Monday, January 23, 2012


Here are some of the things we have been doing since arriving at UMOM.

UMOM clothes closet. The racks are so full it's hard to get a good look at clothes.
UMOM clothes closet. These shelves are hard to keep full as soon as you fill them up someone comes in and takes everything! I spend several days here folding sorting and restocking.
Master bedroom long term apartment. There is not carpet on the floor this is painted cement. In the past there has been bed bugs and so the carpet went out. The gals and myself cleaned (really cleaned!) 2 apartments while I was here. You can't believe how bad the refrigerators and ovens get! I met a woman with 7 kids living in one of these apartments. You can put another double bed and possible a crib in this room.
Kids room long term apartment. Very small room. It used to be a bathroom. No closets or dressers to house clothes. I think they use boxes and put them under the beds.
Living room, kitchen, dinning room in long term apartment. The kitchen table only holds 4 at a time. It does not get bigger. So if you have a big family you have to eat in shifts, or sit on the floor.
Vegetable boxes that Mark helped to build before Christmas. There are 12 boxes. Mark and the guys are now hooking up electricity and irrigation the boxes for those really hot summer days.
Pam in the desert. We went 4 wheeling with our jeep. It was fun!
Quartzcite is a small town that booms up to a million people in January when they have the rock show. People just pull up there camper any place in the desert and stay the night. Clear in the background are hundreds of rv's.
Spinners Cafe. UMOM is in hopes of getting this up and running. To help the families to waitress, hostess and cook. The gal in the picture is Cathy, one of the hard working NOMADS.
The vamper and our home in the parking lot. ( We probably lowered the property value of the motor home next to us.)

Yellow water table almost finished.

Hope you enjoyed some pictures. Hopefully it makes you thankful for what you have or don't have (like 7 kids!)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jan. 17, 2012

Today is Tuesday Jan. 17,2012 I have been working on a water table for the preschool. Took it apart, sanded it went to buy really good paint, (wow! Was it expensive!) Then, painted it. Put it back together painted it again. Just finished when someone came in and told me I painted it the wrong color. He brought me some paint that was yellow and usually used outside to mark no parking zones on curbs! Most of my day was spent cleaning a room that we are getting ready for a new family. Man was that room dirty! There was a broken egg in the refrigerator that had been there a LONG time. The stove top was also pretty black with cooked on food and grease and needed a pumice stone to clean!
Mark spend his day repairing tables then put a $12,000 dinning room table, book case and china hutch together that is going on the auction block along with a baby grand piano. Those things were donated and really not practical for a person lining in one room. The end of the day Mark and a couple other guys were exploring a street sweeper thing to see if it could be repaired. I hope they can fix it because it is so dusty here and the sidewalks and parking lots are pretty dirty. I was hoping I could be the first to drive it. It looks like a baby Zamboni. Fun!
Have a great week! Mark and Pam

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Back at UMOM

Mark and I are back at UMOM United Methodist Outreach Mission in Phoenix. We arrived here on Saturday and set up camp on the black top parking lot out back. UMOM is the largest women's shelter in Arizona. UMOM houses about 100 families who are homeless and/or abused and there is a section for veterans without homes. The mission is made from two hotels that sit side by side. UMOM has a 50's restaurant and they hope to get it up and running to help teach waitressing, and cooking. They help people get there GED if needed. UMOM has free babysitting and they help women apply for jobs. Before we left in December UMOM was holding a boot camp to help people apply for jobs, make resumes and hold mock interviews. The clothes closet has interview clothes that they give away to those who are going to an actual interview. The success rate here is 87%. That means, homeless families find employment and affordable housing move out and don't need help again from UMOM. I think that is really good rate. The families come into a 90 day emergency housing (one hotel room) and when space is available they can move into a two room with a kitchenette. The families can now stay up to 2 years.

It is currently Sunday night and we will be getting our assignments on Monday morning so I'll try to keep the blog going as to what we are doing and take some pictures to make this a little more interesting. Hopefully I've worked out the bugs in blog.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Home, Home Sweet Home

Apparently WE did not push the right button and our note to you all that we arrived home did not post. Anyway, we're back in the states, and happy to be here. We went on a cruise for our 35th anniversary before flying home from Nairobi. Not to bore you, but we flew to Barcelona out of Nairobi with a day layover in Istanbul. Sounds exotic doesn't it, well it was. Went to the Blue Mosque and Grand Market in Istanbul, relaxed in the great city of Barcelona, both cities with really nice and helpful people. Our cruise left Barcelona and our first stop was in Monte Carlo. Didn't visit the Casino, but could see it from the ship. Instead we took a trip to Nice seeing a medieval castle along the way and then had a wine and cheese tasting in Nice. We stopped at 3 Italy Ports, saw some Rome sites, and had a stop in Sicily and saw Carthage in Tunisia. A great way to wind down from 9 months in Africa and a great way to celebrate our Anniversary. Back to Nairobi for our flights home. We were expecting to be in Des Moines at about 1pm, but in Amsterdam our plane was accidentally loaded with 1200 pounds of empty pop cans, making the plane overweight. Of course they couldn't just off-load it at the loading terminal, we had to taxi to another place to get the cans off. By the time this was all done, we left about an hour and half late, which was all the time we had to switch planes in Detroit. Missing that connection meant we didn't' get to Des Moines until 8pm or so. But what a great greeting we had. 5 of our grandchildren showed up with home-made signs and balloons and were we ever glad to see them and our son and daughter, along with daughter-in-law and son-in-law. Our oldest and his wife and his two kids met us later at my brother's house, So we got to see my whole family other than Mother and sister-in-law who we hope to see later.

We have a little place near Rathbun Lake in Southern Iowa where we're scrunching all our things we brought home, clothing, and of course my golf clubs I got out of storage. It's small, but we're only expecting to me here this summer/early fall and then find another way to thank God for what he has given us.

We already miss all the kids and 'family' we had in Africa. Spending all the time we did with the kids and the people we met, we grew to love them and we're sure we'll eventually go back and see them again.

Our plans now are to try and set up some time to visit with the Grass Roots people in Ohio and investigate and explore other opportunities to do God's work. Maybe some time we'll actually retire. I'm sure our next mission will not be nearly as interesting to everyone as this one proved to be, but we'll let you all know that are part of this blog where we're going and will start a new blog for our new adventure.

Thank you all so very, very much for your support and prayers. There were some rough times and illnesses that weren't any fun, but knowing we were in Africa for a reason and knowing that we had family and friends supporting us helped us tremendously. God Bless You All, Mark and Pam

Sunday, April 17, 2011


George Wilson is now at the orphanage and adjusting to his new home. He was at chruch this morning and we took some pictures soon to be posted. We went to get him last Thursday only to find out that he had run away from his uncles house. But he showed up on Friday, unfortunately I was sick so didn't get a chance to see him until church this morning. I will be taking him for a check up this week. He definately needs some new clothes so we will be working on that too.
Thanks again to all that took a month of support for him. Pam

Monday, April 11, 2011

Coming home

Just wanted to let you all know that we're headed home soon. We will be back in Iowa May 15th. We'll meet up our kids and brother, rest up a few days, and then set up house at our little place by lake Rathbun.

We will be leaving Tarime May 1st, but figured since we were already here on this side of the world, we would go ahead and celebrate our 35th anniversary with a cruise. We'll be leaving Barcelona, Spain for a 7 night cruise, hitting Monaco, and places in Italy, including Rome, and then over to Tunisa before heading home through Nairobi.

I usually would also share some more photos with you all, but two things are going on. The regular internet is down again, and there is no dial tone on the phone. Last time that happened some of the phone line for our area was stolen. Meaning it could be fixed quickly, or like last time, a few weeks. Also, my computer I use for photos and most of the email and blogging is acting up and keeps shutting down. It has all the photos on it and so I can't share them with you at this time. I am typing this on our small notebook/internet computer that is connected by a USB stick, and boy is the connection slow. It has a very small keyboard and is not much fun for me to type on, so hopefully the internet will come back and my computer starts working.

Pam is off to Mwanza with Edward to have his tonsils out. I don't expect her home before Thursday and depending on how things go, maybe later. Also, she decided to take Rhobi with her. That's the girl with the leg bone problem (see earlier blog)). Her leg is bothering her and is somewhat swollen so Pam thought she would go ahead and see if she couldn't get a doctor to see her.

I'm here at the house waiting for wood to be delivered. I have 6 bunkbeds to build before I leave so need to get at that project. Keep Pam and the kids in your prayers. TIA Mark