Last full day in Namwianga!

Today was our very last day at the Haven! This morning we had around 3 hours to just play with the kids. As soon as we pulled up, Weston ran up to me and jumped in my arms. He pulled my sunglasses off and immediately put them on... they look humongous!

We have an assignment from Dr. Weaver to write a report on one specific child... Where they were on their developmental milestones at the beginning of our trip and how far they've come since we've been here. I chose to write mine on my little man, Dennis! That means I got to spend a little extra time loving on him this morning! I fed him, gave him some tummy time, sitting pracitce, and then we just rocked. He ended up falling asleep on my chest. He is so precious!

My little man!! I love him so much!

After putting Dennis back in his crib, I made my way over to Haven 1. Kaylee, B Weave, Sarah, and I have all worn our Toms while we've been here. If you don't know, every time you purchase a pair of Toms, an identical pair is sent to a child in need somewhere in the world. The Toms website has a page where people can send in pictures of "how you wear them"... People have worn them to prom, on vacation, wherever. Well, we wanted to take a picture to send in! We all chitenge'd a baby to us and took the picture in the back yard of Haven 1.

We love our Toms!

Sarah and I with twins, Bester and Elias. We LOVE them!

Caroline and Hamilton. He's come a long way, but he's still got a long way to go!
Please continue to pray for him!

After lunch, we picked up a special treat for the aunties... Leonard had made a cake for each Haven's aunties. We just wanted to show them some appreciation for all the hard work they put in for these babies! Even though they're easy to love, the babies can be a handful! We are so thankful that these women spend their days caring for them and giving them love.

The aunties at Haven 2.

This morning was all fun... This afternoon is when the sadness really hit! I spent some more time in Haven 3 just holding Dennis and playing with the crazy girlies from the pink room. Finally it was time for Dennis' bath so I figured that was a good time to say goodbye. I had to do it quick, but man it hurt. I am going to miss that little guy!! After I gathered myself back up, I went over to Haven 1. I held Hunter for a long time and took some pictures for Sarah with the Lost Boys (Peter, Jack, Ross, and Shawn). Aida, one of the aunties who I always joke with, had been at the clinic with Ketra (the newest addition to the Haven) all morning. She finally came back so she could say bye to everyone! I ended up tearing up again saying bye to her and Pauline.

One of the aunties at Haven 1, Aida, and me. She is so fun!

To stop myself from really crying, I had to step outside onto the porch. When I did, all of Haven 2 spotted me and ran out wanting to play on the playground. I was still teary eyed so I didn't say much to them. They all said, "Up, please!" to get on the round-and-round. When they were all on and I put my hands on it to start spinning it, they all said, "Ready, set, go!" Once I started spinning it, they all started singing, "Round and round! Round and round!" It immediately cheered me up because those are the things we have been working on. It was so great to hear them talking without any verbal prompts. Success! I ended up going back into Haven 1 for a little bit and I played with Elias, who was all smiles. Finally it was time to say goodbye. It was really hard after investing so much time in these babies. We will all miss them so, so much. Sarah and I decided to walk back home to just clear our heads. Once we got home, we were okay. We have really talked to the aunties about working on the babies milestones and language, so we know that the babies are in good hands! I am so glad I got to have this experience. It has been amazing to see how much progress these babies have made in just four weeks!

For a while now, Catherine (the other GA) and I have been scheming and planning for tonight. We knew it would be a hard day and that we'd need something fun to cheer us up tonight. After dinner, we announced that we would be having the first ever GA Olympics! Everyone came over to the house... all of us girls, B Weave, the Tulli, and the pharmacy kids (Brittany, Joseph, John, and James). At first, everyone was pretty skeptical and weren't real sure that it would be any fun. Shows what they know... Catherine and I are a blast! For the opening ceremonies, we played "Circle of Life" and welcomed everyone. The first event was "Longest Leg Hair." Now, I need to explain this. When we went to Livingstone to see the moonbow (like a month ago!), Catherine asked if I wanted to compete with her and see who had the longest leg hairs. We decided not to shave until we return to Livingstone (which is tomorrow! Thank goodness... we're ready!). After people heard about it, a few others decided to join in on the competition. So, everyone who participated came into our room and we hid under my quilt (Mom and Grandma.... don't be jealous! I had one of the aunties at Eric's house make it for me out of chitenge! I absolutely loooove it!!) so the judges would not be biased.

After much debate, Catherine was declared the winner!

The next event was "Sock Sliding." Our floors are concrete and we are always slipping and sliding on them. Everyone participated in this, including B Weave and DT. With as much skill as I could muster up... I ended up beating Ian by a few inches!


The next event was the "Chitenge Wrap." Chitenge are just a big piece of fabric. You can find them in all the markets and they come in all kinds of designs and colors. The women here use them for everything. Skirts, blankets, to tie a baby to them, to tie stuff they need to carry on their head, wiping kid's noses, and so on. We have all bought plenty of them! Out of our chitenge, we have worn them as skirts and made them into things... like bags, coin pouches, head bands, laptop cases, baby quilts, big quilts, aprons, and table runners. So, chitenge have been a big part of our time here! This event required everyone to hold the chitenge in front of them and when we said "go" they had to wrap it around them. The first to hold their hands up without the chitenge falling would win. Everyone (including the boys) participated. Sarah ended up winning, but I had to post this picture instead!

DT and B Weave! Love them! DT, please don't hate!

For our next event, we had the "40 second Clothes Pile." Each room had 40 seconds to pile on as many articles of clothing as possible. Really wish I could post all of my pictures of Caroline and Marja, because they were hysterical.

Kaylee and Lacey ended up winning with 24 articles of clothing!

Our next event was called "Unlock the Door." Our front and back doors both have a metal bar door with a padlock on it plus the regular door lock. Some people always struggle when trying to unlock it and it is something we have to deal with everyday. For the event, they had to unlock and open both doors and get the keys out of the padlock. Sarah ended up dominating this one in 13.6 seconds. Pretty impressive.

For our final event, we had the "Bottle Chug." This was originally supposed to be with actual bottle nipples, which seemed appropriate because it's what the babies have been working on. Because we were trying to keep the Olympics a secret, there was a miscommunication with Caroline and she ended up leaving all of our extra nipples at the Haven. We improvised and just had them chug water from the bottle without a lid.

Lace won this one. There was no competition. She dominated.

As a part of the closing ceremonies, B Weave had a special announcement... When we first became a department (Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders), B Weave created a special order for those who graduate with the degree. It's called R.O.S.S. The Royal Order of the Silver Slipper. When we graduated from undergrad, we had a little induction party, were given certificates, and wore silver shoes to graduation. When we graduate from grad school, we will be Master's of the R.O.S.S. So tonight, B Weave inducted the first two honorary members... Marja and Caroline! Wooo hoo!
Marja, B Weave, and Caroline with the "silver slipper." They were too excited!

Finally, it was time for the Olympics to come to a close. Since we didn't have the Olympic music, we just played "We Are the Champions." After figuring up everyone's scores, we had our medalists. With the bronze, we had Kaylee Carlson! With the silver.... Lacey Nunnally! And finally, with the gold medal, we had Sarah Hendrix! Yay! Instead of medals, we put chitenge around their necks and Sarah got to hold the "torch." Catherine threw up some confetti and we all cheered. Cheesy? Yes. Fun? Heck yes.

The 2010 GA Olympics was a total success. B Weave decided that it should become a yearly tradition and that Catherine and I are the best GA's in Zambia! We might be the only ones here, but we know she really thinks we are truly the best. This has been such a fun night and we only have more fun to look forward to tomorrow! After breakfast, we're on our way to Livingstone!

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Melanie said...

Sounds like so much fun! I'm glad you and Catherine were able to hatch a secret plan for some well-deserved fun. I cannot imagine how hard it is to leave these little ones that you've grown to love, but you will be able to cover them in your prayers from the other side of the world. Proud of you!

sarah said...

Just talked to your dad yesterday and he gave me the blog site. What an amazing experience! And what a delight the children are. Love the pictures. Safe trip home. Sarah

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