“I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course. So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle. Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.”

Jeremiah 10:23-24

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves are green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

Jeremiah 17:7-8

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Badplaas, Mpumalanga, South Africa

I've been in Badplaas, a small town about 3 hours east of Johnannesburg, for almost a month now. I'm settled and used to the routine now. I'm staying with five kids who have been orphaned and whose foster father had brain cancer and last week passed away. They are ages 10-15, two boys (twins)Sipho and Sihle, who just turned 13 and three girls, Jedidyah, 15, Queenie, 11 and Angel is 10. I am staying with them in the transition period between the foster home where they were and their likely new home.

Badplaas is a very beautiful area in the foothills of the Ndlumudlumu Hills. Every day I'm stunned by the view as we drive into town. I'm staying with the five kids on another family's farm. It is hoped they will become the new foster parents. They, Kerry and Wimpie, have two kids of their own, a 12 yr old son, Mickie and 15 yr old daughter, Michelle . All the children seem to get along well,especially the boys, who are practically inseparable.

Each day I go into town with them and assist at their school. Its a tiny Christian school. Then we go home, have lunch and do homework, then free time until supper, after supper the kids go to bed and I have a couple hours to unwind. I'm not sure how long I will be here, maybe until the end of March. Then I would like to visit a missionary friend in Botswana and then end up my time in Cape Town. I fly back to the States on April 28th. Just in time for my mother's birthday on the 30th!

Here are some pics.... me with all the kids except Michelle, after church last Sunday  
Here's one of my favorite views here....
Here's a pic of the Christian school the kids attend...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mozambique! English class and ....

So I've been in Mozambique for two and a half weeks and have been teaching now for 2 weeks and it has been interesting to say the least! My first day of classes, one student showed up!! The second class (I'm teaching a class during the week and then a class on Saturdays for those who can't come during the week) had 8 students by the end of class. So far the biggest challenge, aside from my lack of experience, is the differing levels of the students. Most are beginners, but a few speak pretty good English. It will be difficult to keep them engaged, since the lessons need to be pretty basic for the beginners. Here is a picture of some of my students, Sebastiao, Celso and Raimundo...Celso and Raimundo are two of the more advanced students....they are quite funny also... I was warned they may try to hijack my class sometimes! =:)

The students are quite eager though and I think even the intermediate students are enjoying the chance to speak more English. Outside of class, they don't have much opportunity to speak English, though it will apparently make it easier for them to get a good job if they speak English. The students are from a very poor area of Maputo and so don't have money to buy workbooks or dictionaries, so I'm going to try to raise money to buy them each an English/Portuguese dictionary. I think this will help them a lot. Especially if I can get them reading and writing, they will need the dictionary to expand their vocabulary.

This is a picture of Grace and Patrick Mulenga. I am staying with them in their home. Two of their daughters live with them also, Shula, who is Director of the Kutwanana Primary School they run at the church; and Twatasha, their youngest daughter, who is finishing up her last year of high school. They have two other children, Mumba, their only son, is attending college in Cape Town (he is how I came to know the rest of the family!) and Katongo, the middle daughter, is attending college in Nelspruit, a town in South Africa, not far from the Mozambique border.

I went to the primary school with Shula last Friday for their "End of Year" Party. On Thursday we had baked about 300 cookies and Shula got up Friday morning and baked cupcakes for them. It was a lot of fun! They played a couple games, then had their goodies, sang some songs, then had an awards ceremony. They kids had a ball...here's picture of Shula (in the middle), and her teachers..here are the kids eating their goody plate....here they are singing songs.....the school is now finished until next year, February, as it is summer here now. And yes, its getting hot...I purchased a fan earlier this week and I think it will be a life saver!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Back in Cape Town for a few weeks!

So I've been back in Cape Town for three weeks and have been thoroughly enjoying myself!! I've met up with lots of friends and spent lots of time at the SOS Village. Its been so great seeing the kids again!! I leave in 2 days to go to Mozambique, so the time has come to a swift end, but here are some pics of what I've been up to...Here's a pic of the SOS Kindergarten Teachers.
And here are some pics of the kids at the SOS Village, I missed them so much!!

Here's me and my friend, Jason...and then me and Denzel... its been so great reconnecting with my SA family!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The summer has gone so fast!!!

So, here's a sampling of the things I was up to this summer! When I first got back I was in training at my parent's ice cream store, the Korner Kremery. My parents were going to be gone for a week with my sister's kids, so sister and I had to run the store! It was an interesting week and sister and I decided we didn't want to take over the family business!!
I've worked there off and on throughout the summer, filling in when workers were sick and giving my dad a break for supper. I also got to spend some time with my nieces and nephew. Here's a pic from one of the days I was there and they were outside playing with their new squirt guns! Note I was safely inside the porch so I didn't get wet!!! =:) We also got to go to Adventureland for a day and I went with them to the County Fair, got to see Chaise's dance recital and piano recital...all things I missed my two years in Cape Town! I'll be back in Dec to go with the whole fam to Disney World for a week! Should be big fun!!!
I also got to meet up with a couple of past volunteers and our Centre Director (now the National Director for SA) from Cape Town, Rolf in Tennessee. He was here for a camp but we got to spend a couple days with him. It was a great reunion and I look forward to seeing Rolf again in Cape Town!Another fun reunion was when my friend, Isabel, came to visit. We met down in Cape Town; she was a vol from Germany and we happened to have the same birthday! So last year we met in Zambia and saw Victoria Falls together for our birthday. This year she and her husband came to the US to see his sister in Oklahoma and to do some site-seeing in the Seattle area. But she came and visited me the weekend of our birthday and we had a great time together. We toured the Capitol, Governor's mansion, went to the farmer's market, an I-Cubs game, drove around Amish areas and went to the Wash. Co Fair! And of course we got in some karaoke on our birthday and had some cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory!!! Yum! Isabel is now a fan as well!!!Finally, in August I went back to Kearney with my mom since my cousin, Bryan, was getting married and most of my uncles, aunts and cousins would be back! I hadn't seen any of them in three years! It was lots of fun. The pic above is of my mom and all her brothers and sister but one! It was a great time of visiting with family and doing some reminiscing with mom. We drove around Kearney and took pics of memorable places, like the farm where mom grew up, the country school she attended, her first apt, where she and my dad first lived after they got married, the hospital where I was born and we visited the cemetery to pay respects and to get more genealogical info.

Through all of this, I was also taking a certification course for teaching English. It was more difficult than I imagined. I haven't had to think about nouns, verbs, gerunds, etc in a long time! I'm excited to be going to Mozambique to teach English and also a little nervous! Please pray for me!

Its been a great summer, but I'm sad that I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to. I didn't get out to visit my buddies in Lincoln and I didn't get down to Kansas City to see my buddy, Mary. I miss you guys and promise I'll make it work out next time I'm back!! Love you all!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

February- saying goodbye to SOS, Germany & Chicago!

In February I had to say good bye to the kids at the SOS Children's Village - it was soooo hard!! I love these kids so much! Above is my friend Sarah, she's beautiful, sweet, smart and giving. I miss her immensely and hope I will be able to stay in touch...below are some of the kids posing by my car as I was getting ready to leave...neither of us really wanted me to go though!!
When I left Cape Town I flew to Germany where I toured around for a week visiting past volunteers who are all now good friends....a lot of fabulous reunions...first pic, me, Bao-Nhi, Feli and Edith in front of the dom in Cologne...Then here's me with Nina, Isabel and Caro at Nina's house in Schwabisch Hall...
Then, here's Theres, Birgit and Isabel posing with the giant teddy in front of a teddy bear store...And finally here's Steffi, Jessi and me goofing around while out shopping - gorgeous, eh?!

Then I flew into Chicago and stayed a few days with another past volunteer, Amy. And was joined by Gabe, Charlotte (visiting from Norway!) KT, here in this pic along with me and Amy. Lots of craziness and laughter!!

We had to show Charlotte the city, so here's a pic we took at what KT called "the bean" - I forget what the official name of it is, but I love the reflection of the city in it - too cool!! It was a really fabulous time! Then finally, I took the Amtrak back to Iowa and was greeted by my parents and my sister and her family! It was so great to see everyone!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

January - Youth Week & Botswana

In January YFC South Africa always has a youth camp called Youth Week from the 3-9th. Usually most of the Cape Town YFC International Volunteers go. Everyone said how much fun it was so I decided I needed to check it out. We chartered a bus to take everyone from Cape Town, about 50, and the trip took 20 hours! It was pretty fun, though much of the time I felt pretty old...yea, obviously I've left my youth behind a lllloooonnnngggg time ago! =:) It was a lot of sports and a lot of worship followed by a speaker, twice a day...overall I had a good time... Then I got on the bus with the YFC group from Botswana and went back with them. Gabarone, the capitol of Botswana is only about 4 hours from Johannesburg so it was a much shorter ride than the ride back to Cape Town!Here is a picture of the YFC office in Mochudi, Botswana. This is where the bulk of YFC's ministry takes place in Botswana. Its about an hour from the capitol city. I also got to meet all the international volunteers currently in Botswana, this is a pic of them.Most importantly, I got to visit the Orphan day care YFC runs in Mochudi. My main task when I get back to Botswana is to get another one of these started in another area of Botswana. It will be a whole new challenge for me! It was a great visit...then I flew back to Cape Town to start saying good bye... =:(

Monday, April 6, 2009

December 2008

In December, 12 of us volunteers and our project manager, Andre and his wife, Lindsay, decided to go on a road trip once school was out. So we rented a large van and headed out... ....we saw this lion at a wild life ranch and saw the Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn.... ...then headed to Knysna and checked out the lagoon... and the Big Tree (its BIG! =:) ....then we laid on the beach in Plettenberg Bay (also went to beaches in Jeffrey's Bay & Durban)then on to Port Elizabeth where we went to the Addo Elephant Park...here's me with the ellies! In Durban we also went to UShaka! Which is part Sea World, part water park, part mall...the water slides were a great way to beat the heat - it was very HOT in Durban!! Then we made the long trip home....took two days, driving about 11 hours a day... here's a pic of the whole group, minus Helen, who took the pic! We were home in time for Christmas but during the trip my wallet and cell phone were stolen so I wasn't so much in a festive mood.... pretty much stayed at home and took it easy.... saved what little cash I had....

Friday, December 26, 2008

Last day of school at the SOS KG!!

So on the last day of school we had a beach themed Christmas party. First the kids donned their bathers (swimsuits to you Americans!) and ran through the sprinklers...or as Joanen did below, just stuck their heads right in the water!!! An excellent way to combat the heat! =:) When not running in the sprinklers, the kids all laid down on their towels. Then they put up the jumping castles and the kids all took their turns jumping around! Finally we went into the courtyard and had lunch - here's a pic of mielies we had (corn on the cob for us Americans!) ...and handed out presents that were donated by an area insurance company. Here's a pic of some of the girls opening their presents. I just love this last picture of Thulani, isn't she beautiful!!