Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Where do I start?  It's been fun describing thanksgiving to the Rwandese.  One of the workers at the Living Water house, asked me, "How do you call the big chicken?"  He meant "what" do you call it, but I chuckled imagining myself calling a turkey.  We had a great pot-luck thanksgiving meal over at Mike Tracy's house.  He is the country director for Living Water in Rwanda.  Considering it is difficult to find many of the ingredients we are used to, everyone did an amazing job of re-creating a traditional thanksgiving.  Some of those hard to find items include, cranberry sauce (no fresh cranberries - for sure), pecans, pumpkin, orange sweet potatoes, gravy mixes, marshmallows.  We even had home made from scratch crescent rolls!  And a green bean casserole made with fresh green beans and from scratch fried onions.  I got off easy making corn bread muffins even if it was without a mix.

I am most grateful that I'm not worried about Christmas shopping.  There is not even the first sign of Christmas around here.  No billboards.  No decorations.  No music.  No signs in the shopping areas.  The Rwandese have told me that some people do put up decorations, but mercifully it is closer to Christmas, and does not begin before Halloween.  Gift exchanging is not big.  Families just get together.  Hoooray!!!

MacGregor is still in Kenya.  He says seeing the desperate need for water out in some of the remote areas that he is traveling is making him all the more grateful for family and health.  We are missing him.  His thanksgiving meal as he describes it, "We had chicken "gordon" blue for dinner that was chicken with a meat stuffing with a piece of ham over the top.  It was close to thanksgiving type thing."  

Thank you all for continued prayers and thoughts.  God Bless, Ashley

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mac in Nairobi

Please pray for MacGregor.  He will be in Nairobi for two weeks.  He's meeting a potential donor interested in seeing hospitals that do not have clean water.  He'll be showing them around approximately 22 hospitals in 12 days.  

Much ado about nothing

The demonstrations were peaceful from our point of view. We saw a few helicopters fly over.  We could hear some protesters chanting in the distance and music, but that was about it.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Demonstration in Rwanda

We received the email below from the US Embassy today.  There will be demonstrations tomorrow in Rwanda protesting the political "disagreements" between Rwanda and Germany.  The kids do not have school and we will be hanging out at home all day.  We're not worried, but we are praying that the demonstrations are peaceful.

Greetings registered Americans in Rwanda:

The U.S. Embassy will be open for business on Wednesday, November 19,
2008, although large, peaceful demonstrations are still expected in and
outside of Kigali.  Some embassies, particularly those in areas that may
be most affected by demonstrations, are expected to be closed.  Some
schools with international students have also announced that they will
be closed.  Public transport is expected to be limited.  

While the U.S. Mission will be open demonstrations may impede some
employees from coming to work.

Once again, we urge all Americans to avoid large gatherings and to
exercise caution.  You are urged to monitor communications, including
U.S. Embassy warden messages, for further advisories or announcements.  

Please be advised that movements within Kigali and other major towns may
be restricted due to large crowds and blocked streets.     

Monday, November 17, 2008

We had a great weekend

We spent Saturday morning at the Novotel poolside. The kids enjoyed the opportunity to swim and meet some other kids. We enjoyed the great coffee and bakery and we made some good contacts with other Ex Pats that were doing the same thing with the kids. Apparently it is a good spot on the weekends to see other folks that are in the same boat.

We met one family that has been here for 11 years now.....this is very encouraging for us.

We then waited an hour for our "real-estate" broker to show up and headed out to look at more houses. We have a potential contender on the list now.

Sunday was great as well. We attended a very enjoyable St. Etienne Anglican Church and met more great people. We were subsequently invited to a Bible study Sunday night with a group of missionaries led by the pastor of St. Etienne. It was a wonderful group of folks and the kids had a blast with the other kids. This was a very spiritually refreshing day for us to be in communion with likeminded folks.

On the mission side the drill team completed two boreholes successfully in the Southern Province and the pump repair team completed another three projects in Kigali. The 2nd drill rig is nearing completion of an overhaul and a third light duty rig is under way from the US with a bulldozer to help clear a path.

God's peace and mercy on you this week,

Saturday, November 15, 2008

House search of the elusive moderately priced cute house.

There is no rhyme or reason to the price - location - house triad that house hunters in the US are accustomed to.  You know...the better the location, the better the house, the higher the price and vice versa.  I've not found that to be the case in Kigali, Rwanda.  You're apt to find that anything goes, and the price has virtually no correlation to anything but the skin color of the perspective renter.  We went to one house that we thought was ok.  This is until we came across a bathroom with the toilet smack dab in the middle of the room!  I'm not joking.   Had the owner not been there, I would have taken a picture!  A person would have to walk around the toilet (on either side) to get to the shower or lavatory.  This was an otherwise nice house - go figure.  There is also no predictability of floor plans.  Houses are likely to have 7 tiny bedrooms that are spread out all over the house, with doors in the hallways that could lock off whole sections of the house, and no bathrooms accessible to most of them.  However even the most modest of houses will have guard houses, staff quarters, outdoor bathrooms for the staff, and seperately keyed locks on every door closet, pantry, kitchen and drawer in the entire place.  I'm having a blast trekking around on the bumpy roads looking at all of this comical real-estate, but the not so funny part is that, at some point we will have to move out of the lap of luxury and actually choose one of these.  Please pray for a cute, moderately priced, bungalow with a view (in the land of a thousand hills) for the Magruders.  We'll keep you posted.  Thanks for checking in.  Ashley

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One week today!

We've officially been here a week today.  The kids started school yesterday.  They loved it which is great.  It seems like they have a pretty good foundation, so they are not too far ahead and not behind what the class is doing here.  They have great teachers and classmates.  Duncan and Ella are the only Americans in their class and Lilly is one of two in a class of nine.  The students come from everywhere (South Africa, Central America, Japan, Holland, Rwanda)  Its really a great blend.  

I went shopping at the big open air market yesterday.  The selection of fresh produce was amazing!  It was the size of a football field with everything from passion fruit to dried beans and in between.  We'll be eating a little healthier, I hope.  

Mac rode out to the job site where they are drilling about 2.5 hours south of here.  He said it's the poorest place he has ever seen.  The people were pretty amazed to see him (a tall white guy) as well.  He said adults and children were coming up to touch his skin.

We go house hunting tomorrow.  Let's hope that we can find something as nice at the LWI house we are in.

Thanks for everyone's continued prayers,

Friday, November 7, 2008

Pictures of the house where we are staying

This is where we are staying.  We have the upstairs and the office is downstairs.  We are very comfortable.  No mud hut as many have asked ;-)

Everyone want to know about the kids.....(Ashley)

The kids are doing fine. Everyone is.  They don't seem as struck by the differences as I would have imagined.  They are getting used to everyone staring at us.  We've done a lot of running errands the last couple of days.  They moaned about being in the car and doing boring stuff, but that's typical.  We visited the school today and I'm very pleased.  They have great teachers and good small classes.  Duncan and EJ will have Miss Shannon, a young woman from Minnesota.  Lilly has Mr. Troy Reece.  He also arrived after the school year began.  His wife is in charge of the Peace Corps in Rwanda.  I'm not sure which state they are from.  Lilly seemed to think he would be nice & she would like him.  She has more girls than boys in her class.  We didn't get to visit long, so I'm not sure where her classmates are from.  D and EJ are the only American's in their class.  Their class consists of a caucasian girl, named Jade from S. Africa, a boy from Japan, a boy from South America, and two Rwandan kids.  The entire school has 200 students from 30-something countries.  The classrooms were bright and cheerful.  They will officially start Monday, but tomorrow is a Fall Festival at the school, so we will go check that out and hopefully meet some parents.  

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We have arrived in Kigali

We are in and andjusting to the new time zone sleep patterns.  We wake up from 1am to 3am and then fall back asleap.  We should be fully adjusted over the next week.

We had great flights over and can not tell you how great Brussels Airlines is.  Wow, made our AA flight from Chicago look like an antique plane.  And good leg room to boot.  Ella and Duncan both got sick on the flight over.  After 24 hours of flying with no sleep and light food I guess it pushes a little kid too far.

We are off to look for housing this morning and maybe go by KICS to show the kids thier new school.

I will post a photo of my prayer and coffee view soon, it is fantastic, green and fogy this morning.