As I draw near to the end of my Senegal posts, I want to say THANK YOU to our hosts. They welcomed us into their lives for three action packed weeks, offering insight, transportation, living quarters, gifts, food, advice, translation, games, activities, relationships, encouragement, friendship, and so much more. We treasure the memories we created with them, and look forward to seeing them whenever the next time arrives. I am so grateful God provided this way for us to bond more deeply. We miss you all!!
As promised in the previous wildlife post, I saved the “pets” pictures for a different day. Well, today is the day! Although their neighbors think it is unusual, our friends have both a cat and a dog. Not many people who live in Senegal keep pets like that, but Nathan and Katya were sure glad to be living in a house that did! The cat was Nathan’s particular favorite.
Less usual for American families, but more typical for Senegalese ones, our friends also have a mother sheep and her growing-up daughter. They were happy to welcome the morning with cheerful “maaaa”s right outside our window.
The most exciting pet adventure, however, was the Christmas gift of a pair of rabbits. Katya got to help her friend clean out the rabbit cage. Then we went to the market to find a suitable pair (sold, I might add, in the same section as chickens, geese, doves, and ducks). They rode back to the house on the girls’ laps and were joyfully installed in their new home. Katya’s friend kindly invited her to be a part owner in the venture, so now Katya has her own pet just an ocean away!
A huge part of our trip to Senegal was being with people. We met lots of the friends of our friends, spent time in various homes, and did our best to interact well even without having a language in common. In order to protect privacy, I’ll keep stories and names to myself, but look at all these wonderful people!!
refreshing bissap at the home of a language teacher
the jewelry maker who served us our first traditional Senegalese meal
an adventurous bus ride
the woman who gave me my Senegalese name
new friends for Nathan
the man who gave Than his Senegalese name
girls at play
a visit to the village to meet a good friend
the hard working house-helper, one of the people that I wanted most to get to know better
Does he love kids?!!
an afternoon with the house helpers and their family
It is hard to know when we will see any of these people again, but it means so much to have met them, learned a bit of their names and stories, and to continue to pray for them through updates from our friends. The world is such a big place, full of so much diversity and richness. I’m glad my world expanded just a bit to include them!!
A few random photos of summer outings that didn’t make it into other posts…
Picnic with friends at the Denver Botanic Gardens
A trip to Tiny Town with our dear friends from Houston
Another outing with the Houston clan, this one to a cool outdoor sculpture park in Loveland
A morning out with Grandpa Train to ride on the refurbished trolley and visit one of his friends’ garden railroads
That’s all from summer, I promise. Time to move on and look ahead…
Summer is relaxed…
full of fun, flowers, friends, and coffee fluff.
What?!! Coffee fluff?!! What is that?!! Look and see…
We have good friends who own Sweet Bloom Coffee Roasters. Now, if you like coffee, you better order some from them QUICK and then read this post again. If you don’t like coffee, you better go there and have them make you a cup and then you probably will like coffee, at least when they make it. I’m not a coffee person, but listen to this… (And yes, it is true.)
“As you prepare your cup of Sweet Bloom coffee, take a moment to smell the intense fragrance from the dry grounds. And as the first drops of water infuse with the coffee to form a bloom, inhale deeply again – you will discover a diverse range of sweet aromas from caramel to floral perfume. These aromatics are a window to the flavors you will find in the cup. Our coffees are chosen and carefully roasted to surprise and delight you. Each time you take a sip of Sweet Bloom Coffee, we trust you will sense and taste the level of craft, hard work and heart that went into producing coffee of this quality. Please enjoy.”
Anyway, commercial aside, after a morning at the coffee shop having great conversations with my cousin and her friend, Andy sent us home with a bag of the chaff that is left behind after the coffee beans are roasted. Look what magic ensued…
Fragrant fairy dust, sparkling across our backyard, providing the backdrop for an hour or more of fun while the grown ups kept right on conversing. Hooray, summer and Sweet Bloom!
Than was able to join Katya on her very first field trip. She’s been to the zoo before, but never on a bus with all of her friends! She’s no longer in the baby “first step–first word–first bath–first solid food” phase but there are still plenty of “first times” left for her.
(And no, I didn’t blur the photos to make her look like the star of the day, I just was trying to keep other kids from showing up without their parents’ permission!)
Nathan wrote this essay for school, so I thought I’d let him be our author today! (He is writing about his sister and two friends from school, so I marked their names out just in case.)
“My Three Favorite Friends”
I have three favorite friends. These friends are Katya, G***, and I*****. First, I like Katya. I like Katya because she is my sister, she is funny, and pure. Next, I like G***. I like G***because he is compassionate, loving, and he says “your the best friend anyone could have.” Then, I like I*****. I like I***** because she is loyal, bold, and friendly. Finally, I like them all because they all are part of God’s rescue plan.
Here’s a scan of his actual paper, notable because of the improved handwriting and fancy curly commas!
Here are some quick pictures from our pumpkin carving escapades (and no, they did not come from the garden–only one plant grew, and it bloomed one week before the frost. Not too good for growing pumpkins!)
We read a book about Martin Luther, sang “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and roasted pumpkin seeds. Fun!
Katya enlisted Daddy’s help to make her princess, Nathan gave me instructions for various shapes, and Than carved our third pumpkin with some pretty swirls. Lighting them is always fun, and the squirrels enjoyed them even more than we did once they made it out to the back porch. Now we have very fat squirrels!
We also enjoy going to Family Fun Night at church this time of year. Daddy works very hard overseeing everything, but the biggest excitement this year was going with some friends from school. I think Nathan and Katya liked that even better than playing the games and collecting candy! Katya went as a princess, of course, in a costume of her own creation out of the dress up box. Nathan stuck with tradition and went as Thomas the Tank Engine. I’m so grateful for that costume!