Archive for ‘Journal’

January 14, 2021

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
January 12, 2021

Parenting Books Reading List

Here is a list of parenting books I want to read at some point.

  • Elevating Child Care: A Guide To Respectful Parenting by Janet Julian
  • Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gabor Maté and Gordon Neufeld
  • Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic
  • Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family by Paul David Tripp
  • Positive Discipline by Jane Neilson
  • Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
  • The Apprenticeship of Being Human: Why Early Childhood Parenting Matters to Everyone – Graham Scharf

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December 27, 2020

Protected: Your Tenth Month

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December 22, 2020

Moses at 10 Months

This month Moses is discovering his feet by walking and pushing his little chair across the living room. Other habits he has adopted are smacking his lips and lunging at at and nuzzling pillows. He is still biting everything and anything as his teeth come in (he now has 6!). He is getting more vocal and is experimenting with consonants. He has said “Ma” and “Da” but I don’t think he has completely connected the words with us yet. And last but not least, Moses is sleeping through the night which makes me one happy (well rested) mama!

November 29, 2020

Protected: Your Ninth Month

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November 22, 2020

Moses at 9 Months

This month our little man started crawling like a pro. He also pulls himself up to standing everywhere possible. He is curious about everything and is all over the living room in a day and will even try to explore the kitchen and hallway if we let him. He says “Oh” alot and has taken to biting anything and everything as he tests out his teeth! I started working part-time this month and so it has been a challenge to balance caring for Moses, household tasks, and work. We are starting to establish a new daily rhythm.

October 31, 2020

Wedding Anniversary 2.0

On October 20th Othy and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. Where has the time gone? I am very thankful for this man. He is a supportive husband and engaged dad. This year was full of big moments and challenges like moving to Kinshasa, having many delays in our plans, and welcoming Moses into the world. Othy is beyond patient, faces challenges with a calm grace, and never gives up. He was with me through all the ups and downs of the pregnancy including taking on the role of nurse at times. He served in so many amazing ways while Moses was a newborn and I was super sleep deprived and still healing. And now it is such a joy to see him interact with Moses day by day.

To celebrate our special day I prepared a candlelight chicken dinner and found some jazz on youtube complete with crackling fire! It’s all about the little things!

October 25, 2020

Protected: Your Eighth Month

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October 24, 2020

Moses at 8 Months

This Month Moses grew four teeth, started taking baths like a big boy, transitioned to supplementing with one bottle of formula each day, and pulled himself to standing for the first time! He rocks back and forth when he is excited and enjoys climbing on us when we are sitting or laying on the ground. He has become a better sleeper and he has an adorable position he takes sometimes with his butt up in the air. He started sleeping in his new wood crib and also got his first pair of shoes and baby dishes. We had two outings this month to celebrate the birthdays of friends.

October 8, 2020

Furniture 1: Crib

In the later part of my pregnancy and after having Moses I have been working on a project to design furniture for our apartment. There are very nice woods available here and yet most quality furniture is imported and far too expensive. Our first project was to make a crib for Moses as he is quickly growing out of the cardboard crib that I made for him at 4 months old. It was a challenge to get the carpenter to follow the drawings and things ended up a bit different, but the end result still achieves the look I was going for and is solidly built. We are looking forward to getting some tools and making furniture ourselves so that we can have more control over the design and quality. That said, the carpenter did very well with the few tools that are available to him. I am looking forward to posting more furniture to come as they are made!

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