Sunday, September 29, 2013


Being sick in Africa is probably one of the worst things that could happen to a person. I have been here for a couple of years now, while working for Small Steps for Compassion and previously for another orphanage, and have gotten very sick, but luckily, not too frequently. 
When I get sick it’s probably pretty much pointless for me to go to the hospital because it feels like the doctors do not know what they are doing. I had what turned out to be the flu once and went to the hospital. While there they told me that my blood was dirty. I am not sure how that’s possible, but I was even given medicine for my dirty blood. I have been sick with malaria as well, four times now. I hate malaria. Malaria is very common here. It is a disease that attacks your liver and you contract it through mosquitoes. With some forms of malaria they can stay in your liver and reoccur at any time.  You end up with a very high fever and feel just miserable.   I can’t do anything when I have it. Brhhhhh. 

Even with my girls I struggle when I take them to the doctor.  I am never satisfied.  I am always wondering if they have really been diagnosed properly. Luckily I have friends and family in America that are physicians so I usually contact somebody from home who can give me more valuable information. Sometimes Africa is frustrating, but I still love it here!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Market Day

I decided to take the girls with me to the market. Market here in Usa River (pronounced Oosu) is crazy. There are hundreds of people and the ground is just dirt, which often turns to mud with even the littlest amount of rain. The girls enjoy the mud though. I often let the girls take turns helping me shop and choose different items. We came to one of the stands to get cucumbers, and Maureen was the one choosing and talking. She felt like she was so grown up. 

When we were done at the stand I turned around to get Happy and Princess. I was nervous for a second to see Happy, but not Princess. Then I looked to a shop on the side and there was Princess eating some food, but with a person I didn’t know. I was horrified and went and took her immediately! I found it strange and weird the look I got from the lady that was in the shop. Later on I talked about my experience in the market with some of my local friends and colleagues, and I was told that for kids to go over to a person that they do not know is totally normal in Tanzanian culture. In fact if the child doesn’t go when called by a stranger it is considered very disrespectful.
So there it is. I am not sure when I will take the girls to the crazy outdoor market day again, but I know for sure that girls enjoyed walking in the dirt, talking to strangers (while making me nervous) and getting some food for the house. What a different culture I am living in, here in Usa River, Tanzania.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Teaching Girls...

I have realized a long time ago that in order for a 3 year old to remember something I would have to repeat it a million times. Yet it is different with my girls. Princess can remember everything from the first time I teach her. She also is a very big helper when it comes to the other girls, she sets a great example! Maureen only needs a couple of times and Happy can probably remember it on the second time taught. We are learning a lot at the moment. For example animals and what kind of sounds they make. Every time we are in the car you can hear the girls shout “ mbuzi”, meaning goat or “ng’ombe” meaning cow, ”paka” meaning cat, or ”mbwa” meaning dog. After which I ask what sound they make and to my surprise the girls can ALWAYS make the sound. We have so much fun making the sounds, the girls mostly laugh at me when I do them. It is amazing to see them learn soooo fast.
At the moment the girls are all getting dressed on their own, brush their teeth on their own and can do some chores. They love to do chores. Sometimes I think they are better at it than I am. Each day I am very thankful to be the one raising them. I am a mom of 4, that’s how I look at it. I teach them but most importantly they teach me. 

I learn a lot from them. Some may think; how is it possible to learn from a 3 year old. Well, the girls can forgive and forget. Their shinning faces are full of love no matter what is going on or their circumstances. I wouldn’t change any of this for the world. I would always want to be the one that they go to, they cry to, they complain to and they shout at. I am in love with my job, with this country, with everything that surrounds me. Thank you to each and every one who prays for us, who supports us, and who always is there to listen!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Due to no internet, this post never went through.  sorry it is out of order! But we hope you enjoy!

Leaving our hotel at 8:30 this morning we were all very anxious and excited to begin our safari at the Ngorongoro Crater! Annie and I were very tired after the night we had last night and form the lack of sleep we got, but the excitement of the day quickly took over any feeling we had of wanting to go back to sleep. Getting the girls ready and fed took a little extra time but all went smoothly for which Annie and I were very grateful since they didn’t get as much sleep as they normally do!
 As we pulled up to the entrance gate of the park, baboons immediately approached our car and the girls were very excited all exclaiming “Moonnkeeeyyyyy!! Moooonnkkeyyyy!” Once we got to the entrance gate of the Crater we were able to open up the top of our car  so we could take in all the beauty surrounding us even more!  It was also nice to get some sunshine in our car. 
What started off as a very frigid and foggy morning turned into a warm and sunny day as we drove down the dirt road into the Crater. The scenery that surrounded us all day was truly breathtaking. After seeing something like this crater, I don’t understand how anyone could ever question whether or not there is a God. As we drove and looked out at the mountains, lakes, and unique animals we were truly in awe and tried to take in every bit of it, fully living in the moment. As for the little girls, Annie and I aren’t quite sure whether or not they were more excited to see other cars or the zebras, lions, hippos, and other animals. Everytime they would see another car they would tap our shoulders, point at it, then yell “Gari! Gari! Gari! (Car)” repeatedly. It made Annie and I laugh as we were surrounded by hundreds of buffalo and zebras but they were more interested in seeing cars and saying hi to all the people that were in them. During the day we stopped to look at some animals and realized our new friend Susan was in the car right next to ours! We talked for a little while then said our goodbyes and told her that we would see her back at the lodge at dinner.
 One of my favorite sights of the day was when we saw a huge hippo basking near a lake with two female lions sleeping by a tree right near by! Throughout the day we saw elephants, lions, hippos, zebras, hyenas, flamingos, these super cool birds that I can’t remember their name, ostriches (I highly dislike them…they kind of scare me), gazelle, buffalo, and more! We never got bored as we were constantly seeing new animals. For lunch we went to a lake that had several hippos in it. It was the perfect view to look at while we ate. Wherever we take Happy, Maurine, and Mataya people are always drawn to them and want to pick them up. People would come up and just take pictures of them without teven asking!. Annie and I were very protective and would make sure everyone knew they are ours. 
After lunch we continued our safari in search of more animals, however, it seemed they all disappeared. We were lucky enough to see another elephant and a male lion, and female lion laying down together pretty close to our car! At around 4PM we started driving back to the lodge. Once we arrived back at the lodge, Annie and I took the girls to run around so they could get energy out before dinner and hopefully go to sleep "on time" unlike the night before. After running, playing tag, and dancing we headed to dinner where our friend Susan joined us again. She was a huge help with the girls and they all absolutely love her. It was very enjoyable getting to know her even better and exchanging  stories from our day. The girls were very well behaved at dinner and once they were finished eating they went around the table and hugged everyone in the restaurant and said hello-(We made sure everyone was okay with it before we let them walk around). I mean who couldn’t love these three little precious girls?! After we finished with our dinner we headed to the room for lala time, we got all ready for bed and said our goodnight prayers. Annie and I pretended like we were going to sleep as well (we are slowly learning tricks) and within 20 minutes they were all out! Annie and I were so relieved to have them all asleep without a big fuss!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another Crazy Adventure!

Getting a good nights rest last night was a little slice of heaven for Annie and I; although we woke up to the mosquito net on our faces, which was not the most enjoyable thing in the world. After eating some breakfast we decided to get ready and then head out to the snake farm so we could ride a camel!

Riding a camel has been a dream of mine for quite some time and we were very determined to make it happen. Leaving the house we only had very vague directions from Ksusha on how to get there. Since there aren’t any street names here, it is practically impossible to even get proper directions! On our way we stopped in the town of Arusha to change our dollars into shillings and get some delicious African coffee before we continued our journey to our final destination. While we were in town, these two “white” guys passed us and one of them yelled “Mzungu! Mzungu!” which made us start dying of laughter. Usually that is what the locals yell to us so it was funny having other Americans yell the same thing at us. Another man later approached us, speaking perfect English, asking us to look at his art gallery. We would have loved view his collection but we explained to him that we were heading to the snake farm and we couldn’t be out too late since we were already well into the afternoon. He understood and then asked us where we were staying and how we were going to get there. We informed him that we were staying in Usa River and drove our own car. He was very excited and impressed with our adventurous spirit…as he gave us both fist bumps. Most tourists here never actually take the time to immerse themselves in the culture, so we are finding that the locals really appreciate it when people actually take the time to do so. It felt super good that someone noticed and appreciated our efforts because we don’t want to be known as just “mzungus”. We are doing our best to show the locals that we are here for a Greater purpose, so having more people realize that is very exciting to us!  Continuing on our way to the snake farm we missed a turn and kept going straight looking for the landmark that we had already passed. We drove for quite some time out in the countryside with nothing but mountains and tiny huts surrounding us. Realizing that we had driven much too far we turned around and headed back towards Arusha. We had to make many gas station stops, asking several people on the side of the road who didn’t understand a word we were saying, we were feeling very hopeless and discouraged that we wouldn’t get to ride a camel. Then we finally arrived!!! As tears filled our eyes from excitement, we pulled into the snake farm and then ran to where we could ride the camel. It was one of the most fun things we have ever done and we were both laughing the whole entire time. It was so cool to experience it together and it was even better than we had imagined. Afterwards we walked around the snake farm and saw many snakes, turtles, lizards, birds, and crocodiles.

All of the animals were super cool and unique but my favorite was definitely the camel! We drove back to the house as the sun was setting.  It quickly became very dark (since there are no streetlights here). Driving in Tanzania in the daytime is challenging but at night it is even more so.
 After making it home safely and without getting truly lost Annie and I came to the conclusion that we should go on the Amazing Race together. This whole trip has been filled with new places and experiences and we couldn’t be happier to be sharing these unforgettable memories with each other.