Saturday, August 06, 2005

Greetings from Angola

Knightly News Update
August 6, 2005


Well, PRAISE THE LORD we have made it to Angola. On July 30th we started out from Windhoek, Namibia and drove as far as Oshiwaranga (not sure if I got the spelling right, but it is something like that!). We stayed in a wonderful Bed and Breakfast called THE BUSH PILLOW (just in case you ever go through and you want a NICE place to stay). On Sunday morning (the 31st), we started the day with Bible reading and prayer (it was a nice little church service) then we went much further up the road making a stop in Oshikati (again not sure on the spelling) to drop 2 of our travelers at a hotel there, so one could work on her visa the next day and catch a ride with someone else. The other gal, Karen Hendrickson, met us at the road to the border the next morning. We (the Stirling Fosters) traveled on to Ruacana to spend the night at a campground with a Bungalow.

On Monday morning (the 1st of August) we traveled to the border. On the Namibian side you must declare everything you purchased in Namibia, register who is driving each vehicle, the border guards check to make sure the registrations match the numbers on the engines, and each person must have their exit visa stamped in the passport. That whole process took almost 2 hours, then we drive a couple hundred feet to the Angolan border where we go through another whole process having passports stamped and new rules made for people entering on a visitor visa (meaning they would like some more money for us to be able to enter the country) next time it will be something different, but for our crossing it was that! On other days it has been money for bringing goods into the country!

So you cross the border, going from nicely paved roads to roads made from sand and tire tracks. You travel for what seems like endless kilometers (actually it really isn't that far distance-wise but it feels like you have just traveled across Canada and back when you are done) over wagon trails, "almost" broken bridges on and on and on, bumping, swaying, clunking, jolting, creeping, crawling, jiggling, and so on! The sun sets around 6:30 PM here and what a beautiful sight. Then it is pitch black with radiant stars shining in the sky! The Land Rover that Pete was driving had a radiator leak on the way, and the Land Rover that Karen was driving had the back hub go on her when we were almost to our destination, after switching it into diff lock we traveled the worst part of the road (thick powdery sand, almost like talcum powder) in front wheel drive!!! It was a nice sight to arrive at Tchincombe Ranch late in the evening it was also nice to arrive safe and sound (I would say in our right mind, but after traveling roads like that it takes days to return to your right mind... if you were ever there!!!)!

Tuesday (August 2) we spent the day recovering. Pete and Stirling fixed the hub on the Land Rover, and Donna (Foster), Karen and I went to where the farm workers live with their families and Karen who is a doctor checked some little boys who had circumcisions that had gotten infected, and Donna (a vet) administered the med's from the farm clinic and they both explained to the dad's how to care for their little boys to help with the healing. Then we went to see a little baby who had burned his little hand in the fire the night before. It was really badly blistered, so we took the babe and his mom to the house and Karen had the mom wash it with soap, then Karen put some ointment on and wrapped it in 2 clear plastic bags and taped it up! Poor little guy! In the evening, Jeffrey and Meghan Foster (Stirling and Donna's children) and our boys decided to camp out in the field... so they set up tents, started a campfire, and roasted their wild game over the open fire. Meghan decided to come back to the house, and the boys spent the whole night out in the COLD and DARK! It is winter here in Angola, so it is quite chilly at night!

Wednesday (August 3) we climbed into the Land Rovers again for another long day over trails, which I later realized were MUCH better than traveling on the "PAVED" Angolan roads. It is something you have to EXPERIENCE to understand. A tiny bit of the road is paved the rest is "a" BIG pot hole! Most people drive in the ditch! After banging and thrashing over the main road into Angola we stopped in a place a half an hour out of Lubango (I am really not sure on the spelling but I will say it "sounds like" this... Reu de Huila) to drop Karen's things off at her house, the medical supplies at the clinic where she works, and some things that we brought up for the Ritchie family who live next door to Karen! Then it was on to Lubango to "finally" get to see the girls and to have lunch with the Holden Family who have so graciously taken the girls into their family (we still haven't gotten them back). It was nice to see them again. Talitha was looking very ill, she had a high fever, chills, headache among other things... she has officially become Angolan (according to one of the pastors here in Lubango) SHE HAS MALARIA!!! We met up with Dr. Karen after lunch and she took her for blood tests (which of course turned up negative, being ex-patriots it takes a lot of "looking" on the lab tech's part to find it in our blood), however Karen explained to the tech that it need to be checked more thoroughly and Becky Loewen (our new neighbour at the Mitcha Compound where we are staying in Lubango) took her down in the evening for her second blood test and it turned up positive! She is now on Coertum and feeling MUITO BEM (very good)!

The leadership of the UIEA (the church we have come to work along side) set up a schedule of lunches so that we could go and meet the pastors, missionaries and their families. That has been a WONDERFUL experience! Thursday we went to Pastor Chiquete's house, we had a great visit (he speaks English quite well). Friday we went to Pastor Bioco's house (Jonathan Holden came along to translate) and we had another great visit. On the way home Pastor Bioco and his wife took us to the market, that was quite an experience! In fact, Pete and the boys just headed out to the PRACA (pronounced prasa) to see if they could have some fun (being that we can't speak Portuguese yet)!!! We are learning however, and I think it will be easier once we reach Namibe as not as many people speak English and we will not be able to get by without learning! This afternoon we go to Becky Loewen's (right across the driveway from us) for lunch, and then this evening we are going to Senorita Bioco's birthday party. Looking forward to that! Tomorrow afternoon we go to Dr Steven & Peggy Fosters for lunch after church.

We have been very busy as you can see, and of course without a vehicle makes it hard to get around and do things like connect to the internet! Everyone else except for Becky has left the Mitcha compound and so the only phone available is Becky's cell. We are looking into getting a cell ourselves, but we'll see how that goes! We may just wait to go with a land line phone when we reach Namibe, and we are NOT sure when that will be! Our container was due to arrive yesterday but being that we have had no way of communicating with the outside world we don't know if it is there yet. Pastor Zebedeeu (really not sure on the spelling with this one) our pastor in Namibe is the son-in-law of Pastor Bioco and we had lunch with him yesterday at the Bioco home... he will check to see if it is there on Monday morning. Once the container arrives we have a HUGE process to go through. Applying for exemption, registering the vehicle and unloading the stuff in a secure compound will be first on the list. It is going to cost around $5000 US to bring the goods into the country and to register the vehicle, we had no idea of the cost on this end, but we trust that the Lord will provide for our needs and so we are not worried about it. Please pray that it will either be less or that it will be provided.

So this is where we are at...
We wait for the container to arrive.
The church takes care of the paper work.
We unload the container.
We register the vehicle (this can take time).
We get to know the people in Lubango.
We start ever so slowly to learn Portuguese.
We fix up the house in Namibe (and hopefully get the water running and the toilet fixed)

We would ask that you pray that these things will go smoothly and quickly, and that we will be able to get moved into our house in Namibe. We would also ask that you pray that our family makes the adjustment well (it has been tiring and tense at times during the wait in Namibia and the LONG drive up to Angola, now that we are settling in things are beginning to relax a bit). We are babysitting a little dog, Wriggles (we've been calling her Squiggles... I just read on her dog food bag that it is Wriggles... she seems to answer to Squiggles) that belongs to a MAF guy who has gone to Three Hills Alberta for a month and a half... this has been a great distraction for both us and the boys. Thanks Brent (even though he doesn't know we have his dog!!!!), I am sure Gary and Tammy will let him know when they read this email!!

I realize this is LONG, but we have had so much happen since our last communication so I thought, "why not tell as much as I can" so you can get a feel for what we are experiencing in our first days in Angola. We are very glad to be here, and we look forward to how God is going to use us as we do what He has called us to do! The leadership at the UIEA has stressed that the first year is to be spent learning the language and getting involved in our local church in Namibe (learning culture and adjusting to life in Angola). They want us to have the foundation of language before any other ministry is started, we think this is wise and so we prepare for our first year... LEARNING PORTUGUESE!

Keep in touch... please write and tell us how you are doing and feel free to ask questions about ANYTHING and I will try to answer! In the meantime we appreciate your prayers and communication... THANK YOU!

Charlene for the Knightly Family!

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