Tag Archives: Logan

Raisin’ the Roof

One day we heard of a bush village called Kiira that had built such a large church building that they did not know how to put a roof on it. For three years this church had been waiting on God to provide someone who could do it. And for three years the building had gone unused while all the people continued to cram into their small facility. While this was not part of our official itinerary, being flexible is one of the keys to being on a mission/humanitarian trip like this. The thought of these people waiting for a miracle and having the chance to be that answer to prayer for them was just too good to pass up.

We decided that we were going to be the ones to finish the church. We got word to them that we were coming and asked them to get all the building materials ready for us. (The materials had already been delivered by the Christian Ministry Alliance)

The men sat on one side of the church and watched all day as we roofed the building and the women sat on the other side. The kids were running around playing all over the place. We took turns, working in shifts on the roof as the temperature was well over 100 degrees.

Logan at one point had 50 children around him and he was was teaching them how to play the “mirror game”. Whatever Logan did, they would do. Whatever Logan said, they would say. It was hillarious!!! Once the kids caught on, he had them saying and doing all of the craziest things. He taught them some “smooth” dance moves (think washing machine, sprinkler, the worm, etc.) He also taught them how to say cool “American” things like “WHAZZZZZUUUUUP!” and “Logan is the man!” and “Tampa Bay Bucaneers are the best!”. At one point he had them all singing Jesus Loves Me. He was like the Pied Piper and you should have seen the looks on their faces as they followed him everywhere. In fact late that night, after the singing, dancing, and drum beating finally died down (after midnight), we could still hear packs of children running through the bush chanting “Heeeyyyy Logan”.

As we prepared to leave, a man came riding up on a bicycle with a white ram wrapped around his shoulders and a guinea hen in one of his hands. These were our gifts from the village. They had given us their very best. The ram had even been bathed (using their very rare and precious water) and was white as snow. Not accepting their their sacrificial gift was not an option, but we had no idea how to transport it…so they tied him on to the roof of our car. Since these animals were going to be joining our team, we had to give them a name. So Bill the ram and Louise the guinea hen became the newest members of the Dry Tears team. Bill rode around on the roof of our Land Rover until we got to the next village which was hours away and Louise ran around in the backseat of the vehicle with us. We gave Bill to the folks in the next village as a gift from us, and we ate Louise for dinner that night.

The Birth of a Well

As usual, I am an early riser, and on the morning of our second day in the bush I awoke to the sound of metal clanging against metal (not what I was expecting—drums maybe, wild creatures maybe, but not metal on metal). I followed the noise and found that the drilling crew had driven back to civilization during the night, obtained the needed part for the drilling rig, and were now back in the village making the necessary repairs. In no time, they cranked the rig on and began drilling.

While it is possible to dig shallow wells by hand, there is a layer of bedrock that runs under the ground that prevents most hand dug wells from getting deep enough to where the larger water supplies are. Most hand dug wells in Burkina Faso are unable to produce water year round. Dry Tears goal is to be able to provide a year round source of water for a village.

We were all now standing about 50 feet away watching the drill do its thing when all of a sudden the workers started yelling and sure enough SPLOOSH!!!! Spraying 50-70 feet in the air came water!!! We were all running around whooping and hollering and high fiving all over the place. It was sooo exciting!

The disappointment of the previous night, at learning that the well was not finished, completely evaporated as we witnessed a Dry Tears well come to life. Honestly, it was much more fun to witness this than to have just pulled up and seen an already working well.

I expected to see beautiful crystal clear water come spewing out of the well but it was very muddy (actually it looked like more mud than water). I learned that once a well has hit water, they need to let it “bubble out” for about 4 hours which means get all of the mud out of the pipes as it was being dug.

Here is the great news, not only did we see a Dry Tears well come to life, but it was also a gusher. A gusher has so much water that it can serve not only as a well, but they can actually us use it for irrigation and possibly even a water tower type application.

Conner and Logan filmed some footage for their website www.drytears.org as the water continued to spray in the air behind them.

As we left, the pastors all came to send us off with a gift. It was a handmade ceremonial outfit that was beautiful (pants, shirt, and hat). We had not seen anyone wearing one as nice as this and it looked like it took a long time to make. Logan and Conner gave each of the pastors a Dry Tears bracelet and we were off.

It is simply amazing to see how something we take for granted (WATER) can have such a profound effect on a community. This is so much fun!

Partying African Style

No, I didn’t get eaten in the bush. I did, however, get so deep into the bush that we were hours away from the nearest electricity so I was unable to post any new entries. So here goes.

Our first day we traveled to a village called Bonzan. It is the location of the most recent Dry Tears well and we had been told that it was completed just the day before. We were so excited to see it and especially to meet the people whose lives were going to be changed by clean water.

After 5-6 hours of bouncing across dirt roads and paths, we finally arrived right at dusk and to our great disappointment the well was not finished. Apparently the crew working on drilling it were so confident that they would be finished by the time we got there that they told us it was completed. The deep water drilling rig had broken and they needed a part to get it up and running.

We were all pretty disappointed but kept up a good front. That night, in anticipation of our arrival, the village had planned to throw a huge celebration. Pastors from 4 neighboring villages all showed up to have a kind of “tribal meeting” with Logan and Conner (the 2 Dry Tears guys who were on the trip with us). It was amazing hearing them tell how the water was going to impact their villages…not only physically, but spiritually as well.

You see, as people come to draw water, these pastors visit with them and tell them about Jesus, The Living Water, and the hope He brings. These pastors told us that they would need bigger churches because there would be so many people accepting Christ once they heard the about Him and His love for them.

As is their custom, the villagers brought out buckets of warm water that they had heated over fires for us to bathe with before dinner. Knowing that water is such a precious commodity, it was such a gracious gesture for them to share it with us like that. Bathing was interesting…it was basically go stand behind a 5 foot wall and use a cup to pour the water over yourself. It took a little getting used to!

Dinner was rice, spaghetti noodles in a peanut sauce, chicken (cooked whole minus the head and feet), and toh (sounds like toe). My son, Logan, describes toh as a cross between jello and rubber. The village fed us first and wanted us to stuff ourselves and, only after we had eaten, would they eat (assuming there was still food left—if there was no food left then they would go without).

After dinner the party began!!! Hundreds showed up for singing, dancing and banging the drums. It was amazing. Logan and Conner led the way for all of us as they jumped right into learning the African dances. It was kind of like doing the electric slide but in a constantly moving circle—way fun!!!! The natives greatly enjoyed laughing at the white guys as we tried to grasp the complex dance moves. Heck, we laughed at ourselves as we felt like total doofussses. But it sure was fun! Well we danced until around 1:00am and then we crashed on our cots underneath a breathtaking African sky.

The pastor had to ask the villagers to take the party down the road as we had to get some sleep. So they moved about 100 yards away and continued to sing, chant, dance, and bang the drums until 3:00am!!! They were so excited that we had come and that a well was being dug.

I fell asleep staring at the most stars I have ever seen in my life listening to the poorest people I had ever met sing songs of joy over the prospect of clean water arriving. I couldn’t help but think about how rich and blessed we are in America and how we take so much for granted.

Greetings from Africa

We’re here!!!!! Had a great trip from Atlanta to Paris (it’s an 8 1/2 hour flight and I slept the whole way) Then after a 4-hour layover we had a 5-hour flight to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso where the whole team finally came together (we had all taken different flights). There was much much laughter, hugs, and high fives!

Our main local contact, Pete, picked us all up at the airport and took us out to eat in downtown. I have no idea what we ate but it was tasty. During dinner we learned about more of the details pertaining to our itinerary.

Our agenda for the week is very aggressive and I am not sure if we will be able to do everything we are planning on doing. I have learned many amazing facts about this country and the needs here are so great:
It is the 2nd poorest nation on earth (beaten only by Sri Lanka)
The capital city (Ouagadougou) is the only one in the world without a water source and as I have mentioned in earlier blogs, water is their greatest need
There are up to 160 children in one elementary school classroom with 1 teacher and since you must pay to go to school here, entire extended families get together to decide which child has the best chance of graduating, getting a real job, and then be able to care for the next generation (only about half make it through grade school, of those left,half make it through middle school and of what is left only 35%graduate).
There is much pressure on the child selected for education…at times the parent’s decision is made to send one child to school rather than buy the medicine to save another child’s life.

Poverty this profound puts people (especially parents) in impossible places to make decisions.

There are some non-negotiable activities that we definitely will be doing. The first of those is today (Sunday) as we worshipped with brothers and sisters in the Lord in a small local church. Even though we could not communicate with each other, we still shared a bond that was much deeper than language and they made us feel so welcome. I look forward to the day when language will not be a barrier that keeps people apart. This afternoon we will crash and try to get our bodies more closely aligned with African time and we need to rest up as we will head into the bush for a minimum of 4 days. Today is my son Logan’s 18th birthday and we are planning a big bash at the US Embassy tonight complete with hamburgers, milkshakes and a football game (the Falcons will kick-off at 9:00pm here).

Our plans for the bush include visiting a well that Dry Tears funded that has just been completed and is now providing water for an entire community. We will be sleeping outside near the well and, rumor is, the village plans on dancing all night for us! I can’t wait…hope they let small white guys dance with them!!! We will also visit several other villages where the need for clean drinking water is great and we will be looking for good locations for future drilling projects.

Next, we will be visiting a city on the Mali border which has the highest infant mortality rate in the world. 1 out of every 2 children born don’t make it to age 5.

Our travels will then take us to a church building project that, unfortunately, was unable to be completed by another group. We see this as a wonderful opportunity to show the body of Christ as a much bigger thing than just one group of visitors. We plan on taking at least one full day to finish the building (the roof still needs to go up).

I’m not sure how much time we will have after doing these things, so we’ll just have to wait and see if we can cram more in.

Well I better get to bed…oh, and yes, Tina, we are taking all of our medications.

The Day Before

Well, we leave tomorrow and the last minute running around has been pretty exciting. There has been a lot of “getting things”:
*getting 1 more Hepatitis A and B shot,
*getting Malaria medicine into our systems,
*getting close to 100 tennis balls to give to the children we meet,
*getting as many balloons crammed into the unused corners of our luggage,
*getting our clothes sprayed with mosquito poison/repellent,

*getting 4 cases of tooth brushes and tooth paste (Thank you Dr. Tom Turner!!)
*getting lots of snacks
*getting packed
and finally getting very excited!!!!!!!

So far the weather for our trip looks like it will be great with highs around 100 and lows around 62 and it looks like the heavy winds off the desert are going to hold off a few more weeks (actually this is both good news and bad news…the good news is that the dust and sand will not be flying around and the sky will be gorgeous–the bad news is nothing to blow the mosquitoes away!)

My wardrobe looks almost like I am planning for a nuclear strike…I will pretty much be covered from head to toe with clothing (giving those mosquitoes very little to shoot at). I spent an hour today literally poisoning all of our exterior clothes to keep them at bay. The day we return I will leave to begin speaking in 4 cities in 6 days and I do not want to have malaria.