This is a pic from earlier. Charley Campbell gave it to me.
It is illegal to take pics of soldiers. Anyway when we are talking about rebels, this is what they look like...
Just got back from the second Korhogo Trip on Thursday. It went quite well, in spite of the fact that the Ivory Coast is less than a month away from the date the president has to call elections, or 75% of the country will be out to make him resign by force. At the end of November, His term is officially over. If he has not called an election, He will be extending his term illegally in the minds of the majority of the people. For the people up north, He has already had 4 years too many.
So I wanted to do our second moving trip early in Nov rather than later.
There were lots of barriers in the road again. We had to pass about 16 each direction. The soldiers at one barrier have no sense of coordination with the one preceding it. One barrier will tell you to do something, the next one will
be upset because you did it. One barrier, a young soldier asked us for tea, so we
gave him tea, the commandant sitting at the desk under a mango tree called Pastor
Youssouf over. (It was decided that if I responded to such calls it would cost twice
as much because I'm a white foreigner.) The commandant was upset. What did you give
to that guy? Tea. You cant do that, you have to give all gifts here at the desk.
Youssouf replied "Doesn't he work for you. Isn't he supposed to turn in any gifts for your company of soldiers?" I guess it doesn't work that way. We had to give a little money, and tea to the commandant. The next stop we ignored the privates, and only dealt with the higher-ups.
I was able (with the help of Yaya our Korhogo business manager) to rent a 8 ton truck to carry 95% of our furniture up here to Kadiolo. We arranged papers, and left. When a truck is loaded, the stops tend to ask for more money, but actually it was quite reasonable until the last Cote D'Ivoire stop. Then we had to deal a bit. But I was prepared. I had a Christian rap cd, french study materials for the Bible, and and english "Daily Bread." So I was able to give those to a guy who gave us a lot of trouble on the last trip. He asked for money last time because he was an
intellectual. He said he was stuck in this war with a bunch of people who could
barely read. When we saw him this time, I told him these literature gifts were just for him. He was so pleased. So he'll be doing Bible Studies now...
The Mali customs went so smoothly. We had stopped before going down to see the
commandant who has been so helpful to the Hospital, and who had cleared my first
shipment with no cost to me. Youssouf suggested I bring him two guinea hens to thank
him and to declare that we were on a second moving trip.
We arrived at the office, but he had been replaced by a new guy. We introduced ourselves, wondering how this new guy would work with us. I gave him the guinea hens, and he lit up with the biggest smile. He said "Mr Ly told me that you missionaries were nice, and so easy to work with. I hope we can work together a lot in the future. Could you help me with my computer. It is so hard for me?"
So when we got back up to Mali, I knocked on his door, and he put me to work on his computer. I helped him for about 45 minutes. We fixed a few things, but one was the program they use to report finances. Microsoft Access.
I didn't want to meddle with that too much. Anyway, to cut it all short, we were done with the computer. He pulled out my custom papers and signed them. I said, okay, do I owe anything? He smiled really big, and said "No, you have helped me so much today." I said okay, gave him my phone number, and said I'd be glad to help again...
The whole trip was fairly expensive, but about the same price as buying a new stove
in Bamako. But I not only got our old stove, but the fridge, and all the furniture,
including our nice sofa. Our colleagues the Campbells left us 5 big boxes of Homeschool curriculum. That will help Lisa in her wait for Homeschool materials coming in the container. There was some damage between storage, and then the moving
truck, but nothing was destroyed. Things need a lot of dings and rips repaired, though.
Thanks for praying. The trip went so well. And as I said to Pastor, "Look, no bullet holes." I'm not sure he thought that was funny. Oh Well.
The builder was here last night. We had a long talk about the house, gave him the
plans, and he will give us an estimate later in the week. He is eager to work, and
we're ready to have him work. We need to decide together how much building we can
afford with the money we have now. I'd rather finish one building than start three
and finish none. Our house plan is divided into three. The main house, The girls
bedroom house, (Which will become a 2 bedroom guest house when Hilary is at school,
and Joannie is gone.) And The storage/workshop/Office/Laundry. So we'll start with
the main house first... The builder would like us to build a garage right away, so he can sleep in it for the month he is building. His point was that the materials could be locked up there, too. Good Point.
Maybe some of you have not heard directly from us in a while. We're sorry. We'd love to email you personally. Email us one, and I will respond as fast as I can reconnect!
Here is a bonus Barrier story: Last time we had a problem because passengers weren't listed on our paper that declared the reason for the trip. (Ordres de Mission.) So this time we had two women going to Korhogo with us from here.
So part way down, the rebels ask us to take a girl in the car, too. So we argue a bit, and relent, so shes in the van. A couple of stops down, the rebels there are upset because this girls name is not on our paper as a passenger on the Ordres de Mission. I was not happy. Up to this point, I'd been pretty good, and said nothing at stops, let Youssouf do the talking. But I let the guy who was upset have it. "What are you talking about? I helped your friends a couple of stops ago, and now you want to tell me you're upset because her name is not on my list? What is that! You cannot be serious!" He saw how serious I was. "Okay, Pardon" He says, and backs right off. I was bothered...
There was another spot after that, that they didn't have a barrier up. So I wasn't stopping. They came out of the trees, whistling, and waving guns. I stop right away, and reverse back to where they are. "Why didn't you stop?" They say.
"Why were you in the trees? Why didn't you have a barrier?" I ask. I said, "I'm respectful, I stopped as soon as I realised there was someone there." They agreed, and let us go without asking for anything. Wow...
You dont argue too long or too furiously with people with guns in a zone where they are the only law.
Still have a few things left in Cote D'Ivoire, but they are minimal priority. And most of that will be given away. A few things wont be.
We won't be looking for those until well after February at least. I'm done travelling in Cote D'Ivoire for a long time.
Elections are supposed to be soon, but preparations are not taking place. So Mr president is not making wise choices again. They will be packing him up and sending him off one way or the other. Hopefully it doesn't take too long, or kill too many people. Hopefully, the guy replacing him will be better. Hopefully the new guy can take care of this voter registration problem, so a real election can take place.
We are preparing a guest house in town, (that Ernie and Jan maintain) to receive the missionaries from Cote D'Ivoire as evacuees if needed. We need to work out something for the three nurses at Korhogo as well if that need arises.
Rod & Angelika are the only other CB missionaries in Cote D'Ivoire. They're in Bouake with the french military. So they will do as the french do, probably.
So we're busy this month. Sorting and storing what came up from Cote D'Ivoire, Preparing for Joannie, Starting building plans, getting quotes, Rented and preparing a study room, as well as homeschool, pastoral stuff, youth ministry starting, SS starting up. Did I miss anything? Probably. Gas is all gone, can't cook right now. Have to go to Sikasso to get gas. Can't buy it here. Fun.