26 February, 2008

Random Photos

Here are some pictures of some things which are pretty common to come across.

This is the Sudanese version of a drive thru. Often times, there will be one goat on each side (The chickens he has riding above the tire taste better though)

That is really the body of the queen termite. At one of the building sites the termite mound had to be destroyed and they found the queen down in the middle. It really is amazing how much bigger she is than the others.

If only they had rodeos over here I'd be able to fulfill my dream of being a rodeo clown amongst some of the scariest looking bulls I've ever seen.

18 February, 2008

I Don't Know

There's so much I don't know. I'm sure most of you are much more aware of that than I am. But, maybe I'm getting better at not being a know-it-all and not trying so hard to have all the answers. That would be really nice anyway. I'm just too busy trying to have all the answers that I don't really look for questions (or maybe am just focused on the wrong questions).

My friend Josh wrote something the other day that has me thinking. I've always tried to have all the answers someone might ask and trying to be a step ahead. Nick, who I've been working with knows all too well how I try to answer questions before he's even asked if there is a slight pause while he thinks for a moment (I'm not sure if this is a new thing, but something I've recently noticed...those who've known me for a while will have to let me know). I like to be a teacher much more than being a student. I think I give the impression that it's better to have answers for people than questions. And I give the impression because it's how I feel most of the time.

I don't know why God has me here or why he's had me where I've been in the past. I don't know if it's to reach out to this person or that person or if it's because of this thing or that thing that I've done, but even those are the wrong questions. For a long time now I've looked to have answers to stuff like this so I know how to respond and can be prepared. But, God doesn't need me to be prepared for what he has in store. He wants me to be willing. While I might want to know everything, I don't look for what God is teaching me or seek things other than knowledge. I know that I should always be learning, and I know that God teaches us through all circumstances. And I base so much on what I know. It's about time I start asking God again. Not to have answers to tell this person or that person, but to really come to God honestly with questions that I don't understand. There's so much that doesn't make sense, so much that you really can't find an answer to, but have to have answered. Unless I ask, I just get indifferent and apathetic. I want to search after God again. I want to seek. And even though I may not get answers to speak of, I'm sure I'll find God in the search and He will answer. It's not about knowledge, but about a relationship. Who knows what I'll find out and experience in the process...probably a lot about God, about myself, and about living.

Well, I've been back at our main base for the last couple weeks now as three of our experienced staff are out at the time and there's a few gaps to fill. I'll be back out of touch with the internet soon enough I hope, but until then I'll try to keep things updated. I'm glad I could surprise you with all the recent posts and you'll have to keep looking for how I continue to mix things up.

16 February, 2008

The Office

Don't know if you've seen the show "The Office" or not. I'm not real sure if it's just because I'm in Sudan, but that show is the funniest show I've ever seen. The first Rush Hour movie used to be my favorite thing to watch, and I watched it over and over again, and this is the first time since that there's been something that I just keep watching. I've seen every episode at least two or three times and keep watching anytime anybody wants to. Please let me know if it's just me or if really is that funny. So far I've only seen the first 7 episodes of season 4 and hear that's all so far because of the writer's strike. Looking forward to the new ones when I get a chance. Here's a few pictures I doctored up quite a while ago that I thought you might enjoy. (The other guys are some of the studs I've been working with who also appreciate the office)

12 February, 2008


I came across this article on BBC today, and thought I'd share it with everyone. How dare someone's human rights be neglected simply because of his desire to have a big moustache? (Plus I learned that you don't "have" a moustache, you "wear" one. . . Also, can you believe this guy took 25 yrs. to grow that??? I'll have him way beat considering mine's only taken a year. But, then again, he has probably at least trimmed his, I've only chewed on mine every now and then)

India court in moustache notice
India's Supreme Court has issued a notice to a state-run airline asking it to explain why an air steward was sacked for wearing a big moustache.
Victor Joynath De was grounded by Indian - formerly called Indian Airlines- in 2001 for refusing to shave off his handlebar moustache.
He had earlier lost a case in a lower court which ruled that the airline was within its rights to sack him.
According to Indian rules, all crew members should be clean shaven.
A moustache, if worn, should not extend beyond the upper lip, says the rule book.
The guidelines do not apply to Sikh employees who are allowed to keep moustaches.
'Health risk'
"How can somebody be removed from a job because of the size of his moustache?" the Supreme Court bench comprising Justice HK Sema and Justice Markanday Katju asked on Monday.
The airline has been given four weeks to respond.
Mr De's brush with his employers began in 2001 when the airline argued that his prized asset was a health risk, especially with him frequently handling food.
A spokesman for the airline said at the time of Mr De's grounding its personal conduct code did not allow the display of moustaches which could be unhygienic.
The spokesman said that some passengers could be unnerved by such a striking facial feature.
At the time of his grounding, Mr De said he was proud of his moustache which had taken 25 years to grow and now stretches prominently across both cheekbones.
"I never dreamed of trimming it. All the time I worked for the airline, my moustache attracted many adoring eyes inside the plane and on the ground," he said.
Mr De has worked for the state-run airline for over 20 years.
He is a member of London's famous Handlebar Club, which has campaigned against his sacking.

10 February, 2008

Jeff is Where??

I have been in Sudan for nearly a year now, and had a decision to make about just where I would be blogging from. After quite a bit of contemplation and consideration, I've decided to sign on for another year here in South Sudan. My role will be changing somewhat, and we are looking to adjust our programming as well. Previously, all of my and the rest of our staff's attention was directed towards the church building project. We are now opening up and spreading our reach a bit. It has been exciting to see the church project grow in the way that it has and I am really looking forward to the opportunity of trying to develop some other projects to come in alongside and focus on meeting some of the other needs that the communities we've been working with have. It will be a new challenge and I look forward to the doors it may open into some of the communities and the ways in which we may broaden our impact.

I imagine most of you are a bit surprised about this 2nd year in Sudan considering that I like to change things up a lot. Don't worry, however, if you're concerned that my newfound experiment in consistency will result in the moustache from the pictures in my previous post remaining for the entire year. By the way, I guess I never did clarify, but yes, the moustache is still around in full force. Although I may have committed to another year in Sudan, the hair on my head and facial hair have never stayed the same for that long. Not that I have a plan for what will happen next, but I'll make sure and keep you guessing as to how I look. I know it always keeps even me on my toes to figure out what to do next with my hairs. So, I'll try to keep you all informed and updated throughout the next year, but still leave you wondering just what I look like as I'm typing away on the blog.

07 February, 2008

The Honey Hunt

As we were clearing land for our new compound back when we first arrived and were trying to get things set up, some of our workers were attacked by bees as they were clearing brush from an area by a tree. We got it cleared ok, but then when we went to start getting the storage and office built, the workers were attacked again. Don’t worry, no one even got stung then, but they were not willing to go back to work in that area because the bees starting coming out. So, our staff were talking about burning the bees out of the trees while some of them were also talking about there being honey in the bees hive. I became interested in this information and found out that a couple of our guys had harvested honey from bee hives before. After some convincing of the others, Elly and I talked the others into getting the honey that night before burning the bees out.

We went late in the evening, just before dark and built a fire under the hole the bees entered from. After smoking the tree for probably 15 or 20 minutes, we undertook the operation. The hole was not big enough to fit an adult hand, but rather than try to get a few six year olds to stick their hands in the bee hive, we took an axe to the tree. I was eager to do this, and took quite a few hacks before the bees started coming out. That was when we began really smoking them out. We lit some dry grass just outside the hole and blew the smoke in to keep the bees from coming out. Then, back at it with the axe. After a while, the hole was increasing, but a couple bees came out, and one was right by my ear. I dropped the axe and started waving all around at my head only to realize the bee had gotten stuck in my hair (Mullets are necessary when performing tasks like this). At this, I stopped franticly waving my arms about my head and simply squeezed the bee and my hair together in my hands to kill the bee before going back to hacking at the tree.

After a few minutes work, the hole was big enough to fit a hand in, so Elly took some grasses and applied the same smoking technique, blowing the smoke directly into the hole. Then, he just stuck his hand in the tree and started pulling out handfuls of honeycomb. It was awesome! Seeing that apparently the bees weren’t troubling him, I jumped at my chance to get some honey and did the same. It was an exciting feeling. You just blow in some smoke and pull out honeycomb. Sure, there were some bees still around, and many were on the honeycomb we pulled out, but I only got stung once. Several of the other guys also tried, including one of our Sudanese staff who is probably 6’3” and 220lbs. He is actually really gentle, sweet, humble, and an incredible guy, but he was initially afraid of the bees. He also got stung once, and our total was three stings for the night, but we all had a good time and talked about it for the next week (I am still talking about it several months later). The honey was so sweet, and it was made all the sweeter knowing that we had pulled it out of the tree ourselves. One of the more fun times I’ve had in my year here in Sudan.

Pictures from the Hunt

Chop, Chop
He's Loving It
Mullets are mandatory for hunting honey
Some of the Spoils
How Sweet It Is!!