We take project days once every 2 weeks on Saturday for our home improvement, maintenance and decorating tasks. A big, ongoing job for the last 6 months has been working on building Oscar a room above ours. Progress has been pretty slow going at that pace, and so it’s been incredible to have Graham here visiting as he’s been taking these projects on for us.

A new bedroom for Oscar

Our focus here is language learning, so we make sure to push hours into that and home improvement projects are pushed to weekends – but not every weekend, as that would tire us out too much! We feel pretty drained after project days because it’s another work/childcare day for us both. I’ve been gradually chipping away at things, but now with Graham here things are moving at a blinding speed. Here’s a rundown of the projects he’s done for us.

A new desk for Oscar underway

We designed our house with 1 1/2 levels. We added a half-wall on top and put a floor over our bedrooms at the back. We designed that as a way to expand and add bedrooms later if we needed to (that came around sooner than expected!). We’ve been using the space up there for storing things and hanging laundry, but since we got back almost a year ago I’ve been working on turning it into an Oscar bedroom. I’d managed to put up walls but was still probably 6 months away from finishing.

bedside tables being painted

In the last month, Graham has been sawing and banging away and has put a ceiling in, painted, built Oscar a desk, built a wardrobe, and made a gate for the ladder and Carol’s hung curtains. This week it all suddenly came together and now Oscar’s up there sleeping 6 months ahead of schedule. Not too soon for him, he was complaining about the noise the twins make early in the morning 😀

A fully stocked bookshelf

With nap time for the twins being around 1-3pm and a need to find other places to crash and bang Graham has kept busy by

  • Building a bookshelf
  • Building a step for the twins to get up to the sink for washing their muddy hands and feet
  • Replacing rotting floor boards
  • Replacing a rotting post supporting our stairs
  • Building bedside tables
  • Building a blackboard for homeschooling
  • Building an office room for me under the house

Projects are coming together left, right and centre!

The start of an office

We’re really amazed by how much is being done and we’re so grateful. I finish spending a day working on transcribing Kovol interviews to come out and enjoy the latest progress. On the horizon is being at the stage where we need to work with Kovol speakers on drafting Bible lessons, for which I’ll need an area to work with them without being interrupted by our 3 little ones. Walling in an office area under our house is such a big task to get started with on my own. It’s been such a boost to have Graham here to get it kickstarted.

In language learning land I’m running out of steam. We’ve been at it for 17 weeks now… and I’m pretty worn out. In the last 5 months I’ve done over 200 cultural interviews in the Kovol language. This involves coming up with questions, asking them, recording the interviews and going over each one for the answers, transcribing and then summarising the cultural info in a write up. The goal was to get 20/100 of the cultural categories studied with a cultural summary drafted before our next language test (in 2 weeks). It’s been a big effort and I’ve done 17 of them… so I’ll fall short of the goal.

I’ve needed to take a few days off this week because my productivity went through the floor and I just couldn’t bring myself to finish the current round of interviews about vanilla gardens.

Ready for muddy toddlers

In a stroke of good timing we finally got a response from our consultants on the phonemics write-up (alphabet) we submitted and we have some comments to respond to and errors to fix in order to move along the process of getting a Kovol alphabet approved. It’s been nice to have something different to do!

We’re looking forward to a break in 3 weeks, but unfortunately, that also means saying goodbye to the Townleys! I wonder what other projects will be finished before then?


Mandy Caley · 23/02/2023 at 9:21 pm

Oh wow that’s all good. I know what you mean about vanilla gardens. I felt the same about certain things we had texts about. And there you do and know way more stuff than I could ever do and know. Computers were not invented:) so good to see the things that are happening and I enjoy seeing Carol Townley’s photos too with the kids and Gerdine in too. Keep going. In His Grace and Grip 🙂

Lois S. · 23/02/2023 at 11:46 pm

Such a blessing to hear about all the Townleys are able to get done for you. My father-in-law was a little like that, and would always do projects for us when he visited. I hope there will be some great progress with the office room in the next three weeks!

Wim Evers · 24/02/2023 at 3:06 am

Wonderful to read of all the help you are getting from them. Thanks for sharing these stories. It helps to understand more fully the life you are leading. Blessings, Wim and Henny

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