Thursday, January 31, 2013

Blasts from our past


We've been blessed lately to get to see some of our babies that have gone home. I've made some home visits and some have just turned up out of the blue to visit. Such a great surprise!

Today Josephine came to visit. She looked so good, and let me hold her for a long time. She has just started nursery school.

Josie in 2009
Josie today
Last week I went to Emmanuel's village nearby. He left us here in 2008, but he looks just the same as he did then. He is precious and talkative and in grade 1.
The day Emmanuel left to go home

Emmanuel last week
On that same trip, I went to see Chilala. She stays in nearby Choma, so we can see her pretty often. Unfortunately, they woke her up from a nap to meet us, so she was really grumpy. But she's happy and healthy, and we were blessed to hug on her for a little bit.
Chilala in August 2012

Chilala at home last week
Kritz went home in 2011, but when he showed up unannounced at the Haven a couple of weeks ago, there was no doubt it was him. He has not changed a bit! I mean, he's a little taller and sporting a cool vest, but besides that, just the same. He acted so grown up and polite. 
Kritz in 2010
Kritz a couple of weeks ago
Carol just left a couple of weeks ago, but because she's older and this was a huge change for her, we wanted to make sure she was transitioning okay. We had such a happy reunion! She was so proud to show me her new home, her new friends, her new family. It seems like she is thrilled to be home, and we're glad she's close enough where we can check on her often. She asked about all her friends back at the Haven and held me tightly when we were saying bye. But then as I drove off, she just waved and ran back to play with her cousins. I'm grateful kids are so resilient. 
Carol and her brother in front of their family home
Carol and her cousins in their cooking hut
Twapegwa went home in October, and the home she and her grandmother share just burnt to the ground. So she came back to visit under some tragic circumstances. Thankfully, they are all fine, but they needed help getting new clothes and a blanket for Twapegwa. We were all happy to see her again.
Aunties Emmeldah and Gertrude with Twapegwa
It's always so refreshing to see those little lives that once walked out our doors thriving at home now. We have some pretty cute kids!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Milestone Monday

Happy Monday to you all. I hope your day is blessed, wherever you are. We've been blessed here, especially by all your prayers and sweet messages about Melody. Thank you for caring so much.

Petra may look like the sweetest sleeper, but she has started snoring like crazy! It's incredibly loud.
And she's fat. When did that happen?
Princess lost her braids, but not her attitude. And she has 4 teeth now.
Lisa eats everything not nailed down, and today she tackled a mango.
These three ask to have their picture taken CONSTANTLY. They pose themselves.
 Kurt even automatically says, "Cheese."
I cannot handle George's new obsession with tucking in his shirts. Have you ever seen anything cuter than that tucked in school uniform, those knobby little knees, and those school socks?
Have I already mentioned Owen's sitting now? If I have, he's still sitting :).
Busy picture, I know. This gang of girls keeps us on our toes. Marissa is officially walking with Tracy, Paula (in the red shirt) stands pretty well now, and there's Busi sitting among her friends again! Helen's just being a dud up there, resting from all her dancing, and Maya's crawling off to find someone to hold her.

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Melody

Our sweet baby Melody died today. It's emotionally taxing to even think about, let alone write about, and then there's the whole "what can even be said" side of it. She was perfect and precious and innocent. She was born of a mother with HIV, took ARVs prophylactically until her HIV test came back negative, and then she was taken off the drugs. The doctors think she had a reaction from going off the medicines, a withdrawal of sorts. What started out as one blistery sore turned into two, into three, into four. A low grade fever turned into 104.6. And before we knew it, she was gone.

It's left us all shaken. I've felt like I was literally trying to catch my breath most of the day. It's hard to breathe when I think about how this giggly little girl just learned to sit on her own not one week ago. And when I think about her twin sister, Memory, who will grow up not knowing her other half. And when I picture her favorite Auntie Beatrice lying in a hospital bed weeping over her when I arrived to pick her up in the wee hours of this morning. And when I contemplate how HIV doesn't just affect that one person, but generations to come.

Our Melody was big. happy. beautiful. growing. She wasn't supposed to die today.



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Helen dancing


Whenever you tell Helen to dance (zyana in Tonga), she does this. It is irresistibly cute. And if you're thinking, Wow, Helen sure gets a lot of press around here!, why yes, yes she does.

Also, please try your hardest to ignore my voice in the background. It's embarrassing.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Balloons

Nicole
Reuben
Leo
Kurt
Leah
Martin
Lizzy
Maureen
Timmy
Jessie
Dillon
Cathy
Lincoln
Memory
Joseph

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Garden

I'm sure this post will be of interest to about two people, but I'm just so excited about how well our garden is doing! Dillon, the man who tends the garden, does an incredible job! Here's just a sampling of what's happening in my back yard...

Cabbage Patch

Purple Hull Peas

The beginnings of the strawberry patch

Pumpkins, which have already been turned into loaves of pumpkin bread.

The second batch of lettuce is coming in.

Green Beans

Carrots

Okra

Watermelons!

Maize

Tomatoes

Lemon Tree (the lemons are green here!)

Sunflowers to remind me of home!

Papaya tree

Mango trees
It's so fun to see what new treat there is to eat every day. A big thank you to Linda King for supplying me with such a great variety of seeds to start my garden!