Sunday, February 28, 2010

Little Kwara (Part 1)

Little Kwara is the safari camp on the Okavango Delta in the Moremi Game Reserve that Roger and I stayed at from February 12th-15th.  We flew out there Friday morning (it was only a 30 minute flight), and when we landed we were greeted by our guide and trackers for the weekend, Steve and KB.  Right away they told us that there were some lion tracks nearby that they would like to follow; 10 minutes within landing, we came across a pride of 3 lions and 2 lionesses!  It was amazing how close we could get...

As we were driving away, Steve stopped to get a picture of Rog and me with the lions in the background:

Then as we started the drive back to the camp, KB noticed a pack of 3 lionesses 200 meters, off we went!
They were (like the first pride we saw) very tired

Within 40 minutes of landing, Rog and I had seen 8 lions.  Pretty remarkable!  We knew (and it was confirmed later by many people), that it is unusual to come across those so quickly, as they can be difficult to track down.  In fact, try as we might, we never saw the lions again!

Here is how the schedule goes at Kwara: wake up at 5:30am, small breakfast, then on the road by 6:30 for a game ride.  The drive lasts 4-5 hours (with a tea break! yum!), then we head back to the camp.  Eat a nice brunch, then siesta until about 3:30.  Rog and I generally hung by the pool and rested there (as lovely as the tents are- and they are amazing- there are no fans, so it was pretty much unbearable to stay there during the day).  At 3:30, we would meet up for afternoon tea and then head out for another game drive.  This time we would be out until close to 8:00 (with another tea break!), then when we got back it was time for dinner.  By the time we were done eating, we were so exhausted that we'd head right to bed...and start all over the next day!  It was WONDERFUL.  One of the great things about this set up is that we got to spend quite a bit of time with the staff and other campers.  We always enjoyed swapping stories of the different sitings from the drives.  
When we first arrived at the camp and were sitting on the patio, talking with the staff, we were able to jut sit and watch baboons, antelopes, warthogs, and vultures all hanging around the lagoon right by our camp.  As time went on, we also got to see warthogs running around the camp itself, along with monkeys stealing food at tea time and baboons drinking water out of the pool.

Ok, confession time.  I have no idea how to blog about our time at Little Kwara.  We took thousands of pictures and have so many great stories.  I think I am going to have to break this up into several posts with just a few pictures on the blog itself, and then provide a link for you to see all of the great pictures.  Trust me, it will be worth the time you spend looking at all of it :)  That being said, I am going to wrap this post up with just a list of all the animals we saw.  Again, stories and pictures to come!

First of all- Birds: way too many to keep track of.  Hundreds of different species, and so many were beautiful!  There were a couple of ugly ones, but that always happens, right?

Elephants (my favorite!!!!!)
Red Lechwe

Well, that's all for now!  Much more to come throughout the week...there's no internet at my house, so I can't update this as often as I would like to.  

The Beginning of Roger and Ashley's Adventures in Botswana

I just experienced 17 of the best days of my life.  It was so wonderful to have Roger out here!  He was supposed to arrive on Wednesday, February 10th at 3pm, but his flight was delayed.
His plane!  It's here!
It was only delayed by a half hour, granted, but those thirty minutes dragged on way too slowly.  I was pacing back and forth through that little airport like a crazy person, and when he arrived, I hardly knew what to do with myself.  I am sure that you can imagine how amazing it was to be reunited after 10 months!  Here's a random story from Rog's trip out here:

From Kuwait, he flew to Dubai.  From Dubai, he flew to Jo-burg, and from Jo-burg to Maun.  While I was waiting for him to arrive, I ran into 2 church members (Mrs. Roy and her son Kamal) who were waiting for his family to arrive from India.  Turns out, they traveled with Roger from Dubai, on.  When Roger saw me hugging the kids (who also go to the school I taught at last year), he gave me a funny look and chuckled when he found out the connection.  Apparently the kids were quite loud on both flights and misbehaved a lot.  Amita and Abishak were pretty excited to find out that they traveled with my husband :)

So, Wednesday evening Rog got to meet Ms Pat and the Lackey kids (they were the welcome wagon about 30 minutes after we got back to the plot).  I LOVED seeing him interact with those kids!  He brought presents for them from Kuwait, and Mmapula was calling him Uncle Roger from the get-go.  Ms Pat was just pleased as punch to finally meet him; they of course all loved him.  That night, Rog was also able to meet Dietra, Brenda, and Olisego.  Oli was crazy about him; the entire time he was out here, whenever he was in the Baby House, she would perk up.  Even if she was in the other room and she heard his voice, she would sit up high with a huge grin.

We spent most of Thursday just relaxing and resting at the plot.  He got a chance to get a tour of the school, meeting the kids and teachers.  We happened to come across the reception/standard 1 kids while they were on their break time at the playground.  Let's just say that the kids adored Rog.  I looked over at one point and saw 2 kids trying to climb on his back, while 2 others were each on a leg and he was trying to pick up a child while 2 others were grabbing his arms.  I started cracking up, and then nearly doubled over when Mmapula screamed excitedly over to me, "HE'S OUR OWN PERSONAL JUNGLE GYM!!"

Friday morning, Rog and I flew up to Little Kwara, which is a safari camp on the Delta in the Moremi Game Reserve.  Thus began the 3 best days of our lives...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Big Day

Quick post- I am heading to immigration in a couple of minutes to ask for enough days on my visitor's permit to keep me here until the end of the internship.


UPDATE- I was approved!  I get to stay here until April 12th, and then I will head home.  I'm looking forward to the rest of my time here, as well as getting back home to see family and friends :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

He Made It!

Roger arrived today at 3:30pm!  We had a great first day and are now hitting the sack.  Tomorrow's the big day where he meets everyone!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


There's a bug going around the plot right now...seems that everyone is taking a turn getting sick these days.  It's hit Mason, Ms Pat, Dietra, 2 of my interns, and now me.

Roger was originally expecting to arrive in Bots today, but when he received his itinerary yesterday, he found out they couldn't get a flight for him until tonight.  I was incredibly disappointed when I heard this, but now I am so thankful that he's not here yet!  I am sure I'll be fine by tomorrow...I just need to get through today.  No big deal, right? Right.

Anyway, I just woke up from a 2 hour nap in the middle of the day.  I'm pretty sure I could have slept another 4 hours, but a girl's gotta work!  I am taking the healthy interns (who aren't stuck in bed) into town for their first chance at Mystery Ministry!  They don't know what they're doing yet, and I am really excited for them.  I'll tell you how it goes :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day at Mma Sibongile's House (Round 2)

One of the highlights we had as interns was being able to spend an entire day with a Motswana family.  I wanted to give the same kind of experience to this group of interns (plus, I definitely wanted to do this again myself), so I lined up a day for us to spend at Mma Sibongile's home.

The morning was a bit hectic (missing car keys [not my fault this time] and missing container keys [also not my fault] put us behind schedule a bit), but it all worked out!  The gals had a great time getting to know the family, learning how to cook some of the traditional foods (seswaa!  samp and beans!), and playing with the kids.  Soo even got to use her nursing skills when we discovered that one of Mma's daughters had a severely infected cut on her ankle.  Hurray for Soo!

Anyway, we had a wonderful day, and ate way more than any human ever should in one sitting.  But not only did we have a wonderful day, but we also had a great night.  Somehow we made room in our stomachs to head over to Sports Bar for some Fried Ice Cream and Cookie Crumbles...yum!  Needless to say, I think the girls are now sufficiently stuffed for the weekend.  

I have uploaded some pictures from the day on my facebook site.  Feel free to check them out here.
Oh, and Tando is looking at his thumb because I had just painted his nail hot pink.  I had brought along some nail polish for Lesego (one of the little girls), and everyone wanted me to paint their nails.  Especially the boys.  It was cute- they just came up to the table and laid their hands on it, patiently waiting their turn.  I just painted 1 finger for each of them, but they loved it.  Silly boys :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Prayers Needed

Mason's dog, Winston, was hit and killed by a car today.  Winny was just over a year old, so he was still a puppy.  Please pray for Mason...he adored his dog, and is obviously going to be taking this really hard for a while.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Two of the girls saw their first snake last night when they were coming over to my house.  I'm so jealous!  I haven't seen one since Jerry killed a cobra in his backyard 3 or 4 weeks ago.  I miss seeing them.

Anyway, off to some meetings and then our first ministry opportunity at Women Against Rape!  I'm really looking forward to today.

That's all I have to offer this morning :)

Update (4:25pm)
Today blew.  I am having the girls over for some iced mochas to make up for how stupid today was.

However, one MAJOR highlight:  I saw Omaatla today!!  I wasn't expecting to see him, and it was my first time to see him since his birthday party. Love, love, love that kid.  I get to see him every week now!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jesus' Blood

A friend of mine recently introduced me to a song via Youtube, called Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet, recorded by Gavin Bryars.  The story behind the song is that Bryars was working on a film about people living in the rough parts of town in London, back in 1971.  He said that the homeless they encountered would sometimes break into drunken songs- whether they just be bits of opera or sentimental choruses.  There was one man who, completely sober, sang "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet" over and over and over again.

I went to listen to the song, and was so touched by it that I downloaded it immediately.  It's been playing (and is still currently being played) on my computer on repeat for the past 2 hours.  I encourage you to listen to it and to let your heart be open to what God wants to show you through this simple song.

YouTube- Jesus' Blood Never Fails Me
We are back to not having internet at the houses...going on day 3.  Not a huge deal, yet.  Once it gets to a week with no internet, I'll start to get a bit worried.  Until then, I am blessed to have wireless access down at the offices.  So right now I am sitting in the courtyard, listening to students sing "Jesus Loves Me" as they walk by, and teachers complaining about the heat.  Yep, it's a hot one today.  I am sitting in the shade, but since there's no breeze, I am sweating up a storm.

We had a really nice weekend at the mission.  Friday night we had another incredible Fire By Night service.  We got to help with the braai (African bbq) and enjoy the service.  I took a lot of great pictures that night, so when I have a few extra minutes, I'll post some of them. I am really beginning to value the relationships with the youth in a way that I didn't when I was an intern.  I think I was normally too exhausted by the time Friday evenings came around to really care about anything at that point.  Now I have a lot more of myself to give to the kids, and I think it's going to be a great couple of months.  Pastor Gary does such a great job with this group!

Saturday the interns spent the day painting the Maatla house.  Maatla is the women's empowerment group that Mercy Ministries runs- it teaches women some skills they can use to support themselves, such as knitting, felting and gardening.  They're going to be selling their products online as a way to earn income.  Pretty cool!  So while they were doing that, I was eating crepes with Mason, watching Sister Act 2, and playing football.  At one point, Mason looked at me and asked "how does it feel to be on this end of things?"  Pretty good, people!  It feels good :)

Saturday night we had dinner over at Linda's house (COO of LBOM).  It really is nice to have a group of all female interns; you can be girly and sit around and chat all night about girly things.  So that's what we did.  We didn't get home until 10pm, which is kind of late for walking around out here!  Two of the interns come over to my house every night to workout with me, so it took pretty much every ounce of self control that we had to do it that night.  As Angie said, "Don't let your body control you!"

Yesterday we had a great church service; Pastor Gary shared the message since Jerry and Jana are in South Africa right now.  Wow, did he get a good response from the crowd!  I'm actually planning on buying a copy of the message, because it's one that I would like to keep with me for a while.  After church, we did the usual town run- except this time I dropped the girls off to grocery shop while I drove around for 45 minutes looking for a place to buy power.  I was almost out of electricity at the house, as were 2 other missionaries.  Unfortunately, the whole town was out of power, so we couldn't buy any.  Bad news for the plot is, if I run out of power, the entire plot loses water.  So last night I had all the girls and Brenda over for dinner and I had to do whatever I could to keep the power usage down...that meant no AC.  It was HOT!  Yuck.  I finally gave in after about an hour of everyone sitting around and sweating.
Oh, mom- I made them Swedish pancakes and they LOVED them!  I actually had to make the equivalent of 3 batches, because the girls ate so many.  Thanks for sending me the recipe :)

Today I have been busy running around like mad.  First, trip to town.  Found power (hallelujah!) and a couple other needed items.  I stopped over at the hospital to talk to their PR department, and ended up making a new friend.  A pilot from Holland!  So random.

Now I am back at the plot, waiting for a check to get signed so that I can run out and buy more paint for the Maatla house.  This afternoon we have our Heart Ablaze study, then I am going to make Dutch Oven pancakes for Ms Pat, Mason, and Mmapula.  Fun evening ahead!'s February!  Roger is coming in about 8 days!!  Obviously, I am so excited to have him here; I realized this weekend, however, that Mason is actually probably more excited than I am for Roger to arrive.  He has been doing a countdown for the past 3 weeks.  So cute :)

Anyway, I better run!  Lots to do, lots to do.  have a great day!