Micah is 13

{PART OF THE MEA CULPA SERIES OF POSTS _ where I post things I should have written a long time ago. yeah…that’s on me.}

So we now (yes…months ago) have 3 teenagers in the family. Micah turned 13 just before the kids headed back to school.

Yes, every kid changes a lot every year..but his year one of the shocking things that happened is just how much Micah grew.

Judging from various photos it seems that from around his birthday in 2018 until his birthday in 2019 he probably grew about 10cm. And honestly – the majority of that was probably all after Christmas. Hard to find pictures where there is any gage, but these pictures below of Micah standing close to Susan, about 12 months apart

Since his birthday is in the summer, that means his 12th year of life also coincided with his 7th year of school. That makes K,1,2,3 in France, 4 a combination of Canada/ Bujumbura, 5 a combo of Bujumbura/Kibuye, and 6, 7 & 8 here in Kibuye.

He still loves reading, loves building (forts etc) and climbing trees. Playing ultimate frisbee, bike rides, and his most recent activity… motorbike rides.

trip to Rwanda to see the dentist
he tried out some rather varied looks over the year
birthday treats last year – dropping off J & M in Kenya

Micah is a kind soul, and it’s been great to watch him grow, learn, and change over this past year.

Happy Birthday (4 months ago)!

Rainy rainy season

This time of year is really the heart of the rainy season. It’s supposed to be raining. Just not this much. This is actually a very rainy rainy season.

Sure there are some annoyances about it: trying to dry clothes, go for a run, and the incessant darkness. However, it’s pretty easy to look over those as insignificant when you see what’s going on around us.

Last week there was a mudslide in Burundi where 40 people were killed. Houses and fields were wiped out as it seems the entire side of a hill just let go and slid down into the valley.

Many of the people around us live in pretty rudimentary houses, so when it really rains, the drips through their roofs become constant.

Yesterday Susan was at the house of a woman who finally just removed a brick from her wall, and made essentially a small channel right through her house for the water. She couldn’t keep it out anymore, so at least she could try to control it and get it out the other side.

As I write this, it is pouring outside…actually…let me show you…

Jonah has been receiving texts and pictures from friends who live in Kenya. Houses flooded, belongings destroyed.

Probably the worst that we know of is from our Serge team in Bundibugyo, on the far western edge of Uganda.

Last week they had a series of mudslides with devastating effects. BBC even reported on it.

A woman we know who works in the area just barely made it through as mudslides full of massive boulders came down both in front of her and behind her.

Behind us “after” photo of the road
In front of them
Ahead of us
behind them!

Our Serge team there is stepping up and trying to do what they can.

We have water engineers on that team who are currently trying to restore water since all distribution pipes to the area were wrecked.

Josh getting deeply involved in his work.

You can read more of that whole story here, and please – please – consider helping them out with the fund they have set up to bring emergency response to those most affected. They are gathering disaster response aid and distributing it to those who lost everything.

As has been pointed out to me – this feels even more frustrating as the effects of climate change seem to often be unevenly felt by those who have played such a small role in creating the problem.

We are fine here, just a bit damp. Please pray for the situation across East Africa right now. If crops continue to get destroyed, it could cause a massive problem in the area come harvest time.

What a difference a decade makes

{PART OF THE MEA CULPA SERIES OF POSTS _ where I post things I should have written a long time ago… yeah…that’s on me.}

{{{ Apparently, this was something I wrote almost exactly 9 years ago in 2010 after we had moved back to France. Not sure why I never posted it…but here it is just as I found it in my drafts folder.

Several things struck me while reading it: 1) we had only three kids 2)what must this kind of comparison be here in Burundi. Even in the four and a half years we’ve lived here, we’ve seen some significant changes) }}}

The last time we moved to Grenoble it was August 1999.  We had been married just over three years, no kids.  We could easily pack up most of what we owned, put in in storage in our parents’ basement, take the rest in a few suitcases, stop renting the apartment we were in, and go.  We found a cheap apartment in the city where I could walk to school. We were planning on being here about 12 months or so.

This time we have 3 kids going into school – one starting school for the first time here. We had a house and cars to get rid of. We had to sell a lot of stuff, just to get down to having a storage shed left.  We had to rent out our house. We had to base where we lived more on where the kids would go to school than anything.  We plan on being here for 4 years or so.

The other HUGE change is the way technology affects your ability to stay connected over long distances.

Last time we had a phone at our apartment and expensive long distance calls to Canada. Very expensive. We probably called home a few times a year. We had dial-up internet at home.   In order to get music we would buy a few CD’s whenever we were back in Canada and physically bring them here.  In order to get shows from North America we became part of a rather large and organized international television smuggling ring.  Friends of ours had some contacts back in California who would tape shows onto VHS cassettes, then they would either be mailed over – or more often, saved up and brought over en-masse when someone was back in the US. Then there was a systematic passing of the tapes around a small and organized ex-pat community.  Occasionally one of the tapes would go missing and we would be left in the lurch – not knowing what happened on the season finale of Alias!

 Email was our primary form of communication with people back in Canada.  In order to show what we were up to – we could attach a few pictures that we took on our 1 MegaPixel digital camera.

This time we have a package at our house that gives us (for €39 a month) broadband internet, tons of digital tv stations and unlimited phone calls to all over France and North America.  We can buy our music the exact same way we did back home – online.  We can watch streaming TV, post essentially unlimited photos, videos and whatever else on this blog and other places.  We can use skype to have free video calls anywhere in the world. I can use Google Translate to make a (usually) incredibly accurate instant and free translation of any document, webpage, or text of any kind.  Facebook & Twitter allow us to keep up with friends dispersed all over the globe.

Yes, we had these things back in Canada – but somehow the power of them to give some sense of being less disconnected did not really occur to me until we were living here.

I’m not sure what the point is.

 I guess: “living in the future is pretty cool”  

Well, that and “No, it does not make it feel like we’re still back in Canada – which is at the same time unfortunate and fantastic”