Tuesday, June 22, 2010

No Words

We started packing this afternoon! This has been a TASK! I am leaving most of my clothes to give to the aunties at the Havens and other children in need. Which this is probably the best idea considering I did massive damage at the market! haha. Doubt I'd be able to fit it all in my luggage!

I cant believe our trip is finally coming to an end! I wish we were staying another week! haha. It has gone by way too fast! We will be leaving tomorrow morning for Lusaka. After two full days of traveling, we have a 6 hour lay over in DC and then our plane will be arriving in Memphis at 5:45 friday night. From Memphis, we are driving back to Searcy, where my parents will be picking me up! So I won't be getting back to Little Rock until about 10 pm Friday night. I CANNOT WAIT to be in my own bed. Since it takes so many days to get home. . . I will not be able to blog again until this weekend probably. So be expecting TONS of pics and videos once I finally get home, rested, and settled in! A big thanks to everyone that has "followed me" while I have been gone. Thank yall so much for all your prayers, comments, and thoughts while I have been away. It means more than you will ever know. This has definitely been an experience of a lifetime. I don't even have words for it!

Can't wait to see everyone and give them their "prizes"! And of course see princess Averie and all her new "tricks". Apparently while I have been away she has learned to babble and CRAWL! and her first tooth has popped in!! I can't wait to see her sweet little smile! I hope she wasn't too jealous of Aunt Cee giving all her love to all the other babies in Africa! love you Averie Lee!

Pray for a safe trip back with no "situations"

Love yall!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Last night in Livingstone!

Again, I have an unlimited amount of internet here at the hotel, so this will have to be a short post until I get back to Namwianga tomorrow.

Today we got up and did some shopping at the Livingstone market! I am really excited about all the cool stuff I got for gifts! (Bubba and Bubby- you will LOVEEE your gifts!) After being hounded by all the vendors we could handle, we headed to eat lunch around noon .We were sad to see that Funky Monkey Pizza was closed when we got there ….so instead we had a picnic lunch in the parking lot of a shopping center. After lunch we made a quick stop at the hotel to drop off all our stuff we bought at the market before heading to Victoria Falls… in order to free up some room in Kahaki Jackie.
View of Victoria Falls. . . one of the SEVEN WONDERS of the world.
Victoria Falls is even more AHHHHMAZING in the day light! (For those of you that don’t know what Victoria Falls is. . . you can read my previous post from when we went to see the moon bow there at night) A few of us decided to run across the bridge and got completely soaked! It reminded me of the “log ride” at six flags. So much stinkin fun! While we were running across the bridge we saw THE BIGGEST and PRETTIEST rainbow I have ever seen in my whole entire life. I was in awe. Wish I could have gotten pics of it, but didn’t wanna risk getting my camera soaked in the down pour! Rats!

before the bridge run
our group that crossed the bridge....soaking wet!!

haha. couldn't resist!

me and kay... we looked preggo with our bags tucked under our rain jackets. and mascara running down our faces. super fashionable. . . . not. but totally worth it!

After roaming the falls for a couple of hours and taking pictures we went back to the hotel to change into some dry clothes and load up for our sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. It was really nice and relaxing! They served us appetizers and dinner, which was fabulous! We cruised the Zambezi for about two hours, saw some hippos and crocs (of course) and enjoyed watching the sunset.

our boat!
party on the back of the boat!

Tomorrow morning we plan on going back to the market to do some last minute shopping and then we will be heading to the mission to pack and get everything ready to leave to come home! Can’t believe the trip is almost over and it is our last night in Livingstone! Only a few more days…… starting to get sad!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Daddy's Day! :)

Happy Father’s Day to my daddy! I love you! We took shadow pics just for you!
Wish you could have been here to go on the Safari with me! It was amazingggggg!
Before beginning our all day safari, we had to first cross the Botswana border in order to get to Chobe National Park.

We met some nice guys from Mexico that had just been to the World Cup! soooo jealous!!!
When we first arrived at the Chobe Lodge we got on a boat and then after lunch we finished up the safari on a truck! Aka Tan Jan! We had an awesome tour guide named Johnson. He stopped the truck quite often to let us all take pics and oooo and ahhhh as much as we pleased. I could NOT believe my eyes! I don’t even have words for how beautiful all these animals are! God is quite the genius creator! We saw TONS of elephants, hippos, giraffes, guinea hens, Sables, cape buffalos, crocodiles, jackles, impalas, HUGE lizard looking things (haha), wart hogs, meer cats, tons of different birds (including zazoo off of The Lion King) etc. We were up close and personal with all these animals! At one point, an elephant walked right beside our truck…. Within arm’s reach! Kinda freaked us all out a little considering he was almost as big as our truck!! Because our internet here at the hotel is limited . . . I am just gonna leave you with a few pics! Nothing I can say can justify how amazing this trip was! I ended up taking 37 videos on my phone today! Rachel, Cat, Kay and I have a combined total of over 800 pictures. . . (800 is NOT an exaggeration, it’s a true number) So we will definitely be having show and tell at my house when I get home on Friday! I know you are excited momma! Haha. For now enjoy the few that I can get uploaded!
TONS of elephants!

cutest little baby giraffe
The ONE leopard we saw!

Me with the elephants!

Just chillin with the hippos.

on top of the boat deck being RUHH-TARDS as usual...A is for Africa! :) haha.

Kaylee has decided if she could be ANY animal she would be a hippo because they just like to kick it and eat apparently. and I would be the elephant. . . for obvious reasons....(aka ears.) haha.

Mommy elephants and their babies!

we were SUPER close to the elephants! ahhhhh.

Love yall! Happy Father’s Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Monkey Situation

Today we got up and drove to Livingstone! We are staying at the Protea Hotel again! So excited to get to sleep in a queen size bed and have a hot shower! Because the internet here at the hotel is limited, they give each person a voucher for a certain amount of time to access their wi-fi. So… I won’t be able to add as many pics today. . . but I will hopefully be able to uploaded tons of pics when I get back to the Mission on Tuesday.
We started off our day by going to the shopping center that is next to our hotel. If you have read my previous blogs, you know which one I’m referring to. After grabbing a bite to eat at Rhapsody’s, me and Kaylee headed over to the mini market just to look. Or so we thought. . . . These people were so pushy! Kaylee and I were basically cornered and felt like we basically got robbed! Haha. I bought all kinds of gifts because I COULD NOT tell them no. If you bought from one of them, the others saw it, got upset, and began pleading with you to buy from them too. One lady kept saying “hey sister, please please please come look at my things. I work very hard” Another guy that we referred to as “Bob Marley” said “I come from village, please support my family.” This broke my heart! I couldn’t NOT buy from each of them. I ended up getting two beaded hippo magnets for my fridge that one of the nice little men “threw in for free” because he said “you buy from me. Thank you. we friends, these two hippos stick together . . . friends. Me and you.” Soooo sweet. I will happily display my hippos on my fridge when I get home and always remember this little guy! I got some really neat hand carved things for CHEAP! It’s amazing what they can make! My pappaw and these people would get along just fine! Love you pappaw!
After our situation at the mini market, Kaylee and I decided to take a quick nap before meeting up with the rest of the group to go to the Royal Livingstone. When we arrived we could NOT believe our eyes. Let me just say that this place is AHHH-MAZING. It was absolutely gorgeous. Just to get a good picture in your head, this place costs a thousand dollars a night. Needless to say we aren’t staying here! Haha. As we were driving up we saw 3 ZEBRAS standing in the front yard. Just chilling. No big deal. Haha. We were all in complete shock. As Marja would say “What up Zebra?!”

I had no clue how big Zebras actually are… I guess I was expecting a little mini pony or something of the sort, but these things are full grown and massive!! We got a bunch of good pics of them…but nothing will compare to the pics we will be getting tomorrow morning on our Safari! We expect to see all kinds of animals. . zebras, giraffes, elephants, hippos, crocodiles, cheetahs, etc... Anywho…back to the Royal Livingstone. Hahaha. It is completely gorgeous! If I EVERRRR get married I want it to be at a place like this!! The Zambezi River runs right in front of the hotel, with a view of Victoria Falls in the distance. When we first got there we saw TONS of monkeys running around the yard too. Me and Kaylee got a little wild hair in us and of course got the bright idea to get a little closer to the tables where the monkeys were playing in order to get a good video on my phone and take some better pics since we don’t have big zooming abilities on our cameras. No big deal right?? Ummmmm. There were probably about 10 monkeys jumping and playing on top of the tables. (By the way, I can now see where the song “10 little monkeys jumping on the bed” originated from)

Monkeys jumping on tables. . . . me and kaylee being brave souls. . . haha

Anywho, they were sitting on top of tables, playing on a hammock, running and jumping from tree to tree and basically acting like little cats waiting to pounce. As we got closer, we were completely amazed and lost in the moment. All of a sudden… a monkey started running towards us! Because my dad had previously warned me about getting bitten by a monkey, I already had a phobia of something like this happening, which caused me to abort! Haha. (Thanks daddy!) I ran as fast as I could and the monkey chased right behind me! And the best part is that I caught it all on video! I have never laughed so hard! The video reminded us of the “Blair Witch” movie. Haha. The monkey was literally pulling on the bottom of my dress! Haha. You will def have to see the video once I get home on Friday! Ian had a little encounter with a monkey too and one of the monkeys actually BIT HIM! Dr. Tullos apparently had to fight off the monkey with his boot! I felt like a dork for running from a monkey, but at least I didn’t get bitten too!! GEEEZ!!! Haha Don’t ever trust a monkey!

Rach was there to capture the moment! Kaylee running. . . you can see me to the far left! hahaha.

The monkeys came right up to us the whole time we were there! This is Ian and his new "friend"
After the monkey situation, we sat out on the porch and watched the sunset enjoying “High Tea”.

This was THE MOST LEGIT dessert bar I have ever seen. They had over 30 different desserts to choose from. We each probably sampled ten (or more) a piece! Haha. Soooo good!

Just PART of the dessert bar!
We then headed out to a deck that sits right out by the Zambezi River and relaxed!

This was absolutely GORGEOUS! Can’t wait to show everyone my pics. There was a little man playing a flute, which totally set the mood. Haha. Dr. Weaver ordered us sparkling water and 12 wine glasses and we made a toast to our successful trip!

The sunset was amazing! I don’t have words for it!

Rachel, Kaylee and I with the Zambezi River behind us.

Group shot!

so pretty!
Tomorrow we will be eating a yummy breakfast buffet at the hotel and then loading up at 7:30 am to go on our Safari! Woooooo hoooooo! Im off to take a HOT SHOWERRRRRR. Yessssss!
Pray that we have a safe trip and the monkeys don’t like me as much on the safari!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bittersweet Ending

Dear blog readers...you might as well get comfy. . . I feel like this one is going to be a long one. ;)

Today was our LAST day at the Haven. It was a bittersweet day for all of us. We are all excited about returning home to our family and friends, however we all shed tears while saying our goodbyes to the little ones at the Haven. Since we have been here on the mission for 5 weeks, we have become so attached to all the babies here. None of us really anticipated just how hard saying our goodbye would be.
This trip has taught me so much and has made me grow so much as a person. I cannot begin to explain how humbling it has been. I am so thankful for all the little things in life that God has blessed me with. Too often we take things for granted. (aka:running water, electricity, clothes on our backs, our health, family, etc.) I am so blessed to have been able to be apart of this trip and get an opportunity to serve the children in Zambia with Speech Language Pathology services. HIZ-PATH (Harding in Zambia-Speech Pathology) is...hands down....the most awesome graduate program ever. I am so glad I chose to complete my masters at Harding. No other program in Arkansas offers mission trips quite like the Bisons! ;) I am already planning on making another trip! Anyone, non graduate students included, are welcome to join project HIZ PATH! The more the merrier! :)

Last day of the "mall walkers" ... TEAR! :*(
We got Leonard to make 3 cakes for each haven and delivered them to the aunties this afternoon to show our appreciation for them being such a blessing in these children's lives. They have a HUGE job of being mothers and nurses to 20+ children everyday.
Today I got to spend over an hour just loving on Matt, which was part of Dr. Weaver's assignment. I was so sad to tell this little man goodbye. :(
Matt's milestones. . . On our handy dandy charts we made!

Kelsey is doing so much better! After losing her twin sister, Kelly, we were worried for Kelsey's health too. She looks like a totally different baby and smiles all the time!
meagan and me. . . one of my "family members". ;) ha

A few of us decided to take pics in our TOMS shoes with babies chitenged to us and send them in to the company in hopes of getting our picture showcased on their website under their section on "how we wear our TOMS"! What could be MORE LEGIT that having babies chitenged to your backs in africa??? haha. For those of you that don't know... for every pair of TOMS that are purchased... another pair is donated to a child in need. They are soooo cute and are VERY popular among our graduate department. We wear them with our scrubs quite often. I brought a pair with me on the trip, but forgot to wear them this morning. what a dummy! But I still jumped in the pic! :)

kaylee and I with meagan and Darcy. Darcy was asleep on kaylee's back. So sweet.
Chillin outside. in Africa. by a hut. with a baby chitenged to my back. . . . NO BIG DEAL. haha.

I thought these two were too cute not to get a picture with...regardless of their horrible taste in shirts!! ;) boo texas!

trying to include my Ethel in this one!

Saying goodbye to Miller. . .isn't he a handsome little man?

The girls at Haven 3 were bouncing off the walls today! AS USUAL! They kept running into the room where me and Rach were feeding the babies and screaming and then running away as fast as they could! They were so excited and full of energy! You would never guess that these are the more "medically fragile" babies with AIDS, TB, and other serious illnesses. They are a huge encouragement to always push forward even through the bad!

me and catherine cheezin. she's a hoot!!!

Teagan is the biggest snuggle bunny ever! So sweet.

Saying my goodbyes to my other adopted daughter. . . Christine

so sad to leave her and my Matt. trying to hold the tears back... (unsuccessful.)

After an emotional day of saying our goodbyes we got back to the house to find that Catherine and Rachel had a special event planned for the evening....the "G.A. OLYMPICS"
This was absolutely hilarious! We laughed harder than we have the whole trip probably. Thanks Catherine and Rach for being so thoughtful and creative!

The Grad Assistant Olympics began with the "LEG HAIR COMPETITION". yes, I DID say leg hair. Some of the girls (minus me and Kaylee) decided they wanted to see who could grow the longest leg hair on the trip .... which means no shaving until we get to Livingstone tomorrow! Let's just say we were REALLY impressed with their level of hair growing skills! Some were in it to win it!! :) haha. They came out with a chitenge over their heads and allowed us to use flashlights to be the judges of who's hair was the longest! Catherine was the "lucky" winner! CONGRATS!! baahahahaha.
leg hair competition

Next was the "SOCK SLIDING COMPETITION". This was QUITE a sight! Each person, including Dr. Weaver and Dr. Tullos, got their chance to put on their socks, get a running start from one end of the hall, and slide as far as they could (without falling of course). Each competitor's slide was conveniently marked with a bag of goldfish to ensure proper marking on the floors. haha. again...I don't have words for how funny it was to see Dr. Weaver sliding down the hall. I have it on video, don't worry! :) haha. Rachel was the winner of this event! With no broken ankles! Success!

Event Number 3.... "CHITENGE WRAPPING"! Each "Olympian" grabbed a chitenge and we all (including males) raced to see who could put on their chitenge the fastest. The winner was the first one with their hands in the air (to ensure their chitenge was secure and wasn't falling off!) We got a kick out of Dr. Weaver and Dr. Tullos standing with their hands in the air, laughing. They were definitely into each competition just as much as the rest of us!

Event number 4.... "THE 40 SECOND CLOTHES PILE ON". During this event, we were instructed to go to our rooms, as a "roommate team", and put on as many clothes as we could in 40 seconds. Kaylee and I dominated the competition, winning first place in the event with 24 clothing items combined! haha! VICTORY!!!

Event Number 5.... "UNLOCK THE DOOR". During this event, we were each timed using a stopwatch ....on how fast we could unlock both doors of the house. In the dark. WITH our headlamps. Because the doors here are like old timey castle doors, its always a sight everyday to see us trying to unlock them. Sara won this event coming in at a rapid 13 seconds! impressive!!
Event number 6. . . "SUCK THE BOTTLE". During this event we were each given a baby's bottle full of water and were told to chug the bottle as fast as we could. At first they had planned to use nipples, but this would have taken all night. The first person to finish was supposed to hold their empty bottle in the air for judging purposes. As you can see, I was way ahead of the game! I got first place in this event! haha. SUCCESS!! Everyone was a little shocked to see how fast I downed this thing! haha.

We even had an awards ceremony at the end of the last event. As you can see... Kaylee got the bronze metal (aka chitenge) ...standing on the book. I got the silver... on the night stand... and the mighty sara was awarded the chair ....to reign as the first place, gold metal (chitenge)winner! Complete with a "torch" and background music of "We are the champions". Hilarious! (Notice I am still taller than Kaylee while kneeling on my night stand. so funny. love you kay)
Thanks again Catherine and Rachel for getting our minds off leaving the kiddos and brightening our day! This will defintely have to be a new tradition from here on out! :)
Tomorrow we are heading to Livingstone! We are all sooo excited we cannot wait! We are like kids on christmas morning! We have an awesome mini vacation planned. Our schedule is as follows:
Tomorrow (Saturday): Drive to Livingstone. Check in at Protea Hotel (with hot showers!! AAAHHHH!) High Tea on the deck at the Royal Livingstone while watching the sunset!
Sunday: Safari in Botswana and sunset cruise!
Monday: Shopping in the market, Victoria Falls during the daylight, and pizza at Funky Monkey!
Tuesday: Sleep in, and then head back to Namwianga for our last night on the mission.
Wednesday: Arrive in Lusaka at 3:00....head to America next morning! :)
***I will have the details of what time we will be getting home closer to time mom and dad! love you!
Pray we have a safe trip!
It is time for bed! Last night in my mosquito net for a while until we come back from Livingstone for our last night in Namwianga on Tuesday! Bittersweet!

Ive started getting used to the thing! :) yay for no malaria! haha.

Goodnight! :)