Sunday, September 30, 2007

major let-down

watermelons will be in major supply soon. so far koutiala has only seen four of them and we have consumed one. it was the best watermelon we have ever had. (that may be partly due to the fact that it reminded us of home) well, we went back to look for more and went a couple days without seeing one again. major let-down. then one day we were riding our little yamaha moped through the market and bingo.....watermelon. there was only one left and it was a beauty, as you can see from the picture above.
as the knife sliced through the outer shell our mouths began to water from the anticipation of the sweet, cool fruit that would dance on our tongues in a few minutes. as the knife clicked on the cutting board we noticed that the inside was a little white. wait a minute...the whole thing is white. it smells funny too. "not ripe yet," says tessa. major bummer. we were about to throw our prize watermelon away when i noticed that it smelled strangely like cucumber in the kitchen. upon further inspection our watermelon was diagnosed as a giant cucumber.
i made a mandate that no future angelo will eat cucumber again. they are a cursed vegetable, full of wickedness and deception.


ellen loves to read books. we are currently going through "the 12 days of christmas" about 3 times a day. she likes to sing along. ellen and i sing everything but "and a partridge in a pear tree." that is mommy's line and i think she is getting a little sick of jumping in on her parts. ellen's favorite part is "fiiiiiiiive goooooooold riiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnngs."

city @ dawn

we went for a walk last night because there was a beautiful sunset brewing on the horizon. we stopped and took some pictures of the drag. downtown koutiala at its finest.

sand trap

this is ellen and some of the kids here in koutiala. they are all home schooled by their patient mothers and they come over to the "mission" for phy ed twice a week. ellen jumps right in when they are done with their "big kid" games. (digging in sand is approved for all ages)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


this video is proof that ellen loves to go outside. watch how she freezes as soon as the word "outside" is mentioned.

sea containers

today we had some guys come in and move some sea containers around. we have been sorting and rearranging the sea containers the past week or so. we had to empty out two of them to be able to move them into place. it was pretty fun to watch this min-crane go to work. the smaller container is 20 foot and the bigger one is 40 foot. those babies can hold a lot of equipment for the hospital and for the new shop. a work team is coming out october 6th from florida to work on a building that will cover the containers and give a shop area for maintenance.

i have also been learning to build kitchen cabinets. that has been interesting. i'll have to put up some pictures of the finished product when we are done.

sand dunes

there are some huge piles of sand out by the sea containers. they bring in 4 or 5 dump truck loads for making concrete blocks. we'll be using all that sand up and more here in the next couple weeks. for now it makes a great sandbox. ellen and bob's 2 sons played out there for at least an hour. her diaper had more sand than anything else in it.

to infinity and beyond

ellen loves to climb. i guess that is ingrained in every little kid's head. exploring. well, she discovered a ladder the other day and actually did really well. she got to the second rung and got a little nervous....but then she came back later to face her fears, and she did.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

the hospital

here is the hospital in koutiala. i am standing on the front porch of the pediatrics (ped's) ward for this picture. the ped's ward is not open yet. they don't have enough staff yet and they don't have a storage shed built to move things into so they can open up the rooms. sea containers come in every month or so packed with medical equipment from the states. they didn't have a place to put it so they packed the rooms of the pediatric ward with the equipment.
the hospital has been up and running for 15 months now. there has been quite a bit of growth and the place is going to explode in the next couple years. as soon as that shed is built the ped's ward will open and then they are dreaming of a dental and eye wing to open in the future. they are also planning on starting a nursing and maybe even a medical school as part of the hospital operation when this thing gets off the ground and running.

ok, now we are on the front step of the hospital looking back at the ped's ward. when it opens they will also have a pharmacy and a lab opened as well. as of right now they can't even do blood samples to see if people have malaria or typhoid. they are all looking forward to having that lab open up so they can "join the 21st century"

i took some pictures into the rooms so you can see how they are packed with things and there are things outside in the hallway too.

ok, as you walk into the ped's ward you come to the waiting area and the offices. patient rooms are off to both sides. the new pediatrician just moved into his house. that is the guy i was painting for. once he gets some bambara under his belt (he already knows french) they will let him come over and begin to get this side of the hospital up and running.

as you go past the patient rooms you come to this area. the recovery rooms. these are all packed with medical supplies as well. the pediatrics ward is much bigger and longer. the original building has a ramp in the middle for "emergency ambulance access" and to both sides are operating and delivery rooms. they are having to double up on surgery and recovery rooms because they are having more and more people there every day. any docs or nurses out there want to come and serve? they could use the extra help.

as you go past the recovery rooms you come to the back of the property. you can see the sea containers back there. this is where the storage shed and shop will be built. this is where bob and i will be spending a lot of time in the near future. they will use the containers as the four corners of the building they are just going to put a roof over the area and reorganize the containers so they can move some of the medical equipment and medicine into them and into the shop. here is your before picture. hopefully you'll see a lot of change in the next 2 months.

work and the house

here are some pictures of working. i put in a clothes line for olive, one of the nurses out at the hospital. i also put a sweep on the bottom of her door to keep out bugs, toads, and roaches. we put in a commercial door closer out at the hospital to do the same thing for the recovery wing. keep out bugs. we organized the shop, and we are going to work on a car port this afternoon. should be fun. oh, and to the side of the building there is the shop (my office). bob (good maintenance man name) the guy that i work will lives to the right of the shop.

the one picture is of our house. we stay upstairs. the red car is for us to use. we'll be rollin' in the wagon. it has already gotten us some milk, and stuff for salad, canned goods, and all kinds of goodies.

in the kitchen

well, we got ellen into the kitchen yesterday to do some baking with mom. brownies were on the menu but i think fun and a big mess should have been on the menu instead. the brownies were good by the way.

big girl bed

as we mentioned before ellen graduated (forced) to sleep in a big bed. we left the pack and play behind in bamako. then last night she had a room all to herself. that actually was a first and she is over a year old. she woke up at 3:28 this morning and got scared because she was all alone. i took a while to get settled down and she was ok. the other day she woke up from a nap and i heard some rustling in the room. since she wasn't crying i left her for a while and then i got nervous about what she was getting into. i opened up the door to find here on the table next to her bed playing with things she isn't allowed to touch. she was having a blast.

riding around the yard

sike. in ellen-speak that means outside. she has got that one down. she'll walk over to the door and say sike, sike, sike, sike. you get the picture. sometimes she gets disappointed. but sometimes we make her day and give her a little ride. as soon as the word "outside" leaves our lips she lights up and smiles and yells and runs over to the door and waits. it's pretty funny. she loves going sike.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

post #100

well, this is post #100. i thought we should celebrate with some fireworks. i would also like to take this time to thank all our faithful viewers for sticking with us through the thick and thin.
it is about medium thickness now.
happy 100th post everyone.

on the road

i took these pictures on our way to koutiala. there was still water all over the place. this was after 4 days of no rain. the water going over the road there is still about 4 inches deep. i can't imagine the amount of water that runs off those clay tables. i would estimate 6.7 trillion gallons. =) i guess one good thing is that ladies have a lot shorter distance to walk to do their laundry. we saw some ladies basically sitting on their doorstep and doing their laundry when they would have walked over a mile. crazy stuff.

on the move

these pictures were taken in one afternoon. for some reason that girl just loves to climb in, on, over, under, through, and in the middle of everything. i guess all little kids are like that, but it is really fun to watch. this was in the afternoon right before we left for koutiala.