Final Day in Burkina Faso

It is really a strange feeling being back here in Ouaga. Almost three weeks ago we were settling here and taking in the reality of being in Burkina Faso, most of us for the first time in our lives. Our feelings were a mixture of excitement and anxiety. Living in this compound was a helpful means in preparing us for our transition to the living in Mahadaga, while also preparing us mentally for the weeks which were ahead. Now those weeks are passed. And we are again residents in this compound in Ouaga; but we are not the same residents.

Everything is perceived differently now. Partly because we are three members short of our original band of travelers (Luke, Nathan, and Seth, we miss your antics and the prevalence of Luke’s face in unexpected places). But we are experiencing a different kind of change caused by more than just the absence of members. The markets seem so much bigger than they did when we first came here. The streets are more familiar. The people are more individual. The weather is more bearable. While nothing seems to have changed from when we left, our minds and hearts are now attuned to this way of life. It’s a strange feeling. But it’s a wonderful feeling. We recognize that we are truly blessed to have been placed on this path to Burkina Faso.

Just for those parents out there who are interested in every detail of our trip, here’s the rundown of our experiences since the last update.

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Matt fixing our flat tire

TRAVELING TO OUAGA
We left Mahadaga Wednesday morning and arrived safely in Ouaga in the evening. However, during our travel, we made an unexpected pit stop due to the complications of a flat tire. Our team took on the delay positively and used this time to rest in the shade of a roadside cafe. Despite the inconvenience, there was not a shred of complaint or grumbling in our group, as we are thankful that we were kept safe in the face of these circumstances. Besides, how meaningful can a trip in Africa be if there isn’t that one unforgettable traveling incident?

ARRIVING IN OUAGA
After getting settled in the SIM station in Ouaga, we went out for dinner at an African restaurant which would resemble a place you might dine at during a vacation to the Bahamas. We enjoyed some satisfying, and interesting, meals as Matt Walsh lead his debriefing session with us. His stories and instruction were very insightful as we began to take in the reality that we will be facing some new challenges upon our return home. There are many factors to consider when it comes to returning back to our day-to-day lives; our debriefing session last night was very valuable and effectively covered these areas.

TODAY’S GAMEPLAN (THURSDAY)
Today will be our last full day in Burkina Faso. We woke up and some of our team went out to purchase some items for breakfast at the market, reliving the memories of our first excursion on the streets of Ouaga just a little over two weeks ago. Throughout the day, we visited an Artisan district where we bought some last Burkinabe souvenirs. Then after a filling lunch at the pizzeria, we went to a Zoo! Which is stated with an exclamation point because I literally haven’t been to a zoo in over ten years; there is something magical about having that spell broken in Africa. Granted, it was a little less than large scale, and most of the animals weren’t exactly in their cages but rather joined us on the tour, but it was nonetheless an unforgettable experience. We are going to have dinner at the American Rec center, a tradition for most teams on their last night here. Dinner will be followed by rest, then we will head to the airport around midnight for our flight which leaves at 3:00 AM for Casablanca.

Prayers for safe travels, and minimal complications at each stop.
We will be home in about 27 hours.

See you all soon,
Karine Moussa

Last Day in Mahadaga

It’s hard to say whether or not the time flew by, or felt elongated during our time in Mahadaga. On one hand, having a 9:30 bedtime gave the sense that each day ended sooner than normal. On the other, each day was filled with so many events, that it almost feels like we’ve been here for months. Our last few days here were no exception to this trend.

SATURDAY
On Saturday, after a productive half day of work, we enjoyed a fun evening and dinner at one of the locals’ house. In this area, the living setup is very family oriented. So our host, Djibo, lived in a small “development” with all of his family members, from brothers to sisters, to kids and grandkids. The moments shared with these members are memories that our team will never forget. After swinging around one child, suddenly every child must experience this exhilarating activity. And there are few experiences more interesting than cooking To, an African dish, with corn flower that is purple. That’s right, purple flour. I know the first grocery item I’ll be looking for when I return to the states.

Although, I would have to say Sunday was one of the most memorable days of our trip.

SUNDAY
The day began, at 4:30 AM (that’s not the memorable part). A few of us got up at this hour, climbed the cliffs behind the station, and watched probably one of the most beautiful phenomenons of nature: the sunrise. We watched as the golden circle slowly climbed up above the fog and into the clear sky. We had the most spectacular view of the valley as the light crept through the land and cast shadows on the trees and across the cliffs. In this moment, there was nowhere else we could want to be. We stayed on the cliffs for a few hours, resting, reading, praying, and taking time to be part of God’s incredible display of peace and beauty.

After we came down from the cliffs, we squeezed in some short naps before heading to Church. One thing that is amazing about joining the Burkinabes for worship and service is the reminder that our God is the same no matter where we are. The culture’s emphasis on music makes each service so uplifting, as every song is filled with upbeat praises and reverberating vocals. The sermon (which was translated from French, to Gourma, to English) spoke about respect and humility, which are values of God that are the same no matter where we are in the world.

We came back and got fully caught up on rest, then at 2:30 we headed to the waterfalls. This is the part where I wish more than anything that the upload speed for photos wasn’t 2 ½ days. While the first waterfall we traveled to was little more than a trickle, as it is still the dry season, the location of the second waterfall was a sight to look at. Surrounded by the majestic cliffs, the waterfall was rushing with cool water in a marvelous cove of mystic trees and greenery. A few of our members climbed – in this awkward sideways kind of angle – to reach the pit of the waterfall, where we daringly walked in to experience nature’s own edition of the pulsating shower-head. There were so many incredible areas to look at, whether it was the flourishing waterfall, the trees sprouting out of crevices in the cliffs, the jungle feel of the paths to reach the location, the massive boulders placed loosely upon each other to create perfect climbing walls, or even a strange nature-made amphitheater located in the one of the cliffs. I had more adventurous experiences in these few hours than I have over the course of my life combined. Which may not seem like a long time, but I assure you my “act-before-you-think” mentality has lead me to many adventurous experiences, but none more adventurous as this.

MONDAY
Monday began with a spontaneous thunderstorm. And when I say spontaneous, I mean one minute I’m resting in a mango tree, the next I’m wondering how many minutes before both the tree and I are burnt to crisps from the strike of a lightening bolt. Thankfully though, this storm was mostly all talk – powerful winds and booming thunder. Yet it was still another event which allowed me to bask in the qualities of our God; in this case, those qualities being His authority, power, and majesty.

After about a half hour the storm subsided (I told you it was spontaneous), and the sun and heat returned. Which in our case was a huge blessing, as we made plans to have a bonfire that night. In the evening, our team had a session of encouragement, which was very similar to your average yearbook signing, as we wrote compliments and encouraging notes to each other. Our team has made so many memories, from hikes, to games, to endless hours of Avalon (a game similar to mafia), to our hilarious dinner topics, to our bible studies and worship sessions. It will be strange to be apart from this group, but the memories we have together will always be a huge part of this trip. We ended the night off with our bonfire, which was filled with worship and moments of reflection.

On a less serious note, nothing is more fun than a bonfire with engineers, who throw metals in the fire to create a magical atmosphere of green and turquoise flames.

TUESDAY/TODAY
Today is our last full day in Mahadaga. We will be departing tomorrow at around 7:00 AM for Ouaga. Tonight our team will be leading the prayer meeting for the missionaries on the compound, then start packing our things to leave first thing in the morning. The KWHR team successfully installed all of the meters, and will be checking off our last tasks by the end today. WGAP will be sealing off the second well, as the drilling process for it is now concluded.

Tomorrow we start our long trek back home, from Mahadaga, to Ouaga, to Casablanca, to New York.

We will be back in the states in 3 days.
Blessings,
Karine Moussa (KWHR)

Last Day in Mahadaga

It’s hard to say whether or not the time flew by, or felt elongated during our time in Mahadaga. On one hand, having a 9:30 bedtime gave the sense that each day ended sooner than normal. On the other, each day was filled with so many events, that it almost feels like we’ve been here for months. Our last few days here were no exception to this trend. SATURDAY On Saturday, after a productive half day of work, we enjoyed a fun evening and dinner at one of the locals’ house. In this area, the living setup is very family oriented. So our host, Djibo, lived in a small “development” with all of his family members, from brothers to sisters, to kids and grandkids. The moments shared with these members are memories that our team will never forget. After swinging around one child, suddenly every child must experience this exhilarating activity. And there are few experiences more interesting than cooking To, an African dish, with corn flower that is purple. That’s right, purple flour. I know the first grocery item I’ll be looking for when I return to the states. Although, I would have to say Sunday was one of the most memorable days of our trip. SUNDAY The day began, at 4:30 AM (that’s not the memorable part). A few of us got up at this hour, climbed the cliffs behind the station, and watched probably one of the most beautiful phenomenons of nature: the sunrise. We watched as the golden circle slowly climbed up above the fog and into the clear sky. We had the most spectacular view of the valley as the light crept through the land and cast shadows on the trees and across the cliffs. In this moment, there was nowhere else we could want to be. We stayed on the cliffs for a few hours, resting, reading, praying, and taking time to be part of God’s incredible display of peace and beauty. After we came down from the cliffs, we squeezed in some short naps before heading to Church. One thing that is amazing about joining the Burkinabes for worship and service is the reminder that our God is the same no matter where we are. The culture’s emphasis on music makes each service so uplifting, as every song is filled with upbeat praises and reverberating vocals. The sermon (which was translated from French, to Gourma, to English) spoke about respect and humility, which are values of God that are the same no matter where we are in the world. We came back and got fully caught up on rest, then at 2:30 we headed to the waterfalls. This is the part where I wish more than anything that the upload speed for photos wasn’t 2 ½ days. While the first waterfall we traveled to was little more than a trickle, as it is still the dry season, the location of the second waterfall was a sight to look at. Surrounded by the majestic cliffs, the waterfall was rushing with cool water in a marvelous cove of mystic trees and greenery. A few of our members climbed – in this awkward sideways kind of angle – to reach the pit of the waterfall, where we daringly walked in to experience nature’s own edition of the pulsating shower-head. There were so many incredible areas to look at, whether it was the flourishing waterfall, the trees sprouting out of crevices in the cliffs, the jungle feel of the paths to reach the location, the massive boulders placed loosely upon each other to create perfect climbing walls, or even a strange nature-made amphitheater located in the one of the cliffs. I had more adventurous experiences in these few hours than I have over the course of my life combined. Which may not seem like a long time, but I assure you my “act-before-you-think” mentality has lead me to many adventurous experiences, but none more adventurous as this. MONDAY Monday began with a spontaneous thunderstorm. And when I say spontaneous, I mean one minute I’m resting in a mango tree, the next I’m wondering how many minutes before both the tree and I are burnt to crisps from the strike of a lightening bolt. Thankfully though, this storm was mostly all talk – powerful winds and booming thunder. Yet it was still another event which allowed me to bask in the qualities of our God; in this case, those qualities being His authority, power, and majesty. After about a half hour the storm subsided (I told you it was spontaneous), and the sun and heat returned. Which in our case was a huge blessing, as we made plans to have a bonfire that night. In the evening, our team had a session of encouragement, which was very similar to your average yearbook signing, as we wrote compliments and encouraging notes to each other. Our team has made so many memories, from hikes, to games, to endless hours of Avalon (a game similar to mafia), to our hilarious dinner topics, to our bible studies and worship sessions. It will be strange to be a part from this group, but the memories we have together will always be a huge part of this trip. We ended the night off with our bonfire, which was filled with worship and moments of reflection. On a less serious note, nothing is more fun than a bonfire with engineers, who throw metals in the fire to create a magical atmosphere of green and turquoise flames. TUESDAY/TODAY Today is our last full day in Mahadaga. We will be departing tomorrow at around 7:00 AM for Ouaga. Tonight our team will be leading the prayer meeting for the missionaries on the compound, then start packing our things to leave first thing in the morning. The KWHR team successfully installed all of the meters, and will be checking off our last tasks by the end today. WGAP will be sealing off the second well, as the drilling process for it is now concluded. Tomorrow we start our long trek back home, from Mahadaga, to Ouaga, to Cassablanca, to New York. We will be back in the states in 3 days. That’s really weird. Blessings, Karine Moussa (KWHR)

June 5: Progress and Experiences

Due to the amount of activity we’ve had since our last update, this is going to be longer than our average post. So for your convenience, each section of this update is labeled. So if you have little care about the weather and just want to hear about how cool the members of KWHR are, then you can skip the WEATHER section and go straight to KWHR, and so on. Alright let’s get started.

WEATHER
April showers bring May flowers, or so goes the saying to describe the season of rain in the states. However in Burkina Faso, the rainy-season saying goes a little more like do not even think about trying to get some sleep during one of these bad boys. As we are entering the rainy season here in Burkina, our team has had the chance to experience [live through] some African-edition thunderstorms. I’ve always loved thunderstorms for how they magnify the intensity of nature’s authority. These past few storms however give me a developed opinion: I am very small, and nature is very big. Yet these feats of nature are still so magnificent to experience, even if our tin roofs give us the impression that an army of squirrels are pounding through our ceiling.

KWHR
We’ve successfully installed three of our meters; one more to go! There are not many experiences more fulfilling then stepping back from our work and taking pride in seeing our meter mounted on a wall, in a house, in a village, in a country, in Africa. Not many experiences better than that. Not even climbing in an attic during an installation and seeing the biggest spider skeletons on this earth. Although that’s also been one of my highlights of this trip [sarcasm implied].
We are still in the process of working out some bugs in the system [pun intended]. Carl and Nathan have been putting forth multiple hours of effort on that course of action, while Tom, Alec, and I work on installing the meters. Alec has also been offering us his business expertise on our device. Over the past few days, he as outlined a draft of our user manual while giving us a few suggestions on a new name – which will more accurately describe the functions of the device.
While there are still many more updates and adjustments which need to be made, this past week has yielded many accomplishments that have been pulled through with effort from all sides. We are excited to get our last meter installed, and hope that the technical adjustments will be made before we depart this Wednesday.

WGAP
The water group has been working diligently each day (in the sun) (and the heat), and are excited to announce that they struck water earlier this week! There was a slight delay in progress due to the rainstorms, which had caused dirt to refill a few meters in the hole, yet they were still able to make exceptional progress and reach their desired destination – or depth. The team has moved to their next drill site, where they have described themselves as the “circus in town”. There are many locals, especially children, who have taken pleasure in watching the team do their work. WGAP member Panney says it takes an immeasurable amount of strength to restrain from dropping everything and spending a day with the kids. The joy that is emitted from the children in this area is so encouraging, it’s definitely an aspect of this trip that each member will miss when we depart.

CULTURAL EXPERIENCES
We have had so many amazing opportunities to be immersed in the culture in Mahadaga. Our team has been sent out on a few trips through the town, whether it’s for buying bread or soda, eating at a roadside café, visiting the handicapped center, experiencing the night life, and many more. For example, today our team got to take part in the festivities in Market Day.
Remember in Sunday school, when you learned the story of how Mary and Joseph lost Jesus when He was a boy, and didn’t find out until three days later? When He was just in the temple enjoying a good talk with some fellow spiritual leaders. Picture how congested that crowd had to be for Mary and Joseph not to realize that Jesus had been separated from them. Now use that mental image to give yourself an understanding of Market Day in Mahadaga, but add motorcycles, bikes, and Bush Vans to the picture. You now have yourself a good idea of what today was like. Surrounded by sights, smells, and sounds coming from all around, our team was able to successfully make it through our first Market Day, and came out with a few amazing fabrics, scarves, accessories, and incredibly satisfying African-doughnut-kinda-things.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Friday morning we intend on attending a prayer meeting with some of the Burkinabe leaders of the Handicapped Center. KWHR will finish installing their last meter by Friday evening, and GWAP will continue working with their second well. Saturday is a half-day of work, so we hope to make it out to a nearby waterfall in the evening. Sunday will be our day of rest, and then we have Monday and Tuesday to wrap up our work here in Mahadaga (with the exception of Luke and Nathan who will be staying until late July). Each day has been filled with many hours of labor and intensive work, yet everyday has also yielded countless memorable activities that are adding to our team’s joy.

Two weeks out, one more left.
Love in Christ,
Karine Moussa

(Due to the limited internet connection here, there have not been any photos posted in the Photos section. This will be updated when we have a strong enough connection to upload photos, which may not be until we arrive in Morocco or in the states. Sorry for the inconvenience, but the only real visible changes in our team members you should note is that Panney is quite tan, and Alec has purchased a shirt that turns him into Rafiki from Lion King. It’s pretty legit.)

About the Team – Alec Marshall

Hey Everyone,

My name is Alec Marshall and I am entering my third year at Messiah College studying with a Marketing major and Economic minor. As a part of the site team trip in Burkina Faso I wanted to take time to let you all know a little more about me. Like I said I am a Junior at Messiah where I am Resident Assistant as well as the a Group leader of the Economic Empowerment Collab group, as well as team member/market research specialist in the Collab Business Initiative project. When I am not busy being an RA or running from collab meeting to collab meeting I often fill my time with outdoor activities, sports and my close friends. Now that I have finished my sophomore year at Messiah (completing half of my college career, crazy!) I am becoming more and more eager about life after college, which is what partially attracted me to this site trip to Burkina. Throughout my life I have had the opportunities to travel all over, from most of the states in America, including the beautiful Alaska, to international trips to Germany and Haiti. Through all this travel I have developed a passion for new places and the journeys to get to them, which was another major attraction to this trip to Burkina – and after a cross-Atlantic flight, a 10 hour lay-over in Casablanca, a three hour trip over the Serengeti Desert and a 10 hour road-trip in a packed van, which consisted of 4+ hours on a bump littered dirt road, my passion for travel was greatly tested but even more so strengthened.

If your asking yourself “what is a business student doing with all those engineers?” that’s a good question; I often times ask myself the same thing. My role on the trip is less set in stone then most everyone else’s. In a nutshell I am ultimately here to do market research and product development for the current KWHR meter and future models to come. What that really boils down to is that I get the opportunity to explore the numerous possibilities the KWHR meter can be utilized for in the community of Mahadaga and eventually places all over the world. It’s kinda like being a sports agent of a rising sports superstar; there is so much potential and numerous paths to travel, and its my job and pleasure to scout which path creates the most prosperity. Another joy of my role is that while the engineers have most of their focus directly on the KWHR meter product itself, I have the pleasure of a more relational-approach to my job. I get to work with the people (end users/consumers) that will be interacting with the KWHR meter everyday, and from there build relationships with them in order to understand what features and characteristics are important to them as well as understanding their functionality with the KWHR meter box. The cool thing about this project and this product is that unlike other business plans where the purpose of it all is seeking profits, the goal of profits is replaced with the goals and social influence and social improvement. We aren’t looking to get a lot of money and retire young, we are looking to have the greatest positive social impact we can have through this product and in the manner and attitudes of the volunteers involved with it. It is an honor to be a part of something that is for a greater cause then ourselves.

It has been a pleasure being in Burkina Faso for the past eight days and I look forward to what the next nine days has in store for us. From its natural beauty to diverse cultural moments, there are few places that I have been that are more captivating and more surreal, and I can thing of no better place right now to be with this team serving our God. Thanks for all your support you have given, from the early formation of this trip to our eventually safe arrival back in the states, you all have greatly help make this trip possible. Thank you and God Bless

 Jeremiah 29:11-14For I Know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans of welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart I will be found by you declares the Lord.” (ESV)

May 31: Day 2 in Mahadaga

No matter where you go in life, it is always important to leave your mark and leave a lasting impact. When our team leaves from Mahadaga, we will be remembered as the team that spilled everything and tripped over flat ground. We are noting a pattern of having one or two spills each day, and we have this tendency to trip over invisible road obstacles. But we are all healthy and happy, and will push through the next few weeks, limiting our incidents one day at a time.

Our team has been able to draw closer through much laughter and fellowship. Over the past two days, we have been learning about the service of the SIM and ODD missions in this village. It is truly incredible to hear about the work that is being done through these organizations. The amount of development this village has undergone due to the education and assistance of these missions is amazing. One of the most unique aspects is the organizations’ emphasis on allowing for their work to influence the Burkinabe’s to take on branches of the mission for themselves. The village has been responding to the techniques taught by the missionaries, specifically in the areas of agriculture, education, medicine, and resources for the handicapped. SIM and ODD’s hope is to see the village assume the tasks and roles of their organizations, so that Mahadaga will be a self-sustained society which no longer requires the aid of outside organizations. It is overwhelming to take in the magnitude of how God is using SIM and ODD in Mahadaga; the hand of God is visible in this village through the lives of each member of these organizations, and through the joy of the Burkinabes which are working with these missions.

This morning was our first official start to getting our tasks up and running. Luke and Panney worked with the well drilling mechanism while Tom, Carl, Nathan, Alec and I started to set up and test some of the meters. It is seriously incredible to just observe the functions of these meters, and understand that countless hours of programming, designing, developing, and manufacturing had been put in to make this intelligent device. The process of working out some of the bugs is well on its way, and we look forward to being able to install and test the meters in some of the facilities here.

If there is one thing about Mahadaga so far that I will never forget (besides the amazing food) (and the countless mosquitoes) (and the abundance of wandering piglets) it would be the cliffs behind the SIM station. Just beyond the compound are these magnificent cliffs which we have the most beautiful scenic view of the village, and the sunset. Just this evening, our team climbed to the top of the cliffs to have our team Bible study; as we concluded our meeting, we looked and saw a beautiful sunset almost overlapped by a billowing cloud which released slicing bolts of distant lightening. The scene was unforgettable, as the majesty and power of God was displayed in this glorious portrait.

Tomorrow we will be attending our first church session in Burkina, and then rest for the upcoming week of work we will have. We are all recognizing how blessed we are to be working with this mission, in this serene place, and pray that God will continue to show us His glory through our everyday experiences.

Peace,
Karine Moussa (KWHr)

May 30 – In Mahadaga – Growing Season

This morning I woke to a single tink on the roof.  It started very slowly – tink-tink.  I lay there in the absolute dark drinking in what was starting to happen.  The tink-tink- tink-tink continued to gain speed and soon became a clamor that literally drowned out all other noises.  It was the wonderful sound of rain on our first night in Mahadaga.  Rain in this area has started early this year and hopefully we will see more.

Packed in.

Packed in.

Yesterday we made the long journey to Mahadaga.  The car ride was very long and hot – we left at 5:45 am and arrived in Mahadaga at about 3:00pm.  Along the journey we passed through many villages and towns.  The thing that struck me was how these people live.  Along the road there would be stands and ‘shops’ that were nothing more than a tin roof with a shelf.  The most unique ‘stores’ that I saw were ‘gas stations’.  These were stands that were basically a shelf, but decorated with logos and colors of local gas stations – the gas was in a dozen or so glass bottles that were sold mainly to people with motor bikes or scooters.

A Burkina gas station.

A Burkina gas station.

A compound along the road.

A compound along the road.

At about the 2/3 mark of our journey we turned off the main road and left the pavement behind.  The next 2 and a half hours were rough and bumpy.  While a maintained dirt road it still was very rough at points that caused those in the van to hold on for dear life.  Civilization became more sparse.  Once in a while we would pass what looked like a family compound – basically a small group of huts connected by a wall to form a small courtyard.  There was nothing else around.  Soon we started down the cliff range that eventually brought us to Mahadaga.  We drove through a crowded market and finally arrived at the SIM station in Mahadaga.

It is amazing to see what God is doing in the area.  Over 50 years ago SIM was looking for a place to have their

Trenches for running water.

Trenches for running water.

station and were turned away by many different villages.  It is said that a local man traveling through Mahadaga predicted that white people would come with an important book with many answers.  Only days later the SIM missionaries arrived and as a result were granted a generous plot of land that is now the SIM mission and related facilities.

As a result of the early faith of the local people, this area now has a self sufficient Medical Center that has the only x-ray machine within a three hour drive.  A Handicap Center was also started that is now in high demand due to its excellence.  Matt Walsh, the SIM station manager, has started Open Door Development – an organization with aims to create sustainable technologies and farming methods so that the local people are capable of bettering their own lives.

And now the rain comes and changes our landscapes. In the short two weeks that there has been rain, what once was hidden under the dry and barren land has started to blossom.  With continued rain this land will become lush and green to support the people. Our soil is fertile and the seeds lay hidden.  Our experience is like the rain – after being in Mahadaga for only a short time I can see the seeds of faith and compassion start to blossom.  The rain will continue for the team over the next two weeks allowing the landscape of our lives to be forever changed.

On the cliffs overlooking Mahadaga.

On the cliffs overlooking Mahadaga.

 

May 27 – Ouaga Excursion

Chickens. Lizards. Goats. Yes.

We arrived in the SIM guesthouse in Ouagadougou around 1:00 AM, Tuesday morning. For the first time since Sunday we were all able to get a good night’s rest, despite the drastic climate change (for all of those in the states who experienced that brutal winter…a night spent in Burkina Faso is just the treatment for that)

For the next two days, we will be staying in Ouaga preparing for our 8-12 hour road trip to Mahadaga. Once in Mahadaga, each of our three teams will be able to get started on their task. But until then, during our stay in Ouaga we have been able to learn more about the culture through creative ways.

For example, today SIM missionary Matt Walsh (Killowatt-Hour’s primary contact in Burkina Faso) sent us out into the city in groups of two or three with a list of food and supplies that we had to purchase, along with the task of finding a restaurant to dine in for lunch. Each of our groups came back with enjoyable and amusing experiences, as we have been getting used to being unable to directly communicate with the locals. Instead, we have been prodded to be creative in the ways we communicate our ideas, which is needless to say a very interesting experience!

We are so blessed to have God in control of our mission. Over the past few days we have had very little complications with travel, all of our luggage is accounted for (a very rare occurrence for some teams), and we are all healthy – and our spirits are high🙂 Each member on our team has brought something special to this trip, and we look forward to using our gifts for God’s glory, while continuing to support and grow closer to each other.

From Ouaga,
Karine Moussa (KWHr project)

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View of the Market

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A very friendly, talented man sitting in our compound who makes woodburnings and carvings

Days 1 & 2 – Departure & a day in Morocco!

After a two-hour delayed flight, our team safely departed from JFK airport last night after a few hours of fellowship and sharing our best (or worst) jokes. The sunset preceded our departure, which was a majestic display of the evening beauty reflecting upon the air crafts.
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We arrived in Casablanca, Morocco today at around 10 AM. After settling in the Hotel Almohades and being treated to some fancy dishes for lunches, our team enjoyed a three hour tour of the city of Casablanca. One of the highlights was the Mosque in the city, which is the second largest Mosque in the world. This structure is a beautiful work of architecture, and its massive size made for an unforgettable spectacle!
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(More photos will posted periodically in the photos page)

After we enjoy our last meal here in Casablanca, we will have a flight departing from Morocco at 9:00 PM tonight, which will take us to Ouga at about Midnight tonight. Please pray for our continued safety throughout our travels, and strength as we manage our sleeping patterns with the norms of our surroundings.

From Casablanca,
Karine Moussa

Arrived safely in Morocco

Dear supporters,

I just spoke with my husband Tom, the trip advisor, and we agreed that I would share an update with you until the team can find time and WiFi access to post themselves.  

They arrived in Casablanca, Morocco this morning where they will have a 14 hour layover before leaving for Burkina Faso tonight (9:35 pm local time, which is I believe is 4:35 our time).  He said that the consierge at the hotel was going to give them a tour of the city after they had a chance to rest and freshen up a little).

Tom, Karine, Panney, Alec, and Nathan left from our house in Dillsburg (just south of the college) at about 10 am Sunday morning.  Seth, Luke, and Carl were meeting them at the airport (JFK).  Karine’s father led us in prayer, and then we spent an hour or more trying to cram all of their gear into our minivan for the trip!  We took pictures of the final outcome but forgot to upload them to our home computer, so the team will have to post the pictures later.  The team members packed very lightly themselves — only a carry-on bag each.  Their checked bags were filled with the meters built by the KwHr team, tools and equipment, supplies for the missionaries they will be helping, and gifts for the local people.  

Please join me in continuing to pray for a safe journey and wonderful trip that can help many people!

God Bless,

Amy (Tom the advisor’s wife)