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 to...it 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.