Her name is Albertine or Tempa (which means third girl). She is the third daughter in a family of five girls. She doesn’t know her age or when her birthday is. She says she’s 20 something; her mom says 17. She comes from one of the villages where Sidoine started a group. She began attending Sidoine’s group even before Sidoine was baptized. After some time, she went to another town to take seamstress training, but she came back home when the place went out of business. Sidoine became interested in her and they began courting.
About that same time, an older man, who already had four wives, decided that he wanted Albertine to be his fifth wife. He started to use gris-gris (fetish charms) against Sidoine. He also put gris-gris in front of Albertine’s door. If she stepped on the charm, then she would belong to him.
Sidoine and Albertine decided that it would be a good idea for her to go to Natitingou. Sidoine discussed the idea with Linden. Linden agreed and began looking for a place where Albertine could live and finish her seamstress apprenticeship.
Not long after this, the man kidnapped Albertine and tried to take her to his house. But somehow she got away from him and went back home. Sidoine and Linden decided to accelerate their plans before the overzealous suitor tried again and succeeded. They worked out a plan that would not implicate Sidoine so the man wouldn’t bother him when Albertine disappeared.
That evening, Sidoine and Jean went to tell Albertine about the plan. They were almost to her house when they saw the other suitor outside of Albertine’s door talking to her and trying to convince her to go home with him. Sidoine and Jean hid themselves in a tree and waited and watched until 4 a.m. when the other man finally went home. Almost before he was out of sight, they ran to Albertine’s house and told her to quickly pack and get ready to leave. When she was ready, Jean took her to his village and Sidoine went home to bed. Linden met Jean and Albertine and whisked Albertine and her small bag of belongings away on his moped. Jean went home. In the meantime, no one in Albertine’s village had seen anything.
The next morning, the jealous suitor was back at Albertine’s door to try to bring her to his house. Of course, she wasn’t there. He banged on Sidoine’s door and said, “What did you do with her?”
Sidoine replied, “I have been sleeping here all night, and you just woke me up.”
The man asked around in the village, but no one had seen anything.
A few months later, as Albertine was on her way to work, she happened to meet the man on the street. He asked her where she was staying, and she told him it was none of his business and to forget chasing her. Then she gave him some mangos because he was hungry as he was taking care of a sick child at the hospital.
Albertine has been living with Uli (Ulrike Baur) and me for almost a year and a half now. She will stay with us until she marries Sidoine because it still isn’t safe for her to go home. She sometimes gets homesick and talks about her family and the things she misses. While she is here with us, she is continuing her training to be a seamstress at a shop here in town. She is a good seamstress and almost ready for graduation. She is also learning about God, the Bible, and trying to learn how to read Ditammari since she never went to school. She is learning about health and the French language. Her French has progressed much quicker than mine has. We have a good time chatting about all kinds of things. We jabber along and sometimes I understand and sometimes I don’t.
Albertine is part of our family, and God has blessed us through her. She calls Uli “Mama” and me “Petite Mama” and we call her our big child. She has adapted very well to living with the weird yovos (white people). She loves to laugh and sing while she works. She has taught me how to make delicious African food and how to do it correctly. She has come to like our weird, complicated food with no pepper. And we have come to like her food, too. (She adds less pepper if she knows we are eating with her. She loves pepper!) We love you, Albertine.
Thank you all for your prayers and support. God is moving in many different ways to spread His work. Pray for workers and for our language learning.