Tuesday, March 31, 2009


March 31, 2009

5:00am. I awoke to the most amazing sounds of exotic birds this morning. Exotic to me that is, not to South Africa. They were bird calls quite different from the bird sounds from my home in San Diego. The sun rose just like at home but to a chorus of birds very foreign to my ears. I knew I wasn't home. I was in AFRICA!!

7:00am. We were up and out of the secured gates to drive to Rainbow FM 90.7's studios to drop of a vehicle but saw a McDonald's on the way. One note though, since we are driving on the left side of the road (unlike how I normally drive on the right at home) I keep turning on the wipers instead of turn signals- they are on opposite sides compared to back home. So, I turned on the wipers and made a left into the McDonald's. The guys who are traveling with me in my vehicle are starting to get my strategy. When the windshield wipers come on I will soon make a turn. I consider it an advance turn indicator!

One of the pictures below I am with Ronald McDonald in Johannesburg. Can you see the hidden Donald Duck? OK, Forrest says its the wrong color to be Donald and that technically its Daffy Duck. But we don't have the heart to tell Luke's little son who sent "Donald" on a trip to Africa with us. Keep an eye out for the "hidden Donald Duck" in our future photographs!

Also, in one of the pictures below you will see the countdown of the FIFA World Cup Soccer 2010. There are signs, banners, balloons, and more all over South Africa celebrating and advertising the upcoming World Cup. The countdown continues.

8:30am. We arrived at Rainbow FM 90.7's studios and were ushered into the studios to our surprise to do a live broadcast. All four of us talked and Forrest even shared about Christmas tree farming to all of Johannesburg.

9:30am. Visits to banks can be fun and they cannot un- fun. This was not a fun visit. Steve spent well over a hour trying to get some funds out of our account to pay some vendors. He went from line to line, and then back in the same line. Nothing like not being able to get your own money out of the bank. In the end he succeeded and fixed the confusion. I had a similar experience at the Post Office across the street and was told that if I bought stamps today they would cost more tomorrow. I was really confused. Eventually I understood. April 1 is the first day of the 2009 stamps and they cost more. Of course, I thought, this could be an April Fools joke!!!

2:00pm. We arrived at the Ebenezer Care Center where we are building five homes next week. They have built a kitchen house for us, moved the communications trailer closer to where our groups will be camping, and have almost all the materials at the site for us to start making slabs. We are so eager to get started building!!!

3:45pm. Steve and I drove to our main building supplier in Lenasia, just a few miles from Ebenezer. This is where I truly get to see Steve in action. Its amazing to Steve and Achmed working together. Continually drawing diagrams on pieces of paper, questions shooting back and forth, answering with careful details, each sharing a new angle, a new way to do something. Creating a masterpiece in concept. I feel like I am witnessing a symphony. Each one playing their part, solos at times, in concert at other moments, pauses to smile and enjoy their work. Its truly amazing to watch. The picture below is Steve and Achmed at work at the building supply office. Let the concert begin. At one point Steve said, "I want to build a home I would be proud to live in myself." Later, Achmeo replied, "I am more interested doing this for God than in making money." "When I retire I want to come and work with you guys", he replied with a huge smile. Note, Achmed is a Muslim! God is at work in ways and in places that we least expect them and often where they most surprise us.

5:30pm. We follow Humphrey back into Johannesburg to visit a 120 unit condo project being built by a South African Christian. He's done something we have almost never seen before. He's nearly completed the project in 6 months. That's a miracle in itself. This building is just a short walk to Rainbow FM 90.7's studios. The three bedroom condos are going for $60,000 US. It sure would be a wonderful thing for Amor to have a condominium in this location for our interns, long term volunteers, and visiting staff. What an incredible location.

7:35pm. Traffic was horrible due to an accident and what normally took us a half hour took almost an hour and a half. Can you believe they have traffic accidents in South Africa too? We finally found a restaurant we could all agree to and it was "Italian". Three pizzas and Mediterranean fish. When are we going to find the "monkey gland hamburgers"?

9:47pm. We got lost again. Two GPS units talking away, three human navigators and we are driving round and round in circles,. We seem find easily locate places in the poor communities but when it comes to locating our donated quest house in a very nice neighborhood we get lost over and over again. It think its a sign that we are due a move to where we belong.... at the Ebenezer Care Center.

11:56pm. Time for me to retire on my couch. Oh, did I say that the only piece of furniture in our quest house is my couch? It really is! I finally finished writing this blog and sent it to you through my Blackberry Storm via email. What an amazing and strange world we live in. "God doesn't create any junk", some one once told me". Good night, see ya tomorrow.

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