Friday, October 30, 2015


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Happy 10th Anniversary to our Blog

We never thought we'd be blogging for this long, but this month we are celebrating 10 years of blogging under the name MangoRains with Blogger.

Here is a photo from our first post back in September 2005

We were living in Laos at the time.  Our internet connection wasn't very fast, steady or reliable.  Some of our first posts don't have photos because they took such a long time to upload.  A few times we'd start uploading and then go for lunch and come back an hour later to see a photo just finishing.  Our first photo (above) isn't even very good quality, as you can see.

After almost 500 posts, we can say that we've had a lot of fun blogging over the years.   We've blogged about some of our activities -- both the good times and challenging times.  And it has been rewarding for us.  We are thinking of making a family memory book using our blog posts from the past 10 years.

Changes to Come
We are planning to make some changes to our blogging in the next little while.  Once we figure out what we are doing, and have it up and running, we will let you know through this site.  We will post instructions on how to keep following us.

Cairo, as seen from the Nile, at sunset....

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Guess where we went today?

The pyramids!  Our new people needed to see, feel, and experience the pyramids of Giza.

But first, here's another photo of us in front of the pyramids -- taken today.  We seem to be covering up Khufu's pyramid, but at least you can see part of Khafre's. 

Now for the group:

Some of us wanted to ride camels.  
Others felt that they DID NOT WANT to ride camels.  
There were very strong feelings both ways.

Our group of four camel riders off in the distance....

That was the last picture we took today because then the camera battery gave out.  So no photos of the embalming temple, the sphinx, our shwarma lunch, felucca ride on the Nile, metro and taxi ride or any of the other adventures we had.  It is a fitting last photo as they ride away...
-------------- BONUS PHOTO --------
Except I want to leave you with a photo of Arthur jumping.  Our guide went to great lengths to get some of us to jump on cue in front of the pyramids.  They counted "3, 2, 1, Jump!" We have such a slow camera that I had to click on "3"-- not on "jump".  Needless to say, the group jumping didn't work out, but I managed to get Arthur in the air.  He almost jumped out of the photo! 

(Yes, we are still having fun!)

Friday, September 04, 2015

You know you are back in Cairo when.....

... you can buy ostrich eggs in your local grocery store.  

Where are they?  On the shelf with all of the other eggs, of course.

How much?  About $4.00 each.

Did we buy one?  Not this time.  We'll wait until we have a lot of people coming over for brunch!

New People

We are happy to say that we have some new people joining our team.  They have been with us for almost a week and we are really enjoying getting to know them.

For part of their orientation, we stayed with them at the Guest Flats so that we could show them the ropes around the neighborhood.  One of them is only with us for 3 weeks of orientation and then he goes on to Lebanon.  The other 3 will be with us for 11 months.  They are part of the SALT program like Erik was last year. 

Canada Update

We've been too busy to post in the past while and sincerely apologize for that!

We were in Canada for 10 days and have some photo high-lights to share with you.

A  welcome picnic in the park on the day we arrived.  We were heading to a wedding and were already dressed up.

Family selfie in Downtown Winnipeg.  Together again!

There were other special events and activities with family and friends during the jam-packed days in Winnipeg.


Son, Nephew and Dad-Uncle

Friends....Notice how often food was part of the event?

Cooking Ethiopian food for a feast at our house.

We had a great visit where time passed quickly.  Thanks to everyone who made it such a special time for us -- espeically our boys who let us stay with them.  We really enjoyed that!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Extracurricular Activities in Akron

One evening we went to an Amish farm for supper. There were 26 of us, plus ten other people in Sally's kitchen. We had meat loaf, potatoes, beans, bread, apple sauce, pickles, brownies and shew fly  pudding. There was a question time, introductions all around and a song by the women of the family, followed by a prayer for one of us. Sally does this kind of thing three times a week.

We went to Ten Thousand Villages to see what there is from Egypt. Here is a cutting board with an alabaster bowl in it. Very impressive. We will connect with the producers when we get back to Cairo.

We also met friends from our days in Laos. They took us around Lancaster and to Intercourse to Kettle Kitchens which is like an outdoor version of the Forks in Winnipeg.

We were even invited out one evening for supper with former reps to Egypt. We had a great time quizzing them about partners.

Another evening we met more people from our Asia days. Nicole was also a SALT participant to Indonesia this past year and had met Erik in orientation and reentry retreat. We met Nicole and her family in 2002. It was great to catch up with them (sorry, no picture).

Though it doesn't look like it here, we had a picnic one evening with our supervisor's family and another couple who are going to Palestine. We'll see them all again in Egypt in October.

Arthur's brother and wife drove down from Ottawa on this motorcycle to see us. Not exactly a touring bike. We appreciate the sacrifice to comfort that Grace made to come and see us. 

We met at the MCC quilt room to see the hanging we will be presenting to one of our partners. It looks great. The woman on the left will be bringing it later on this year.

There were also a few minutes to do a puzzle. In the end there were 8 pieces missing, so not exactly finished.
We had a very full two weeks.

Leadership seminar

Our days were full, starting with breakfast at 7:15 am and ending the sessions at 5:00 pm. We had a hymn sing on Sunday evening where all the men were tenors. A rare occasion.

There were input sessions from numerous people. This is our financial wizard, who helps us with all our accounting.

These are the PlanWin designers who make our stories accessible to the MCC world. It's complicated to get all the outputs and outcomes in all the right sub categories, but we should be able to do it now.

We had one field trip to the Material Resources Center in Ephrata. We had a quick tour and then back to learning more things.

Saturday, August 01, 2015


Something we haven't seen in a long time, is rain. It was accompanied by thunder and lightening as an added bonus. It is hard to believe that just a week ago we were under the Egyptian sun and today we are soaking up the rain in Akron. It can be difficult to reconcile our different contexts.

We are learning a lot and are trying not to be inundated with information during our orientation time here. We have met some wonderful people and are enjoying getting to know others who are experiencing similar life changes and challenges. It's really encouraging and motivating.

Monday, July 27, 2015


We made it safely to Akron for the MCC leadership seminar. It has been wonderful already to meet all kinds of people we have met over the years. Many were in town for the Mennonite World Conference. At church this morning we had a chance to talk to all kinds of people. We walked around in the sun this afternoon to help with the time change and even had a chance to connect with Conrad by Skype. Our seminar starts tomorrow morning with breakfast at 7:15 am. 
We sure hope we can sleep most of the night tonight.

Frankfurt Airport

A dream come true. A frankfurter eaten in Frankfurt. 

Coptic Cairo

Our guests hired a guide we recommended to show us Coptic Cairo. We had never been before, so were looking forward to our third day of sight seeing. We started the tour by joining in the last half hour of a church service in one of the oldest churches in Cairo. We were blessed with the priest throwing water at us at the end, and after communion were invited to eat some of the holy bread.

We saw a Jewish synagogue and about five churches, as well as the Coptic Museum. Our guide made it all meaningful.

Everywhere we go, we are reminded that this is one of the holy lands where Jesus walked while he was on earth. 

Our guide is pointing out the route that the holy family took while in Egypt. Records of their sojourn go back to about 400 AD. 

We are looking at photo collages of the recent Coptic Popes' lives. There have been 108 since St Mark founded the Christian church in Egypt. 

We are coming down the steps of the hanging church that was built on top of a Roman tower.

Our final church of the day was the Greek Orthodox Church. It is in the shape of a circle. Our guide dropped us off at home and then we went out for a late lunch at an air conditioned restaurant, because by 3:00 pm we were really hot and hungry.
In the evening we packed our bags for North America and went out for gelati before heading to the airport.

The Egyptian Museum and a felucca ride

Day two we got up fairly early and drove downtown to see the Egyptian Museum. They don't allow cameras inside, so all our pictures had to be taken outside. We are learning more things each time we go, so are becoming better tour guides.

We tried to have a nice quiet ride on a felucca, but there was no wind, so we were towed by another boat for half the time. Finally the wind came and we could sail back in silence.

This strange looking building is king Farouk's old palace. We were sailing on the anniversary of his overthrow in 1952, hence it was a holiday. We aren't sure why the building looks like a dinosaur died on the roof.

Old Cairo

In the late afternoon we went to the old part of Cairo to see El Azhar mosque. It is built in a different style than many of the later mosques. There are many pillars supporting a flat roof, so the interior is a bit like being in a forest. 

There are a few sky lights with stained glass windows in them.

From the mosque we went on to the Khan El Khalili, the old market where many merchants offered to make our wallets lighter.

We went to a sheesha shop that hasn't been closed in 200 years, called Fishaway. Paul is a real fan of pipe smoking and we had never been, so we had to go. There were people wandering through offering to sell us everything from henna to machine gun style bubble makers, but that just adds to the excitement. We had cold drinks and a good time.

Showing off Giza

Friends from our church back home came to visit us. We started day one with a visit to the pyramids. The pyramids are still a wonder to behold.

This time there were a lot of Egyptians visiting the pyramids and even a few buses worth of foreign tourists. The hawkers were a bit more persistent this time round, but it was still a very nice time.