Saturday, December 24, 2005

Mens Christmas Breakfast

This is the menu for the Christmas breakfast at Markham Woods Church on December 24, 2005.

-Pancakes with frozen fruit cooked, Pecans, and Syrup
-Heathers Egg Disk
-Omelets plain, cheese, tomatoes, onions, amd black olives
-Biscuits with sausage gravy / prosage, and fried apples
-Cold Cereal
-Canned fruit
-Fresh strawberries and OJ
-Hot Chocolate

We forgot the syrup warmed with nuts and bananas.
We served about 450 people.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tangy Coleslaw

• 1 cabbage, finely shredded or a 16-ounce package of shredded coleslaw mix
• 1 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
• Dressing:
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon dry mustard
• 1 teaspoon celery seed
• 1 cup vinegar
• 2/3 cup vegetable oil

Combine shredded cabbage with sliced onion. Combine dressing ingredients and bring to boil. Pour over cabbage and toss. Cool, then refrigerate. A wonderful topping for sandwiches.

More Cole Slaw Recipes

This is a salad that I made in Africa, several people have ask for the recipe.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


River, Tchad. October 8, 2005

Photo by Micky Bermile

Notes for Tchad #5 – Sabbath

Our work is done here in Béré. It is Friday night. We have just finished supper of noodles and Fri-chik with cherry/blackberry cobbler. We have eaten well. No one has gotten sick, so maybe I have done my assignment. Two of the student missionaries here are sick. One has malaria; the other is just not feeling well. We finished to building we were working on. The inside ceiling was patched or replaced. The holes were patches in the walls and then painted. It’s a two tone paint job, white on the top and a blue on the bottom. They are calling it scrub blue. It looks really nice. The doors that Graham made look really nice. We also made 3 new pews for the church to replace 3 that were stolen from the grounds. We have been using them for VBS. Ed worked with the accountant here at the hospital and has written up a report for James. We are still not sure about our trip to Cameron. Guess we will find of on Sunday. The people here are all very friendly and helpful. Every one of us will have a different story to tell you about all the things we have seen and done. We will all be changed forever because of the things we have seen and experienced. But we are all eager to see each and every one of you on our return. Yet, it's hard to believe our time here is almost over in this laid-back lifestyle, no timetables to run after, none of the pressures of our life and work as we know them at home. It's Sabbath here and all is quiet except for the hum of the generator, a nice sound to hear.

Bye for now and Happy Sabbath.
DJ and the Béré Bunch

Interesting facts about Tchad:
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 47.94 yearsmale: 46.84 yearsfemale: 49.09 years (2005 est.) Median age:total: 16.02 yearsmale: 15.32 yearsfemale: 16.71 years (2005 est.)

Population:9,826,419 (July 2005 est)
Population density:8 people per square kilometerTime zone GMT -1
Web site of interest about Tchad:

Langon River

Trip to Langon River, Tchad

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Notes from Chad #4 - Washing and Other Things

Mary-Ann is in charge of our washing. Every morning there is a big pile of clothes in the corner. At the beginning of the week she collected 500f ($1.00) from each of us. This is the going rate for one day of washing. The lady that is doing our laundry complained that this was not enough. Sara simply explained that she could wash our cloth for 500f and be through by noon or she could go and work all day in the rice fields for 300f. We have not had a problem since. Although, Mary-Ann tells me they have a system worked out. The lady washes and rings then hangs the clothes on the fence. Then Mary-Ann comes along and rings more of the water out.

We had chili and fried apple pies last night. The pies are an ode to Rhonda’s Kentucky heritage. There are no apples here in Tchad. I explained to Solomon, through Sara, that they could be made with any fruit. I will leave the left over apples that we had dried and brought with us here so they can have them later. Solomon is making lunch today with the donated squash that we had left over, potatoes, rice and eggplant. I'll need to go check on him soon to make sure there is enough food for our group. He says that he has never cooked for so many. This morning I fixed biscuits, oatmeal, and scrambled eggs. There is a possibility that we may go to Cameroon on Monday. Job, the conference guy in NDJ, is working on it now. We gave him our passports on Sunday. He took then back to NDJ. He says he has a friend in the Cameroon embassy that might be able to work it out for us. Solomon just came over to James and Sara's where I am to ask how to fix the eggplant. I have no idea what he said, but I think we agreed to fix 5 of them however he usually does it. I am sure that he has cooked a lot more eggplant than I ever have.

I went with the groups doing rounds (Ken, Cindi, Micky, and Sara). There are about 15 patients in the maternity ward. Between each patient Ken washes his hands in a little basin while someone else pours water over his hands. The boy that had a section of his small intestines removed sat up for the first time today. Micky helped him up and he walked to the yard to lie on a grass mat. After the surgery they did not give him any pain medication. This little guy had a 9 inch incision down his belly with no pain medicine, not even Tylenol. Micky gave him a back massage while he was sitting up on his mat. Sara called me over while she changed the dressing on an 8 year old boy that had an operation a month ago. It was something about a bone infection. He comes every day to have it changed. When she was through she drew a horse head on both of his hands. He was happy for this.

Last night we sang happy birthday to Rhonda, my wife. She’s back in Florida. The sun is shining brightly and it is warn. A chicken is squawking loudly outside. I believe it is his last moments of life.

Bye for now.
DJ and the Béré bunch

Drawings by Sarah

IMG_0944 (Small)
Drawings by Sarah

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Notes from Tchad #3

October 5

A few of us go in to the market in Béré in the morning to buy produce, the few things they have onions, tomatoes, okra, and eggplant. We buy cloth, some to take back and some to be made into local garments. The cloth is made in Nigeria. Since the revolution in Tchad it must be imported. Only about 20% of the stalls in the market are occupied. The big market days are Friday and Saturday. Five meters of cloth is 5000f (about ten dollars). The tailor charges us 3000f (six dollars) to sew it up. The measurements are just shoulder to ground, waist to ground, and arm length. A good time was had. There was laughter all around. They were happy to have us visit their shop.

For lunch we had spaghetti. Supper was rice and an "African stew" cooked up with red lentils, potatoes, and okra. We also had a side of squash that one of the locals gave us. On the first day of VBS there were 72 children, the next 115. There will probably be more today. They are mostly well behaved and seem to be having a good time. The second day they were there waiting for it to begin. The craft the first day was to take photos with a Polaroid camera of each kid and put it on a card with their thumb print. Each one is different was the message.

After supper, (which was James and Sara’s lunch, finally getting to eat), James walked over to the hospital to check on a security issue, but ended up with 2 new cases. One was a 1 month old baby with a bronchial infection. They put her on oxygen and some medicine. The little baby was just holding on with the oxygen, but it was time to turn the generator off. As luck would have it, at least for the baby, the other patient had a bowl obstruction that required surgery. There was no other way to find out what the problem was. The boy was about 12 or 13 years old. His stomach looked like that of a 5 month pregnant woman. The OR had no oxygen, no monitor, no booties - only bare feet, no electric cautery, no staples. The patient woke up in the middle of surgery. The anesthetic was ketamine. The surgery lasted around 2 1/2 hours. They removed a 4 foot section of the small intestine. After the surgery James, the surgeon, cleaned up as he was the only one with gloves on. The family had to cleanup all of the washable items and take the trash out. The cost of the surgery and hospital stay $2.00, but even this was too great a price. They had to pay with a bicycle. During the surgery there were crickets on the floor of the OR. The prep work for surgery was done on the porch outside the OR. After surgery we went back to the baby. Cindi and Laura told us how a bat had come into the room and had flown around and into the ceiling fan. The dead bat had plopped down on the baby’s head. The baby was doing better. The extra 2 1/2 hours of oxygen had helped. Now that the surgery was over the generator was turned off. The baby was admitted to the hospital. She was given to the mother to walk to the bed. We did not know if it would be alive in the morning, all for the price of running the generator through the night. In the morning both were alive.

I discovered the charger for my video camera had blown, probably when the generator came on. Luckily, Steve's charger is the same as mine. Let’s make sure his is unplugged when the generator is off. Lunch on Tuesday was bean burritos with tomatoes, onions, some local peppers and cabbage. It went over well with the group. (Not bad, if the cook is allowed an opinion.) Supper was Italian meatball (veggie) subs with fried eggplant and a tomato sauce. After supper some of us watched Geronimo on a projector video that James had here. This was possible because another surgery was going on.

The building work project is going well. One room is finished, except for the lower half of the room still needs painting. They are having trouble getting the paint. Graham continues to do wonders with a skill saw set up as a table saw, and a planer. He has made the panels for the ceiling and about 10 doors. They have made another trip to Kilo about 20 kilos away, 2 hours. This is the same road we arrived on. They are trying to get the paint needed today ASAP. Everyone tells of the great thunderstorm that passed close by last night. The temperature dropped from 90 to the mid-seventies. I slept soundly through the storm.

Bye for now,
DJ and the Béré Bunch

Monday, October 03, 2005

Notes from Tchad #2 - Native Drums Under a Starry Sky

October 3, 2005

Going to sleep under the stars with the sounds of African drums at night; can it be more surreal than this? Yes, this is Africa, at its best. Micky says the drums and singing went on until 4 am. I would not know this, as I had gone right to sleep. Micky’s tiny mosquito net pup-tent is on the same porch as mine. He says the bats like to dive into the tents.

The repair work on the hospital has begun, the scraping, pressure washing and cleaning. Graham has done wonders with a skill saw. He created a table saw and a template to make the pieces for the ceiling. Painting begins tomorrow.

Solomon, James and Sara’s cook, makes the best whole wheat bread. I have documented it in hope that we can reproduce it at home. Although, I don't think it could ever be quite the same.Church was interesting. Jim Appel preached in English. James translated to French. The local pastor translated to the local language. After church everybody filed out and shook the pastor’s hand, then joined in at the end of the line so everyone shook everyone else's hand then formed a circle and sang a song.

On Saturday night a young man came to the hospital with a big gash/stab wound on his leg. The doctors (James and Ken) and student missionary went over to have a look. The patient was sitting on one of the porches. They had the family go over to the water spigot and get water in a bucket to wash the wound. They were going to stitch it up right there but decided to move the patient to a bed that was on the porch. Under flash light and lantern light they sewed him up. Afterwards, the family was responsible for cleaning up.Stephanie’s VBS is about to start, so I'll close for now.

DJ and the Béré Bunch

Friday, September 30, 2005

Notes from Tchad # 1

Friday, September 30, 2005 9 p.m. local time, 4 p.m. EST.

Coming into N’Djamena we are at 1500 feet and only a very few lights are visible. I spot tiny little fires around. They must be cooking fires. 2PM Thursday - We leave NDJ for Béré. We were supposed to leave at 11:00. The driver was late. It took longer to register with the police and get photo permits than expected. In the city, we stop in the market to buy fresh produce, potatoes, tomatoes and the like. The market is very similar to the one some of us had been to in Peru, except different.

We are zooming down the road through small villages. People are standing on the roadsides. There is a constant horn sound coming from young kids along the side of the road. There is a beautiful sunset on the savanna. Every village has a tiny mosque. Instead of a church, they all have minarets. Sorghum is growing along the road. We see lots of broken down trucks, buses, motorcycles and bicycles along the side of the road. Most of the roads are arrow-straight. No need to curve around anything here. Now that the sun has set the road seems worst. Quiet bad actually. We come to a ferry similar to the one in Peru but again different. Our second van gets stuck going up the ramp. 45 minutes later, we make it across the river.

Africa - Not for the faint of heart. We go through a town that is having a street party in the dark with only fire light. Boom. A dog runs in front of us. We hear the head hit the bumper; then feel the 2 left wheels bump over the body. Dead instantly. We are all quiet now, with the unspoken realization that it could have been a child. We thought that the last 7 hours had been bad, but we had not seen anything yet. Even Graham, the Aussie, says he has never seen anything like this. Lakes of water are in the road. The van gets stuck 10-15 times, who knows. When we get stuck, we have to get out of the van to hook up a truck to pull us out of the lake. We are walking in ankle-deep mud. Our shoes are either off or soaked. It has been pitch black for hours. The milky-way is shining brightly. There is another van that we are helping and they are helping us. We had almost arrived at Béré, when they stopped the van and started taking people out that have fainted. Five, ages 1 to 25, with carbon monoxide poisoning. We transferred them in our van to take them on to the hospital. They have been traveling for 3 days, about the same as us. There are 18 or 20 in the small windowless van. We have been traveling in relative comfort, except the last 13 hours.

We arrive at Béré. No lights. We unpack our 2000 pounds of luggage. Micky and I get to bed around 3:30 am.

The ordeal of last night was made up for when Steve, Micky and I go out and play in the street with about 30 or 40 kids. Steve has brought along a Frisbee. We play this for 30 minutes or so. Then Micky starts singing with them. They jump rope with the rope that Steve has brought. All is brought back into focus when we go back to the house. James and Ken are in surgery. A lady has come in with a still-born baby. She has a ruptured uterus. They do a c-section. This is her 12th and last baby. The thunder storm in the distance is getting closer. Steve, Rick and Bob have their tents under the mango trees. They don’t far too badly. The lights are off as I write this. We are sweating and drinking lots of water. We are having the experience of a lifetime We will see you again, in 12 more days.

Bye for now,
DJ and the Béré bunch

Road to Béré

Road to Béré

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Béré Adventist Hospital Mission Trip


A small group of us from Markham Woods Church will be leaving Orlando, Florida on Tuesday, September 27 (returning on October 12) for the central African country of Tchad. We know this country here in America as Chad. Our destination is a remote hospital. There are 14 of us going on this adventure. We are nurses, a doctor, a carpenter, construction contractors, accountant, computer engineer, and others. The primary purpose is to do maintenance on the buildings, deliver medical equipment and provide in-service training to the staff.

Béré Hospital’s website:

My Béré web site:

Here are two maps:

Tchad: of

We are flying into the capital N’Djamena where we will be spending the night. The next morning, there is a 6 hour trip by van to the southeast about 200 miles to Bere (not on the map) between Kelo and Doba.

While in Béré we will be sleeping in mosquito net tents on the grounds of the hospital under the mango trees. We will be taking with us most of our food, construction supplies and tools we will be using, and medical supplies that we have collected. We are in hopes of taking with us a laptop ultrasound that the local Doctor James Appel can use at the hospital and out in the country side.

We will be sending newsletter updates, if and when possible. If you are receiving this message, it is because someone from the group has requested your name to the added to the group list. We all are requesting your prayers for this short-term project and even more for the long-term on-going work at the Béré Hospital.

Bye for now.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Ideas for Meals in Chad

Chad Meal Ideas


Fried apple pies – Dried apples and spices sugar Flour etc for crust
Pancakes mix for Costco
Poppy seed muffin mix


Burger mix for use as patties and as meat balls for Spaghetti
Tomato boxes for Spaghetti sauce. Dried Satake mushrooms. Pete’s burgers cut in squares for meat balls

Spaghetti with olive oil Sun dried tomatoes.
Pete’s Burgers for meat balls - 6 cans = 90 about 4 patties each small ones
Parm cheese in green bottle

Pancit noodles. Rice, bean, and flour noodles
Seeds for bean sprouts
Dried Satake mushrooms
Pad Thai – packets 3 per container 7 containers. With sprouts and onions, and mushrooms

Raman noodles
Korean noodles plus mushrooms for soup
Spring roll wrappers with sprouts/noodles and onions

Lintel soup – onions, celery, carrots

Dried fruit for deserts/ Breakfast

Beans – kidney beans, black beans, great northern
Corn meal for corn bread

Soft Taco’s Beans and Sprouts with Cheese Whiz, Costco Salsa in plastic bottle.

Mung / alfalfa beans for sprouts

Sprout burgers.

Shraak unleavened bread “The African Kitchen page 55”


Couscous and/or rice and raisins with caramelized onions. “The African Kitchen page 119” / Maine Cook book.

Roosterkoek and Ashkoek Bread cooked in coals “The African Kitchen page 121”


Processed cheese triangles
Canned mas potatoes
Baco bits

Chops plus bread crums
Green beans (Shelly)
Make gravy out of pan. Oil, flour, salt,

Nuts: Almonds
Pine nuts

Deserts Apple Dumplings dried apples

Garlic in jar
Red peppers flakes
Black pepper
Rosemary – fresh in jar
Canned jalapeño peppers
X - Dried onions
Dried celery
Onion soup mix

Creamy Banana Pudding “Classic Deserts page 133” No cook cool only.
Creamy Rice Pudding page “Classic Deserts page 143”


Powered soy milk
Hot chocolate
Trail mix - walmart
Ziplock bags
Aluminum foil
Aluminum pans


Rick Eggs dry oatmeal.
Micky Oatmeal