Tuesday, October 28, 2008

little snippets

We have had our first ABC Lady Lions basketball game!  This past weekend Rachel, our roommate, Michelle, and myself coached the college girls to their first win over Bunda college! It was very fun and exciting.  Rachel and I have loved coaching and playing some basketball together in this weeks.  It is deja vu all over again from the high school days.  The Thursday prior to the first official game the staff scrimmaged against the girls in order to give them and idea (and their coaches) of how they are doing and what to expect in a game.  It was so fun! Granted we only had 5 staff members, one of whom has never played an actual basketball game, so needless to say it was hilarious.  There were actually spectators in the stands.  awesome.  It was a fun time by all here in Malawi.
Some brief adventures as of late:
--held a braai (South African way of saying BBQ) for some friends a week ago.  There was a lot of porch sitting and a lot of eating...i loved it!  Unbenounced to the guys coming, but they were the main chefs...grilling...something I havent learned how to do yet.
--One saturday morning I awoke to Rachel coming into our room saying "The computer lab is underwater."  Yeah...an air conditioner was initially left running all night (not by me....), proceeded to freeze, and then thawed all over some of our computers.  A guaranteed $10,000 worth of damage if the computers did not recover.  The Lord was good...all the computers except one hard drive are currently working.  We are trying to fix the other piece.  "We" does not include me.  I love that pple here assume I actually know something about computers.
--yesterday in computer class a kid asked "Ms Harper...did you teacher computers back in America?"  Resisting my initial impulsive response of "HA! Are you kidding! NO!" and trying to instill confidence in this older kid that his year of computer will not be a total failure...I simply said "Um actually no I didnt."  To which he responded "well then how do you know so much about them?"  I could have kissed the boy.  Amazing how much comfort and encouragement comes from a 3rd grader.  Little did he know...but anyone who can move a mouse could do what i was doing at that moment.  It's all in perspective...
a few pictures from different occasions...some old..
one of my adopted nephews for the year...reminds me so much of my own nephew...
a night out on the town...
stuck on the side of the road for 2 1/2 hours with a flat tire...the second flat of the day...what do you do?  You entertain the local children coming to watch this three ring circus of 5 americans trying to get a tired fixed on the border of Mozambique and Malawi...you teach them hopskotch!!  Yeah...that s right...we made up games...entertained...VBS Malawi style...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

it's all relative...

No worries...i have not fallen off the face of the earth...although being on the other side of the world, might lead one to think that it is possible.  These past few weeks have been full, fun and busy...usually when that happens I have little reserve to capture all the fun moments no matter how badly I would like to.
Yet...here i go.  So...literally almost three weekends ago now, my sister Rachel and I ventured to the Lake for a weekend get-away with the Jones' clan.  Well just to start this fun adventure I thought I was getting my first bought of Malawi stomach just before we left.  However...i was NOT going to miss this trip.  I was really eager to get outside of the city after being here for 7 weeks.  So we load up...three kids in the back, Rachel and I in the middle seat with Ruthie, who being the youngest and naturally smallest reserved the most room for herself and her sippie cup..and John and Emily in the front.  Departure time was way later than hoped for and I am sure our 'greenness' at traveling the malawi roads in the dark was humorous to those veterans waving to us as we left.  
So...traveling in Malawi is one thing...traveling in Malawi at night is a whole different ballgame.  Oh my word...this is an excerpt of the conversation in the car at any given moment past 6 pm.  Rachel:  "I really dont understand why pple in Malawi think it is necessary to keep on their brights, especially when they are coming right at me.  I can see you, I promise!"  
Emily:  "John! Do you see that bicycle??! Watch out for the cow....Oh my word!"  
John:  "Duuddde"  
Caroline:  "You know this reminds me of the trip our family took to Winter Park."  
Emily: "Just what exact part about this experience reminds you of Colorado.  Because I feel far from it."  
Caroline:  "the near death driving experience on treacherous roads."
John: "SON!" (i have to note here, John was not addressing either of his biological sons, only the mere nearly-dead pedestrian)
Sam or Ford:  "Mom, can i have a snack?!!"  5 minutes later..."what do i do with the banana peel?"
Caroline:  "I ll throw it out the window."
Rachel:  "It's biodegradable."
Caroline: "Knowing me...I m gonna accidentally hit someone with it."

So we drive, Ruthie, bless her heart gets sick just as we arrive, which is remarkable timing if you ask me.  There was no room in the inn at Livingstonia so we ventured to our reserved place of Safari Beach Lodge.  I must say...i m not sure that the words Safari and Beach can logistically go into the same title.  Getting to the actual location was a Safari in and of itself:  another excerpt of conversation:
Emily:  John I m not sure the van is going to make it down this dirt road.
John:  Did anyone actually look at the website?  Did they mention a dirt road?
Ford:  Are there any baboons out here??! "BABOOON!"
Emily:  Is there another side to the top of that hill??! (gasp!)
Caroline:  There are people walking out here!
John:  No way.  where?
Caroline:  Right there in the woods.
Rachel:  I dont think we should speak so loudly..in all probability they understand English.
Ford:  Caroline! dont stick your hand out the window with food in it...there are baboons and they will come after you!  "Baaabbboooon!"
John:  "To your left you will see the great white Rhino..native to southeastern Africa"
Emily: oh here we are...wait...is this the place?
John: duuude...yeah it is.
Emily:  John, I think this is someone's house.  Are you just going to park in someone's driveway and walk in?
John:  Yep, I sure am!
so we have arrived and the lodge has no electricity at the moment...we are kindly led to our own lodges where we will be staying..with Joseph leading the pack.  When i say 'leading'...that is being very gracious..as he had one mere lantern lighting the path up the mountain..literally.  Poor John and Emily, they were carrying 1 if not 2 kids each.  Emily had Ruthie, still sick, wrapped in a towel, and John held Ford and Alice Ann.  No worries...Joseph had Sam by the hand.  Rachel and I...well we had bags...i guess.

anyway...the mere adventure in getting to the location would be enough to write home about...however...the guests that awaited our arrival are a whole different saga.  Gnats.  It was the plague. I was not prepared for such.  Little did we know, but they are a fine cuisine here in Africa.  We could have had a cookout, bbq, shin-dig of a banquet if only we had known.

the view the following morning was very much worth it.  We ate breakfast with the infamous baboons which Ford so eagerly awaited to see.  It was unbelievable.  These huge monkeys literally come and eat the food off your plate.  I think this one even ate my cereal...milk and all.  
I loved having a photo session later on as a family of the monkeys played around.

the remainder of the weekend was wonderful.  Time spent at Safari Beach Lodge and Livingstonia were great.  Great company, food, friends.  I cant remember the last time I stayed out on the beach from sun up to sun-down.  Great times...I definitely want to return, baboons, breakfasts gone MIA, gnats, and all.

More to come!