Wednesday, December 10, 2008


We made it home!  We are back in Cleveland back in cold weather with our family and dog.  Danny is back at work trying to generate some income.  Kathy has returned to Mentor UMC.  Our repatriation is going well.  Thanks for following us around Africa this year.  The following is our end of mission report.  

Mission Accomplished
Our initial goals were to learn more about travel in Africa, meet and work with health care workers and missionaries, learn from other people’s successes and failures, and to build relationships with people in Africa.  We did it!  We stayed healthy and we still like one another. We both plan to talk to God and the bishops of The United Methodist Church in Liberia and Ohio to discover what we are suppose to do next. We will keep you posted!

Rosemark Stops: an intentional destination or a stumble upon where we learned about missionary work in Africa. We stayed between 6 hours and six week at the places we listed below.

Buguruni Anglican Health Center
Amana Hospital Lecture
Mvumi Anglican Hospital
Mvumi Medical School
St. Andrews Anglican Church
Dodoma Christian Medical Center
Pen Trust
Mvumi Anglican Secondary School
Mama Clementina Foundation Kilimanjaro Medical Center
Nairobi Youth Ministry
Mama Pilista Bonyo Memorial Health Center
Maua Methodist Hospital
Aga Kahn Hospital
Mt. Olives UMC
Mbabaali Orphanage
Humble School Orphanage
Rock Foundation School
Enfuzi Orphanage
Edirisa Community Outreach
Rwandan Genocide Memorial
Sons of Thunder Village
Zimbabwe Annual Conference Africa University
Kensington School Startup
Queen Elizabeth Hospital Malaria Project
World Relief
Schnabel Foundation
Chicuque Methodist Hospital
Cambini Mission Station
Crossroads and Charity and Faith Mission
The Love of Christ Ministries Mfeluni UMC
Kigmotso Girls Club and Primary School
Child Rescue Center
Leader UMC
Mercy Hospital
Mangama Clinic
Camphor Mission Station
Ganta United Methodist Hospital
Winifred J. Harley School of Nursing
McCallister UMC
Curamericas Community Based Health Project

What we did during our Rosemark stops:
We birthed babies. We held babies. We prayed for babies. And we buried babies.
We traveled on planes, trains, automobiles, boats, buses, dug out canoes, motorcycles, bad taxis, matatus, dala dalas, pin pins, and boda bodas
We slept in $100 a night motels (other people paid!) and $1 a night truck stops.
We washed feet. We washed bottles. We washed wounds. We washed linens and clothes.
One of us started IV’s while the other started youth ministries.
We swam in the sea, a swimming pool, oceans, lakes, and craters.
We slept under tin roofs, thatch roofs, and mosquito nets.
We climbed on termite mounds and Kilimanjaro.
We watched people labor in the fields and women labor in the maternity ward.
We taught preschool and medical school. We taught swimming lessons. We were taught how to haul water on your head how to greet people in many languages.
We changed burn dressings and dirty diapers.
We organized medical supplies and library books.
We took temperatures and blood pressures. We took Holy communion when churches could afford the elements.
We walked through the Holy Land one day and stood on holy ground often.
We ran on dirt roads and ran pediatric ward rounds.
We saw wildlife. We saw penguins. We saw great joy and great grief. We saw the Cape of Good Hope and experienced great hope in war torn Liberia. We experienced dynamic worship. We worshiped with Muslims and Christians. We experienced amazing food and over the top hospitality.
We were blessed. Our lives will never be the same. Amen.

To all of you who came to our wedding or supported the Rosemark in other ways, we would like to say, “Thank you!” We feel like we put your gifts, donations, and prayers to good use. We have been filing monthly reports with the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church and Mentor UMC, but wanted to share our end of mission report with you our partners.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Heading home!

We are back in Monrovia after two great weeks in Ganta, northern Liberia. Danny enjoyed running the pediatric ward at the Ganta United Methodist Hospital where he did real hospital medicine, saving babies. Danny also did weekly health talks for the staff. Kathy preached most mornings at staff devotions. She also sat in on a start up community based health program training.

This is a photo of Kathy with Marylou, an OPD nurse. They are standing in front of a mosaic cross and flame. The red shattered glass that was swept up from the chapel after the war. It had been a window in the old chapel and it was reclaimed and made into a piece of art. The red shattered glass is now the flame of the United Methodist cross.

Our time in Monrovia has been productive. We have met with Bishop Innis to discuss the possibilities of future plans and ministry in Liberia. The Bishop introduced us to THE President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. It was a great honor to meet her!

This is probably our last blog entry until we get home. Thanks for following us along the continent. We will be meeting with our Bishop to talk about what we may do next. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ganta United Methodist Hospital

We spent a short time in Monrovia between work at the Camphor and Ganta Misison. While in Monrovia, we were able to complete our absentee ballot and vote for the next president of the US and see friends. We arrived at the Ganta Mission on Saturday. We have very nice housing with Sue Porter, GBGM, a UMC missionary here at the Ganta Mission. She is the Director of the School of Nursing. Danny is busy with the Out Patient Department and is excited to be scrubbing for surgeries. He will be working with Dr. Wilhcor, the local surgeon here at the Ganta United Methodist Hospital. It is a perfect place to spend two weeks as we wind down our work in Africa. Before we left the Camphor Mission Station the people hosted a great good-bye ceremony for us. We were presented with African clothes and Bassa names. Kathy is Madayee and Danny is Gadayee, woman has come and man has come is what they mean. They mean that when this woman or this man arrived, all of our problems are solved and there is nothing more we need to worry about. An answer to prayer or sorts. Not sure all of that is true, but is in an honor to have been given Bassa names and to be considered family.

Here's Kathy looking like Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the President of Liberia!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Camphor Mission Station, Liberia

We are winding up our time at the Camphor Mission Station in Liberia. It has been a great month here at the school, church, and clinic. Danny and I will be heading to Ganta, Liberia next. There is another UMC mission there with a bigger hospital. We will be there for about two weeks. Here are a few photos more photos from the Camphor Mission.

Some of Kathy's ABC class at the Camphor Mission.

Danny with the rest of the clinic staff at the Camphor Mission.

Kathy with a baby girl that was delivered at the Buchanan Government Hospital.
This weekend we had to transfer a bad labor patient to the government hospital in Buchanan,about 15 miles away from the Camphor Mission Station. The mother was not progressing and Danny could not hear a fetal heart beat. Danny went along to the hospital. On the way to the hospital our old,broken Jeep ran out of gas on the bad road leaving the mission. Someone had siphoned the gas to put into the generator so they could watch a video the night before. The laboring mother and about 10 family members were very patient as our driver took off running to find some gas. They were also patient 45 min later when we had to stop to bleed the brakes because the master cylinder leaks to fast. After all of these trials we finally made it to the hospital only to find that there is no doctor at the government hospital. The doctor had left for training in London and has not been replaced. Danny is the only doctor in Grand Bassa County. Buchanan is the second biggest town in Liberia and there in no doctor! This place has some challenges. The mother and baby are fine and even delivered naturally, it's a girl! Danny was recruited to do ultrasounds on all the mothers in the OB Department.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Photo Update

People enjoying the library at the Camphor Mission.
Danny with a chubby healthy baby at the Camphor Mission.
Kathy with one of her students, Mary at church.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Update from Liberia

Kathy has continued to teach the preschool class of 25ish kids. It has been a challenge to teach without many resources. I was ready to quit when I found the key to the library and discovered many books on ABC's, numbers, and colors. I also found small blackboards and chalk that the children can use to practice their numbers and letters, coloring books and even crayons! I am excited about the books and teaching resources in the library. There are over 20 boxes of books that need to be open and organized, once we find shelves. That could take years in Africa to find or to make. I am going to push for it to get done while I am here so that they can be used. I am going to try and establish library time during the afternoons. School is only in session from 8:00-1:15. I plan on being in the library until 4:00 to encourage kids to come and read or talk to me.

Dorothy and Jimmy are our hosts as we live in their home that operates as the guest house on the Camphor Mission. I think she is realizing that we are different guests than others from America. I help with laundry, haul water occasionally, and love eating African food. Dorothy is the dietitian, head cook, and Jimmy is the principal at the boarding school. They have a house full of their own children and many extended family live here too. Our bedroom, the biggest one here with its own bathroom, I am certain is a bedroom full of kids when we are not here. Currently there are three other bedrooms PACKED with people, mostly children.

Danny is enjoying the clinic more and more everyday. He and the nurse are beginning to hear one another's English. There is a Liberian English that is spoken here that is fast, broken, and jumbled. We talk about the need to speak Standard English in order to move forward as a school, person, and nation. He has seen many pregnant women on their 11th pregnancy with a pattern of having lost more than one child to death after birth. So sad. Clean drinking water, malaria, and immunization are the biggest concerns. Mom's don't know when their babies were born so they don't know how old the babies are so there is no way to measure or know where they should be on the growth chart. These are the challenges with little education and exposure to life outside of the village. We really are in rural Africa.

We do miss being in Ohio during the fall, the smells of bon fires, leaves, football games, sounds of crunching leaves, pumpkin coffee, walks through the woods, runs with our dog, I am clicking my heels together, "There is no place like home!" Soon, less than 45 days! Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers! We are sending this email from Buchanan, the second largest city in Liberia, also a port town. Buchanan is about 10 miles from the Camphor Mission. Hope you are doing well in your space on the planet!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Camphor Mission, Liberia

We are at the Camphor Mission about 100 miles outside of Monrovia. We are in the bush, with no electricity until the generator comes on from 7:00-Midnight, 9:30 during the week. We don't have running water in the house. The kids pump from the well and haul to do all washing and cooking. Makes you use much less water for bath and think twice about throwing clothes in the laundry. There is certainly need here. We are living in the home of the Principal/Headmaster of the school Jimmy, his wife, many kids and extended family. We have our own bedroom and bathroom.

Danny will be working at a clinic that currently does not see many patients. There is a well stocked pharmacy, a lab, and a nurse working with him. A few of the medical people are in India for more training so Danny will be filling a hole that has been left in their absence.

The Camphor Mission is the home to the clinic, a Garfield Memorial UMC, and a boarding school. The children who live here, about 80 in total are in primary school through 9th grade. Some of the students are older and off the typical tract of age and grade due to the upheaval of the war. They have only had peace and calm since 2004 and elections in 2005 with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf being elected. I give these 21 year olds who are in 6th grade so much credit for being here living with younger children and following the rules in a boarding school setting. They are not orphans, they have families scattered throughout Liberia who have sent them to school here. The interesting part about the Camphor Mission is that all of this has happened with local initiative and support. There are small partnerships with Annual Conferences in the states but no missionaries have ever worked here long term.

We are spending our time meeting people, hearing stories about Camphor, discovering what is happening in the area and community. As I describe where we are, I realize that I have not taken the time to describe the sounds and sights of nature all around us. At night we see a true African sky that shows almost all of the stars and streaks of the milky way, a crisp bright sharp crescent moon overlooked us last night. Beauty. The sounds at night can only be God's symphony, birds, frogs, bugs, creatures of the night that are singing at full force kept me awake the first night, more in awe than annoyance. The cool end of the rainy season air makes sleeping very pleasant.

In the morning we rise to the quieter sounds and songs of birds waking and the nocturnal creatures now resting from their evening concerto. We can hear roosters crow in the village and small chirpings of many birds. You can hear the chatter of children as they gather water, begin their chores, and eventually gather for morning song and devotions. All of this before 7:00 a.m.

The mission is set in the bush about 2 miles off of a main road. There is over 100 acres of property and the building are all spread out with soccer fields in the center of life at the school. As you arrive and come through the gate the church is on the hill to your right, up a very steep and no so solid road. A straighter more level road on your left takes you past housing for clinic staff and the business manager, then the small clinic with lab, vaccination room, pharmacy, consultation room, and labor and delivery. Continuing up the road is the boy's dorm and the sports fields that separate the boys from the girls. A circle/horse shoe shape is created with the school set on a small hill at the curve, a dining hall, Jimmy's house where we stay, and the girl's dorm at the opposite side of the horse shoe from the boys. Green grass, paths, trees, and all of this is surrounded by jungle.

There is a beach, ocean, and a port just 10 miles in the 2nd largest city in Liberia, Buchanan. We will be at this location until the first of November.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

West Africa Travel

Well, we are back in Liberia! What a trip we had getting here! One person told us the trip from Bo, Sierra Leone to the border would be 3 hours, our driver who makes this drive almost everyday told us 5 hours. We left at 1:00 in the afternoon and hoped to arrive at the Liberian border in time to cross before 6:00 p.m. when it closed. We arrived after 10 P.M.! 9 hours! Crazy road. Rainy season, washed out, rocky terrain, bamboo bridges, darkness, no headlights, multiple brake downs, no starter, bad windshield wipers, worst road yet and my scariest experience thus far. The guest house at the border was decent at the small international one dirt road border town. It does feel good to be in Liberia though. The road on this side was paved the whole way to Monrovia and we had a driver with the UMC waiting for us so we did not need to take public transport AGAIN! The driver had been at the border the day before waiting for us! Danny enjoyed haggling with the driver for a new price since he did not get us to the border crossing in time. It really felt like Africa won yesterday! I was just so thankful to not have spent the night on a muddy bridge trapped in a car with mosquitos and five other people in the African
jungle! The car, let me tell you about the car. It was an old Nissan hatchback station wagon of sorts. Loud at the beginning of the trip and even louder when we ended the trip. The front bumper fell off when the driver Patrick drove into a ditch. We saved it though and hauled it on the roof to put back on later. No lights, anywhere, inside or out. The driver held a dull torch outside the window for fine visibility in the rain for three hours. We ran the heater defroster to stop from over heating. At about 8:30 p.m. we came to a dead stop stalling the car, with not enough power in the battery to start the car, oh and no reverse which is bad when you are stuck in the mud. You get the gist. The final comment is that the last 26 miles took over 4 hours to drive. We realize that Danny runs marathon faster than that. Enough said.

We will keep you posted on our time in Liberia with The United Methodist Church.

Child Rescue Center, Bo, Sierra Leone

This week has proven busier than last week. Most of the kids have started school. The guidance counselor and I have put together a leadership week for the older youth who are waiting for test results to tell them what grade they are to enter this year, either 10th grade or college. There are about 18 of those students. We are spending the day together from 8:00-3:00. I think that they preferred sleeping and hanging out with one another! We have put together some fun as well as educational time with games, bible study, leadership seminars, field trips, reading, computer time, music, and practicing a skit to perform for the whole CRC. Between spending the day with them, preparing for the next day, and still participating in reading time, devotions, and bedtime stories with the rest of the kids, I feel like I am back in America with a crazy busy schedule! You won't believe it but I am teaching music; playing the recorder, new songs from the UMC hymnal, and even a bell/chime choir. It is pretty funny seeing as I was not in choir or band! Very limited skill here.

But God is good and we are doing it! Our field trip today found us climbing a small mountain where a radio station sits. We were invited into the DJ booth and a few of us talked on the radio, one being me. The young adults with whom I am working are just like the teens at home, but at times the cultural differences and expectations are glaringly different. There have been moments of challenge but we have done well with one another. I really love these kids. They are usually very loving and supportive of one another and the adults. I will be sad to leave here. One more week.

I have just been asked to do a funeral at another hospital for two babies who died in the last 24 hours. We were out in town and met two of the women from the States who are working at the St. Mary's Hospital. They thought of me this week when the need for a pastor came about. Both of the mothers were Muslim. They are in the hospital on the female ward for fistula repair, a horrible condition for women with either an opening between their vagina and their bladder or their vagina or their rectum. You can imagine the consequences. It is a problem in the developing world when people are delivering at home and things go bad. The women needing this repair have been ostracized in their communities, not well nourished or loved. They come to this ward to await surgery and become strong and then need to stay for three weeks after surgery
to recover. They leave healed with a new life! Can you imagine the joy of arriving in the ward and discovering a group of women who experienced the same hell as you with this condition? And here is a group of women who become sisters to one another and find love and family again. They are learning craft skills as potential money making while they are there. The youngest patient is 15 years old!

Sarah had delivered twins and one of them had died at delivery and the other one died yesterday. Isatu's son died this morning after a complicated C section, she had already had the fistula repair, requiring a C-section for this delivery. Isatu has three other children but this is the third baby she has lost. She is so sad and just cried when I met her. The women all gathered outside on benches for the memorial service. The ecumenical group of women all sang songs about Jesus and God as well as said a Muslim prayer together and a Christian prayer of blessing. Each of these women gathered had experienced similar losses in their life. Sierra Leone has the highest infant mortality rate in the world! It was a beautiful service that I was honored to be a part of. The group of women have invited me back to visit and pray with them. What joy and community I found there! Please keep Isatu and Sarah in your prayers.

Danny has been working with the Sierra Leonian medical officer, providing him with a few much needed days off. Danny typically ran the ward rounds and saw about 40 patients a day in the OPD. He enjoyed working with a reliable lab and a stocked pharmacy. He works more here than he does at home!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bo Sierra Leone

Danny after reading a bedtime story.

George the trauma counselor with some of the younger children.

Worship at Leader UMC.

The choir at Leader UMC with graduation gowns and tassels.

Teenage girls after a creative writing project with Kathy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

West Africa

We are doing well and settling into life in Bo, Sierra Leone. We have unpacked our clothes and are located in one place for the whole month of September! So excited! We are living at a new facility the Mercy Training Center. We have a little apartment with a sitting room, bedroom and bath. Someone is cooking for us and doing our laundry. Not a bad gig! The peanut chicken stew is great! We are working at the Child Rescue Center and Mercy Hospital, both UMC projects. Check out their web sites. They are doing amazing work. I will communicate when I can, not sure about internet access. No worries though, we are in a GREAT place! The kids are so excited we are here and the church has been so welcoming! I am very excited about our work here.

The need is so great in Sierra Leone who was at the bottom of life before a 10 year war and is still struggling to recover. They did not have electricity before the war, many parts now do. The main roads are still dirt roads that get washed out in the now rainy season, making travel and development difficult. There is still a 10 percent infant mortality rate. HIV/AIDS is rampant. Poverty and simple living is everywhere. It is a country in deep need for development and aid. The diamond industry is still uncontrolled, meaning the people are not benefiting from taxes from the selling of diamonds. They did just have an election with a change in political power that happened peacefully, thankful for that. There are now laws against littering. May sound like a small thing, but much of Africa is so dirty and littered with garbage! It makes such a difference to see a clean city street or people no longer throwing trash out of the bus window. Helps with health concerns and overall pride in a country. That is just a bit about the changes we have seen since being here two years ago. It is amazing, people remember us from when we spent a day with them 2 years ago too! I have even remembered a few names and faces too!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

South Africa

We returned to South Africa and rented a car because many people warned us that independent budget travel was not safe. The roads were wonderful and the rates were reasonable and this turned out to be a very comfortable mode of travel for a change. We did a bit of sight seeing, visiting old friends and meeting new ones.

We began in the Drakenburg Mountains and then journeyed down to the coast of South Africa to Cape Town. We had the mountains on our right and the coast on our left. It felt like Europe or the California coast until you drove through a black township/settlement area. The reality of the economic and racial divide was glaringly obvious.

We enjoyed a couple of days of hiking, visiting Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope, seeing whales, seals, a penguin colony, and a walk on the beach.

We connected with Rev. Tobie, the Superintendent and Administrative Assistant to the Bishop of The United Methodist Church South Africa Provisional Annual Conference. Rev. Tobie invited Kathy to preach at the Mfeluni UMC which is currently worshiping in the community center in Mfeluni townships. We experienced dynamic worship, a great click talker interpreter, and a fabulous lunch. We wish we had more time to spend with them.

Rev. Stewart Mgobongo and Kathy at Mfeluni UMC.
Future hopeful sight of Mfeluni UMC.

We then traveled to Kgmotso a rural village where Katie, a Peace Corp Volunteer we befriended earlier is posted. She asked us to visit and share our skills with the community. Danny spoke to teachers and parents about epilepsy, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Kathy spoke to the 6 & 7th grade after school girl's club about delaying sex and their goals for the future. It was a great day.

Danny with his interpreter.

The Kgmotso Girl's Club

Kathy and our host Katie.

Where in the world are Danny and Kathy Dickriede?

We will be working in West Africa. We plan to visit former contacts in Freetown, Sierra Leone before we join the staff of the Mercy Hospital and the Child Rescue Center (CRC) in Bo for the month of September. Both of these ministries are the work of Floris UMC in the Virginia Annual Conference. A great book to read about Sierra Leone is Along Way Gone by Ishmael Beah.

Websites for the work of Floris UMC are . . .

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Love of Christ Ministries Orphanage

More photos of the The Love of Christ Ministries Orphanage!

Check out their web site of the TLC Orphanage in South Africa, it is linked to the top left of our blog, and see for yourself the great and AMAZING work that they are doing! We loved this place!

Babies getting ready for their morning snack.

Morning snacks ready for babies.

There is a real system here!

Now I know how my mom felt with twins, I had four to keep happy!

All the babies in their pajamas ready for evening bottles and bed!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jordan and Israel

Well, not exactly on the African continent! We stepped away from our Rosemark year and funds and went out of Africa. We met up with Murphy, our son, in Amman, Jordan where Danny's brother and nephew are working. We used their home as a base for travel to Jerusalem, Petra, Jerash, Umm Qays, and the Dead Sea. We visited the visited the holy sites of Gadara on the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:28-32), Bethany on the Jordan river (Matthew 3), Mt Nebo where Moses looked into the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 34).

We also spent a weekend in Jerusalem walking the hot uneven rocks and ramparts of the Old City. We walked the Via Dolorosa and the stations of the cross which led us to the Church Of the Holy Sepulchre/ Calvary. We began a walk of Holy Thursday at the Garden of Gethsemane into the Dung Gate. We visited the Western Wall, the holy site for the Jewish people with good views of the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim holy place.

We also arrange a spectacular day trip to the ruins of Petra, rightly named to be one of the New Seven Wonders of the World! A long hot day passed viewing the amazing rock carvings of the Nabataeans people from 2200 years ago.

We head back to Africa mid August, rested, relaxed, and ready for the last three months of our Rosemark year. Stay tuned for more exciting work and adventure.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Mamelodi South Africa and TLC, Tender Loving Care Orphanage

Mamelodi, South Africa

Our time with Crossroads Church from Cincinnati was another great Rosemark stop! They are partnered with Faith and Charity Mission in Mamelodi South Africa. The church ministry includes an orphanage, AIDS Hospice, and Bophalong school with grades Kindergarten through eight. We spent two weeks with 10 educators from Cincinnati learning with teachers from the school. We partnered with one another to set up classrooms, plan lessons, and team teach. It was a great week of learning and experience! My youth pastoring experience was helpful when I taught the 7th grade Life Orientation class on sex education! Danny did ward rounds and house calls with AIDS patients. He traveled to the townships and informal settlements throughout Mamelodi.

It has been cold during the South Africa winter, below freezing at night, who knew! Gloves where needed some days! Here are a few photos.

Kathy planning lessons with Nelia, the 7th grade teacher.

Morning gathering to start the school day.

TLC, Tender Loving Care Orphanage

After we left Mamelodi, we headed to a south eastern part of Johanesburg to find some travelers we had met in Zambia. Earlier, we had met three people who were on holiday from working at the TLC and they told us to come and find them when we are in South Africa, so here we are! What a wonderful place! There are over 40 babies and toddlers with 22 volunteers. We held babies, talked to mostly female volunteers from Denmark, UK, USA, Canada, Holland, Germany, and many other places. Everyone was caring for babies who have either been abandoned at birth, come from homes with parents who can't care for their baby at the moment, or who are orphaned by mothers dying in childbirth. We loved the day. Danny did some work from the "honey do list," and held, fed, and refused to change the diapers of his share of babies. The TLC has a school, preschool, toddler area, and two baby areas. Over the past 15 or so years they have rescued over 700 babies! Since 2002 they have ARV drugs available, HIV meds, which saves the lives of at least 5 of the current 40 babies. Many children are adopted out of the country. The people who own and run the orphanage adopt all of the kids that don't get adopted by other people! The owner has adopted over 17 children! Here are a few photos from our visit. We plan to go back in mid-August. We will share more at that time!

Friday, July 4, 2008

South Africa

We have had some time between mission work in a nice part of the world.  We spent some time on the Mozambique coast at Tofo with sand, surf, seafood, coral reefs, and walks and runs on the beach.  We are presently in South Africa where we enjoyed a quick safari in Kruger National Park.  We are now in the mountains in the Mpumalanga area of South Africa, where we have been hiking, visiting waterfalls, and enjoying cool temperatures.  We have been traveling to backpacker hostels where you always find interesting people and share stories of adventure and interesting places to travel.

On July 8th, we are meeting up with 10 people from Crossroads, a church in Cincinnati where Kathy's aunt and uncle worship.  The 10 people are educators who will be working with teachers here in Mamelodi, South Africa.  Kathy will work with the teachers on reading proficiency while Danny works at an AIDS Hospice center.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


We had a great visit with the Schnabel Foundation and World Relief who are working together in Mukhotwene, Mozambique. The Schnabels are friends of ours from Massillon, Ohio who started their own foundation to do aide work in Africa and partnered with World Relief on the Village Transformation Project. They are doing incredible work in a small rural village. Together with the village they are following the World Relief HEART model, Health, Education, Agriculture, Religion, and Trade. They have a holistic approach for rural development and we were honored to be asked to be a part of their team. We met them in Maputo and spent a week in Mukhotwene. This was a great Rosemark stop. We were a part of the dedication of new water sources. This community lost 37 people last year who were attacked by crocodiles while fetching water or doing laundry at the river. The solar powered water pumps in the village were a much appreciated asset for life. We also witnessed the celebration of new goats and chicken businesses, a new tractor, and breaking ground on a new school block that will add two grade levels to the village education. We also assessed the existing health care system with plans of building and staffing a new structure. This is all the work of the Schnabel Foundation with the help of World Relief as their on the ground coordinators and contacts.

Schnable Foundation and World Relief Team

Lesa and Bob Schnable with orphaned goat business owner.
Danny and Abel, World Relief translator and patient discussing health care.

Good news! Everyone had Danny go shopping in their suitcases before they left so he has new luggage and a full wardrobe again! He has upgraded in style and his medical supplies have been replaced! We are very thankful to all who donated!

After the Schnabels left we travel north 300 miles to the Chicuque United Methodist Rural Hospital. The hospital and guest house overlook the Indian Ocean. An amazing location for UMVIM teams! We spent four days visiting with the hospital administrator and a General Board of Global Ministry missionary couples. The GBGM couple is from Brazil, Claudia and Eduardo who are just beginning work here. Eduardo is one two doctors at this 280 bed, very busy, and successful hospital. Claudia is a biologist who will begin work on Community Based Health Care at the new Center of Hope here in Chicuque. We also spent some time at the Cambini Mission Site, also a UMC facility. In Cambini the second missionary couple is from Germany, Claudia, a nurse and Thomas, a German United Methodist Pastor working at the theological seminary. We spent a day with them touring the mission site including; clinic, orphanage, vocational school, seminary, church, primary and secondary schools, and agriculture training with animals and gardens. This is a very impressive facility.

Thomas and Claudia Guenther from Germany.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


We had a bit of a hard day yesterday. Very disappointing when Danny's luggage was not at the airport, I was sick with a cold and cough, a long loud music bus ride, no extra kwatcha for breakfast as we were making our way out of the country and only had enough kwatcha for transport. Africa won yesterday!

We had an easy border crossing however and we are now in Mozambique. A day at the market replaced much of what Danny had lost in his bag. Danny has always said, You can't get too attached to your stuff, now he is having to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. He keeps "quoting" the scripture where Jesus talks about going forth without your stuff. For more information read Mark 6:6b-12.

We are in hot Africa again. Meeting up with some friends in Mozambique to work in a village with them on some projects they have started. Danny is hoping to raid some of their clothes before they leave! They are bringing some of the medical equipment that he lost, stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, and otoscope so he will be back in business. I am feeling better too and glad to still be in Africa!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Rosemark Zimbabwe

After waiting on the border keeping an eye on the political and security situation in Zimbabwe we finally took the plunge and flew to Harare to see how the Zimbabwe and East Ohio Annual Conferences could partner in ministry. We met and toured with the East Ohio Annual Conference team of Rev. Russ Ham, Rev. Howard Pippin, and Kay Panovec who were sent to learn more about the establishment of classrooms in Zimbabwe. We were wonderfully hosted by Rev. Lloyd Nyarota who is the Area Projects and Communications Coordinator for the Zimbabwe Annual Conference. We witnessed schools, Home of Hope, a ministry which cares for orphans by supporting them in their village or extended family, new church starts, Africa University, worship, and the property in the Kensington area where the Emsizini School is to be built. We stayed in people's homes as well as in hotels. We shared many meals with pastors, laity, and Conference leadership. Danny and Kathy learned much about how the global UMC works.

Pray for Zimbabwe and their elections at the end of June. The economy is in shambles with a million percent inflation; which means that flour could cost one price today and tomorrow it would be doubled and your salary remains the same. A newspaper costs 200 million Zimbabwe dollars, but the price changes daily! We carried our own fuel in huge containers because it is difficult to find full gas stations on the road. The people we met do what they can to survive, are peaceful, and hopeful. Bishop Nhiwatiwa preached to a large congregation about keeping peace, dialoguing with people who have different opinions, and telling people he expected that they would not be violent. He reminded people of the global situation with people in China who are in greater need than they are. It was really an amazing service.

The money situation in Zimbabwe, we were billionaires for a week!

We are now onto Malawi where we are visiting with a malaria study connection here with Michigan State University. Next week we will be meeting with folks from Ohio who have a project with World Relief International in Mozambique. Right now we are waiting on Danny's lost luggage to reappear from our flight out of Harare to Lilongwe!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Travel to Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia

This has been a month of travel; some hard, some not so hard! One of our goals for this year is learning how to travel in Africa. I think we have covered just about every mode of transportation there is, boda boda a.k.a. moto-taxis, charter bus, ferry boat, dugout canoe, train, minivan, taxi, and walking. We have learned, tolerated, enjoyed, and experienced much. We are on our way to meet three people from the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe on May 27th . . . God willing! We are currently in Livingstone, Zambia resting from travel. We went to Victoria Falls today, what an incredible natural wonder of the world! We will wait to hear from the Ohio team about their arrival next week and then arrange bus travel to Zimbabwe. Please keep in Zimbabwe in your prayers. We will let you know how it goes in our next blog!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Links

Hello! On the left you will find some new links that Kathy and Danny wanted you to be introduced to. Please feel free to check out the Enfuzi Community Campsite, the non-profit Edirisa and the Nukurub Orphans websites.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


We spent 2 days in Rwanda being impressed with the progress they have made since the genocide of 1994 and past division of Hutu and Tutsi people. As we drove into Kigali from the Ugandan border, a 2 hour drive we were awed by the green vegetation around us all up and down the mountains of Rwanda. It was a truly beautiful drive. We spent the first afternoon walking the hills and looking for Hotel des Milles Collines, means Hotel of 1,000 Hill the hotel from the movie Hotel Rwanda. It is back up and running and located right in the middle of the city.

The second day we headed to the Genocide Memorial Museum. What a great place in terms of dealing with their reality and educating people. We were shown the outside grounds by a tour guide. There are over 250,000 people buried in mass graves on the site. They are surrounded by many beautiful gardens and fountains. A flame burns for all of April through June every year in memory of the genocide that happened in those 3 months in 1994 when most of the killings took place. We then went inside to read about the history of Rwanda and how and why the genocide happened. There was a room with bones and skulls on display that we did not go in, and all throughout there were video segments of survivors sharing some of their experiences of the genocide. There were good stories of how moderate sympathetic Hutus hid and saved Tutsi's. The second floor was divided into 2 parts, one was all children which was really hard to read and see, and the other was about genocide in general and about other countries and their past history with genocide. I am embarrassed to say that I did not know many details about some, Cambodia, Romania, Namibia, and even details about Croatia. It was embarrassing to read how the church failed the Rwandans and genocide victims of the past, going along with the killings, even encouraging them. In the evening we went back to listen to a survivor tell his story of life before, during, and after the genocide and then watch the movie Shooting Dogs by the BBC. One of the statements that stand out for both Danny and I from the survivors about those people that were lost in the genocide was, "They should still be here." Our devotion for that day was about every person here is important. How true for what the day held for us. We are both so glad that we went through Rwanda and witness their past and their healing!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

More Adventures in Uganda

We traveled from Kampala to Masindi in central Uganda to visit Rock Foundation School which is supported by Chardon UMC. We were hosted by Christine, the person who started the school. It was a very impressive facility built in just four years time.

We then headed to Fort Portal, western Uganda toward the Rwenzori Mountains. It took us 11 hours, 3 matatus, 3 flat tires, over 25 people plus luggage and packages in a 15 passenger vehicle that did not have a starter, before we arrived in Fort Portal for a few days. From there we traveled the Nkuruba Crater Lake where we stumbled upon a campsite that is owned and operated by a pastor who is also responsible for over 140 orphans in his village. The campsite food, lodging, and recreation fees help to fund the orphanage, clinic, and church. It was a great Rosemark stop to see and talk to the pastor about his mission and goals. We participated in swimming lessons and were entertained by the orphans performing traditional dance. The campsite is often surrounded by troops of black and white colombus monkeys. We took photos at a time when there we over 10 of them in the trees beside our banda! This continues to be a very amazing adventure!

Kathy helping the littlest child get comfortable in the water.
A child carrying more than his own weight on his head.
A troop of Colombus Monkeys!