Thursday, December 31, 2009

Plans Have Changed!

So my next 4 months in Botswana will be much different than I was expecting...I am going to be the internship director!
Kevin and Sarah (the usual directors) are on furlough in the states; they had lined up another couple to take over the internship from January through April, but we just found out this week that due to some health issues, they won't be able to make it.  This is definitely a full-time job and there needs to be one set person in charge, so they couldn't divide the duties up amongst the other missionaries (who are all working 24/7 as it is).  I am thrilled to be able to step in and take over at the last minute.
The internship starts in the middle of January and will go until April 15th- so I guess that's about the time that I am coming back to the states!

There will be 6 women coming out for the internship; the ages range from 20-48.  Please be praying for them as they prepare for the trip out here...and pray for me, too!  I have about 3 weeks to get things lined before they arrive.  There's a lot of work to be done still.

Oh, and on a different topic, many people have been asking about Roger.  He is doing very well in Kuwait; he's staying incredibly busy with work, and in his free time he is doing as much reading as he can.  He is coming out to visit me in Botswana on February 8th and gets to stay for 2 weeks!!  I am planning some fun things for us to do; we'll probably be on site in Maun for a week, and off on some adventures for the other week.  Can't wait!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Botswana!

It is 10:00, Christmas night.  I have had a full day with my Botswana family, was blessed to be able to talk to my  family back home, and am now "patiently" waiting for Roger's internet in Iraq to work so that I can talk to my husband.  I figured that a good way to stay busy as I wait is to update my blog :)

Well, first of all, Merry Christmas!!  All of America seems to be dealing with a snow storm right now, but especially Minnesota.  I can't believe I am missing such a beautiful white Christmas!  How do you celebrate Christmas in Africa, you ask?  What a great question!  Let me tell you...

This morning, Dietra and I got together for a nice Christmas breakfast (scrambled eggs and toast! fancy!), then spent a couple of hours just catching up and playing with Olisego, the beautiful baby that is under the care of Love Botswana.  Around noon or so all of the missionaries headed out to the Tree Lodge.  We played games (I won), helped the kids decorate the approximately 5 dozen cookies that Brenda and I made, chatted for a couple of hours, and then enjoyed a delicious dinner.  We had turkey, salad, rolls, and another kind of meat.  It looked like roast beef, so when I bit into it I was confused.  It didn't taste like roast beef.  I found out shortly that I was eating kudu, which is one of the animals at the game farm and was shot last week.  Here's a picture of the animal that died so I could eat well on Christmas Day:

pretty, right?
After dinner, we opened presents.  I didn't even know that we were getting presents, so that was a wonderful surprise and treat!  Then, after I felt like I spent enough time talking with the adults, I jumped in the pool with the kids.  We had a blast playing The Game.  I don't think I have ever been swimming outdoors on Christmas before, so that's a fun memory to hold onto.  As dusk started to fall, we realized that we had forgotten to go on a game drive, so we hopped on a safari truck and took off.  We didn't see many animals (saw springbok, gemsbok, kudu, impalas, and elands), but it sure was a treat anyway.  Really, these animals are so beautiful.

We left the Lodge around 8pm, singing Christmas carols the whole way back (can anyone sing the 12 Days of Christmas off the top of their head?  It's hard!  What was the 12th day gift??).  I got to come home and call the family, which was wonderful, albeit a little difficult.  I got a little choked up while talking to some of the fam; this is a once in a lifetime experience, and I loved it, but it's still a little tough to be away from family on Christmas.

Anyway, Merry Merry Christmas!!  Hugs and Kisses from Botswana!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Children's Church

Today, because the church tents went down in a storm yesterday, we did children's church at the park (which is about a 10 minute walk from the church).  While there, I was hanging out with some of the little ones.  I was letting a 5 year old boy, Sheldon, do my hair (because I have yet to meet someone out here that doesn't love to play with my hair).  As he was trying to put it in a ponytail, he says to me, "Your hair is really soft!  Do you use Dark and Lovely?"  Dietra just about busted a gut with that one.  About 15 minutes later, while he is alternating between doing my hair and just petting my arm, he says "You know, I really love you.  That is why I am touching you so much." Ah, kids.

Matt (children's pastor) shared the Christmas story with the 300 kids that were there today.  I was sitting amongst the kids to try to keep them quiet...all of a sudden, Sheldon comes running up to me and sits down.  Here is the conversation:
Sheldon:  "Oh, here you are!  I have been looking for you."
Me: "Shhhhh.  Pastor Matt is telling the story of how Jesus was born."
S: (gasping, with wide eyes) "Jesus?!"
Me: "yes"
S: "How was he born?!"
Me: "Listen to Pastor Matt"
S: "Do you have makeup on your eyes?"
Me: "yes...shhhh"
S: (as he spies my wedding ring, then holds my hand) "I love this ring.  May I wear it for a little while and then give it back to you?"
Me: "no"
S: "Ok!" (gets up and runs off) "See ya!"

After Matt finished the Christmas story, we went back to the church and it was time for...Operation Christmas Child, round 2!
It was quite the job to get all of the gifts distributed today, and I must say, the church kids were sneaky little buggers.  They would hide their boxes in the tall grass and say they didn't get one, or sit on their boxes, trying to make it look like they hadn't gotten one yet.  All in all, I think we ended up distributing close to 350 gift boxes today.  The kids were SO HAPPY.  Oh my word.  So wonderful.  I had dozens of kids running up to me, showing me excitedly what they got for Christmas.  One girl was so sweet.  Seriously, almost out of a movie...She was probably about 7 years old and had 2 younger siblings with her (maybe 2 and 3 years old).  She was showing me what they all got, and as she was packing up the boxes, she looks up at me from the ground and says with a smile, "I am so happy."  If that doesn't melt your heart, you are made of stone.

I was happy to see the little boy I met yesterday, Omaatla, at church today.  Omaatla is the child that lives on his own at a shelter, and who has suffered terrible abuse during his short little life.  This is his first time at our church, and I am thrilled that he was able to come on Operation Christmas Child day.  He is such a great kid; I hope for opportunities to spend much more time with him in the future.

Anyway, that was my morning!  It was wonderful (as usual).

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Caroling and Mmapula's Birthday Party

What a day!  My goodness, it's been a great but tiring one.  The day started at 9am when I left with Ms Pat to get the church kids ready for Christmas caroling in town.  We were allowed to bring 20 kids (and roughly 20 have been coming to practice for the last 6 weeks, give or take a few).  The day of?  45 kids show up.  It's a lot of fun to tell kids they aren't allowed to go Christmas caroling.  Lots of fun.  We had to limit it to that number based on actually many things: we couldn't control more than that, the council only approved for us to take that many kids, and the business owners we talked to about caroling outside their stores were told that this would be the number we were taking.  Well, since we're softies, we ended up taking about 27 kids along, and that's only because we literally could not fit one more person on the bus.  So, we went caroling in 3 different parts of town on what was possibly the hottest morning of the year.  Ever get sunburned while Christmas caroling?  Cause I have.
We were hoping to finish around noon today, but actually didn't until a little after one.  When we got back to the church, we discovered that a storm had taken down the tent AGAIN.  It is so important that a permanent structure is put in place; it's really getting ripped apart.  I feel so bad for the pastors as they have to put up with this time and time again.  I want to say it's the 3rd time in the past 4 weeks that it's been torn down.
I got home a little after 2pm, then approx 7 mins later I was out the door for Mmapula's birthday party.  She turned 6 on Wednesday :)  We went to a new chain restaurant in town that just opened last week called Wimpy.  They have the BEST milkshakes!  Yum!  Anyway, it was a fun party (although I did stay busy watching over the kids).  Ok, today's heartbreaker?  A boy from the local shelter came to the party.  He's 10 years old, lives there alone, and has permanent scars on his back from abuse.  I sat with him for a good chunk of the party, just talking, laughing, and coloring with him.  He is one of the sweetest boys I have ever met.  It took every single ounce of my willpower to hold the tears back today.  Heart is broken.  I want to take that child home with me and just love on him for the rest of his life.
After we finishes at Wimpy's, we went on a game drive at the Tree Lodge!  I didn't have my camera with me!!  We saw giraffes, zebras, kudu, elands, etc. again--and so close up, too!  Very fun, but still somehow quite tiring.  We got home around 7pm, then went over to the Lackey's to go swimming.  Played water volleyball, played another game that I am obsessed with that doesn't have any name other than "THE game," then around 9pm crawled home.
It was a great day; I would definitely say the highlight was meeting that little boy.  Talk about someone who is going to stick with you for life...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

General Update

So, the past couple of weeks have been slightly uneventful, with the exception of the snake and the Christmas Party.  After the other interns went back to the states, I moved into Kevin and Sarah Witt's house (they are on furlough in the states through April).  It's a lovely home, and I have air conditioning.  I never want to leave the house!  I am also cat sitting for them.  Here's the thing- I have terrible cat allergies, but God has blessed me.  I don't seem to be allergic to Bubba.  I actually like this cat, too!  She is very cuddly...I am worried that I am turning into a crazy cat lady now.  When I come home after working in the offices all day, I'll sit and tell Bubba about my day.  I don't live with Dietra anymore (and I really miss her!), so this cat is the only company I have on a consistent basis.  Fortunately, all the missionaries on the plot live within a 3 minute walk of each other, so it isn't hard to find people to hang out with.

We're still doing game nights and movie nights.  I feel like I am doing a lot less ministry right now than I had been during the internship, but that's because the town kind of shuts down for the month of December.  I know it will pick back up considerably starting in January.  I have been able to continue with ministry at the church through discipleship and children's church.  I will probably start to be much more involved with children's church than I was before; this past Sunday we had 250 kids there (the original 235 that I had been telling people was the number of kids at the beginning of the service- more trickled in throughout the morning).  They need more helpers there, so I am going to step it up.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Party

Last Wednesday (December 9th) LBOM hosted a Christmas party for children who are orphaned and/or HIV+ or kids whose parents are severely suffering from AIDS.  Over 250 kids arrived for the party.  I must say, I felt very blessed to be a part of it.  Seriously...look at all the amazing things I have been able to do, and all the amazing people that I have met over the past 4 months!  I am so, so, so thankful to be out here.  I kind of never want to leave.  But, I digress.  Without further ado...the Christmas party!

People lining up to get a bottle of water and muffin before the program starts
The girl I made cry by asking her if she wanted me to take her picture.  Wait.  Just hit me...was it wrong for me to take this picture of her anyway, while laughing at her reaction?
See?  These kids liked having their picture taken!  (I love this boy's jaunty hat)
Setting up for the luncheon
The crowd beginning to get settled before the event
She was a cutie!
Yep.  Cute kids everywhere.
Some teens who were visiting from the capital (Gaborone) performed a (20 minute!) skit that they put together that morning.  I was supposed to get "reaction shots" of the kids, but most of them weren't paying attention.  Here's one cute one:
See?  Cute.
Here was another reaction shot :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Sneak Peak at What's to Come

LBOM partnered with several organizations throughout Maun last week to host the 2nd (shoot...or 3rd?) annual Christmas party for orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC).  One of the things that we were able to do at the end of the party was hand out gifts from Operation Christmas Child.  It was very fun to be on this end it; I have been filling shoe boxes for kids since I was in high school.  I will post more about this event later, but I thought this picture was just too cute.  Had to share it.


Thank you, Hedlunds!  The care package containing tons of ROSEAU RAMS stuff made my day!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

One Thing Has Been Confirmed for Me...

I was not created to sit in an office all day.  I am only on my 5th day of working in the offices, and ready to call it quits.  I cannot wait for school to start back up so that I can get back to working with the kids.

That's all!  Have a good one!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Finishing Up Last Week and Trying to Move onto This One

It's time to finish telling you about last week.  Unfortunately, I didn't write anything down to help me remember what happened, so hopefully looking through some pictures will jog my memory.
Thursday was a pretty busy day!  No pictures from it, so here's hoping I remember what went down.  That morning I was at my placement as usual- nothing too exciting happened that day.  The kids were cute, funny, etc...same old, same old :)
That afternoon we had set aside time to hang out one last time as an internship team; I had to skip out of the first part of the hangout to get some pictures printed for a card we were making for Suhail, Farras and Amir (the kids who are moving to Gabs).  The rest of the group went over to Mma Sibongile's house to say goodbye to her and her family.  We had gone and spent a day at her house at the beginning of the internship (she was on staff at LBOM for many years and is Kevin and Sarah's "African Momma").  The group had a fun little surprise waiting for them when they arrived.  One thing you should know is that it was an insanely hot day; sickeningly hot.  When they drove up, they were greeted by topless women :)  I wish I had been there, just to see the expressions on the guys' faces.  They were horrified.  Sarah and Dietra got out of the car to go find Mma, who turned out to be laying on the floor of her house, naked.  It really was that hot.  So, they said a quick hello and goodbye and told them we'd be back when the entire group was there.  About 30 minutes later, and big storm came through.  I was running from our house over to Brenda's and a tree branch fell to the ground about 10 feet in front of me; I was so thankful that I hadn't left the house 3 seconds earlier.  That could have been bad!  We ended up spending the rest of the afternoon playing Monopoly (I HATE that game.  Stupid game) and drinking frozen coffees and hot chocolates.  Yum!  Right after that, Brenda had the interns over for one last dinner, then it was time for church.  The storm that had been raging that day knocked the church tent down; the maintenance men spent hours frantically putting it back up, but there were rips and holes everywhere.  After church, I was off to the school Christmas party!  That was a very fun night over at Ms Rhonda's house.  Ms Rhonda is the school principal; I adore her!  We finally got home between 11p-12a and I collapsed into bed.  

Friday, December 11, 2009

I just found out that there is a package for me in town from someone in Roseau and I can't pick it up until Monday! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ok, Time to Catch Up

So, I am kind of on break right now.  The internship is over, school is out, and I am now working with Jana and Theresa on the Christmas Newsletter and annual magazine.  That will be a great way to spend my time over these next few weeks until school starts up again.  I just realized that I never finished writing about last week.  Time to catch you up on my life!

Last week was the last week of the school year.  It consisted of a lot of fun activities (sports, contests, parties, etc.) for the students and staff alike.  Monday afternoon we had a staff vs. students volleyball game.  There were 6 of us for the staff team and we played against some of the students in secondary school.  I thought this was just some fun little game, no big  The entire school was there to watch us.  I didn't have time to change, so I played in a skirt and Dietra played in black pants and a nice top.  We weren't prepared, to say the least.  We had a blast though, and that's all that matters, right?  :)

As I mentioned in a previous post, Tuesday morning I went to the Tree Lodge with Andrea's class.  It was a very hot and sunny day, so by the time we got back to the plot I was wiped.  In fact, all the students (who are ages 11-13) were so wiped that they could barely walk while on the guided tour.  So I got home and took a twenty minute rest and then...time to move!  For the past 6 weeks, our work projects have consisted of getting another house on the plot into a livable condition.  It was decided that we needed to live there for a little while to make sure it's all set up for the next internship group that comes here...problem was, the place was a construction site.  The bathrooms were being completely redone and the roof needed to be fixed.  I really wish I had my camera on me as we were moving was absolutely ridiculous.  Scaffolding, ladders, tools and trash everywhere.  Not only did we have to move our personal items, but we also had to move furniture, a stove, a propane tank, a washing machine, and a refrigerator.  The Stallion (our pickup) is broken down, so we didn't even have a vehicle to move our stuff.  Needless to say, the move took a couple of days, and we were exhausted.

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head...

When it's rainy season in Africa, you gotta do what you gotta do to stay dry.  Dietra and I were over at Brenda's for dinner tonight and were about to head over to the Clayton's for Prayer and Share (a Tuesday night tradition for the missionaries...Dietra and I are now invited!  Woo hoo for privileges of not being an intern!) when it started down pouring.  There weren't any umbrellas at the house, so we had to get a little creative.

Never a Dull Moment

Mason and Godfrey were over this morning playing cards, and all of a sudden Mason (who was sitting on the couch, facing the front door) said "Uh, might want to turn around..."  I turned around, and there was this banded cobra right at my front door.  My first reaction was to run and grab the camera (while Mason and Godfrey tried to convince me to get a stick to kill it...yeah right, like I would ever be willing to do that!).  By the time I got back, the snake had moved under the flowerpot and then then hopped on the banister and slid down the stairs.  Oh, and Mason yelled at me when I opened the door to get a better shot.  Nothing like getting yelled at by a 12 year old...
Needless to say, I am a little more cautious while walking around the yard.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Back to the Tree Lodge!

I had a wonderful opportunity to head back to the Tree Lodge (the game farm that was donated to LBOM) with Andrea and her classes (Standards 5 and 6).  Time for giraffes and zebras!!

The students listening to the living legend himself, Dougie.

I finally saw zebras!!

 I wish that some of the pictures I took had turned out better.  A dozen or so zebras and springboks had taken off in a run.  It looked amazing.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Crazy Busy Week, but Oh So Wonderful

So, it turns out that the last week of the Missions Immersion Internship Program and the first week of said program are quite similar.  You work non-stop, you go to bed more exhausted than you thought was humanly possible, and you get to eat lots of great dinners with all the other missionaries.
This was an incredibly hectic week, but it was fantastic.  I have been wanting to update my blog every day, but have run into the same two problems...lack of time and lack of internet.  Well, I finally have both!  So, here we go.

Starting with Sunday (now that I think about it, I should probably split this up into a few separate blogs)...
Sunday was a good day. The guys had gone out to Etsa to visit our branch church one last time before going back to the states, so D and I had a girls weekend...which was interrupted several time, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.  After church and discipleship, we had about an hour to rest and then went to town to pick the guys up from the bus stop.  When we got back, we headed over to Brenda's house for some games for a bit, then got an opportunity to do some kurios shopping in Kevin and Sarah's yard.

They have a friend from Zimbabwe who sells these, so it was treat to have him come by.  That night we made dinner for the Witts (we have weekly Sunday night dinners with them, and this was our last one) and enjoyed some delicious  blended hot chocolate/coffee treats.  I am definitely planning on mastering that little concoction.  Yum!

Sarah and Andrew enjoying the fruits of Kevin's labor

Oh, and there was some excitement that night...I saw my first LIVE branded cobra!  It was just a little guy (maybe about 3 feet long?), so I wasn't too nervous about it.  So, I have discovered something about myself out here. No matter how much I hate a creature (bugs, snakes, monitor lizards), I don't want them to die.  In fact, earlier that day, Andrew and I held a funeral for our buddy Freddy the Dung Beetle who sadly lost its head somehow.  Needless to say, I didn't enjoy having to hold a flashlight on our little friend while it was being bludgeoned to death.  Ish.

Ok, now brace yourself.  This is disgusting.

Ew.  After.

So, that was my Sunday!  I will be back to blog about the rest of the week.  Sala Sentle! (means "stay well!") 

[ed. note.  I want a nicer way to end this post.  Here is a cute picture of Andrew who wasn't feeling very well that night]

Sunday, November 29, 2009


This is my friend Brenda.  Isn't she sweet?

Wish I'd Had My Camera

Yesterday, Dietra and I ended up driving some of the cleaning ladies over to a nearby "neighborhood" to get a key from another staff member.  While we were waiting for the ladies to come back, 2 little children came up to us in the truck.  One boy (age 3) and one girl (age 2).  These kids were so cute.  The boy (I have forgotten his name, so we'll call him Fokasa) was hilarious.  When they approached, we said hello and introduced ourselves.   The boy introduced himself and his little friend, then proceeded to ask "what have you brought me?"
We said, "Sorry, we didn't bring you anything.  We didn't know you were going to be here."  He didn't believe us, so he tried climbing up the truck to see if there was anything in there, but he was too small to make it up to the window.  I opened the door for him to see that there was really nothing in the truck, and when he looked in, he exclaimed "Oh!  There is nothing in here but tools!" and proceeded to pull out all the tools that were under the front seat.  "What's this? What does this do?  Is this a knife?  I can't make this fit.  Fit it for me!"  At one point, I was talking to Dietra and said her name.  Fokasa said "Her name is Teacha?"  "No, her name is Dietra.  It just sounds like teacha," I replied.  "Ha!" he laughed.  "You're funny!"
Anyway, I decided that I will have to go back there again to play with this kid some more, and get a picture of him.  He entertained D and me for a solid 10 minutes.  Too cute.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Blessing a National

As interns, we were given the challenge/assignment/opportunity to bless a national.  The one stipulation was that it had to be someone that we didn't already know.  We thought about who we wanted to bless for about a week, when all of a sudden it dawned on me.  There is a lady who goes to our church, works at our school, and had been to prison ministry once before.  Why not use this as a chance to get to know her?
We invited her and her family to come over for dinner this week.  She has 3 children and brought her friend that works with her.  I can't remember his full name, but his nickname is god.  When I looked at him in surprise, he smiled, pointed to the sky and said "not that God.  Little g."

So Monica, god, and the kids came to our place Wednesday night.  We decided to serve tacos, because we knew that was something they had never eaten before.  It was cute to watch the kids eat them; they didn't seem to believe us at first when we told them that they were supposed to pick them up and eat with their hands.  Once they did it, though, they just loved it.  I think they ate 3-5 tacos each (and they were from the ages of 4-9).  We had a blast with Monica and god; we played Uno for a good 90 mins I would say.
I just loved that day.  I look forward to getting to know Monica better and to serve along side her in ministry over these next few months.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone and Happy Holidays!

I had a very tiring but absolutely fantastic week.  I survived my first major holiday away from friends and family and fully loved it.  I spent the day over at the Lackey's house, putting up their Christmas tree (which, I must say, is quite a different experience when you're working in 90 something degree heat and downing lemonade).  I had some help from a couple of the little ones around here.  Two year old Andrew loved helping to put up the ornaments.

Around 5:00 all the missionaries gathered at the Lackey's for the Thanksgiving feast.  It really was a feast, too!  We were blessed with such amazing food; turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberries, corn, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, homemade rolls, salads galore, etc.  It was just like Thanksgiving back home.  It was such a fun night; I would say that there were probably close to 30 people all together.  Lots of laughter, lots of eating, and in my case, lots of warding off a feisty Mmapula.

Excerpt from Ngami Times

I'm sorry, but this story just cracked me up too much not to share (from the local paper):

Santa on a donkey cart!
Forget the traditional sleigh and the reindeer.  Here it is different to Lapland!  In Nata last weekend Father Christmas arrived by donkey cart at the annual orphans and needy children Christmas party but his arrival caused such a commotion that dozens of children up to the age of 10 dashed into the bush as they had never before seen a real live Father Christmas in his red suit!  It turned out they believed he was there to kidnap them and take them away from their caretakers, but as Santa walked around shaking hands and giving high fives to all the students, the youngsters carefully walked out of the bush to shake his hand.  After everyone finally got acquainted, he started to pass out gifts donated by businesses and individuals to make this a Christmas to be remembered.

Poor kids!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Blessing a Missionary

The interns were recently given two assignments: bless a national, and bless a missionary. This past weekend we completed the mission of blessing a missionary. We chose to bless Ms Pat, who is basically our plot grandma. She's Jerry Lackey's mother and has been living in Botswana for the past 18 years. I just love her so much. She is this tiny little woman who has so much spunk and personality. She came out here to start the Ngamiland Christian Academy, which has now turned into the Okavango International School, where I work. She is very hands on with children's ministry at the church, and spends every Saturday morning running puppet practice and special music practice. She is busy now with bells; the kids are going to do some caroling and bell ringing in town on December 19th. I volunteered Dietra and myself to help her the day of, but we knew she would need some help with practices prior to it.

So on Saturday, we went to her house at 9:30am to pick her up and head over to church. We spent 2 hours rehearsing with the children that came to practice (which was so fun!) and then spent some time in town helping her run a few errands. She is just so sweet- she was so excited to have the help, and was so thankful for every little thing that we did. It really felt like we weren't doing much at all, but I am glad that whatever we did made a difference for her.

That night we had her over to our house for dinner. We did our best to set it up as nicely as possible, but we don't have much to work with. I was giggling at our hodge podge of "china" and our tablecloth made out of a bed sheet that has been acting as a curtain for the past 2 months. We had a candle lit on the table and Christmas music playing as she walked in the house; she just loved it. It was such a wonderful time of fellowship. Ms Pat stayed over until almost 9:30 that night, just chatting with us. The guys had to leave at 8pm for boarding duties, so Dietra and I were able to get some good "girl time" in with her. She is such a dear. When we were walking her home that night, she said twice "I will never forget this night." That put a smile on my face :)

The next day she stopped over with her tape player and some Christmas tapes for us to enjoy; how cute is that? She gave me a hug and called me her friend for life.

It was a good weekend.
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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Week In Review

So, it's been another fairly busy week out here in Maun, Botswana. We've spent time in our placements, had ministry opportunities, participated in Setswana class, done construction on the new intern house, and have had several "family meetings" as an intern group (i.e., the events that cause the demise of Ashley Maldonado).  It's been a great week, but the exhaustion level that my body is at tells me that it's a good thing we are hitting the weekend.  Then I remember that weekends are actually usually busier than, no rest for the weary!  That's ok,'s why I am out here.

We are nearing the end of the school year for the students in Botswana.  I am actually really quite sad about this; not only does this mean that Suhail is leaving for Gabs, but the rest of the kids are all moving up a year.  I'll miss them.  Actually, I don't even know how I will get through the month of December.  I miss the kids after a weekend apart from them!

We have apparently entered the rainy season in Maun.  We've had some wonderful thunderstorms this week, and that has really brought the temps down to a much more comfortable level.  It's so funny; when the temps drop to the seventies, everyone starts wearing fleece jackets, wool hats, etc.  I must admit, though...I pulled out a sweater and jeans today.  It made me feel like I was back home for a little while!  There are a couple of downfalls to the rain, though.  First of all, it brings out the termites, ants, dung beetles, etc in droves.  Seriously, it can be quite disgusting.  Secondly, the thatch roof leaks.  Dietra and I were woken up two nights this week (around 3am both times) to water dripping on our faces.  We covered our beds (which are wonderfully protected by bug nets) with sheets, but the rain was coming down so hard that it leaked through the sheets.  Poor Dietra had to actually get a bowl to catch the water and do some other stuff to keep from getting soaked...I got up long enough to fix my sheet and crawl back into bed, mumbling something about getting a towel (I do not function normally after be woken up in the middle of the night).

So some other highlights of the week:

  • Our mystery ministry this week consisted of washing cars for the missionaries and teachers (and at the last minute, decided to wash some of the dogs, too).  Had a blast doing it, but of course that was the first night it rained in weeks.  That always happens, doesn't it?
  • I received a wonderful care package from home that not only had a travel mug (hallelujah!), but also a copy of The Beginner's Bible, which was one of my favorite childhood things (memories? experiences? books?  none of these words seem to fit what it actually is).  I have been bringing it to class every day and reading different Bible stories to the kids.  They love it.  Today I read about Jesus' birth and then the kids all drew a picture of the story- they then gave the pictures to me to take home, but the Miss Susanna wanted to put them up on the bulletin board.  I almost came home with 22 pictures of the manger scene.
  • I did some substitute teaching again this week.  I loved it one day, and was ready to pull my hair out the next.  Today, I received apology cards from every kid in Standard 2.  Cute :)  I am won over so easily.
  • An overall highlight is the crazy amount of love I get from the kids here.  I have been really blessed in my placement to be able to get to know almost all of the primary school children, and they are all so wonderful to me.  I get more hugs and kisses than I thought possible; whenever I am walking on campus I can hear at least one kid screaming out "Hi Miss Ashleeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!" from across the yard.  Today we had to use the phrase "No more fighting over Miss Ashley" several times in class. 
  • We are planning our Thanksgiving celebration for next week.  Turkey!  Stuffing!  Mashed potatoes!  Pumpkin pie!  It's all gonna be here, and it's gonna be zoppity :)

Suhail :)  He asked me for a piggyback ride today, so I let him hop on my back and then we ran around the playground.  When we paused to take the picture, he yelled "Miss!  I asked for a piggyback ride, not a stopped piggyback!  Run!! Run!!"

The kids were really cracking me up this week.  I remembered some good ones and some great ones:

  • One morning, several of the boys were playing with toy horses.  I asked Thobo what his horse's name was, and he just gave me a blank stare.  All of a sudden Prince jumps in, saying "Benny!" and cracking up hysterically.  What??
  • One of the boys in class is...shall I say...sadistic?  I have caught him on so many occasions pulling the legs off of ants one by one.  Well, today when we were in chapel I noticed that he was going after some bugs.  I whispered to him to stop, and so of course he decides to stomp all the ants he can see.  Poor Kent, who was sitting right next to him, looked horrified.  "Those are God's creatures!!!!"
  • The other day I wore a knee-length dress and my anti-snake bite boots to school, and when I walked in to class, Thobo (age 4) looked me up and down with a mischievous grin on his face.  "Oh, Miss!" in a way that led me to believe he approved of my outfit.  Flirt.
  • On Wednesday, I read the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den to the students who didn't go swimming that day.  After reading it, I had them draw pictures of the story. The kids wanted an example of how to draw a lion, so I drew one on the chalkboard for them.  It actually turned out to be quite a cute lion, so I was kind of proud of it.  When the other kids returned from swimming, I pointed the picture out to a couple of them and asked if they liked it (I am teaching them to give compliments...right?)  Later on, Suhail was sitting on my lap, so I pointed to the board and said, "do you see that lion?"  He looked at me with a sly grin and replied, "You mean that big ugly shape?"  I laughed so hard.  What a little punk.

Well, it's about that time...gotta hit the sack.  We get to sleep in until 8:30am tomorrow!  Love to all of my family and friends.  Special shout out to Uncle Bud!  Love ya :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Girls Weekend!

I am a little shaky...a bat just flew in the house and flew right by my leg.  Ewwwwwww.  You better believe that I was under that bug net in less than 6 seconds.  Luckily the guys were here to kill it (although I blame them for the bat getting in our house in the first place).

So, Josiah and Brad were out of town this weekend; they went back to do more ministry in Etsa (the village we went to a couple of weeks ago).  Dietra and I plan on heading back out there when our internship is over.  So this weekend was girls weekend through and through.  So nice!  One of the boarders that I have gotten close with (Chao) finished up her exams on Friday, and is moving home this week.  We had a little slumber party Friday night to say goodbye.  So fun :)

Saturday, Dietra and I went out for prison ministry.  Oh, the weather was so wonderful that morning!  Cool and cloudy, with a slight breeze.  Since we have prison ministry outside, that is a huge deal.  I think the prisoners were very thankful for it too.  It's been so beastly hot lately that it's been very difficult to be outside for more than 5 minutes.  Oh, I must tell you something that disturbed me.  We had asked Mma Adjei if we could ever do communion with the men, and she said she would have to ask the workers at the prison.  The only times they do communion for the prisoners is if they are set to be executed the next day.  So morbid; so sad.  I didn't even realize that they executed prisoners here- the men seem to roam the area so freely that I thought this was just a low security prison.  Who knew?  

After the great ministry time, Dietra and I spent a few hours in town, enjoying coffee and shopping.  It was so pleasant!  I bought a big floppy hat and quickly discovered that it's one of the best purchases I have ever made.  It made such a huge difference with the sun!  I also bought cute and fun yellow shoes for less than $5 US.  Good deals all around!  When we got back to the plot, we went swimming for a couple hours, then took naps. 
We woke up at 6 and panicked, because we only had an hour before we had to be at boarding duties.  We still needed to make dinner (which takes a while out here!) and shower.  It all worked out- we just skipped the showers this time around.  When we showed up at 7pm, though, we were told that the boarders all had to study until 8pm.  Exams are quite a huge deal out here; the government pays for college out here, but you have to do well on these exams. The test scores will also determine what you study at the University.  If the government pays for your school, you don't choose what to study.  Needless to say, this is a stressful time for the students.  We came back at 8pm (after stopping at Kevin and Sarah's and getting treated to frozen coffee drinks!) and hung out with the boarders until about 10:30pm.  I really, really enjoyed it!  Honestly, I really haven't spent much time with many of the boarders.  There are some wonderful kids there.  D and I stayed up until almost 3am last night.  Such a bad idea.

Today was very chill.  After church we just did the normal grocery shopping, then came back and slept for four hours.  Whoops!  Hope I can sleep tonight.  In fact, that's where I am headed right now.  Love and blessings to you all! 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Life in Bots This Week

So today is already November 12th.  I want to say "where did the time go?!" but in all honesty, it definitely feels like I have been out here that long.  I can't believe how much we have been able to fit into 9 weeks here.  Lately we have still been staying as busy, but we aren't doing as many "new" things as we had been (for what I am hoping are obvious reasons). 

This week has flown by.  On Monday we were at our placements as usual, followed by Bible Study (really, check out Heart Ablaze by John Bevere. It is getting better and better).  That night we made brownies and watched While You Were Sleeping (thanks for letting us borrow that, Andrea!).  It is sick how quickly we ate that pan of brownies.  An entire pan was devoured by the 4 of us (ok, mainly me) in roughly 15 minutes.  I cannot wait to get another mixture for more.  So delicious.  Oh, I have a request for any care packages- Funfetti cake mix.  Sarah made us some funfetti cupcakes last week, and I was on cloud 9.  Ooooohhhhhh, what I would give for some cookies or cake right now...

Tuesday.  What happened Tuesday?  Placement with the kids in the morning (I like Tuesdays- I spend a good chunk of time one-on-one with kids from standard 3.  They are so sweet), then we had our second Mystery Ministry!  I love these!  This week we filled 5 5-liter jugs with cold water, then went to town to just hand some out to people.  This was a ridiculously hot day- easily way over 100 degrees.  We had an hour to do this, and were out of water in less than 10 minutes.  If we have time, we're going to do that again, but next time with about 12 of those jugs.  Tuesday night Dietra and I babysat Oli.  She is getting so big!  Highlight of the day though?  Getting a surprise care package from my cousin Justin and his wife Ashley.  I was over the moon excited- the food and coffee treats were things that I have been craving but hadn't told anyone about!  I was completely surprised by this gift, and I still feel so blessed.  Thanks again, you guys!

Wednesday- seriously, why can't I remember what I did yesterday? I went swimming with my kids like we do every Wednesday, but this time the water was blue!!  The pumps are working and it looked clean. So amazing.  Quote of the day came from Amita, after all the kids were sitting at the side of the pool: "Miss Ashley, do you get to stay in the pool because you are a teacher?  I can't wait to be a grown up."  Yep, definitely took advantage and stayed in until we absolutely had to go back to the classroom.  I really wish I had brought my camera to school that day.  One of the students was wearing a speedo.  What made it hilarious is that he is a chunky little guy.   Four years old, and his cute little stomach is so big that I doubt he can see his toes.  He was loving it.  Probably even funnier was that he couldn't figure out why the towel wouldn't tie around his waist.  Too good.  Later that day we had a couple of afternoon meetings, then had the night off.  I enjoyed spending time with some of the missionaries on site, just hanging out and laughing.  There are some wonderful people serving out here.

Today was a long day.  I spent the morning subbing again for the standard 4 class (like I did last month).  I love doing this; it changes up my daily routine and gives me a chance to get to know more of the students in the school.  They were a bit of a handful this morning, and I may or may not have told two boys who were arguing over who was more annoying that they were both equally annoying.  Oops?  Or is that ok?  Not sure.  They cracked up, but I felt bad a couple of hours later.  We'll see how they are tomorrow!  I am looking forward to it though; Friday is their swimming day.  Back to the pool for me!  This afternoon we spent a couple of hours working on screens for the new intern house, then I made spicy chicken chili for dinner (which I cannot wait to make for people back home!).  Tonight we had church (it was so windy that the tent was getting whipped around pretty severely- and it's not a small tent) and then I had a Skype date with the hubby.  That maybe was my highlight today; we are rarely able to actually talk, and it finally happened!  I am so thankful to have internet back at the house.

Some fun things around the house/plot:
  •  Bats.  We have bats in our house. 
  • Locusts are out.  Have you ever seen or heard these?  So gross and so loud.
  • Spitting cobra babies.  They're here.  In my neighbor's yard.  Fabulous.
  • I had a cockroach in my hair the other day, and was way too freaked out to get it out myself.  The only other person home was my roommate Dietra, who is terrified of bugs.  She finally found a DVD to swat it out with.  I am still shuddering....ewwwwwww. 

by the way, this is Winston, one of the loveable lugs here.  stinky little bugger, but I love the puppy

Ok, it's almost 1am, and my day starts in 5 hours.  I better hit the sack, since I just realized that I will only have about 2 hours off between 7am and 10pm tomorrow.  Whoops.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Christmas Music and Demolition

Ok, so this is the blog post that I was working on this week, but my battery died before I could post it.  So, enjoy it as is, and I'll post another blog when I get back from games at Brenda's.

Hello!  Well, internet is down again at the plot.  It has been a month since we've had working internet at our house, and the internet at the office is pretty hit or miss these days.  So, I am back in town, sitting at Barcelo's, eating chicken and checking internet.  Glad to be able to do this, at least :)

We have had a couple of really good days.  Friday morning was spent in our placements as usual, and Friday afternoon we had work projects.  We usually hate this because they consist of us cutting ourselves up while making screens or putting in insulation in 100 degree weather with no air conditioning, but Friday's project was awesome.  I got to do demolition!  First time that I have ever done it, and I loved it!  I took out a shower in the new intern house.

Friday night we found ourselves listening to Christmas music for 2 hours, making hot chocolate, and watching Home Alone.  I think my system went into shock the next morning when I went outside at 8am and it was already 85 degrees out.  I miss MN weather!  Who would have thunk it?  I must say, I sure do love getting in the holiday spirit, but it isn't the wisest thing to do when you're in Africa alone.  It made me a bit homesick.  Oh well!  Power through!

Saturday morning we had prison ministry again.  We decided to use one of the lessons from our discipleship packet and had a lesson on prayer.  It seemed to go really well, and we hope that the men were able to really grasp what we were saying.  I look forward to going back every week; the men are so great to work with!  I strongly urge people back in the states to look into getting involved with some local prison ministry.  You wouldn't regret it!

Well, my battery is about to die, so I better wrap this up.  Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Back Online

Well, after a month of no internet at the house, we are back on.  There has been so much that has happened since my last post that I am slightly overwhelmed by trying to take on an update for this blog.  I have one in the works, so I hope to post that sometime tomorrow.

Just know that things are going well and we are staying very, very busy!  It's been good, though.  Very good.


Thursday, November 5, 2009


Well, Roseau relatives and fellow Minnesotans, you would be pleased.  Oofta is officially a catch phrase in my class now. 
All day long I heard "Miss Ashley, oofta.  Guess which way I am using it now."  (they use is when they're hot, full, or tired.)

I have also noticed that the kids in general are starting to call me "Miss Ash" or simply just "Ashley."  Now, I don't mind that in the least, but it is very culturally important that they address all adults by Miss or Mr.  I think I have to start enforcing that in order to prevent any future problems they could have.

We also had a really good Bible study session today for A Heart Ablaze.  It really, in my opinion, was one of the "meatiest" teachings that I have heard in quite a while.  It was about God's grace...if you want to know more, shoot me an email :)

Oh, and jai ho!  Guess who got to watch Slumdog Millionare last night??? 

Have a wonderful day/night.  Blessings!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Devastating News Today...

I just found out that my favorite kid from school is moving to the capitol in January.  Suhail, how I will miss you so...

Please take a moment of silence to pay respect.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day Off and Pictures Updates

Today was such an amazingly relaxing day.  Thankfully, we were given the day off to recuperate from the busy weekend, and boy, did we take advantage of that.  I didn't even get out of my pajamas until 3:00pm, then went swimming for a couple of hours.  Oh, it was a very good day.  Bring on the rest of the week, world!  Bring it on!

I have updated a couple of my photo albums and created one for my Etsa 6 trip.  Hope you enjoy :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Etsa 6 and Bonus Suhail Quote

Hi everyone!  I am back in Maun after the weekend in Etsa 6, which is the location of one of our branch churches.  This was an incredible weekend; I would have to say that if you took skydiving out of the equation, this beats the Namibia trip.  This village is much more in line with what I think most people expected Botswana to be like; it is a small, traditional village. 

When we arrived Friday night, it was already dark.  We had been planning on taking the church tent down and setting it back up, since it was originally put up inside out, but due to the lack of light, we had to skip that part of our trip.  We arrived at the house of one of the church member's; this family has some property that they set aside for visitors to the church.  The guys slept in one room (on the cement floor in sleeping bags), while Dietra and I were fortunate enough to sleep in the girls' room on a bed.  If you had seen the the bugs that out this weekend, you would understand why this was such a huge blessing for us :)

Around 9:30p, we set off for the church to take part in all night prayer.  When you think of all night prayer services in the states, you picture about 5-10 people showing up.  We were shocked to pull up and see about 50 people (of all ages- from 4 years old to 80 years old) already singing and dancing in the tent.  This was one of the most amazing nights of my life.  It was more of a "praise and prayer" night than just a prayer night- and thank goodness, too, because, let me tell you...there is nothing more powerful that singing accapella praise and worship in the middle of a small African village all night long.  Now, I have to tell you this.  I was completely blown away by the children here.  There were kids between the ages of 5-10 that were with us all night, and they were worshipping God with such a passion that I have never in my life seen in a child before.  I was in awe, and had to stop myself from staring.  I finally learned some dance moves, too, that I can whip out in church now :).  The women in this church have absolutely beautiful voices; I want to go back to the village and record them someday.  There are two songs that have been running through my head all day and I just want to get up and dance.  I wish that you could hear them!  That night we made it until 4:30am, and then I hit my wall.  I was told that I looked like I was sleeping with my eyes open; lovely.  We went back to the house and immediately crashed.

Now, the original plan was to go out and do evangelism from 8am-12pm.  However, because the night of prayer (and praise) went until close to 7am for the church members, we didn't have a translator available until 3pm.  So, we got to sleep in and take the morning off, instead of following the Siesta schedule.  From 3:30-6pm we went throughout a section of the village that is close to the church and invited them to come and watch the Jesus Film that night; we also spent time sharing the gospel and praying with the villagers.  Now, evangelism is not my gifting, nor my calling, but I sure do appreciate and value the time that we spend doing it.  That afternoon we were chatting with 2 young women who were quite shy and didn't have much to say.  After the rest of the group left, I stayed to talk with them a little bit longer.  I asked them if they have any children, and one of the girls said "Yes, two.  Wait one.  I lost one last year."  It turns out that her one year old daughter died.  Of course that kicked the compassionate side of me into high gear, and I was able to talk and pray with her for a while.  If you think of it, pray for this girl named Unti.

Saturday night we showed the Jesus Film.  Now this was a highlight for me; I have wanted to be a part of showing the Jesus Film for as long as I can remember.  Everything for this event went so smoothly; there are dozens of things that can go wrong when you're dealing with this film, and absolutely nothing went wrong.  There were about 500 people that showed up for the movie; considering the fact that we didn't even start announcing that the movie would be showing that night until 4pm, and we only told 15 households about it, this was a great turnout.  There were 4 reels for the film, so while we were switching those out, the interns took turns sharing their testimonies.  I am finally getting used to working with a translator.  We had a fantastic woman from the church, Elizabeth, working with us all weekend.  What a might woman!  After the movie, we did and alter call and prayer for the sick, then took the equipment down and went home.  We were home and in bed by around 11pm.

Today we had church from 8-10am.  This was quite possibly my favorite church service off all time.  When we arrived, they had already started the praise and worship portion of the service- again, accapella.  There were about 12 people up at the front of the tent leading the praise; as soon as one song would end, someone would just break into another song.  It definitely isn't planned out prior to the service, either.  It's just that whatever is in their hearts gets sung.  After that was over, they opened it up for testimony and sharing time, and several congregants went up to share with us.  Then Kevin preached the sermon, then we sang one or two more songs, and then the service ended.  Afterwards, we led discipleship training for about 25 church members. 

I loved the people from this church.  They are so kind, so joyful, so friendly.  Between all night prayer, the Jesus Film, and church this morning, we spend quite a bit of time there!  I truly cannot wait to go back there sometime.  This weekend is something I wish that you could experience for yourself.  This has the potential to be a life-changing experience.

I also just want to share that we were incredibly blessed by the weather this weekend.  It was storming Friday night, but we were covered in the tent, and the cool air from the rain probably heloped to keep us awake.  It rained all of Saturday morning, when we were resting, then the rain stopped and it was a cool, cloudy day for evangelism.  The sky was completely clear, with a full moon, Saturday night.  Today is was cool and cloudy for church and when we were packing up, then the sun came out for our drive home.

Now we are home and resting.  It was a wonderful weekend, but pretty tiring!  We get take to tomorrow off to recuperate, so I will probably spend it laying by or in the pool :)

Ok, finally, what I know you are all waiting for.  The bonus Suhail quote from Friday.  I was sitting with him and another one of my faves (Kent) while they were doing their worksheets, and these boys were acting so hyper and giggly.  Since I am a kid at heart and a complete pushover, I let them goof for a while- all of a sudden I hear Suhail ask Kent, "Are you kissing Miss?  Are you kissing my girlfriend?!"

When I have some more time tomorrow, I will post more pictures from the trip, as well as more from my placement with the kids at school.  Love to all!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Busy Week and Busier Weekend Ahead!


First things first.  We still do not have internet at our houses on the plot.  It is working over at the offices, though, and the missionaries have been very generous with letting me use their offices to get online for emails and to SKYPE with Roger.  I'm very thankful :)  I am still praying that they figure out how to get it working for the rest of the plot, though!

It has been a busy, but very enjoyable week.  I don't know if I can ever say this enough: I LOVE my placement.  I have been able to get more and more involved with many more kids from the primary school, and it is such a treat.  Today, for example, I spent an hour working with the Standard 3 kids for reading, then another hour working with two students from Standard 4 on their creative stories.  Besides that, I still had 3 hours to spend with the kids in Reception and Standard 1.  On days like today, when I am gone for long periods of time, they get so excited to see me again.  "MISS ASHLEY'S BACK!!" followed by 4 or 5 group hugs can certainly raise my spirits any day :) 

I actually have to make this a very short post.  I have to run home in a moment to eat a quick dinner, and then we're off to church.  After that I am going to prepare for our trip this weekend, and then hit the sack.  We are heading out tomorrow at 2pm for Etsa 6.  This is a branch church of All Nations Village Church that is about 3 and half hours away.  I will have pictures (unless my camera gets stolen while we are there- v possible), and will tell you all about it when we get back on Sunday.  Pray for us! 

Last thing before I go...I am teaching my kids some important phrases:  "Oofta!" ("Miss Ashley, what is that word you say when it's hot?") "Okey-dokey!" (just for the little kids.  it really is so cute to hear them say it.) I am working on "It's going to be zoppity." (that's a reference to the show The Office, for those who have no idea what I am talking about.  it's not really catching on yet.)

Blessings to you all!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cobra Sightings and More from the Weekend

Well, I finally saw my first snake out here!  Unfortunately (fortunately?) it had been killed by the guards earlier that day.  It was a spitting cobra!  It was well over 5 feet long- probably close to 6 feet.


So, yeah, these guys are on our property.  You better believe that Dietra and I have been wearing boots ever since we saw this guy.

Yesterday (Saturday) we spent our morning doing prison ministry.  This is one of my favorite forms of ministry that we do out here.  The men are so sincere and so sweet.  We all love it.  Even when the internship portion of my time out here is completed, I plan on continuing with this ministry. 

In the afternoon we participated in evangelism ministry for the first time.  This is something that is definitely not my calling or my gifting, but it was a wonderful and amazing experience, and very helpful training for next weekend's trip to Etsa 6 (the branch church).  Four people came to the Lord!  We saw 3 of them in church today- we hope to see all four of them next week (well, actually in 2 weeks, since next week we are out of town).

Ok, my battery is about to die.  Working on your computer in a restaurant isn't ideal, but boy, am I thrilled to have this option.  I hope you're all doing well!  Pray for this dang internet to get fixed on our plot!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oh, Africa's Internet..How I Loathe You.

Hello!  Well, as you can probably tell since I haven't updated my blog for a while, we have been without internet again for almost a week.  We are still without it on the plot, but today I finally had the opportunity to go into town to at least check emails for a bit.  I am sitting in a restaurant that has free wireless and am almost shaking with excitement.  It's tough to have no communication with people back home.  My housemates can attest that I have been a little bit irritable this week. I think that the most commonly used sentence out of my mouth this week has been "I just want to email my husband!"  Needless to say, I am very happy to be online right now. 

This past week has been so much fun, work and ministry wise.  Monday-Wednesday I was the substitute teacher for the Standard 4 class.  I was a little nervous about it, because I had been warned that this class kind of had a reputation for being difficult.  While they were a little bit on the noisy side, they were absolutely fanstastic kids.  Very respectful, very helpful, and really quite funny.  It's a small class, with only 9 kids.  The first day I was getting a bit frustrated because they were very loud and had trouble paying attention (and we had some issues with swearing that day).  The next day, though, they really stepped it up.  I enjoyed actually teaching instead of just playing and working on art projects all day.  I told their teacher that I would be glad to help out again if she ever needs it, and so we're already set for next month when she has to leave again.  The boys made me chuckle.  Every day when they were leaving, I would give them high-fives.  I think that the boys are going through puberty, though...the girls would give me the high-fives and leave, but all the boys wanted hugs.  That class really is quite sweet, though.  I am looking forward to working with them again.
I was so happy to get back to my class on Thursday.  The first thing that was said to me when I walked into the classroom was "Miss Ashley, I am so happy to see that you are back here with us today.  I missed you."  :)  Yep, that's an exact quote from a 5 year old.  Too sweet, right?  Ok, so many funny things have happened that I am just going to list a couple of them. 
  • The other day, we were watching the last 30 minutes 101 Dalmations. All of the kids were really getting into it and were getting nervous when they thought that Cruella Deville was going to catch the puppies again.  Suhail (who is definitely one of my favorite kids in the universe) was sitting on my lap and suddenly screams out "RUN FOR YOUR LIIIIIIIFE!!"
  • I went to go read with the Standard 2 kids for a while, and when I came back we were watching the last bit of Lion King (I swear, we don't normally watch movies in class...this is the 2nd day since I've been here that we have done a movie).  I've been wanting to watch this movie since we've been out here, so of course I get completely pumped up and start singing along to "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" then quoting all the lines of the movie.  Luckily the kids didn't get annoyed with me, and in fact, many of them loved that I was doing it.  At the end of the movie, (Suhail was sitting on my lap again) when Rafiki lifts up Simba's son, I lifted Suahil above my head and say "Liooooon Kiiiiing" (yes, I have been wanting to do something like that for a very long time).  I almost dropped him, though, because he was giggling so much that he almost squirmed out of my hands.
  • We are teaching manners to the little kids, and when I asked Suhail what you say when you want something, he responds with "Tuesday." 
  • Little Darren (another one of my favorites- let's face it, I have about 15 favorites) winked at me.  This boy is 3 years old and weighs roughly 5oz. (yep, Aaron, I am sticking with that number).  I almost fell over from laughing so hard.  Something that is just so adorable about young boys with crushes is that they don't even try to hide it.  I have caught so many of the kids (in both reception and Standard 4) just staring at me with a dreamy smile on their faces and I have even heard a few sigh.  It cracks me up.
  • I was crouching on the floor in the classroom the other day to put something in someone's backpack, and two of the kids came up to me whisper in my ears (both at the same time.  I wanted to smack them away).  They left, and within half a second I heard someone else in my ear whispering "same same same same same."  I looked up over and it was Darren.  He's on this huge kick right now of loving things that come in pairs, and he starts singing a song he made up that is just the word "Same" over and over again.
  • The other day, the little kids were using worksheets to practice telling time, and while I was talking with one of the girls (Mmapula), another one (Jua) came up to me and asked if I could help her with the worksheet.  Mmapula goes "Oh, that is so easy; even a four-year old could do it."  I told Jua that, yes, in a moment I would help her.  She walked away and Mmapula looks at me and says "No, but seriously, can you help me with it?"

Friday, October 16, 2009

Aaaaaaand We're Back!

Internet!  Water!  Power!  We have it all!!!!  These past two weeks seem to have been times of trial and testing for everyone here on the plot.  Consider yourself blessed beyond all measures that you can walk over to the faucet and turn on water; you can keep your house/office at a comfortable setting; you can easily communicate with pretty much anyone you want to.  We are constantly being reminded to not take the little things for granted.  As soon as our water came back, the internet went down.  Power is pretty hit or miss here these days, which isn't a huge deal, but it gets so hot!  We need our fans!  Fortunately, that doesn't ever last too long (except one circumstance when it was out an entire day).

Things are going well out here.  I am still just adoring my placement (working with the little kids every morning).  We have swimming class every Wednesday, and two of the little boys were terrified this week.  They were actually in tears and saying they wanted to go home, so I worked individually with them while Mr. Tsepo worked with the rest of the class.  After a while, little Darren (while swimming on my back) suddenly yells out "I'm number one!"  He LOVED it.  He also let out a bunch of "woo hoo!"s and "Miss Ashley, I LIKE THIS!!"  Afiwa ended up enjoying it too, and the next day they were both asking if they could go swimming again. So cute :)

Today is the presidential election day, so it's a national holiday.  I was so excited to finally sleep in for once (maybe, just maybe until 8am), but of course I was awake before 6am.  I made our housemate Keturah work out with me, since that poor girl woke up at 5:30am.  She's leaving to head back to the states on Sunday...we're going to miss her! 

I've been blessed with the opportunity to use a nice pool to relax in during the hot, hot afternoons this week.  What a treat that is!  It feels like an oasis back there.  Amazing.

Oh, good news.  Dietra and I now have new beds with mosquito nets.  No more restless nights, no more worrying about what kinds of bugs are going to get you...fantastic :)

please don't mind the mess...we just took the room apart to get the beds in there.  Theresa says that our new beds are princess-like..I say that you have to do covert operations to get out of bed. 

Ok, off to eat dinner and then head out to Fire By Night!  It's a good day, people.  A good day.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The kids!

I brought my camera to work with me this morning, and took it out during break time.  The kids came flying; they LOVE getting their picture taken.  It was a fun way to spend almost an hour today :)

Here is the link to my pictures. Enjoy!

Today I also found out that I am going to be the sub teacher for the Standard 4 class on Wednesday and Thursday this week.  I'm looking forward to that!  I haven't really spent any time with those kids, so I am looking forward to getting to know them a bit better.

Yesterday we worked in children's church and then participated in discipleship training; I sure do enjoy that.  Last night we went over to Kevin and Sarah's for dinner, then played Friends Scene It :)  I was smack talking prior to the game quite a bit, and I am proud to say that I delivered.  Well, I am off to Audi Camp with Andrea and Theresa to get some coffee!  First real coffee treat in Bots!  So excited!!

Kids' quote of the day (Brittnie Homstad, this is for you): "Are you silly?"