Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Better Day and Pics are Up

Hi all!

Apparently a good night of sleep, a great church service, a discipleship opportunity, and an ice cream cone can really change one's mood.

I am doing so much better today than I had been the last few days. I bet that a few of you back home were praying for me, so thanks for that :)

I put together a picture album from our day at Mma Sibongile's house. Check it out here

I also updated my general pictures- you can check that out here


We get to go to Namibia this week! I forgot about that! We leave Wednesday (13 hour drive with the 5 of us in a Corolla- yikes!) and come back on Saturday. We get to play in the ocean and go 4 wheeling in the dunes. It's gonna be a great week :) :) :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Still Alive...

Hello! I am going to preface this entry by saying that I am still glad to be in Africa. There.

We have been working 12-15 hour days all week, and that is going to continue. Exhausted may be too light a term to describe our energy level. Our day off should be in quotations, because we only get about 3 hours of free time in between all of the other lessons and ministry placements, and that stays full with cooking and laundry. Oh well. We only live once, right?

On to the good news! I have officially been placed with reception! Those are my little kids :) I LOVE them. LOVE. Our placements last from 8am (sometimes 7am for me) to 1pm. A couple of times a week I get to go swimming with my kids and the 2nd graders, so that will feel great when the summer weather starts up. They might still need me to help with some communications stuff, but I honestly don't know how that could fit into my schedule. No clue.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Camping Story Update!

Turns out that my "overactive imagination" was a reality. In case you didn't get a chance to read my camping story, click here. I have told quite a few of the missionaries around here about what I saw, and every single one of them said that it's very likely it could have happened.

Sarah had discovered that the lock on the gate to our campgrounds had been tampered with between 4:00 (when she left to run into town) and 5:30 (when she returned). And I just found out tonight that there were 3 people spotted on our campground that night who weren't supposed to be there. Beyond that, just in general, people are saying that it is very likely that girl was there and was probably just curious about the campers.

Creepiest thing ever. For real, I woke up at 3am to a stranger staring at me through my tent window, then silently walking away. Horror movie plot right there, folks.

Also!! I could tell you exactly what this girl looked like and what she was wearing, down to her shirt and necklace. Two days later, we were grocery shopping and a man walked by wearing the shirt I had seen on this girl. I kind of flipped out, and that was when I still thought it had just been a figment of my imagination.

Gah. I'm just thankful that I am not living in the bush. I think after that night I would have trouble ever sleeping again.

It's Not Thursday Yet??

I'm telling ya'll, every day here is so jam packed with activity that every day feels like 2 days. On the one hand, we feel like we've been here for a couple of months, but on the other hand we can't believe we have been here for over 3 weeks already. It's weird. It really does feel like it's Thursday, though, and it's throwing a bunch of us off.

Today was another good day. I didn't get much sleep last night, so I had kind of a short fuse when I was working with the little kids, but they didn't seem to notice. I really was so happy to be back with the young kids. However, I wasn't thrilled that I couldn't take 2 steps without getting jumped by 6 kids all wanting to hug me, leaving the ones who couldn't reach me in tears. I love getting love from these kids, but a girl needs to be able to walk from one side of the room to the other! We had a lot of fun on the playground today- no huge fights over waiting in line for the swing! Progress!!

Also such a blast? We went swimming :) I was able to help teach 25 3-6 year olds how to swim. In Maun, Botswana. Sometimes I still can't believe that I am really doing this. What a blessing to be out here!!

After my morning placement, we went to the local (brand new) hospital to do ministry with the children in pediatrics. That was an interesting experience...many of the moms didn't speak much English, and most of the kids were between 5 months and 3 years old. We brought a bunch of stickers for the kids, and the moms were thrilled; they were so happy to put them on their babies' heads and their own arms. It was cute. I had a great chat with the mother of a 5-month old who was in to get surgery for a growth in his leg. Also saw a 6 month old with a broken arm. Such a sad sight, but these babies were so happy and wouldn't stop smiling and giggling. I was really glad that 5 month old didn't have any teethe yet, because he kept grabbing my finger, stuffing it in his mouth and chomping down. That could have hurt! I am looking forward to continuing this ministry- we're going to go every week from now on. Hopefully I wont have many more experiences of hearing children scream in agony; that was heartbreaking.

After that, we had a photography class with Matt (the Children's Pastor who is v passionate about this). We're going to have quite a few classes with him, so hopefully my pictures will get better and better each week :)

Tonight I went out for pizza and ice cream with Jacob. Talk about a treat...that was amazing. Now me the roomies and I are all enjoying a night off and just chilling on our computers. It's been a great day. I don't have a clue what tomorrow will bring- I don't even know yet where I am going for my morning placement. I hope to hear something on that within the hour...

Anyway, that's all for today! Hope you're all doing well. Please shoot me a note from time to time. It's wonderful to hear from people back home.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Kind of Calm Day

Howdy! I am currently sitting in an air conditioned house, babysitting with the other interns and watching Friends. It's the next best thing to actually having a night off. Turns out that I was overly excited about getting Monday-Wednesday nights off and that doesn't really happen. Tuesdays are babysitting nights every week. Oh well.

Today Brad and I shadowed Jana for her Bible Class. We got to teach two classes, for the equivalent to 7th and 8th graders here. It was actually pretty cool; they have memory verses that they work with for each class, and today's was John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
When we were meeting with Jana before class, she told us that she'd like us to give a personal story of what this verse means to us. Without meaning to, my eyes started watering immediately- Jon was the first thing that came to mind. So, I got to share Jon's story with 2 classes of kids in cool is that? The Lord is good, amen?

After classes were over, I went with Jacob and Pastor Jerry to visit the place Jacob is considering buying. That was fun! I got to play with some dogs that are just like 'the Beast' from Sandlot. They were the sweetest, gentlest dogs, but they are so big that they kept knocking me over! I also fell in love with the cottage, where I would hopefully be staying once they move out, just a heads up, Jacob and Kelly...I have my heart set on it :)

After we came back from there, I had 5 minutes to eat lunch and then we worked on quickly trading our awful, awful washing machine (it's insanely loud, takes 2 1/2 hours to do one load of laundry, and you can only fit about 5 articles of clothing in it) for one from the old boarding house. After that, we ran to have a donor development meeting with Jana, then we finally got a break for the day around 4:30.

At 7pm, we headed over to Kevin and Sarah's to babysit for the kids again while the missionaries have their prayer time. I am definitely ready for a 9pm bedtime...we'll see if it happens.

Tomorrow is going to be AWESOME. I am working with Reception again (the little kids), and we have swimming class (I get to help), then off for our first day of hospital ministry, then we have a digital camera class that one of the missionaries is going to teach :) Should be an exhausting but amazing day. I'll let you know if it turns out that way!

Love to all.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Staying Busy, Busy, Busy!

Hello and happy Monday to you! We are staying incredibly busy, which means that I have tons to write about with no time to actually do it. So this blog entry is going to be a little bit of catch-up.

Last Thursday we spent the entire day preparing for the camping trip. That meant we spent 3 hours in the hot African sun putting up and taking down dozens of tents from the past 10 years that LB has accumulated in order to find 2 working tents. Then we spent a couple of hours gathering supplies and grocery shopping, then got a quick lunch break. After lunch, we learned how to chop wood. It's much different here than in America. They call it "iron wood" because it is actually impossible to chop the way we are used breaks the axe heads right off. So, you actually have to straddle the wood and chop it lengthwise the whole way down. Now I officially know how to chop wood in Africa. I am also no longer allowed to call myself "accident prone" and the interns are supposed to call me out if I ever say that again. So, I am working on that. Of course, though, the axe head slipped down as I was lifting it over my head. Luckily it went slowly enough that I realized what was happening and could move it away from my head. Classic. Also, Dietra and I for some reason figured we wouldn't be a part of that lesson and wore flip flops to the meeting...then got lectured for it later.

Let's see...Friday we left to go camping. We stayed at some property that was donated to LB, and it's about 30 mins away from where we live. The first things we saw when we got to the gate were ostriches (HUGE!) and some monkeys. We weren't even inside yet and I had my monkey sighting :) I was so happy. Once we drove onto the property, we were able to see a herd of 7 giraffes, including a baby one who is about 3 months old. Yep, I was in heaven.

We set up camp and had lunch, then were able to just wander the camp grounds for a while. Loved it. Saw some cool animals and beautiful scenery, went for a two hour walk, then just chilled. We've been going at such a hectic and non-stop pace that it's been really difficult to ever just sit back and appreciate what's going on. The camping trip was a great opportunity to do that. We cooked our dinner over the fire, then just hung out until it was dark enough to enjoy making s'mores (some more of what? I haven't had anything yet, so how can i have some more of nothing?). Jacob was staying at the Tree Lodge (the resort on site), so he and Mason (the directors' 12 year old son) came and hung with us until about 11pm. What a great night :)

Sleep, on the other hand...not so great. If you don't know what I mean, read my previous post. Next day was great. We went on a guided walk, so saw lots of the cool animals (kudus, springboks, elands, impalas, monkeys, ostriches, kudus, etc). I was way bummed, because we didn't get to see the hippos. I guess there are 2 hippos that live in the river right there. Also, there's a croc living in the river, too. I was disappointed to not see that one either.

After lunch, we drove around for a random search for zebras and giraffes. We couldn't find the zebras (although we did find fresh droppings), but we suddenly came across the giraffes. Because I am like a 3 year old, I jumped out of the car and approached the nearest one. He and I stared each other down for a good 5 minutes, and he let me get pretty close! Then the other car showed up and scared him off :(

After that, we went back to the campsite to pack up and then had an impromptu self defense lesson after Kevin kicked me in the face. It felt great to whip his arm behind his back and make him drop to his knees after that.

I cannot for the life of me remember what we did Saturday night after we got back to our house. Honestly, no clue.

Sunday! We helped out in Children's Church, and I was helping with 36 preschoolers. Church lasted 3 hours that day. Needless to say, it was rough. I loved working w the kids, but for the last 45 minutes of our time with them, my role switched to prison guard as I was chasing down the escapees. My favorite part of working with the kids? Being called "Teacha!" "Teacha, I have to use the toilet!" "Teacha, look (pronounced 'luke') at my picture!" "Teacha, I need some water!" "Teacha, what is your surname?" "Teacha, do you have a spider at home?" I LOVED these kids, but man, did they wear me out fast. After the service finally ended, we met with one of the leaders of the church to learn about the discipleship program they run there; that's going to be one of our ministry opportunities. We'll learn more in the coming weeks, but it should be a good experience.

Oh, forgot to mention this. The power went out all over Botswana around 3am Sunday. Not easy to deal with here! It was hot and dusty, but actually the afternoon was very peaceful. We got home around 2:30 or 3:00 and were able to just crash and read for a couple of hours until dinner time. Power came back on around 6 or 7pm, flickered throughout the night a few more times, then stayed on. Hurray! We went to Kevin and Sarah's for dinner, and Jacob joined us, which was v fun. We ended up staying there until 11pm, though, because we needed to have meetings to discuss our placements. I'll keep you posted on what happens with it.

Today was great. I worked with reception, which is actually the preschool and first graders. The principal at the school is working hard to find something that would work well for me as a placement, and I think we've found it. If all goes according to plan, I will be doing the work of both reception and the reader- so helping the little kids most of the day, as well as helping all through students through 6th grade with their reading. Plus, I would help the 1st and 3rd graders twice a week when they go swimming :) Yep, it's a good spot for me. Hopefully I will know by tomorrow night whether or not that will be my placement. I love the kids. As I was walking them out to the bus, they were all trying to out compliment each other. Exact exchange:

"Miss Ashley, I like your bag." "Miss Ashley, I like your bag and hair." "Miss Ashley, I like your bag, your hair, and your hands." "Miss Ashley, I like your bag, your hair, your hands and your glasses." "Miss Ashley, I like your bag, your hair, your hands, your glasses, and your shirt." "Miss Ashley, I like your bag, your hair, your hands, your glasses, your shirt and your trousers."

Yep, I let it go that far. I need love, people. I need love. I get a million hugs and kids wanting to sit on my lap and hold my hands all day long. This is a great spot for me, and I hope it sticks.

We are heading to bed- the entire house is silent at 9:30pm. Like I said, we are staying busy.

Hope you're all doing well, and thanks for reading this monstrous post. Camping pics are posted here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Quick Camping Story

First of all, camping was amazing, and I survived. Great news there alone.

HOWEVER, I do have one quick, really creepy story from last night:

We went to bed around midnight last night, and I slept peacefully until 3am. I woke up with a start, and immediately looked out the window and saw a girl standing at our tent staring in at me. She looked at me for about 15 seconds and then walked away. I nearly died out of fright. I told myself it was just my imagination over and over and over again, but was so freaked out that I actually pulled my sleeping bag over my head and almost started crying. I was praying that the Lord take that fear away and give me peace, because I really wanted to believe that it was just my imagination. However, I kept hearing footsteps crunching outside the tent and couldn't calm myself down, so I reached for my ipod in order to drown out the noise of the footsteps. when i did, i knocked my book off my backpack and it hit Dietra in the head. Fortunately, turned out that she was awake too. She woke up with a start just a few mins after me with the thought "snakes! there could be snakes!" running through her head. I told her about what I was freaked out about, so we just laughed at each other's fears and she went back to sleep. I couldn't though...I was afraid there was a slight chance that chick I saw was real and that she might be there to rob us or something. I ended up eventually falling back asleep, only able to do that that through listening to the ipod and laying with the sleeping bag over my head. I really don't know if I have ever been that scared in my life. I was almost in tears. When I woke up, I was laughing about the night until Kevin and Keturah (the missionaries here) told me that it really could have happened, and I maybe really did see someone.
Still shuddering.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Going Camping!!

Heading out the door in 3 minutes to go camping at the Tree Lodge. Our internet has been down, so I haven't had time to update anything. I'll work on that when we get back to LBOM tomorrow night.

I get to see giraffes today!!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Day of Ups and Downs

Well, it's 5pm here, and I just got done working out with one of the interns. I'm teaching him yoga (ha!) and he's going to help me become a runner. That part will take place in the mornings when it's cool. The yoga is a good de-stresser, so that's nice to do when we have our one hour breaks (when we actually get those) in the afternoons.

This morning I shadowed the assistant to the director of LB. This was a placement I have 0 interest in doing- I mean that's something I could do and have done in the states, and I am ready for bigger and better things. It really was tough to make it through the shift, though, and it was only 4 hours compared to yesterday's 6 hour shift!
This afternoon was pretty great, though. We met with the children's pastors, Matt and Kelly Clayton. They're a young couple who came to LB right after they got married back in January. They are also currently serving as the youth pastors and as teachers at OIS. They really have their hands full right now. We spent 2 hours with them, which none of us were looking forward to, but it turned out that was the best thing we could have done today. We are starting to get a little burned out already, because they are really keeping us busy at a pace that we're not going to be able to maintain. Right before the meeting with the Claytons, we were complaining about the lack of rest time that they are giving us, and that most days we're going from 7am until around 8 or 9pm, with just a few minutes here and a few minutes there off as "rest time." Matt and Kelly told us one of the biggest things we can do is to set boundaries...if we can't keep up that pace, we have to speak up. They also said the biggest piece of advice they could possibly give us is to pray more than we ever have before. Matt said that probably 12 times. PRAY. Dive into Scripture. Pray, pray pray. We need it here (almost) more than any other times in our lives. I say almost, because I can't imagine needing it more than I did the year after Jon died. It was great, though, to get the feedback and insight they gave us. Also, they said they could definitely use more help in children's church on Sundays. They had 170 kids show up to last Sunday's service! So, we're all going to get a chance to help in that aspect. I'm super pumped :)

Tonight we are heading over to babysit for the missionaries' kids. They normally have prayer time from 7-9, but a member of the congregation that everyone was close with died suddenly yesterday. There is a prayer service for his family that starts at 6pm, then they are heading over to their normal prayer. So, we are babysitting for 3 kids and 2 babies for about 3 hours. To be honest, we all just would love to actually have a night off. Oh well. Not gonna happen tonight...maybe someday.

Other than that, things are fine. We're spending tomorrow morning working to organize clothes and cribs and baby proof the "baby house." Should be a pretty simple day. I am very excited that my cousin Jacob is coming out tomorrow, though! Can't wait to see ya, Jacob!

Love to all.

Monday, September 14, 2009

First Placement Shadowing and More

Hey all. I'm gonna make this short and sweet, since I need to head to bed in a few minutes.
Sunday was supposed to be rest day. That meant we got approx. 2 hours of free time. Church was amazing. It's something I will look forward to every week, actually. It lasts anywhere between 2 and 3 hours; yesterday it was 2 1/2 hours long. Lots of worship (most of it was in Setswana), a great sermon by Pastor Jerry, and a lot of love from the congregation. Hugs everywhere! I loved it. We wanted to go out for lunch afterwards but quickly discovered that would consume 1/2 of our food budget for the entire week, so we went grocery shopping instead. Oofta, that's going to be a project every week.

Today was our first day in placement shadowing. I was designated to be the Reader and was supposed to help the kids ages 7-12 with reading. Unfortunately, I spent the majority of my time in the library fixing books. I was able to get a lot of time in with the 7 year olds, but definitely not enough personal interaction for what I need. I LOVE the kids at OIS, though. Love them. They just adore having interns around, so I couldn't walk more than 5 feet before feeling someone wrap their arms around my waist or grab my hands. At one point, I had 5 different kids holding onto me while we were walking to the playground. Oh, the playground. I loved the playground. Spent the entire break (30 mins) pushing kids on the swings. The little kids (ages 3-5) were out there the same time as my 7 yr-olds, and they would just come running up to me asking for hugs or to be held. The girls were swinging and playing jump rope while the boys were wrestling behind me. All of a sudden I felt someone hug my waist from behind, so I turned around and it was one of the boys. He was excited to show me his scars, so then all the boys came over to show me theirs as well. I love kids. They crack me up. I don't think I want my permanent placement to be in this position, but I don't want to lose connection with the children. We'll see what happens. I overheard my kids saying that they needed to be really nice to me so that I would stay, then (actual quote from one of the Indian children) "Let us give her some of our food so that she feels welcome. That will help!" Then he gave me his pretzel, a girl gave me her orange, and another girl gave me some gum. Again, I love these kids.

Tonight we had dinner over at Miss Pat's house. So much good food. We all overate and now all feel sick. It was the best meal we've had so far, in my opinion.

Well, tomorrow is another long day. I think I've had an hour of free time total since I got up at 5:30am. Gotta get good sleep tonight.

I will definitely take pictures with the children, but today wasn't an appropriate time to do so. When it is, I will post ASAP. Batswana kids are pretty much the cutest ones alive. For real. Oh, cute story. I was saying "howdy" to a few of the kids until I noticed that they were responding with "I'm fine, thank you, how are you?" I then explained that howdy is another way to say hello, and little Thotha looked at me carefully..."oh, ok. (smile) How do YOU say 'thank you'?"
So cute!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturdays are not relaxing.

Hi all! Well, I left home a week ago today- just realized that as I'm typing this. It seriously feels like I have been out here for close to three weeks; we are just staying so busy. It's great that our schedules are so full, but we are all thrilled to have Sunday as a rest day (after church, of course).

Ok, so last night's Fire By Night (not Friday Night Fire, like I was referring to it before...looks like Teen Challenge is still stuck in me) was amazing. It was the soft kickoff for their third term- kind of like what youth group is like coming back from summer vacation. Next week is the big event. Before the service started, I spent 20 minutes talking to 3 girls who are boarders at the school. Wait, let me back up. FNF is the youth night for the All Nations Village Church; they bus the kids who board at the Okovango International School (OIS) over and then head into town to pick up the local teens as well. So before the service started I was able to talk to 3 girls who are boarders at OIS. That was really fun. They had a few questions about what MN is like, but mostly they were asking all about my husband. Girls are girls, right? :)

There were about 175 teens from the area that were at the service, and they sure had fun. Lots of energy, lots of dancing. There are two young missionaries on staff here, Matt and Kelly Clayton, who are currently serving as both the children and youth pastors. They do a great job with the kids. The service started off with a dance-off between the teens and they had to work their way up to dancing against Matt. The prize was 50P, which is a pretty decent chunk of money for these kids. It was funny to watch- I was glad that we had been warned earlier that day by Zhie about how people dance in church; I was still thrown off by their hip thrusts.

It was very cool to participate in praise and worship with these kids. I just stepped back and thought "is this really happening? Am I really at a youth service praising God in Africa with Batswana teens??" Pretty cool, people. Pretty cool.

Afterwards I was exhausted and was asleep by 10:30p. Unfortnately, my body is still getting used to all of this, and I was awake by 4:30. By 10am we were starting our work projects, and stuck with it until 3pm. I can now run a circular saw and fix porches! Also, we worked on putting up screens at the house. Let me tell you- this is not a nice, simple 2 minute job. Nope. We have a roll of wire screen that we need to measure and cut, then staple it to the pane, then pull and tighten and staple some more, then cut a spot so that we can open the window, then create a velcro thingamajig to cover it when the window is open, etc. I will take a pic sometime when I think of it and then I'll post it so you know what I'm talking about. All I know is that it took a lot of time and our hands were completely cut up afterwards. But, the screens are up! That's what matters.

We then went over to the directors' house to make and eat dinner and then hang out at the firepit. That was a nice evening.

Well, that was my Saturday! I hope most are not like this. We need more rest time! Hope you're all doing great!

Friday, September 11, 2009

And it got real...

I am still internalizing today's events. Today was amazing, yet very sobering. I've been trying to think of how to explain what I saw and how I feel about it all, and without pictures I don't think I can quite get the message across. I'll do my best, though.

Today was the first day that I was glad I committed to staying in Africa for seven months. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, today was our culture study day. One of the nationals on staff, Zhie, took us around town and explained the history and some of the culture of Botswana. Part of that included going on some home visits to people that Love Botswana's ministry Mercy Ministries helps out. These are poor families that are infected with HIV/Aids.

Our first stop was just down the road from Love Botswana, about 2 miles away. We were visiting a young single mother who had two children, ages 2 and 4. The 2 year old looked to actually be closer to 6 months old. She was that malnourished. The mother is working on building a new house, because her old one was washed away by rain. Her materials? Clay (that she digs from the earth herself) and pop cans. We saw what she has been able to start, and she has a long way to go. We are working on collecting cans for her, since they can be hard to come by, and then hope to go over and help her build once we have some free time. It shouldn't take too crazy's only about 15 square feet.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Stick Shifts and Safety Belts...

Well today was the big day! I learned how to drive a stick shift in Africa! Beat that. I was the only one in the group who had never driven stick shift before, so I was really nervous, but it went really well. It's very fun! I'm going to have a few more practice sessions before I am ready to really take on the African roads, but I think I'll be just fine. We drive on the opposite side of the road here, which I am guessing you can tell from this picture...
Anyway, the training we all went through for the driving took up most of our morning, and then we had our first work project day. We're going to be fixing up our house quite a bit over the next few months. First step: fixing the front door. We changed the 3 locks, which normally should have taken us about 10 minutes, but because of our lack of tools it took an hour. Oy. Patience. I am learning patience. Dietra and I also have a screen on our window now! We can sleep with our window open tonight...this is pretty exciting. It's nice to be the girl sometimes, because then we get stuff before the guys :)
Tonight we went to our first church service at All Nations Village Church, which is the Love Botswana church. I'll take pictures of that place sometime. It was pretty cool to have praise and worship and a Bible study with the Batswana.
Tomorrow we get to have our culture study day! One of the nationals on staff, Zhie, is going to take us around town and to some special restaurants and museums, etc. so that we have a better understanding of the history and culture of Maun. We're all really excited for it. That's supposed to last 6 hours, but at the pace things go around here, it will probably take closer to 8.

Oh, some people have asked about what would be a good time to call. While I'm in orientation, I would say call between 8:00-11:00p (Botswana time, which is 7 hours ahead of CST). After orientation is up, I think that between 6:00-10:00 would be better. Also, one more care package request: liquid hand soap. It is too expensive here!! And, if you are feeling compassionate, we need some tennis balls to cut in half. The roommates have discovered that we need to "Ashley proof" the house, and that includes covering the sharp edges of our spiral staircase.
I posted some more pictures! Hope you're all doing well.

Pictures are up!

I don't have many pictures yet, but I've taken a few and posted them here. Here's a little taste of what's to come (my home!):

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Got a Cell Phone and Other "Exciting" Things

Good, busy, busy, busy day. For some reason, it took me forever to fall asleep last night, so I am going off of about 4 hours of sleep. Praying that won't happen again tonight, or ever while I'm in Africa. However, I survived the day! Hallelujah! Really, it was a good day.

We are starting a bible study based on John Bevere's workshop A Heart Ablaze. I've never read the book, but so far it seems that it's going to be a pretty sweet study. I think its theme is based on Moses and the burning bush. Looking forward to seeing how it influences me!

What else did we do today? Let's see...we went into town for the first time since the airport. Lots of donkeys, goats and cattle roaming the streets. My favorite thing that I saw was a small herd of donkeys wait at an intersection for traffic to pass, then crossed the road. It looked like a group of pedestrians. Too cute. Also too cute? The children in this town!!! We saw lots of toddlers and babies at the marketplace and in the grocery stores. I really wish that there was a cultural custom that would make it ok for me to just pick up any child I see and carry him/her for as long as I wanted to. Seriously, I haven't even had contact with the kids here and I'm ready to adopt. Heads up, Rog.

I have a Botswana cell phone now! It would cost me close to $2 per minute to call home, but incoming calls are free :) (hint: please call me.) I can also text for about .15 to the US, so I can text from time to time. My number is 011-267-75248055 (the 011-267 is our country code or something like that)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 2

Ok, it's 8pm here and we are happy to be all sitting on our computers in the kitchen. These are long days, but Kevin and Sarah (our internship directors) told us that once we move into the regular schedule (about 2 or 3 weeks from now), things will slow down to a pace that is more managable.

Well, today was pretty cool. It's still just straight up orientation, but we got the tour of the mission. The tour was supposed to last 45 minutes, but it took 2 hours (keep in mind, it's a walking tour in the desert in the middle of the day). I can't believe how gorgeous this place is. When the directors started Love Botswana, they really had a vision for what they wanted it to be; and boy howdy, they have followed through. My jaw dropped when I went into the dorms that they have available for boys that are going to their Okavango International School. It's nicer than what's back home! I was so happy for the kids. It houses about 32 of them. The school is gorgeous, too. The theme of it is designed after the Kingdom Hotel in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. They found out who did the welding of that hotel and asked him to do the work for the school- and he did. He ended up becoming a Christian while working on that project, and he is still working for Love Botswana today (6 years later). He really is a master welder. Pics to come; I promise :)

I found out today that we have a couple of fun trips ahead. Next weekend we are going bush camping (pray for my survival, please), and at the end of the month we are going to Namibia for 4 days. That's going to be our "adventure trip." I don't even know what that means, but I'm pumped.

We are learning recipes from the different missionaries here so that we can cook for ourselves from now on. Tonight we made beer batter bread and chicken chile. We're all pretty proud :)

Tomorrow we get to go to town for the first time. That should be an adventure! Hope you're all doing well.
Oh! We had our first African bug encounter in the house today. No worries- Josiah killed it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I stand corrected.

Boob. I am up to Dirk Nowitzki's boob.

We Made It!

Well, after about 48 hours of travel, we made it to Maun, Botswana. I've gotten approximately 7 hours of sleep total in those 48 hours, so I am going to hit the sack immediately. Gotta get up early for morning devos and then begin a 13 hour day. Oy.

Love Africa, though. Very excited and happy (and overwhelmed and scared) about everything here. I've taken some fun pics and will post some within the next few days.

If you want to know more about the organization I am here with and what I am going to be doing, head over here. I'm looking forward to telling you more! Oh, and I learned that I need to be on the lookout for the black mambas. Apparently those suckers will attack unprovoked.

Also: I met Dirk Nowitzki at the airport in Johannesburg this morning- he was on my flight to Maun to go on a safari. He promised me this wasn't a safari that you shoot animals on, but the other interns think he was just saying that so I wouldn't get sad. I like to think he was telling the truth. I'll post a pic later that I took with him...I am maybe up to his bellybutton?

My possible highlight of the day: listening to the Lion King soundtrack on repeat my entire flight to Maun without taking my eyes off the land. I LOVE AFRICA!

Ok, off to bed!