Sunday, May 29, 2011

Something for Sunday

Maple leaves in Autumn.

"Accustom yourself to look first to the dreadful consequences of failure; then fix your eye on the glorious prize which is before you; and when your strength begins to fail, and your spirits are well nigh exhausted, let the animating view rekindle your resolution, and call forth in renewed vigour the fainting energies of your soul."
William Wilberforce

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Something for Sunday

Felt like a stroll down memory lane today so here you go . . .

(limited by the photos I scanned into my computer for my mom's 70th birthday a few years ago)

Joyce with baby Laura

My grand arrival - July 1967!

My mouth has rarely been shut since!


Does that little baby even look like me?scan0046

Pixie Cut!  1972 ish?

Joyce College Graduation with daughters

I was about 11 here, right mom, 1978?


Man, I loved those boots and that sweater!  1985?


Sophomore year in college, 1990.

Laura Graduation1992

The college graduate with 1992 big hair.  I've never liked my hair as much before or since!



Hmm, my hair is decidedly flatter in this 2008 photo!  Must have lost my curling iron that day!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fun on Fridays

Children's Day 2010 102 
















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Children's Day 2010 103








Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kruger Park 2011!

Kruger Park 010

An early morning start - gates open at 6am and we were first in line!

(That means we left our place at 4:30 am!!!)

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One of our first sightings.  Can someone please cut the grass?

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Perhaps my favorite sighting of the day - this sweet giraffe was alongside us and came closer to get a good look.  Then he decided to make a right turn onto the road and gallop away right in front of us!  How do they look so awkward and yet so majestic at the same time?  I loved the sound of it too!  So stunning it made me tear up!

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Where we ate our picnic lunch.  This spot was amazing and had so much action.  Six giraffe and so cool to see them bend down and drink!  Zebra, impala and warthogs.  Can you see the eagle in the tree?  He flew over the lake and enjoyed his lunch too!  So were the many, many crocodiles and hippos that were in the water.  We could see about six or so crocs on land and saw many in the water and they were catching fish!  Must have been at least ten different hippo we saw.  A photo can't capture it all but it was amazing!Kruger Park 273

After lunch we came upon another a watering hole owned by this young man.  Sadly, there was a dead impala just there to the left with a lone bird standing on it, staking it's claim.  But without help from a true carnivore, the bird couldn't make much headway.  We felt he was looking around saying, "can I get a little help here?"Kruger Park 465

We ended the day how we began it - with elephants!  A whole herd but this little baby charged up the hill right toward us!  We quickly put some distance between us knowing the mom would be right behind her and if we were in the way, it wouldn't be pretty.  Sure enough . . .

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Here's momma, come to protect her baby!  See the baby's trunk copying the mom's?  So adorable!

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Gorgeous, stunning Africa!

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Days Beautiful End!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Our Clinic has been Nailed Shut!

May 2011 036 Today an awful thing happened. Five people came from the ministry of health and chained, padlocked and nailed our beautiful clinic shut. With no warning, no paperwork, and no instructions as to what to do next.

One month ago, we had an inspection where they verbally noted some things they wanted fixed but left nothing in writing, no official notification and no steps to follow. Three separate visits to the ministry of health from staff in our center resulted in still nothing in writing but a seeming consensus of what they wanted fixed. We responded in writing with our actions already taken and plans for remedying the rest, of which we have a stamped, received copy.

As they were nailing all the other doors shut from the inside, they simply said we had not responded to their demands.

We had to plead for them to allow us to get the ARVs (anti-retro virals, HIV drugs) and seizure meds out for our kids. Kids who are in the middle of any other course of treatment, including anti-biotics, were left without their meds. Mind you, we have over 260 kids! They did not appear concerned.

This has been so shocking and traumatic for our nursing staff, both foreign and Mozambican, as you can imagine. For our whole staff really. Please pray for God's will to be done, our directors to be wise and gracious and discerning and for God's favor to rest on us as we seek to work with the Ministry of Health to sort this out. And for the care for our children's health to not be compromised in this time of limbo.

By the way, at the same time they were nailing our clinic shut, a boy who appeared at our gate last night and spent the night until we could investigate where he came from, began having a seizure! With our clinic closed, we are unable to treat him. We are approximately an hour away from Central Hospital, with traffic, and can you imagine getting a child to the doctor every time they are sick when you have 260 to care for? Fragile, vulnerable, often under-nourished and immuno-compromised kids? Many who come to us specifically because they are medically unable to survive in their homes?

As a second aside, this morning, two short hours before the clinic was being nailed shut, we received a one month old little peanut from the hospital, who specifically wanted him to come to us because of the care we provide. He weighs 1.5 kilos! That is THREE.THREE POUNDS!! Without the support of a clinic. (Please keep little Inacio in your prayers too!)

I am reminded tonight of the Beattitudes as I try and process all that has happened today. It is not our place to seek vengeance yet we certainly want to defend the defenseless who are in our care. Please pray with us as we walk this new journey. Good thing we know Who goes before us!

(By the way, I use the term "we" loosely - I was not involved, I just mean we as in center staff.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Afternoon Program gets a facelift

April 2011 009  So, I've been doing the Afternoon Program (AP), which I describe as "supplemental education" for the boys, for over six years now.  Sometimes I've been very on top of it, planning in advance and using lots of creativity (remember the burning bush or wedding posts?) and other times, at 1:00 I am thinking, "what will we do this week?" when the boys come in at 1:30!

April 2011 015(Rebekah joins us for the AP!)

While in my fog this last several months since returning in December, every single week was "what will we do this week?" a half hour before we were meant to start.  Most often we did things like go for a drive, play dough or puzzles.  I just didn't have the energy or drive to come up with much more.


Nor did I have a framework to structure the AP around.  That was what I was really wanting, some way to organize it and have a plan for what I was trying to accomplish.  Even when the AP was good, or great, I still most often felt like I was picking topics out of thin air.  One week, "cast all your cares on Jesus for he cares for you" the next week, "let's take a stab at reading readiness."  And so on. 

I also have always gone back and forth as to whether I wanted the focus to be on Biblical education or educational education. 

I've since had an idea that I feel is from God in really helping me get a handle on the AP and I have been SO excited about it. 

We are going through the alphabet!  Now, that may not sound very exciting initially but it opens up a whole world of possibilities.  I have to cut things out instead of trying to come up with more things. 

Every week we study a letter.  We think together of words that start with that letter.  Then we do a worksheet where the boys circle the small and capital letter of the week.  And then copy writing it.  Then the fun begins! 

For example, for the letter C,  we did the following (all these things have the Portuguese word that starts with C, not the English word):  learned about creation (creacao), cut meat and cooked it for the snack (corto carne para cozinhar e comer), raced (corrido), sang (cantar), cut (cortar), used crayons (cors), made circles (circulos), cut and colored hearts (coracaoes).   Now the good thing is, I wasn't writing out all these words because my Portuguese spelling is awful so don't quote me on any of those words!!

So every week has a structure but we do different things every week so the kids don't get bored.  The only thing that has remained constant has been the thinking of words that start with that letter and the letter worksheet. And I am combining biblical and developmental education together.

The best part is, every day, the boys come and tell me new words they've thought of that start with a particular letter.  And I overhear them talking about it together too.

If you want to see an excited little boy, visit us when the letter we are studying is the first letter of their name - they are tickled pink!


Studying creation a few years ago 

Afternoon program 001

Making muffins for our cooking class - obviously, I need to shake up my wardrobe a little more often - these photos were about a year apart!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

A Prepared Environment

April 2011 001 Almost a month ago I shared about "coming out of the fog" and getting more ideas and energy for things in the dorm and ways to work with my boys.

One of the ways I'm doing that is by reading  blogs by home-schoolers and Montessori sites as well.  In one of these blogs, I came across the term "prepared environment."  Which essentially is creating a purposeful place for learning and creativity to flourish.

So I created this space for the boys!  I love it!  It's not perfect but it is so much better than what I had been doing before.  I wish I had a better "before" photo but this gives you an idea, if you can look beyond the cute boys to the line up of dressers and shelves behind them.

February 2011 013

Two dressers and a shelf unit with an open storage "bag" on top.  That's where all their toys were kept and they could never find a thing!  Mind you, they were happy!  They love playing with bits and bobs, these boys are not picky and don't know about Lego sets that build cars or sets of ninja turtles or whatever the latest is.  You should see what they make with bottle caps and sticks and old bicycle rims!

But I wanted to create a more prepared environment for learning and developmental play.  A visiting team is bringing me educational toys and games I have read about and will allow me to rotate what is on their bookshelf. 

April 2011 007But now when the boys want to play cars, they select the basket of cars and have lots of options to play with instead of rooting through five different drawers and three shelves for the cars they want.  I am enjoying watching them interact with the things much more than in the past when they just picked up one thing, played a bit and put it down and pulled out the next.  

They have magnetic letters, legos, Mr. Potato Head (a favorite), Magnetix, figurines, animals, cars and then a miscellaneous box that has the previously favorite toys (toy cell phone, view finder, etc.) but those are rarely selected now.  I also have a container with drawing materials that they can select and draw or color.  Previously, during time for kids in to just play, I wouldn't normally have offered that option too often as I would have to collect all the things for it.  This way, it's all together and they can choose it - and they do!

I think this is also going to help them learn to take care of things better.  There's a place for everything, all the parts to Mr. Potato Head need to be put back in the box, etc.  When they come in for free play, they get to select one toy at a time, when they want to play with something different, they have to put away what they were playing with first.  This has been so helpful in them learning to take proper care of things. 

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Paulito chooses the magnetic letters and Vicente loves Potato Head!

April 2011 008

The guitar is a fan favorite and I suspect always will be!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Fun on Fridays

April 2011 019 Recently, the new Mozambique National Stadium hosted it's inaugural opening futball game.  The Mozambique Mambas were playing the Tanzanian Stars and the whole country was watching.  And the whole dorm was watching - in my bedroom! 

The reception wasn't working in the main room so I had them all come in to watch the second half.  Many of the boys were asleep in their beds by then which made it a little easier for them to squeeze in. 

The new stadium is only about a mile from our center and that will have it's plusses and minuses.  One of the pluses?  Hearing the crowd erupt as the Mambas scored their first goal!  I mean really hearing it, live out the window, not just on TV!

Another plus?  Running out of the dorm to watch the fireworks when the Mambas won!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

He would have been 15

 Pedro's birthday 2010 009 Pedro would have turned 15 on Sunday.  It was a hard day for me, in fact this whole week has been quite emotional.  I've been teary, sad, happy, impatient, snappy, even yelled.

I keep thinking, what would we have done to celebrate this year?  Where would we have gone and whom would he have wanted to invite?  These photos are form last year when we went to a safari park, see the giraffe in the background??Pedro's birthday 2010 063

I didn't go to church.  May 1 is also our much-loved directors birthday and for the last three years, he has included Pedro in his celebration.  They always get sung to together at church and the Lazars have invited us out to celebrate with them.  I couldn't face being at church and everyone singing to Steve and Pedro not being there too. 

I miss him so much.

I think about what things we would be talking about and new adventures we would have together.  We were trying to learn all the countries in Africa when he died.  What would we be learning now?

Would he finally be taller than me?  I think he would have. 

I miss my sweet boy.

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Our last photo taken together, June 2010