Saturday, June 15, 2013

My family here in Catel

As per my normal, I have once again delayed in writing a blog post or newsletter (sigh).   There’s not a whole lot new to report.  The pigs are doing great and are growing really well.  I’ll update you more on them later.  I thought it would be more important to introduce you to the family (the DaSilva’s) that I spend most of my time with.  I have mentioned several of them in previous blog posts, but I thought I’d put together one cohesive blog post so you could better get to know them as a family. 

To give some preface to the names about to be listed in the following paragraphs, I’ll explain the “who’s who.”  The father of the family’s name is Fode (FOH-deh) and his wife is Tiri (TEE-ree).  They have several grown children: Braima (BRY-mah), Juan Pierre (Zhahn Pehr), Juan Paulu (Zhahn PAHW-loo), Agustu (Ah-GOO-stoo), Kintinu (Kin-TEEN-oo), and Mario (MAH-ree-oh).  Fode’s sister Nema (NEE-mah) lives with them as does a two of her grown children: Julio (JOO-lee-oh) and Jara (JAH-rah).

Apa (Ah-PAH), nephew to Fode, was the first one in the family that I met when he came to the clinic near the beginning of October with a tarsadu (tahr-SAH-doo, machete) wound.  Soon after that, he began coming to church.  He’s a hardworking thirteen year old who will start third grade next year when school starts again (it is very normal for a thirteen year old to be in third grade in this area for a variety of reasons).  He spends a lot of time hanging out with us at the mission house and really enjoys playing Guinensi card games with us.  He’s also started attending  a young men’s Bible study that one of the YES guys is leading.

Andrew with Apa and Mana (MAH-nah), son of Juan Pierre at Christmastime

The second person  I met in this family was Di (Dee), who is my closest friend here in Catel.  I met her in late October when she came to the clinic with her husband Braima, one of the brothers of the family) when they came to the clinic during Di’s first pregnancy.  I enjoyed watching them interact as a married couple; they were really cute together.  “Cutesie” is not something that’s common in marriages here in Guinea Bissau.  When I was getting their information, I noticed that they listed Catel as their residence.  These people really intrigued me, so I asked if I could go hang out with them later at their house later (I promise, that is not a creeper move in this culture).  That day started what would become a really deep friendship.  She and Braima became Christians in February and were featured in the last blog post about Catel’s baptisms.

Di braiding a neighbor girl's hair.

Braima with his nephews Mana and Diablu (Di-AH-bloo).

Around the same time that I was getting to know Di, Agustu approached Andrew on the path one day saying that he wanted to convert to Christianity because he believes that Jesus could save him from the demonic dreams he was having.   He gave his life to Jesus that Sunday (was saved from his bad dreams) and has been huge influence and evangelist in his family ever since.

Agustu just finished an annex that will become his room.  Here he is shown "pink-washing" it.  Pink washing is exactly what you think... white wash + red tint = pink wash.

Salifu (Sah-LEE-foo) is a friend of Agustu’s that lives with the family and is a product of Agustu’s evangelism. Salifu came to salvation believing that Jesus could heal him from seizures he was having (and Jesus DID heal him!).  He was also featured in the last blog post about Catel’s baptisms.  Salifu’s wife Loti (LOH-tee) is also a very good friend of mine, and their nine-month-old daughter Leonara (Lee-oh-NAH-rah) is the source of many of my smiles.  Leonara is just beginning to try her hand (or her feet) at walking.  Salifu and Loti are planning on building a house together when the rainy season passes.

One day, Salifu told me to take a picture of him, and I told him to "strike a pose".  

Jara is also an extremely good friend of mine.  Our friendship began at the beginning of the cashew season when she left Dakar, Senegal (where another family had been raising her, another common practice here).  Now, she’s here to stay!  She is the only friend I have my age that isn’t married yet and doesn’t have kids.  Our friendship began in a funny way as we stumbled to try to communicate with one another with hand motions and through the rest of the family acting as translators.  You see, I only know Kiriol, and she grew up in Senegal where they speak Wolof and French (and Manjako, a tribal language, because she was raised in a Manjako family); her Kiriol was super limited.   Now, she’s learned a lot of Kiriol and I’ve picked up a lot of Manjako in the mean time.   She’s a very fun-loving, happy spirited woman, and I’m super excited that she is sticking around for long-term!

I let my family borrow my camera one afternoon and I got some really great pictures (some of which appear on this blog post).  I think Jara was on her way to get water when she took this picture.  She is carrying her "ordija" (or-DEE-jah) on her shoulders which she will use to cushion her head from the heavy tub of water she will soon be carrying.  Ordijas also help you to balance stuff on your head.

In other news, it’s hot and really really humid – signs that the rainy season has started. We’re enjoying “mangoes out the wahzoo” (see the YES team’s blog at Oh!  And we are in the process of building a gazebo-type thing so that we can entertain guests in the evenings and others on the team who want to go to sleep earlier won’t be disturbed by all the noise...  The mission house gets pretty noisy when all our friends come over to hang out and play games – let me tell you!  Pictures to come!