Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday Emily!!

Emily had a wonderful birthday. She was blessed throughout the day with the "birthday song" being sung in 4 different languages. Our classmates come from all over the world. The teachers in the kindergarten prepared a very nice party outside for her and had the kitchen make a cake for her. It was way more than I expected. Many of our classmates and a few teachers came at tea time to celebrate with her. Here are a few pictures from her party. This is her cake. They did an excellent job!These are the four kids in the kindergarten. These are the biggest birthday candles ever!!These are the wonderful ladies who take care of our children each day. They are truly amazing!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

African Safari

On Saturday we went on our first Safari. It was about a 5 hour drive around the national park on bumpy roads to see what wildlife and animals we could see. We went with a couple from the States who are in our class. We stopped for lunch on the top of a hill and ate while looking out at the landscape. It was an amazing day. Here are a few of our memories...

To me it looked like the giraffes were lining up for school. Donovan is taking a look at the water buffalo. We got pretty close to some at one point and I have to admit I was a little nervous.Love this family photo. I can't believe everyone was looking and smiling at the same time. Behind us is the Ngurdoto crater. This is a thorn bush that grows a lot around here. You do not want to get stuck in those thorns.

Can you see Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance. Well it is there. Unfortunately we didn't see it either. It was covered by clouds. On a clear day I bet that would be an amazing view.

Donovan conked out. He slept through all the bumps and even a lap change.

Seeing the baboons picking bugs and stuff off each other was one of Shelbyanne's favorite things of the day. We there are a few of our memories of the day. We really had a wonderful time as a family and with our friends.

Karibu Tena

Meaning: Welcome are welcome to come again!

Friday, March 25, 2011

More Monkeying Around

You guessed it! The girls are about 10 feet away from a monkey. They were just off the road as we were walking home from class today. It has been so cool to be here amidst all the wildlife and vegetation. The kids have been able to play in the rain and catch all the bugs and salamanders their hearts desire. The accommodations here are very nice. One of the other students described living here by saying it feels like we are being pampered. I have to agree. They make 3 wonderful meals each day. We have tea time twice each day. Their is a laundry service that will wash and iron our clothes, for a small price. We can walk everywhere we need to go. The kids love their class and teachers. Emily said the other day as we were walking home that she wished she could sleep there at night with Shelbyanne. She said I could come too so they wouldn't be alone. I am so glad they like it. This place has made learning Swahili so wonderful. I have thoroughly enjoyed our first week here. Our class is going great. We get along well with all our classmates. We laugh a lot in class. We are learning so much. I am feeling more and more confident to practice the language that we have learned outside of class. I was able to write a paragraph in Swahili yesterday, and even understand all that I had written. I just hope when we leave here we are able to progress even more with what we will be doing when we return home.

Playing in the rain!

This was a new group of monkeys that we hadn't seen before. They were hanging out in the trees above the kindergarten area. So Cool!
Tutaonana Tena!!
See you again!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Donovan and Daddy on the airplane to Language school. It was a small 13 passenger plane. The pilot did an awesome job. Here are a few views of the city that we live in.
Here are a few views of wild Africa! The campus we are staying on is Beautiful. There is vegetation and wildlife in abundance here. It is paradise for an Eagle Scout and his nature-loving children. :) Mommy is taking it all in very well. Rob and the kids caught some bugs today and want to show them to you. They had a blast. We have seen monkeys, owls, bugs, fireflies, and lizards big and small so far. I am sure there is more to be seen. Our first day of Swahili learning went well. We went over greetings and how to use them. I definitely need to practice, but the good thing here is that the staff love to "help" the beginning Swahili learners with their language. So, there are lots of opportunities to practice. Here are some photos of yesterday and today's findings.

P.S. If you want to comment on the blog you have to sign up for a google account to be able to post on here. If you want me to reply to it you should just e-mail me.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Preparing to travel again!

Habari Gani? - How are you?
We leave for the language school up north, on Sunday morning. Our bags are mostly packed. This city is significantly cooler because of the elevation. We are excited about being able to focus on language learning for a few weeks. The girs are excited about being in a school just for them. They are doing well in their Swahili even though they are still a bit shy to speak to anyone but Rob and I with the phrases they know.
Rob had a dream 2 nights ago that he was eating a big cheeseburger. Then yesterday we were out doing some shopping for the language school, which was an experience I will share with you in a moment, and we were able to have cheese burgers for lunch. It was really cool! God gave him the desires of his heart, or at least the cravings of his tummy!
Shopping at the local Market...Yesterday Pastor George took us to the local street market to buy a few things for our trip. We needed an umbrella, pants for Rob and shoes for Rob, Shelbyanne, and Emily. I told Rob that I wish that I had video cameras for eyes, so that I could show everyone what we experienced. We started out at a little booth that had men's shoes. They sat Rob down and he tried on a few pairs of shoes. They realized that his feet were bigger than the shoes they had there, so guys started running away and returning with shoes for him. Other guys were bringing out shoes for Shelbyanne to try on. I think there were about 20 men "helping" us overall. After about 15 minutes of Rob and Shelbyannetrying on shoes, me feeding the kids snacks to keep them entertained, and Rob picking out a pair that he liked...we left. Pastor George looked at me and said, "What else do we need?" I replied, "Umbrellas." So he walked away in search of some umbrellas. The guys with the shoes followed us on our umbrella search. We found the umbrellas and bought one, which was a much easier process. Then we headed to find pants for Rob, which also went well. Although, while the kids and I were waiting again, Shelbyanne spotted some toys. Once they noticed she was looking at them, they started putting toys in the girls' arms. They seem to think if they can just get it into your hands you won't be able to refuse it. Then they won't take the stuff back, so you have to buy it. :) We finished with the pants (bought NO toys) and followed Pastor George through this Labrynth of booths with clothes, shoes, bags, shoes, toys, shoes, and more shoes. We ended up finding shoes for Emily, and then making our way out to the taxi. The guys with the shoes Rob liked followed us the whole way through, and we made our final deal from inside the taxi. We got the shoes for way less than we would have paid in the States, but I bet he would have come down a little bit more had we left and come back at a later time.
Then last night we got to eat Pizza, for the second time while here. After dinner we all got ice cream cones dipped in chocolate. It was a great treat. The sisters had asked that we eat elsewhere yesterday for our meals. They had one of their sisters and several others in a car accident where three died and 6 were injured. They went to the hospital and were not able to prepare meals for us. We felt very badly and shared our condolences in the best way that we could with our limited language.
Well, that is it for now. Please pray for safe flights, smooth transitions, and a profitable time at the Language School. We will have internet access there as well, so we will be keeping you posted on our progress.
Swahili for this post:
Donovan mwaka mojia na nusu
Meaning - Donovan is one and a half years old

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Church we attend hosted a baptism for the pastor's son and a man from a tribe outside the city. It was at the beach, so we got to take a trip out to the beach for a little bit. We didn't want to get all wet and sandy so we just played at the water's edge a little bit, but the girls had a blast anyway. Donovan slept through most of it and then woke up long enough to notice we were somewhere different.

We have upgraded our bathtub for the kids to a bucket that they can all fit into, one at a time of course. They love bathtime now, before the water was just cold when we would pour it on them that they would fuss and cry.

The Sisters her have a herd of ducks. They bring them out for a walk each day, and have let the girls hold them. The girls want a pet so badly! Not yet.
Do you notice anything different in the last picture? Rob and I have given all the kids a haircut. It is just too hot here for long hair. They love it, and we do too.
Hope all is well with you all. I have packed the kids and I for our travels this weekend. Now just Rob's packing and some last minute details and we will be ready.
Kwaheri - Goodbye