011

Thank you!

Dear Friends and Family,

We have had an amazing response, yet again this year, for sponsors to help put kids into the Adventist School here in Bere.  So far it is over 200 students that have been helped.  The need is so great but your dollars have been able to help so many.  I just want to thank you all from everyone here for all the support you are giving.  That alone is a testimony to God's love for His children.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart as well.  In the past couple of years I have really given my heart to these kids.  Thank you for allowing me to be the link between you and the Chadian children.  Together I believe we are giving them all an opportunity to know God and a hope for their future.  We are letting them know that someone loves them and cares about their lives.  This could not happen if it were not for all of you.  Your financial support has spoken a million words to the people here.  Our school stands out because of the donations and the love that makes our school different.  Continue to pray for not only the students but also the teachers for they are the ones with the main responsibility on their shoulders.

This year we have handed out the new bibles.  One for every student that is in the upper classes and for the last class in the primary school.  We are also giving each teacher a bible in the whole school, a total of 280 bibles.  We praise God for this wonderful gift and for everyone who donated toward this goal.  This is the first new book that they all get to look at, they don't get books.  Here are a few pictures to show you some of the kids with their new bibles and some of the faces you help put in there. 

Thank you all!

Love and blessings,
Tammy Parker

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dear Friends and Family

The alarm went off this morning at 4:30 am to wake me and Jamie up from
our deep sleep. We have to pack up a few things to go on an overnight
trip to Ndjamena. We are going to pick up two new volunteers and James
and Sarah along with their twin 3 month old babies Adam and Miriam. I
have a feeling of anxiety just because I know that any time we leave
Bere there always seems to be an adventure ahead of us. What will it be
this time? Will the car make it? Will this be the trip that I actually
have to use a squat pot? Will we find a place to stay? Will we have a
mosquito net to sleep with? Will Cory, Brichelle and Tony be ok here in
Bere while we are gone?

Bags were packed and specific instructions for the kids were left on the
table along with some money for any emergency and some to pay workers on
Friday. We always say a prayer here before we go anywhere because we
know how dangerous it really is. We make our way through the gate and
pick up a passenger that has asked to catch a ride to the "big city".

I finally have some down time to just think about everything that has
been going on the last few weeks. We have been so busy. There are
about 9 young volunteers here right now and life has been busy keeping
them going in a new place. So many questions to answer and so much to
teach them. But what is really keeping us busy is the fact that there
is just not enough places to put them all so we (as in Jamie) are having
to build some huts for them in the village with their new families.

But as of today I have time to think about this place. We are traveling
from Bere to Kelo. It is an unpaved road and because of the rainy
season it makes it a very bouncy and a slow going process. It seems
like every block or so is a place that we need to slow way up and go
around another pot hole or a water hole that would be dangerous to just
go through because the van would just get stuck. We have already gone
through two herds of oxen with the ridiculously big horns that make you
think twice about rolling up your window. And you also have to watch
out for the goats and people on bikes or even walking. There was a lady
trying to cross the street before we passed by and she didn't know if
she should stay or go once she was in the middle of the road. It is
almost like the concept of a car going by was new to her and she wasn't
sure what to do. After an hour and a half we get to Kelo and check for
mail at the post office. We are surprised by two packages from a friend
of the family. I open the packages out of curiosity and find some
chocolate bars to help us on our 7 hour trip to Ndjamena. We are so
blessed to have people that do this for us. I open a small
Butterfingers and begin to enjoy it as I am watching Jamie try to
purchase gas for our trip. He is needing to get 110 liters and it is
taking forever but I am entertained by his French with the Arabs and his
charades. His French has really improved but I am afraid that with his
southern accent sometimes the people just don't get it. I am also
watching them put a hose down into a container and then they suck on one
end to get the gas to come out. We spend about 45 minutes there and now
we are off. I am thinking that from here it should be a lot better
because the roads will be paved. Wrong! The roads are paved but there
are pot holes everywhere. Jamie rarely can get the van going up to 50
mph and he has to slow down almost to a stop. He keeps his hand on the
horn to warn people everywhere that we are coming down the road. I look
out to the beautiful fields of rice. They are such a neon green and
with the sun beaming down and the wind waving them from side to side I
begin to see the beauty of this place. But then I see the huts in the
background which then makes me think of the people. I think about all
the sickness and poverty. I think about all the women that work so hard
every day just to get a few hours of sleep and wake up and begin their
work again. They wake up sweeping around their house on the dirt ground
to remove the sicks and leaves. Then they begin preparing food for
their family. Some then will strap on their babies and go out to those
beautiful fields in the hot African sun only to be bent over for hours
pulling out weeds. No rest is in site for now they have to prepare food
again for the evening meal. Wash the many children and herself if water
holds out. Make sure there is water drawn from the well. If the woman
is lucky she will not be beaten by her husband but it is almost a
guarantee they will be used by him. Then off to sleep to do it again
tomorrow. No wonder the women here are so angry. I don't know how they
do it.

As I think about many of the things that I have seen and heard it leaves
me with a lump in my throat. I could just cry for them. The people are
so naive and only because of circumstances are suffering. Someone asked
Olen and Danae, after working doing some construction changes in their
house, if they thought that God loves everyone the same? Their response
was of course, yes. The man just said then why do you think that there
are people that have so much and some that have so little just because
of where they come from. I can only imagine how we must look in our
nice home with electricity and running water. I can look at my house
here after being in America for a couple of months and think wow this
place is so dirty and nothing is comfortable. But then I think of how
they have to live.

My thoughts are interrupted by an almost accident. Jamie has picked up
speed and the road is making a wide curve going toward the left. Coming
around that bend are two buses side by side. They are going down the
road bumping each other. My thoughts are that we are going to die!
Luckily we have a gravel shoulder that we quickly move over to in order
to avoid being hit. I can feel that the van is going out of control and
I just scream "Jesus please help us!" Jamie was able to get our van
back into control and back on the road before the gravel was to run out.
I turn around to see what is going on with the buses and they are still
bumping each other trying to get their vehicles back into control.
Jamie is just flushed with adrenalin but we are both just so grateful to
still have our lives and be back on the road again.

We get to the "big city" of Ndjamena and I am always amazed at all the
people and chaos. We are both staving and can't wait to make it over to
this little cafe that we know of that sells pastries and sandwiches and
pizza. We feel like real country bumpkins in there with our wind blown
hair and sweaty worn out clothes. We are immediately hit with the now
unfamiliar feeling of air condition aah we never want to leave this
place. We look at all the different people and see more white people in
one place then we are use to seeing. Everyone is dressed up, some with
suits and some with American fashions. It is a weird feeling to being
exposed to tables with pretty linen with glass over them. The
refrigerators with glass fronts that have real butter, milk and cheese.
Another refrigerator has these beautiful pastry pies and cakes. I want
to go nuts and buy everything. We settle on just what is like a grilled
cheese sandwich. We would feel a whole lot more at ease if we knew
French fluently because now we are thinking about how are we going to
order what we want. We do as we always do and make a little of a scene
but with pointing get what we want. It was amazing too, to have melted
cheese with grilled french bread. What a treat! Unfortunately we have
to go back out into the heat. We get back into the hot worn out van and
make our way over to Team where James and Sarah are staying. It was so
good to see them. It had been almost a year since I had seen Sarah and
about 9 months since I saw James. They both look healthy and happy.
Their babies are so cute and the idea of them having babies is just so
new to us. Parenthood looks great on them as they beam from ear to ear
showing off their new babies.

There was a whole lot of running around to do so we all split up. James
and Jamie were going to just drop me off at the market. They asked me
if I was scared and I said no should I be? My attitude toward this
place has sure changed in the last two years. But instead of taking my
word for it they decide to get the male volunteer to go with me as a
bodyguard. We all get everything done that we need to. My stuff was
all fun stuff but James and Jamie had to check up on our passports, pick
up new brakes for the van and a few other business things. We all come
back together at Team where we pick up Sarah and the kids. James and
Sarah want to take us out for our anniversary. They heard about our
last attempt at an anniversary trip to Moundou. I was super excited. We
get to a beautiful restaurant that is all outside. One big African
pavilion with a grass thatch roof with a bar in the middle and
beautifully set tables all around. There are tropical plants
surrounding us with candles everywhere. The mood was set and they were
even playing English songs that we knew in the background. We felt like
we were at a restaurant in Florida with the breeze moving the plants
around and making for a cool fall night. Pizza was served with all
kinds of vegetables but the pieces with artichokes were my favorite. We
had a really good time just sharing stories of the times we were apart.
After a couple hours we go back to Team to get a little shut eye. There
was not enough room at Team for us so our romantic evening ended with
Jamie on the couch and me in a single bed and sharing a room with Marcy
the other new volunteer. I felt bad for her because I was up and down
all night starting from 3 in the morning. I had food poisoning, no fun.
All I could think about was how am I going to do this going back to Bere
in the van. They bought me a bucket and put me in the back of the van
so I could lay down. It was a great thought but it was so hot laying in
the sun and there were so many bags piled up almost touching the ceiling
that every turn we took I had to open my eyes and hold my arm out to
catch one that would attempt to fall on me and there was no air flow
what so ever. We did make it back without a scratch, back to our little
home in Bere. I stepped out of the back of the van and slipped away as
James and Sarah are greeted by all their old friends. Just another
adventure when we step away from Bere.