Saturday, July 14, 2012

Been here over a week... that means I'm not longer a tourist, right?

It's true that we have been here in Canoa for over a week, but we have so much more to learn! But I still love marveling at all the things that are so unfamiliar to me. Like....

                                             The shaggiest rattiest dog I've ever seen                     

A fish with buck teeth, and yes, those are really teeth

A man swatting flying on the meat that is hanging with no protection

Naked children playing in shallow, dirty water

We have spent a full week at the school and the kids are awesome. I love getting to know them while it makes it much more difficult to do by not knowing the language. And even though I can speak enough to get by, trying to understand what they are saying is almost impossible. Even native speakers from other areas say that the people in Canoa are hard to understand. They have an accent and speak very fast. I have also gotten to be friends with the English speaking teachers at the school and they are awesome. 

One day after school, mom and I were sitting on the beach when a guy walked up and asked if we could watch his dog, Penguino, for 20 minutes while he went to do something. I said, "Uh... I guess so." And off he went. I guess he thought since we were foreigners that we really didn't have any use for the dog and the underground railroad of animals probably let them know that Dr. Dolittle was in town. Even the stray dogs have heard about her! Meanwhile, a guy stopped to talk to us on the beach, simply because we were from America. When the guy came back to get his dog, we found out that he is good friends with the girls who work at the school. People kept telling us that this was a really small town and everyone knew everyone's business and know I'm realizing it more and more. We will meet someone new and then see them 5 more times that day around town. Friends are not hard to come by here with everyone being so welcoming. 

                               Mom with Penguino                    Mom with the stray dog on her towel with her

Mom and I have made a habit of stopping by the bakery everyday on our way to school to grab a few piece of hot fresh bread for 10 cents each. First it was one piece of bread each, then two, then three.... it's just so delicious! And we also found out that pescado frito is a gift from the Lord! Fresh fish straight from the sea about 200 meters away from the restaurant. And the best part... soup and a plate of fish, rice and vegetables that my mom and I can split for $2.50! Doesn't get much better! And today we ate at a pizzeria and had the best pizza I've ever had. We decided to get a large and just take the leftovers home for dinner... there were no leftovers!

While at church last Sunday, a lady asked us to help them serve food to a group of kids in a really poor part of Bahia ( which is two towns away from us). We would have to catch the bus and then the water taxi to get there, so we did. And what an experience that we within itself. The bus ride was 50 cents and worth it all. People stand on the side of the street and wave their hand to let the greyhound sized bus to stop. Then the bus driver graciously taps the breaks a few times, never coming to a complete stop to let people on and off. I noticed that he would barely slow down for men to get on, slow down more if it was a man and women and almost completely stop for women, but not quite. Hilarious. On our ride home, they window of my mom's seat was nonexistent and the wind relentless. She was convinced she would fall out if we went around a sharp turn. At one point she exclaimed, "Arolla!" I busted up. She has made a habit of saying completely nonsensical words with a Spanish accent in hopes of getting her message across, I guess it works! 

In San Vincente with a view of Bahia behind me 

When Friday rolled around, we were so excited that we decided to celebrate with a massage from a local lady who lives right around the corner of our hotel. $10 for a 45 minute massage, we couldn't pass it up and I am so thankful that we didn't. It was absolutely wonderful! And today, the sun was shining so we took advantage of it and spent almost all day on the beach! 

So much fun had and so much more to have! 
Signed up for surfing and Spanish lessons next week, it's gonna be good! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Usually Unusual

We made it safely to Canoa and it's beyond beautiful here! From the street children and dogs running wild to the thatched roof shacks to sandy beach. We have spent so much time at the beach and on the boardwalk where all the local restaurants are. We have met an Ecuadorian couple staying at the same hotel as us and had two meals with them, an American family on vacation and had two meals with them, and an Ecuadorian lady who works with environmental conservation in Quito. So many interesting people!

One of my favorite things about being here is how different their way of life is. I love walking down the street or beach and realizing that all of these things that seem foreign to me are completely normal to them.

Boys climbing trees in their underwear. And fitting 3 boys on one small tree.

A man on stilts walking through the street to raise money for something.

Seeing a bus stuck in the sand and them digging it out with a shovel. 

Feeding our breakfast straps to the dogs at a restaurant after having to blindly order something off the menu called balon mesa queso. (turned out to a big fried ball of cornmeal with cheese inside.)

Today we got to go to an English speaking church in Bahia with another American couple. It was extremely small, but the people were very welcoming. They wanted us to stay for the night service that was in Spanish to bad that they offered to let us stay at their house and spend the night that night and then come back the next morning. Everyone is so hospitable here! We went to the next town over yesterday with the Ecuadorian couple we met. The husband spoke broken English. So as he was driving I was in the back seat trying to say that the weather was perfect here. The windows were down which made it hard to hear and I'm sure my Spanish pronunciation was awful. In efforts to understand what I was saying (which wasn't very important anyway), Marlon pulled the car over to the side of the road, stopped the car, turned around and said, "Okay, now what are you trying to say?" I had to laugh at the situation. He was so concerned with what I had to say that he stopped everything to let me know that what I had to say was important.

All that to say, we are thoroughly enjoying ourselves and cannot wait to meet all the children at the school tomorrow! Praying that the Lord is shared and glorified in our time here!

Our little friend Pepe!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

What's up Ecuador!

SO.... we're here in Quito, Ecuador! We traveled for a total of 15 hours today and still have one more day of traveling until we reach our final destination of Canoa, Ecuador! We had to be at the airport at 3am this morning and have had scattered sleep thoughout the day. So ready to crash out in our hotel room with a huge glass that overlooks the city and mountains.

I continue to find that I love being in a place that is unfamiliar to me. The culture, language, dress, geography. I take it as a challenge to try to learn and figure out why these people do the things they do. From the time we got in our taxi from the airpot until now I have throughly enjoyed every moment. Coming to Ecuador is different than any other trip I've taken to another country... I actually have a base knowledge of the langauage.

While it's been 3 years since I've been forced to use it, I love being put in a situation where I have to use all of my resources to get my point across in a form that they can understand. Tonight when I tried to ask for just an empty cup to pour my bottled water in at a fast food resturant, it proved to be comical. I tried, "Yo tengo aqua, pero quiero.... cup." It just wasn't working until I finally saw a cup and got to point to it and say "just that." Which the finally understood. When I sat back down at the table, my mom informed me, "This is what you call language emersion!"

But I love the challenge and am more motivated than ever to learn Spanish and be able to fully communicate with the peope here. I am so thankful for the opportunity to come here and learn how to love on these poeple and appreciate thier culture. We were told that Canoa is about 50 years behind America in technology. I couldn't think of a better place that I would want to go!!

I started reading Kisses from Katie on the plane today. It's about am 18 year old girl who moved to Uganda by herself to live there and share Christ's love with them. Through reading her story, I am challenged to put all selfish ambition aside just as Ephesians 2:3-4 says, and pour out everything that Christ has given me to these poeple around me. Can't wait to see what the Lord does over this next month!
And I love you too sister!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Zambian Days

So I got into Lusaka on Sunday afternoon. We spent the night there and then got up the next morning to eat with some friends. We went to the market and I got so many awesome gifts for you people back home. Then we took on the four hour ride home. Yesterday morning we got up and Zeria, Joy and I went to the market. We walked which took about 45 minutes, but we stopped and talked a lot along the way. I learned to say “Bwino Bwanji” which people asked me “Maouka Bwanji.” Which is asking “How did you rise?” and then the answer is Bwino Bwanji. We had to cross to the other side of the road, because there was a madman that was known to be violent sleeping right next to the road. Then when we got into the market, a man came up to Joy and asked her if she was a missionary. And then he just started mumbling, so we walked off. He was kind of following us, but nothing happened. We walked through the Nyimba hospital, where they were just installing toilets in each ward oppose to two in the very back of the hospital for everyone to share.
Then yesterday for lunch, I helped Joy make nshima with a cabbage, tomato, onion soup. It was delicious and I’m going to try making it when I get back. But it’s pretty hard, so we’ll see how it goes. Then today we went to some of Kendall and Joys friends in a village about 45 minutes away. Her house was awesome. They had goats, chickens, dove, pigs, and huge barrels of maize, peanuts, and cotton. It reminded me a lot of Mamaw’s; just the African version.
Daisy and Zeria cooked in the kitchen while Joy and I sat outside with the kids and talked and just enjoyed the stillness of everything.

 I tried sugarcane straight from the stalk for the first time. Henry, Daisy's husband cut it for me and it was delicious. It was super sweet, but delicious.
Then we ate pork, soup and nshima. It was all sooo sooo goooood.
 After lunch we went out (and mom I know you will be jealous) to picked cotton! The field was right behind their house. We got a few big white sacks and started pulling away one by one.
Then we went back to the house and pulled the dried corn off the stalks to ground. My thumbs were already getting blistery after only a few corn stalks. No wonder African are so tough and awesome. The whole experience was wonderful. 
Then we went to visit Zeria’s sister, Bertha. There we ate some more food and then I got to go fetch the water with her.
I told Joy that I wanted to carry water on my head and I got to do it today! 
My arms got pretty tired, because I couldn’t balance the water on my head, but we did have to walk too far so it was good. I got a huge taste of the culture today and absolutely loved it. Tomorrow I’m going to go with Kendall to teach which should be awesome and how knows what else will happen! 


Saturday, June 19, 2010



Why I love me some Giraffe:
  • Giraffe's don't have any bone marrow in their leg bones
  •   They can kill a lion in just one kick
  • Giraffe's only sleep anywhere from 5-30 minutes in a 24-hour period
  • The dark their spots, the older they are
  • Their pregnancies last for 15 months, but a mother cow can hold the calf for up to 18 months, until conditions are better for survival 
  • A Giraffe's heart is 24 lbs and 2 feet wide
  • Giraffe's only sit if they are sick or old
  • They sleep as well as give birth standing
  • They have awesome eye sight


Kibera Week 2

So much has happened since by last post. The whole second week we did a sports camp for the kids at Langata High School. Lots of soccer, along with some volleyball, netball, basketball and frisbee. All of that was good, but the last day in Kibera was the most awesome, yet it was accompanied with hardest good-byes I think I’ve ever said. All day everyone just knew that the time would come to say good-bye, which was lame. That morning we were at Langata with Class 8. Around 12 we went back to Kibera. I walked back with the kids which took about 30 minutes. As I walked back and looked around at the building, the land, the kids faces and Kibera, it was all becoming real to me that it was all happening for the last time… for a long while at least. When we got back to Kibera, we had a three hour talent show that was the Kids from all different classes performed and it was precious. There was singing, dancing, poems, skits, and more dancing. Those kids could get down! During the talent show I had picked up a little girl, and within two minutes she was out; drooling and all. It was cool to get to hold her and she slept and just kind of sit back and take everything in. Afterwards, we started the good-byes. I got to give away some of my shirts, shorts, tights, water bottle, and shoes to some of the kids that I really connected with and got close to. Some of them walked us out to the bus to say the final good-byes. I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry, because I did. But my heart was so sad to leave the kids I couldn’t help it; especially when they were crying. It was hard to be so sad to leave them, but to see them cry and their hurt was even harder. I got to pray over a few of them which was extremely hard, but awesome. A few of the kids I really bonded with gave me letters. And Kelvin, in Class 8, gave me his bracelet that he’d been wearing the whole time I was there. It was all super sad, but I do thank God that he gave me the opportunity to go there and meet his wonderful children. As I read their letters today on the plane to Zambia, each kids just encouraged me in Christ with words and scriptures and thanked me for coming and spending time with them. These kids were anywhere from 13 yrs-15 yrs and their faith is already so mature and strong. I pray that I would have faith like they do. I’ve learned over the course of my time in Kibera that too often, we in America trade our comfort and things for a true and refreshing joy in Christ. These kids have nothing else besides Christ. They don’t have things to keep them from seeing God in every single situation. That’s what I want.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Kibera Week 1

So, I'm half way through my Kenya visit. I leave for Zambia one week from tomorrow morning to join Kendall and Joy in Zambia! The first day we were in Kibera was an intro day and extremely eye opening, but I have grown so much since then. At first these kids just looked like the pictures I've seen my whole life, but as I have gotten to know these children, I can see them for who they are- individually.They each have a story and are all so unique. Our second day in Kibera we put on a camp for all the children in New Hope Primary School. We painted their faces and ours. (I actually got a sunburn on my face that day, everywhere except where the paint was. It made for an interesting sunburn line- two lines under my eyes and one down the middle of my face...) It was the most fun I've had- maybe ever. We made chants and yelled and played games. The children were going crazy and screaming and laughing like nothing else I've ever seen. We also got to talk to the older kids in small groups which was awesome. I had five Class 6 (6th grade) girls.
That afternoon we went to the high school were the scholarship kids from Kibera go. It's Langata High School. I tutored a girl there in Form 1 (Freshman) named Ruth. She was extremely sweet. The next day we tutored some of the kids that we just below passing their Class 8 exam to get into high school. Then we did crafts with some of the Class 7 girls. In the afternoon Taylor, Abby and I did an art class. I met and fell in love with a boy named Kelvin in that class. He shared his story with me- pray for his dad. He's a drunk and doesn't know God, but the rest of his family does. The next day was a safari which was kinda cool, but pretty boring because everything was so far away. But after we went to a giraffe sanctuary were I received my first kiss. I put a pellet in my mouth, and the giraffe would take it with it's tongue! It was so awesome and I got lots of pictures! Today started with more tutoring and then we got to go to some of the kids houses.

I went to Caroline and Dennis' house. They are brother and sister. It took us about 20 minutes to walk to their house and then we went to a few other places around Kibera with them. We walked for about an hour or more throughout the whole trip. I got to see so much more of Kibera, and it's impossible to describe so I won't even try. I met their mother, Ruth, and heard her story. We got to pray for her, that God would heal her from her sickness. From what she described, it sounds like focal seizures. In the afternoon we did the art class again. We bubble lettered a part of Psalm 139 and had them color and decorate them, then hung it in their classroom. God has definitely been teaching me on this trip. Lots of things that I wasn't expecting. Things within our group that we've been working out. It's also been hard to see how God is wanting me to respond during my time in the slums with the children and what he is wanting to teach me. It is becoming more clear, but if you pray for me, please pray that I would be able to see the Holy Spirit moving and would be able to follow that leading. In my quiet time today, I read that we should be careful of building our faith on experience. So I know this is a faith builder, but not because of the experience, but because God is here and working- just like I should be able to see everyday.

If you want to read about our trip more you can check out the group blog at: