Tuesday, July 26, 2011

july 26th & 27th, 2006

Okay. No more pictures. Just words. And only a "few". I am also combining entries from the 26th and 27th. Because, honestly, I am tired of writing every day. Since I feel guilty when I don't.

July 26th & 27th, 2006
"At this moment, I am in Dakar, Senegal. It is the Western-most point in Africa. The plane ride has been pretty good so far. Nikki hasn't gotten sick, which is a nice change from when we arrived to Africa. When I last journaled, the flight attendants had just handed me my meal. It was pretty good - chicken with pasta sauce stuff, a salad, a wheat roll, chocolate mousse. I drank 2 Appletizers! The drinks in Africa have all been so good... I will miss them.
"I fell asleep right when the movie ended and was out for about 4 hours. Those 4 hours were so uncomfortable. I ended up sleeping hunched over my tray table. I woke once to my head bobbing everywhere and Nikki's feet on my tray table. It was awkward and ridiculous!
"While we were stopped [in Dakar], Nikki and I talked to the guy catty-corner across the aisle from me. He is 18 and originally from South Africa. His mom married an American, so he has been in the U.S. for two years now. He lives in Pennsylvania. He seems like a very nice guy - he has a little bit of a wild side from the stories he's said, but an all around nice guy. I could be completely wrong, but I guess I'll never know. Regardless, he is very attractive and fun to talk to.
"Breakfast was good; sausage, eggs, potatoes, croissant, jam, fruit, and yogurt! After the movie was over, I watch something about ships in the Canal de Mozambique. It made me cry. I think it sunk in that I was gone. It was hard to leave when we physically left Moz, but now it was definite that I was going back to the U.S. I cried on and off for a half hour. I didn't do much on the plane when the show ended. Just sat and thought about Africa... I will probably cry when I arrive in Az... I want Africa and the "family" that I formed there. I miss the sights, sounds, and smells. I miss the people and the kids. I miss Elaina and Dote.
"The last two flights home were alright... The flight [from D.C. to Denver] seemed longer than it really was - I was having horrible back pain that would not go away no matter what I did. The flight from Denver to Phoenix was good - it was nice and short. My back pain continued and was worse, but I just fought it.
"It is like I blinked and the trip is over. Friends ask if it was worth it; I have to fight tears when I tell them how "worth it" it was. I don't know what to do with myself. I was only in Africa for a month, but my heart is still there and always will be. I miss my friends and family that I created... Everything was alive and real. There was nothing fast about Africa. No rushing or impatience... I will never forget what I have seen, felt, experienced, heard, or touched. I know that Africa will always be with me."

I do not like the feeling of moments being over. Like the ride home from a wonderful trip. Or - because I am crazy - when the anticipation of giving birth has come and gone. You build up to these things for so long, exist in them in the moment, then look back and say, "wait.... it is over already?!". I am grateful for my photographs and journals, but it always makes me a little sad knowing I will never be able to relive those exact moments. On the flip side, it makes me look forward to each new adventure and the memories I will create.

Just a few thoughts after having completed this.
1. I learned that I am not ALWAYS a selfish, self centered person. Just most of the time. I volunteered for this trip for the wrong reasons. But while I was there, I completely lost myself in the work (most of the time).
2. I learned the difference between needs and wants. I walked away with a new sense of what people really
need in order to survive. And I realized that about 90% of the possessions I owned were just wants. Too bad five years has made me forget... for my wants are now my "needs".
3. I learned that you can be in the middle of NO WHERE and not know the local language, but still know the meaning of a smile. I felt so lost at times, but when I was on the receiving end of a smile
(which was often in Moz), it made everything better. Smiling is universal.
4. I learned that you must see the good in all things, even the bad. The people whom we visited lived in mud and stick homes. They ate rice and beans. They owned just enough clothes to cover themselves. Yet they were some of the happiest people I have ever met. And this is because they look for the good.
5. I learned that you cannot call people freaks because they are different. One of our leaders, Jody, had her own set of food in Africa. Thinking it odd, I asked her why one day. She told me she was a Celiac, that she is "allergic" to wheat. My initial thought, "what kind of freak is allergic to wheat?!". Seriously. That was what went through my head. And guess what. That pain that I talked about this entry... the stomach pain that hurt so bad it felt like back pain... that pain was the onset of Celiac Disease. Never heard of it until I met Jody. And if it weren't for her and a lengthy discussion we had while in Africa, I would not be as healthy as I am now.
Moral of the story, don't call me a freak for being "allergic" to wheat. :)
6. I learned that there is a plan for everyone. In this plan, we are only asked to suffer through what Heavenly Father (or whatever deity you have faith in) knows we can bear. I have had my share of difficult things to endure through. But the people in Moz have really taught me the meaning of strength.
7. Finally, I have learned that there can always be more room for love in the world. That was our main objective in the orphanages; just love the kids and be with them. It is what they needed. It is what everyone needs.

There. Done. The end. Well, of my Africa reflection anyway. And even if i am not writing about it every day, I am thinking about it. I could not have ended my journal with words more true. I know that Africa will always be with me.

two months

Do you know how excited I was to do this again? Seriously. Laid in bed and thought of how I would draw this the night before. Not even kidding. Maybe it is my love for photography. Or probably just my love for chalk. The entire time, Joel wanted to "lay down in the chalks". Oh Joel. If only you knew what I had planned for the three of you when it cools down...

He is still loving this...
Two Months Stats:
Weight: 12lbs 12oz
Height: 24in
definitely my smallest baby
scratch that. Just looked up 2 month stats for the others
Joel: 15lbs and 25in long (just huge)
Lucas: 12lbs 13oz and 22.5in long (shortie)
Daniel is small and tall

Still at the pretty boring stage. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE THIS STAGE. They do not move around much. They do not talk back. They do not play favorites. But there really isn't much to report. He is still a fussy guy. Just likes to cry a lot. He is still a great sleeper. Eats at 10pm. Sleeps til 6am. CANNOT complain about that. If he keeps it up, he will be in the boys' room before 3 months! Ps. His occasional smiles are THE. BEST. Two dimples; one on either cheek.

Monday, July 25, 2011

july 25th, 2006

Almost there. Two (possibly three) more Africa posts to go after today. If you have been reading all of them, you make my heart happy. If you haven't, I kind of don't blame you. Some of these posts have been pretty wordy. But, either way, this is for me. Because I like to remember.

July 25th, 2006
"Abelio was revving the engine at the gate by 5:15am. We had planned to spend the last morning watching the sun rise on the beach. While Jenna woke the girls and guys, I search for the guard to unlock the gate. Within 15 minutes, Cuca, Jenna, Jess, Nikki, Eric, and I were on our way to the beach in the beloved Landrover. The [land] was clouded in mist and fog. It was like driving through a white world. The only things that peered through the whiteness were the black outlines of the palm trees. It was crazy. I rested my head down on the passenger head rest and woke up to Abelio driving down a bumpy road. Before I had my bearings, we stopped. The seven of us, including Abelio, scrambled out of the vehicle with blankets wrapped tightly around us and headed for the shore. I couldn't figure out in which direction the shore was - everything was covered by the cloud of fog. I started walking toward the upturned boats, assuming I was headed toward the water. It was a creepy, beautiful sight to see the ocean covered completely by fog. The only water that was visible was the water that lapped along the shoreline. Every few minutes, a line of men would walk across the shore, pulling rope that trailed into the sea. It took me a second to realize that the men were fishing... The six of us sat huddled on the beach while lines of fishermen passed. Eric suddenly shot up and ran towards a line. Out of no where, the kid started pulling the rope with the fishermen. He just went! I half expected him to walk a few yards and return, but he walked quite a ways... We had been at the beach for quite some time without ever seeing the sunrise. We never saw anything but the fog.
"The closer it got to 12pm - when we needed to leave for the airport - the more motivated I became. I had to rearrange some of my belongings to accommodate for newer possessions. About 10 minutes before leaving, I was completely ready with all my bags packed and organized. A few people had last minute errands. I french braided Nikki's hair for the ride home and then had her come with me to buy some rolls to take back to the U.S. It was sad walking down the road by ourselves - knowing that it would be the last time we walked along the road... Everything felt so perfect about walking there; the air, the culture, the smell, the language, the weather, the colors. And it was the end... Although I had tears in my eyes, I did not let them fall.
"When we got to the airport, Augusto - a CFL zone leader - helped us unload our luggage and bring it inside. Cuca and Eric were there to help, too. The process was slightly long. We had to check baggage and get tickets. That took a good 45 minutes for all 8 traveling companions to accomplish. After we got our tickets, we had to walk across the Beira airport (it is tiny) and pay flight taxes. When all of that was said and done, we had a good 45 minutes before boarding time... I walked through the door on the verge of tears. It was hard to say goodbye... It was over. I was officially leaving Mozambique. I walked to the small terminal/waiting area and just bawled... I followed Julie and Jess to the other side of the lobby to talk to Jenna and Nikki. As we were standing there talking, I looked up at the glass wall to see Cuca! He had gone over to the arrival portion of the airport to surprise us... When the PA clicked on to tell us to go to the door for boarding, I rushed back and gave Cuca a huge hug. After wards, I walked back to my luggage, gave my ticket to the attendant, and followed the line out to the plane. The plane situation was almost identical to the situation coming in to Beira. Although the seats were arranged in the same manner, our plane to Joburg was slightly larger than the plane into Beira. All rolling luggage that was carry-on had to be stowed beneath the plane. I climbed up the airplane's stairs and made my way to the back of the plane. I was excited to sit next to Nikki... The only hard part about the flight was the take off when I realized that we were REALLY leaving. I cried for a while. My heart ached because I knew I would probably never see Elaina, Dote, or Eric again.
"Johannesburg was quick and convenient. The bus picked us up and brought us right to International Transfers. Our group stayed together at check-in until Jody and Linda assisted a man from Mexico who didn't speak English. While waiting, us girls went on ahead on our own but only managed to make it so far before being confused. We finally figured things out and headed to our gate. Erik was already there, watching over his and his wife [Stacy]'s bags. We dumped ours and ran to the restroom. I can't express how nice the bathrooms were compared to anything in Mozambique!... I barely made it on time, our group was on the move to board the plane! We are all seated near each other - 8 of us split 2 x 4. Nikki and I are together again and having a great time... This flight will be 100% better than flying to Africa."

Reading this and typing it out make me cry all over again for leaving Africa. I can still feel that sinking feeling of having to say goodbye. It was terrible.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

july 24th, 2006

Total picture overload. My last full day in Mozambique. So powerful.

July 24th, 2006
"Today has been one of the most powerful days. We did so much today, it is incredible. I have also experienced the most emotions today... Julie made a comment about packing and, before long, the five of us girls were in the room packing and repacking all of our stuff. It was chaos! So many capalanas and wooden artifacts! Clothes were strewn everywhere! Finally the confusion became organized as each of us worked on our bags. It felt so nice to have everything put away and in order! We walked down the street after our bags were packed to buy more machetes. Unfortunately the metal house didn't have any curved machetes, so I bought a straight one instead. On our walk back home, we stopped at a stand to buy 4 bags of Zana Zana's (one bag was for me).

Photo courtesy: Jenna P.
"Dondo was a quick stop. The boys at the orphanage helped Aaron and Eric unload all that we brought. When the supplies had been passed over, our team passed out blue fizz suckers to all of the kids... Everyone said their goodbyes and got into the Landrover solemnly. Nikki was crying. Others were teary-eyed, too.

Photo courtesy: Jenna P.
"Abelio brought us to a cemetery in the jungle. It was so awesome/crazy/cool! The tombs of the cemetery are all above ground. Most graves are nothing more than mounds of dirt with crosses on them. Some graves were cement rectangles and others yet were more intricate, with tile patterns. Every grave had a cup of some sort upon it - most graves had plates or buckets or other objects. The artifacts were all objects that the deceased used last while alive. The cemetery was located in the heart of the African jungle. Although I didn't see any monkeys, I did see spiders and butterflies. The trees growing overhead were so large and lush. Vines and branches intertwined and crossed over each other at odd and amazing angles. There was nothing eerie about the cemetery - it left me in awe... The oldest person I came across died when they were 62. Most people were in their 30's and 40's... It was just an incredible sight.

Photo courtesy (tea cup): Jessica P.
"The baby orphanage was great!... The kids were wearing their best clothes; all kids had shoes and all little babies had actual diaper-diapers! I was so excited to see the kids looking so good. Poor Elaina didn't have on a fancy dress like the other little girls nor cute shoes - she was in little boys sneakers. The kids were dressed up for members of Mozambican parliament that were coming to the orphanage to visit... When they did come, the children were [gathered together and began to sing. It was cute... [Parliament members] were there for no longer than ten minutes. The moment they left, we brought the kids upstairs to get changed into their regular clothes. Once all of the kids were finished we brought them back down in the yard and played. After an hour, Eric told us that it was time to say goodbye - for the last time. It hurt physically; I didn't want to put Elaina down... The moment I put her down, I started crying. It was such a horrible feeling. I said goodbye to a few other girls before walking through the door. I looked back to see Elaina, but she was hidden by the other children. As soon as I walked out into the street, I just bawled. All of us did. There was not a dry eye in our group. Abelio looked at us funny as we all unwillingly climbed into the Landrover... The ride was nearly silent.
"Once I got out of the car at ASEM, Dote rushed to the back door of the Landrover and began hugging me before I even got out! It was so great to see her after so long! She stayed by my side nearly the whole night. Cuca set up his projector and computer and, before long, all of the kids at ASEM and all of our team were watching a slide show of every picture our team had taken there. The kids loved the side show! They were very excited to see each other and see themselves projected on the wall. Once the pictures were finished, Cuca turned on the videos I had taken of the ASEM dancers... When the videos were over, the kids lead us into the circle ramada and we all sat at the tables. Kids bursted into song; once one person started, everyone else chimed in. Once a song changed, EVERYONE changed to the song. The head leader at the orphanage began passing out balloons for the kids to blow up. The kids were drumming, singing, dancing, chanting - having so much fun and getting so excited! Naturally, I started dancing too. It didn't take long for the entire thing to turn into one big African style party! I can't even describe what it was like! Pure joy and happiness. Being lost completely in another culture. Not thinking of anything but celebrating the moment. It was amazing... I found Dote and attached myself to her. We clung to each other until the last possible moment. I could feel the tears, but something inside me was acting as a barrier and didn't allow me to cry... We hugged tightly for a few last minutes before I got into the Landrover. I kept waving and waving until she was out of sight. It was at that moment that the tears finally came. I just sat there and sobbed.
"I feel like I am leaving the people I love the most. I hurts even worse to think that chances are good that I will never see them again. There is nothing I can do. I feel so hopeless. I want to stay in Moz, I want the kids I love to be with me and have all that I have been blessed with... I know Care For Life is a great program; I have seen it in action. I just don't like having to stop, having to leave... It doesn't feel right that life has to be like this for these people. I know Heavenly Father doesn't give people more than they can handle, but I never knew there were people this strong... What now? How do I continue this? I want to be involved in programs like this, but I definitely don't have the money. Heavenly Father will show me a way if it is the road I should travel. I am afraid to go back to the states. I don't know what the transition will be like. I don't fully know what kind of person I will be."

This last photo and video are of our guard, Amude. He was such a fun guy. Always entertained us girls. Left us with some good wisdom. Ps. HE IS ROCKING A MESA HIGH SHIRT. Heck yes!
And I finally posted a picture of Elaina. Well, TWO pictures and a video. First pictures under the baby orphanage section of the entry. Miss her so much.
I WILL post about Africa, but it will not be until much later this evening. Just wanted anyone following the Africa posts to know.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

july 23rd, 2006

Going to let a little of the negative show in this post. Just because if I filtered it, the post would only be a few sentences long. I was having a bad morning. Well, a bad day. It ended pretty well, though.

July 23rd, 2006
"I absolutely, positively HATE Sundays in Africa. Sundays are the worst. I feel like an outsider and I feel used. Both are bad feelings. The only time the girls talk to me is when they want to borrow or have something... "Can I use this? Can I use that? Oh, Leigh! Would you mind if I used this?" I just say, "Nope, I don't mind." When I am really thinking, "Yes, I mind. Don't touch my stuff!" I am more than ready to go home... Cuca came to pick us up for the Beira branch at about 9:45. I walked outside and just sat in the very back of the truck. I knew the girls would pile in the back seat, so I sat in the back with Eric and Aaron. Eric tried to cheer me up but to no avail. Church was even worse when we arrived. We went into the chapel and none of the girls would sit by me. They all pushed Cuca down the aisle to sit next to me... Whatever. I am in a terrible mood and need to get rid of it.
"Instead of going to relief society, our group went into primary... It was just like being at home - the kids in primary were distracted by anything and everything. It made me smile to see the little children. Even though the kids were distracted, they were able to answer questions about the lesson and participate. Half way through their lesson, we passed out vitamin gummy bears to the kids. I was surprised at how reverent and honest the kids were while we passed the gummy bears out. The kids sang to us. It was awesome to hear songs that I know or recognize sang in Portuguese by little Mozambican children. They asked us to sing for them when they finished. Julie suggested Popcorn Popping, a song that I don't know. We sang another, Book of Mormon Stories, but I didn't that one either so I sat out. It was at that point that I realized how much of an outsider I was. I was white in a very black Mozambique and I was a convert surrounded by life-long church members and primary kids and I couldn't even sing one silly little primary song. The feeling grew worse when the primary kids stood up and sang Book of Mormon Stories in Portuguese. I didn't talk for the rest of church.
"Right as Cuca arrived at home base, half of our group got out. The other half stayed for a trip to the beach at sunset... We didn't make it to the beach before sunset. It was still light outside when we arrived, but the light was slowly fading and stars began blinking into existence... People paired off - Jenna and Cuca were off on their own and Eric and Nikki were beginning to walk away. I climbed on a part of the cement wall that extended into the ocean and stood at the edge. It felt very refreshing... We wanted to see if we could possibly get a tour [of the lighthouse], but the closer we approached, the worse of an idea it seemed. Besides, we were entering the lighthouse from the wrong angle, getting our ankles scratched by the grass... The five of us left for home when we returned to the beach."

Photo courtesy: Lucas B.

Yeah... that first part of the entry was a complete pity party. I apologize. I regret getting so caught up in my self-centered feelings. The energy I wasted on my emotions could have been better spent working and serving those around me. And while I had a hard time in Africa with feeling left out, I know that I was not hated. At least I like to tell myself that...

Friday, July 22, 2011

july 22nd, 2006

There were so many things I wanted to do today. Didn't get one of them done. Yet I still found ways to procrastinate and push off posting until now. Because of this, I will be typing this entry with only one hand as I am holding a sleeping baby.

July 22nd, 2006
"Today is Saturday, a slow day. I wanted to sleep in, but as is often the case, I woke up to a very full bladder. Everyone else was asleep, so I crept out of the room without a sound - at least until I reached the door. The door makes a hideously loud 'pop' whenever you open in and creaks absurdly as the door is opened further than 6 inches. To my relief, no one in the room stirred... I was stopped short by Linda, who warned me that the power was out. After using the restroom, I snuck back into the room and rested as much as I could before Linda came in a half hour later to wake us. Rolls, jam, and cold cereal for breakfast. Nothing too exciting. We did get to eat breakfast by candle light, though.
"I hate sanding. Everyone hates sanding. I think the only person in our group crazy enough to enjoy it is Eric - he is crazy... We all went out front (well back) with frowning faces and took our places along the wood planks. The wood was wet, so I doubt that much of it was stripped of splinters. Some was, but sanding isn't really effective when wood is soggy... It stunk, but we made it through. I don't know. While sanding, I think it became evident that we are all beginning to get on one anothers nerves.
"Abelio... took us to the cambio to exchange money. I ran next door to buy a few more capalanas and another head wrap. When all were finished at the capalana shop, we got back into the Landrover and drove to the upstairs market. I had great success... After we finished upstairs, we bought tangerines from a girl with a flat tangerine basket on her head. They had to be the most delicious tangerines I have ever had! Not like the small, puny things at home in Az, but juicy, sweet, and ripe!... I followed Cuca, Jenna, Jess, and Nikki across the plaza to a corner cafe. A few of us ordered sodas - a Maracujá for me! Man was it expensive! I had to fork over an arm and a leg... and borrow change from Nikki. Maracujá is my favorite fruit! Passion fruit, yum! The cafe appeared to be pretty ritzy. There were not many black people in the shop. Several people of European, South American (Brazilian), and Asian decent were scattered about at different tables. There was a nice display case housing delicious looking pastries. Even the restrooms were decent! We sat out front at a table for a few minutes before heading to the plaza to find the rest of our group. Stacy came up to meet us - Abelio had arrived and had parked on the opposite side. Once with Abelio, we drove to Beaks and the wood market. I bought a nice bowl and awesome hair thing at the wood market...

Photo courtesy: Jessica P.
"Once power was on, we loaded our supplies and selves into the Landrover for Dondo. On the way, we stopped by the mill to get flour, but the mill was closed because it was a weekend. The trip to Dondo seemed to take longer than normal. I tried to sleep, but once my eyed closed and I began to drift, we were there... The boys at the orphanage helped unload the heavy supplies from on top of the Landrover. The children and leaders called us into the house when we completed unloading. One by one, we followed down the hall to their 'dining room' only to find a table full of tangerines, bananas, and weird knotty donut things. There were also cups and mugs set near a pitcher of orange liquid of some sort. It was touching to see these people give all they had to thank us... Our group took a huge group photo at Dondo before leaving.
"When we arrived at the Bueno's, João was already outside, grilling meat. There was pork, chicken, and steak. The steak was very salty but after 3 weeks in Africa, I was not going to be picky. Rolf and I attempted to climb the water tower thing after we ate. We each reached the 2 story ladder, but nearly died when I saw what I had to crawl into. I helped the boys pick the food and table up. When everyone was inside, Cuca started the movie. We watched The Net on the projector. The movie was pretty creepy..."

Once again, I am sparing you the pity parties and the drama. The latter makes me laugh. I was in Africa for a month, yet I still walked away with a crush. Maybe two. The former makes me hurt. Looking through some of the pictures and reading through some of the entries makes me remember the feelings I experienced when in Africa. While I had many good feelings, I also had feelings of being left out and not liked. STRONG feelings. And I can still feel them when I read through my journal. But I know that a lot of it came from being in a small house with nine others for a month. And I know that many of the other volunteers DO consider me to be a friend. So no worries.
PS. Danielle - do you remember that little boy's name from Dondo?! I cannot remember!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Just a little non-Africa post. I realized that I have a new little baby and not a lot of pictures of him up on the blog. So here are a couple from the other day. He was just chillin' on his play mat, "swinging" at his toys.

Amazing pictures of him, huh? Yes, that was sarcasm. No worries, I will probably torture my little guy with a photo shoot soon. And there is his 2 month photo on the sidewalk that is coming up in the next couple of days...

july 21st, 2006

Seriously. Posting every single day. Never happening again. This can be exhausting! I enjoy doing the reflection, but finding time to type daily is not easy with three small children. I keep telling myself, "do tomorrow's entry NOW so you have a day off". Yeah. Hasn't happened yet. Oh well. Almost there...

July 21st, 2006
"Before heading to Rio Savane, we made a quick stop to trade out the Landrover for a truck. Erik and Stacy put a mattress in the back for us to lounge on along the way. Abelio drove with Linda riding shotgun and Stacy, Erik, and I in the back. In Cuca's truck was Jenna, Jessica, Julie, Nikki, Eric, and Aaron. We headed off for an hour long drive. The main dirt highway began right near our house. At first, it appeared as a regular alley. Soon the alley had an appearance of a dirt street or road. Once we crossed the highway, the dirt road went through a very busy market where every head was turned on our account. The market area died off and became more of a community village. After a bit of time, the houses died away and we were driving through the open savanna. The grass lands were gorgeous; randomly dotted here and there with termite mounds housed in lush vegetation. Along the path, men pushed bicycles overloaded with sticks or coal. Women gazed at us under their balanced tubs, holding a child with their free arm. Soon, all people became scarce as well. It was strange thinking that I was in the back of a truck in the heart of Mozambique's grasslands; it is just something that is hard to comprehend. Stacy, Erik, and I had fun entertaining ourselves by singing crazy/random songs. All of a sudden, as we were about to hit a towering forest, Abelio gave us a shout as he came to a dead halt. There, to our left, were several baboons. The instant I realized what they were, they made their was to the trees for shelter. Luckily, I caught a few shots before they were gone... As we took off down the path, I kept my eyes open for more baboons. Nada. Stacy, Erik, and I began our singing again - singing the entire remainder of the way to Rio Savane.
"The first thing we did at Rio Savane "resort" was order food - knowing it would take at least 2 hours. Once the order was in, we walked down the path to the beach. The Indian Ocean is gorgeous! This beach was great because we could actually take off our shoes and walk bare foot in the sand... When the tide started coming in, I would balance on one foot to avoid the water. I had fun jumping around on one foot, but after a while, it got lonely. I soon became frustrated because the other girls were out with Cuca, swimming and splashing and having all sorts of fun... Right in the middle of my pity party, Eric... asked me how I was doing. I asked him how he would be if he had to stand on the shore and watch as all of his friends had fun in the ocean. I think my point was clearly made.
"Linda asked me to braid her hair for her, so I did. As I braided, we went further into discussion on the topic. When I finished, she saw that I was dead set on swimming in the Indian Ocean, so she helped me wrap and protect my foot as much as possible. Once we were finished, I bolted down to the water with Eric. It didn't take long for me to be fully submerged and treading with the rest of the group. I was so happy. I think the group was pretty excited and glad, too. The seven of us swam and body surfed and dove under waves for about an hour before going back to the beach. By the time we were out of the water, everyone else was ready to go eat, so we walked back over the concrete path to the restaurant. We ordered drinks as we were seated - I got Schwepps Maracujá and an ananis Fanta. The food took about 45 minutes, so we were sipping soda for a long time before getting our food. I had chicken with coconut rice. The chicken was good, but the coconut rice was great! I was disappointed that the coconut rice tasted nothing like coconut. The food was very filling.
"We went back over to the ocean, but I decided to stay dry. Erik ran back down to the beach to build a second sand castle (the first was created between the point of me getting out of the water and our group going to eat. We got as far as barricades before the tide came in and crushed our efforts with its force. Two teenagers from Maputo helped us build trenches). This time, Erik had no help, but that did not slow him down. Stacy and I stayed at the top of the bank, laughing at Erik and talking about life.

Photo courtesy: Stacy G.
"The four of us [Cuca, Jenna, Eric, and I] walked on for a bit. We stopped when we found a good sized crab. We tried to corner it and pick it up, but everyone was too afraid of being pinched. The boys retrieved sticks to poke, prod, and probe the poor little crab. The crab was getting away, so I threw dirt on him until he was buried. This was useful because with the crab under a small pile of sand, we could catch it. Eric was the brave one. He missed the first few times, so we had to keep piling sand on the crab. Eventually, Eric's fingers emerged with the crab. I took a picture while the others gawked over the little guy. When they put him down, he was placed on his back, in hopes that he wouldn't be able to flip himself over. We were wrong.
"We walked down the river's shore to where our boat was docked and got in. As I was getting "comfortable", a very very VERY attractive guy put his boogie board in the boat and hopped in with an older man. I just stared at the attractive guy on our journey across the river. I even snuck a picture at the end of the trip! The tide had come in, so when we docked at the river, we had to jump out into the ankle-deep water and make our way through the muck and mud. Once back at the trucks, we got our mattress out of Cuca's truck and loaded up into the back of our truck. The ride home wasn't nearly as fun as the ride to Rio Savane. One major difference, the passing air felt cold! The sun was fading in the sky, so that didn't help much. Also, our energy had been wasted on the beach, so it was a calmer ride.
"The shower felt wonderful after having been in the ocean all morning. I actually stood this time since I had already swam with an open wound. Because of this, I had to have Linda clean and dress the wound. It killed when she put an antiseptic wipe on it to kill any germs! We just left the wound open in the end so that it would scab over."

First. HORRIBLE spelling and grammar. I apologize. I tend to be self-conscious about my writing. So reading that hurt my brain. Second. I am a nerd. Sometimes my details are too... embellished. If I were writing a story, that would be one thing. But this is a journal. I do not know why I feel the need to decorate my entries with fluff. Rio Savane was a nice break. But comparing the photos with the entry kind of saddens me. I don't think I enjoyed the trip quite as much as the entry makes it sound. I am pretty sure I was feeling lonely and left out. Majorly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

july 20th, 2006

So... the entry for today has personal reflections that I AM going to share. I will explain why after the journal entry. Just to forewarn you, this entry ends in me talking about my ex-boyfriend. He was on his mission while I was in Africa. And, if you know me, you know just how devoted I was. That being said, I have NEVER talked about him on my blog before. And I probably wont ever again. Too sore a subject.

July 20th, 2006
"Africa has made me broken. It has been confirmed: I have strep throat. Last evening, while I was journaling, my throat was irritating me while my nose was practically dripping all over the place. When I had finished making my journal entry, I went into the bathroom with a flashlight. Sure enough, white patched areas lined the back of my throat. This morning I woke up with a slight fever. What high spirits I had left have just been squashed. Erg... I am not going to stay in this house any longer than I have to!
"Linda and I discussed what the day would be like for me and decided that I would not go to the community or to ASEM. We agreed that, if I felt better, I could go to [the baby orphanage] for a short period... Jody came out as we were discussing this and said that no, I am not going to [the baby orphanage]... I just started crying. I was so mad that I was finally allowed out of the house to get sick and be stuck in again.
"Eric gently woke me when the group returned from the community. Just as I was waking, Jenna brought me a bowl of steaming hot soup while Eric brought me a cup of water. Eric and I talked for quite a while as I ate the strange broccoli chicken brothy soup. Odd enough, the soup was very good! It felt soothing to have the burning hot soup run along my sore throat.
"Since the last chair-showering experience was rather difficult, I used two chairs this time. I put one in the tub under the shower-head and the second adjacent to the first outside the shower. To protect my open wound, I put a freezer bag over my foot with an elastic hair tie to hold the bag securely over my foot. Showering this time was a little bit easier. The water was not as hot as I would have liked, but it was warm enough to enjoy.
"Linda... gave me permission to go to [the baby orphanage] for a bit to take some pictures. The team grabbed their cameras and hopped into the Landrover... All the kids were upstairs in the dining room watching a movie when we arrived. When they saw us in the hall, they ran out and followed us into the yard. I was already cradling on Elaina (my Elaina) when the other Elaina saw me and wanted up... I pulled out my camera and began taking pictures, along with the rest of the group. My Elaina was being so difficult. She would wiggle, squirm, and cry when I tried to get a picture with her... It was very frustrating to me. Luckily, Cuca pulled me away before I started to cry.

Photo courtesy: Stacy G.
"I ended up helping Jenna make dinner - Navajo tacos. Her and I had Cuca chop up the onions while I graded cheese, sliced tomatoes, and diced lettuce. I can't cook! But I am getting better. When Cuca and I completed our tasks, we helped Jenna flatten balls of dough into flat circles for fry bread. Ha! They all looked deformed at the beginning. After some practice, we got the knack of how to flatten it onto a plate. When we had finished a dough circle, we would give it to Jenna to fry and start another dough circle. We had so much fun singing, dancing, laughing. The group came home from the baby orphanage as we were close to finishing. Everyone pitched in some how. We had several fun songs on that everyone was singing and dancing to - the main one was 'Play That Funky Music, White Boy'. João arrived at 7 on the dot and we ate. Even eating was fun. I sat across from Erik who made me laugh the whole time.
(Pause. Don't know if anyone caught the two spellings of Eric/Erik. Two different guys. Eric is single. Erik is married - to Stacy. Continuing on...)
"Julie told Nikki to break up with Garrett and date RMs, which lead to the entire missionary discussion. I even told her to break up with him. She tried to use me as an excuse not to, since I am waiting... I don't know. I can rightfully argue either way. I would never encourage someone to wait, nor would I discourage. I don't want to say, 'Well Nick and I are different'. Every couple is different. I don't know. I wait because I know it is right. If and when I get the feeling or revelation that it is not right, I will go from there."

Reading this entry completely strengthened my testimony in personal revelation. The moment I returned from Africa, I knew I needed to stop waiting. LONG before I even met Robert. And, despite what everyone and their mom may think, I DID NOT DROP MY MISSIONARY FOR ROBERT. And Robert knows that (Nick, well... I told him, but I don't know whether he believed me or not). Even now, it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. But it was the right thing. And I do not regret what I did. I just regret that it meant hurting Nick.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

july 19th, 2006

True fact: I have an addiction. Pinterest. So addicted that I push off blogging. My hubby [jokingly] says it is a waste of time. Maybe. But it can also be a great resource. I use it for my "preschool" ideas and activities. And for DIY projects. And for day-dreaming about the little girl I may never have.

July 19th, 2006
"Our group got to Mungassa at 9am. The weather was perfect! The sky was white with cloud and mist. It was amazing. I jumped out of the Landrover into a misty rain that felt very refreshing. Since our group had finished tying grass the day before, the only supplies we had to carry to the community center were the tools we needed to finish the roof and far wall. It felt like it had been an eternity since I last walked down that path but it had only been four days. Walking down the path again some how felt different. At the center site, I sat on the reed grass. That is about all that I did for the three hours that I was there. The only tasks that remained were finishing the far wall and finishing the roof; I could do neither because of my foot. I didn't even feel like singing and playing with the children within the village... Our group moral was low today.

Photo courtesy: Stacy G.
"The kids we fairly good at the baby orphanage - slightly misbehaved but not on their worst behavior. Elaina was being particular tonight. Part of the time she wanted me to hold her while another part of the time she wanted to wander on her own. Typical three year old. Linda brought out paper and crayons for the kids to use which turned hectic. Little grubby black hands reached at Linda's face for paper. Many of the kids grabbed a crayon each, but others continued trading crayon colors instead of coloring. Elaina was being a color switcher, but after a while, she came and sat by me. I wrote her name on her paper, which she then scribbled over. One by one, random kids would come up to me and shove their paper in my face. I took their crayon and drew the child on the paper stick-figure style. When several of the kids saw my drawings, I was mobbed.
"Amude, the guard, came up to me and said he had a present for me. He held out his hand and in his hand laid a bird! It started to fly away but was caught short by a string attached to its leg. I just laughed and poked at the bird - never actually touching it. Soon, many people in our group were around, looking and laughing at the bird. At my insist, Amude and Eric set the bird free."

Wow. Completely forgot the bird incident until now. How cruel?! But it was not harmed (other than the string around its leg) and it was freed. So glad I wrote down so many details. Even if some of them are in regards to drama or negative feelings. Which I have been screening. Some feelings are too personal to share. And some are just too... pathetically "pity party".

Monday, July 18, 2011

july 18th, 2006

Crazy. I know. It isn't even 10 am and I am posting. I will not be overloading you with pictures for the next few days. And some of the photos I DO use may not be mine (but I will give credit when a photo isn't mine).

July 18th,
"I decided to jump into the shower since the team was gone and I could have all the time I needed with my gimpy foot. I found the smallest plastic chair, hauled it into the bathtub, and proceeded with my shower. Showering while seated has to be one of the most awkward experiences in my life! I had no clue how to go about showering while in a chair. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to enter the shower without getting my foot all wet. I position the chair underneath the shower-head with the back facing the wall. When I finally had the temperature adjusted, I got in and left my injured foot hanging out over the edge of the side of the tub. Shampooing and conditioning was easy, but washing myself was a challenge. I only feel half clean.
*** "I went into the other room to sort clothes for the orphanage. Apparently clothes sorting has been done several times, but no one has counted what we have. The little office where the donation clothes were kept looked as if a tornado had ripped by, leaving only the plastic table with a laptop on top of it untouched. Clothes were strewn about everywhere. Panties, shirt dresses, socks, scrubs, pants, skirts. One heaping mess of clothes. I tackled a pile for an hour and a half before giving up completely.
*** [Speaking of the baby orphanage] "I held Elaina for a majority of the evening. I do not know how I am going to deal with leaving her. She has become so incredibly close to my heart. If it were open and able, and I had the money to do it, I would adopt that precious little girl and give her all the love in the world. She is so independent, yet so lovable and charming. Her laugh and her smile will always be with me. I hope she has and chooses the best life possible.
*** "At home, Abelio's wife Isabelle, and 4 children were waiting for us to return. We had invited Abelio, Isabelle, and their family over for dinner in appreciation of their wonderful services to us. Jody and Nikki had made vinaigrette cucumbers, fresh fruit salad, chicken alfredo sauce, and raspberry/pineapple jello. For dessert, peach cobbler was served."
Photo courtesy: Judy P.

Pretty low-key day due to my injury. In regards to the shower, we had to bathe in flip flops because the water is not entirely clean. Had I showered like normal, the water could have passed parasites or bacteria to my open wound... which would have been AWESOME. Not.