Archive for September, 2009

Almost home!

September 29, 2009

After 20+ hours of travelling, I am almost home!  We were delayed in Jo’Burg for about 2 hours, due to a severe thunderstorm, and therefore missed our connecting flight to Pittsburgh.  I am sitting at Dulles feeling guilty that I am not at work!  I think I deserve a day of rest though.  I am excited to get to work tomorrow and share some of my pictures with the kids.  I know they will like to see the kids from the village and how intently they colored simple pictures. 

I don’t remember what all I have blogged about and what I would love for you all to know.  Hopefully in the next few days, I will be able to sort out my thoughts more clearly.  I just wanted to let everyone know that we are back in the good old USA and am anxious to see you all!!!!! 

I am adding a picture of me and a local boy who was a hoot – such a personality this one! 

Me and the local class clown

Going home!

September 28, 2009

I am filled with many emotions today.  I am so excited to come home and be surrounded by familiarity but am truly sad to leave such a beautiful country.  We did not complete the house for Margaret this week but made a lot of progress.  I’ll blog more about that when I get home and have more time.  Right now I am in an Internet Cafe and am pressed for time.  We have a 2 1/2 hour bus ride back to Durban and then fly around 11 am Monday –  S. Africa time.  I should be back in Pittsburgh around 11:30 am Tuesday morning USA time.  We have a layover in Dulles….my car is in Pittsburgh.  I’ll be driving back to Va Wednesday morning to teach my afternoon classes.  We’ll see how well that goes!  Yesterday we took a game drive and saw 4 out of the Big 5!  We saw an elephant, 2 lionesses, buffalo, rhinos, giraffes, warthogs, tons of birds, lizards, zebras and so many more.  I can’t wait to share my pictures with you!  It’s amazing to see how creative God is and what am imagination he has.  The vegetation alone was lovely!  I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to experience Africa and it’s beauty.  I have to thank my awesome principal for allowing me to take some time off work.  Many people asked me if I was on holiday, like the schools here, and I said “No, my principal is awesome!!!”  Due to the holiday, we were unable to visit a school, but I was able to interact with the kids at the village.   One day I passed out 1 coloring page to each kid and a few crayons.   They colored for at least an hour to 1 1/2 hours.  Our kids would color for about 5 minutes before they are on to a video game or movie or maybe a good book.  It really puts things into perspective for you and is quite humbling.  One of the boys gave me his picture and it is going on my refrigerator as a reminder of the simple things we take for granted so many times.

I look forward to seeing all of you and sharing my stories with you.  I will blog when I get home and give a better recap of the week.  I have so many great things to share. 

Hamba Kashle!  XOXO

Day 3

September 23, 2009

Today was a good day!  The weather held off so we could work a full day.  We started by building a few more courses of block on 2 main walls.  To do that, you have to mix the Daga, which is dirt, concrete and water.  It is quite a hard task, but I enjoy mixing it!  I get to show off my muscles 🙂

As I was throwing the daga on the wall to fill holes, an old friend stopped by.  I met Sombongila 2 years ago and told her I would come back to see her, so I was thrilled when I had the chance to spend time with her!  Our task today was to carry blocks (cinder blocks) to the top of the hill.   This might be a new exercise for my clients – who I hope are working hard!  It took the entire afternoon but we had plenty of help from some local kids.  Most of the schools are on holiday so there have been quite a few kids playing around us.  I passed out a bunch of stickers and am always amazed at how excited they are over them.  It really does put things into perspective.  A few of the kids speak some English but I am doing my best to teach them on the site.  Please, thank you, May I take that heavy wheelbarrow?!  You would be amazed at how strong the Zulu are.  I have the pictures to prove it!  I will post pictures when I get home. 

I have so much more to share, but again, there is a line.  I hope to have a little more time tomorrow or Friday.  We leave Durban on Saturday to head to a game reserve and I’m not sure if the internet will work there, but please keep checking!

I hope things are well in the states!

September 22, 2009

After having quite a few problems with the internet service, I worked my way into the one of the managers, Jenny, office.  I met Jenny last time I was here and she has been so very gracious and helpful!

There is a line waiting for the computer, so I am going to be brief.  We have spent 2 days working on a house for Margaret.  She is an older Zulu woman and has a few children and about 5 grandchildren – one we met today and I believe the little girl was about 6 months old.  Very precious!  We were only able to work 1/2 day today due to the rain.  After lunch, we visited the village I worked in 2 years ago.  There I learned that one of the children we built the house for recently passed away.  That was hard to take.  However, it is nice to see how the village has grown. 

The weather should be much nicer tomorrow and we should be able to build the entire day.  We are hoping to get a few courses done tomorrow – a course would be 1 level of bricks! 

I have so much more to share, but there is a line for the computer.  My mom and I are having a great time…Jess don’t worry – there is plenty for mom to eat.  Actually, she is eating more than me!  🙂

I will try to write more tomorrow if I can!  Hamba Kashle

Leaving on a jet plane….

September 18, 2009

Unlike the song, all my bags are NOT packed!  Pretty close though.  We will be leaving my parents house soon to drive to the airport to meet the rest of the group.  We have a lot of school supplies that the rest of the group needs to pack.  My mom and I were able to pack most of it – I’m very excited to pass it along to a local school!  Many thanks to the staff members and students who donated so many supplies.  It’s amazing how much people will give when they don’t have a lot themselves.  I love my school 🙂

I hope to write after we get settled in Durban…20+ hours from the flight out of Pittsburgh.  I love flying, I love flying, I love flying.  How many times do you have to tell yourself something before you start believing it? 

Until tomorrow, Hamba Kahle!

It feels like Christmas!

September 16, 2009

Remember when you were a little kid and it was so hard to sleep on Christmas Eve.  My sister and I shared a room growing up and on Christmas Eve (after we went to church!!!) we would stare out the window and look for Rudolph’s bright nose.  I swear I saw it one year!  And yes, I still believe in Santa!  I remember Jess and I would stay up so late b/c we were so excited for Santa to come.  Then we would wake up before the rooster started crowing….oh how my dad hates Christmas morning!  Anyway, this trip feels a lot like Christmas Eve.  The closer we get, the less sleep I have due to the anticipation of seeing old friends and being in a country that is dear to my heart.  I can not wait to share my stories and adventures with you all! 

Hamba Kahle.

I’ve missed a few days!

September 13, 2009

Zulu Dancer

In 1 week, I will be watching cute little kids like this welcome us into their village.  I just might try to dance with them this year….I’ll be sure to take extra pants!  I’m very excited to visit with old friends and meet the family we will be serving.  I was reading another blog by someone who has gone to this village numerous times.  She was commenting on how over the past few years, she has made so many new friends and it’s hard to go back and learn that some have passed away.  I know of one person who passed away last year so that will be hard.  Death is never easy to take, is it? 

Anyway, I’ll be sure to post some pictures of the village and the people.  Hamba Kahle

8 days and counting….

September 10, 2009

Eventually I will come up with better titles for each entry.  As I watch the best football team in the NFL, yes that would be the Steelers, I noticed some of the school supplies that have been donated by the wonderful staff and students at my school.  Today a parent of a 1st grader brought some new markers, coloring book and some other supplies, which is just a sample of some of the items I have collected.  I am truly overwhelemed by the generosity and kindness of everyone who has given supplies.  I am so excited to give these supplies to a local school outside of Durban, South Africa.  It’s amazing how 1 box of crayons changes a life.  I can’t wait to share that experience with all of you!

I hope you all are watching the Steelers beat the Titans tonight!  Until next time,  Hamba Kahle

9 days and counting….

September 9, 2009

I count down to my birthday with the kids as well!  I want them to save money for my birthday gift so I give them a good 28 days! 

The closer we get, the more anxious we all become.  I am finding it hard to sleep at night b/c my brain is constantly thinking of something.  It doesn’t help that my mom keeps asking me the same questions over and over and over.  Gotta love her though 🙂

I think I finally have enough school supplies/medical donations and am worried that we won’t be able to take everything.  As the saying goes, God always provides….maybe he’ll provide me with an extra large suitcase! 

If you haven’t noticed, my blog will probably consist of me rambling on and on….I apologize now! 

As the Zulu say, Hamba kahle…which means Go Well.

10 days and counting…

September 8, 2009

In 10 days I will be on a plane to S. Africa to work in a village called Tshongwheni.  I worked in this village 2 years ago and very excited to go back to see old friends.  I am also thrilled to be sharing  this adventure with my mom!  Let’s hope we both come back alive 🙂  I will try to update this blog daily or close to it…as long as we have internet access.