Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Boring!

Sorry for the long break! We had internet issues and then I just didn't feel like blogging. I'm back now and will post regularly.

Boring!!! That adequately describes Luanda. There's not much to do here for fun. No bowling, skating, museums, children's fun places. There is a movie theater but it's in Portuguese so...

On our compound, there is a swimming pool, tennis courts, soccer field, and playgrounds. But, it gets old seeing the same stuff all the time. There is a nearby beach called Mussulo which is a really nice spot. The problem is that I'm used to having a variety of things in Houston and here there just isn't much. So, we have to deal with the mundane existence here and then have a fabulous vacation every few months. It is what it is!

One way to deal with it though is that people have regular get togethers. There are birthday parties every week. There are different groups that get together for different activities as well: book club, bible study, prayer group, movie days, bunco, tennis matches, etc. So far, I do the prayer group and movie days. Bible study is at the same time as my portuguese class and I really have to get this language. I don't have my shipment yet so can't play tennis. I'm trying to find stuff to do though.

The highlight of everyone's life here are the vacations though. In October, we went to Namibia. It was fabulous and a post will come soon about that. We are spending Christmas in Cape Town, SA. Our goal is to make it to the following places before we leave: Kenya, Mauritius, Johannesburg, Victoria Falls, and Morocco. I really wish we could go to Egypt but they have to calm down there first. It is likely that we won't make it to all those places but we will see.

I miss all of you and will write again soon.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Luanda Para Cristo

Hey!!!

Let me tell y'all about this church event we went to. For my Houston SDA folks, do you remember a few years ago when we had the Houston for Christ evangelism thing for the month of February. Well, they had a Luanda for Christ thing in Angola. It was introduced at the beginning of the year and then they had a 4 week crusade with nightly preaching which ended on September 21st. On that day, they rented out 2 soccer stadiums for the church service. It was quite amazing! In total, the report is that more than 23,000 people have been baptized so far this year. The goal is 1 million before the end of the year.

So, the church that we've been attending was told to go to Dos Coqueiros stadium which seats about 12,000 people. We were told to get there by 8:30 so our family will be able to find seats together. That was good information because by 8:45 the place was almost full for an event starting at 9:15. And, there were people everywhere sitting on the steps, on the ground, on the soccer field. And, almost everyone was travelling with pots, plates, drinks, etc. because the plan was to stay for the entire day. That was their plan, by the way. We went home after the service.

We were seated in the end zone (I don't know soccer vernacular) which means we couldn't see things very well. But, that didn't matter because: 1) We didn't understand much anyway, 2) We were close to the exit.

The week before, the adults were given t-shirts to wear because they wanted everyone to match. My kids wore their Fondren Children's Ministry t-shirts so they could rep their church and be easily identified by their parents.

There was an American guy there who gave the first sermon (yay because we could understand). I had a translator sitting next to me but I think sometimes she would forget her job so I didn't get everything. She was very happy to translate the 2 testimonies though so I'll share those.
1) A lady joined a Bible study group and decided to be baptized as a SDA. Her mom told her if she went through with it, she would be disowned and the mom would tell everyone she had died. The lady was baptized anyway. She said she would rather be dead to her family than dead to Christ. Family means everything in Angola so this is a very bold step for her to take.
2) A teenager boy said he joined Pathfinders to hang with his friends and was introduced to God. He said he was impressed by the other kids because they had different standards than everyone else.

"Luanda for Christ: 1 million souls for Christ"

"Hope for Angola" and Danica repping for Fondren CM

Panorama shot of the crowd. The lady all the way on the left was my translator.

If you squint a little, you can see people in white on the field. They were baptized that day in a kiddie pool that was maybe 1.5 ft deep. We are still not sure how that happened.

Another panorama shot. They guy on the left with the orange shirt is our driver. You can also see the tops of my kids' heads on the bottom left. Oh, there's Dwayne's big head too!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Just Stuff...

Today, I thought I would talk about some things here that are unique or really surprised me.

  • Weave - Probably 75% of the people here are walking around with weave. This really surprised me. I'm assuming it must be pretty cheap to buy because poverty is real over here. I've been trying to figure out how to sneak a picture because it is installed in a very interesting way. Some people have tracks but for most it is different. At the root, it looks almost like palm rolled dreads. So...I think...the natural hair is palm rolled and then the weave is somehow glued onto that. I know I didn't describe it right but I'll get a pic one day. Just know there's a lot of weave and most of it looks a mess.

  • So, these people hook a trailer up to the back of a motor bike and make it into a taxi. I haven't been able to get a good pic so this will have to do. I have seen like 15 people hanging onto the back. Crazy...dangerous.

  • Women walking around with stuff on their heads. Now, I know this isn't something that I didn't expect but I have been surprised by the type of things on their heads. I've seen chairs, small trees, huge boxes. I'm always amazed by this. Usually though, it's more like these.




  • The traffic! This traffic is horrible...worse than anything I've seen. Example...Dwayne's job is about 11 miles from our house. He has to leave at 5:20 in the morning to get there about 6:15. If he leaves any later, it can take him 2 hours or more to get there. His commute in the evening is about 1.5 hours. He leaves work at 4:30 and usually gets here around 6 (sometimes later). I've been trying to figure out the traffic rules. There are very few lights or stop signs but also very few accidents. I guess the people aren't too aggressive and just fit in however they can.
I know there are more things but this is all I can think of for now. I'll write later.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Sourpuss

So, we are having a little issue around these parts. Danae is mad at the world right now.
When Dwayne told her we were moving, she cried like a crazy person. This was expected though because she would miss her friends and family and all that. Then, she had a few moments of excitement about this move. Well, since she started school, we have gone back to the bottom.

The problem...friends. She says that she doesn't have any friends. She says people don't like her and are talking about her. I think she's part of the problem. Now, my daughter tends to be a bit shy around new people and I get that. She met a little girl on the first day who has been talking to her and being very friendly. But, that little girl has other friends who don't know Danae and Danae isn't trying to know them too much either. As a matter of fact, when I walked her to class one day, another little girl spoke to her and she barely opened her mouth. I've been trying to tell her that she has to be friendly for other folks to want to be bothered with her.

Last night, she gave me this note.
It says: "I hate school so badly that I never want to hear the word school ever again."

"School is the worst thing I've heard of in my whole entire life. I don't even want to see one. I am too done with this thing. Just don't talk to me. PLEASE!!!

I think she came with such a bad attitude that it's affecting her ability to build relationships. This school is full of children who just moved here or are getting ready to leave or are in the middle of their stay. They get it! They've all been the new kid. I talked to Danae's teacher to see how she's doing and it seems that she is her own worst enemy. I've tried to encourage her, pray with her, talk to her, but I'm out of ideas and I'm very annoyed.

If anyone has ideas on how to handle, please share because I've decided to not ask her about it anymore and just let her deal.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Minha Casa (My house)

After landing and finally getting through customs and getting all the bags loaded, we headed to our new house.

We are living in a compound (just a glorified gated community) called Monte Belo Condominio. It is filled with 100 houses that are almost exactly the same. The only difference is one of the outside walls is painted a different color. Ours is gray. Our house was renovated before we got here because it began sinking and breaking when the previous tenants lived here. We have heard that all the houses here have had foundation issues because they were not built properly. Hopefully, ours will last for 3 years before falling apart again.

So, the house is about 4000 sq ft. It has 3 bedrooms, an office, a game room, 5 1/2 bathrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, pantry, laundry room. It's also 2 story, which made the kids happy because they've wanted that for a while now. It came furnished but not all how we expected. For instance, we were told (and shown on our visit) that the living room couch would be white leather. Ours is a dark grey cloth. We are supposed to have a king size bed in our room, but it's more like a full-sized. They say it's a queen.

When we got here, the dryer, dishwasher, and doorbell didn't work. We were given a new dryer and dishwasher but the doorbell is still broken. There are a couple other issues but they're minor. Also, because we don't mosquitoes in our house, we have to keep it quite cold in here. I hate being cold!

Our neighborhood has a lot to offer though. We have a pool, 2 playgrounds, tennis courts, soccer field, basketball courts, a rec room, exercise room, and a meeting room. So, while we live in this really nice place, just outside are people living in shanties or washing up in water on the side of the street. It's rather sad and almost makes me feel a little guilty because we've been given so much while they have so little.

I'm including pics of the house but keep in mind that is mostly undecorated until we get our shipment. Anyway, pictures...
Our "king-sized" bed

The girls messy beds

Brayden's room

Game room

The stairs that my kids are going to bust their butts on

kitchen


Dining area

Living room

Danica laying down on her nightstand
master bathroom

fun stuff

Our street with the same house over and over and over

Monday, September 09, 2013

Going to Luanda!

I suppose it is time to dust off the old blog now. For those who don't know, my husband has a job assignment in Luanda, Angola for the next 3 years. We prayed about this and felt this was the right choice for our family at this time. Dwayne applied for his work visa and got it back in 1 month. We were told to expect a wait of 4-6 months. The children and I applied for our visas and 2 came back in 1 day with the other 2 arriving the following week.

So, the task of moving to Angola was not an easy one. This is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Also, while things are greatly improving, it is also a city lacking a lot of the things we are accustomed to having in the States. So, we spent a lot of $$ to buy things that we may need over here for the next 3 years (or at least until we make it back to Houston next summer).

We arrived at the airport on August 26th with 32 pieces of luggage to check in and about 6-7 more as carry-on items. Don't believe me, here's proof...


We filled our girls' room in Houston with luggage after the furniture was removed!

Another angle!

Here we are at the airport with all this stuff!

Praying that none are too heavy!

Tired kids sitting on the floor of the airport

Off by herself as usual



I already have plenty to share about this place. We are adjusting as best we can. One thing is for sure, we live an abundantly blessed life. Stay tuned...