April 27, 2012

E’s Update: Nepal & Projects

One of our own, E, serves in Central Asia. We support his work as a community developer, English teacher, cycling advocate, and Jesus follower as he lives and shares the gospel to his friends.

Hello from temperate springtime Central Asia! It’s been cool and breezy and even rained recently — probably for the last time before next winter.

Wanted to ask for your prayer and thanksgiving for a few things:

Nepal Next Week

My CW Area Director has asked me to join him on a visit to a CW team in Nepal — and then to accompany him back into Central Asia where he will visit with my team for a few days. I am excited not only to see a new country but also to spend time with likeminded people and, most of all, to take a break from this country and get a chance to kick back, flex my camera a bit, not speak Dari all day, eat something different, etc. Please pray that this time will be a good enough break to give me some perspective and put some wind in my sails so I can come back here and keep doing what I came here to do — that is, loving people and doing good work.

Books Meetings

I will be meeting with the city branch of my NGO on the way out to talk about wholesaling our Dari books back in my city. Hoping these meetings go well and that I get all the info I need to be able to serve as the connection between local bookstores and the NGO. Also I am looking forward to getting to know the highly intelligent Central Asians who work for the Dari literature project at the city branch. Please pray for good relationships and good meetings.

Pregnancy Books

We are about halfway done printing the 23,200 easy-to-read illustrated Dari books about topics such as bleeding during pregnancy, post-birth care, saving money for medical emergencies, breastfeeding (instead of giving new-borns tea mashed up with unhealthy cookies, which actually happens quite often here), etc. Right now a few of the remaining unprinted editions are at government offices getting checked for approval, and then we’ll continue printing. The first two printed editions began to be distributed today to women in the Pregnancy and Birth Health Trainings! Thankful the project is going well, and we are praying that it’s able to be finished soon.

Other Projects

Other projects on the ground or on paper. Right now we are involved in a few other projects:

  • We are producing high-quality schooldesks for children in villages where the kids have to squat all day and use big stones as “desks”
  • We are continuing to oversee a Women’s Self-Help Groups project that financially and socially benefits over 2,000 women in the area surrounding our city.
  • There are also other opportunities my NGO has right now to potentially get involved in raising awareness about congenital disability by making video Public Service Announcements for local TV (this would involve me and my camera quite heavily) and in delivering our Pregnancy and Birth Health Trainings to the Mullahs (Muslim religious leaders) in our city. We have actually applied to the Bill Gates Foundation for funding to do the Mullah trainings (the BGF theme for this round of funding is “Innovations in Maternal Mortality Prevention,” so we are hoping to receive enough funds to train not only the Mullahs but also to train instructors at the Madrassahs, or Islamic schools, who will then carry on the information to future generations of Mullahs, who are often consulted about family matters such as pregnancy complications). The Mullahs and Madrassahs in our city have, almost shockingly, already agreed to participate in the trainings if funding is available, so all we need is for this grant to come our way.

Please pray for all this ongoing and potential work, especially regarding the funding from Bill Gates to train Mullahs and Madrassahs in Pregnancy and Birth Health.

So, those are the things that I know how to describe succinctly. The rest of life is an ever-morphing kaleidoscope of acquaintances, friends, micro-jobs for the NGO, foreigners coming and going, prayer meetings, soccer, mountain trips, cooking for and hosting people, reading over coffee in the mornings, shopping in the bazar to keep up with life, etc … a non-stop bustle as it is anywhere. Friendships and relationships are going strong, and I’m still enjoying daily life here more and more as I really become part of the city, crossing it multiple times a day on my bike, seeing and stopping to chat with people I know on the way to work, running errands in tiny little alleys where I know friendly shopkeepers who are constantly trying convert me to Islam, sitting down in a greasy spoon and ordering what’s called “hambargar” here which is nothing like hamburgers and then eating with a dozen other random Central Asian guys as we all watch the news on a TV hanging from the wall.

Or other things—the dusty sunsets that cast dramatic shadows and flares through the busy unpaved streets, my new property-mate showing me the stump of his leg that was blown off by a Russian mine 20 years ago, the joy of being a proper host as I sit without a cushion on the floor and insist that my guests remain comfortable and keep eating.

Hope it’s good where you are. Much love,

[Photo by evanistan @ Flickr]

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