We are back from a 6 hour trip to Dar. In short: Took early ferry. Puked. Again. Same story there. Walked to the office of Social services and big surprise our social worker AND the commissioner were both out of the office. We told the woman working in the office we would wait for them to return and we hunkered down and prepped for some epic waiting as if often the case here. Amazingly we had convinced some fabulous friends to watch the girls for the day so we could wait without entertaining kids in the dark and narrow hallway where we have spent many an hour waiting, praying, reading, being frustrated, and learning to trust. That was a good idea y'all. We were among many folks also waiting for their chance and there was no room for us both so I sat on a broken chair at the end of the long hallway while Jason sat just outside the office making sure it was known "We are still here!" We both started praying that the commissioner would return despite what we had been told (appointments just do not happen here and he was supposedly gone for a long time at a meeting). But within 20 minutes he appeared! Ever been shocked God answered your prayer so exactly? We were! And thankful.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Just because we have no official shule around here for a few weeks does not mean the kids stay away. They climb over the wall, pound on the gate, and sneak in when the door is open but only when Jason is at Pamoja teaching because as the neighborhood kids know "Baba Annikah hapendi kelele" (Anni's Papa does not like noise) and noise is what they bring folks....
Monday, September 26, 2011
We were promised adoption would not be easy. And we believed it but in a way you believe something you have never lived. Like for example; "marriage takes commitment and work" or "raising kids is hard." We smiled and agreed and figured we would have it covered when the time came. Confession: I do not have it covered (marriage, raising kids, adoption...please check all of the above). The latest problem has us at a seemingly closed door and I am wrecked about it. It has been difficult for me to process how I feel about it all. But after some shock, time, prayer, and talking through it with J I also have peace that He is in control and although I have no idea what is next I can trust the One who knows. I guess that makes no sense that I can feel wrecked while simultaneously feeling peace but that is the only way to describe my current emotional state. J and I fasted and prayed together about this and He so clearly spoke to both of us that "yes, adoption is part of our journey" but that we were not to "lie" or force something through in this situation (which has been reccommended to us) even if that would mean we could help an orphan here. That in what can be a grey area we are still called to walk in the light. God is calling us to adoption, we both feel that, but whether or not that means here is now completely out of our hands and it could change a lot about our future. The details are many and the answers are few but at this point please pray for us. For clarity. For more trusting in Him. For us to embrace this trial instead of run from it. For us to here clearly, discern, and obey. It has already meant some heartbreak and I sense for sure there is more to come but God can handle it all. I often hear people quote that "He heals the brokenhearted" without really thinking that to be healed means first your heart must be broken. And the breaking part is painful. He gave us this desire to adopt and this dream bring a child into our family and He will fulfill it in His timing. We are just called to follow one step at a time. Tomorrow we take the step He is calling us to right now.
Friday, September 23, 2011
How easily I succumb to being "stressed out," to worrying, or being anxious. And as promised it has never added a single hour to my life. If I really think about how stress manifests in my life it is actually the opposite of trust. Jesus calls us to more faith because we are His. Valued. Loved.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
game time...there was no mercy for the balloon popping game...seriously I was a afraid for my life:)
check it out...one of my students came to school wearing this dress!! Nice fabric...ILL....INI!!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
the girls and I found a great new little place in town that serves up a mean coconut, banana, and mango smoothie! Plus, they have yummy spiced coffee that makes this Mama happy! Woo-hoo!! We get pumped about fun new places!
I have always written about Miss Annikah Joy's artist tendencies and even when her flare for color and art took to the walls of the joint I simple know the ...kid...must....paint! There was an event a few weeks back in town sponsored by a bookstore where a group of local artists gathered to share their skills and show of their amazing creations. Guests were then invited to add to the "wall" by painting scenes of people. The theme was "everyday people" and Anni quickly planned her masterpiece and got to work painting. Evy, Papa, and I cheered her on (and made some hand prints in paint...well Miss Evy that is)....check it out...I think she did a pretty amazing job!
her finished masterpiece..."Mama, our neighbor, Papa with his pants, and me by the ocean and the grass"
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
The people here are very stoic and tears in front of others are always met with "mombea dua. Usilie yamaza kimya" (pray a special prayer, don't cry and be quiet). I heard that or something similar at least 20 times yesterday at the Khitma (prayer service) for my student.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
As the world mourns 10 years since 9/11, the people of our island have been dealt their own tragedy. Many of you have probably not heard of the tragedy that struck us yesterday. An overloaded passenger ferry, traveling from Unguja (our island) to Pemba (sister island) capsized and sank around 1-3 AM. The boat may have had over 1000 people on board (registered to carry only 600).
As of now, it seems that near 600 people have survived and been rescued (miraculous due to the timing and extreme lack of rescue equipment and infrastructure), but over 240 have been confirmed dead, and that number will only rise (some think it could top out around 500) as many are likely still trapped in the hull of the ship.
This has had a profound impact on these islands, as there is nearly no one that has not been impacted by someone that has died or was on the ship. Shock, despair, anger, sadness, grief. Many woke up this morning never to see their loved ones again. It looks as though one of Roxanne's English students is among those that lost his life. Tragically, the ship was full of children and students celebrating Eid here on Unguja and heading back home. Numbers seem to indicate that 90% of those that died were women or children.
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Evy Imani has a favorite location in town. It is a coffee house that we happen to love as well but Evy is very well known there and shameless in her quest for treats. Let me explain how things go down.....we walk in and as soon as she hears the women that work there greet us she starts kicking me to get untied from my back (her usual walking in town locale). She then proceeds to run to the women and give kisses, ask to be picked up, and answers all their Kiswahili questions with affirming grunts and then puts her little hand out to request food. And it always works. Her shameful begging for treats results in cookies, small chocolate brownies, and many women snuggling and lovin' on her shameless self. Girl knows how to work it for sure and she is spoiled every time.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Last night we through Anni's Barbie Island Princess party! And it was so fun! And it ended a very busy week (although still one more party at shule tomorrow). Jason commented earlier in the day as cake preparation, crafts planning, wardrobe decisions, and decorations were being finalized that he was not sure who was more excited: me or Annikah! Confession: I love throwing kid's parties. I love seeing Anni get so excited she asks everyday "how many more days til the party?" And on the day "how many more minutes?" I love the challenge of throwing a party with minimal expenses & resources but lots fabulous-ness! I remember as a kid not being able to sleep the day before a party or a field trip because you are THAT pumped. I want to give our children that feeling of being special, loved, and celebrated because they are. But I want them to always know it is not about "the stuff" it is about being together, being creative, celebrating, and thanking God. Ok, and eating. It was a special party!
me & "Island Rho" after she was shipwrecked on a tropical island waiting for the guests to arrive
the scavenger hunt included everyone crossing the "ocean" with the help of 2 dolphins
...painting shells to decorate the castle, gathering fruit, and mixing special "tonic" to save the animals (trust me it is all in the story:)
blowing out the candles on Mama's sad but yummy attempt at a Barbie cake
how fun is opening presents?
Sunday, September 4, 2011
The last day of Eid was yesterday and we partied. Hard. And we are tired. Exhausted but blessed. We spent time with friends, ate pilau and cakes for every meal, visited, and went to the parties in town. The celebration in town is a crush of people in brightly colored new clothes celebrating, buying new cheap Chinese import toys set out on mats along the road, eating goodies like octopus, fries, urojo soup (yum!), sweets, kids playing, and everyone vying for very few spots to sit. It is complete chaos AND it is the place to be.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
many watoto coming to show off new clothes and shamelessly beg for candy and money (a totally acceptable thing on siku kuu) and I am a sucker for these faces...
wrap up baked goods and dress in your Eid best....
first stop our Baba & Mama of the island...they had to see "their grandchildren"
A friend gave Evy this little get up and she loved sporting the bling. Anni's new dress did not quite make the dala dala trip back to our house by the time we left but she decided to spiff up her outfit with the shungi. We never ask the girls the wear head coverings but they love the attention they get (not to mention the coins and candy....Anni is rich!) Oh, the fancy of it all....but it lasted about 15 minutes :)
all dressed up and still chasing chickens...
off to see more friends (with a quick stop off at home for reloading our mkoba with more sweets & gifts & because Anni's dress made it!)
but no matter how fancy the dress the girls cannot bear to stay clean for too long....
friends are eveywhere and digging in the dirt is too hard to resist...
and the grown folk sit and talk and eat (again) for a long while....
time to head back..but we run into another friend who invites us to his home...it is siku kuu how can we refuse?
plus, they have ducks & chickens...that keeps 2 tired girls busy while we visit...getting dark and everyone is heading out to party in town so we say our goodbyes and thank yous and blessings...