Greetings from Amdu!
We’re here!! After several stretches of separation during the main phase of building our house, all of our family is now together – living in the Amdu tribe! It is truly amazing to reflect on all the Lord has done to bring us to this point. We are thankful for His faithfulness and His provision.
This has been and will continue to be a time of transition for our family – lots of new things bombarding us each day. But it is exciting to be here and we have seen the Lord give us strength as we face these changes.
There is so much that we could write about, but for now we just wanted to briefly list out some of the things that are becoming “normal” for us here in the tribe. Many of these we will be sharing more about in the weeks and months to come. In the meantime, if you would like more details on any of these things we mention, please use the contact page here on our blog to write to us.
Some tidbits that might interest you about our life in Amdu:
– All the water we use is rainwater that runs off our roof into a big water “bladder” that is situated under our house. It is filtered as it goes into the bladder, as it is pumped out of the bladder into our house, and then the water that we use for cooking or to drink is filtered yet again.
– Terms like “bulk”, “absorbing”, and “floating” are a regular part of our day. Those are all things having to do with our solar panels and the system that is set up in order for us to have electricity in our house.
– Many Amdu kids and teens can be seen walking around on stilts. They walk around on the airstrip, through the village, and up and down little hills and through ditches. The younger kids have shorter ones, but some of the teens have ones that are four, five or more feet off the ground.
– We recognize people here not only by their faces and names, but also by the clothes they wear. Most of them have only one or two outfits. So, when we look across the airstrip to the village or see someone approaching our house, we can often tell who it is by their shirt!
– Our house is still a work in progress. There are still many things that we would like to get done before we start full-time on language learning. But we have walls, floor, roof, exterior doors, running water, electricity and a working stove. It’s been neat to see the house that we designed on paper come to life.
– For some reason our HF radio doesn’t work, so in order to do email we have to go over to one of our teammates’ houses to use their radio until ours gets fixed and can be flown back in. And getting and receiving email is a bit more work than before. It often takes an hour or more to send and receive our email for the day. If atmospheric conditions aren’t right, sometimes we can’t get email at all.
– When we were living on our supply center, and before that in Australia, our two year old Caleb really liked to go to the grocery store. Well, there is no store in here. The closest thing we have is our pantry that is stocked with 2 month’s worth of food (of course it is a little less stocked every day). So he likes to joke and call our pantry “the store”. Today he asked Bart where he was (in the house) and Bart answered that he was “in the store”, and Caleb knew right where to go!
– The staple foods for our Amdu friends are various kinds of kaukau (sweet potatoes) and greens (things like pumpkin leaves and other similar greens). Ladies often stop by and bring a bundle of greens for us. We are finding ways to add these greens into our diet. So far we’ve used them in soup, in various dishes with pasta sauce, on pizza, and in quesadillas to name a few. If several ladies bring greens on the same day, we start to feel overrun by greens. We don’t want to waste them so we’re always trying to think of more creative ways to use them.
– When all of the kids on our team play underneath one of our houses, usually a group of tribal kids comes over to join them. And just about every afternoon all of the kids go out and play games on the airstrip. Our kids are beginning to pick up various words in the tribal language, but even with the language barrier, the kids all have fun together.
– Everyone loves the white baby, our almost 6 month old Micah. He has a rather fair complexion anyway, but next to our Amdu friends, he looks really white!! They all love it when he smiles at them.
– It rains just about every day or night. Sometimes it rains just for 10 minutes and other times it lasts all night.
– The variety of bugs, moths and butterflies here is amazing. We’ve probably seen more different kinds in the last 2 weeks than we have in years! Green moths with pink around the edges, iridescent blue bugs, brown moths with shimmery red in their wings, biting crickets, bright blue butterflies – the list could go on and on.
– What do we see when we look out our door and windows? Green mountains all around, sometimes with the clouds covering the tops; 15-20 ft. fern trees (they look like the ferns that you might see in the woods but they are gigantic in comparison); the houses of the other two families on our team, still covered in bright yellow plastic that serves as a vapor barrier (we hope to use some type of local siding but until we figure that out, there are 3 bright yellow houses on one side of the airstrip); an airstrip that is totally maintained by the Amdu people; the houses of our Amdu neighbors; and muddy paths leading to the other houses, out into the jungle, and to the airstrip (with almost daily rain, we make good use of our rubber boots!)
– We are tucked away in these remote mountains and the only way out is either by airplane or by hiking for many, many days (longer for the Westerners than it would take the Amdu people). But we are “stuck” in a truly beautiful place!! And we thank the Lord for the privilege to serve Him here.
In about 2 weeks we plan to officially start CLA (Culture Language Acquisition). Since culture and language are interwoven, we will be learning the culture at the same time we are learning the tribal language. We will be sharing more about language learning in future posts.
Please pray for our family and our team as we transition out of the building phase and into full-time CLA.
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