OUR HOME: Home is where the heart is!

Written by: The Bridge on Friday, May 9th, 2008

Hello to everyone! It seems many people wonder about our living conditions here in Palmgrove, so I think it’s time to write about it.We get questions and comments about electricity, our house, our rooms, our water and cooking, so I’ll try to answer some of your queries.
First and foremost, yes, we DO have running water and flushing toilets in our house- most of the time.The only time these will not work is when our water tower is empty.When we don’t have electricity for too long a time, maybe a week, then we will need to start our big generator to get the pump that fills the tower going.The water tower empties faster during the dry season than during the rainy season because the women all use hoses to water their gardens of pineapple and water leaf every morning and evening.They use lots of water during this time.So, as we now get into the rainy season, I find I worry less about running out of water.I can pretty much tell about the condition the tower is in by the water pressure coming out of the tap.Lots of pressure is when the tower is almost full, but it just runs very unenthusiastically when it’s getting lower and lower yet.Once it’s empty, Ed Vetter will call one of the puem, and they will run to start the generator and it has to run quite a while to fill the tank enough so everyone can use it, maybe an hour.Also, once it does get empty and we just don’t have diesel for the generator and the boys have to drive to town to get fuel, we get a pail of water from the stream and we use that to wash our hands and to pour into the toilets so they flush.Nice, huh?

Yes, Palmgrove is blessed with its water tower; the water is safe to drink, unlike anywhere in the near vicinity.Here we use the same water for cooking and drinking as we do for showering and for the toilets, also for washing our clothes, but when the tower is empty, we just go to the stream to wash and bathe.In the surrounding jungle, there is no such safe water.There is only the stream, and while the black people can drink from it, they seem to have some sort of immunity to the impurities in it; we whites should not drink it unless we boil it.It is a very good source of Typhoid and all sorts of other sicknesses if we drink right from it!The water tower is filled from a deep well right beside it – 190 feet deep.This is our trusty washing machine, but when clothes pile up too much and there’s no electricity, we wash by hand, in the tub.
Most of the time we cook our food with propane, on a countertop burner.We cook at home because, while there is always (if there is money to buy) breakfast, even on Sundays, there is not always lunch and supper.During the week we have breakfast and lunch and on weekends, Saturday- it’s breakfast and supper and Sundays’ it’s just breakfast.So when there is no food in the dining room, everyone cooks at home, and the women therefore each have their own garden plot from which they can cook or they sell their produce to get money to buy foodstuffs.

When there is NAPA, electricity, we use our electrical stove.Then we can bake too, but it’s happened a few times already that we had buns or rolls rising in our little kitchen and uh oh!NAPA goes off, and our poor buns rise and rise and start draping over the sides of the pans but there is nothing you can do about it!Actually, come to think about it, last time Judy started the propane burner, got some water cooking, put a little steel frame, you know the ones that come with a microwave, inside and placed one pie pan full of love knots inside.Then she put the cover on tightly and let it cook for an hour. It worked!It is called steamed baking, but takes a lot of propane.The other houses use firewood and cook with small fires behind their houses.You can go back there anytime and someone is always cooking something.
The house the white people live in when they come here is called the Missionary house, Decker house, or guest house, whichever.It is a very large house with 14 rooms and three bathrooms and two showers.Sounds huge, right?We had 6, now we are down to only 2 people living in it!Most of the Palmgrove members live in houses that are too small for their large families and we felt guilty and wanted to take one of the families to live in our house.We asked them if they wanted to, but they declined, making excuses like, it would be too lonely once we left, and so we figured they weren’t keen on the idea.All the families are very friendly with each other and roam freely from house to house, so maybe they are happy to be crowded, I’m not sure.Judy mentioned that this was only the second time, the first being when she was here with Lance and Talitha, that she lived in this huge house with only white people.Previous years there were always families, single boys and children occupying the rooms.
I was searching through the ‘index to notes’ in the back of my study bible for verses on home and house.One I found was from Romans 12: 13 which read …. “distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”I read the notes on this verse and found it quite interesting and fitting and so I’d like to share it with you.Sometimes it seems that we are kings living in our huge house while other people have lesser dwelling places, and so here is how I found a way to make it up to them:
from the notes in my study bible… “Christian hospitality differs from social entertaining.Entertaining focuses on the host – the home must be spotless; the food must be well prepared and abundant; the host must appear relaxed and good-natured. Hospitality, by contrast, focuses on the guests.Their needs- whether for a place to stay, nourishing food, a listening ear, or acceptance – are the primary concern.Hospitality can happen in a messy home.It can happen around a dinner table where the main dish is canned soup.It can even happen while the host and the guest are doing chores together.Don’t hesitate to offer hospitality just because you are too tired, too busy, or not wealthy enough to entertain!

Showing 14 comments

tara sph said:
On: 9th May, 2008 at 20:59

I really appreciate your efforts- you’ve cleared up a lot of my wonderings, thanks! :-)Loved your perspective on hospitality, thank you for sharing. Its so easy to get caught up in material things that don’t even matter, especially when everything we want (and not necessarily need) is waiting at our fingertips.

Keep on keeping on, we’re praying for you

DKS said:
On: 11th May, 2008 at 00:23

Looking back over the years since I was there…. It`s as fresh in my mind as yesterday. You can never forgot Africa or the people. I`ve learned this and I share it with you,please remember this though it`s nothing new. THE JOY IS IN THE JOURNEY! If you don`t thoroughly give yourself to EACH DAY with it`s joy or pain, then there`s nothing better coming down the pike for you. This will be one of the times/seasons of your life that will change you, and you will always have the memories of who you were there, or could have been. SO be encouraged, be strong, and know that your one life to live, with each individual day, is preciously given and ordained.
Bless you in Jesus name!

MH CS said:
On: 11th May, 2008 at 09:56

Hey Washer Woman, have you tried carrying a bucket of water on your head? Who needs chubby bunny when you’re scrubbing clothes by hand. (:P) I really liked your interesting note on hospitality. hugs

Interesting Blogs said:
On: 11th May, 2008 at 11:04

Hi Leanne
So the black people claim they have some sort of “immunity to the impurities in the water from the stream”. I doubt it. There are several illnesses transmitted through contaminated food and water. Diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, polio and cholera. All these diseases are very common in Nigeria.
If your drinking from the stream and there is cow manure in the water from some cows drinking upstream, you are at risk no matter what your skin color.

L S W SHC said:
On: 11th May, 2008 at 21:04

Hi Leanne and Brian
does anybody over there do any microbiological tests on drinking water?? sure you mention it comes from a deep well, but one never knows if it is safe from bacteria if no testing is being done
anyways we enjoy reading your blogs and we are remembering you in our prayers,,, May the lord bless your work in Palmgrove

-dw said:
On: 13th May, 2008 at 20:51

Your living quarters are a lot better then I imagined! I am actually impressed! Its interesting to know what it looks like. Its somewhat different from anything that I imagined it to be. I mean gee! I didn’t expect a vinyl floor! Or is it tile? So much the better!
God Be With You!

vk said:
On: 15th May, 2008 at 10:53

Hey Leanne and Brian.
You’re in our thoughts and prayers. The choir was singing for Mother’s Day and we thought of you guys. Hope you’re taking care of yourselves, not drinking from the river. ect.

God watch over you.

Hopefull said:
On: 16th May, 2008 at 10:43

Thanks for clearing it up i often think of the living conditions you have to face when something does’t go the way we planned around here or rather the way we want it to, we are all to used to getting the things we want and when we want them. i i think it would be a learning experience for all if we could spend a week in your shoes, Keep up the Good work and may God bless you richly

Praying for you said:
On: 16th May, 2008 at 17:48


You mentioned that you asked the people if one of the families wouldn’t like to move into the missionary house since its so large. I wonder if part of the reason they declined was because its always the first house that gets broken into when armed robbers come around ! They must be spooked already.

someone you know said:
On: 19th May, 2008 at 13:41

It would be nice to read a new blog everyday but even once in a while is enough to keep me entertained:)…God bless, stay safe!

little Andy said:
On: 21st May, 2008 at 19:13

I see everything is good, thats cool good luck.

CMH-Glenway said:
On: 22nd May, 2008 at 15:30

I’ve often wanted to reply but my “aseitntaweis” has kept me from voicing my appreciation for the time and effort you put into your blogs. I read and enjoy them all and often think and pray for the two of you. When all feels hopeless and it seems you’re not accomplishing much just remember that your deeds and words of love and kindness are sowing seeds that will someday bear fruit. Song #531 in Lutrischen Gesang Buch should be a comfort to you, too.

Anonymous said:
On: 2nd Jun, 2008 at 09:18

would like to see new blogs

w said:
On: 2nd Jun, 2008 at 20:16

…..Patiently waiting for a new blog….:)