Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Times they are a changin'

Sorry it's been so long since we've good excuse except we've been on the move.

We are now in Pretoria, South Africa. We arrived in Johannesburg last Thursday, and will be staying with my brother and his wife until next Friday. Pretoria is VERY nice! It's green with beautiful rolling hills AND there are malls here! Nice ones, Chirsty and I have been "those girls" saying look at this, look at that; for example "wow, look they have wheat bread and yummy snacks!" or "the roads are so nice...all are paved and no pot holes!" It's the small pleasures in life, ya know! Sometimes we forget we are still in Africa, but we're enjoying our down time here. Will and Valerie have generously made us feel at home and have been showing us all around town. God has truly blessed us with such a wonderful place to spend a couple weeks.

We leave November 7th for Jeffery's Bay, South Africa where we will be working with street children. In J'bay we'll be working with an Atlanta organization, Luo, We are meeting our friend Jessica, who is on the board, along with others from Atlanta to serve for 2 weeks. From there we will go to Lesotho for a week, where we plan to visit baby homes and orphanages.

We are excited about the rest of this adventure God has in store for us, but it was so hard to leave CoL. I think the last night we put the babies to bed was the most emotional evening so far. They were all so well behaved wanting us to sing and dance to the hokey pokey and read a book and just cuddle. When the nannies announced "kulala time" tears came to my eyes. It felt like yesterday we arrived and now this will be the last time I kiss each one and say "lala salama". So, I think I picked each one up at least twice before leaving. Every other night when I would hear "Pepanie" or "Tepitie" I would just turn, blow a kiss and leave the room, but I couldn't that night. I couldn't resist and went to each one as they called. I picked them up, gave kisses and told them how much I loved them. It's so hard to imagine not seeing them everyday and not being present in their lives. But, I know that God will provide for each of those precious children. He will continue to bring new people into their lives to love and care for them.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Adventurous Weekend!

Just before leaving CoL, I took a 22 hour bus ride from Arusha to Kampala, Uganda. I went with 5 friends, Hannah, Zac, Will, Trent and Bridgette, to raft The Nile. Oh, what an experience! I thought I'd share a few pictures from the rafting trip. I must say it was scary, but the pictures make it look a whole lot worse than it actually seemed at the time!

Hold on!

You better believe I was praying the whole way!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


It is with great joy that I share that Bahati, Helena and Clinton may not be positive for HIV. Yes we are on a roller coaster and I just wanted to thank you all for not getting off of it but for riding it with us. Just when we thought that the twist and turns were over we are reminded that we never know what the future holds. Last week we took the babies back to the doctor and a different doctor informed us that we might have been miss informed. He shared that the babies with the exception of Rama may be too young to know for sure that they are positive. He said that their count is rather low and that it is his experience that many babies that test this low at this age test negative in the future. While they may currently have the antibodies it might never develop into HIV. We were all so excited that we didn’t ask many questions not knowing where to start or even what to believe. The babies are too young to know for sure, but he believes that in the next few months they can retest and it is more then possible that they will test negative. Tears welled up in my eyes. Just a few days before I had to hold back tears when I came down in the morning and Bahati was very sick (they treated him for Malaria) I immediately became overwhelmed by the thought that many of his years would be filled with pain and suffering, but now his future seemed open to many possibilities. I  will keep you all updated. Thank you for keeping these sweet babies in your prayers.  

On Sunday Hallie, Heath and I took Neema, Joshua and Yasini to church with us. It was so fun to get to pick out their little outfits and take them to church to see our friends. I don’t think anyone paid attention in church (not because they were bad but because they are so stinkin cute) After church we took them out for pizza. It was a hit! On the way back we took all three of them on the very crowded dahla dahla. Against all odds Yasini fell asleep in my lap. We went over many bumps, passed multiple cars and trucks on the wrong side of the road and too close for anyone’s liking, sat smoshed up more closely then I though humanly possible to the window, and had to listen to the driver blare the horn at every stop, but through out all the noise and chaos not only did Yasini stay fast asleep, but I could hear him snoring. Last Sunday at church the pastor spoke about finding peace. How true peace if found in trusting/believing in Christ. There is this great quote that says peace is not the absence of chaos but being in the mist of it and finding stillness. As I looked down at Yasini I realized that’s how I want to be all the time. I want to despite my surroundings, have total peace and rest in the arms of my heavenly father. Sometimes it’s a bumpy ride, sometimes it goes to fast and other times too slow, sometimes you wish that you could get off but it’s not your stop, and other times when you finally get comfortable its time to get off, but true peace is not found in our surroundings, it is found in Christ. I felt so blessed that Yasini trusted me and I can’t thank God enough for showing me His truths through this beautiful child.
John 16: 33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world"

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

When it rains it pours, but it doesn’t have to rain to flood…

This week has had several crappy days. Just don’t know another way to put it. I do have to say there has some positive amongst all the negative. If you search hard enough you can find a bright side to anything!

We started off the week with a visit to the HIV clinic. 4 American girls, 1 Tanzanian and 4 beautiful babies all pile into to the SUV for the short ride down the road to the clinic. I’m sorry it just sucks that we even have to take these precious angels to this appointment. But, they were all so good with very few tears shed. Bahati fell asleep in Christy’s arms, Clinton was all smiles with Suma, Rehma was content and laughing in Emma’s lap and sweet Helena rested quietly as I held her. All the babies’ numbers from the viral load test indicated they are all HIV positive, but Rehma’s were the only one high enough to start ARV’s. That is somewhat good news for Bahati, Clinton and Helena except, it meant they must have blood drawn again for the CD4 (I think that’s what it’s called) test. We are praying the results remain consistent. The later they have to begin ARV’s the better. Before coming I’d read all the statistics about AIDS and it prevalence in Africa, but I never imagined having it become so personal. It’s numbing to think about how the sins of the parents of these babies determine their future. It doesn’t seem fair, but I know God has a wonderful plan for the lives of these children of His.
Me and Helana just after she had blood drawn.

Christy with snoozing Bahati!

After several hours, just imagine taking 4 babies at once to a doctors appointment, we arrived back at CoL. Davona was patiently awaiting our arrival to advise that immigration had paid her a visit. That should be enough said, right…it’s NEVER fun to have to deal with immigration. They want to verify we all have the appropriate visa, which basically just means they want us to pay an additional $120. I’m still trying to find the bright side of this…

And, I must say it’s really annoying to have ants EVERYWHERE. I kid you not, I’ve already killed 3 on my computer screen while typing this!

We did have a Birthday party for Hope, Larzaro, Michael and Bryan. Now that was lots of FUN. Each baby had a piece of cake. And, then we just let them have at it! It was so fun to watch them devour their yummy treat. Check Hallie’s blog for those fun details!

Michael, Hope, Lazaro and Bryan all waiting to dig in...well, probably actually wondering what is going on!

Now here go the toddlers diggin' in!

Christy and I also had a wonderful weekend. We spent the night with our friends Hannah and Zac on Friday and then went to Moshi for a Rugby tournament all day Saturday. It was so fun to enjoy the beautiful day watching rugby. We joined our Aussie friends in their cheers. It was similar to an intramural game at home except across the field I’d see Acacia Trees and hear the Kenya’s singing in Swahili. In case anyone cares, Arusha (our team) came in 2nd place; those Kenyans sure did get pumped up at the end!

Me, Hannah, Christy and Bridget watching the rugby tournament.

After a wonderful weekend, Monday was the day to pay immigration a visit. WooWhoo! So, we went into town and it was actually pretty painless. We all have to complete a bunch of paper work and send it in to Dar for approval. Not too painful just a huge inconvenience, which is pretty typical in Africa. You never know what the day will bring.

For example, coming home from town to Davona advising “Brace yourself, your entire apartment in flooded!” Well, that put some pep in our step, for sure! We ran upstairs to find David, the gardener, and Emma, a volunteer from CA, mopping up the mess. I don’t know if we mentioned the fact that sometimes the water just stops running. Well, that happened this morning when Emma was rinsing out some clothes in her shower. So, she turned the knob to what she thought was off. Whoopsies, it was the wrong way! Due to the full stream of water and the stellar African plumbing it didn’t take long to over flow out of the low tub, into the bedrooms, living room and kitchen. Evidently there had been about 2 inches of water in through out the apartment. But, we were all so lucky that nothing was really damaged, just wet. Oh, and the floor got mopped!!!

After spending sometime trying to figure out some logistical matters we all went to bed laughing when the power went out!

Gotta love Africa!

Upcoming plans -
I’m leaving on Wednesday for a trip to Uganda with a few friends to raft the Nile. Chirsty, Heath and Hallie are staying here to hold down the fort.

Oct 17th is our last day at CoL

Oct 23rd Christy and I leave for South Africa, where we will be spending our last few months working with Luo in Jeffery’s Bay and Baby Haven in Johannesburg.