Greetings from Paul and Clara!
Written by: The Bridge on Wednesday, April 19th, 2006
April 16, 2oo6 ~ To all our dear ones at home in Silverwinds. We greet you all from Palmgrove! So far we are all doing well, have plenty to eat, a nice clean bed, and God’s great love and protection. We get up every morning to go to breakfast, even though it is different from what we’re used to, the main thing is that we’re together. We also help with washing dishes. After that, we go about with what we would normally do at home, clean or sweep the floors, do our laundry, or do a bit of writing in our rooms. Management starts here in the house, every morning at 8:00, then the men wait for a good cup of coffee with sugar and cream.
Thursday, Judy Basel tackled the water plant, hauling everything out that has been of no use to anybody. That took almost all day. At around 1:00, the dinner bell rings. Most of the time it is rice, ‘garry'(that can be very tasty), beans or yam in a hot soup. Everybody prepares their own supper at home. Judy Basel, Talitha, and I prepare a little something to eat here in the house. A few ladies have prepared some Nigeria food for us and brought it over. One famous dish in particular is Pankuquan; it is prepared much like our cabbage rolls, only smaller. Wild yam, or coco yam, as they call it, is ground to a powder, water is added to make a stiff dough. Then teaspoonfuls of dough are wrapped in pumpkin leaf, with cut-up pumpkin leaves at the bottom of the large kettle, a hot soup poured over it and then boiled for a period of time. We all enjoy it, and its amazing how one acquires a taste for their hot, peppery meals. To me this yam tastes like our ‘graue knedel’.
Eddy Vetter and the boys hauled steel shelving out of a storage shed. They had been sent on a container some time ago. They hauled them to the library, and we have to clean them, after that they will be assembled to store books. Right now, there are books standing in boxes, in one corner of the library, with no place to stack them.
Dad and Eddy Vetter are busy everywhere, I can’t keep up to what they are doing. For one thing, Eddy Vetter is busy looking for water-leaks and broken pipes that have been wasting water, for we don’t know how long! The generator had to work overtime, to pump more water for the houses and the kitchen, to make up for what was being wasted. Saturday evening, there was totally no water running anywhere. The men found something broken and we had to carry pails of water from the waterplant well. (No showering tonight, just tubbing.) We managed all right. To conserve fuel and Niara, we even cut the generator back a half hour each night.
Nights are extremely hot, without the fans running! Sometimes there is hardly any sleep at all. A few days ago, we learned that the Hydro had cut the wires on the transformers, leading into Palmgrove. Upon inquiring, we found out that no bill had been paid for months, and that we would have to pay a huge amount to have them replaced again. Because the Hydro is so unreliable to begin with, we have decided to wait for a while before even negotiating with them.
Saturday afternoon, Paul, Lance, Talitha and I drove to Uyo, mostly to do our emailing, the men had some work, and we did a bit of grocery shopping. While Talitha and Lance were sending mail home, I took the time to phone. I talked with Jake Vetter (Crystal) and also Silverwinds. Paul and Emman bought vehicle tires, and a battery for the satellite phone. The solar panel charges the battery, then the phone battery charges or runs off that one, through a converter. We think it will work much better now, you can now phone with confidence pretty much anytime; confident that we will hear you. Before I forget, did you know that you can send text or short email messages on the satellite phone, which we can read here, at no cost at all!? The phone rings to alert us that there is a text message waiting for us, then, instead of answering the phone we check the message box and read the text message that you sent. If you really want to try it, you should ask Matthew from Crystal Spring, because he has used it several times.
We had a wonderful church service, about Christ’s resurrection this morning. Inno Vetter had an inspiring message, and Eddy Vetter read the resurrection text, and explained it. The children sang two songs and then the adult choir also sang two. I can’t begin to tell you how good it sounded, and how much I enjoyed listening to them! They practice twice a week, Saturday and Wednesday. After the service, there was a community member meeting called, just for the baptized members. We were all asked whether we were ready to partake in the Lord’s Supper. Various topics were being discussed, and some spoke out about what was bothering him or her. Ita, the schoolteacher, translates everything for those who don’t understand English. The meeting went on till 3:00, but we didn’t quite reach a conclusion about when we would join in the Lord’s Supper.
Kwypo, who is next in line to Inno Vetter, felt he had to do something about our arrival in Palmgrove, to show some kind of appreciation, so he ordered a goat to be prepared for the big event. All the ladies were busy with the preparations, cutting up onions and leaves (that’s what they call their herbs and spices), cooking rice with hot tomato sauce, and also a spicy soup for the goat meat. By the time the meal was ready at 7:00, it was thoroughly enjoyed by everybody! Emman passed out wrapped candy, which Paul had bought for the children. Now, guess what? No water in the taps to wash dishes! Something, somewhere was kaput and had to be fixed. So, our men take the Quad, put on a plastic drum, and haul water from the waterplant well to wash the dishes. We have to do likewise, if we want a bath for the night.
I found it very interesting, to discover that quite a number of young people here, who have completed their grade 12, are now taking different courses in outside Universities. Ester is studying Computer Science. James is taking some kind of Psychology Course. Ezekiel is taking Physical Science. Mary Idiong, (Arett Idiong’s daughter) is furthering her education for teaching and becoming principal of Palmgrove School. Happiness is majoring in Biology or Nursing and Eno in Language Arts. I can’t imagine what this will do for Palmgrove, once they all come home to teach.
It’s Monday morning, and Dad comes in all enthused about their discovering the water problem. A water valve, by the main watertank, had been stripped and has to be replaced. Although they have found about 15 or so leaks, with the four that have already been fixed, we can easily wash our dishes, or take a decent shower at night. (It wasn’t too bad! We managed!)
For now, we send many, many greeting to all in Silverwinds and to all our dear people at home, who so kindly and graciously added support to our coming and helping in Palmgrove. We thank you all again! All our love, and God bless each and everyone of you,
Mom and Dad (Paul and Clara) in Palmgrove for Christ.