After traveling from Sunday morning to Monday evening, I finally arrived at the Libreville airport in Gabon, and was promptly accosted by French-speaking taxi drivers who had somehow managed to get into the pre-customs luggage area in the airport (security, apparently not really a focus). Total blessing was that Tim Brokopp (I’m staying at his and his wife Meredith’s house) was right outside the doors and was all up in their faces by the time I came through customs— big sigh of relief Grandma— Tim’s pretty hardcore too and yells at anyone who give us a hard time :)
I’m also staying with about ten other missionaries at Tim and Meredith’s place. We’re all here for the summer and are crammed into these great rooms with lots of bunkbeds :) I always seem to get stuck on the top bunk, and this time is no different—but I have a bed so I’m happy! I am actually eating pork because there is not much else to eat. And everyone loves baguettes as well. Not many vegetables, but I peel and eat carrots a couple of times a day. Yesterday, I befriended a little girl, Gypsy, at a food stall and she was selling peanuts (arichides), so if you know me, you can only guess what is on my mind now… peanut butter! I will let you know if this dream ever comes true.
Turns out that the French they speak here is actually pretty similar to what I know- the accent is a little different, but it’s a blessing to be able to communicate. People rarely speak English, so this is definitely helpful. Also, I am one of the few Americans here who can speak French, so I try to translate as much as possible. Road navigation is a sport in Libreville— I sort of remember driving in Tanzania when I was younger, but honestly, the driving here is like being in a video game. I have been in at least five near-crashes and today I went flying up against the back of the seat of the guy in front of me (because my own seat is broken, and sans seatbelt). There are about a million people and cars on the roads, and food stalls, and dogs and chickens and… well you get the point.
So far, I have experienced some great things in the ministries that are out here, but I need to save some of those details for later. What I can tell you about now is that I have spent a couple of days working at a home for abandoned children (Hope House), playing football with them and making clay toys from mud out of their backyard. The kids are great and I really love this one little guy, Christopher who just jumps on my back all sweaty and gross, and wants me to run around the yard with him. The other cool thing is that I have spent some time at a medical clinic and since I don’t have any decent medical skills to speak of, I just talk a lot with the local Gabonais people in the waiting room. I am praying that God helps give me insight as to how He wants me to use the skills I have. I haven’t met any disabled or language-impaired kids, which is amazing seeing as there are at least 30 orphaned kids at the Hope House, but this is also encouraging as I am praying freely for direction and vision in my areas of service; so far there are a couple of other opportunities that have risen up that I will tell you more about later. Love to you all xo