Saturday, January 30, 2010

Running from Elephants!

This past week the short term volunteers led our Orphan meeting. They acted out the story of Daniel in the lions den. Here is Daniel praying to God- aparently that big white lion was also praying. :) Tendai had lots of fun joining in the lion play.. shes gonna be a great actress, im sure of it.
As you know we have been planning a trip to South Africa, for much needed rest, vehicle service and also to pick up Ricks parents. Unfortunatly, Rick and Tendai could not join us on the trip down, Rick will be coming in on Sunday, driving the truck of some friends who needed it brought down to SA, but Tendai will remain in Chimoio for six days with good friends. Her paperwork was not completed on time, but we also praise God that it wasnt DENIED, it was only DELAYED!
The short termers and I made it down in one peice, despite the roads. Mozambiques roadways are such a strange mix of soooo nice and soooooo horrible. Sometimes its like driving on a nice Canadian highway (cept instead of pine trees we have huge coconut ones), and then others its like driving thru on a muddy/dusty back road that hasnt seen a grader in a decade, or worse! It makes even the most comfortable of trucks resemble a pinball machine with people and objects bouncing all over the place.
This is a section of the EN1 currently undergoing "repairs" (they tear everything apart, start rebuilding just in time for rainy season to come, make a huge mess of everything, and then start all over again). I just love how instead of pilons or workers to instruct you when to stop or go one whole side of the road has large chunks of trees as barriers (not like those could have been used for useful shade or anything). They paved ONE lane, and covered the other one in trees, but have no one there to help with traffic flow. And you have to fight off goats, people on bikes, small children running onto the highway to sell fruit, carts pulled by cows, oncoming traffic, traffic going the same way and trying to pass on a single lane with oncoming traffic... oh the list goes on and on. I will be so glad when construction is finished. Ha Ha.. i doubt that day will come! There are several sections of the highway that have no pavement and only dirt or mud, some sections pavement have more holes than surface (which is even less fun then the dirt sections) and then some have pavement with holes, that someone graciously filled.. with cement- so now the pothole has erroded around it and you are left with a little mountain of cement sticking up in the middle of the highway. OH well, its all worth it for the amount of stuff we get accomplished in our short trips down here, the rejuvanation we get from being at Mercy Air, and the enjoyment of eating at a restaurant that serves more than "chicken and chips"!
Murray (Lynn's cousin) braved the trip down with us on his motorcycle- I think he is crazy, but he survived!
hmmm. four pedestrians, two rollers (one on each side to make sure you have NOWHERE to go if you need to ditch it), a paver, a dump truck, a white bakkie, a semi truck... oh yes, and US. (oh wait.. theres a grader in the back there) Typical traffic on the "highway" where they are doing repairs.
After arriving in South Africa in once peice, we were blessed to spend a day in Kruger National Park, its amazing to see the animals in their natural habitat, and to Praise God for His amazing creativity.
We didnt see any of the big cats, but we did see plenty of baboons. They are a strange mix of creepy and cute.. and are really fascinating to watch. They have a very interesting social structure and their grooming habits are incredible!
Sunset near Lower Sabie Rest Camp.
Here is the guy responsible for the title of this post.... He came out of the bush, and literally chased (by chase i mean, walked directly for our vehicle - if we hadnt moved im sure he would have moved us) us down the road( in reverse) about 50 Metres before walking around behind the vehicle and crossing this bridge. Im really glad he walked around cus the thought of reversing over that tiny bridge was not comforting.
Another large male that didnt seem to care about us being there, man was he HUGE!
This little guy wasnt nearly as threatening, even though he tried to be! He mock charged us several times!
I love these pics of Tendai, she is starting to do the cheesy smile for the camera now...
mid smile.. not quite cheesy yet.
CHEESE!!! (she now has five teeth, three on the bottom and two on top!)
Looking very hip in her bandana.
Thank you all for praying for her paperwork, we are blessed to have friends who can watch her for this week while we pick up Ricks parents, and Lord willing our lawyer will have time to sort out the paperwork before our next trip down to south africa in two and a half weeks to drop them off. (yes two trips in a month... its a good thing south africa is so nice bc otherwise it would soooo not be worth it to drive down!)- our next trip will be a little family vacation for us as we will be spending several days in Kruger with ricks parents- who have never been on safari before, so that should be lots of FUN!!
Current prayer requests include continued health for all of us, travel safety over the next week as Rick comes down and then we all go back up. and for Ricks parents as they fly. Also for those in our area who have lost their crops, and now need to replant everything in order to try and grow enough food for this year.
Rick, Heather & Tendai

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Finally.. another blog post with pictures!

Tendai enjoyed sitting on Mae Marosa's lap while the two nurses did what they do best this past week! One of the children in our orphan program has had pain in his legs and lower back for several weeks. We had taken him to the hospital once already, where they said there was nothing wrong other than some muscle strain and gave him some anti-inflamitory med and sent him home. This past week we showed up to discover that he had a huge abscess on the side of his one leg, and three on his back. After a few days with no improvement- we took him back to town.. this time to the private clinic. They drained nearly half a litre of infected fluid and blood from the abcess, before he refused to let them do any more. (Its fairly painful!) My hat goes off to Keren, for sitting there with him , holding him,  and comforting him, even though she speaks very little of his language. 
The abscess on his leg- see those three marks? After much discussion and asking about ten times we FINALLY got a straight answer- he had been taken to the "witchdoctor", or "traditional healer", who had used a straight blade to make small cuts allowing the evil spirits to leave his body. We arent sure if the cuts allowed the infection in , in the first place or only made it worse.  It is completly normal here for people to go to the witchdoctors, even those who profess Christianity, as many dont understand the significance of what they are doing. We try to help people make educated choices about their health, but it is very hard to break a cycle of fear, shame, curses and whatnot that make people believe pretty much anything a witchdoctor says!
I cant seem to get this picture to rotate, but this is Lynn trying to assess how big the lumps on his back are. You can see how the one on the left of her hand sticks up higher than her hand is... Thankfully, the doctor at the private clinic ( one of two in town with "decent" health care facilities) thinks that with continued treatment, antibiotics and care he should be back to normal soon.  Praise the Lord! I cant wait to see Paulo back to his usual happy, active self!
Rick took Tendai over to the site where our house will be built to do some line marking with him the other day.. (he let me sleep in.. what a sweetie!)
She loved being daddys helper... and the free ride!
Apparently it was hard work though.. she conked out in that thing afterwards!
And finally.. a few reptile shots- Above, one of the crocodiles at a lodge about an hour away from us- they are trying to reintroduce crocodiles into their area (cant say i am terribly happy about that.. im not much of a croc fan, but i suppose there are environmental reasons for it)
And below, Tendai plays with "Daisy" Keren's pet chameleon (for all of one day.. he ran away). Tendai did suprisingly well with him, until he jumped into her lap.. then she freaked out.. screamed.. flailed, kicked... im suprised she didnt squish him! (dont worry.. both Tendai and Daisy survived the incident) (Many mozambiquans beleive if you get bitten by a chameleon you will  a) either be stuck with it on your finger forever since they dont let go (?) or b) die since they have strange powers. (?)  (neither of which is true of course) So whenever we see em we try to get them to a hiding place (ie.. one of our yards or gardens or into the bush) so they wont be killed by fearful mozambiquans. They are not dangerous at all and in fact eat tons of mosquitoes and flys.. making them handy to have around!
This week has been a long week for us- as I mentioned previously we are trying to get travel documents to allow us to travel to south africa with Tendai next week, in order to pick up ricks parents who are coming to visit. It turns out that we had been advised all wrong as to the process and the order in which things are done. So we have now hired a lawyer (who is hopefully not crooked and will get things done for us), who is going to start the process ALL over- Please pray that God works in the hearts of the Judicial officials and the Judge, it will take a miracle for us to receive the paperwork needed on time. 
Thankfully we are all feeling a bit better this week, just in time for the temperatures to skyrocket- its been REALLY hot the last few days! 
We are also asking you to join with us in praying for rain- it is extremely dry here, and if we dont get rain soon the maize will not grow. Many will go hungry, and lose their years supply of food. There is no irrigation here for the local people, and when the rain does not come there is nothing they can do but watch their hard work and effort go to waste. Please join with us in praying that rain will come soon, and abundantly so.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support, God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai

Monday, January 18, 2010


Today has been a long day. We are desperatly trying to arrange travel documents allowing us to go to South Africa with Tendai to meet Rick's parents. However at this time it will literally take God intervening in the process for it to happen. We know HE can... and we pray HE will.  
I promise to blog this week yet, I know im a bit late with that, but for now, if those who read this blog could pray for a) that travel documents can be arranged and b) rain for all of mozambique.. if rain does not come soon we will have a very bad hunger situation here!
Ill try to blog with some photos later this week.
Thanks in advance to all the prayer warriors who lift us up before our Heavenly Father when we are tired, frustrated and dont understand what is going on! Blessings, Rick, Heather and Tendai.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Welcome to 2010!

Welcome to 2010! Its been a great year so far, and we look forward to seeing what God has in store for us!
Our truck has been getting ALOT of use- this week it got to deliver Orphan Food- something it will be doing a lot of.  A new vehicle is allways something exciting.. and aparently the neighborhood kids cant help but touch it- as evidenced by the lovely handprint! (mango juice makes hands very sticky!)
Carey helped out by driving on Orphan Food day, here he is helping one of our Mercy Ministry Recipients carry the maize back to his home. I dont think it was actually THAT heavy, but i needed a good picture. LOL.
One of our Grannies has moved out of her house temporarily (she was told it was cursed) so we need to do a bit of talking and  a lot of praying! Belief in ancestral curses, luck, spirits and witchcraft are very prevalent here- even amongst those who profess Christianity. This little boy literally RAN down the highway in front of our truck to show us where she is staying now.  I couldnt believe how fast he was running!
Welcome to our new project- our house! This year our main project will be to build our home! (and probably most of next year as well!) The cottage we are currently in is intended for short term use, and only has one bedroom. With us having Tendai now, and hoping to be able to adopt more children in the future, we definetly need to build a bigger house! In the picture above, Rick and Tendai are walking where the workers have already cleared some of the land, where the garage/storage building will be.
Here is what the whole area looked like to begin with.
Here is what it looked like once the workers had begun clearing! Amazing things were discovered- like we have a whole section of flat rocks right on the edge of what will be our verandah.. a very nice natural extension!
We also discovered the septic tank that had been dug and built by a former mission staffer who had started to build on this site many years ago, and then decided not to continue.
....and the french drain he dug as well. (rick understands how this all works.. its all greek to me)
Tendai is beggining to walk every once and a while.. a few steps here or there, she also discovered how to throw herself this way and that and crash into hard things.. like rocks. Here she is sucking on some ice to nurse that swollen lip!
On New Years Day, Lynn, Keren and I (and Tendai) had a ladies "spa" day. We soaked our feet, applied nice smelling lotions and painted our nails.. it was lots of fun. Tendai even got to have her nails painted! Rick even made us healthy spa style frozen fruit only smoothies.. sooo nice.
More ice licking.. she sure loved that ice!
Below she is playing in our driveway's dirt- we dont have a sandbox, so this is as close as it gets.
After a hard day of playing... falling asleep in her play area with her stuffed puppy!
Sooooo. Yesterday morning Lovemore (while washing the dishes, after him being here for almost half an hour) turns to me and says... Senhora, what would you like me to do with that dead animal in magnums water bucket? I was like.. uhhh what???!!!!!!  So he shows me...
A rat had fallen in and drowned.. i had to wonder.. what did he think I wanted him to do with it???!!! keep it as a souvenir??? Anyhew.. he threw it in the bush, washed out the water bowl and gave magnum new water. Welcome to life in Africa! :)
This past week has been very busy for us- Dwight and Lynn headed down to south africa to get some important errands done, and Francois and Alta are still down there with family members- so its just us. Then we heard that the government has decided to open all the school two weeks earlier than normal- meaning we had to rush to organize all our registrations, school fees, housing for sponsored students.. and the list goes on and on!  
Please continue to pray for us- lately there has been a nasty flu going around the farm, as well as several cases of malaria, some quite severe. We are also still waiting for Tendais paperwork to be approved by the judge, allowing us to travel to South Africa with her at the end of this month. We need it to be approved soon so we still have time to get her passport before our trip. This trip down south will be very exciting for us- Rick's parents are coming to visit for three weeks and we will be picking them up from the airport in Nelspruit! We are sooo excited!
God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai