Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I am back in Minnesota, safe and sound after 30 hours of travel.  I will spend some time over the next few days to go back and share stories from my last 7 weeks in Botswana, as well as let you know what it's like to readjust to life in America.  Hint: I cried in Target twice...and not tears of joy.  Eish.

Truth be told, I am so happy to be back with my family (and of course the hubby).  I feel like I saw them 3 weeks ago though!  It doesn't feel like 7 months have passed.

Anyway, I need to get some sleep.  I only slept for about an hour and a half on my 16 hour flight from Jo-burg, so time to crawl into bed (in fact, it's 4:15am Bots time, so I feel like I'm missing another night of sleep).  My prayer is that the jet lag wont be nearly as difficult to deal with this time around.  It took me nearly 2 weeks to get over when I went to Bots back in September!

Love to all!  Sala sentle!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Getting Ready to Leave

I still have many things to update this blog with- children's ministry, our trip to the branch church in Sehitwa, our trip to Vic Falls...but at the moment the only thing that I can think about is the fact that I am leaving Botswana in two days.  I have been an emotional rollercoaster the last few days.  At one moment I am ready to head home and see Roger and my family again, and the next I am weeping because I don't want to leave.  These past 7 months have been some of the best of my life.  I have learned so much, grown so much, and loved so much.  I am head over heels crazy about the people in Maun.  Not just the kids (which, if you have read my prior blog posts, you would know has definitely been the case); I have met some amazing people while working at the school, ministering at the church, and helping with the women's shelter.  I have made some very dear friends that I will have trouble keeping in touch with, as most of them don't have access to computers at all.

I am nervous about returning to the states.  In all honesty, I'm not looking forward to it at all.  I like the slowed-down pace of Africa; I love the ministry opportunities; I love spending my evenings at the baby house (rescue center).  I love getting kissed on the nose every week after children's church by Shawn, one of our 5-year olds.  I love looking at the clock at 10am on the weekdays and heading down to the offices to hang with the teachers over tea time.  I like getting frustrated at the donkeys, cows and goats that wont move out of your way on the road.  I like driving stick shift on the left-hand side of the road.  Eish, watch out, drivers.  I'll be second-guessing myself for weeks, I'm sure.  I love saying "Dumela, mma!" to every lady I pass on the road.  I love how I have to touch my right forearm with my left hand when shaking hands or transferring items.  I love seeing our plot dogs, Big Man and Livingstone, happily wagging their tails as they roam the property.  I love my Thursday night LOST parties with the Claytons after church.  I love doing prayer line ministry in the church if I am not working in the children's church that Sunday.  I love sneaking off the plot with Dietra for lunches at Wine and Dine or Nando's.  I love stopping by the playground at school and having 30 kids run at me screaming "IT'S MISS ASHLEY!!!!" to each other and then getting tackled. I love my greeting with Pastor Sunny: "Hi, Pastor Sunny!" "Hello, my dear!  How are you?" followed by a big hug...and we do this every single time we see each other, even if it's 12 times in a day.  I love playing games with Dietra and Brenda.  I love knowing that I am living on the tip of both the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta.  I love that I could go for a walk any day and see a giraffe if I wanted to.  I love that I go out for dessert so much that staff from 2 different restaurants have become friends of mine.  I love our dinner parties at the Lackey house.  I love playing "The Game" with Mason, Dietra and Godfrey in the pool.  I love the babies we are caring for.  I love that I am blessed enough to have spent 7 months with our little Olisego.  I love that you never know when a snake is going to pop up.  I love that when I see bugs, I can say "Oh, that's only a wall spider; those are good" or "That's a blister beetle.  No biggie, just don't let it touch you." I love making fun of Dietra for talking like a Motswana.  I love leading the Heart Ablaze Bible Study.  I love doing something meaningful every single day.

It's going to be an interesting adjustment, coming back to America.  For those of you who know me, please give me a grace period to readjust.  Don't be offended if I don't seem to want to be there; Africa has completely stolen my heart.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Game Park and Delta Ride

Shortly after Roger left, I took the girls on a walk in a park in town.  How cool is it that the town park has giraffes, zebras, baboons, wildebeests, warthogs, impala, and eland?  So cool.  We were there for about 2 or 3 hours.  Here are a couple of the pictures:

Rest of Vacation with Roger

I am over a month behind on this blog...oops!  I have been without internet at my house for about 6 weeks, so it's difficult to get online.  Poor excuse, I know, but it's true.

Wrapping things up with Roger...we got back from the Moremi Game Reserve Monday morning and took the day to relax and repack for our next adventure.  Off to the Tree Lodge!  We picked up my cousin Jacob and 5 of his traveling partners at the airport Tuesday morning, and took off for the Lodge.  When we arrived we went for a game drive, and then just rested.  This time at the Lodge was wonderful for the two of us.  We felt so lazy, but we basically just sat by the pool for 2 days straight.  At first it was difficult for me to be alright with just hanging out; I felt like we needed to be doing something at all times.  Once Roger convinced me that it was ok to take that time to just rest and breathe, I loved it.  Wednesday morning we all (including Jacob and the other Texas guys) went on a horseback safari early in the morning.  Talk about amazing!  I remember looking at my watch at one point, thinking "It's 7:30am and I've already seen 7 giraffe, 5 zebra, and countless antelope...I am so blessed."  We spent 2 nights at the lodge, and then it was time to head back home.

So, like I had mentioned before, Roger and I dealt with a stomach bug while at Little Kwara.  That passed, but when we retuned to Maun, Rog mentioned that he felt like he had a bug bite behind his ear.  While we were at the lodge, we realized he was developing a rash, and by the end of the second day, so was on.  On my eye.  When we got home to the plot, some of the missionaries sent us into town immediately to see the pharmacist (who is just as good as any doctor out here).  She took one look at us, asked us where we had been and then said that we must have been touched by a hairy worm while in Moremi.  She gave us some medication and treatments, but there wasn't much else we could do but wait it out.
Here's the thing about the didn't itch, it burned very painfully.  Rog had it on his neck, chest and arm, and I had it on my ear, chin and eye.  Lovely.  We pretty much spent the next 3 or 4 days shut in at my house, just laying on the couch and watching movies.  I didn't want to see anyone while I was dealing with this!  Not only was I crabby because I was in pain, but it was just so gross!!  I had to force myself to go to church.  By the time Sunday rolled around it kind of looked like I had been beat up, and I didn't want anyone to see me like that.  It took over a week for it to go away, so when it finally did, I was so happy!

The rest of the time we were together, we really had a great time just hanging around town.  We went out to all the different restaurants, spent time at the baby house, hung out with some of the missionaries, and just enjoyed each other's company.  It was really tough to say goodbye to him at the airport...tears were definitely shed, but it helped to know that we'd be back together in less than 2 months.

So, despite the stomach bugs and the hairy worm rash (ew!) we had 17 of the best days of our lives.  I can't wait to reunite with him on April 13 :)