Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Trampoline is finally back!

January 2009 012Well, technically, it didn't go anywhere!  We got a new one.   Each  mat lasts about a year or so, between the heat and all the use it gets, and the occasional sharp object, in spite of the threat of being punished with permanent expulsion for the trampoline if they take a sharp object on it!January 2009 019

A lovely family (the daughter visited us a couple years ago with a team from Vanguard University) gave us a Christmas donation which  was more than enough to cover a new one. 

It really should have been set up Christmas Eve but instead I just had to show it to them.  Our fence had blown down on January 2009 020 Christmas Eve day and so it wasn't worth putting up a new trampoline when anyone could waltz right in and use it.  So, we had to wait until late January!  Bummer.  But still, they love it!

Adilson is the first to use it and gives it two thumbs up! 

I think I was meant to give it two thumbs and gave it to hands instead!January 2009 029



Between that and the skateboard, the garden is once again the favorite place for the kids to play!



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The instructions SPECIFICALLY say NOT to do this!

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I'm so grateful for the generosity and gifts of so many kind people,  friends and strangers alike, who invest in me and my boys!  Your sacrifices, big and small, make it possible for me to be here and for the boys to be well cared for!  May God bless you richly in return for your giving!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sailors in training?

Ship visit 003Yesterday, I had the wonderful opportunity of taking 11 of my boys   (my oldest room plus one helper) to tour on board the USS Robert G. Bradley, the  US Navy frigate that was stationed here for one week.


What a special treat that  was for us!  Ship visit 004First, the boys have never been on anything like that ship and may never be again!  Second, my dad was a Navy sailor, achieving E8, Senior Chief Petty Officer ranking before retiring after 20 years.  But I don't recall ever touring a ship.  If I did, I was too young to Ship visit 021remember it.  So it was really special for me to be on board and see an example of where he spent much of his working life. 


Many thanks to Chaplain Andre' and anyone else who helped arrange this tour!  It was an honor for me and a great opportunity to show my boys something so out of their norm!  Ship visit 053The US Navy is partnering with the "rather" small Mozambican Navy while they are here, assisting with  some training and building relationship.  So immediately as we went on board, we passed a row of about 20 Mozambican sailors - I think that was really cool for my boys to see!

Ship visit 011 I had spent some time the day before practicing a little march and good military posture and saluting with the boys but I think they got overwhelmed on board and rarely remembered it!  Joao Macamo, my special boy and the biggest of the bunch, got excited at one point and hugged one of the senior chiefs! He got some ribbing from his men asking for hugs too after that!Ship visit 043

But every so often they did remember to salute and were very pleased  with themselves when they did!

But, kids are kids wherever you go - when I asked one of them what his favorite part of the visit was he said "ummm, - the candy!" 

Later in the evening, my director Steve and I went back to the ship to collect the Chaplain and two of his buddies, Sam and John, part of his lay leadership, to go out to dinner.  It was so nice hearing about their lives and experience.  When I told them about my dad, they gave me a lot of wonderful feedback, saying my dad had obviously had a very successful career, achieving a lot and that I had much to be proud of in him.  They actually gave me a lot of insight into my dad's work, as Ship visit 016 they explained more to me of what a Senior Chief does than my dad ever has.  It is obviously a position held in very high regard.  One of them asked me to thank my dad for his service!

We had a great dinner of steak and Mozambique's famous prawns, with lots of swapping stories.  When we took them Ship visit 017back to the ship, Sam quickly went to get me a ship's cap as a gift.  He returned with a medallion that honors Chief Petty Officers!  I think it's a very special gift that he gave me.  It does say the name of his ship, which my dad never served on, but he said he wanted to give it to me in honor of my dad and again, to thank my dad for his service to the Navy and his country.  Thanks Sam for that very thoughtful gift that I'll be honored to share with my dad, US Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer John C. Anderson, Ret. 

Monday, February 09, 2009

A bunch of new boys!

I have been a bit neglectful in introducing you to the newest group of little lovelies to join our dorm!  In all my years, I have never had so many new kids at once so perhaps that explains a little of my blogging tardiness! All the kids you'll meet below came in January!  And don't forget Lucas who came in late December.  That makes 9 in one month!

There are two categories of new boys and they are split down the middle:  four from within the center and four brand new to Iris and our dorm.

Here they are!

Joao: he joins us from the Baby House!  January 2009 058 I remember when Joao came to the center several years ago, so sick and frail and needing round the clock care.  He was very precious to one of our nurses, Sheri, whom he practically lived with.  He is so healthy and happy, what a blessing! Joao is five years old.


Daniel:  he also came from the Baby House.  His older brother, January 2009 065Simois, already lives with us.  Daniel, 4, probably would have stayed longer in the BH but they got several new kids around about the same time so we thought he could come live with us.  He's kinda small but not easily pushed around!


Dionisio:  he was living in our Toddler House, also known as the January 2009 061 Transition Dorm.  We started that over a year ago, with kids too old for the Baby House but too young for my dorm or the girls' dorm.  So Dionisio spent a year living there. You can sure tell the difference in maturity and behavior coming from that dorm rather than directly from the BH!  Dionisio, 6, ADORES the older boys and is so happy to be living here!

Salamao:  also from the Toddler House, Salamao and Dioniso are January 2009 055 best buds and their friendship has carried over to our dorm.  Salamao, 6, is a little more introverted than Dionisio but still enjoys all the other kids.  These boys are so smart and can write their names and know the whole alphabet!


Pedro:  this six year old joins us from a nearby center from where we've received January 2009 053 many children previously (Domingos and Feliciano in my dorm).  They have struggled to provide proper care for the kids so it has been our privilege to partner with them in a number of ways, including taking some of their children when necessary.  Pedro has been a delight, opening up after being here a couple weeks, he's so much more confident and outgoing now!

Zequito:  this five year old came to us because he was living on theJanuary 2009 062 streets with his father who is homeless.  I am very interested to learn more about his situation as he doesn't have the typical mannerisms of a child who's been on the streets, perhaps he just wasn't there very long.  He can color inside the lines which is a pretty remarkable feat for a child his age who presumably would never have had much experience with coloring.  (coloring books and crayons do not typically exist in poor Mozambican homes).

Pai:  this three year old came to us when Social Services brought him and his sister for us to care for.  Their father was abusive to them and has been put in jail.  Their mother had previously abandoned the family.  he hasn't been with us long and it may be possible that we will find other family members who can care for them.   If he's three, he's on the end of it!  (Oh no!  I don't yet have an individual photo of Pai.  I'll get right on that!)

Lito:  this seven year old turned eight actually two days ago!  He January 2009 050 came along with his three siblings, two girls and one boy.  He is the oldest and was caring for the others (6, 4 and 2) while his father was working, often overnight.  His mother passed away last year.  All of these children came in good health and Lito is very smart, reads and writes well.  So we are hoping that some other solution can be worked out so they can remain together as a family with their father. 

Please pray for these boys, for them to feel at home here, loved and safe and well cared for.  Please pray as well for God's will to be done in their lives so that we can find family solutions for them if at all possible!

Hanging out with Sailors

Just an addition to my last post, I had the opportunity to join the sailors for a potluck in their honor at the US Marine Guard house in the city on Sunday night. 

It was a little intimidating to go by myself but I do know the captain of the Marine guard and his wife and they were hosting it.  And my friends Sarah and Betsy were coming after 7 so I decided to go.

I quickly got pulled into a game of dominos at the central table and you know, I didn't move from that spot all night except to get a plate of food.  Rodney, aka, the Dominologist, was the pro and I was feebly trying to learn.  I'm just not that good at math to figure out all the odds that quickly.  Anyway, I met a lot of fun people and it was so nice to be out of the center with totally new people talking about totally different things.  There was even some line dancing going on!

Now if I could just find someone to play dominos with me so I can practice my new skills . . .

I'm a Navy brat . . .

February 2009 053 So I was really excited to learn the US Navy was docking in Maputo for the first time on over 30 years!  AND, that their community relations program included coming to our center at Iris for two days of work projects!! 

Now, I am very patriotic and can get very emotional about things like this.  I was so honored and proud they were coming to work in our center. I am glad the military gets involved in the communities they visit and was happy for my kids to see them.  (although they weren't in uniform so i don't think the kids really got that they were in the military!)February 2009 054

I agreed to host one of the snack times.  Which, true to form here, quickly morphed into something bigger.  Turns out it wasn't just a snack for the guys working.  The Admiral (sorry, he's behind the pole!) and our US Ambassador  were coming to do a presentation as well!  (The Admiral WAS in uniform, as was his entourage!). 

February 2009 060This is a  photo of the Admiral giving our director, Steve, a photo of their ship, the USS Robert G. Bradley based out of Florida.




February 2009 075Good thing I always make more than enough food!  And Linda jumped in with brownies and someone else a cake so we were set.  I had wanted to give them a taste of our local tropical fruit.  And I ahd to add fresh roasted cashews as they are one of Mozambique's top exports. 



During their first day of working, only an hour or so into it, they had a mishap that could have ben much worse.  They were working on our church roof and one of the sailors fell thru it!  From the highest point.  After taking him to the city (45 minutes away) on a backboard, thankfully they found he had "only" fractured his wrist.  One of the medics who looked at the scene declared "that fall would normally be fatal."  Thank God is wasn't!  But that was it for working on the roof.

February 2009 003 The next morning, wouldn't you know it, it rained!  So, in addition to the man-sized whole in our roof, we were low on jobs for 20-30 guys to do.  I had a room I had wanted painted and so a group of the guys came and took February 2009 005care of that.  I love it when what seems like a big job gets taken care of in a snap.  By the time they were done, the rain was gone and we were back to our normal hot, humid weather.  I'm still not sure if all the paint is dry!

February 2009 012 Since yesterday was Sunday, we invited all the guys to join us in the service during worship to be prayed for and given a capulana, the traditional women's material for a skirt.  (Yes, we know it is for women but we give it to all visitors!)  That was really touching for some of the sailors to be prayed for by our kids.February 2009 014

Their chaplain (being prayed for, right) was part of the group working here so he was invited  to preach yesterday!  I didn't end up getting to stay in the service since the guys were painting in my dorm but I know the chaplain had fun!

It was a fun couple of days with the guys here.  I'm proud of our military!  I'm proud to be an American!  (I offered to sing but no one took me up on it!)


The Navy

It's Not Just A Job. It's An Adventure!