Jared gave us a whirlwind tour of Mundri and the surrounding area on
Sabbath and Sunday, and then he and Eric caught an AIM flight out of
Mundri on Monday morning. Since then Luke and I have been working on
a variety of things, but primarily on fixing up the compound and
making connections with local church members, government officials,
and other missionaries in the area.

The people in Mundri have made us feel quite welcome. We were
introduced in church and have made friends with several different
church members. We've started learning our way around town and have
even located the local pita bread baker :) Mundri seems to be laid
out in a straight line East to West along the main road from Juba,
with most of the shops and government offices (Mundri is the county
seat) along the road and then people's homes further back.

Frontline Builders has a fenced compound is several hundred meters
north the road on the west side of town, in the residential section,
past the Mundri SDA church compound. The compound is very green right
now, with lots of trees--and plenty of brush! The different fruit
trees we've found on the compound so far are guavas (just finishing),
bananas (just ripening), oranges, papaya, pineapples, mangos, and
tamarind! Unfortunately we're going to miss the mango harvest, but
I'm looking forward to some delicious papaya and bananas and trying
some tamarind pods as well! There are also a few acacia, palm, teak,
and umbrella trees as well.

We've spent much of our time over the past two weeks cutting back some
of the less welcome plants from around the compound. Other activities
include fixing numerous holes in the fence, getting the solar charging
system working again, replacing the rear break pads on our cruiser,
and planting an experimental vegetable garden. Luke has lots of
different varieties of vegetables that he wants to try in the Mundri
climate, and we've planted 10 or 11 kinds of beans, 8 kinds of
tomatoes, cucumbers, sorghum, amaranth, peppers, carrots, different
kinds of greens, beets, onions, corn, cilantro, parsley, etc., etc.
Should be interesting to see what turns up.

One interesting project that we tried just the other day was making
our own hot sauce. We found a plant full of tiny red peppers. I
wasn't fooled by their cute appearance, having encountered them before
in Fiji--they're fiery! We've already burned through one of our two
bottles of Kenya-bought hot sauce, so I was eager to work on a
replacement. With gloved hands, we carefully collected a bowl full of
these little firebombs in preparation for some homemade hot sauce. We
don't have access to any refrigeration, so we decided to make a
brine-based sauce that will hopefully last a little longer. We
pan-roasted the peppers first, and then boiled a few spoonfuls in some
fresh lime juice with a teaspoon of salt, before mashing the mix and
straining the liquid into our old hot sauce jar. In the process we
spilled a little of the mixture on our front porch. I washed it off a
few minutes later, and found that the hot sauce had etched a small
hole in the surface of the concrete. I think this variety should last
just a little longer than the store-bought stuff :)

So since I've tantalized you with a bit of information about our food
situation here, let me say just a little more. Luke and I have
decided not to hire a local cook, both to economize and because as
Luke said, "Doing our own cooking and cleaning is good for our
characters." (We have compromised a bit in the area of laundry :) So,
mornings we usually have oatmeal or a little granola and pitas with
peanut butter and jelly, and--as of the ripening the first of our
banana trees--some bananas, and often some milk tea. Lunch usually
consists of some kind of beans or lentils, sometimes rice, some sort
of vegetable dish--eggplant, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, etc., and
pitas and bananas and peanut butter. For supper we eat leftovers and
pitas and peanut butter and jelly and usually some bananas. Yes, we
do go through a lot of pitas, peanut butter, and bananas! In fact,
we're thinking about building our own brick kiln oven, and purchasing
a grinder, so as to stem the flow of pounds from our pockets to the
local bakers and peanut butter vendors!

Most of our cooking and daytime living centers around a little room in
the small house on the compound. We store our food and things in the
room and cook and sit out front. But as darkness falls, we retreat to
our mosquito net-ensconced beds in "the loft." The loft is a
second-story platform with a thatched roof across the compound.
Because the platform is open on all four sides, it's a little cooler
than sleeping inside; the only drawbacks are that wasps seem to like
sleeping in the rafters as well, and that the termites don't
sleep--instead, they appear to enjoy dragging mud up from the ground
to the second story and building tunnels through my clothes. I've
since relocated all three of the above: the wasps, the termites, and
my clothes!)

Because darkness falls fairly early, we usually have a little time to
read in the evenings before going to bed. Luke has been reading me
humorous excerpts from Bill Bryson's "The History of Nearly
Everything," among other things, and I've been reading a bunch of
different books as well. In addition to the Books of John and James,
which I've been reading for devotions lately, I've been learning a lot
about African history through such books as "Emma's War," about South
Sudan's fight with Khartoum, "Wizard of the Nile," about Joseph Koney
and the LRA, "Into Africa," about Livingston and Stanley, and "Heart
of the Nile," about Sam and Florence Baker's explorations in Sudan.
I've also been delving into some of Luke's agriculture books, as well
as a book about the new shape of world Christianity and the EGW
compilation "Adventist Home." I'm going to need to procure some more
books soon, I think.


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