A New Season: Working Mom

It is hard to believe that Moses is ten months old and we are now in 2021. It has been a challenging and yet memorable year. We have not progressed as for as we imagined we would with our plans, but we are thankful to God for everything He has provided in His timing. We are thankful for Moses who is strong, energetic and curious, our family’s health, a nice apartment in a calm neighbourhood, a kind landlord and kind neighbours, the big ideas we have for projects here in Kinshasa, and most recently a new work opportunity.

A few months ago Adam House reached out to me because they were looking for recommendations for contractors and architects for a new reno they are planning. I thought of my colleague Darcie who I worked with during my time with Rolf and who has now started a practice called Areacode Architects. Then I had a lightbulb moment. What if I proposed to bring the project to Darcie and ask if she can hire me to work on it? Well that is exactly what happened and it turns out she has other work for me to do too! So thanks to my involvement with Adam House, I now have a part-time job. I am thankful to God for bringing all of the pieces together.

The transition into working was not easy because there was not enough time in the day to care for Moses, do household tasks, and get work done. I was becoming very sleep deprived. Household tasks are more time consuming here and I have realized that Congolese people manage it all by living and working in community. Another challenge is that power comes and goes in our neighbourhood meaning that sometimes we want to work but simply cannot. After two weeks of being stretched thin we finally found by recommendation a lady to come and take care of household tasks and help with Moses here and there. She has been helping for several weeks now and it has made a world of difference. Othy and I are both working from home and so we often find ourselves taking turns in engaging with Moses while the other gets some things done.

I am happy that the work is part-time because there are a few projects here that I want to put some time into to get off the ground. One of them is a wood and steel fabrication shop. The furniture that I have been designing slowly but surely over the past year are the first prototypes. We have learned that we really need to start our own shop because people here cannot follow drawings even when each individual piece is laid out in detail. The carpenter has had a particularly hard time with our couches and I have had to go there several times to work with him. Tradespeople here have a tendency to take on more work than they can handle and then lie and make excuses when they do not meet a deadline. The carpenter has delayed for many months and it is a test to our patience and I struggle with how to respond in a firm and yet Christ-like manner. I am realizing how challenging it is going to be to do architecture here with the level of quality control that I want to have! It is another reason why it makes sense to start small with some prefabricated building elements!

I am also helping Othy with graphics, editing, and advertising for some of his businesses. He has started a company called Syglog Technologies that develops software solutions, and set up a web hosting platform called AmaniData. I developed the icons and logos for both and now I am developing a strategic social media marketing plan. If you are looking for someone to design some software, or a place to host your website or purchase a domain name, consider supporting us and get in touch! It has been interesting to step into another area of work, though it only reinforces that architecture and community development are my true passions! We also have some other exciting projects upcoming and I look forward to sharing them in future posts!

Our apartment is just starting to feel like a home and we are now making plans to leave it. It sounds strange to say in the midst of Covid, but 2021 is a big year of travelling for us. We have plans to spend a few months in the east of Congo with Othy’s family, and then in the summer Othy will be going to the US for the Washington Mandela Fellowship which looks like will be going forward (it was postponed from last year). Moses and I will likely spend some of that time in Canada with family and hopefully the border will be open for Othy to be able to come and meet us there after his fellowship. It is a good time for us to travel because Moses is still young and and we are working remotely for the most part. We are still weighing the pros and cons of putting our apartment on Airbnb, putting our things in storage somewhere, or selling a good portion of our things. Airbnb is our preferred option but with the pandemic it could be financially risky. Travelling during this time will require us to let go of control and expectations and take things one step at a time.

So that is a snapshot of what this new season is looking like for our family and for me as a working mom. And soon we will be jumping into another season as a nomadic family! Please keep us in your prayers as we navigate the new challenges of these seasons! We would love to hear how you are doing so please get in touch! Here are a few Christmas photos we took this year.

Prayer Requests:

Praises:

  • Moses is strong, healthy and full of energy
  • I found work which will help stabilize our finances
  • I injured my back a month ago but I have healed for the most part. We also found a chiropractor in Congo-Brazzaville who was willing to cross the border and stay with us for a few days to give me treatment.
  • We found a woman who is helping us with housework and is doing good work
  • We are thankful that Congo has not been hit too hard by Covid. We pray that this will continue to be the case

Petitions:

  • Pray for discernment for us as we make decisions for projects here in Kinshasa and also for our upcoming travel
  • Pray that we establish a healthy balance between parenting, working, and spending time as a couple
  • Pray that my back strengthens and I stay free from injury
  • Pray that we find a long-term air-bnb guest so that we can keep this apartment and our things while we are away
  • Continue to pray for the security situation in North Kivu as attacks against civilians by rebel militia are still happening on a weekly basis but are now generally ignored by the media; pray that justice come to the perpetrators and peace return to the region

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