For the last two years we’ve gone hiking at Nakpanduri and visited Ms. Denise on Boxing Day. This year Heidi had an emergency surgery to do that took a lot more time than expected. So we waited until the 27th to visit Denise at Nakpanduri.
As is her tradition, she had her many animals decorated with garland for Christmas. She also had a brand new baby foal that had been just born on Christmas Eve day! It’s newborn coat of fur was amazingly soft.
After being extra careful not to start a brush fire while we were camping, we came home to a fire that started blazing by our house. It started next to the path behind our house and thanks to high winds, it spread all across the south side of BMC in a matter of minutes. The watchmen were fighting it off up the hill so Heidi, Trey and I had to tackle it at our house until they had it contained up top and could join us.
Thankfully no buildings were damaged and, on the bright side, we don’t have to worry about wild fires anymore now that all the brush has been toasted!
As in years past, we went out to Kolinvaai to join our friends there for a Christmas morning church service. I was asked to preach and so I read the Christmas story from Luke and then focused on Simeon and Anna’s encounters with the Christ child. There was lots of singing and dancing after the sermon and the youth choir sang a few songs as well.
After the service the church enjoyed a meal of rice balls and ground nut soup together. They always treat us as honored guests and give us our food in fancy dishes to “take away.” Sometimes we wish we could stay and fellowship with everyone else, but it’s also nice to go home and get a little rest before we head to town and spend a few hours greeting all of our friends.
As in years past, the expat doctors at BMC visited patients on the wards on Christmas Eve and passed out oranges. This year it was just the Cahills and us and we were joined by our German friend Mattis.
One thing we did differently this time was that William read the Christmas story in Mampruli in each ward. It was nice to be able to communicate the reason we followers of Jesus celebrate this holiday. For many is was probably the first time they heard the story in a clearly communicated in their heart language.
Last week our soak away, the drainage pipe and stones underground, from our main bathroom was blocked and overflowing. I hoped it was just some gunk clogging it at the start of pipe but it turned out the entire 40 feet of 3″ pipe was crammed full of tree roots.
The bad news was that we had to dig up the entire pipe as well as the soak away pit which is full of stones. The really bad news was that the pit was a whooping 8’x12′ and 4′ at its deepest! The really, really bad news was that when it was created 30+ years ago, the stones were covered with toxic asbestos roofing!!
The good news was that we were just dealing with drainage from the bath tub and sink (not toilet sewage) and I had some friends help me out.
Five days later we had it replaced, covered, and draining well. Let’s pray that this round lasts another 30+ years.
I found this little fella while digging up old drainage pipes in my yard. In Mampruli, the Worm Snake is called a kpariwaafu or “Farmer’s Snake.” Some call it kpaŋwaafu or “Guinea Fowl Snake” because the birds like to dig them up and eat them.
Here’s are some details about this tiny snake from the fantastic book West African Snakes by G.S. Cansdale.
Members of one of these small families, known to naturalists as Worm Snakes, are seldom recognized as snakes. They are very small, measuring only 5-7 in. when fully grown, and with a body about as thick as a pencil lead. The mouth is minute, with some very small solid teeth, in the lower jaw only, and these Worm Snakes feed entirely on tiny insects, especially ants and their eggs. Some 8 different species are found in various parts of West Africa, mostly in the dry country outside the high forest, but they have been collected so seldom that their habits and distribution are still little known.
The colour of these tiny Worm Snakes varies from pale brown to blackish. The scales are always rather smooth, shiny and dry, distinguishing them at a glance from worms; examined under a lens, they are seen to have no more than 14 rows of scales around the body. The eyes are scarcely or not at all visible, and the body is of more or less the same thickness throughout its length. Worm Snakes seldom come above ground on their own and are usually found by pure chance. The only specimens I received were found by small children while hoeing their farm plots.