I walked out my front door yesterday morning and a HUGE spider jumped on my head. It literally jumped on my head. Then it jumped on my back. Then I killed it. It’s dead – but I’m still pretty traumatized. Not the best way to start off the day. Some neighbors witnessed the whole thing and I think they thought it was pretty funny. White guy running around trying to smack an araña garandi with his shoe … pretty entertaining.
Anyway, I’m still alive. I can’t believe it’s been more than two weeks since I left Fresno. The trip to Canchungo took seven days: Fresno to Madrid with a layover in Dallas. Then I spent all day in Madrid and took a night flight to Lisbon, but the plane arrived really late and I missed my connection to Dakar, Senegal. So I stayed another 24 hours in Lisbon and got into Dakar at 3 a.m. on Sunday. I spent 2 ½ days in Dakar meeting with some folks and running some errands, then took an 18-hour boat ride to southern Senegal where I met with one of the school leaders, bought a visa to Guinea-Bissau, and then crammed into a rusted-out tin can that passes as public transportation for a two-hour drive to a town called Ignore in Guinea-Bissau. I spent the night in Ignore and then traveled several hours to Canchungo the next day, arriving at about 5 p.m. It was a crazy trip: three continents, five countries, eight cities, seven days. I was happy to finally arrive.
But the next day I came down with a serious case of the travel flu and could hardly move from the couch. Thankfully I recovered after 48 hours – but it wasn’t much fun.
So other than that – giant attack spiders, a crazy traveling schedule, and a nasty case of the flu – I’ve been doing pretty well. I’ve enjoyed seeing my friends again and meeting some new students. Since getting back on my feet again after the flu, I’ve been spending a lot of time meeting with school staff and local community leaders. There are several projects we’re working on:
- Conducting a nationwide search for a permanent school director. (The WAVS school’s current director is an interim director who will be moving to a neighboring village to work as a full-time pastor in a few months).
- Introducing a micro-loan program that will help people start small businesses and expand existing ones. So far I’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedback about this idea.
- Showing community members samples of a micro solar-powered unit that charges cell phones and a light. The response has been pretty positive. These units could be sold and become a side business that helps support the school, generate sales jobs, and help provide lighting in a country with hardly any electricity.
- Work with local church leaders to create a leadership development program. We hope to find 15 to 20 people who would be interested in a one or two-year program that would lay a Biblical foundation for what it means to be a leader, as well as teach some of the practical management skills needed to be an effective leader.
There are lots of other things on my to-do list, but these are the big ones. Please continue to pray for wisdom and patience. The prayers are greatly appreciated!