Monday, March 24, 2014

On the (African) Road Again - Part 2

While Connie was in Guinea Bissau she made a trip to Djati. There she witnessed the results of the money you've contributed, which she helped us get to Fredy, to make the Djati building projects possible.

She also had the opportunity to experience the car ride on the road to the end of the world! Lucky girl!

Connie sits inside one of the smaller rooms in the medical clinic we built in Djati.
*Note- It appears that due to an overcrowding of students, some desks from the old school have been moved and are now being utilized in one of the 2 rooms in the new clinic. The pre k class meets in the clinics waiting room when it is not in use. We obviously need to get proper desks though.

Here is part two of Connie's trip, in her own words.

Next we traveled to the city of Quebo and then on to the village of Djati. It was a spectacular event!

1. First we traveled at night to a small African “hotel” in Quebo. The room was clean if you didn’t mind that the pillowcases had not been changed since 1925. We had a picnic dinner in the room and good fellowship between Jan, my traveling companion and Life Link Board member, Maritza, the principal of the school at Casa Emanuel Orphanages, my interpreter and friend.

2. I was honored to meet Freddy and Raquel. They are Brazilian Missionaries who have been in Guinea-Bissau for 16 years. They have raised many African orphans to be medical assistants, teachers, or pastors. They currently have 21 children living with them. Starting in April, Life Link is going to be supporting this exciting work.

Fredy, Connie, Raquel & Jan
3. Freddy and Raquel are the ones who are overseeing the work in Djati. Djati is a village “at the end of the world!” The road to the village is literally a “trail”. Consisting of only one lane, the African bush hitting each side of the car. In the rainy season the road is impassable and they must take a canoe ride lasting and hour and a half to reach the village.

4. Life Link teamed up with the folks from “It Takes A Village” to raise funds to build a school, a well and a clinic last year. It was such a joy to drive up to the school and see all the children come running out singing and dancing! They were singing a song about Jesus! This is a Muslim village, (where you expected to see Tarzan at any moment), with children radiating the joy of the Lord! I was so amazed I was brought to tears! How humbled I was to see the dedication of Freddy and Raquel to bring this about.

Freddy and the village boys have to actually “chop” the road open each year after the rainy season. Using machetes and brute force, they “chop” about 200 yards a day until the “road” is open. About 7 miles. Also, they had to dig gravel and sand to make adobe bricks to build the buildings. This is taking place in 100 degree heat most of the year! The day to day struggle just to live in Africa with no electric, no running water, no Wal-Mart, is more than most people can ever endure. Now add on the responsibility of raising, educating and loving 21 children and building schools and clinics. Now you see why these are people that Life Link can get behind and support with all confidence that your gifts are going to people who have proven their work with their lives!

5. Maritza’s car broke down twice on the way back to the orphanage in Bissau! Thankfully, we had her mechanic with us and he was able to fix the problems. The first, I never figured out what it was because of translation issues, and the second was some kind of pipe that fell and was dragging. Even though it sounded like the car was falling apart around us. The mechanic found a piece of plastic twist tie like material and fixed the pipe in about ten minutes. Of course he was lying on the gravel at the side of the road, 2 feet from heavy jungle, filled with pythons and creepy things. Needless to say when invited to step out of the car and stretch my legs, I declined!!!

6. Again to many stories, not enough space! Call for details!

We ended the trip with a visit out to the Casa Emanuel – Bissilanka Orphanage. This is the farm orphanage where we moved 40 of the older boys from the original Casa Emanuel Orphanage. Here the boys spend their morning working the land and learning to be farmers. We have pigs and gardens and chickens, ducks, rabbits and goats. In the afternoon the boys are bused to Casa Emanuel School. We have 4 boys who are going to graduate this June. The farm is beautiful and I am so proud of all the great work they are doing there. These boys will have a chance at a future of self-reliance in a country where two thirds of the population lives on less than a dollar a day and 1.7 million cannot read or write.

Thank you Connie for sharing your journey with us and for all you do!

If you are interested in contributing to Life Link and the orphanages they support, or if you would like more information on their services, please click this link.

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