Loving Jesus, loving others

The Burkina Faso Blog

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Day 14 – Friday 18th November 

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It’s great to be able to start this, our final blog post with more good news! Yesterday the well-drilling team travelled to Romongo to attempt to drill a well in a single day. This almost impossible task was made even tougher as, despite drilling down 300 feet, they could not find water. Not to be beaten, the team then pulled all the pipework out and drilled a second hole, 100 yards from the first attempt. We are so pleased that, at two o’clock in the morning, they hit a good water supply. Praise God! In doing so they established a new Friends In Action, ‘personal best’ of drilling 520 feet in a single day. As a result of their efforts, the villagers now will not have a two hour daily donkey journey to get water. Thank you guys for all your hard work and we praise God for his many mercies to the team over the past two weeks.

driller-s-at-nightThe local children were, as always, keen to follow all the action – although some seemed to lack the stamina to stick with us until the end!

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A hard earned rest under the stars awaits, after a tough day’s work.

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Back at the Stafford Centre, this was our last day of teaching with the children. It will be hard to leave as we have built up some  great relationships with the kids.

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It’s also great to see the fruit of our labours really starting to take shape. Although there will be some more interior painting to be finished by the local painters next week, the outside of the buildings look great. Here’s how they looked beforehand:

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And now rejuvenated with a fresh coat of paint!

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We hope that this will make a difference to the many children who have to call these buildings, home.

Today (Saturday), we have the hard job of saying goodbye to the many brothers, sisters and friends whom we have met over the past two weeks. We thank God for the help and encouragement they have been to us. We leave Burkina Faso at nine o’clock to travel through the night and arrive home on Sunday afternoon. Please remembers us before the Lord that we may travel safely.

We would like to say a massive thank you to all at Legacurry who have supported us with your prayers and with your generosity. Without your practical help, this mission trip would not have been possible and we appreciate your support as co-labourers in this mission field. May God bless you all.

Day 13 – Thursday 17th November

Nearly two weeks gone and we so thankful that everybody has been kept in good health – praise the Lord. As our time in Burkina comes so quickly to an end, we are mindful that there are things still be done! Please pray that God will give us the stamina to keep going.

We are so pleased that the well which was drilled at the muslim centre in Ouagadougou was successful. We hit a good supply of water at 150 feet – we did had some issues with casing but a quick bit of Northern Irish engineering ‘quick thinking’ salvaged the pipe work! We pray that this well will remain as a living testimony to the love of God for the people in this area.

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Tomorrow (Friday), the well drilling team are going west to the Ramango area where they will attempt to drill a well in just one day. This well has been kindly financed by the Winslow Wells for Africa group. Ramango is a very remote area which can only be accessed along poor quality roads. We pray for the safety of the team as they travel and that the Lord will bless their efforts in His name as they drill for this final well.

exterior-buildingBack at the Stafford Centre, the refurbishment and repainting is going very well. This is the college and the dormitory for the senior boys. This makes Legacurry Work Week seem like a walk in the park!

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Anne, Emma and the rest of the team have been hard at work putting the final touches to the girls’ dormitory.

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We have been humbled by the many people who have so generously supported our fund-raising for mattresses for the children. Thank you all so, so much. We’re going to leave the fundraising site open for another couple of days so please have a look at the linked page below if you would like to and are able to help. God Bless.

http://wp.me/p5JINy-Pa

Day 11+12 Tuesday 15th & Wednesday 16th November

Wednesday evening – and the drilling team are working late to finish a well in Ouagadougou. Robert has now joined Ian and James and will be working with them for the rest of the week.

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This well is in a community project in a muslim area of the city. The local people were keen to help and the elders of the community stayed all day to show their support for the work. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate in really practical ways, the love that Jesus offers to these folks. Although the well is not yet complete, there are encouraging signs that it will be successful.

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Yesterday, Emma Robert and Valerie went to place the order for the mattresses for the school. As there isn’t a ‘Dreams’ or a “Harvey Norman’ shop, the mattresses will be made to order by a local craftsman.

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We hope that they will start to arrive before the team leave for home. Let’s hope the method of delivery is slightly more secure than this consignment captured by Robert!

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Thanks to the fabulous support of our Legacurry church family and other folks who have generously donated online via our website, we have ordered enough mattresses for all the children at the school plus some extras as they will be needed as the number of children in the orphanage increases. We’ve ordered these in faith so if you feel you would like to help with this project, you can still give us some support via our BT MyDonate page.

Yesterday we visited the nearby local school at Boulmiougou. We also had the opportunity to speak to some of the classes.

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The children were brilliant and eager to take part in all the activities. Facilities at the school are also very basic – this is the children’s toilet.

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We were also honoured to have lunch with a family in one of the poorest areas of the city. This was at the home of Amos who has been helping us during our time here. Amos’ father prayed for us before we left.

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We also had a visit to the hospital where again the conditions were pretty basic.

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Tomorrow we will be back at the Stafford Centre to complete the painting project. We also hope to spend more time with the children. Thursday afternoon is their weekly praise service and we hope to able to attend

Day 10 – Monday 14th November

As we look back over our first week in Burkina Faso, we have a lot to thank God for. Our well-drilling team were able to successfully complete a second well at Fada – this one was at a home for children with disabilities. They found water at 125 feet and were then able to drill deeper to find an even stronger supply.  These wells will make such a difference to the lives of the whole community who will now have, for the first time, a constant supply of disease-free water.

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The team are now on their way back to Ouagadougou where they plan to drill at a community project in the city before heading west for their last couple of days. We give thanks that the boys have been safe in this unfamiliar environment and that Adam has had a safe journey home.

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At the Stafford Centre, we are starting to see progress for our work. Have a look back to the building whenever we arrived just a week ago.

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Thanks to a lot of hard work from the team and from the local painters who have been employed to work on the project, refurbishment is now complete inside and out on the Junior classroom block.

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The children have also been helping make their school look better by picking up the disgarded rubbish from around the area.

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Robert has been a constant visitor to the local version of B&Q.

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We have decided that all of the mattresses in the orphanage need to be replaced so, in faith, we have placed an order for 150 new mattresses and washable covers. If you would like to further support this work and give a child the gift of a mattress for Christmas, you can find out how here: http://wp.me/p5JINy-OP

At the weekend we met up with a few other friends of Legacurry. Previous Legacurry ‘drillers’ will remember Matt Durkee and Dean Block who are now working on the second Friends In Action drilling rig. It was great to catch up and to realise that, with double the capacity, many more communities will have their lives changed by the gift of clean water.

Anyone who was on the 2003 Legacurry team will remember Isaac. When we met him and his wife on Sunday, he was asking for all the team members by name!

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We really appreciate the prayerful support for all the team which we know is being provided by our church family back home in Legacurry. Thank you all so much.

Day 8 & 9 – Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th November

As the team enjoyed a couple of days well-earned rest, here are some more images they have posted from a busy week.drill-group

The team after they were successful with their first well attempt at Fada. This was after a few frustrating, long days and nights!

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On Sunday afternoon, Ian and James start another long journey to the next planned drilling site. Please pray for safe travel as they journey on poor roads.

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On Saturday, Robert officially ‘handed-over’ the tractor which had been donated by some supporters of Friends in Action in Northern Ireland to Pastor Philippe.

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After church on Sunday with some of the local children.

Friday 11th November

What a difference a day makes for our well-drilling team of Adam, Ian and James. After the disappointment of failing to find a water source at Fulani Mission, they had travelled to the SIM Church in Fahda. In very little time they had established a well with one of the best flows of water which the Friends In Action team have seen! They were then able to drill deeper and tomorrow they plan to drop a submersible pump into the well which will allow a water tower storage system to fill using electricity. We praise and thank God for answered prayer. We pray that this gift of water will be used to the glory of God in that region for many years to come. After completing the well tomorrow, the drillers will travel back to Ouagadougou to join up with the rest of the team for a well-earned rest day. Adam will then fly home. Please pray that they will have safe travel and that Adam will have a safe trip back to Belfast.

well-drillers Back at the Stafford Centre, it was a painting day for the rest of the team. The first building should be completed by tomorrow and the second soon after that.

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The work in the classroom allowed Valerie to spend some time with the children outdoors.

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Today the team had also arranged for an optician to visit the school. It was possible to test the sight of 111 children and at least seven of them will need glasses. A further 14 will need medical help to treat more complicated eye conditions.

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We have been asked to distribute the clothes donated by the church at Legacurry sooner than planned as the children were now starting to feel the cold! Every child was given two items of clothing which they really loved. The children of the teachers also received clothes. Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Legacurry, we still had several boxes of clothes left over and these will now be sent to a village in the north of the country.

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After a busy week, the team will have a rest day tomorrow.

 

Thursday 10th November.

Despite working very late into the night, the frustration for the well-drilling team continues as the second borehole at Barkoubouba was also unsuccessful. The team have now packed up the rig and are travelling over 200 kilometres to Fada, the location of the next planned site. This is a long journey with the last 100 kilometres being on very poor roads. Please pray for a safe journey for the team and their equipment and that they will find water at Fada. Everyone is in good spirits despite the difficulties they have encountered.

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At the Stafford Centre it was another busy, hot day! Around 100 of the children at the school are orphans and many come from a muslim background. Some muslim families also chose to educate their children at this Christian school. The children get a meal at school every day although it is usually just rice and vegetables. Earlier this year we were able to use the spare space on a container going to Burkina Faso to send out clothes for the children at the orphanage and school. There was a fabulous response from the Legacurry family and friends to our request for used and new children’s clothing and the boxes arrived three weeks ago.

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Today the team started to unpack some of these donated items. Most of the clothes are being kept for the children at Christmas but the team were able to start the distribution of some items. Belfast Marathon T shirts were heavily in demand!!

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These shoes will make a very special Christmas present for some of the children!

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Today we also arranged for a dentist to come to the school. These services are not free in Burkina Faso and so there was a long line of children eagerly awaiting the chance to have their dental health checked. The dentist uncovered a series of issues which we will now have treated.

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The afternoon finished with a praise service in the school. The children sang and danced for an hour and a half and even the visitors from Ireland had the chance to perform in the local language.

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We are so thankful to God that everyone remains in good health and please pray that the Lord gives us the strength to keep going as there are so many things still to be done. We know that many of our church family at home are supporting us with their prayers and we really appreciate this – thank you all.

Wednesday 9th November.

Today has been a day of disappointment and of delight. The well-drilling team worked very late into the night but were unsuccessful in their attempt to find water at Barkoubouba. This is frustrating, especially when usually about 80% of holes are successful at the first attempt. It’s the first failed hole that the Friends in Action team have had this year. However, undaunted they have pulled all the rods out of the hole and are currently working hard on a second location in the same area. Communication with the team continues to be difficult but the last update was that they had reached 90′ depth and planned to work late into another night. Please pray that this well will be successful and that God will watch over the team as they physically tire after two long days of intense effort in extreme heats.

At the Stafford Centre, the painters have got down to serious work and their efforts are starting to show!

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This painter worked hard all day in the heat of the sun. He can’t afford to travel home for the night so he’s staying at the site. For his drinking water supply he has rinsed out a paint container and filled it with water from the well which Legacurry drilled here a few years ago.

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It was also a day of more teaching and getting to know the children. Even a simple activity like making friendship bracelets, gives us a chance to get to know the children and to start the process of sharing with them. This little girl, Sabine, was delighted with her first friendship bracelet. Please pray for Sabine and her classmates tonight.

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To help us overcome some of the language barriers, tonight the team met with Jacqueline and her twin brother Jacques, who will be helping with translation. Please pray that they will quickly become part of our team and that they will really help us to communicate effectively with the boys and girls.

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Today Robert attended the annual meeting of the A.E.A.D group. It was a time to meet old friends and to make new ones and reminded him of just how much difference teams from Legacurry have made across the country in the past 13 years.

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It has been a mixed day, but we give thanks that all the team are healthy, well-fed although starting to feel tired! We pray for great news from our well-drillers by tomorrow!

Tuesday 8th November

Today the well-drilling team of Ian, James and Adam, together with the team from Friends in Action, travelled to the site for the first well – Barkoubouba. The people here are from the Fulani tribe and the area is predominantly muslim. Pastor Broureima from the local Christian church had trained in England and had visited Lisburn and Dromore! The area is isolated and so communications with the team has been difficult. At the time of writing this blog, they had drilled to a depth of 190′ and had yet to find a water source. They were just about to break for tea and then the floodlights will be turned on and they will ‘crack on’. Ian says it’s ‘throwing up dust like a blue circle factory’! Please pray that the team will be successful with this well tonight or tomorrow and that they will be encouraged and the local community blessed by the gift of water.

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At the Stafford Centre, it’s been a day of tidying, teaching and painting for Valerie, Ruth, Emma, Ann, Ruth M and Robert. The team have been considering what can be practically done to address the poor condition of the orphanage. The sleeping conditions are basic – mattresses are old and worn-out. Children store their belongings in a bag, if they have one, or a cardboard box. Buying new mattresses would seem to be one possible starting point as those who don’t have beds sleep on the floor.

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Although it was a hot day, the job of repainting has started. As the team worked, the children watched and were so keen to learn some English phrases at the same time. Valerie organised the children to take part in a mass tidy up and bonfire to dispose of the rubbish.

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In the classrooms, the team used games and songs to teach the children some English.

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Monday 7th November

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After a day spent acclimatising and at worship with the local church.. today it was down to work.  The team working at the Stafford Centre had their first chance to meet the children and their teachers. The conditions at the orphanage and school are very poor. It’s a big space but it’s very empty and very rundown. There is a major problem with funding – many of the orphans don’t even have a mattress to sleep on. There are lots of children but nothing to put them on. Today we bought paint to start the refurbishment work tomorrow morning. The children crave attention – one little girl sat with Ruth during her lunchtime and went through all her times tables! Anne was able to teach a class in French. Language is a problem for the team. We also had a chance to spend some time playing with the children and introduced them to ‘the parachute’!

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The drilling team completed their training today and have now headed off to their first drill site. Here’s a picture of them while they are still clean!

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The team have all begun to realise the challenges of the Stafford Centre – from the key issues of financing the work there to the sad stories surrounding each of the children. Please pray that we can find a way to help develop the vision of the leaders in a sustainable way. Also pray for the drilling team as they start the actual work of well drilling tomorrow.

Here’s a video of some of the school children singing.

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Saturday 5th November

Just after nine o’clock this evening the team and their bags safely arrived in Ouagadougou – the capital of Burkina Faso. A good end to a day which had not started so well!

Ian Kelly’s loyal Land Rover, loaded with half the team and their luggage broke down just outside Dromore on the way to Dublin airport very early in the morning! However, the Lord was with them. As they were mid call in search of a taxi company, another taxi passed them and was big enough to take them the rest of the journey. They made it to the airport in time and the place where the car had broken down was only two hundred metres from a garage owned by Ian’s friend. ‘what a morning but amazingly sorted with minimal fuss’. Praise God for looking after their every need.