Wednesday, December 16, 2009

robert and joel's baby. friends from pelima
God calls upon you to believe. Heed His voice. Cease talking of the wrath of God and talk of His compassion and His abundant mercy. Jesus sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. The furnace in which you may be placed may be very hot, yet you will come forth as gold seven times purified, reflecting the image of Jesus. Have courage. Look up, believe, and you shall see of the salvation of God. {HP 119.5}

vaccinating the chickens against newcastle disease

Value of Trials

The trials of life are God's workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our characters. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process, it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace.--"Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing," pp. 23, 24.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

bananas bananas 167 of them

someone was selling bananas today in the village so i bought them. they were very heavy. probably about 40lbs. we were on the motorcycle and so i was squished up front and drove with joel squished to the back and the banana stock plopped on top of us. very heavy and it was sitting on my kidneys and hips. poking me and pressing my back. and joel and i both lost circulation in the lower parts of our bodies. but thank God we made it home without problems and the kids were even there to open the door. because we couldn't get off the motorcycle very well. i cut the bananas apart and counted them and there were 167 of them. all still green.
i would have hung them up like that but it was just way too heavy to hang anywhere. this is donny to show you how big it was.

Monday, November 2, 2009

this is totally vegetarian but it looks like fried fish. it is fried corn meal mush that is hard.
very yummy

Nestor and his son Salomon.
6 months old

step by step pictures of cooking tubani

Tubani: Is a food that is found cooking on street corners early in the morning. It is made with bean flour and salt mixed with water and steamed. The ladies who sell it use 400g tomato paste cans lined with plastic bags. It is a heavy food and thus usually sticks with you a long time. (well not with me but with others). I don’t like waiting for the hour or so that it takes to cook the cans of tubani so I use leaves. We have a tree here that has leaves that are perfect for this, they grow folded over and become like a little pocket. It can also be cooked in plastic bags or in cans or whatever you want.
You need bean flour. Whatever kind you can get or grind. We just take it to the mill and it comes back flour. Take however much bean flour you want (if you want enough for about 4 people or leftovers take 2 cups of bean flour.) add about a teaspoon of salt. And add water bit by bit until it gets to be gloppy. You know, it doesn’t run off your spoon but it glops off.( for those who make cakes, a little thinner then cake batter.) Then heat up a bit of water (about an inch or inch and a half) in the bottom of a kettle. You need either a steaming rack or spoons and forks stacked in the bottom so the stuff doesn’t have to sit in the water. When the water is boiling or almost boiling, start stacking the leaves or whatever you chose to put it in. I just stack up the leaves with the batter in it. If you have a real steaming kettle .. wonderful. You can also use the pressure cooker if you want. Bring it up to the high mark or 3rd mark for my old prestos and turn off the fire. If you are on a gas stove you will need to bring it up to steam again. If you are on an electric stove, probably the hot burner will keep the temperature up until it is cooked. If you cooked them in small portions then it will take about 20 min on a rolling boil, if they are bigger portions then longer. You can test it by using a knife. Same as checking a cake. If it comes out more or less clean without batter on it.. it is done. Take it off the stove. If you are cooking it in an unsealed kettle then you will need to add some water periodically while it is cooking. Bit by bit but not enough to stop it from boiling.
The sauce: Often it is eaten with hot oil and powdered hot red pepper and salt. One sauce I make to go with it: Sautée sliced onions and tomatoes in the oil (several tablespoons) and then add some seasoning salt and other salt. Add a bit of water and cook it down. You can add fresh hot pepper or powered . Each pepper has a different flavor.

Monday, October 5, 2009

the carpenters putting up the new bunk beds and donny in the top bunk

this is what eric found in his wallet when he arrived in benin. 5 euros, 2 -1dollar bills, 2 bills from canada and 2 bills from west africa.

hauling all those peanuts we just harvested to the other side so they can start drying .


this is akassa. it is made with soured corn from which all the vitamans have been sifted out. it is the starch of the corn. it is cooked and poured into the plastic bags boiling hot and is like sort of preserved there and doesn't go bad for quite a long time. like sometimes weeks.

Monday, September 21, 2009

here are the chicks all crammed into their food dish. why??? who knows.

fresh boiled peanuts. very yummy boiled in salt water and then eaten either hot or cold.

painting the house was the activity of last week. it is white washed. the white wash is put in water and stired around and then when that has sat for several hours or even over night is good, we then add some salt to make it go on smoother........ or so they say.????

Monday, September 14, 2009

nati pictures

this is squeeky helping her self to peanuts in the bowl. they were raw and not roasted yet. she would pick one up and take it to the floor and then eat it. go back in and take one and put it on the floor and eat it. finally i chased her and told her she was going to be sick eating all the raw peanuts.

this is my new skylight. it is wonderful.. ya it heats up the house some but the light over rules the heat. !

this is me doing email in the yard because there isnt a connection in the house.

here is tofu made locally here .. it is yumy and hard like cheese. we usually fry it with seasoning and multitudes of other ways.

Monday, September 7, 2009

peanut butter---- flour

This is what happens to peanut butter when you roast the peanuts too long before you grind them. It turns into flour. And is very tasty I might add. Now how do the stores who have fresh ground peanut butter do it so the peanut butter still comes out creamy and not peanut flour?

new waffle iron

This is one of the new fangled things I found on the market for 2 dollars. An on-the- stove waffle maker. Been wanting one but didn’t want to pay a lot and didn’t really want an electric one either. So here it is it works well over my gas stove.

fruit of the season

The fruit of the season is…. Custard apple (or shopshop). This kind that we have in our yard is very very sweet and full of seeds. It isn’t a fruit to keep or even sell. You can’t keep it at all outside of a fridge for more then one day. After each rain storm they split on the tree and we have to climb up and pick all that have split. And the other fruit that is ready in my house is passion fruit. Which is not giving anywhere enough fruit for our eating pleasure. It is quite a sour fruit and full of soft black seeds. But has an addicting flavor. I guess you either like or not. But no it isn’t like durien or something nasty tasting but it is yummy. And doesn’t taste anything like what the juice says it does.

The food of the season.. the new ingnams have come out and we are enjoying them almost every day as fried ingnam, or boiled eaten with some onions and tomatoes fried in lots of oil, or cooked down and mixed with red palm oil and seasoning salt, onions, some tomatoes and the such. There is also ingnam pilé where the yams are cooked and them pounded into a pulp and eaten with hot tomato peanut sauce.
There are fresh peanuts. They are boiled in salt water and eaten, cooked in their shells. This is one of the favorite foods of the season for me. It takes a while to eat your fill but it yummy. They are sold all over town right now as a snack food.
There is steamed or grilled corn on the cob. Mind you this is field corn and not sweet corn. As you can see we eat healthy snacks here in the north.

Chicks and chicks. I have stolen the chicks from their mother who is still sitting on 3 eggs which I don’t know if they are going to hatch or not. (I took them this morning) I candled them but they were black inside and I couldn’t tell if there was something in them or not. One hatched when after that so we will see. Pretty soon I will free her and just put the eggs in with the chicks to see if they will hatch in there. There are 13 chicks in a plastic tub in my room with screen on top to protect them from my vicious cats. Why am I doing that? Because there is sickness in my cages. My last chicks all died . It is real chicken pox … the one for chickens. And some of them get pox. So by keeping the chicks separated I hope to save their life and let this virus run its course. And now I am just colleting all the eggs and we will eat them. All the other chickens that are outside and alive had the sickness and lived so I guess they are “immune” to it now.. I hope.
The veterinarian gave me med for them but I can’t say it really worked. It is a mixture of several different antibiotics and vitamins. I need to see how I am going to spray all the cages and the such with bleach and try and kill off the virus… but not sure how good that will work spraying on dirt and grass. I am hoping that if it doesn’t have anything to live in, that it will die off.
So here they are all born last week some several days apart from the others. They are from several different mothers. I think that all my hens were laying in the same nest. And the mother the most used to keeping chicks decided that 20 eggs were enough to sit on and she started sitting on them. And she is still there. Poor thing .. will take the last 3 out soon so she can leave. She doesn’t remember that she has chicks yet.. because I took them when they were still damp and or still in the egg coming out. She pecks me every time but I just talk to her and lift up her tummy and look under her and then put her back down and off I go with a couple of chicks in my hand or shirt. Much easier for her to sit on the eggs then for me to try and keep them warm.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

the long trip

Aug 8 09
We just got back from Cotonou. The kids went with us and this was their first time in a big town and their first time for such a long trip. It was close to 9 hours of traveling. We stopped a few times to stretch the legs and water some bushes. Sévérin kept asking if we were almost there. Uli told him it was still 4 hours. He also slept a good part of the trip. We finally did make it to the guest house. I gave them a lesson in the toilet, the sink and the shower and the hot and cold water. They loved the hot showers… thought I would have to chase them from the shower. And then they huddled into their bed. They had to get used to the fan which goes all night to chase the mosquitoes. The next day when we took the SMs to the airport for early check-in we parked the truck at the airport and walked to the beach which wasn’t that far. Hehee. It was great fun seeing their reaction when they saw the beach. Having never seen anything bigger then a very small river, the ocean was very large. I went and stood in the water and sévérin came and grabbed my hand as the wave came and ran over our feet.. Donné was wary of the water and it took him a while to get close. But pretty soon they were both dancing in the sand and running from the waves. When the guys called us and told us they were done at the airport we headed back and waited to say hi to someone they at least saw a couple of planes take off. Otherwise you can’t see any planes at the airport it is all is sealed off and you can’t see anything. The next day in the morning Uli, Toussaint and I and the kids drove back to the airport and parked in the airport parking for safe keeping of the truck and walked to this HUGE HUGE new store which when we walked in I asked Uli which country I was in. It was so weird.. it is big even by US standards. And has most of what anyone might want.. for US or European prices. The kids were just kind of over whelmed but they were amused at the automatic doors. When we got done seeing what was in there we headed on to the beach. Where the kids played in the waves and the rest of us chilled. When 1:00 rolled around we got food and headed back home. I worked on the internet. The kids played some. The next day the kids and I walked into town and did a bit of shopping. Then they had sensory overload and we headed home. They blew off steam and fell asleep and then in the afternoon we took motorcycle taxis to the second hand clothing market. There, clothes are piled up all over. Pants, shirts, hats, underwear, socks, sheets…. Etc.. and I have been there enough to know what I will or will not pay. So usually get good or better bargains then the Africans themselves. My lady who usually supplies me with wheat said she had some and asked how much I wanted. Well I had 30 dollars in my pocket and so told her I would take 30 kilos. And while we wondered in the clothes she went and got it. On getting home I saw the kids had sort of ripped the screen with their ball so they called a carpenter and he got us screening and nails and then wanted 10 dollars to do it and I refused. I told him I would do it myself. So he loaned us a hammer and Toussaint who is a carpenter was nice enough to do it for me.
The next morning we headed home and got to pineapple land(which is a town that sells lots of pineapple and other fruit and vegetables). At pineapple land we hit a horrid traffic plug up. Cars and trucks were all lined up 3 across going one direction and I am sure the oncoming traffic was doing the same thing. No one wanted to let the other go. We sat in that village for about 2 hours and moved about 1km. But we ate a lot of corn on the cob. Finally some military guys helped sort us all out and we headed out. But only a few km from there we hit a dirt road and everything plugged up again for another 30 min. But finally we were on the road again. Everything went fine until we were 65km from Basila. Suddenly my motor on the truck cut. I tried to re- start and it refused. I saw what looked like smoke coming out of the motor so with the last bit of speed, I rolled off the to the side of the road. We were in the middle of nowhere. I got out and stuck my hand on the hood to see if it was hot but it was hardly warm. So I knew at least there wasn’t fire. If there had been we would have been dead… well the truck would have been and all our stuff. It was 4:30 pm we gathered around and prayed that God would guide us and help us. Then I opened the hood and it was like oil smoking off the motor. After a few min we opened the radiator cap and there was no steam… we hauled out our drinking water and Toussaint poured it in… and then the steam started.. we realized that we had no water in the radiator. Our drinking water wasn’t very much but we put it all in. Then we started looking around and found a cute little spring beside the road and it was nice and clear. So we filled up the radiator and when the motor was cooled off. I started to poke around and found that the metal part where the radiator hose attaches to the radiator had rusted completely off. Well that wasn’t going to work. We were talking about what we would do and how to get into the next town, when of all things a motorcycle taxi drove up. So Toussaint got on and the zj took him into town. There they found some guys who where sort of mechanics and had tools. I could have done it but didn’t have tools that could take the bolts off. While they were gone we filled up the water bottles again at our little spring and then I remembered that I had some very old water treatment tablets in my pack that I can’t say I have ever used since I got here but I carry around for emergencies like this…. So I treated 3 bottles and then we had to wait 30 min to make sure all the bugs were killed and then we drank away. (by the way none of us got sick so I guess they worked.) All of us hadn’t even drunk 1 liter that day. By then the mechanics had gotten the radiator out and they took it to another town to weld it. Finally after an hour or more they came back and got it back in. By then it was 7:30pm and dark out, we knew we were not going to Natitingou that night but needed to make it to at least Basilia where we could find a hotel. We stopped in the first village to make sure the water was ok and then off we went. Then the rain started. It poured and poured and poured. I could hardly see because the windshield was greasy but took it slow and we made it through and finally made it to Basilia. We asked the military who were at the start of the village and they told us about 2 hotels. The first one was close but there was lots of music so we moved on. And after much turning and turning and driving over bumpy roads and horrid roads we found this little hotel off the beaten path. It even had a place to put the truck inside a wall. Toussaint went in first to find the price and he came back laughing, 6 dollars per room. We went in and got 2 rooms. Then unloaded all the wet dirty stuff from the back of the truck and by the time I was done moving the tarp that covered everything I was very dirty and that is how I stayed except I washed my arms and hands. The guy filled up our water bottles at the well and we headed to bed. The bed in our room was smelly. The blanket which served as a sheet smelled like it hadn’t been washed in a long time. It smelled of dirty heads. So I flipped it over and put the head where the feet were and then put my wrap around skirt which is just 2 meters of fabric where our heads would go and we crawled in. the mattress was so soft we hit bottom and ended up sitting almost upJ well the kids slept and I read and was still so hyper from Everything that every slight movement they made woke me up again. So I crawled out and put Donny’s socks on and my sweat shirt and my raincoat and threw a t-shirt on the concrete floor and Severin’s pants and laid down on them and covered my legs with Donny’s raincoat and went to sleep. Every hour I woke up to turn over. I got tired of not having a pillow so I grabbed Severin’s Crock shoe and used that as a pillow. (my bag of clothes was somewhere in the truck.) I slept more or less well besides waking up enough to turn over so my legs and arms wouldn’t fall asleep. I slept as cozy as a bug in a rug. The next morning we loaded up and were on the road by 6:30 and got into Natitingou at 9:30 am. Thus ended our very long trip. We thank God for the way he worked. He stopped us where there was water, and sent a zj, and mechanics who didn’t run off with the radiator and the money, and found us a cheap (we didn’t have much money left)hotel, and got us home fine with a motor that wasn’t broken. While the radiator was “on its trip” to get welded, we decided since the motor was cold now we would try and start it and make sure it was only the radiator that was the problem. It started right up and then I turned it right off. We just wanted to make sure it would start up.