"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

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Bye, Bye, Bye"

We arrived back to the Namwianga mission earlier this afternoon. Lacey and I have already packed our suitcases for the trip back home. Luckily we left a lot of our clothes here so we could fit all of our souvenirs in our bags (still need to weigh those guys though!). Today we have the opportunity to go back to the Haven and see the babies one last time. Rach and I are definitely all about this. I don't care if I leave crying again, I just want to see my babies! We have each been given cleaning/check out duties by B.Weave. I am in charge of checking the closets to make sure nothing is left behind (neat). We took a vote as to what we wanted our last meal prepared by Ba Leonard to be...TACOS was the winner (YAAAY).

My girl Darcie was dressed like a polar bear
The older kids at Haven 3 were "sharing" a bowl of bananas. More like Catherine was regulating who got a banana
Look at that dimple :) presh.
George and Rach "talking"

Benji and George sportin' our sunglasses

Tonight after our amazing taco dinner, the G.A.'s (Catherine and Rachel) had yet another ceremony for us... the HIZI Awards. These girls really out did themselves. They gave out an award to each HIZ-Path member written on the back of an Ellie Hamby postcard.
Lacey actually received the "Next Ellie Hamby" award for taking the most photographs in one day (213 to be exact!) I can't remember all the awards a few were: Caroline- "Richard Simmons" award; she always came up with fun routines for working out while we were in Africa. Marja-"Most Chitenges Purchased", Rachel- "Book Worm" for reading the most books (8 so far). Meghann- "Natural" award, this girl did not put on an ounce of makeup while we were working at the Haven; keeping it real with the beauty God gave her! I was given the "Mrs. McLain Wannabe" award, due to UNINTENTIONALLY (swear!) always wearing matching outfits/accessories everyday. D.T. received the award for wearing "More Khaki than Khaki Jackie" haha and even Dr. Weaver was presented with a special award for becoming the dean of our department. The girls even worked it out to have Leonard bake her an apple cake!

**Naturally the power went out as I was typing this post. It would only seem fitting for the power to go out for 2 hours on our last night in Kolomo as well as any use of water (cool). But we managed to make it fun by exchanging pictures/music while listening to old school music (N*SYNC- "Bye, Bye, Bye" yes please!).
This will most likely be my last blog post of the trip. I have enjoyed being able to share my journey in Africa with yall. I am sad the trip is coming to an end however it is bitter sweet; I am ready to see my family and friends. I will miss the babies, the relaxed life style of Africa, and the simple joys in life this six weeks has brought.

"The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121:7-8

Here is the schedule for flying back to Arkansas:
June 23- Drive to Lusaka, Check into Protea Hotel

June 24- Depart Lusaka 3:25 pm, Arrive Addia Ababa 8:25 pm

June 25- Arrive DC 7:35 am, Depart DC 2:30 pm

Arrive Atlanta 4:25 pm, Depart Atlanta 5:05 pm

Arrive Memphis 5:30 pm
*We'll hopefully arrive in Searcy around 9 pm

Monday, June 21, 2010

"A"-mazing: Victoria Falls.

This morning Caroline, Marja, Lacey, and I went downtown with the Tulli family to do a little shopping. We did some damage at the local market (as usual). However, with Caroline at our side we weren’t suckered into buying from every person or purchasing things at a ridiculous price; she is a great bargainer and led the way for the day. After about an hour of shopping at the market we were overwhelmed and on the verge of having a panic attack/I was in need of a "feeding". We planned on meeting the rest of the group at Funky Monkey, this really good pizza place that B.Weave has talked about all trip, however, we soon discovered it was closed for renovation (sad day). Instead we had a picnic in the parking lot of a grocery store :) Then we were off to Victoria Falls!
Last time we were at the falls it was night time so we couldn’t exactly see what a WONDER we were looking at.

Apparently it was tye-dye day...

Today when I saw the falls again I was taken aback because I forgot how absolutely breath taking it really is. Victoria Falls is another one of God’s amazing creations that leaves me speechless!!!

The group that went across the bridge (minus Rach, she was the photographer and had "been there done that")

Last time Lace and I aborted the mission across the bridge that involves you getting drenched by the mist from the falls; because we didn’t have an extra change of clothes. However, this time we were ready! By natural instinct, I think, we headed straight towards the direction of the bridge as soon as we entered the park. We took a few snaps at the first over look then we walked down towards more views and that’s when we started getting wet from the falls. Once we got to the bridge the plan was to run across as quick as possible. Instead we did a combination of running/walking, because the view had us stopping to take in the beauty of being IN THE FALLS! We were able to see a rainbow going over the bridge, it was amazing! I became unaware of the fact that I was completely soaked from head to toe. We didn’t stop there, we continued on the other side of the bridge which is further into the falls as it continued to “rain” on us.
We do yoga at Victoria Falls...no big deal.
We say "A" is for AMAZING-ness in the falls

We all agreed if you are going to see Victoria Falls, then you have to GET IN IT! After we basically came to a dead end, we were forced to turn around and trek back across the bridge (slowly) taking in the view as much as possible. Once we were in the clear of the “rain” from the falls we looked like wet dogs. I remained wet for the rest of the afternoon until I was able to change clothes for the sunset cruise. But it was definitely worth it!

Drenched by the falls

The sunset cruise was so much fun it was almost like being on a safari again (almost!). We were able to see a couple of hippos in the water and a crocodile. We enjoyed a nice dinner and pretty much relaxed and took in the view of the beautiful Zambian sunset.
The four of us sat here for the first half of the cruise, listening(at the same time) to "Imma Be" on our ipods. Love it.
The end to my evening...

I loved the time I was able to spend here in Livingstone and I suggest to anyone who gets the chance to come here for a nice vacation! :) Tomorrow we head back to Kolomo; where we have to pack and get ready to make our way home. It is crazy how fast these past 6 weeks have flown by…

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day from Africa!

First things first, I want to wish my wonderful Daddy a Happy Father’s Day!! I cannot wait to see you and the rest of the family in less than a week. Love you!

Forever Daddy's little girl :)

Today was THE SAFARI day! Our group of 12 was paired with a family (a kid probably around 20 with his two uncles) from Mexico for the entire day. These three were quite a hoot; they were visiting Africa mainly for the World Cup, but they had taken a few days to fly over to Livingstone to do all the touristy things (Victoria falls, safari, ELEPHANT ride, etc). The boy, Julian, had recently been abroad in China studying Mandarin and now he was vacationing in Africa seeing nine of the world cup games (no big deal). Catherine asked him what he did for work his response, “I am a Daddy’s son.” Haha Nice. He did later inform us that his dad, including all of his uncles are lawyers and that he plans to study law when he returns to Mexico (whenever that may be?).

Julian and his World Cup Scarf

We started our safari by crossing the border into Botswana then getting on a boat and going across the Zambezi River. We then entered the Chobe National Park where we began our safari on the water in a double decker boat. Lacey, Catherine, and I stayed on top of the boat the entire time. It seems to be a trend with the three of us always wanting to be in the sun. Caroline, Ian, and D.T. also graced us with their presence on the top of the boat. We were able to take time away from looking at animals to take a few “snaps” of each other…

Yes, we took shadow pictures...we even made a sentence (more to come later).
Lace, Cat, and I with the Elephants

We do yoga on a boat...no big deal!
"A" is for Africa...
D.T. with us and the hippos in the back ground

After the boat safari we got into "Tan Jan" driven by Johnson, our safari guide, and continued on about our safari through the Chobe National Park.

We were able to see basically the ENTIRE cast of The Lion King…minus the main character, a lion. However, the plethora of elephants and surprise guest of a leopard made up for the missing lions. We saw cape buffalo's, sables, hippos, crocodiles, impalas, jackals, elephants, giraffes, wart hogs, Meier cats, guinea hens, and more random birds. Here are a few pictures that do not do the safari justice neither can any words…it is beyond AMAZING being up close to these animals.
Initially I wanted to be a hippo at the beginning of the safari but as the day progressed this is all I saw them do (lay around). Catherine thought I would be more of an impala or sable, something that involved more movement and I agree... because even though hippo's may be intimidating they do not live very exciting lives.
The elephants were EVERYWHERE and each time I saw one I got more and more excited. They are gorgeous creatures. That is the Matriarch in the front leading the other female elephants with a few babies mixed in.
This guy was literally this close to our jeep. I captured it on video as he approached, it was amazing. He tried to jump in with the female herd but the Matriarch chased him away. Apparently, he did not get the girls only memo.
Baby giraffe struggling to use its legs! (Picture courtesy of Rachel Pugh) :) Wart Hogs...we definitely called the Hogs when we saw these guys! woooooooo PIG sooie!
THE star of the day! Our guide Johnson informed us that leopards are rare to see. We followed him for a while and witnessed a stand off between him and two jackals. For some reason the leopard walked away from the jackals (which are little dog/fox looking animals). We expected to see a the leopard attack, but he went on about his business.

Our safari tour guide, Johnson, was full of information on each animal and tried his best to show us every single one!

*More pictures will be posted later, but due to a limited amount of internet time at the hotel I can't post them all. Stay tuned :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tea time at the Royal Livingstone

I love love LOVE Livingstone! We arrived around noon and had an hour and a half to spare until we checked into our rooms at the Protea Hotel. Lace and I steered clear of Steers the burger place we ate last time because after eating there a few of our girls were sick. So we stuck to Rhapsody which we have eaten in Lusaka and knew was a safe choice. They definitely don’t “turn tables” like they do in the U.S. it took us over an hour to actually eat and pay our bill (we were one of the two tables in the entire restaurant), not complaining just getting used to the concept of “Zambian time”.
After we ate we walked across the parking lot to the vendors that had set up shop. They were selling handmade crafts such as bowls, spoons, masks, jewelry, even scarves! The game plan was just to look and not really purchase anything since we are planning to go to a market in a few days. I spotted a man playing the bongos who was wearing a Bob Marley hat and went to his place first. I was not prepared for the situation I was about to endure from all the vendors! Bob Marley would not let me leave until I purchased SOMETHING from him; he even pulled the sympathy card, “Help me, I am from a village this is how I support my family.” So naturally I did. I bought a super cute purple scarf and wore it on the spot. It just so happened Bob Marley had no change so he told me to just pick something else from his selection…there was nothing else I wanted/needed. I basically just wanted my change but I could tell that was NOT going to happen. So I ended up caving and just grabbing the first bracelet I saw; just stimulating the local economy. Next, I was being called by name from another vendor (thanks LACEY!), “Kaylee, Kaylee come come. Look at what I have here, you need these bracelets.” This guy was even willing to take my one and only pony tail holder (that I actually need) in order to lower his price on one of his bracelets (40,000 kwacha = $8) but I talked him down to three U.S. dollar bills. These vendors are ruthless. One lady pulled me over to her stand to show me her stuff saying “Come sister, look here. You are buying from the men but what about sister? We sisters need to help each other out.” I was like WHOA …okay! Ha so I randomly bought a wooden hippo and naturally she had no change either so I picked out some earrings. I finally managed to escape and get to the hotel without being convinced to purchase anymore (for today).

We went to the Royal Livingstone tonight to watch the sunset and have High Tea. This place was legit. As soon as we pulled into the hotel, we saw three zebras just wondering the grounds.

We sat on the porch of the hotel that looked out over the Zambezi River, it was absolutely gorgeous! Those who drink tea were offered tea in cute little tea cups, I however am not a tea drinker so I had my first espresso EVER.

It was actually AH-mazing minus the face I may have made after drinking it.

Espresso is a bit intense but it was a great “pick me up”. At High Tea they also had a dessert buffet, which offered a wide variety of different cakes, scones, tarts, and even quiche. We went down to the deck that looked directly over the Zambezi and provided a beautiful view of Victoria Falls. We stayed until the sun set which was so beautiful.

Zambezi River and mist from the falls
Group shot (minus Caroline whom we missed dearly!)

Monkeys were everywhere on the grounds/trees of the hotel so Lace and I wondered towards a group of them that were hopping from table to table to take some pictures. Well, little did we know, these guys can get a little feisty. While we were looking at one monkey chilling by a tree we turn to see another one from the table come running at us as we went running and screaming in the opposite direction. The little guy even managed to cling on to Lacey’s skirt. It was an intense moment! We did however capture this hysterical moment on video. We later heard from D.T. and mini D.T. that a monkey got a little aggressive with them and D.T. had to basically kick it away (he more shooed it away with his boot; no violence was inflected on the animal, no worries PETA). Note to self: steer clear of monkeys.

Rach was smart and was standing far from the monkeys while taking pictures and was able to capture us running!

Tomorrow we leave for our safari bright and early at 7:30 a.m. I am SUPER excited! I plan on taking tons of pictures or letting Rach (she’s a great photographer with an awesome camera). Have I mentioned how much I love Livingstone!?!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bitter sweet

This morning was our final walk to the Haven (insert: tears). We got there early to finish our CAPSTONE research. Lacey and I stopped by Eric's House, which is across from the Haven. This is where the Merritt's live and they started Eric's House in order to take in older children off the streets and give them a place to live.

They have made a beautiful set up for these children including a lovely home and outdoors area with a basketball court. Lace and I needed to talk with three more kiddo's for our research on the age acquisition of prepositions in Africa compared to those in America. The final three we saw today were Charles, Benji, and Lukka (absolutely adorable!).

Charles and Benji with Lace and I

Taking some data while Charles (left), Benji (right), and Lukka (behind me) sit patiently
Quick "snap" with Weston and our props: banana and a cup

Today we spent the majority of the morning doing our assignment for Dr. Weaver, where we were to choose a child to observe to see if they have reached their developmental milestones. I, of course, chose Shawn to "shadow" for the day. Naturally, I took a lot of pictures because this was my last time seeing my 'lil man.
Working on walking; he found my bracelet he decided to chew on
Shawn was apparently hungry so he stole Ross's bottle (poor Ross!)
No words for the love I have for this little boy.
haha imitating each other
I can handle one go around with being peed on, but nope. Homeboy here decided to do it twice today....not cool Shawn.

Believe it or not, I also took time to see the rest of the babies at Haven 1 (not just Shawn!), however, the majority of the kiddo's were sick. So a lot of the group sat in the living room of the haven with the non-sick infants and played/held different babies. You could tell each of us had the same thought of not wanting to ever let go of these babies; wishing we could take all of them back with us.

Miss. Darcie with Beatrice (an auntie) had a bath after feeding time. This girl is a messy eater, never fails!
Jaime with Teeger's
My "family" who I WISH AND WISH I could take home with me! (Darcie is in the chitnege, she was a little tired today).

Jason and George sportin' Aggie gear "Gig 'em"! (Shout out to my family thought of yall!)

We did manage to take time out of our one on one baby time to take a quick picture in our TOMS while having a baby chitenged to our backs in order to send it to the TOMS website. The way TOMS works is you buy a pair of shoes and they send another pair to 3rd world countries for a person to wear. They insist on those who wear their shoes to take pictures of "How I wear my TOMS". We thought this was fitting.

"We wear our TOMS in Africa with babies chitenged to our backs"

Lace forgot to bring her TOMS this morning, but we still wanted to get her in a picture with us girls and our chitenged babies. I had a sleepy Darcie, B. Weave was holding Hunter, Sarah and Rachel had the twins Elias and Bester, then Lace was carrying Megan.

The morning flew by (naturally) and soon we were back at the Hamby house eating lunch then getting ready to head back to the Haven for "Auntie Appreciation"! Leonard had baked three cakes for the aunties at each haven. We wanted the aunties to know that we believe what they do is so important at the haven and they are such a blessing to these babies.

Aunties from Haven 2

After the aunties were given their cakes and hugs we all ventured to different havens to spend more time with the babies. Catherine, Meghann, Caroline, and I had made extra "Auntie Ed." material for the aunties to keep on hand if new babies came to the haven so we handed those out and checked in with how they feel about the new educational materials. We also left behind some different nipples for them to use for the infants' bottles and a few chewing toys as well as spoons for feeding. While we were in Haven 3 I was able to get a few "snaps" (as the Africans call it) of the babies...

Precious Catherine and Christi

I am holding sweet Shelby and Lacey has her Matty; we figured they should be friends!

Oh my boy Seth here was dressed in ALL denim today. He looked like a little farmer and he's loving life (as usual)!

Don't let Kurt's sweet smile fool you. I walked in on this kiddo trying to "escape" from his crib! He kind of reminds me of my brother Kurt, behind his sweet smile there usually is trouble :)

Meet Memory, she recently returned to the haven after having heart surgery. Today was my first time seeing this precious little face.

Once I was finished making my rounds at haven 3, I walked back over to haven 1 to spend my remaining time holding on to Shawn (insert: lots of tears). When I first spent time with Shawn 4 weeks ago he was quiet and didn't smile at all. Now, this boy is babbling up a storm, making verbal/nonverbal imitations, and he makes the CUTEST noises (one resembles the Zenia warrior call). We haven't quite mastered the skill of walking but he is pulling up on his own and walks around with assistance. When the final hour of our time at the haven came I could not stop crying. I walked into Shawn's room and said a little prayer with him. Miss. Pauline (an auntie) came in and gave Shawn and me a hug which was definitely needed. I just pray that each infant remains healthy and continues to grow strong each day and for the good Lord to watch over them and their caregivers each and everyday. Coming to Zambia to do my summer clinical practicum was the BEST decision I have ever made. No regrets. I have developed a strong bond with my group as well as with each infant at the haven who I will miss EXTREMELY.

Tonight after dinner, Catherine and Rachel (our Grad. Assistant's), informed us that a "G.A. Silly Olympics" game was happening when we returned to our house. I had no idea what to expect but these girls put so much thought into this game it was SO much fun and so needed after such an emotional day. They acted as our hostesses for the hour and presented us with each activity that we would be participating in. The first competition was "Longest Leg Hair", which six girls had previously agreed to not shave since the last time we were in Livingstone (three weeks ago?) yeaaaa real hot. haha This definitely took dedication girls! Love it. Those who were not in the competition were able to be the judgers.

The winner was....CATHERINE!

Next, we had a "Sock Slide" competition because our floors in our house are super waxed we constantly slip and slide around. This activity was very fitting. The winner of this competition was RACHEL. I do believe it was the running stance that got her the furthest :)

We had a chitenge race (who could put their chitenge on the fastest). I ALWAYS have Jaime or Sarah help me put mine on, so I was no contender for this one. Sarah was the winner in the end!

However, our professors were not far behind in the race!

The G.A's then had us work with our roommates in the "Pile on your clothes in 40 seconds". The winner of this competition was....
Yours truly and Lace with 24 items of clothing on all together. "Same Page"

The final two competitions were "Unlock the door" which we had to unlock the gate then the front/back door the fastest. A little note: the door's locks are like Harry Potter castle style and I never unlock the door. I always get someone else to because it's always a situation! Sarah also won the Gold for this competition with a time of 13.6 seconds (woot-woot!) and surprisingly I won the Silver with the time of 15.1 seconds :) "Chug the Bottle" was the last activity in which we had to chug water from a baby bottle and Lace face won that one hands down!

The G.A.'s had three different "stands" (two different foot stools and a book) for the Gold, Silver, and Bronze overall winners.
Sarah won the gold medal chitenge, Lacey won the silver, and I the bronze. B. Weave so kindly provided an Olympic Torch, which Sarah is holding (the lighter)!

Tomorrow we are heading to Livingstone until Tuesday. We have a lot on our agenda such as: tea time at sunset, a safari, sunset cruise, trip to Victoria falls, and shopping! We were unable to get an elephant back ride booked, but it is still going to be a fun filled four days.