Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Few Folks From The Neighborhood

I am in Uganda right now and I have enough Internet speed to up load more than one photo, so I though I would post a few/  #1 is of a guy out in the boonies who wanted his picture taken, but I couldn't get the frown off of his face, and when his frown got more serious, I quit trying. #2 all of the cooking is done with wood and this young man is having fun on a pile before it gets cut up.  #3 is a sweetie that always had a great smile for me and I didn't write her name down.  Will just call her Sweetie, I guess.  #4 is of a young girl from a very poor neighborhood, I mean really poor.  But you wouldn't know it from her smile.

Charles and Jimmy Michael

Very seldom did I walk around the compound that Charles and Jimmy Micheal didn't run up to me and want to play.  These little guys always brought a smile to my face.  They will soon be three years old.  I am writing this blog at the airport in Entebbe, Uganda.  I have finish the first leg of a four leg journey back to Oregon.  I have a 11 hour layover here... Ugh....  and I miss my two little buds already..   next stop Brussells, Belguim sometime tomorrow morning...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Amazing Mother and Her Family

Do missionaries have fan clubs.  If they don't, some should.  If Elizabeth Perry had a fan club, I would join.  This women from Michigan/Colorado in the USA flat dab amazes me.  I have watched her and her eight children (yes, I said eight and there's more) and her equally amazing husband for the last two months.  The way she raises her kids, and the way she treats everyone around her impresses me very much.  I have asked her kids what kind of mom and teacher she is and they all said without hesitation that she is the best.  I will be profiling her doctor husband Jeff later.  

Other kids:  They have a 23 old adopted son who is finishing up his college education in the states and then they have a special story about their adopted twins.  A little over a year ago a man brought in his new born twin boys.  The mother had died and the boys were doing very poorly and without help they would die also.  Both Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff already knew from God that there was going to be twins boys in their lives and here they were.  Elizabeth who was at the time nursing her youngest added the twins to join their new sister.  For the next 2 1/2 months the boys became very healthy and the Perry's had started and got approval for adoption from the country. Then out of no where the father shows up and wants his boys back.  Can you imagine?  After a process, Elizabeth said they made the hardest and best decision in their lives and let the boys go with their father back to the bush. 

Two more things:  Elizabeth told me that the best thing about living here is knowing that she is living God's will in her life.  Lot of us would like to know that for sure.  She also told me that of all the many things she has to be thankful for,  her salvation is the most important.  She is one smart lady and I am real glad to know her.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Controlled Mayhem and Going Away Presents

Most cities in Africa are nothing short of an amazing thrill ride.  For all of you roller coaster junkies, African city driving is right up your alley.  There are virtually no lights or signs.  You just jump in and finesse or muscle your way through a maze of potholes, goats, and a gazillion other drivers as crazy as you are for being out there in the first place.  This picture is of a street that is lined with businesses.  The problem is they do not have any parking, so everyone double parks while they try to get there shopping done all the time watching out for the police to show up and write expensive parking tickets.  We were here to buy supplies (beans and rice) for Terekeka and it was amazing.  It is like a living, breathing organism with a flow and a mind of it own.

I mentioned the other day that I had come down with malaria, well a few hours after they told me I had malaria they told me I had typhoid also.  They caught them both early so there shouldn't be any problems down the road.  I am leaving for America Saturday and Africa decided to give me a date with malaria and her sinister sister, typhoid before I left. That's OK, it still has been more then worth it to come to wonderfully amazing place.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Joseph Kony is not going to kill me and my little boy!!

I have a hard time imagining at the age of four fleeing my country on foot with my mother to keep from being killed by Muslim extremist.  Then finding myself in another country where a man and his small army want to kill my mother and probably me because I am not old enough to be a soldier in his army. I can't imagine that going for two and three days without food is normal.  I get nervous if I miss lunch.

Then going back to my country at seven only for my mother to become so sick she can't take care of me at all.  Then a having a grandpa taking me to place run by this white women and her husband and leaving me there.  Why would my grandpa do that?

Emmanuel Guya Alison is 19 years old and was born in Payawa-Yei, South Sudan.  He is from the Kakwa tribe and he wants to be an electrical engineer someday.  When Guya came to Harvesters there where only 11 other orphans here.  He is very intelligent, kind, and soft spoken.  But what really impressed me about Guya was how appreciative he is to Harvesters and to God for bring him here.  The way he said something really sticks with me.  He said it in a very emotional way, "I have never gone to bed since I have been at Harvesters on an empty stomach."   Amazing young man and I know he will go far.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Women and Children and Even a Transient

His House of Hope is a hospital in Yei, South Sudan.  What makes it so special is that it is located at an orphanage called Harvesters.  Another thing so special about it that is first rate for African standards.  They have two doctors and two nurses that serve here as missionaries and a support staff of regional people who have some training and are getting more.  I will be writing a lot about this place of hope and the people who make it work in my third book.  The first time I held a little baby in my arms that would have died if this hospital wasn't here, I was a fan.  It was a very emotional experience holding those babies and I will never forget it.  But I have something else to be thankful to this hospital for.  A couple days ago I started feeling real crummy and last night I was up all night with a fever and chills.  It seems that Africa has given me a nice case of Malaria as a going away present. But because of Lillie, Linda, Innocence, Jay, Kathrine and Dr. Poole I will be good go when I get on that plane next Saturday.  If this would have happen to me in the bush of Terekeka, I would have a pretty serious problem.  The picture is of the first thing people see when they walk up to the hospital.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dancing Under The Mango Tree

In Trekeka they have 47 orphans that live on site  and 104 kids that go to school.  They are working on class rooms, but right now all classes are outdoors under mango trees.  It works real good in the morning, but by early afternoon it is very hot if you are out of the shade at all.  This picture is of one of my favorite teachers.  Her name is Harriet and she teaches music to all grade levels.  She starts out each morning  with the youngest class and this is them performing a beautiful little song and dance.  It was amazingly cute and I have most of it on video and will put it on youtube when I get back to the US.

Cheka Harriet is 20 years old and was born in Koboko, Uganda.  She is from the Kakwa tribe and is shy and humble.  But when she gets to singing, that changes.  She has an amazing voice and she led a group of older kids that did a Sunday morning church special that was very good.  Her dream is to go to America someday.

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Friendly Mundari Butcher

Do you see that crazed look in this man's face.  It is real...  He just finished maliciously beating a big chunk of meat with a tomahawk type ax.  He just broke the bone in this meat to little pieces and then he leaves them there for his hardy customers to deal with.  I asked him about his roof maintenance schedule and he glared at me and raised the tomahawk over his head and laughed very loudly as I ran off down the dusty road.

238 years ago today the Revolutionary War in America started.  One year ago I was speaking at a Lion's Club meeting in Jetmore, Kansas.  Come to think of it, I think there were a few fellas at that meeting that look just like my butcher friend.  Not really, they didn't have the forehead scaring like the Mundari do.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

You Would Be Ticked Too

The big fellas name is Joshua and his riding companions name is Joseph.  They are in the back of a Landrover headed for a clinic in Terekeka and they let me ride along.  You see Joshua and Joseph are not real good friends because Joseph considers himself a ladies man and is always giving Joshua a bad time about his eating habits.  Just before I took this picture I heard Joseph say to Joshua that he better slow up on the chowing down or he would never get a date to the prom and Joshua said something like, you better slow up with all your lip action or I am going to thump your skinny little head.  Anyway it went on like that until we got to the clinic and they both got shots and then they didn't have anything to say to anybody for the rest of the day.  Just another day in the bush with two wild and crazy African guys.....

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In Memory Of A Dear Friend

When I left on my journey 18 months ago I had no idea how lonely it would be at times.  I am so fortunate to have some good friends that would send me words of encouragement along the way and Susanne Maine was the best at doing that.  It was as if she knew I was down and needed a word here and there.  She was also the biggest encourager of my sense of humor, in fact I think she was the only one who actually enjoyed my wit.  I was fortunate to be able to go see Susanne and the rest of my chruch family in September of last year.  I was staying at the McGregor's which is about 40 miles from Susanne's home in Bandon.  One Tuesday she drove all the way out to get me and took me to hang out with her Tuesday Girls.  A bunch of very nice young ladies that Susanne spent time with every Tuesday.  Part of their Tuesday included serving coumunity meals to the needy.  That is where this picture was taken. That was just Susanne, always reaching out to help someone else. I am really going to miss my good friend.  I am so glad that she knows Jesus.
Blessings to her friends and family,
Dave Strege in South Sudan

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Is There Really A Loch Ness Monster?

I asked several people what river the orphanage was next to.  Some said it was the Blue Nile, some the White Nile.  I found an old map that said it was The Bahr al-jabbal River.  They all said there crocodiles in this river.  Some said the crocs. were parcel to white meat and some said that most thought that white meat was to fatty and thus unhealthy.   The poles you see in the picture are actually there to keep the crocs. from hanging out in this area.  It was well over 100 degrees this particular day and this water was exceptionally inviting, so I decided to trust the fence and a maybe a little bit on the fatty meat thing.  Maybe they both are true as I am still sloshing around the neighborhood.

Monday, April 15, 2013

That Ain't No Bull

This a small herd of Mundari tribe cattle that we drove through in the bush about 25 miles from Terekeka.  These massive horns belong to a mama.  The bulls horns are even bigger.  The cattle are amazing, but what is really interesting is the Mundari Tribe.  I hope to share more with you about them.  One of the problems though, is that I didn't get near as many pictures as I had hope because it is a problem with a lot of these remote tribes when it comes to taking their pictures.  So unless I have the opportunity to ask for permission, I have to pass on some really cool photo opportunities.
Well the reason there is a picture with this blog is because I am back at the Yei orphanage.  It took 10 hours to get here from 150 miles away, but we made it.  I never though traveling such as short distance could be so interesting and so physically demanding at the same time.  Wow... what a trip.  As interesting as it was I hope I don't have to go through that again for awhile.
I hope and pray that you are all doing well.
Blessing from Yei, South Sudan

Friday, April 12, 2013

Weak Net No Pic

I wanted to drop a note to let you know that I am still alive.  I am in the compound of an orphanage a few miles outside a small town by the name of Terekeka, South Sudan.  The satellite Internet feed is so weak that I finally gave up on trying to upload a photo.  Which is to bad because I am getting some very interesting photos.  This compound is right on the edge of the Blue Nile and in the heart of the Mundari Tribe.  Everything here is fascinating to me and even though it very hot I am enjoying my short week here a great deal.  Been doing a seminar for the teachers and will speak at church this Sunday and back to Yei Monday.  I wish I had a way to convey to you this fascinating culture.  Maybe someday.
Blessings and Joy from Sub-Sahara, South Sudan

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

UN Russian Helicopter

On Monday I moved from Harvesters orphanage in Yei to their new orphanage in Terekeka, which is about 150 miles north. The road is really bad from Yei to Juba and I was able to catch a free ride on a old Russian UN helicopter. What a kick.  Got to ride this cool old helicopter instead of spending six hours getting beat to death on very rough road.  Lance and Kim who run the Terekeka compound picked me and a brother and sister from Arkansas who wanted to visited Terekeka also, in Juba.  We got to Terekeka in the afternoon and it seemed like we went a long way back in time.  Wow, this is one fascinating place.  We are considered in the middle of the bush on the mighty Nile river.  A crocodile is seen now and then, lots of snakes to include green mambas and cobras and it is a lot hotter than Yei.  Internet is by generator and satellite and strength of connection is always questionable, but I hope to share a  lot about this amazing place.
Blessings from the bush in South Sudan

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Go To Guy

Pastor Dennis and Mama Lillie Klepp are the founders of Harvesters and they run the show.  But for day to day operations and when the Klepps are gone they have to have a very talented person to keep things running smoothly.  During the week it is normal to have over 800 people at Harvesters, so keeping things running smoothly is a daunting task.  Their go to guy is a very nice man they call Mr. Morris.
Maurice Akuno is 48 and he was born in Kisumu, Kenya and is of the Luo tribe. He is married and has four children.  His family lives in Mombasa, Kenya and that is very hard on him as he is in South Sudan most of the time.  After he graduated high school his brother offered to pay his way through a university in India.  However, after one year his brother lost his job and Maurice was on his own in a foreign land.  Instead of coming home he stuck it out and finished his college degree on his own, many times living on the streets.  Eight years ago Maurice came to Harvesters as a teacher.  Now he is the compound director and this man has a huge job that he takes very seriously and does very well.  I hope he thinks of me as a friend as much as I do him.
Blessings from South Sudan

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rush Hour

Almost every evening after dinner I go for a walk around the perimeter of the compound.  This small effort at some exercise after eating more beans and rice has become quite enjoyable.  50% of the time I am able to watch  the last part of a soccer game and these kids are fun to watch.  From there I make it to the back corner of the property which has a lot of plant growth, so I have to watch for snakes.  Then I go through the area that the housemothers are doing the laundry by hand for their kids. About half way through this little walk I come to the road that adjoins the compound.  A vehicle will come through this area at the rate of about one an hour.  There is however, a lot of foot and bicycle traffic and  you can see some real interesting characters on this road.  But just whipping your camera out and start taking pictures is a no no.  In fact it can become a problem so we just don't do it.  The above picture was taken on the sly, but it give you an idea of some of the comings and goings of this area.
Blessings from Harvesters, South Sudan

Friday, April 5, 2013

A True Rose

My last blog I talked about the food that the kids get here.  The lady who is charge of making sure those 600 kids get something to eat is an amazing lady.  She has been with Harvesters almost since the very beginning and she is a kick.  She has seen it all.  She has seen the kids scared to death because Joseph Kony and the LRA were near by.  She has seen babies die and she has seen a tremendous amount of kids get a chance in life.  I like her and we had fun while she let me hang out in her very hot kitchen for a day.

Rose Itiya is 39 years old and born right here in Yei, South Sudan.  Itiya is from the Kakuwa tribe and is a widow with four children all who she has put through school.  I salute this very nice woman and her wonderful staff.  They are amazing.  They work 13 hour days and they always have a smile. I am also proud that  Sarah, a friend of mine from Oregon sponsors Itiya.  Thank you Sarah for helping make a much better life for these kids.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

African Orphanage Food

Today I spent several hours with six ladies as they went about their business of preparing lunch for 600 kids.  What a daunting task.  It was warm today, real close to 100 in the shade.  The kitchen where these ladies prepare all this food is wide open because the cookers are all heated with wood.  It was exceptionally hot in there.  The picture is of my lunch.  The white food is called porsho.  It is made with maze flour and water and a little salt.  A lot like corn meal.  The sauce is very salty and is made with oil, water, and onions.  The fish is smoked and dried and there is nothing missing.  They don't bother cleaning them.  And yes, for those of you who are wondering, I did eat the whole thing. The kids that live here get this for lunch and the kids that just come here for school get porsho and beans.  For many of the kids who don't live here, this is there only meal of the day.  They actually have trouble with some kids faithing on Monday mornings because they have not eaten since their lunch Friday........ bon appetit from South Sudan

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Yesterday was a pretty special day for me.  Kerry, a visiting nurse from Tasmania/Houston/Kampala took me to the hospital here at Harvesters.  She wanted me to meet three special ladies along with their three special babies.  One lady by the name of Rose was having serious problems giving birth and four members of her family carried her several miles  by hand on her little mattress.  Two moms had twins but both lost one because they were so small. This little girl does not have a name yet because they will have a special ceremony at which time they will name her.  I have to tell you it was pretty hard on this old bird holding that little girls tiny little hand, knowing that if this hospital had not been here she would have died.  Pretty special moment for me.....

Monday, April 1, 2013

157 Kids Call Me Mama

What would you do if you were born and raised in Western Kenya.  Married and working toward your degree in counseling psychology, but needed a job.  Well Josephine found a job alright, not in Kenya but in South Sudan at Harvesters as the Orphanage Supervisor.  Which means she is the head mama for 157 kids and let me tell you, she does it well.  She knows every kid by name, where they came from and how long they have been here.  I have got to know Josephine pretty well and she is a kick.  But to tell you the truth I like her daughter better.  Adrielle graced the cover of this very blog a few day ago under the title of "Looking Good".
Josephine Wanjiku Kigundu.  Born in West Kenya 33 years ago, married, and comes from the Kikuyu tribe.  She has been with Harvesters for almost five years.  She love Jesus and these kids and the kids love her back.  Very fine lady....