Monday, March 30, 2009

Our Team Meeting in Henderson, Texas in January '09

In January this year, our CBF AU (Albanian-Ukrainian) team met in Henderson, Texas. Bob & Janice Newell's daughter-in-law (Nancy - married to Matt) was so gracious as to allow us to use a home that she inherited - the McNee home.

So here are some photos of typical Texas things, the town of Henderson, the McNee home, Henderson friends who had come to work with us in Burkina Faso, and bits of our team meeting for you to enjoy.

What better way to start than with "real" cowboy boots that Janice found in one of the closets. I love the colors in these boots.

And the COWS:

the horses and chickens, too:

On the ranch ----

You will find oil wells (some even pumping) all around Henderson - Kilgore area.


We lived in Henderson in the '80s and this was a favorite place to eat for my children.
The Fillin' Station

This was the house we lived in while we were there (the mission house of FBC, Henderson).



Visiting in the main living area:

Bob & Janice Newell, Arville, Tommy & Charlene Moore, & Melba Wilkerson

The den:

The apartment over the garage where Arville & I stayed.

The dining room:

Karen Gilbert and I (Karen was able to join us for most of our team meeting) - a real treat for us.

Most of our team (Gennady was in the Ukraine with the children). Janice & Bob, Becky, Mina, Shelia & Arville.

A Texas Sunset:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Snowed In

We are experiencing severe winter weather in Skopje -- six inches since yesterday. Visibility was so bad that the airport closed which is very unusual here.

I remember another springtime in Macedonia when it snowed late in the season. We had just moved to Gostivar in February 1999, just prior to the Kosovo War. In April we went to an Easter service at the Orthodox Church in Skopje. We were with Deusko and Zojka (our landlords then), Brane and Margo. This was the first time we met Margo. Ours was an instant friendship -- even though it was snowing so hard that we could barely see each other. HA! This was late April. We knew then that Gostivar was going to be a very cold place to live!

Here are some photos taken yesterday afternoon from our banese (apartment) window:


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mother's Day in Skopje


URIME, TETE MARS!! (Happy March 8th)

Pictures of Habibe, Advije and Nexhibe before the party started.


Advije and Nexhibe

The cake and juice are all ready to be served.

Habibe shows Advije and Nexhibe the gifts that we have for each mother.
Head scarves that we purchased earlier in the week.

And gloves with hand cream that were sent to each mother from a very, special friend of mine- and my grandchildren's godmother (Ellen Vonderheide) in Jasper, Indiana.

Then the mothers arrive:

There was also a special mother that was able to enjoy the day's festivities with us: Habibe and Advije's mom.

We visited together, ate cake, gave and received presents, and talked about their children for almost 2 hours. There is no such thing as a private parent-teacher conference in the Albanian culture. Everybody talks about their child - discussing openly the areas that need to be improved and areas where they have excelled. So the room was "buzzing" with funny stories of the children's experiences at school, how well they were doing in certain subjects, and where each child needed to improve.

Advije Speaking With the Mothers

Each of the teachers (Habibe, Advije, Nexhibe and I) had an opportunity to talk about ourselves, our families, and how much the school meant to us. When it was my turn, I thought that I might have to have some help with my Albanian because most of the women speak a very heavy dialect. I thought that they might not be able to understand my "Tirana" Albanian, but that was not the case.
They loved the story of how Habibe and I met when I first arrived in Skopje. That was 11 years ago this past January:
It was a very cold day, snow on the ground, and Habibe came to teach us how to make "byrek". The oven didn't work properly so what should have been about 2 hours took almost 5 to accomplish. During that time, we visited and laughed together. The beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Then I told the story of Habibe's dream to start the kindergarten. We talked about Kathy Smith (some of the mothers had older children that had been in the school and knew Kathy well). When I finished with my part, one of the mothers spoke for the others when she said how much the school had meant to her family. She said, "My children love to go to school. They would not miss unless they had to. This is the best gift that anyone has ever given our family. Please tell all the people in America that support this school that we thank them so much."

Habibe Speaking to the Mothers

Habibe, Advije, Nexhibe and I were given flowers by the mothers. Some of the ladies had taken clippings from their own flowerpots to make up these special gifts for each of us. Aren't they lovely?

Time to say good-bye. Since shoes were left at the door when they entered, it took some time for everyone to leave. So we did more visiting while each mother put their shoes back on and thanked each of us at the door.

What a wonderful Mother's Day it was!
Wish you could have been here to celebrate with us.