Thursday, April 24, 2014

Day 18: Things I've Learned

Today we were still in the same village, and this is the last memory I recorded in my journal because the schedule just got crazy after this. I will continue to share the journey in pictures, but this was my last entry. It might make you laugh...

Things I've learned thus far in this adventure:
  1. Mules fart a lot!! I mean, I've never seen an animal with soo incredibly much gas, and when you're following a couple feet behind five of them all day, it gets pretty smelly. Unbelievably smelly! It's hard to catch your breath between extreme hiking, altitude, and mule gas.
  2. My husband is a superhero. I knew he was super before, but even though carrying Little Boy has been incredibly taxing, he never complains. And he has to listen to the rest of us all day!
  3. I need You a a lot more than I realized given that I have so many glaring character flaws that this trip has revealed.
  4. Our kids are okay at high altitude. They did 18,000 feet without a hitch.
  5. Life is really awful for some kids in the country where we live. More awful than one might imagine. 
  6. I'm so weird simply because of the color of my skin and where I grew up.
  7. Homemade dehydrated food really works! So far no one is complaining about the food, and we have been able to eat vegetables other than potatoes. Whoo hoo!

 The camera can't really capture it, but when you don't have a sink and you bathe once a week, your hands get disgusting.

Day 17: Glorious Sunshine

Today we walked only a few hours from our last camp to a new location, the second village where we'd hold the clinic. The path between villages was mostly a ravine that wound through mountains, making it unbelievable that one would find any villages in the area. Thought I was tired, today I discovered something that would impact the whole trip: When your heart is not in the right place, looking up can change your attitude. Whenever I felt discouraged, tired, impatient, or unpleasant, I turned that around and sang songs that praised who our Lord is--how great He is, how strong He is, how He works all things out, how He never lets our feet fail. What a difference that made in my heart! And the most beautiful thing of it all was that as we wandered through these hills, we experienced more of His glorious sunshine on us. It was the first time we'd been able to peel off layers during the trip.

Don't judge my crazy hair/face. I was busy prepping lunch.
In good local fashion, we surprised a man by arriving on his doorstep looking for accommodation. Despite this being a busy season with the barley harvest in full swing, he agreed and gave us the run of his home. It was so gracious and wonderful to spend the next couple days enjoying this sweet village during harvest time.

When we'd make our evening potty trip outside before bed, we'd be met with tons of glowing eyes from all the horses, mules, and cows gathered in the yard for the night. I often wondered what they thought of these crazy humans who put some kind of crazy brush in their mouths at night...or who shared their stall for a midnight bathroom visit.

Any nighttime bathroom trips meant going up and down ladders like this in the dark by headlamp.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


We met a new friend today, too. As I was bathing (in a very conservative way) down by the river, I kept hearing a funny sound. Thinking someone was playing a joke on me, I looked around, but what I found was this cute furry little goat.

He was very friendly, and with no people or animals in sight, we concluded he must have gotten lost and separated from his herd. The kids fell in love with him. He happily sat beside they while they played with him and petted his head.

We’re not sure what happened to Melman as we finished our trip to the next village with our little princess riding in on her white horse. He just couldn’t keep up with us so he got left behind, despite having been dragged by his horns part of the way.

Yep, the horn dragging was caught on camera.

Day 16: Service and Refreshment

We made a mistake last night. While camping by this beautiful river, we left our cooking gas outside. I, trying to give my amazing husband a rest after all his mornings of being the first up in camp, decided I would go heat the water to make hot chocolate and coffee. It was sooo cold outside! The leftover water from the previous night’s pots was frozen, and the mules were trying to lick it out of the pots. After chasing them away, I lit the stove. I waited and waited for that water to boil. When 15 minutes had passed, I went back to the tent. I went in and out checking on the water that just refused to boil. When 30 minutes had passed and I was chilled to the bone, my servant heart disappeared, and I marched back to the tent, giving up on the task. Never leave your gas cans outside in the mountains where it gets cold!

On a more positive note, we had a glorious morning of sunshine. We all took baths at the river and washed clothes. It was even sunny enough to dry them! Our tents really appreciated getting dried out before being packed away.

Unbelievable cold water, but very nice to be clean!

Days 14 and 15

This morning we left the village, heading off to another “in between” place before our next destination. We left in sunshine, but hit nasty weather just when we were stopping for lunch. Looking back we all laugh, but we were a pretty pitiful looking bunch huddled around the small pot of hopeless macaroni and cheese. It was hopeless because it just never thickened so we all ate this terrible macaroni soup in sleet.

To get past the soup, though, we reached this beautiful camp spot, but talk about cold! It was so cold no one wanted to volunteer to make dinner so we all crammed into one tent and ate a dinner of granola bars and trail mix. We knew it was cold, but we woke to a complete white out in the morning! Fun for the kids, but absolutely frigid. 

After that morning, we made the trek almost to the next village, and to make it a more enjoyable, restful next day we decided to just stop there and rest for the night.