Ok. So I haven’t blogged as much as I expected to. BUT I have gotten lots of other things done. Namely completing the children and youth ministry curriculum I had been writing. Done. Checked off the list. That’s big.
Our time here in Benin City has been quite amazing. We’re really having a lot of fun. And lest anyone think we are ‘suffering for the Gospel’ on this here mission trip, let me set you straight. First of all, we are receiving royal treatment by our hosts Archbishop Margaret Idahosa and Bishop Feb & Rev. Laurie Idahosa. And they’re not even here! They have an incredible staff here running things. We are blessed!
This is the building we’re staying in.
Here Neal and Tobi are discussing on our front porch…not sure what about.
This is our first room – which is lovely. But our hosts decided it wasn’t big enough for us so they relocated us to an even nicer room. I don’t have pictures of the new place yet, but I will take some.
Tobi has his own quarters next to us… He’s busy ‘doing’ school at the moment.
We are eating 3 meals every day. And the only thing that I do with regard to those meals is nothing. That’s right. Nothing. Not only do I not have to plan them, I have nothing to do with their preparation. All I do is walk about 100 yards when the proverbial bell is rung. We have been eating some wonderful African food. Love it all. There is nothing that we’ve eaten that we haven’t loved. Seriously. And clean up? We get up from the table and say thank you. We don’t even clear our own plates! Tobi is generally a pretty grateful kid, but I’ve taken it upon myself to remind him of what a blessing this all is – and how easy it would be to begin taking it for granted. He agreed on all counts. It won’t be until we arrive home that we’ll see if he’s been spoiled. When we finish a meal will he just walk away from the table? For that matter – will I remember to prepare the meal? Jury’s out on that….
Neal and Tobi enjoying ebba.
Fingers are the preferred utensils for this meal…
Now lets go for a walk around this beautiful compound, shall we?
The main house.
It really is beautiful.
From a distance.
Neal hangin’ with Jesus.
Just thought this was a cute picture of Tobi.
Tobi with Moses maybe?
Now that’s a palm tree!
Really big tree. Gotta LOVE the tropics.
Still on the compound. It has it’s own mini-jungle.
Did you know that’s how pineapple grows?
Large… Watch out Dole!
Mango – not ready yet.
Lemon – I think…
Small papaya tree.
Big papaya tree. I think Neal is shaking it down. Or maybe holding it up.
Another not sure. But it’s pretty amazing.
As you can see, this is a very beautiful and very large compound. An added bonus is that I have been able to run here. Let me ramble a bit about that. I’m not exactly sure what qualifies one as a runner. But I pretty sure I’m not one. However I have developed a kind of love / hate relationship with running. I should also be clear though that I don’t really ‘run’. I jog. Slowly. In Niger running is a very hot, dry and dirty undertaking. And finding a place to comfortably run in clothes that are acceptable and comfortable at the same time…lets just say it’s a challenge. So imagine my surprise when our first morning here I saw one of the staff walking around the driveway. In runner’s attire. I brought my workout DVD, assuming there wouldn’t really be a suitable place for running. I asked around and found that yes, running here would be totally appropriate. So that evening – off I went. If I haven’t been clear – I don’t love running. However – this run was heavenly! I was still panting and sweaty. The humidity is unbelievable. But I wasn’t full of red dirt. The ‘track’ is the paved driveway around the main house. I’ve been told it’s 1/4 mile in length. Based on what I know my pace to be, I’m hoping that it is a bit longer than that. But nevermind. It’s a lovely pace to run. As of today I’ve worked up to 10 laps. Then I walk 5. Tobi runs with me every morning before he starts his school and is up to 6 laps. Neal has of course asked Tobi why he is letting his mother outrun him… But really, what more can I ask for? A paved and shaded running track, ‘O Happy Day’ pumping into my ears, mini-squirrels running around, beautiful landscaping and the smell of beautiful flowers at every turn. No wonder I couldn’t stop at 9 laps today!
Here’s our ‘track’. This is a staged picture, but you get the idea.
The sun was setting as we finished our walk around the compound. You can see it in the distance.
Here it is up close and personal.
Next up will be WHAT we are doing.
But if you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re having FUN!