Enjoy a Saturday with us in Melut

This is a part of a series on daily life for us in South Sudan. Read more here…

I have been trying to document typical days for us here…the problem is that days are rarely typical but they usually have a certain rhythm. Saturdays have the least consistent rhythm out of all our days…the most “normal thing” is that we tend to do is to stay at home more on Saturdays, do some saturday school, eat a special breakfast, J– does “house” projects and we play a family games in the evenings. This Saturday I grabbed the camera to try and capture a day in photos for you…I think our Saturdays look pretty much like anyone’s as far as projects, lazy mornings and laughter. :-). Saturdays are usually pretty full which makes me so grateful for slower paced Sundays.


The day begins when D-man comes into my room to nurse and then plays tickle bomb fights with Dad while I prepare breakfast. W-man was playing with some trains Josh gave him and the girls started their day with lots of lego creating.

J– plays keep away with D-man who loves loves coffee. He tries to keep his coffee to himself but when D-man asks nicely it is hard to refuse…

While I am heating the oven I get our drinking water ready for the day. I add a block of ice to keep it cold and the filtered water into a cooler that we pull from throughout the day. In the rainy season it stays cold all day…in the hot season this keeps our water from boiling…

For Saturday breakfasts we try and break from the normal (pancakes and oatmeal) so I make coffee cakes or muffins (to go with the oatmeal). Today our coffee cake was an amazing blueberry sour cream recipe. We were so grateful for freeze dried blueberries that came in a care package and then I used homemade yogurt for the “sour cream”. It tasted oh so good…the bowl licking and the cake itself.

After breakfast (lunch and dinner) I grab my orange bucket…fill it up outside and bring it in to wash dishes. Staying on top of dishes is the key to less flies and enough dishes for the next meal!

J– heads into Market on Saturdays with a lucky one of our kids. They get a few groceries and then sit in a gahwah and enjoy doughnuts and warm fresh milk with sugar. Today he and Flower-girl went on the quad bike with our neighbors and teammates David and Karen and Rachel. The gahwah owner is going to sell him fresh milk for cheese making…we are super excited!

Saturdays are usually a work on projects day. Today we are installing a second roof to help with the pool that is our house every time it rains. J– arrived just in time to jump in and help supervise and work on cement pouring.

We do our CC day (school) Saturdays here. At least some of it. I introduce new vocab, we review the old and practice music. The other subjects (public speaking, art, and science) we do throughout the week. The girls love it and it is a good saturday routine where I am not worried about also fitting in other school.

J– said that people would read this and think, she does school on a Saturday how? So I thought I would show you…here I am at 10:15 still in my PJ’s. That is right folks it is all about priorities and getting dressed on a Saturday comes after school and underwear and diaper washing (I try and make sure I don’t do laundry on Sundays). I do get dressed…eventually…

The girls helped me prep lunch. One of the only vegetables we can get right now is Okra (bameeya) and so we have it all the time. The girls chopped the Okra while I prepared the meat. This is where the pictures should be scratch and sniff. I sauteed the meat and garlic in oil then pressure cooked it so it was fall apart soft. Pressure cookers are amazing I really don’t know how I ever cooked without them! I then cooked the okra and meat with a spice concoction and we enjoyed it over rice. AMAZING!

As I prepared lunch I realized Daniel was quiet and found him tearing apart his sisters legos…what a picture perfect little brother he is.

We all enjoyed one of our favorite lunches…and I gathered up the dishes to be washed after the kids were done eating. J– was working hard outside and ate his lunch separate from us when he had a break in the shogul (work).

I realized I couldn’t find D-man after washing the lunch dishes but quickly discovered him playing alongside the house with Rachel. I called him in for a nap.

We were all pretty tired after a busy morning so the kids (and adults) had a 1 hour quiet time…J– and I fell asleep it was wonderful.


J– took our hen out behind the house and killed her for me (thanks honey) so I could get a start on dinner. We don’t normally get chicken but Marsa brought me this one for only 15 jewa (under $3) and I couldn’t resist a chicken dinner yum! I didn’t take many pictures of the prep because I have told you about that process before.

PJ got this photo of me de-feathering the chicken. It really isn’t all that bad, despite what my face is telling you…it only took 10 minutes!  AND when I was gutting her I found a fully formed egg inside which we will eat for breakfast (yum!)

I gave the head and legs to German and the boys and they built a fire and ate it.

PJ and her friend are busy coloring and sorting peanut shells into piles and I realize I only know where one of my four children are at…

I realized the boys were no where to be found and who knows where they had gone while I was prepping the chicken. I found them at Nyadeng’s house playing with their best buddie Josh. I told them it was time to come home and help me garden…and find the girls…

I couldn’t find Flower-girl at this point but she was just busy coloring in the corner….


The guys had just a little bit of cement leftover so they made a step so we can step out onto concrete instead of mud…a great plan except for the next few days we cannot use our front door…

D-man stood to close to the cement work and once again proved that he was not as dirty as he could possibly be. This cement splatter solidified his bath plans for the evening and made me happy the day had gotten away from me and I had never dressed him… (oops!)


I went out to water and work in the garden a bit. Beans and squash are growing and garlic is taking off … we haven’t gotten much rain so I haven’t planted much else because it is so much work to water…

The girls brought in their bug to show me as I made potatoes…the first ladybug we’ve seen here. They were pretty excited and Flower-girl promptly built it a lego house so it could live with us forever…

With dinner in the oven I looked out to see this sight (can you see the women in the upper right?) so I headed off for an evening visit. I try and get out and greet the ladies each day so I went around to practice a bit of Arabic, hear about each woman’s day and just culturally be more present in their lives. It is the highlight of my day and far too much fun to bring my camera with me taking shots (remember how much concentration it takes me to speak and listen in arabic…ALOT!)

I realized when I wanted to go visiting I should tell J– where I was going but I couldn’t find him so I set off to look (losing my family apparently is a common Saturday occurrence). He was enjoying afternoon visiting with the men of campus.

D-man came visiting with me but really wanted to play tag with the kids.

I lost W-man again but of course he was over wrestling with Josh…

We had a special “American dinner” which really doesn’t happen too often of mashed potatoes (instant), bbq chicken and green beans (we have enough to have one can each month we fly them in from Nairobi). It was tasty but the chickens here are a bit undernourished. This was the size of one breast of our little hen…she really was a hungry bird when she met her end.

We enjoyed koolaid (thanks for the great care package!) Popsicle for dessert with Rachel our neighbor (who is close enough to be a roommate really). They were tasty and even though I doubted it was possible got D-man even messier.

On a “normal” saturday we would play family games after dinner…but true to life this day wasn’t typical and it was Isaac’s birthday! The plan was a bath before we headed over at 7:30 to watch a movie in honor of Isaac’s 9th birthday…but what marched right down our path but a GTC parade of kids on their way singing a song and dancing…it was too fun to not join in so the girls headed off to the party sans shower or bath having a blast with their friends.

Our day takes a bit of a sad turn here because W-man decided he didn’t like the flavor of dinner and refused to swallow his polite bite. He held onto that bite for going an an hour here (over two before he decided to save it for breakfast…) (sigh)

Do you remember my cement covered boy? He really really needed a bath…never too happy of an affair when the washing takes place…don’t worry I boiled warm water for him…he just doesn’t like being clean!

It was Isaac’s 9th birthday. He celebrated by hosting a movie night in the college lobby…they all warmed up by playing drums and singing songs before the movie began.

D-man went to the movie just long enough to get a sucker…and share it with Dad.

Our bedtime routine wasn’t too joyful as W-man didn’t swallow his one bite of dinner so he couldn’t go to the movie and ended up saving that bite for tomorrows breakfast (yuck!) and crying as he went to bed. Parenting doesn’t get easier if you move continents (sadly)

The highlight of the entire day was a skype date with my sister. Hearing her voice and catching up on her life made me miss her a whole lot…and made me very grateful for skype technology (even if we did need to type because internet was too slow to talk. We laid in bed until 10pm waiting for the Ramadan service to end (it is held at a mosque over an hour away but they blast the service loud enough for us all to hear it.)

If you have made it all the way to the end and are not a grandparent I commend you. I’m curious any surprises in our day that you weren’t expecting? How is our Saturday similar to yours? Leave a comment and let me know!

11 thoughts on “Enjoy a Saturday with us in Melut

  • 20 July, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I love reading about your day and seeing your pictures! I don’t know how you do it! I’m exhausted just from reading! God bless you Cross family and keep up the good work!

  • 20 July, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I loved reading about your day, and the pictures are great. I miss you guys, but I’m so glad that I’m able to read your posts and pray for you. Love you guys!

  • 21 July, 2013 at 2:02 am

    hola amiga! i LOVED reading this! u impress me big time! blessings to u all!

  • 21 July, 2013 at 5:00 am

    Thanks for sharing your lives there – it helps us be a part of what you’re doing!

  • 21 July, 2013 at 6:36 am

    Similar: dirty little boys, and children who won’t eat a bite. Thanks for sharing!

  • 21 July, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I love seeing all of you amazing people! I miss you guys but love how connected we still feel to you. Give your sweet family a hug from the Petersens:)

  • 21 July, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    I loved reading, and seeing the pictures of your family and life there! Our Saturdays are similar in that my husband works most weekends, so it’s school and projects for the rest of us, as usual! And, I am quite often still in my jammies until after breakfast, lunch, school, and naps!
    Our life is different in that I don’t have to prepare our drinking water or skin my own chickens!
    May God bless and strengthen you in your life and ministry there!

  • 21 July, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    loved the peek into your life’s journey. Wow! Tim and I do not miss Ramadan – we made it through 3 years of it. Do you also have the call to prayer 5 times a day that you hear? Glad you can skype a bit – I can not imagine how early missionaries did it with no family and friend contact for months/years. Thank you for sharing.

  • 22 July, 2013 at 1:30 am

    We killed our dinner too! Just kidding. The chicken saga was my surprise. Looking forward to the day in Audrey’s life when baths are so necessary and dinner is a negotiation. 🙂 Love you guys!

  • 22 July, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    We love hearing about your daily routine. You really have a lot packed into each day. Looking at you do laundry by hand, plucking chicken feathers and everything else you do amazes me. I don’t enjoy laundry, even with a washer and dryer. We love you and pray for you and your family everyday. Thanks for the example you show everyday. Your spirit, faith, Godly wife and mother are examples for all of us to follow. Give my love to your entire family.

  • 28 July, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Love hearing about your days, and love being able to picture things. Sat is usually busy at home or errands too. I try sometimes for a nice breakfast. Parenting is the same everywhere! Thanks for sharing, and we’ll keep praying!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *