Learning, Laughing and Sweating!

Now into our fourth week of school we are already having a great time learning and laughing together!  We are LEARNING as we begin establishing a routine and strategy for our days, and discover what does and does not work inside a less than typical classroom setting.  For the kids the books are filled with new subjects to learn, and as for me the subjects may be old, but still ones I must RE-learn.  Predicates, action verbs, spelling list, phonic sounds, word problems and read alouds have come back to haunt me!  All those things I thought I had left far, far behind!!! Through learning we are also LAUGHING!  As I said school in Africa is just a little more quirky and we just have to laugh at our daily struggles and mishaps.  Science experiements have already failed miserably, but we just move on! Unexpected bathroom visits are a commonality, interrupting class frequently, but we allow it!   Glue just doesn’t work as well, making us wait 2 or 3 days for our art projects to dry.  Pencil sharpeners don’t ever sharpen and when planning a lesson using internet you better have a back up plan-  and then you better have a back up plan for your back up plan!!  We are also already doing a lot of SWEATING! It gets hot inside our little one room school house.  The upcoming dry season could get a little sticky!! Well, its an adventure, but at the end of the day Cason, Jolie and I leave school smiling, a tad bit smarter, and loving one another a little more deeply then we did the day before!  I look forward to helping these kids unfold their gifts allowing them to continue being great disciples for Jesus Christ.  They are already off to a great start!

Below are some pictures from our first few days..

Jolie working hard!
I think Cason is in the Christmas spirit!
PE class
Field trip to the local farm! Thanks to Brad and Robbie Starns. What a great ministry lead by our friends at HELP.
Hike through the jungle!
More fun at the farm! Chickens coming soon!
Music Class
Art Class- I think we need a bigger table!
Bible Class- Talking abut temptation!
Bible class


“I am coming…”

“I AM COMING….”  is the response we here most often around here! The reaction we receive, from our Nigerian friends, who TRULY take care of us!  Only a few short seconds after calling one of them with a question do you hear them say, “I am coming”, which is shortly followed by the sound of a motor bike stopping in front of our house, and a subsequent calling of, “MOMMY, DADDY!!”  Then asking and attending to our very need!

Our generation has grown up in an America where the common day to day necessities are quick, easy, and accessible. Add to that I never have been and never will be the Suzy homemaker, do it all Dolly type and surviving in a town with an open air market only once a week, a less than typical “supermarket”, generators for power, water dangerous to our American stomachs, dirt, dust, and many other unique features becomes not so easy-o!  Maybe I should have listened to my grandmother more closely during those Christmas baking sessions and canning exercises!!??  However, God has provided us with an army of individuals who make up for our pioneer short falls.  Therefore, let me introduce to you the Riddle’s Egbe Survival Kit:

IMG_4739 Duro (“Mommy Duro”):  Duro has been working for missionary families since the 60’s, and we are now BEYOND blessed to now have her in our home.  Duro comes knocking at our door each morning at 7:30 sharp ready to tackle the day.  She helps us clean, cook, shop and do laundry and is best known for her sugar cookies and fried chicken!  She then goes home each evening and does it all over again with her own family, as she currently has 7 grandchildren living with her. What a hardworking and wise women!!! We already love her dearly and most days it feels like we have our grandmother right here with us.  She is sweet and spunky and we look forward to the relationship only growing stronger as we minister to one another each day!

IMG_4740Byo:  Byo is our errand runner and knows where to find anything and everything in Egbe.  You need eggs..call Byo, need a part for your motorbike…call Byo, need internet credit…call Byo, a chicken…BYO!  He knows exactly when and where to find it, and gets it all done in record time.  Not to mention Byo is the kindest, most compassionate guy you will ever meet.  A person whose face tells you he truly cares.  We will never forget the day Nick bought his new machine (motor bike) and Byo was almost teary eyed with disappointment Nick had not called him for help.  He knew Nick had he been given the Oyinbo (white man) price, and if only he could have been there to help, the price would have been much better!

Shola: Shola works in the guest house and also in the revitalization office.  IMG_4742She is without a doubt our right hand women!  She really understands us the best and has become the cushion between ourselves and the Nigerians.  I think she may be the one person around here that actually understands my southern accent and to which I don’t have to repeat myself for.   Shola is humble, caring and FUNNY- she keeps us all laughing!!!  She is also an entrepreneur- working at her shop outside her home when away from work.  Her shop sales everything from provisions, to candy, but specializes in fish pies and donuts on Sunday mornings!!!

The GIRLS:  Shola, Small Shola, Oyinbosay, Seun, Tolu, and Kemi are sure to brighten your day with singing and dancing!  These ladies work for other missionaries here on the compound and/or the guest house.  The joy they pour out while working is contagious and I admire there bright personalities so much!  They work well as a team and ensure everyone is well fed and taken care of.  There work is most watched when killing chicken and preparing the pounded yam.  I really enjoy our time each morning during our daily women’s devotion.

IMG_4741Sunday:  Sunday is best known here on the compound for his early morning raking, and is often heard before seen.  Although, we sometimes hate the sound of the metal rake against the rock and dirt waking us, Sunday ensures all our yards are kept looking nice and the grass kept back to lessen the snakes.  He also collects our rubbish and compost bins each day!  However, what we really love about Sunday are his Sunday greetings.  Without fail, he makes his rounds every Sunday afternoon greeting each missionary at their home.

Dupe Dupe:  The Supermarket Lady!  Dupe’s store is the closest thing you will get to the American grocery store.  The walls of her 20×20 shop are packed tight with canned goods, rice, spices, and household cleaners.  You may even find a few hidden treasures like a snickers bar sometimes!!! Dupe is always helpful, even allowing you to call in your order so she will have it ready and waiting for pick up!

Many others could be mentioned here as the people of Egbe truly make you feel welcomed and loved.  In a lot of ways we want the language barrier to be broken.  Loving, if in fact our friends would be able to understand our request by phone.  We are working hard to learn the yoruba language and local terms.  However, when that day comes and communication becomes easier, we still secretly hope to always here “I AM COMING!”