Friday, August 14, 2009

Troester October 2008 Newsletter

Dear friends,


Greetings from the Central African Republic (CAR)!  We are happy to report that the political situation here is looking more. Because of this, Global Mission has given our family permission to move to Baboua, CAR, a small town about 30 miles from the border with Cameroon.  This area has remained calm and largely unaffected by the unrest.  Joe has been working there each week and returning to Cameroon on the weekends to be with Deborah and Christa, so it will be good for the whole family to be together again.  We hope to be settled in Baboua by the end of October. 


We have good news to share.  A college student has come as a volunteer to teach Christa's lessons for the fall semester.  Her name is Mariel Viera-Bernier and she is a second-year student at the University of Puerto Rico.  Mariel is fluent in both English and Spanish and was home-schooled herself, so she is a major asset to Christa's education.  She is a member of the Union Church of San Juan, our former church in Puerto Rico, where Deborah served as associate pastor.  Mariel is excited to be here.  She hopes to apply with the Peace Corps or to do more short-term mission work after graduation.  Please keep her in your prayers. 


In December Audrey Plisch, a retired middle-school teacher, counselor, and dean of students, will arrive to finish up the school year with Christa.  We are blessed to have both Mariel, and then Audrey, to help with Christa's schooling this year.


Meanwhile, Deborah has been able to spend more time in language study.  She has already been invited to conduct a worship service in Sango at the end of November.  Sango and French are the two national languages of CAR.


Joe and Deborah had an exciting experience in July.  We accompanied four Central African colleagues to a week-long Red Cross training in sanitation and hygiene at the village of Dekoa, about three hours north of Bangui, CAR.  Thirty village education workers, including our Central African colleagues, were given 30 hours of training over four days, including teaching basic hygiene, preventing water-borne diseases,  and helping villagers organize a water committee to protect and manage sources of clean water.   Most of the classes were taught by local Central African Red Cross trainers, who did an excellent job.  We were impressed that one woman who attended the seminar walked over 35 miles to get there, carrying her 6 week old infant on her back!  


Joe's colleagues have been able to use many of the things they learned to help in their visits to local villages.   This month they are focusing on building a spring box in the village of Cantonnier. In order to protect the water coming out of the spring, a concrete "box" is built around it.  Pipes are installed so people can fill their containers with clean spring water, instead of having to dip them into a pool filled with mud and debris, where goats, cattle, or sheep may have been wading.  Such small construction projects, plus education in health and hygiene can really help decrease the incidence of water-borne diseases. 


Prayer requests:


  1. Thanksgiving for our tutors:  Mariel Viera-Bernier and Audrey Plisch, who arrives in December to take her place.  Please pray for safe travels, good health, and a quick adjustment to living in Africa. 
  2. For peace and security in the Central African Republic.
  3. For wisdom for the leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the CAR, especially Rev. André Goliké, church president.
  4. For the work of PASE as it continues to provide clean drinking water for villagers and to educate them about the importance of sanitation and hygiene.
  5. For our move to Baboua, CAR, that all will go smoothly.
  6. For ELCA/Global Missions as they seek a new West Africa Director and new West Africa Regional Representatives, to replace Rev. Eva Jensen and Louis and Mytch Dorvillier, all of whom have moved on to other positions.


Thank you, as always, for your continued support.  We look forward to hearing from you, and perhaps to visiting you personally while we are on furlough in summer 2009. 


Joe, Deborah, and Christa Troester

Baboua, Central African Republic

October 2008


Dr. Joe Troester serves as technical adviser to PASE, the French acronym for Project for Water Resource Management.  This is a program of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of CAR, sponsored in part by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  PASE seeks to provide safe drinking water through construction and maintenance of wells, spring boxes, and slow-sand filters, while also teaching good hygiene practices that can lessen water-borne illnesses.

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