Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Stich in Time

I've mentioned before how much I enjoy crossstiching. It feeds my creative side while not requiring too much creative effort on my part. :)I get to just follow instructions, and beauty follows. Win!

Even better, I can do it while watching TV so I get to feed my ADD side. Often, when we all relax by watching TV in the evenings, it can feel like a waste of time. I like to be with my family but don't always fully enter into every show chosen. Sewing give me a chance to be with everyone while still accomplishing something. This also works when I'm watching shows that are my 'guilty pleasures'. Right now this is catching up on the first 6 seasons of Desperate Housewives which we borrowed from friends. Many TV shows don't require my full attention and crossstiching fits the bill perfectly.

About 10 years ago I made my mother and mother-in-law 'Grandma' t-shirts with this iron-on saying and all their grandchildren's names written with puffy fabric paint.  Two years ago when I was chatting with my mom, she mentioned that she had enjoyed the shirt so much that it had finally worn out. I couldn't believe it when a couple days later, while browsing my favorite aisle in Michael's, I found the exact same design as the original iron-on but in a crossstich design. There was only one left, AND it was on clearance! What are the odds??

I didn't get to start working on it right away because I was working on another large project, but did get that one bow on the right nearly done. In just the last two or so weeks I've done the rest of what you see there. I'm flying through this. It's kinda addicting too. I can't wait for lunch break and after dinner time to get some stitching done.

I've never worked with this exact medium before. Normally I work with plain crossstich fabric and enter the stiches according to the design. To work on a printed fabric with no holes is a new challenge. I'm enjoying it. 

As you can see, I have a ways to go. The design is 14"x14". I'm not sure if I will turn it into a pillow or a wall hanging. Whatever I choose to do, I will have to figure out a secure way to deliver this to my mom. The last project that I did took me two years and when I mailed it to my friend, the package arrived empty! It was a highly personalized project so I can't imagine what someone would want with it.

Guess what a fringe benefit is of all this stitching? I snack less. Keeping my hands busy during downtime makes me less likely to eat out of boredom. Plus I want to keep my hands clean. Of course, I'm sitting down a lot so I'm not sure how it will all balance out.....

Getting all this work done is another blessing to being husband-less. But, to tell you the truth, I'm running out of happy ways to look at Tom's absence. It's been over a month. I'm ready for June to get here already.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pretty, Funny, Happy, Real

I'm linking up for the first time with Like Mother, Like Daughter for their meme with the title above. (There should be an adorable button here but I can't get it to work)


 I adore these flowers (I think they're frangipani) and love when they bloom!


Not even cats escape the geekiness of this house. 
Poor Chai. The kids made her a super hero costume out of candy wrappers.

I finally finished these counted crossstich projects. I began working on these two flowers in 2005. In between I finished many more projects but I found these to be a little boring.
Now all I have to do is find frames and a place to put them. How many years will that take me?


A shot of one of our three pantry shelves. 
This is kinda for Tom. He gets nervous if our staples aren't fully stocked. 
I want him to know I'm holding down the fort while he's away.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Yesterday, while I was at the grocery store (Mansa finally peaceful enough for a trip), I received a call that Joshua had take a turn for the worse and the nanny was going to take him to the clinic. A few minutes later they called me back to say that he had already died.

This was sudden but not altogether unexpected. We already knew that Joshua had been exposed to HIV. He was receiving medicine for this. His appetite was very poor and we had to work very hard just to get him to eat what he did--about half what he should have received.

He also had very poor muscle structure and I saw signs that led me to believe he may have had Cerebral Palsy. I sent his information and pictures to a doctor in Europe. The local clinic officer was also checking on him but Joshua's case was a bit beyond his experience.

Monday night Joshua developed a fever. We continued to treat him for dehydration and gave him his other medications but when he came for Family Time that evening, there was something about the look of him that told me he wasn't going to last long. I prayed it wasn't so, but I've been here too many times. My main thought that night was that I hoped he didn't have to suffer too long. I've seen some of our babies fight so long and hard for every breath and it just breaks your heart when they ultimately lose their battle.

The fact that Joshua passed so quickly was, honestly, a relief. He was a quiet baby and didn't seem to be in pain even right up to the end. His body just wasn't ready to live here on earth. When his grandmother came to collect his body for the funeral, she said that he had struggled from birth and they were surprised he survived as long as he did. 

One of our nannies has only been working here for a few weeks. This was the first death she's had to deal with here. I asked her yesterday evening how she was doing and she nearly cried as she told me how Joshua had made her happy and that she liked taking care of him. And that is the gift Joshua brought to this world, in the 6 short months he lived, he brought joy to people's lives. And now he's joyful in Heaven.

Joshua--You were loved!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Unknown Mami

Today we celebrated Easter with the kids.
First, everyone took turns painting the eggs. Since our eggs are brown, dye doesn't show up as well as paint, so we choose that medium.

Next the young people hid the eggs in the playground. 

The theme was 'hidden in plain sight'.

We sent the kids into the playground in stages: first the toddlers, then the preschoolers, then the kindergarteners, to give a fair chance to each child.

The plan was that they would find two eggs and use those to redeem their chocolate.

Moriah, Peter and Nathan (otherwise known as my three little kittens) were a bit perplexed by the whole idea. We let them off the hook once they'd found one egg each.



The older ones enjoyed it much more.

Of course, everyone knows the best part of any easter egg hunt is the chocolate!

Lizzie enjoying a marshmallow

Getting every last bit out of the wrapper takes concentration.

Happy Easter!

Join others around the world by heading over to visit Unknown Mami.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Little Comic Relief

You'll be happy to know that the riots have calmed down. If all goes well, I'll be able to get shopping done on Monday. I'm not sure what I'll find when I get down there. I'm not sure if the store has been restocked and what will be available.

I'm hoping that our milk delivery service will be up sometime this week. We're running super low on supplies. I've been buying formula and milk powder locally but it is nearly double the cost. Our regular delivery service missed a month and then when they were supposed to come up they had a breakdown in their truck. In a way, it's a good thing because if the truck had been working they would have been passing right through Mansa at the exact time of the riots. God was watching over them.

Yesterday we had a all day power failure. It actually started Thursday evening following a big storm. It took the electric company 26 hours to restore power. Thankfully we have two sources of back up power: a inverter and battery system and a gasoline generator. The battery system kept our lights going until about 3 AM the first night and then the following evening we turned on the generator for the last few hours while waiting for power to come on. Even though we don't have power all day at times, it's so nice to have the option of lights at night.

So, however unplanned (& unwanted) it was, we did Earth Day right. Just sayin'.

And now, here is the comic relief I promised above:

Tom celebrating Earth Day at the Houston Zoo
You can take the man out of the jungle, but you can't take the jungle out of the man.

Exactly One Year Ago: Fab Friday Foto (super relevant for today!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I wanted to show you some of our portrait taking bloopers. It was a long day and the poor kids had to endure the sitting session twice because the first time we tried taking the pictures the sun was too high in the sky and as it came through the trees, some of the children were shaded and some were bright patches of sunlight. 
Poor Henry was in a complete shadow while the baby above him reflected the sun off his white blanket. Not good at all.

One of the main reason for the kids all looking in different directions was that we had too many 'cooks in the kitchen'. Each nanny and grown up present was doing their level best to get the kids to smile and look at the camera but it ended up being very distracting to the kids. 

Never mind, we got a good photo in the end and some funny moments out of it all.

Eventually we got everyone lined up and a pretty decent shot!

In case you missed the first time I posted this, here it is again!

Update: A few commenters asked how many shots it took to get this one. I took about 50 total. Probably 25 in the second session. It had to be done very quickly because kids have very short attention spans.

Exactly One Year Ago: San Diego

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where Does Hope Lie?

Yesterday I got a text late at night telling me that there were riots happening in the town where we shop.

Apparently there were rumors that children were being killed for witchcraft rituals. In typical mob-logic fashion, the thinking went from 'children are being killed' to 'people with money have to be behind this' to 'kill anyone with money'

Businesses were looted and then burned to the ground. Several houses were also burned and sadly, at least 3 lives were lost in those fires. Other people were attacked and killed as well. Roads leading in and out of Mansa were blocked off.

It is so sad when ignorance and hysteria collide, creating such a volatile situation. The police state that no ritual killings have been reported to them so it's possible that this whole riot was much ado about nothing. And yet, when the dust has cleared, lives have been lost, livelihoods ruined and peace shattered.

Zambia has been mostly peaceful over the years and I haven't really had to worry. With the entire world erupting in violence, things seem to be changing. I'm not worried really, because I know I'm sheltered in the protection of the Most High. But, that doesn't mean I'm foolish. I'm staying in touch with people who are in-the-know to see what's going on. I will only travel down for shopping when I know for sure that things are safe.


Two days ago, one of our most diligent nannies, Majory, lost her seven year old child to malaria.  He didn't respond to treatment the first time, and after being switched to a stronger medicine had adverse reactions to the medications. His liver basically failed due to the effects of the malaria and the medicines needed to treat it.

Majory has worked for us for about 3 years, although she took a year off when she gave birth to twins 2 years ago. Sadly, one of those twins didn't make it to two weeks old. This was when I learned for the first time that the birth mortality rate for twins is so high that mothers don't even name their babies until they're certain they are going to make it. So Majory's little baby boy who died shortly after birth can't even be remembered by name. That thought makes me so sad.
And now, Majory has lost another little boy. It's hard to be surrounded by so much sadness.

 The only way to keep going is to know for certain that my hope lies in Christ! He is the only true and reliable thing in my world. I have nearly lost my children to illness, I have buried other babies, I have seen lives ruined by rumors and witchcraft, I have been frustrated by the lack of apparent progress in some of our ministries. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that there is a future, and a bright one at that, just on the other side of my horizon. I have to hold on and He will carry me there.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sundays in My City--Looking Back

Last week I posted our latest portrait of our children. I thought it would be fun for us to look back and see the kids over the past couple years.


In the beginning of 2009 we had 11 children. Our age range was 3 years to 6 months.

Christmas 2009
By the end of 2009 we had grown to 14 children. Our age range was now 4 years to 3 months.

early 2010
We still had 14 children (three other children had passed through our care, but had been taken to Heaven), and our youngest was now 6 months old.

October, 2010

 As we drew close to the end of 2010 we had grown to 17 children. Sadly, little Sara (the youngest baby in the above picture) passed on just after this picture was taken. 
The age range at this time was 5 years to 3 months.

April, 2011

Just six months after the picture before this one was taken  we had grown to 21 children. We've doubled our population in just 2 years! Our age range now is 5 years to 3 months.

Many of you commented that it was amazing that we could get all those kids sitting down in one place and nearly all looking in the same direction. This was not an easy task as I'm sure you can imagine. In a day or two, I'll be sharing some of the outtakes from that day's photography sessions. Yes, I said sessions. It was a long day.

Isn't it great how we have those steps? They're so handy for photographs. 

For more peeks into life around the world, go visit Unknown Mami 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday Sweetness

My fifteen year old daughter is becoming quite the baker. Nearly every day she rustles up something delicious. From Instant Yummy (homemade chocolate pudding, so not exactly instant but definitely yummy) to individual Lemon Cheesecakes with Apricot topping, she makes amazing desserts!

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies
This is wonderful news for the world--she has thoughts of one day opening her own business---

Superbowl Cupcakes--made 'just because' in April
....but not so good news for my waistline. I'd need to work out about 3 hours a day to balance out all this deliciousness.

That cupcake above is a peanut butter cupcake topped with fluffy frosting and caramel popcorn. Remember, there are no mixes out here. Every last step was done by hand.

Exactly One Year Ago: Fab Friday Foto XVIII

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fab Friday Fotos--XXXI

Joshua and  Ephraim held hands and played with each others' faces for the longest time the other night. They were so cute!

Exactly One Year Ago: I Feel Helpless

Thursday, April 14, 2011

God Has a Funny Sense of Humor

So, it was last Thursday or Friday when I had a visit from the electric company and they informed me that they would be doing work on the only  line running into our area of the province and therefore, power would be shut off every day from 8a.m to 6 p.m for about 20 days.

I resisted the urge to panic, made a plan, changed my schedule around in preparation, and wrote a blog post about it.

Monday dawned bright and early and since I hadn't yet switched to working nights, I got up early to get as much work done on the computer as I could before the power was cut. 

Eight o'clock came and yet the power remained on. Figuring this is nothing new in a region that operates on 'Africa-time' I kept right on working. When the power finally got shut off, I was going to be ready.

The morning hours ticked away; the afternoon passed without a hitch, and so did the evening.

Here we are four days later and not only have we had electricity every day, we have not even lost it at the 'usual' evening hours for what America calls brown-outs, Zambians call load-shedding, and we call foul.

So, either God has a wicked sense of humor (I know! not possible! at least the wicked part), or He wanted to test me to see how I'd do with a little pressure. 

Or, it could just be Murphy striking again. If we hadn't been warned about the power outage and made all those preparations, the power would probably have gone off. With us being all ready and armed with a plan, it just wasn't fun for Murphy anymore.

In reality, it probably is just a case of TIA* again. Most likely they ran out of gas money, or someone had to attend a funeral, or they misplaced the paperwork.

Either way, I'm a happy, happy girl. And, I'm keeping those plans I made ready and waiting.

*This Is Africa

Exactly One Year Ago: Hair

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Whole Gang

Top row:  Sandra (3), Lizzie (1), Jack (1) & Moriah (2)
Second row: Peter (19 mo.), Ernest (5), Henry (3), Janet (3), Jennifer (3), & Denny (18 mo.)
 Third row: Nathan (2), Beauty (3) & Theresa (4)
 Fourth row: Chola (5), Johnny (4), Queenie (4), & Elias (4)
Last row (AKA baby row): Joshua (5 mo.), Ephraim (5 mo.) Ana (6 mo.),  & Nicholas (3 mo.)
And that's what 21 children sitting all together looks like. 

Aren't they adorable?

Do you have a favorite in the crowd? Go ahead, you can tell me.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Look On the Bright Side of Life

  Let's start off today's post with a song:
♫ Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse. ♪
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...♫
♫ And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life... ♪
♫ If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing. ♪
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing. ♫

 All together now:

♫ And...always look on the bright side of life... Always look on the light side of life..
That was Monty Python, everyone!
So today, the gristle that I'm finding it hard to whistle around is that it's gonna be hard to look on the bright and light side of life when we have no lights.
Yes, folks, we were just told, that for the next 20 or so days we going to have no electricity all day long. Praise our Heavenly Father, we will have power at night (or so they've told me) so all is not lost. But it is definitely going to be challenging this month.
My plan for this time period is going to be work on non-electric stuff from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. I'll work with the kids, organize the office and filing system, supervise my kids in their homeschooling, cook, etc. 
Then I'll work on electronic stuff from 6 p.m to 2 a.m: office work, correspondence, computer and internet stuff, laundry, pumping water, etc. 
Sleep will be from 2 a.m to 10 a.m. 
Of course meals, exercise and recreation will figure in there somewhere.

Things to be thankful for:
We do have a battery/inverter system and a generator if we really need them.
Our cooking is done on a gas stove so our meals won't be affected.
I'm thinking that doing my work at night with no distractions will enable to me to get more done. I might even begin writing that book I'm always threatening I'll do.
Working in the night will put me in sync with U.S times. This means I'll be able to communicate with people more and even connect more socially. 
On that note: My twitter ID is @amyinafrica, my Skype ID is amy.morrow, and my facebook page link is: Amy's Adventures. I'm gonna take advantage of my nighttime computer hours to invest more time in my facebook page. So, come on by, like me (you know you want to) and let's chat.
When the power goes off during the day, it is easy to slip into hibernation mode. It's kinda like a snow day for us. Everything gets really quiet with no electronic white (or other) noise. When one's schedule is disrupted it can be tempting to just curl up on a sofa and read a book rather than deal with the restructuring.
We can't have 20 'snow days' in a row so we're gonna have to push through and stay on track.

How you can pray:
  • pray the power will come on in the evenings as promised, and that when it does that it will stay on the entire time.
  • pray that the electricity we are supplied with has enough power to do the job. We frequently only receive 75% of the volts we should get which means things like washing machines and water pumps don't work. With only getting electricity half the day as it is, we're gonna need those hours to count.
  • pray for our fridges & freezers to keep their cool so our food doesn't spoil. We'll be making blocks of ice at night to place in the fridge during the day.
So, that's my challenge this week. What's your week shaping up like?

 Exactly One Year Ago: Easter Photos

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sundays in My City--Shopping Trips

Shopping Trips happen on Fridays usually, but I thought you might like a peek at our nearest city.

It's really more a town than city, but it's closer to a city than a village so it'll do.

 Our day starts early. The three hour drive is long. On the bright side: We get to see the sun rise. 

And so, we start off down the road. Chickens and goats are included in the fun.

So are potholes. In many places the road nearly vanishes. It's like driving in a war zone.

We usually arrive in Mansa around 9:30 a.m and after a quick trip to the public restrooms (which we have to pay for), we begin running errands. 

First up is the bank and you know from past posts how much fun that is. In case you have forgotten, go here or here to refresh your memory.

Then we pay bills. Each bill has to be paid in person and there is nearly always a line and then you have to wait for the receipt--many times it is handwritten. Last week it took me thirty minutes to pay the electric bill.

After bills we visit the small shops: hardware, the milling company (for maize bran which we feed to the animals), the animal feed store, the auto parts store, drop off papers to be photocopied, etc.

This is our grocery store. The only grocery store. When they went on strike last week it was a little scary. We have to schedule our shopping days to coincide with when they stock the shelves. They stock on Thursdays so we have to shop on Friday because by Monday the shelves are beginning to empty again.

This is the whole parking lot and a view of the other shops in the complex. The shop on the end is where we buy little scratch cards to add credit to our phones.

Meet Morgan. Morgan is my grocery helper. He pushes the cart around and takes the vegetables to be weighed and labeled with a price tag. He also loads everything back into the car. Many times he knows where we can find things that we're looking for in another local market.

We first started working with Morgan a few years ago. Tom hired him to help during one of my U.S trips. At first I was horrified. It felt very colonial. We couldn't even push our own cart?!? But then because I didn't want to fire the poor boy, I kept him on and gradually became accustomed to his help. The shopping carts are poor quality and don't push well. Now that we have grown so much, we actually fill 1 large cart and two small ones. It's nice to have someone to drop off a cart and go for a fresh one.

Grocery shopping all done. We use reusable bags which keeps our groceries from rolling all over the back of the car. It is good for the environment too.

Here is the car all loaded up. Aside from the groceries that were in the picture above, there is also 3 bags of animal feed, a crate of soda, and dog food, Now, picture 3 teenagers crammed in there.

Amazingly, this all only lasts us a week and we have to do this same trip all over again.

Unknown Mami

Go visit Unknown Mami and see cities and events from all over the world.

Exactly One Year Ago: A Little of This and That

Saturday, April 9, 2011

More Benefits and Blessings

 I'm counting my blessings again about my life of (relative) solitude. Thank you all for weighing in and sharing your spouse-less blessings. That was fun.

I heard again and again that houses were cleaner. Sadly, that's not the case in this house. I'm the slob here. Tom even asked me, Thursday, to turn the webcam and show him his desk to see if I'd already cluttered it up. I had! *hanging my head in shame*

I'm sure everyone has wonderful spouses and partners and so I mean this in the best way, but I appreciate my husband even more now. He has his weakness, but he doesn't have others. Things all work out. For example, my husband is pretty good about eating just about anything, he doesn't graze the fridge or drink out of cartons. He's pretty tidy ,and almost never smells bad. He does keep snakes though. See? Balances out.

I found some more bright sides:
I can wear my comfy pajamas to bed without being asked, "Are you trying to send me a message?". Just for the record, I'm not.

If When I lose weight while Tom is away, he will be able to notice it because it should be more obvious than if he was here watching the ounces fall slowly off.

So, that's my 'count my blessings' moment.
Check back on Monday for another episode of 'Look On the Bright Side of Life'. It's gonna be good. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Something's Bugging Me

I promise, I'm not really complaining. 

I'm more just stating a fact.

These past couple weeks I've been completely bugged.

I'm being completely literal.

The other day I went into the clinic and found it covered with termites. We cleaned it all up and yet the next morning....

They were all back. We figured out they were coming from below the floor and a little cement fixed up the problem.

Then, a couple days later I saw the laundry lady leaving for her lunch break and asked her what was in her hand. I was not prepared for her answer or what she showed me!

This was going in her cooking pot. I screamed, "Why, oh why?!?" I know they're high in protein and fat. I'd just rather eat peanut butter.

Just before Tom left on his trip, we found a little critter hanging out on out on our front porch. Literally, hanging.

Tom and I spent several minutes taking pictures with our respective cameras; trying to get the best shots. I was quite impressed with myself and how far I've come in my quest for courage.

And yet, yesterday, as I worked on the computer, I felt something tickling my neck. I thought it might be my shirt's tag or perhaps my hair stuck in my necklace. I reached up to fix whatever it might be, when to my horror, I discovered it was a huge stink bug. 

I confess that I shouted a few things I shouldn't have and jumped around my room a bit. I guess I haven't gotten far enough on that courage thing.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Day

I thought it might be fun to take you through one of my days. This was Tuesday, March 29. I jotted down my day's events as I went along. 

If you'd like to visualize where all of this is going on you can open this link where I give you a tour of our property in a separate tab.

6:15 My alarm goes off. I know I can hit the snooze button twice before finally turning it off.

6:25 I throw my robe on and remember to carry a towel with me to place in our volunteer room. Rikke, from Denmark, will be joining us today for two weeks.
I unlock our main door and let in four staff members. Our farmer brought in 2 watermelons for sale. Both watermelons cost me $1.

6:30 I check on the kids in the nursery and make sure the nannies know their instructions. This was Joshua's first night so I check to see how he did.
6:45 Our internet connection is much better in the morning so I jump right in to taking care of paypal, gmail and other internet related issues.

7:20 I hear the doorbell. It's our new volunteer. I had been expecting a guy because of the name, but surprise! It's a girl. She's a student teacher. It's wonderful to have so many volunteers coming through to help with the kids.
7:30 My children wake up and slowly make their way from their bedrooms to the main house.
8:00 Breakfast of scrambled eggs and bread with that all-important cup of coffee.
8:20 I hold an informal informational meeting for Rikke. She's excited to jump right in despite being on the bus all night.

9:00 Rikke and I tour the property and I pass on instructions to staff members along the way.

9:45 The kindergarteners and their nanny are doing a deep clean on their room--I give them tips for getting it done really well.
10:00 Joshua's relatives came to sign the guardianship papers.
His uncle asked an interesting question. He wanted to know what we would do with a child that was unable to learn. I told him first of all that I didn't believe such a thing existed, but that if a child didn't have a natural bent for academics they would still be guaranteed a good education and the chance to learn a skill for creating a livelihood.
Two of the relatives couldn't write so we provided a ink pad so they could 'sign' the forms with their thumb prints.
10:30 I continued working on my office and computer tasks while also supervising Timmy, Jasmine and Troy in their school work.
I also gave the kitchen lady instructions for making the kids' lunch.
11:00 Tom had forgotten to pack something when he left the day before, so I packed a box quickly and sent it down with our handyman to put on the bus.
11:30 More computer work. I also helped Timmy as he studied for his GED.

12:00 Around this time I realized I was parched so I grabbed my water bottle and took that opportunity to take all my vitamins and some pain medicine.

12:30 Lunch of lentil curry and rice.

1:00  Watched my recorded episode of Dancing with the Stars. Our TV provider is a few seasons behind the U.S but it's still fun to watch since I don't know who won.

2:00 I held our weekly staff meeting. We had to discuss the issue of our fired employee. Then to lighten things up I let them all play the Just Dance Wii game. They loved it. The next time we have a light-agenda meeting, we'll have a Just Dance tournament. I'll be sure to post pictures when we do.

3:00 Since losing our manager I needed to work on the employee time cards. The front door keys were lost so we looked for those, finally finding that someone had put them in their pocket after finding them in the wrong place.

3:40 Even more office work.
4:00 I interviewed a prospective nanny. She impressed me with her command of English and her quiet but attentive spirit. She has to give notice at her job, but will work in the afternoons and eventually become a live-in nanny.

4:30 Still more office work
5:30 Because I'd had such a busy day, I asked Troy to make dinner. I supervised him as he made tuna casserole. Meanwhile, I kept working in the office.

6:30 Dinner

7:00 TV time. We also have one or two of the little babies with us during this time to give them extra 'family' time. It helps them feel more secure and confident. This day we had Nicholas with us.

7:30 TV time was put on hold while I quickly bathed the kindergarteners. I shower them in an assembly line while their nanny helps them dry off, put on lotion and get dressed in pajamas.

8:00 Bedtime story for the oldest eight children. We also pray for the night together.

8:15 Some more TV watching and relaxing.

9:30 Into bed. A bit of light reading and I'm ready to drift off.

And yet, the night's not over. 12:00 AM I wake up and turn on our water pump since that is the only time the electricity is strong enough to get the water from our borehole (well) up to our tanks.

3:30 AM Get up and turn the pump back off.

And the next day it starts all over again. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Our Newest Babies

This has been a whirlwind week. Tom left, an employee left, drama followed,  another employee joined our team and new babies arrived. I haven't had a chance to properly introduce you to our newest residents so let me rectify that now.

Monday afternoon Joshua finally moved in. I was so excited to see this happen.

Thursday, little Ephraim came with his auntie to our door.

He is five months old and a little cutie, although malnourished and not so healthy. His mom passed away two weeks ago. Since then, his family was only feeding him porridge made from cassava--the root we get tapioca from--twice a day. He had forgotten how to suck and we had quite a time feeding him. Thankfully, he now gets it and sucks like a champ but is still struggling with a cough.

We're thinking that Ephraim is a huge name for such a little guy. What do you think? We may tack on a smaller name and have him use Ephraim as a middle name.

The same day that Ephraim arrived, little Ana came too. 

Ana comes from a family of nine children. When her mother died two weeks ago, her father was too overwhelmed to deal with a five month old baby. She is six months old today. 

I was surprised to find that she can already sit. Most babies this age that we see can hardly hold their own heads up and sitting is out of the question. Ana is such a content baby that I think she may have been propped up in the vicinity of other siblings and left to fend for herself much of the time. This probably contributed to her good muscle development but I feel badly for her. She loves attention!

Today, the local medical officer came by to check on our latest babies and we found out that Ana and Joshua both had HIV positive mothers. What this means is that they have been exposed to the HIV virus and therefore most likely have compromised immune systems. We will keep them on antibiotics until tests come back to show whether they are infected or not. 
Ephraim's medical records don't show us one way or another whether his mother may have had HIV. Because he is not in the greatest health it is a good possibility. We are treating his cough with antibiotics and those same medicines will help in case he has been exposed. We hope to do all the testing tomorrow and get the results in a couple weeks.

Please pray for all three of these babies. They are not out of the woods by any means. We will do all we can physically and medically, and give them all the love they need. 
If you'd like to help us to care for these darling babies, click on this link or the donate button at the top of the blog page.

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