Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quote of the Day

I was walking with Mason this morning and said "I'm hungry.  I shouldn't be, because I had 2 eggs and about a thousand M&M's for breakfast."
Mason's response? "I can tell."

And then somehow he ended up face planted in some bushes.  Not sure how that happened.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Eating the Worms

video

Cultural Day with the Interns

One of my favorite days I had as an intern was our cultural day (you can read about it here).  We went and visited clients of Mercy Ministries (a department of LBOM), we visited the kgosi (the chief), we had a traditional lunch, visited the museum, and went for a walk.  Today was the day my interns got to do their cultural day!

It definitely went differently this time around.  Our first stop was the kgosi; however, due to a death in the family, he couldn't be there, so we rescheduled that for tomorrow.  After that, we went to the museum, and then went to lunch.  The girls loved the traditional food (seswaa, pap, semp and beans)...and then it was time for the mopane worms.  It seems that the people of Maun are pretty divided on these things.  Some people love them and eat them like chips...other people just hate them.  Mopane worms weren't around when we were interns, so I'm glad to have the chance to at least try them this time around.





It was not good.

Heather and I really struggled with keeping the worm down...I almost threw up several times.  At least I can now say that I have done it!  To be honest, the taste wasn't bad.  It was the texture- way too chewy!

After we finished eating worms (actually they're caterpillars- and quite beautiful when they're alive), we ran back to the plot to change into our swimsuits, and headed to the river.  This was my first opportunity I have had out here to go into the river, which is actually a trickle down part of the  Okavango Delta.  We were able to take a ride in a mokoro, which is a thin, dug-out canoe.


Omogolo, our guide and newfound friend for life (or the rest of the time we're in Bots), took us out 4 at a time.  While we were waiting for the first group to come back, Zhie and I went for a swim, and she made necklaces out of the water lilies; pretty cool!




After our time in the Delta, we stopped at the Backpacker's Lodge for some drinks and then headed back to the plot.  We got home around 4:45; busy day, but so great!  Had a blast with Zhie and the interns.  Tomorrow morning we are taking off bright and early to head back to the kgotli to meet with the kgosi. Should be a great day!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Psalm 4:8

Two hours ago I wrote a post that started out by saying it was a calm day.  I kid you not, less than 5 minutes after I posted that, I got a call saying that no one could leave their homes and we need to lock up and set the alarms.  Thieves were on the property.  

After about an hour and a half or so, we got word that the wannabe thieves were caught a couple of miles away, along with bags of cement from our construction site at the Lorato House of Love (the new baby house).  We are so thankful for the Lord's protection, and for the Maun Satellite Police!! Also thankful for 24 hour security at the plot, and an alarm at the house.

Psalm 4:8- I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.

Goodnight!
Today was a pretty calm day in every sense of the word.  The interns are shadowing different departments in the mornings this week, so I am free for about 4 hours every day to get things organized/finalized/etc.  No more running around like a chicken with my head cut off!  As little Darren would say, "I like it; it's niiiice."

Ah, speaking of little Darren...he is growing up so fast!  I stopped by the reception class again today, and that little boy is nothing but smiles and jokes.  He has possibly grown 1/4 of an inch since I first came out here, but he carries himself in such a way that it just seems like he's growing up.  So is little Ito; she and Darren were so cute last year.  They're the same height (just tiny little squirts) and used to walk around holding hands.  She used to be the shyest girl I have ever met.  She'd almost never talk, and when she did, she would whisper so quietly that she was practically just mouthing the words.  She's so much more confident this year, so she's just a little chatterbox now.  Today she came up to me after I hung up from a phone call and said to me "Give me your phone." I looked at her and said, "No, Ito.  You do not tell people to give you things.  You say 'can I please have?'"  So she said, "Oh, ok.  Can I please have your phone?"  "Nope."
I explained to her why she couldn't have it, and she just hugged me and ran off to play...I thought it was cute :)

This afternoon the girls were supposed to have driving lessons with Louis, but he wasn't able to teach them today.  So instead, I gave each of the girls a passage from the Bible and had them work on preparing a Bible study that they will lead at another time (thanks for the idea, Sarah and Kevin!).  I also told them they should try to use that passage as a lead-off for a message/sermon, if they are ever unexpectedly called on to preach.  They spent the rest of the day working on that and then got off at 5pm.

By that time, Mason came over to visit, so I made him a Dutch Oven Pancake for dinner...then Dietra stopped by (yea!  it's been forever since we've done dinner together!), so I made her one too.  Then it was time for prayer and share with the other missionaries.  It was a great session tonight; I left feeling so refreshed and ready to take on the world :)

Well, I hear the girls at the door.  Gotta go workout!  The hubby is coming in 2 weeks...gotta look good!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Christmas in January

What started off as a rough day (1 hour of sleep, Vikes lost, allergies, and got stung by a bee before 7:30am) turned out to be my Christmas in January!!  My parents had sent a couple of Christmas packages to me back in November, and one of them somehow was rerouted to Austria, and then eventually got stuck in South Africa for about a month.  It's here!  It's here!  I went to town to pick it up, and was so giddy on the ride home that I made up a song of thanks to the Lord (which consisted of two lines) and sang it on repeat the entire 20 minute drive home.
I had to share this exciting occasion with someone, so I went over to see Brenda.  One of the interns, Angie, was working there today, so she took some pictures while I was opening the gifts...and every single reaction you'll see is 100% legit.  Here's your chance to see what it's like for me to open Christmas presents :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

First Full Week With the Interns

I have been having a great time trying to keep the interns busy this past week.  We've got a solid group of girls who really want to be pushed, and I love pushing them!  Problem is, I need to rely on people throughout the mission to lead some of the trainings, and I have had countless occasions where they have had to cancel at the last minute.  I've learned to quadruple check appointments with people (because they will forget even after triple checking with them), and just because I remind them 30 minutes prior (and they confirm), they may not remember it when the time actually comes.  I've learned to have more than 1 backup plan for each and every lesson that is scheduled, because I've had several times when even the backup plans fall through.  The only times that it has really been a problem has been when people have said that they are just running a few minutes late, but actually it turns into 3 hours.  It's difficult to know how to keep the girls busy when I don't know how long I have to keep them busy for.

The good news is that now they get to start shadowing all the different departments of the ministry this week!  This was how I was able to discover my love for working with preschool age kids; they'll have little over a week to see all the different departments and placement opportunities, and then get placed where they will be serving for the rest of their time out here.  I am telling you now, I am already ridiculously jealous of whomever gets to be with my kids.  I was able to stop at the playground 3 times last week to see the kids, and every time I have been bombarded by both the kids from last year, and the new kids this year.  It cracks me up how much the new kids love me just because the other ones do.  I have asked Lucy a few times how the new kids are in class and she just laughs and says "naughty."  Apparently they're all quite a handful- poor Lucy!  I sure do feel loved, though.  I have been asked by kids from all grades in the primary school, "when are you coming back, Miss Ashley?  I want you to teach us again!"  I am planning on spending more time at the school once things settle down and the interns are all in their placements.

So what have we been up to this past week?  Tours of the plot, personality tests, carpentry lessons, driving lessons, Bible studies, working out together at night, scaring the interns with my snake and bugs stories, ministry with the youth, church on Thursday, Friday and Sunday, dinners with missionaries, care giving at the the Lorato House. sending the girls into town on public transportation with a shopping list scavenger hunt, playing with Mmapula and Mason, meetings with the COO,working in the warehouse, taking the girls to Old Bridge, and playing lots of Uno and Bananagrams.  Our cultural day is coming up on Wednesday, and I am excited to get to experience this again.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rough Day

So this post isn't about anything happening in Africa or at Love Botswana.  This is a post from a wife who is desperately missing her husband while he is in Kuwait.

I have seen Roger for a total of 3 days since April 17, 2009.  I've been holding up pretty well for the most part this entire time (with some ups and downs), but something happened this morning in me and I am having just the hardest time I have ever had with his absence.  He is set to come out here in a little less than 3 weeks, but right now it feels like that might as well be 3 months.

Ick.  I hate this feeling.  Since we can't be together, all I want to is curl up in bed and sleep...and that can't happen.  Yes, this is totally a self-pity filled moment that I am going through, and I know it will pass soon...but I don't care.  I just want to be with my husband.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Internship Thus Far

Dumela!  The interns have now been here a few days, and are starting to get acclimated with the area.  I am really enjoying working with these women, and I am so glad that I am able to be leading them while they go through an experience I adored so much.  I must say, though- it's difficult to be the only person leading this!

I can't push the girls nearly as hard as the Witt's pushed us; when Sarah was working with us, Kevin was preparing the next thing.  When Kevin was working with us, Sarah was getting things ready for the events later in the day.  There just isn't enough of me to go around, so I am finding that I HAVE to give these girls free time, just because when something comes up, I have to take care of it.  My days are quite long (which is just fine- I don't mind at all), but it's because sometimes I can only work on stuff when they are on their lunch break or done for the day.  The only reason that I have even taken time to eat dinner the last couple of days is because I have been cooking for the gals :)

I really am loving this though.  They are a great group; I think that this will be a wonderful experience for them, and I think that LBOM is blessed to have them.  I am a little jealous that they get to be experiencing everything for the first time.  I showed them all around town today, and it reminded me of what it was like when Kevin brought us around back in September.  Seeing everything for the first time; experiencing culture shock...I miss that!  Sure, it's great to know your way around and to have developed relationships with people, but it's such a great thing to see it all with new eyes.

It's a good thing that "flexible" is my middle name.  Some of the missionaries here have agreed to do specific lessons and teachings with the interns, only to be unable to fulfill that commitment at the last minute.  That happened a couple of times today, totally throwing things for the entire week off schedule.  No biggie, I can improvise!  I just had to fight off some desires I had to grumble under my breath as I walked away, trying desperately to figure out something to fill their time RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT.  Thankfully, we still had a productive and enjoyable day!

The girls are learning to drive stick shift tomorrow, so they're all excited about that; that should be entertaining!  Pray that they don't ruin the Stallion :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

They Arrived!

All 6 interns made it to Botswana safely, arriving in Maun at 12:10pm on Saturday.  They seem like a wonderful group of ladies, and I am really looking forward to their time here.  We have been staying pretty busy, so I haven't had time to update this since they've been here.  Here's the low-down on what we've done since Saturday:

  • Picked them up from the airport and took them to lunch at the French Connection with the Lackey family
  • Got them settled at the house; went over house rules, showed them where everything is, got them connected to the internet, etc.
  • Cooked dinner for them and had them over at my house for the evening
  • Sunday morning, introduced them at church
  • Sunday afternoon had some one-on-one time with one of the interns
  • Played games throughout the afternoon
  • Administered personality and spiritual giftings test
  • Graded the personality tests (you fail! you have no personality)
  • Cooked dinner for them and had them over for the evening
  • Went over passport dates and paperwork
  • Gave them a tour of the mission
  • Led some team building activities
  • Tried to grade spiritual giftings test, only to realize that the software isn't compatible with my computer. Guess what I get to do over my lunch break?
So, all in all...staying busy.  I also injured by back yesterday when I was bending down to pick something up off the floor.  One of the missionaries gave me some muscle relaxers (after nothing else worked), and I ended up conking out around 7:30pm.  In fact, I had to send the girls home when I caught myself talking to them with my head resting on the counter.  Needless to say, I slept great last night!

Oh, some other random fun stuff that has been going on around here...today is the first day of school, so when I was leading the tour, I got to see many of the kids from reception and standard 1.  Some of them were pretty shy, but others came running at me, jumping up for hugs.  Love.
At church yesterday, I was in the service for the first time in a while (I've been working in children's church for the past month or so).  After church, I was walking through the tent and was bombarded with hugs from kids that had been looking for me all morning.  Makes a girl feel special :)

I am about to head over to the offices to score the girls' tests, then have an afternoon full of orientation activities.

I'll have pictures of the girls up soon!  

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Omaatla! Thank You, Drunk Strangers, for Digging Us Out of the Sand

Yesterday, my little friend Omaatlaa turned 11 years old!  I have been waiting for this day to come for 3 weeks; I am so glad that I was here in Bots for his birthday.  I was able to make a funfetti cake for him (thank you, Brittnie Homstad, for sending 2 of those in the care package!) and bring it over for his party.  I brought Mason and Mmapula, and Monica and her kids with me to the party, and we had such a great time.  When Omaatlaa saw me, he came running down the hall shouting my name and gave me a huge hug.  I still have a smile on my face from the memory of that moment.


While waiting for the other kids to show up, we played Duck Duck Gray  Duck and I let Mason have some fun with my camera.  


Letting Pule know that I tagged her.  No mercy, even for 6 year olds.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Snake Update

Last night I had dinner at the Lackey's; afterwards I stayed a bit to play Candy Land with Mmapula.  As I was getting ready to head out, Jerry heard the dogs barking and told me to wait until he checked out what they were barking at.  He came running back, looking for a rake or shovel, because there was a cobra right by Jana's car.  He and the night guard were able to beat it to death, and then he brought it over to me to look at (I don't understand my fascination with the snakes out here; I really don't).  It was definitely the same kind of snake that has been appearing on my porch, so I am hoping that it's the same one and that I don't have to worry about snakes anymore as I am walking up my steps.

I am very thankful that Jerry stopped me from heading out, because the path I would have taken would have led me right to the snake.

Oofta!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wonderful!

One of the ministry opportunities that I would like the interns to have is to volunteer at the women's shelter.  I just got off the phone with the care coordinator there and am so excited about the possibilities that she has come up with that I just spent the last 4 minutes walking around the house, waving my arms victoriously and cheering "wonderful!  wonderful!" over and over again.

I guess that I am excited :)

Children's Church Quote

So there is a set of 4 (maybe 5?) year old twins that go to the church, Shawn and Sheldon.  I've talked about Sheldon before, but haven't mentioned Shawn.  Yesterday at church, the boys wouldn't leave my side from the moment they got there to the moment they left...minus one 10 minute fiasco when they ran off into the field and wouldn't come back.  When they finally returned (being dragged out by one of the Sunday school teachers), Shawn came running up to me, apologizing because he knew that I was sad that he was disobedient.  He also headbutted me on my backside, and before I could even react he ran around to look me in the eye and tell me how sorry he was.  The boys were so cute though; the entire time they were around me, they had to be touching me.  If they weren't holding my hand or hugging me, they were stroking my arms or (very oddly) stroking my stomach.  I was told repeatedly, "I love you Miss Ashley" and then was told once by Shawn, "I really don't love you when you leave me."
Thanks, kid.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What Is This, Snake Week?

Yesterday, the banded cobra was back on my (Witt's- Sarah :)) porch.  Poor Mason came face to face with it and pretty much fell backwards down the steps and ran for cover.  Today, while over at the offices, we saw some of the workers running at the school while throwing bricks.  There was a puff adder!!


Now, that's not a picture of the actual one...that guy is dead now and I didn't have my camera with me.  It was about this size, though.  After they killed it, they picked it up with a stick and I got to touch it.  Ew!  Puff Adders are the deadliest snakes in Africa!  Here's a link to more information on these snakes:
Puff Adders

Eish!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Productive Few Days, but Not Much to Report

Hey there!  Just wanted to check in a minute while we have internet...it's been up and down quite a bit over these past few days.  Also up and down?  Our water.  Today was the first day in about a week and a half that we haven't had water issues; most mornings, we've been without water.

The offices opened back up on Monday, so the plot doesn't feel like a ghost town anymore!  Actually, not that I have really been able to tell a difference.  I was able to work out of the house yesterday, and today I was in the baby house from 8am-6pm.  Things seem to be coming together pretty well for the internship that begins in 11 days!  I am very much looking forward to the ladies coming.

So, the reality of the baby house set in today.  The baby house is set up to be a safe house for children who need emergency care.  We got our second baby on December 28th, and as of this afternoon, he has been reunited with his family.  I didn't realize how hard it would be to say goodbye to the kids.  You really pour your heart and soul into them; this morning I was just thinking how fun it was that I was learning all of his quirks.  Brenda and I had taken him to a game park over the weekend, and while I was carrying him I noticed that he was getting incredibly hot.  I started blowing on him and his face broke into the biggest grin I've ever seen, and he started blowing back.  Over and over again.  This kept him entertained for almost 30 minutes.  I was doing that to him on and off these past couple of days, and he just loved it.  Also, Dietra and I taught him how to high-five and then cheer for himself.  There were a few other particular things that would make him laugh, and it was so fun to discover what those were.  I am praying the best for him and his family.  I'm also praying for Brenda; with her tender heart and love that she has for the children, this part of the job is very difficult.

Here are a couple of fun pictures from the park this weekend:

One of the giraffes ("Joe the Jolly Giraffe") let me get within about 20 ft of him, but I didn't take any pictures when I was that close, because I didn't want to spook him.  There are 11 giraffes at this park, and we were able to see a family of 3.  Very, very cute.

I was so close to the zebras!

I also saw wildebeests for the first time out here.  They spooked too easily so we couldn't get anywhere near them, but that's ok, because they killed Mufasa.

Oh, one last side note.  The weekend was so much fun; not only did I get to go to the game park, but I also played paintball for the first time in my life.  There's a course right by the plot, and it only costs about 100 Pula to play; that's roughly $15.  I had some pretty major welts (from cheap shots.  I had "killed" a couple of the guys, who then shot me from about 5 feet away after I got them); that night I woke up at least a dozen times.  Every time I rolled over and landed on one of the welts, I woke up.  So much fun though!  We're definitely going to go back...maybe I'll take the interns there as an initiation :).  Sunday morning I helped with Children's Church again; we were playing with play-do and I made a penguin, and the kids laughed hysterically and all made one too.  So cute.  Oh, and before church started, I was letting some girls play with my hair, and one of them leaned over to me and said "You're nice."  I love the kids out here.  That night, I watched The Princess Bride with Dietra and Mason and I have not stopped laughing to myself over some of the quotes.  "Mawage.  Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday."  Haha!  It's a must-see, fun-for-the-whole-family movie.

Anyway, that's all for today!  Have a wonderful day/night/week.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Oh Man

I was just re-reading my blog posts from the beginning of the internship (trying to remember what we did those first few weeks, so I can know how to prepare for the incoming group), and I came across a Suhail quote and started crying.  Why did my favorite kid in the universe have to move to Gabs?
"RUN FOR YOUR LIIIIIIFE!!!"  Still cracks me up.

SuSu, you will be missed.

Happy New Year!

I loved ringing in the year 2010 in Africa- it's something I'll never forget!  We spent New Years Eve just chilling at the plot until about 10:00, and then we went over to church.  We had a great Thursday night church service that lasted until 11:30, and then we headed out to our actual church property (our church tent is still down from the last big storm, so we're holding services at a nearby lodge).

Just in case you're wondering...no, the church should not look like this.

Time for fireworks!!  While we waited for the clock to countdown to midnight, we stayed busy snapping some "last of 2009" photos.


Mmapula was out of control hyper last night.  I think that this picture shows how tired show really was.

This was Semakelang's first chance to see fireworks!!

We bought 1,000 Pula worth of fireworks, and it was a very nice show.  It was such a fun environment to be a part of; the crowd of about 120 was cheering for almost every fire cracker that went off.  You can only imagine how excited they got when the big rockets went off!  Pule was so cute; she kept saying over and over again, "This is too fun.  Oh my goodness, Miss Ash, this is just too fun."  That girl has spent too much time around me; she sounds too much like me.
I must say, though, I was pretty nervous a few times when the fireworks didn't shoot up into the sky, but shot straight into the field about 100 yards away from us and exploded there.  Let's just say that I am really glad that it's been raining a ton lately.

Today has been a very nice, relaxing day.  We were hoping to head over to one of the nearby parks and go for a walk (there are baboons there!), but that fell through.  Instead, I spent the morning at the baby house (we have 2 babies now!) playing with the kids as wells as playing cards with Brenda and Semakelang, then came home to take a nap.  I had laid down for less than a minute, when I heard a knock on the door.  Mmapula came over with a movie she had gotten for Christmas- the new Tinkerbell movie.  Sometimes you just can't say no to a request like that.  So she and I watched the movie (and she kept me awake by talking to me and jumping on me the entire time). After I walked her home, I came back to the house and laid down again.  Once again, less than a minute goes by, and there's another knock on the door.  Mason came over to chill, so we played a few games of Uno and chatted it up a bit.  He actually came by to borrow "that really awesome movie."  I just stared at him.  "Uh, Mason, what movie is the really awesome one?"  He thought for a minute and said, "Brooklyn Newsboys?"  I just smiled.  So happy that I was able to introduce one of my favorite movies ever (Newsies) into another person's life.  When he and Semakelang were over yesterday, we ended up watching that.  He loved it and is positive his parents will love it too...so, off he went with the movie.

I have been blessed to be able to talk with my parents quite a bit over the past couple of days.  I need to take advantage now, because in a couple of weeks I might not have as many chances to just sit and chat on the phone.

Anyway, I hope that you had a great New Years Eve and that 2010 has started off on the right foot for you!