"But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving." 2Corinthians 8:11

Monday, May 31, 2010

"Blessed Child"

Yesterday morning at church they had a children’s bible hour after the communion; so we all went to help and watch. The kids really seemed to enjoy this time which was lead by Jennifer, the Merrit’s daughter. She definitely kept the children in check! She would stop mid song to call a child out if they were not singing or participating; props to her! At the end of the hour Lacey, Jaime, Catherine, and I went up front and led a couple of songs. The children seemed to really like “I'm in the Lord's Army” (the southern style-version), it was quite humorous, apparently! ha

Jason reading his B-I-B-L-E

After church Catherine, Lacey, and I laid out on the back porch. My plan was to read but instead I fell asleep. It was glorious. Shortly after nap time it began to rain…hard. Later, a girl from the college told us that it’s rare for it to rain during the dry season. She said it means that we should expect a cold June.
Last night at church we were able to see not one but FOUR baptisms! YAAAY for more brothers and sisters in Christ!!

I was able to talk to my momma and daddy on the PHONE! For those of you who know me well, you should know I talk to my ‘rents (especially my momma) pretty much on a DAILY basis. So this was a big deal. A good ending to my day and a good beginning to my week!

Today at the Haven we (Catherine, Lacey, and I) began our feeding/swallowing therapy with Caroline. We learned some oral motor exercises to strengthen the facial muscles by massaging the infants cheeks, upper lip, and lower lip in order to simulate those muscles used for feeding. We see 7 infants at Haven 3 (the medically at risk fragile babies) and 6 infants at Haven 2. On a few of the infants we had to use a "z-vibe" which is a vibrating device used to basically relax the tongue and prevent it from protruding while feeding. Today was basically a tutorial where Caroline provided the case histories for each infant and also techniques to increase better feeding habits for the individual.

Catherine with Shelby and Bennett

Poor baby Bennett has eczema; he has to wear little mittens on his hands and a hat because he often scratches himself so much he bleeds :(

Sweet Sydney needed the "z-vibe" today

"Sweeeet" Caroline and baby Choolwe

Tomorrow we are going to do evaluations on the new babies, Alfred and Hunter, who have recently arrived at the Haven. I look forward to learning a TON more throughout the week!

Although we spent most of the day at the Haven we still managed to have a couple of "situations" at the house. First, this morning the power went out (luckily I had JUST blew my hair dry) then during lunch we managed to lock ourselves out of the house. Now, we didn't technically lock the keys inside the house, we just couldn't use the actual key to unlock the door because something was literally in the way of the lock. So, thanks to mini D.T. (aka: Ian) who climbed through the bars of a window we were able to get through the back. That wasn't the end of it...after dinner we came back to the house and the power was out for a good hour so we all sat in the living room reading with our head lamps. Gotta love it though!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Babies, babies, and more babies!

“Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They're all precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world”

Getting Andrew to use words to go "down" the slide

Brite is a BIG helper with the little ones

Getting the "big kids" to drink without a bottle

"My God is so BIG, so strong and so mighty..."

Feeding precious Shawn

He did not smile at the beginning of the week...now we get a smile everyday plus imitations of sounds/gestures out of this little guy!

Our beautiful supervisor, Marja, feeding Lisa

Precious Janna Tummy time!
Oh goodness! Ross the wanderer; he rooms with 3 other boys around his age and he is the only one walking on his own

Hello there Catherine!

Today ended the first week of therapy at the Haven. A lot of progress was noted in the toddler language class; as the kids became more comfortable with us they started to talk and interact more. We split the class in two groups this morning which turned out to be the right idea. We got some verbalization/gestures from a few more kids once placed in the smaller groups. The theme all week was animals, so we targeted saying the names and the sounds of each animal.

Two new babies have arrived at Haven 1, Alfred and "Joe" (he is not named yet, could be Nathan or Hunter) they are just a few days old. I look forward to working with these little ones next week when I begin feeding and swallowing therapy with Caroline. When working with the older ones at Haven 1 on language, we mostly bombard them with information (this week's theme: animals) so we talked about each animal and the sounds they make. Then we would sing songs repeatedly (that's the KEY!). Most of the babies are attentive throughout the language class and some even imitate gestures.

Yesterday was our first day to do a language class at Haven 3. It is very similar to what is done over at Haven 2 except here the babies are more energetic and dance to the songs, clap and even wave/say "hi" and "bye" to the animals we discuss.

Overall, it was a great first week at the Haven! I am becoming attached to the children (I'll admit, I do have my favorites!) However, I still love each and every one of the little babies there! I can't wait until Monday :)

Marja (who I've learned so much from this week) read this to Catherine, Lacey, and I before we started therapy today, "The Lord said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say" Exodus 4:11-12

Friday, May 28, 2010

"Nobody puts Baby in the corner!"

Thursday on our way back from Livingstone a few of our group members were ill (we are thinking they caught something from one of the babies at the Haven) so it was a rough ride back for them. Once we arrived "home" they (Marja, Jaime, Meghann, and Ian) went straight to bed. The rest of us enjoyed a lunch prepared by Leonard then we were off to the Haven. Rach, Lace, Catherine, and I worked with Caroline on feeding with the infants. I learned sooo much from that one hour with Caroline. We did "tummy time", and worked on strengthening their facial muscles and positioning their tongues correctly for feeding. We helped a few of the infants sit up and lift their heads which all correlates with them having better eating habits.

*ATTN: DADDY- you may not want to read the following section*
The non-sick kids (Rach, Catherine, Lace, and I) were apart of Dr. Weaver’s experiment (willingly!). She went as fast as she could over the bumps in the road to see how high we flew in the back of khaki Jackie! The last bump was a definite success with all of us almost touching the roof.

Yesterday we were greeted with hugs from the toddlers at the Haven and continued with the language class. With the help of Weston and Brite, the older boys, we can keep the children attentive and get some responses out of a few more. I used my new Tonga word I learned "kiara" which means "sit down", a few children laughed after I said it, but oh well it got the point across!

Our sick friends from the group are feeling better and are able to keep some food down, however, poor Rachel is feeling sick now :( Keep our teams health in your prayers!!
In between teaching and playing we were able to take a few pictures of the children. These are the toddlers that we work with in the morning enriching their language skills:

"More" "More"

Katie and Charlie chillin' on the swing

Love and Blessing

Here are a few of the kids from Haven 1 during language class:

Shawn aka: my "lil usher!"

Baby Nita: "Sassy!"

Ross our wanderer

Peter! "lil chunky monkey!"

In the afternoons we head over to Haven 3 (these babies have tested positive with TB, HIV, or some other illness)to work on language:

Baby Kurt and me!

The children were really excited for language class!

Dow was reaching for the camera

Last night we enjoyed one of Leonard's infamous “apple cakes”, literally he labels the cake “apple cake”. I am typically not a huge fan of baked fruits, however, this cake was DELISH!
After dinner we all gathered for a movie in the main room (even D.T. and Ian came). Tonight we watched Dirty Dancing and Dr. Weaver provided the refreshments (diet coke, coke, and sprite). It was a SUPERB ending to the day. I am sure we will be doing movie night in Zambia again soon.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Victoria Falls

Unfortunately, today I had to share my shower with a "Peter Parker" aka: this big guy....so needless to say I took one of the fastest showers of my life.

At the Haven this morning we continued to see more toddlers imitating and providing verbal/non verbal responses. We saw a lot of smiles today which always makes it a great day!
We were all super pumped to get on the road for Livingstone so we ate quickly and loaded up the Khaki Jackie. 12 people plus 12 backpacks were CRAMMED into the vehicle for the 2 1/2 hour drive (containing several detours along the way!) Jaime, Sarah, Lacey, and I (along with the help of Dr. Weaver and Dr. Tullos) sang various children's church songs in order to have some options to sing to the babies at the Haven; it helped to pass the time by.

The hotel we are staying in tonight is absolutely beautiful! We all wish we could commute from here to the Haven! haha (no such luck). We walked to get dinner at a near by shopping center. Our choices were either a pizza place or a hamburger place called "Steers". I went with the burger and "chips" which was fabulous! They had a special at Steers called "Wacky Wednesday" where you could get two burgers for the price of one...it was tempting, but I wasn't feeling that "wacky" tonight.
Afterwards, Lace and I walked through the local grocery store, which you would have thought we had NEVER been to one before because we went up and down every aisle at least twice and kept saying "it's like a Kroger!". We made some purchases of "E-meals" (emergency meals) for whenever Leonard fixes tuna casserole. No offense to Leonard, I am sure it is wonderful, I just can't eat tuna (blah!)
At 8:30 we met up with the group to pile into the Khaki Jackie and head to Victoria Falls to see the Moonbow. We were SUPER excited to see this thing!
A vendor from Victoria Falls volunteered to walk us around and show us to the various outlooks over the falls. I can not even BEGIN to describe how beautiful Victoria Falls is and it wasn't even daylight! I can not wait until we come back in two weeks during the day to see it. I was able to see the moonbow, but my camera couldn't get a picture of it. Rachel and Sarah were able to get a lot of good pictures. Shout out to Rach for being a fabulous photographer...I took these following photos of Victoria Falls from her blog (http://www.rachinzambia.blogspot.com/) Thanks friend!!

One of the 7 Wonders of the World (no big deal!)

THE Moonbow

At a few of the over looks we would get wet from the mist of the falls, but we were ready in our ponchos and rain gear. (Note: My sweet Disney World Mickey Mouse poncho, thank you very much!) At one point the guide took half the group across some bridge where the water from the fall was pouring down. Lacey and I were apart of that group for oh I don't know 2.5 seconds until we yelled "ABORT!" and ran for cover. I was knee deep in water and not even half way across the bridge. So kudos to the girls for crossing the bridge tonight! I'll plan accordingly next time with an extra change of clothes :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Straight Mall Walker

Yesterday we woke up to zero hot water and we had already been without water the 2 previous days so we were all roughing it without showers for 3 days (SICK!). But we were all champs about it and just rolled with it (as usual)! A few of us decided to walk to the Haven so we sported tennis shoes with our skirts and thanks to Sarah we got deemed "mall walkers" haha
It was our first day of work at the Haven and we were all really eager to get started. We were divided into 3 different groups: language, tutoring, and swallowing. Catherine and I were together working on language enrichment activities with the toddlers and infants with Marja supervising us. We basically met/played with the children in order for us to become comfortable with one another (aka: establish rapport!). Rach and Jaime worked with Caroline on collecting data for the medically fragile children who are at risk for feeding and swallowing difficulties. They were able to provide a lot of good information for the rest of us.
Last night we were given a welcome party by the mission. Mr. Phirri, who is the Superintendent and one of the main leaders of the Namwianga Mission schools, gave us a formal welcome; in which, his speech was so touching it almost made me cry! He mentioned how needed our services were here in Zambia and how appreciative they are we were able to come all this way to help out. The people of the mission also made us a FEAST of their traditional meal (rice, chicken, some red sauce, and CAKE!). Unfortunately, this was after we had already eaten supper; but it’s not like we could deny food that was prepared specially for us!!? Haha so to say the least we all enjoyed a nice “fourth meal” last night.
Today at the Haven we continued to establish rapport with the children and the aunties. We heard a lot more talking from the children today and we are beginning to learn the routines of each Haven. I must say, the aunties do an amazing job taking care of the babies and I don’t know how they have the energy every day. After just the morning session at the Haven we’re already exhausted! Tomorrow we are getting a little break and only going in the morning to the Haven, and then we are off to Livingstone to see the Moon bow. You can only see this phenomenon in a few places in the world and we just happen to be 2 hours from one of these places! Come Thursday, though, we will be back to work at the Haven in hopes of improving the infants and toddlers language, as well as, improving any swallowing or feeding difficulties in certain infants.
Even though we may get peed, pooped, or even vomited on (daily) at the Haven, the experience of working there is so rewarding and worth it all!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

No water in Kolomo tonight...no big deal!

Today we went to church at the Namwianga mission, which was quite an experience. Some of the babies from the Haven came to the service too. Jaime, Lacey, Dr. Weaver, Dr. Tullos, and I each held a child throughout church. I lucked out with a baby who sat quietly throughout the entire service! Haha B. Weave had a wild one but he was stinkin’ cute!
We mainly kept feeding the kids gold fish and cheerios and kept them entertained by playing with our hair ties throughout the service, they seemed pretty content.
Rach, Lacey, and I went to Ms. Mono’s after dinner to pick up the dress she had made over night (impressive) but to our surprise she had all 15 of our aprons finished as well as mine and Lacey’s dresses completed. This woman is AMAZING! Fact.
Tomorrow we are starting our official work at the Haven. We will be rotating between the three Havens working on language enrichment activities, feeding and swallowing. We’ll also be tutoring the school age children. I am looking forward to spending time with the babies at the Haven all day and helping them in any way I can :)
The first day we were out of the States I found myself checking for my cell phone out of habit. However, over the past few days being in Africa I have forgotten about my cell phone completly (honestly couldn't tell you it's location at this moment) and I have realized that I probably have more clothes on this trip than the amount of clothes some of the girls own here in general. I have also become accustomed to the fact that the power, water, and internet goes out daily here... Just reminds me how blessed I am back home.

"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me." Matthew 19:21