This morning we were able to sleep in a little later than usual at our extremely nice hotel, the Protea. We ate an incredible breakfast there and then had about 15 minutes before we were supposed to leave. Catherine and I wanted to find phone cards so we headed over to the little shopping center next door. We saw Dr. Tullos over there with Khaki Jackie and decided to catch a ride back to the hotel. When we walked up to him, we found Ian huddled over a trash can. Poor thing! He was really sick. After a few minutes of getting him feeling better, the four of us got in Khaki Jackie. Dr. Tullos said he still needed to go find some eggs for Leonard and Catherine and I could go with him if we wanted. Catherine mentioned a jewelry store she saw on the way in and Dr. Tullos offered to drop us off so we could check it out and then he’d pick us up in about 15 minutes. So he did. The store, Zambezi Jewels, had a few cool crafts and some really pretty jewelry. So pretty, that we decided it was too expensive for us! Since we had some time left, we decided to go next door to another craft store. The shop owner, a white man from South Africa, asked us where we were from. When we said Arkansas, he said, “Well you must be Republicans!” We laughed and he asked us a million questions. He was quite the character! He showed us every single thing in his store, including some baboons made of seashells who were named after him (Mike), the other boy working (Nawa), and the old man sitting on the porch who had apparently just been released from jail the day before (Pops). Dr. Tullos finally picked us up and on our way back to the hotel, Dr. Weaver called. We were 15 minutes late! On the way to Livingstone yesterday we had all of our bags inside with us and it was so cramped. We had decided to buy a tarp and some bungee cords from Spar, a grocery store, and strap our bags to the top of Khaki Jackie. This task was not as easy as it may sound and we ended up sitting in the parking lot for 20 minutes or so trying to get it all figured out. Meanwhile, Ian still felt sick, and Sarah, Jaime, Meghann, and Marja were also looking a little green. We were finally on the road and not as squished as the way there. We were supposed to be back at 1 for Leonard’s lunch but we were already off to a late start. It seemed to take twice as long getting back, especially since everyone was feeling so queasy. We had to make a pit stop on the side of the road for a bathroom break about halfway home. That was an experience for sure! Right, Lace? We finally made it back to Namwianga around 2 (an hour late for lunch) and half of the group went straight to bed. Lacey, Kaylee, Catherine, Caroline, Dr. Weaver, Dr. Tullos, and I were the only ones to go to lunch. Leonard had cooked the traditional Zambian meal of sheema (a corn meal that is kind of like grits that you pour a chicken broth over) along with rice, cole slaw, and rolls. It was interesting. After lunch, we decided to all go to the Haven and just do the feeding group since Marja was sickly. It ended up going pretty well. It was nice having a few extra hands. Caroline had me explain a few things to them about using the z-vibe and some of the Beckman exercises. I feel like I’ve learned so much from her and it’s only been a week! We did have a little run in with some new folks, but we won't say much about that, ahem, B Weave! Since it was only B Weave, Caroline, Lacey, Kaylee, Catherine, and I in Khaki Jackie, we decided to see how fast we could go over the speed "humps". Every time we came to one, another car would be heading towards us so we'd have to slow down. Finally, at the very last one which happens to be the biggest and right next to the soccer field (where a game was going on and tons of people were watching) we were able to pick up some speed. B Weave FLEW across is and the four of us in the back were airborne for like 4 or 5 seconds! We all screamed and everyone looked at us. We laughed hysterically the rest of the way home. We had sloppy joes for dinner and then did some Zumba and abs. Now our water isn't working and we're all sweaty. Uh oh. Hopefully it will be on for showers in the morning! And hopefully everyone who is sick will be feeling better tomorrow!


I have no words.

Tonight we went to Victoria Falls. Brilliant, God, brilliant. We saw the moonbow. We stood mere feet away from the drop off. We stuck our feet in the water. We got soaked running across a little bridge. I fell and almost slid down into the falls (okay, I wasn’t that close to it, but everyone else- ahem, Caroline- freaked out and all tried to grab me). We got even more soaked running back across the little bridge. We praised. I cannot put an accurate description of tonight into words. So here are a few pictures:

Ready to go!

First sighting of the moonbow! You can't really tell, but you could see colors!

Don't freak out, Mom, but we're about 20 feet from the drop off!

So amazing.

All of us that went across the bridge! We were DRENCHED. Totally worth it.

Precious Heart

Everyone needs to read my friend Catherine's latest post about our first day at the Haven yesterday. It is so true and it made me cry! She is so sweet and I just loved how she wrote this.

The Hardest Song to Sing by Catherine McMenamy

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Tummy time!

Shout out to Joce, since it is her birthday!!! Woooo party!

One of the side effects of my malaria pills is that they keep me wide awake.... all the time! Last night, like I said, Catherine and I were again the last ones to go to bed. But once we did (around midnight), I wasn't sleepy so I decided to read. I ended up reading about 100 pages before I realized it had gotten so late. I tossed and turned from then til 6. I had to get up then because I could not breathe out of my nose! Turns out, everyone woke up a little congested today. Bummer. Needless to say, it was a good thing Dr. Tullos had the coffee ready this morning!

Today was our second day at the Haven. Jaime and I were with Caroline again, and will be with her the rest of the week working with the babies who have feeding issues. We went to Haven 1 first to see Hamilton, since he's really the highest priority. We had our little feeding group and it was fun! Plus, all the aunties were changing the babies so that meant we got them clean and empty (no poop today!). Here is a picture of some of the group:
Hamilton, day 2. Still the tiniest thing of my life.

My precious little Miller! He was a little unsure about getting his picture taken. Also, anytime I'm in Haven 1 with him, I tend to say to him, "It's Miller time!" He loves it, but it did make Caroline shoot a questioning look at me the first time she heard it!

We're doing lots of things with them, but because there are so many babies and only 3 of us, we have to give some of them "tummy time". Tummy time is just laying them on their stomachs and giving them opportunities to strengthen their neck muscles by trying to lift up their heads on their own (the babies all sleep on their backs at the Haven, so this is not something they get to do on a regular basis). Some of them are getting good at it, but some of them HATE it and just scream and scream. We always say, "Oh, it's not that bad, sweet baby" or something like that. Anyway, we did the same thing in Haven 3 but were able to actually feed them since it was time for their bottles. At one point I had two babies in each arm and two babies on the ground in front of me holding their bottles and balancing the bottles for the kiddos in my arms where my elbow bends. That's what I like to call talent. We went back and did the same thing after lunch, but you could tell the babies were worn out from the morning groups. Some of them were a little more tempermental, but it was still fun!

We didn't have anything special tonight so we decided it was time for Zumba again! And guess who decided to do it with us? B Weave! She loved it. After 30 minutes, we were all drenched in sweat and she decided she had to stop and go look for her blood pressure medicine. It was awesome. Then we did 5 minute abs and everyone decided I should stop taking my malaria pills. Apparently they gave me a lot of energy and I was the one begging to do more! One of the ab moves we do is called "superman" where we lie on our stomachs, hold our arms out, and lift up using just our abs. Caroline said that one was horrible and I pointed out that it's exactly what we make our babies do during tummy time! No more complaining! Haha! Hopefully I can get some actual sleep tonight! Tomorrow after lunch we're heading to Livingstone in hopes of seeing a MOONBOW!!!!!! Yep, a moonbow. LEGIT.

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I'm in a glass case of emotion.

First off, yesterday we went to church and it was great! Long.... but great. They sang a few songs in Tonga but also a few in English so we were able to sing along. After lunch, we all were hit by that usual Sunday afternoon feeling. Almost everyone took a nap and some of us read all afternoon. After dinner, Lacey, Kaylee, and I stopped by Mrs. Mono's to pick up our latest orders. I got 3 aprons and a little pouch, and they both got dresses, 6 aprons, and a few pouches! Mrs. Mono is making a killing off of our group! When we got back we just had to take a picture with our favorite purchases thus far!When we got home last night, our electricity went off (surprise, surprise) AND our water was off. It had already been two days since most of us had showered so that was not good news! It started working in the morning but it was freezing cold so we all decided to just go without. I got dressed and when I came out of my room, Jaime was wearing the exact same outfit! Love it.

Today was our first actual day of work at the Haven! After breakfast, we had about half an hour before we were supposed to be there. Catherine, Kaylee, Sarah, Lacey, Jaime, and I decided to walk and Ian informed us he knew how to get there (we'd only been in Khaki Jackie and not on foot). Dr. Weaver told us we'd better hurry because it was a good 15 minute walk. After we passed the college, Ian pointed out a trail that his Namwiangan friend, David, had told him led to the Haven. We totally believed him. Bad idea. After 30 minutes of walking, Dr. Weaver called our GA cell phone asking where we were! We were definitely just out wandering in the bush. Finally we came upon what look like a tiny village and some of the kids pointed in the direction of the Haven. It ended up being just around the corner, but Ian later admitted that he had no clue what he was doing! We will never trust him again! Ha... Jaime and I were assigned to be with Caroline, who is a swallowing specialist in Nashville. This morning we went to Haven 3, which is where the medically fragile babies are. We screened every baby to find where they were on their milestones for gross motor, fine motor, language, and feeding. Few of the babies were where they’re actually supposed to be. We identified 6 babies that we are going to start a feeding group with and we found that all of the babies need language stimulation. After lunch, we went and screen the babies in Haven 1 that the aunties had identified as needing special attention. There were three babies we really focused on. Meagan is hypersensitive and has not been gaining much weight because she is a weak eater. Miller (who I fell in love with!) has failure to thrive and poor weight gain. And Hamilton. HAMILTON NEEDS YOUR PRAYERS! He weighed about 3 kg when he was born and now, 2 or 3 months later, he has only gained 0.5 kg. He is the tiniest baby I have ever seen in real life and he really needs a NICU. He is a poor eater and is obviously behind on his milestones. We took pictures of him today so hopefully we can have before and after pictures. These pictures are very sad, but they are real. Caroline is really going to work with him and hopefully we can improve his feeding so he can gain the weight he needs to grow!Hamilton's tiny feet: the size of Caroline's thumb.

Hamilton yawning. Look at his poor little chest.

I'm not sure if you can really tell, since the picture is not high quality, but he is so tiny that his skin on his arms and legs is just hanging on his little bones! It makes me so sad! Even though we had to deal with some harsh realities, I really enjoyed what we did today! Since we haven't had our class on dysphagia yet, it was so interesting to learn from Caroline! I can really see that what we're doing will make a difference in these babies lives and I am so proud to be a part of it! On a different note, when I was carrying a baby back to hear bed, she apparently decided that was the perfect time to have some yellow diarrhea. It got all down my shirt and skirt!!! GAG. It smelled so terrible! Oh my gosh, I cannot even explain the grossness of this situation. Luckily, it didn't happen until about 20 minutes before we were done for the day so I was able to shower and change clothes pretty soon after!

This afternoon, we were informed that a "meet and greet" type party in our honor was going to be held tonight from 6-8. We always eat dinner at 5:30 so we just ate quick and headed over. We had no idea what this party would entail and were pretty skeptical about it since we were the only ones there at 6:05! Dr. Weaver told us we might be asked to sing a song so we landed on Wonderful, Merciful Savior. We spent about 20 minutes practicing it to make sure we all knew the words. Finally people started showing up and they brought in huge pots of food! I mean, HUGE. Dr. Weaver told us, we'd just have to tough it out and eat it, even though we'd already had dinner. Fourth meal! They had cooked a traditional Zambian meal: rice with "chicken soup", grilled chicken, beef riblets, cole slaw (which I did not eat), and of course, cake.
Being fatties and eating fourth meal!

The beef was just a little tough. Actually, I couldn't even get a bite of it. Oops!

The people that came were mostly the local adults who are all involved in the mission in one way or another. It was great talking to them. I met a woman named Royce who teaches 8th and 9th grade English. She told me all about her two daughters and how much she loves teaching. She also wanted to know all about my studies and my family. Soon after talking, we were asked to have a seat. One of the men got up and told us the order of the party (so organized!). We prayed for our food and then ate. The same man got up and said, "While we are still chewing..." and spoke for a minute. Mr. Phiri, who is the superintendent of the schools and one of the main leaders of the Namwianga Mission, gave us his formal welcome. He was such an eloquent speaker! He gave a brief history of how our program came to be. He talked about how speech and language are the main basis for communication and that Zambia is lagging behind in their communication skills. He said he is so thankful for speech-language pathologists and that they have come to Zambia. He said many other beautifully worded things and it was so moving! Kaylee and I almost cried! It was so obvious that these people really need our services and that we are capable of helping them! God has truly placed us here for a reason and I think we all felt that tonight. After he spoke, a group of guys from the college sang a few songs in Tonga. They explained to us what they meant afterwards in English and again... so moving! The spirit of God is definitely in this place. Then they asked us to sing our song... ha! It was hard following the college group, but they all loved us. Mr. Phiri spoke one more time and said that in order to show their appreciation to our group, the people of the Namwiangan mission would like to present us with a cake! Love it.

Yep, they apparently label all of their cakes here, and this one was a Nice Cake.

This is our group with Mr. Phiri! We absolutely loved him! He told us that he hopes to become the first speech-language pathologist in Zambia. We hope he can do it!

It's now about 11 pm, and Catherine and I are again the last ones awake. It has been a long, but blessed day. Can't wait to do it all again tomorrow!

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I'm a graduate student working to become a Speech-Language Pathologist. I'm in love with my best friend, Jordan. I love cheese. I love elephants. I love reading.

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