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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A Legit Situation

Yesterday morning when I woke up and walked into the bathroom, this guy was on the wall! Maleah... they even follow me to Africa!

This morning we had to go into Kalomo to get our visas renewed... Thank you B Weave!!

We got to the Haven just a little later than usual, so our Haven 2 kids were already drinking their tea/juice/milk. As soon as we showed up, Bright, Emma, and Weston ran over to me holding up their drinks so I would take the lids off. When I took their bottles, they ran over to the bench and sat nicely waiting to get their drink back. They are learning so well! While we were doing our lesson, Clintus (one of the aunties) came out to watch. I asked her if she would like to sing some songs and she said, "No... tomorrow." Well, tomorrow we are not doing our normal therapy so I had to explain that to her. Then she said, "Ok, after tomorrow." When I had to tell her that tomorrow is our last day, she got teary eyed and said, "No! So sad, so sad!" That was the first time it really hit me how sad saying goodbye tomorrow is going to be... Oh, goodness. Not thinking about that yet!! At Haven 1, the aunties are all very sweet and love talking to us... which I think is because Sarah has basically become and honorary auntie while we've been here. When I asked Pauline if we could take a "snap" she said only if we take two and I leave one with her! She is just precious!

Pauline and me!

This afternoon, we spent our time on the front porch at Haven 1 writing up a very detailed schedule of what we've been doing, a list of all the children at the Haven, and organizing our supplies that we're leaving here. We ended up getting it done pretty quickly so we had some time to just hold some babies. A lot of them are sick right now so they weren't as lively as normal. I picked up Hunter because he was crying in his bed. I ended up holding him for about an hour! He is so sweet and so tiny! Marja joined us back from her day at school and we worked on recommendations for next year. I used a chitenge to tie Hunter to me so I'd have some free hands. He just loved it! I think it was really good for him to just be held close. I didn't want to have to put him back in his bed when I left!
Sweet, sweet Hunter

Tonight we're just hanging out... the power went out again for about an hour but it just came back! We always end up finding ways to entertain ourselves, so it's all good. Oh, but we do have some sad news... probably not going to get to go on the elephant ride. Every company we've contacted is already book. Oh well! We are going to have plenty to do in Livingstone as it is!

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30, flirty, and thriving.


Yes, today is Caroline's 30th birthday! We were all so excited to celebrate it with her because we LOVE her! She has been a major blessing to this trip and I have really enjoyed getting to know her.

Today was our LAST full day of really structured therapy! For language therapy, we work with Haven 2 first. When we first arrive, the toddlers are out on the playground so we spend some time letting them play on the swings and the "round-and-round" and practice saying "Up, please," "more," "go," and other simple words like that.
The swings

The "round-and-round"

Normally the kids are really hyped up and love singing songs with us and practicing their words. Today, it was like they had stayed up all night... they were all a bunch of little zombies! We decided to not rile them up so maybe they would be attentive in class. Success. Class today was great! They were loving it! Bright, Ethel, Ethel and a few others sang along to all of our songs and answered all of our questions! We were so proud! Beauty, one of the aunties, sang "Make a Good Fashion" with us and Bright was going craaazy! It was hilarious and he absolutely loved my "superstar" fashion. I guess I should explain what "Make a Good Fashion" is. It's a cute little song that they sing that goes...
Magande, yes
Magande, Rachel (or whoever), yes
Are you ready? Yes
Make a good fashion!

Then, whoever's name has been called makes a "good fashion" which basically means strike a pose. The little kids LOVE it! Most of them make the same fashion, so when I was called I did the Superstar pose. Bright literally fell out of his chair he was laughing so hard. I loved it.

For lunch today we had tacos. This may not seem like that big of a deal to you, but they are one of the meals we look forward to most! Ba Leonard is a fantastic cook and he even managed to cook for us with the power out today. We all had to go lay down after lunch because we were so full!

Tonight we celebrated Caroline's birthday by making her a gluten-free cake! She is basically allergic to everything, including gluten, so she had brought her own cake mix. I sneakily got it to B Weave who passed it over to Kerri who made it in time for dinner. Caroline was so happy to have her own cake since she has been missing out all this time on Ba Leonard's excellent cakes. After dinner, some of the girls made some homemade chapati chips and rotel for our refreshments at movie night tonight. We are watching the 5th episode of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency on the back terrace of the Hamby house. It's pretty cold outside, but I'm all bundled up and there is a nice little pot of hot coals by my feet. This is something I will miss.

Success. Thank you photobooth. This is our little bucket of coals that is keeping Lacey and me from freezing to death! It's 42 degrees out here. We googled it.

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"Dancing, dancing, dancing on our beds!"

This week I am with Lacey and Jaime working with Marja doing language therapy. Now, if you don't know... When it comes to speech path stuff, I am so much more interested in the medical aspect of it. So pre-school language therapy is not my favorite thing to do. Sunday night, Marja and I had a little talk about this and I am just choosing to have a good attitude about it even though it's not my favorite. I told Marja that I really appreciated that she was so passionate about it... since I'm not. She just laughed and said she totally gets it. She's glad people like Caroline and me are more interested in the medical side of things since it's not her passion. Glad we balance out!!

Today was a GREAT day for language therapy! At Haven 2, where the toddlers live, we are trying to help them transition into being a "big kid" by doing the little things... like not drinking out of a bottle anymore!
These cuties are Shelley, Weston, Emma (I absolutely LOVE her!!), and Bright. They are practicing drinking out of cups without lids. If they drink all their juice without spilling... they get a smartee! They are so motivated and they love it! They can be a handful, but they are also making so much progress with their language that we are pretty happy with them.

Our babies at Haven 3 (all the ones in our feeding group- Dennis, Bennett, Sidney, Shelby, Choolwe, Amanda, and Matt) went to the doctor today for TB reviews. Since they weren't there at the normal times, the feeding group had them during our language time at Haven 3. So, since I was scheduled to be working with them, I just helped Lacey out in the girls room! They were so much fun! Lacey had a new version of "1 little, 2 little, 3 little ducks" where we sang, "Dancing, dancing, dancing on our beds!" The girls thought it was the best thing ever and whenever the song would end, at least one of them would say or sign "More!" (Success!!!) They were also doing some great imitations and it just totally made it worth it. Lace and I were out of breath from so much singing and dancing, but it was too fun.
Catherine and Christine... the biggest cheesers for the camera!

Dorsi... out of control, but so much fun!

Bethany and Kim. Bethany has come a long way... and Kim is a big time observer!

After therapy this afternoon, I went over to Eric's House to play with George some and work on my capstone project. Of course when you actually want them to talk, kids get super shy! George knew that I was recording him and he kept wanting to whisper in my ear so the recorder wouldn't "get" him. Looks like I'll be having some more "play" time with George tomorrow! Right before I left, I saw Ian and David running around trying to catch some chickens that got out...

Then, David caught one! Impressive.

Since I stayed later, I had to walk home by myself. So... I decided to take a bunch of pictures to document the road we take every day to and from the Haven.
This is right as you leave the Haven and Eric's House. So beautiful.

And this is right as you come up on the college.

Good day. B Weave has just posted (thanks to our handy dandy printer!) a schedule for the rest of our trip. My emotions are so torn right now. So sad about leaving the babies. So excited about everything we get to do in Livingstone. So anxious to be home. Only 9 more days!

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What a weekend!

This weekend was extremely eventful. We had some sad news Saturday morning before we left for a trip to Choma. We found out that baby Alfred passed away early that morning. We were very sad, but Alfred had been struggling to breathe the past few days and now he isn't struggling at all! That's the only way we can have peace about it, to know he is with our God in Heaven!

After a quick stop in Kalomo to fill Khaki Jackie up with gas and get some snacks for the road, we headed off to Choma. We spent some time at the little crafts museum and then we went to the grocery store (Super Spar) and got some lunch (a quarter of a chicken and chips, or fries). Delish. Then it was market time! Mrs. Mono, our neighbor who sews all the cute purses and stuff, asked us to go to a store for her and buy some thread while we were there. We had no idea where this store was so we asked an older man at the museum. He said, "Oh, it's too difficult to explain, I will just walk you there." It was like a 10 minute walk! What a nice little man! We walked passed some guys and they called to the man and said, "Boo yah! something something something" haha it was in Tongan, not English. He yelled back to them and I heard "boo yah" again. I asked him what that meant... it means grandfather. When I told him what we use it for in English he laughed hysterically! I love it. He was a funny old man. He said he finally feels like a grown up because he just got some grey hairs. Love it. Anyway, when we got to the shop it was closed. Bummer. We gave the man some candy in appreciation. He loved it. Then Jaime helped me pick out some chitenges for a quilt! I am going to take them to some of the ladies who are at Eric's house and they are going to make me a quilt! I am really excited about it. We decided we had enough chitenges and wound our way back to the front of the market. All along the front stalls, there are tons and tons of dried fish, rice, and other grains. We're not completely sure, but we think it's like a snack for them. No way you could get me to try it!

When we got home we watched Twilight and just chilled because we had a later dinner tonight. There is another orphanage about 20 min away (awful dirt roads in the bush) called 7 Fountains Farm. And the family that runs it invited us over for dinner. They are from South Africa so they have a cool accent... it's like British and Australian mixed. There are also a few pharmacy students from Lipscomb who just got here today that came to dinner too. The family made us a South African specialty called poikey (no idea how to spell it) but it means little pot. You apparently normally cook individual little pots of it, but they just made one massive one. It was basically just like a beef stew, plus we had rice, salad, and rolls. Then they made a ton of desserts and we had tea. It was like a 3 hour deal. It was delicious, too. Kaylee, Lacey, and I ended up sitting across from the Tulli (Dr. Tullos, his wife- Kerri, and their 13 yr old son- Ian). We talked to them about tons of stuff and by the end we were getting bored so we started playing ERS. Everyone else was looking at us like we were crazy because we were screaming and laughing, but we had fun.
Right as we sat down to eat, the power went out! So we ended up having a nice dinner by oil lamps!

This morning, we were invited to attend services at the Kasibi Church of Christ where Leonard (our amazing cook) is an elder. The drive out to it was crazy! The roads were super bumpy and in the middle of nowhere but we made it! When we arrived, some of the women of the church came out to greet us by singing and shaking all of our hands.
The entire service was done in English and Tongan. Dr. Tullos helped with the Lord's Supper and Will, a guy from Texas who is visiting with his family, preached the sermon. These two guys in the picture did most of the translating and they kept cracking us up! At one point Will said something about "athletic clothes" and the shorter guy was translating. He thought for a minute and then rambled out a bunch of Tongan and ended it with "sports attire." We all laughed pretty hard at that one. When the service was over, the Kasibi Singers (pictured below) sand a few songs for us. They were great! Then we were asked to sing a song for them. We sang Wonderful, Merciful Savior and even though we're not the greatest singers, they all loved it. After church, Leonard had us over to his house for a lunch he had prepared. His house and their little village was a few hundred yards away from the church. We had to drive Khaki Jackie since we weren't coming back to the church. Almost everyone decided to walk, but Lacey, Marja, and I decided to ride since we'd driven through some tall grass. Didn't want to risk being surprised by a snake! Since there were only 3 of us in the 12 person vehicle, we opened up the doors and motioned for the little kids to get in with us. They ALL wanted a ride! It was excellent. There were 27 of us in all! It was great. Leonard had fixed us a delicious meal and we all felt pretty special to be eating in his humble home. After we had cleared our plates and had a piece of his "Welcome to Kasibi Church of Christ" cake, we headed outside to listen to the band with the rest of the village. Dad, don't you have this shirt??? Love it. Maybe you two were on the same boat? The band was awesome. They all had homemade instruments and they all sang. As soon as they started playing, all of the kids started dancing around the band in a circle. I mean, they were dan-cing! It was crazy. After some convincing, we all jumped in there with them! It was so much fun.After about an hour of dancing, we finally decided it was time to go home.These two were my dance partners! They were so cute.

When we got home, we had a nice couple of hours to just relax. After dinner, we were back at the house talking about therapy tomorrow and.... the power went out. We decided to have our own head lamp devo at home instead of going to church since we wouldn't be able to hear/understand anything without the mics and in the dark. We were all set for that when Dr. Weaver came in with the best announcement ever! Ian decided to be baptized tonight!!! What a blessing! We walked over to the Mann house and everyone gathered to witness. After Ian was baptized, another person stepped forward and decided to be baptized. And then another. And then another! Altogether, 6 new brothers and sisters were added to our family tonight! When we first got here, Ian immediately made a new friend, David. They are the same age and Ian has spent a lot of time hanging out with David and even went to school with him a few times. They have become great friends and tonight both of them put on Christ in baptism. So special! You would have thought Ian had 10 extra moms tonight because we were so proud of him! What a great way to end the weekend.

Tomorrow we start our final week of therapy at the Haven! I can hardly believe our time is coming to a close!

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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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