Beautiful Things

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I've successful survived a week with my wonderful Ivorian family!


I'm living with the Yeo Malele family. No one was sure where I would be living, but God delivered Madame Yeo in the last few hours of our week long orientation!

In our cozy little home there are 6 people. There is Monsieur Yeo Malele (I just call him Yeo) and his wife, Elisabeth. They have a 12 year old son named Jonas, who is ALWAYS smiling and singing to himself! Then there is David, Elisabeth's nephew, who is 20 and is helping me learn Tyembara. Mattias is in the room next to me. Mattias is Elisabeth's younger brother and he's a teacher in a village nearby. Lastly is Dorkas- she's Elisabeth's younger sister, and is graciously sharing her room with me. Dorkas has quickly become a great friend, probably because we are constantly together!

Holly is living right across the street, so we've seen eachother often, which has been really nice when our brains are SO tired of trying to speak french or we feel overwhelmed. Truthfully, the first few days felt so overwhelming! We just jumped in head first, but it's been wonderful!

Some moments from the past week:

Went to the weekly women's bible study and realized that it was all in Tyembara, a Senefo language! What?!? I thought I was going to have to struggle with communicating in French the first few weeks, but NO! The real struggle is trying to learn Tyembara in broken French! A week of only hearing and speaking french has done wonders- the tyembara will come later.

Learned how to wash my clothes in a bucket. We wash everything in a bucket. I wash myself in a bucket! Bucket baths by the billions begin! 

Dorkas, Mattias, and I went for a walk one morning and visited just about every market in Korhogo. We went to the petite marche on the corner, then to the vegetable marche, then to the grande marche, the supermarche, and on and on and on! We greeted so many people along the way and at every stop I was asked to present myself and my Senefo name. So here we go... one more time... Je suis Yeo Tamaganon Naomi. Yeo is the family name, and my family graciously gave me theirs (it's also extremely common, fitting for a Smith). Tamaganon is my tyembara name, given to me by Madame Yeo Abdulaye, the wife of our pastor, and it means "Love is good". She explained that it is because of love that I came to Africa. 

We walked to a nearby village and watered a vegetable garden with Dorkas and Mattias' aunt. I really enjoy the village setting! Even in this dusty place, you can see bright green gardens! Rows and rows of lettuce, carrots, bell peppers, piment, cabbage, tomatoes, and green beans! 

Bike rides across town in the middle of the day to see the other journeyers and send emails. Riding a bike here is stressful and more like mountain biking because the roads are pretty bad. BUT have no fear- we are extremely careful!

Evenings are my favorite. We sit outside under the mango tree and the night sky and eat together. Most of the time I have no clue what the conversation is actually about (because it's in Tyembara, which sometimes sounds like Chinese to me) but we together and eveyone is laughing and eating. There is either balafone music playing on the radio, or a spanish novella (translated into french) on the tv inside the house. It's just about relaxing and being together.

I woke Dorkas up talking in my sleep one night. The next day that story was the beginning of every conversation she had... yep.

I have eaten a number of strange things and I'm still going strong! Last night, I'm fairly certain I ate brains... it wasn't the taste so much as the texture that really bothered me.

Finishing up the Amy Carmichael biography and drawing out the last 20 pages. It's so encouraging reading about her struggles and funny mishaps while in India. That woman was full of wisdom and her words speak right to where I find myself here. One of the quotes I read this week:

"I am learning the lesson set to the weaned child. I am learning to do without".

I am learning to do without.

On Sunday, the message was on looking toward heaven and the place that Christ has prepared for us (John 14:2), but as I read the passage, all I could think was that Christ has prepared THIS place for me too! This family, this church, this time was all set out before hand. He provides for us, even when we are thousands of miles from all things familiar. 

He prepares a place for us. 

He goeth before.


Bjorklund's said...

WOW Thanks for the update! I am praying for you during this journey. Remember that Jesus loves you always and forever! Your identity is the sum of your fathers love for you and that makes you very special. I read your story about being without and it reminds me of the passages that talk about fellowshipping in Christ's suffering. What is that like? What is is like to give up familiarity like Jesus did when he left heaven?

Booma Karen said...

I also love the Amy Carmichael bio. Not easy reading. Hello to your new family from your Christian family here. Does YM have a ticket yet?