Friday, January 28, 2011

Gilloogly's Farm

Kokesto, Selbe, Vuyo, Simphiwe, Thandazo
Simphiwe :)
Vuyo and his hat
This is Smiley :)

That was a good and sunny day at the park! I got sunburnt! Earlier this morning at the hospice......

Selbe and Koketso playing Connect Four (with a snail)
Stephanie and Bheki
Koketso and me ( he has Litchis in his hand)
Valerie with Cina and Junior


January 27, 2011

Today was sunny! I went to the hospice in the morning and didn't do much school with the kids, just played some games. I was feeding baby Khaya and he decided to spit up like half of his bottle all over everything lol. So I had to walk back to 82 and change. Miriam was there with the little ones from 36, Vuyo and Simphiwe. After I change and was walk out Miriam came running out with Vuyo yelling that he was choking and I ran over and started hitting his back and that worked but out came the candy he was eating. Poor little guy, so that was kinda scary. Amazing how the timing worked though. If Khaya hadn't spit up all over me I wouldn't of had to change..hmm :)

This afternoon I went with Martha and we went to Fruit and Veg to buy for the houses. Martha is going on hoilday for 2 weeks to Cape town with Valerie and Stephanie, so while she's gone I'll be the one going to buy the next 2 weeks. We went to Eastgate mall and I got a mobile phone for R80 (a little over $10) it's pay as you go. Thought it'd be a good idea since I'm have for awhile and will be driving, etc. It was the cheapest one and totally old school. The kids said it looks like a calculator haha.

Tomorrow is Friday so that means taking the kids out. Hopefully it is sunny again so we can go to the park! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In Light Of Eternity

The weather lately may as well play on the way this week has been going. Just note that what I am going to write about is not in a complaining way at all. As Christians we need each other for encouragement and prayer. With that in mind, I tell you things that aren't going so well in hope for prayer and encouragement :)

I came here best I could prepared for the fact that these kids are sick and some may die while I'm here. Of course one can only prepare for difficulties in so any ways and still not be sure how to deal with it in reality.

Boutimelio went to the hospital on Monday. He had been there for 3 months last time so I don't know how long it will be this time. He has meningitis again and is in a lot of pain in his head. He also has skin cancer which I mentioned in a past post which they can't treat due to the fact of his AIDS.

Every Tuesday at lunch time we have a management meeting and each person takes a turn providing the meal. We have items for discussion and items for prayer and after that each person prays for one of the items. It was quite a discouraging list this week of death and suffering among the staff. All of us gathering to pray from different countries Ireland, London, Switzerland, South Africa, and the US...praying and agreeing together, trusting in God... has a comfort in it's own way. I prayed for Boutimelio. God is Sovereign. He holds Boutimelio in His hands. He has a plan for His life on this Earth or in Heaven.

So I was already trying to hold myself together from that morning when Kokesto just started crying in school. I don't know why and if I had done something to make him sad. Lyn said that he did that last week too, so I felt a little better that I wasn't the cause. I saw pictures of Kokesto yesterday when he first came to Lambano and it's astonishing that the 9 year old boy I teach every morning was a picture of skin and bones, literally, not long ago. The hospice had him on an IV.

So with the the emotion of Kokesto and Boutimelio on my mind it was time for the school run. I was driving and Valerie was with me. We hadn't even got onto the main road when a small dog came out of no where and ran under the wheel...

Safe to say that was not the best day since I've been here. I know that those kind of days happen and that I can make it through them to the next day by cling on to what I know. This isn't all there is...

I've been challenged more to live and make decisions in light of eternity. What does living life to the fullest for the glory of God look like? How can I be on mission with the gospel in my every day routine? Some of these kids might not make it to college, get married or have a family of there own...could what I do with them today not matter tomorrow...? NO, it will matter if I am spending time with them and teaching them having the mindset of looking to eternity.
What would matter to them in the long run....
the Gospel!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Morning At The Park

January 21, 2011
Valerie and I tok some of the hospice kids to the park on Friday. Boutmelio wasn't feeling well again so it was just Cina, Koketso, and Selbe. Miriam and Stephanie (from Switzerland) also joined us with some of the younger 36 house kids, Vuyo and Simphiwe :)

Valerie and I with Cina

Miriam and Vuyo

Stephanie and Simphiwe
fun on the merry-go-round
running back to the combi right when the rain began to fall

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sunny Day

Thursday, January 20, 2011
Today was finally a pretty sunny day like yesterday, which is good since the rest of the weekend is to be rainy...
I spent the morning at the hospice. Read some stories to Boutmelio because he wasn't feeling well today :( After school with Cina I did some work with Koketso and Selbe and while I was finishing up with that Martha came and asked me to go grocery shopping with her...wanted me to drive. I had some trouble...stalled a couple times...I think since it wasn't the usual route I'm used like doing the school run...oops...oh well. We went to Fruit and Veg to get a bunch of produce for the 3 shopping carts.
Getting back and having a late lunch I was to stay at 82 instead of doing the school run with Valerie because Mama Barbara took Noma to the doctor, so I did homework with the kids when they got home from school at 2:30. The kids at 82 (where I live) have been wanting me to teach them to knit all week and I said I would on Thursday, so we were going to after homework but since it was hot we went swimming fun :)
But after supper I did start to teach Tshepsio, Mandla, and Siya to knit. The 2 boys had quite a hard time, but Tshepsio picked it up pretty quick! Will have to see how the other kids do with it lol.
During prayers with the kids at bedtime Siya thanked God that Miriam and I have come to South Africa. It made me feel good to have an impact in theirs lives...even though I am only here for a short time...I don't know where God will lead me after in regards to Lambano. I feel that there are so many volunteers that come in and out of these kids lives, the only thing remaining constant is the house mamas. Anyways I won't be leaving for awhile so don't need to think so much about that now, but have been praying about it. I have already been here a week! Feels like a few days....
Since tomorrow is Friday I'm hoping to take some of the hospice kids to the park instead of doing schoolwork, hopefully it won't be raining.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I started driving on Monday because starting February I will be doing the school run from 1:30 to 3 picking up Tebogo, Nkosi, Unathi, and Nelly every school day. I've been going with Valerie since last week to know how to get there. So driving in South Africa is of course on the left side of the road... Valerie had to keep reminding me that I was driving too close to the curb because I keep drifting lol. Also the parked cars, don't want to take off any side mirrors!
Here they call the stoplights robots. Red and green still mean stop and go...Yellow means gun it though the intersection. Whoever is at the stop sign first goes yeah other than those things it the same as home besides everything being on the left! I just learned how to drive a stick shift before coming here so I was nervous about stalling, but I've been doing just pass me if I'm having trouble :P
At most stoplights there are people trying to sell various things like flowers, newspapers, fruit etc. I don't know how they keep from getting hit at such busy intersections.

I've been here almost a week now and starting to get the feel of things and the names down. Where I live at house 82, Barbara one of the house mamas (she is also from the states) has a treadmill in the classroom separate from the main house but right next to my room. It's been nice because I've taken up running a few miles on it before showering and going to bed. Martha (staff at Lambano) runs every morning at 5AM so I might go with her a few times. There are pools at house 82 and 78, I haven't gone swimming yet since it's been raining since Sunday...but the sun has started to shine again today. Lambano kids have swimming lessons starting in February where we take them to those. I will be teaching Tebogo, Nkosi, and Unathi at house 78 on Saturdays.

Oh, after I was done saying prayers with KB and Mandla the other night and was about to leave the room KB said to me... "I wish you were Shakira so you could dance." I asked what made him think I couldn't lol :)

Hospice Kids

From 8:00 to 12:00 every week day I am at the hospice. Usually teaching school unless something else comes up.
These are the kids who are in the hospice at this  time...Cina is 14 and has to be on oxygen. She knows some of her letters and numbers so I am continuing to teach her the alphabet and doing simple math. Selbe and Koketso are around 10 I think I haven't spent as much time teaching them this week but from what we've done so far they know some math and the alphabet. I haven't done school with Boutmeilo...he was at the hospital the day I started and wasn't feeling well the next day. He has skin cancer along with AIDS, I'm not aware of the whole situation but he may not be here much longer. Juniar is 5 and has brain damage on one side so I don't do school with him he doesn't walk since he can't stand on one of his legs. Thobile one year old and just starting to walk. Lambano has boy twins, Bheki and Khaya, at the hospice at the moment they aren't infected, but their mom was. She was sick with TB and was unable to care for them. She died a few days ago though. The twins are 3 months old and it's looking like the family might be taking them soon.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Weekend

The Weekend. January 14, 2011.
Friday: Woke up after sleeping 15 hours and just spent the morning reading and praying. Walked over to the office and talked with Martha about my schedule which starts Monday. I also start driving this week, taking some of the hospice kids to school about a 30 minute drive away. I'll observe until Wenesday then I'll drive with someone then Thursday I'm on my own! I'm a little nervous but I think I'll be okay, if you can keep me in your prayers. Just uncertain with the whole stick shift thing and driving on the left side of the road.
So this is roughly my schedule during the week, may change due to whatever is happening at the time.... in the mornings from 8-12 I will be teaching the hospice kids numbers, letters, and colors etc. Have lunch from 12-1 and then school run from 1:30 to 3. Three to four I will work with the house 36 children homework, playing with them etc. then from 4-4:30 sort out the store room and prepare lesson for the next day, then I'm free to do whatever for the rest of the day. That is Monday- Wednesday and Friday. Thursday is close to the same except I take the hospice kids to school instead of picking them up. Saturday I have swimming lessons with some of the hospice kids in the afternoons. Sundays there is church in the morning and evening.
After talking with Martha, Valerie (a short term volunteer from Ireland) took my to the police station so get a copy of my passport varified and when we got back we did somethings with Daniel a 14 year-old boy who isn't place in a school yet, because they are still waiting the hear back. By then it was time for lunch and went back to 82 to eat and I decided to go with Valerie on the school run.
We got back and I hung out in the office with Miriam and Martha til it closed at 4:30 and went back to 82 and rested until 8:00 when I went out for dinner with Martha, Miriam, Valerie, and Sibylle ( a long term volunteer from Switzerland). We went to Primi Piatti an Itailin restaurant. I got some sourdough crust pizza, it was delicious tehe. Then the ladies wanted to know more about me so went on about that. We got back to the house about 10:30 and I showered and me and Miriam watched a movie on my laptop and then went to sleep after midnight.

Saturday, January 15: Woke up at 6 and didn't get up til after 10. Miriam and I walked down to the shopping mall. I went to the post office to get some International stamps to post some letters home. We got coffee at Seattle Coffee Co. which apparently used to be a very popular franchise in the country but not so much anymore.
After supper I hung out with the kids, I'm still getting to know them and pretty much have their names down with their faces :) I didn't have a tired drag today like the couple of days before so I think I'm over being jetlag....I have Reliv and sleep to thank for that.
When it was bed time Miriam and I bathed Noma and Tshepiso then we gathered with the rest of the boys for a bible story around the table. Then we went around the table to pray and each one of them prayed aloud, even the youngest one who is 4. It was a bonding moment for me to hear their childlike prayers... after hugs and kisses they were off to bed. Tomorrow is church. Can't wait :)

Sunday, January 16: Church was at 9:30AM. It's called Wychwood Baptist Church. I really liked the service. Pastor Lance preached on Mark 5:21-43 about the woman who touched Jesus and was healed and about the dead girl He raised from the dead. It was a very good message and it really will be helpful for me. Just in the conclusion that God doesn't intend for us to live in this body which is a continuing reminder of sin. Why does He not heal? Because He has a plan! Jesus is stronger than death and it is not the end. It was good to hear this thinking about the children and how they all have HIV since birth...why won't they be healed? Yes, there are some miracle stories, but since Miriam has been here a 16 year old girl has died and a young baby. That wasn't the end for them though, they are no longer suffering.
The worship was amazing to! It was so awesome to be praising God with fellow believers on the other side of the world!
Sunday afternoon Miriam and I mostly walked around the neighborhood and that evening we went to an evening service with Martha and Valerie. We went to Cornerstone which is a very charismatic! The message was very encouraging though! It was on James 1 about trials. A few things here that convicted me was how when going trials and testing it's all about the attitude I have. I'm praying that when the times come that I want to grumble and complain I will have JOY. Another thing is that I can't wallow in self-pity...which was revealed in my heart that I struggle with that and have this past summer. So! NO more woe is me.
Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. James 1:2-3
I realize that the trials I went through this past summer wasn't meant for me to be feeling sorry for myself, but for me to be turning to my Savior and clinging to Him...having my patience strengthened and growing closer to God. People will fail me but He will not. I didn't learn that lesson very well I have to confess, but I thank God that I have learned it.
Tomorrow I start schooling with the hospice children and also start riding with Valerie to learn the route to take 4 of the kids to school, which on Thursday I will begin driving there myself! Eek :P It's been raining almost all day...

First Day

First Day. January 13, 2011

I arrived in South Africa at 7AM. The 10 hour flight was long, but I slept most of the way. I was awake to see my first sunrise in Africa though! It amazing and it's still sinking in that I'm in has been my desire for the last 2 years and God has been faithful. After going through customs and collecting my baggage (praise God that it wasn't damaged or lost). I went to wait for the driver of Lambano to pick me up. He got there a little after 9AM and his name is Philemon, or Uncle Philly to the children. We talked a bit on the drive to the orphanage. He thought is was amazing that it was 11PM back where I came from and that everyone was going to bed...I thought the same lol. I wasn't tired at all though from excitement of getting to Lambano.
Upon arriving at Lambano I met Martha, the lady I'd been in contact with since April. I also met my roomate, Miriam, a 17 year old girl from France. Martha introduced me to Peggy and Lyn who are part of the staff at Lambano. Then she took me to see the homes.
Lambano has 5 different homes all within 5 minutes walking distance. 4 of the homes are for the permanent children and one house serves as the hospice. They have 29 kids in the homes and 12 in the hospice now. The older children were at school which had just started the other day back from holiday. So I mostly met the “mamas” of the homes. The babies and younger kids were not in school of course and so when we went to the hospice to of the younger ones, a boy and a girl, ran over to me and hugged my legs I picked up the girl then knelt down to hold the boy too (I don't have the names down yet). They were very intrigued by my watch and kept pushing the button to make the glow light come on.
There are 2 homes right next to the hospice. We call them 34 and 36, the address number. I'm staying in 82. So we drove to see 78 first then went to 82 to put my bags in the room. I met Mama Emma and Mama Barbara who our the house mothers of 82. After putting my stuff in my room Martha and I walked back to the office which is located at's a short walk just a block or 2.
Back at the office I sent a quick e-mail to family and friends letting them know I made it okay. Then Martha went of some guidelines etc. about Lambano and went over a bit what I'd be doing. Mostly teaching the kids in the hospice and doing swimming lessons with them which I was excited about! I get the weekend to rest then start work on Monday.
 After that, Miriam came in and we went back to 82 and I started unpacking. We made a list of groceries because we were going to go shopping with Jenna (a long term volunteer from Ireland at home 36) later that afternoon. For lunch I took a Reliv shake and me and Miriam shared mango which was delicious. By the time I was done unpacking Jenna came and we drove to the mall. It was quite a big shopping mall, way bigger than the one back home near my house lol. Miriam got some new sandals and I just browsed and people watched. We met back up with Jenna then went to Pick and Pay where I will be doing most of my grocery shopping. We got enough food for 2 weeks which altogether was R260 and we split it to R130 which is pretty good!
Joburg isn't really different from home. There are shopping malls, grocery stores, coffee shops, movie theaters, etc. I guess South Africa isn't the “Africa” people picture, it's more Westernized. Still have to be wary of surroundings though. Like knowing where to go and when. Not going alone anywhere after dark etc. Walking to and from the homes and down to one of the shopping mall during the day is usually fine. All of the houses are surrounded by walls and fences with spikes or razor wire and most have alarms systems like Lambano. Window are kept open during the night as long as they have bars across them.
When we got back to 82 and the children were just getting home from school. They were all climbing out of the Combi (little bus) with ice cream cones and ran over and I was bombarded with a million questions at once. “Auntie Rachel how old are you?” “Auntie Rachel do you know how to knit can you teach us?” etc. Also they asked me to say water to see if I had the same accent as Mama Barbra (who is also from the US) I thought that was funny and said “wader” they all laughed. Miriam said in Africa they pronounce in WaTer, the way is it spelled :) They call the volunteers Auntie as a sign of respect.
There are 5 boys and 2 girls at 82. The boys are Siya, Junior, Mandla, and Tebogo (Tebogo doesn't have HIV but Mama Barbara is adopting him so he still lives here). The 2 girls are Tshepsio and Noma. Miriam said they had been asking for days when I would get here. Since school was out Miriam was going to take me to the other homes to meet the children. Noma said the Auntie Rachel was going to walk slowly behind Auntie Miriam because she was so tired lol. It was almost 4 by then and I was starting to feel tired.
We got back to the office and Miriam started helping some of the older kids of 34 cover their school books with lamenting paper. Lyn came in and I was sitting on the floor just watching and apparently looked like I was going to sleep. So Martha drove me back to 82. They were going to take me out for supper, but said they would do that tomorrow.
I walked back to my room and all the kids were asking me what I was doing and where Auntie Miriam was. I said I was going to sleep because back at my house it was dark right now lol. I took a shower and went to bed at 5AM and slept for 15 hours. When I woke up Miriam said that the kids kept asking “Is she getting up now?” “How about now?” last night and this morning before they went to school. She said they also prayed for me to sleep with her last night that I would sleep well :) I feel completely rested now and going to walk over to the office to get on the internet and post this. I don't have internet for my laptop yet so I'm just drafting this onto a memory stick :)
The weather here is warm and is so green, quite a change from 3 feet of snow back home and zero degree weather haha. It has been cloudy in the morning then sunny in the afternoons the last few weeks Miriam told me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

London Layover

I embarked to South Africa yesterday morning. Flew from Seattle to London with a connecting flight in Chicago. Right before take off from SEA-TAC we learned that there might be a 2 hour delay due to the weather in Chicago. It was just over an hour though and we got to Chicago and hour behind schedule. My next flight wasn't until 5:00 so I wasn't too concerned. They were canceling some flights though. Through it all I just keep remembering what Pastor Josh said in his New Years sermon. "We don't know what 2011 holds, but we know who holds 2011. God is in control!"
God is in control was/is the constant phrase on my mind and I believe it! I'm in London now and have 6 hours until I fly to Johannesburg. I was feeling fine, but got sick to my stomach twice...please pray for me! I don't want to arrive at Lambano sick. I'm starting to feel a little better now.
The flying part has been going well. I usually get nervous, but I think I was too tired to this time slept most of the way comfortably (well as comfortable as you can get on a plane) haha!
I arrive at the OR Tambo International Airport at 7:15AM Johannesburg time ;) and the Lambano driver will pick me up after dropping the children off at school! Also pray that I get my luggage is alright, that is isn't damaged or lost...God is in control!

I have set the LORD always before me;
         Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.
Psalm 16:8

Thank you for you prayers and support! I'm so blessed by you!
In Christ,

Monday, January 3, 2011

Lambano Sanctuary

An informational video I found on youtube that talks a bit about Lambano, where I will be next week :)