Thursday, May 27, 2010


Those two words should not be in the same phrase! :) These boys sure look cute (I'm sure that's the word every teenage boy wants to be called!) and innocent...I'll give 'em the cute, but the way! So, tonight Tawnee and I came back from Bible study with the girls and the boys had placed this (dead) cobra on our step to scare us. Well, thankfully I'd already gone inside, so Tawnee was the one to be punked! :) However, I went out to check it out, and let's just say the boys had a little fun "lunging" it toward me-- which was then followed by loud laughter after my shrieks! Oh, gotta love 'em!
On another note, Bible study with the girls has been going really well. Tawnee takes about 1/2 of the girls and I have the other half. We've been talking about loving your neighbor the last few weeks, so please pray that God would really work in the girls' hearts and give them a desire to love those around them...what a beautiful place this would be if there was just a little more love to go around! :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Countdown...

Nope, I'm not sick! That's good news, but even better is the fact that 3 weeks from today I'll be leaving on a jetplane heading back to WI for the summer, and I can't wait! My (day)dreams are filled with grilling out, playing cards, bike riding, and playing tennis with my family, getting together with friends, rollerblading, swimming (if I'm not too cold!) playing ultimate frisbee, RELAXING, enjoying non-95 degree days (Although today Tawnee and I put my thermometer in the sun just out of curiosity...114 degrees!!!), electricity, and a refrigerator...and all that goes along with that one! :)
You may be wondering, "Why the picture of the malaria pills?" Well, I came with 2 of these big bottles full and another small bag, and they sort of became a visual countdown. I knew they'd be gone by the time I went home. Whenever I had visitors come, I counted out the number until they'd be there, and that was my smaller countdown. There were days (mostly in the beginning)where the container seemed like a bottomless pit, but now looking back I feel like the time went pretty fast. I thank God for getting me through the hard times and giving me encouragement through my visitors at just the right time. I've fallen in love with the kids and learned so much from them about what it means to truly serve.
When I think about my time here, these verses from Colossians 3:12-14 really seem to sum up what I've been learning to do here, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, KINDNESS, humility, GENTLENESS, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues PUT ON LOVE, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Big Birthday Bash!

Yesterday Tawnee and I planned a birthday party to celebrate all the birthdays of the kids who live at Haven of Hope. I guess the pictures will do better than words to show that a fun time was had by everyone! Above Douglas and Bismark are doing a fine job decorating the cupcakes on Saturday morning!
Comfort all dolled up with her face-paint...don't you just want to squeeze her?!?

I had three friends who work at American International School in Accra come and help out with the party. It was fun to see them again and great to have them help out. Lauren is an art teacher, so she did a print-making art activity with the kids, which seemed to be a hit! Above is Attah...and in case you didn't see the first one, here she is again. :) (Can't figure out how to erase it!)

This is one of my students, Enoch. He is a very energetic, goofy, and loveable boy with a cute sense of humor. (I'm sure by this picture you could never imagine him being distracted in class!) ;)

Attah & MaaAbena gearing up to blow out their candles...oh wait, the wind did it for them...multiple times! :) It was the thought that counts.

And now for the highlight of the's not truly a fiesta without without 4 pinatas!

Look at how well-mannered and structured our kids are (don't look at the left-hand side!)! :)
We ended the day with some limbo, a sardines eating competition (which the boys just savored as extra dinner food...only in Africa), and an outdoor movie in the activity center. It was such a fun day, and so great to see the kids all smiles all day!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mud's for Dinner!

I love it...I went to the village to read the other night and these girls who come to school at Haven of Hope (who are quite often doing "big girl chores"-- like the laundry, dishes, or cooking real food) were playing "house" Ghanaian-style. They weren't making "mud pies" but cooking "mud akple"-- a staple food here (well, minus the mud!). They were imitating exactly the way it is done...grinding up the mud, holding it between their feet the same way, and stirring cute!
Enyonam, Lydia, and Patience cookin' up a storm!

Francisca, a 7-year-old student doing the real deal!

My friend, Rose, and her son, Abedenago

Conquering the "Mountain"

The Haven of Hope and Rafiki crew together
Stephen paving the way...

Me, Joshua, Tawnee, and Fauzia striking a pose at the top...

Yesterday we took 8 of the older kids from the home and went out to conquer the nearby "mountain", which is actually more like a big hill. We met up with a group from Rafiki, a nearby orphanage, and set off with water and snacks to accomplish our mission-- amidst the 90+ degree weather. The green lush-ness of the hike and the great company made it all worthwhile! A great time was had by all!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Cat Sat on the Mat with a Bat

This week Tawnee and I launched our homeschool/tutor/small group teaching (whatever you want to call it) program! It's been sooo great! We are working with four students who are way behind in their education, due to various circumstances that didn't allow them to get an education when they were younger. We spent last week assessing them, and began teaching them this week. We are focusing intensely on phonics and math, since none of them have a good grasp even of the letters of the alphabet. We definitely have our work cut out for us, but it's so fun b/c for the most part they are eager to learn and are soaking up the information. We get so excited when they blend the letters together and pronounce the word correctly! Who knew the word "at" could be so exciting!? It's been fun and I look forward to seeing lots of progress as we continue! :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pictures from the Day

Happy Mother's Day...especially to my mom whom I especially miss today! I celebrated with my "kiddos" here today, so here's a few pictures:
The boys had a football match, so Tawnee and I took some kids to watch our victorious team! :)
Going to save this before my computer crashes in like 2 to all! :)

Quote of the Day

As I was going out the gate for my occasional morning run this morning, I was greeted by one of our guards and he decided to greet me this way: "You are growing very fat."

So, quite shocked with his bluntness I responded with, "Oh, well...(uh) that's not good." To which he said, "Yes...your face is HUGE!" haha...only in Africa (okay...and maybe Asia too) could you get away with that!

I'll just try to remind myself that it's looked upon favorably to be pleasantly plump here in's a sign of wealth. For me I think it's a sign of all the Reeses peanut butter cups that Ellen brought me!!! :)

Saturday, May 1, 2010