Sunday, August 28, 2011

Things look different from inside a daladala!

The pictures above are of the city buses in the town we live in. They cost about 20cents to ride one way. Last week, Thursday was my first time to attempt a trip across town. I had a meeting for the Staff, Parent, Association (SPA) for Shelbyanne's school. I didn't want to take a taxi which costs about $33 round trip. So, I set out at 8am to catch a bus at the main road. At about 8:15am a bus that wasn't totally full(which means no standing room available) came by and stopped long enough for me to jump on. There is a driver and a guy who works the door running the bus. I stood by the door as much as I could since the door was opened frequently letting in a gust of wind. As I stood there holding on to the railing above the door I couldn't help but feel stares from some of the other passengers. I glanced around a few times throwing small smiles to those whose eye I caught.
I arrived at my destination safe and sound. I had a wonderful meeting with some other moms from the school. I had some nice food, made a few friends, and signed up to be one of the room moms for Shelbyanne's class. We live quite far away from the school, but I figured that there are definitely things I can do from home for her class. I left the meeting, full in my belly and my heart. The whole time I just kept thinking how blessed we are that Shelbyanne got a spot in that class.
I stopped by the store before boarding another city bus to come home. I made sure to only buy what I was willing to carry, which ended up being two bags of groceries. I got on another full bus, feeling thankful to be able to stand by the door again. As people got on and off the bus a seat opened up next to me. I looked around to see who was going to sit down, and a girl behind me said, "Kaa!" which means "sit". I obeyed and sat down. She was standing right behind me when I was standing, so as I sat she moved forward on the bus. She was holding the railing above her head which caused her armpit to be in my face for about 3 minutes before she got off the bus.
A few minutes later an older woman ended up standing right beside my seat. I looked up at her and asked, in Swahili, if she wanted to sit down. I think she was surprised that I spoke Swahili, because a smile turned into a big grin. She said yes. I got up, and she sat down. I enjoyed standing. There was more air flow up there. It gave me the advantage of seeing more, and also I wasn't boxed in when it came time for me to get off the bus.
I paid the door guy my 20cents again and got off the bus a few blocks from my house. Overall I would say that it was a very successful trip. I would definitely do it again, and I will since it saves us a bunch of money.

I have added two videos of Donovan as he was making a friend on Shelbyanne's first day of school. Enjoy!

Amy

video video

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thankfulness...

We instill that characteristic as best we can into our children. "Say thank you," we tell them. However, saying "Thank you" is different than being thankful. There are so many things that we experience here that are different from where we came from. I must admit being slightly discouraged at times by my circumstances. I am reminded during those moments of where my Joy and Hope come from. There are so many thing to be thankful for here. I am trying to model for my family a heart of thankfulness.
So, what's up with us?
Shelbyanne starts 1st grade tomorrow. We will all go to take her and then she gets to ride the bus home. Excited and nervous for her. She will have about an hour ride each way to and from school. She says she is excited about seeing animals out the window as she rides. (cows, chickens, goats, cats, dogs, etc...) She will have to be at the bus at 6am every morning. We found out that the private bus company that the school has a contract with parks all their buses 1 block from our house. That is definitely something to be thankful for.
We had our first hospital experience last week. Don't worry, there was no emergency. I took Shelbyanne for her 6 year routine visit. I am so glad we didn't take all the kids at the same time. Now I know the routine and it will go smoothly when I take the others. The doctor was great. He spoke English perfectly and even asked Shelbyanne if she missed going to Chuck-E-Cheese for her birthday.
Here are some pictures of us lately. Actually I am not in any of them because I am usually the one taking all the pictures.
Shelbyanne opening birthday presents.
She is so ready for school.
Donovan and "his" stick! It's just his size.
Picnic after playing in the "pool" and playing with bubbles sent by Aunt Charlotte!
Donovan crashed after tiring himself out looking out his window at nap time. He didn't even make it out of the curtain.
Being a kid is tough.
The girls got their faces painted at the mall last weekend. Emily was a bunny and Shelbyanne was a puppy. Reminds me of Monday nights at Chick-Fil-A, except there weren't any waffle fries.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Shopping Adventure

Today I went shopping with our guard and house helper. What an adventure. Okay, so we walked to a market where they sell secondhand clothes, toys, curtains, sheets, prom/brides maid dresses, and more. I wanted to buy Shelbyanne some dresses for her birthday, since she has grown too tall for the ones she has now.
Imagine if you can a flea market where the booths are side by side, made of 2 X 4s, tin roofs, are maybe 5x7 feet, and covered in hanging clothes. The people, young guys especially come out and beckon you into their stall, or want you to follow them to their stall to look at what they have.
I was able to buy 4 really cute dresses for Shelbyanne for about $3 each.
And then...
A guy had us follow him to his stall where he was going to show me some long skirts for me, which I need a few of. His stall was one with a lot of prom/bridesmaid dresses. He had us sit down on a small bench. Then he pulled out a very big bag of clothes. He started pulling out clothes from the bag (shirts, shorts, pants, skirts) and asking if I liked them. As he was going through the bag another lady came up and he asked us all to scoot over so she could sit down. He was showing us all his wares.
I found one skirt that I liked, and the negotiations began. He gave me a price and Upendo, my house helper, made a face. I knew what she was thinking, I just didn't know what to say to him. He spoke some English and tried to explain to me how they do business here. We ended negotiating a good price, $5, after things got a little heated. Upendo really stood up for me. It was awesome to watch her. It just reinforced my decision never to go to that market alone until I am fluent in Swahili.

Hope your day was just as interesting.
Blessings,
Amy

Just thought I would post some pictures from when the team from FBC Ft. Lauderdale came to visit.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Blessings of Friendship!

Today we said goodbye, for now, to our coworkers. They are currently living and working in a neighboring country. They came here to spend a few days with us while traveling in the area. What a blessing it was to have them stay in our home with us. They have two children who are in the 5th and 7th grades. All of our kids had a great time together. Our family is really going to miss having them around. Please be in prayer for their family as they travel home, and as they make decisions and plans for moving here.
Since we moved here we have had many blessings and many challenges. One of the challenges and the thing we miss the most is the time we spend hanging out with family and friends. We are slowly making friends here. All of the other missionaries that we have met live too far away for us to fellowship with them very often. Plus, they have their own families and ministries that they are involved in. We do get together with a group of other missionaries once a month for a pot-luck lunch. There are usually other kids there which is good for our kids. Sometimes there are even pets there, which is the highlight of the day for our kids.
I would love to find an African friend around my age. The biggest hindrance to that is most ladies here work and then have to go home and take care of their families. We are also needing to find language helper to continue our Swahili studies. I know that God knows who would make a good fit for me and for Rob. We are trusting that He will show us who to "make friends" and who to have as "language helpers".
Well, that's what is on my mind for today. Hope you are sleeping well and that you wake up healthy and enjoying the presence of the Lord today!
Blessings,
Amy