We have now been living in Ouagadougou for six weeks and have been living in “our” house since the beginning of September. Even so, we still seem to find ourselves spending a lot of time on “settling-in” activities related to getting our living space in order and learning to know our way around. Such mundane tasks seem to take longer here than they did back in Massachusetts!
As you might imagine, our first task upon arrival was to find a house to live in. We finally moved into our rented accommodations twenty-four days after our arrival on August 8. The various steps in getting into the house – which was empty and ready for a new occupant – took that long. By Friday August 10 all four of us had agreed upon the same house (right price, right location, right amount of space …), but before we could move in a number of things needed to happen. We had to open a bank account to which we could transfer funds from the United States for the security deposit and the first three months rent. Now this might sound simple enough except that to set up a bank account you have to have proof of residency (a utilities bill, for example), and we could not supply anything like that until we had money to rent a house! Sounds like a vicious circle! Fortunately, the bank was able to adapt to circumstances. Pastor Bananzaro has a good relationship with the bank and was able to facilitate the opening of our account. We asked for a money wire to be sent that evening, and Pastor Bananzaro negotiated with the rental agent to not rent the house to someone else until the funds arrived. Once we had paid the first month’s rent and security deposit there were a host of other tasks necessary before we could move. These included changing the locks, fitting screens and screen doors in the windows and doors to keep malaria carrying mosquitos out, getting electricity reconnected (it had been disconnected and the meter removed), among other things. Take a look at our blog post below for a blow-by-blow account of getting into our new place.
More recent settling-in activities have included such tasks as getting a local carpenter to make furniture and starting the process of getting a phone/internet connection installed. The carpenter brought the desks we ordered for Jeremiah and Deborah last night. Homework gets done much more efficiently with separate spaces in which to work! The same carpenter has promised that this Saturday he will bring the dining table we ordered. We hope to order another desk in the next week or two since we want the adults in the household to get their work done too! Last week we made the necessary deposit at the phone company to have a phone and internet connection installed. We’ve been told to expect a three-week wait. In the meantime we have been using cyber cafés or restaurants with Wi-Fi to connect, often without much success.
For those who are active social media users, we have also set up a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Frey-Yoders-in-Ouagadougou/255052374597337. Visit and “like” us! We hope to update regularly, but for the moment posts will be irregular until we have a more reliable internet connection at our house.
The Mennonite Church’s Hostel for University Students
The local congregation with which we collaborate has a hostel for university students as its main ministry. The twenty-four students who live there are a significant part of the activities of worship, Bible study, prayer meetings, etc. As the students are recently back from summer break, we have been participating in these activities, learning people’s names and becoming familiar with the weekly rhythms of worship and study. They are a talented and energetic group and actively engaged in the ministries of the church. We feel privileged to be walking alongside such a gifted and committed group of future Christian leaders!
We covet your prayers. Join us in thanking God for:
- Finding a house that we all like and that doesn’t leak, as many do, during this time of heavy rains.
- Finding a very competent computer expert to help us get our computer working. (It didn’t like the jostling it got on the trip here.)
- The talented and committed group of young Christians whom we are getting to know through the Mennonite Student Hostel.
- Our ongoing integration into the spiritual life of the Mennonite Student Hostel.
- Wisdom and resilience for the university students who live in the Hostel as they balance academic requirements with employment and other responsibilities.
- Successful completion of the more mundane tasks of setting up house and settling into the rhythms of life in Ouagadougou.