Our week wasn’t too eventful, but we were able to finalize some of the details for our upcoming trip to the states. Here is a rough overview of what what we will be up to while we are around. Please keep in mind that things are flexible. The only thing set in stone now is our flight schedules.
- August 18: Everyone departs Johannesburg in the evening.
- August 19-22: We arrive in Newark that evening and will spend some time in NYC. Ben will be working, and Mikayla and I are there for pleasure. We are hoping to catch up with my brother and sister-in-law while we are there since they will have just moved to Boston.
- August 23-26: Everyone travels to Chicago for a Cabrini fundraiser. We will be staying with Ben’s family that live in the southern suburbs of Chicago.
- August 27-31: Ben flies back to NYC and then heads to Philly. He will spend the front end in NYC for meetings and the back end (at least 29-31) will be at Cabrini college in Philadelphia. Mikayla and I will fly out to Nashville on the same day and arrive at 8:30am.
- September 1-24: Ben returns to Kentucky for a few small fundraisers and time with friends and family. Tim and Chelsea are due to have a baby during this time and we are looking forward to snuggling with Baby Reid during part of this time as well as spending time with other family and friends.
- September 5-6: Ben will travel to St. Louis by car for a fundraiser there.
- September 16-24(?): This last week is being left open for Ben for meetings that will develop in NYC/Philly/DC (or elsewhere). Mikayla and I will still be hanging out with folks in Kentucky. Mikayla and I will fly straight to Newark on Sept 24 to return home. Ben will meet us there from wherever he ends up at the end of the trip.
- September 26: Arrive back in Jo-burg in the morning.
So there you have it folks! Let us know if there is something specific you had in mind while we are around.
As for the rest of the week…
We spent the week without the sisters because they were in Ethiopia visiting with other sisters. There is another section of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart there; the sisters went there this month and then next month they will come here to Swaziland. We picked the sisters up at the airport on Saturday and said goodbye once again as they traveled to South Africa for a few days. Mikayla was so excited to see them though and ran right up and gave them both big hugs! It was really precious.
Since we had to be in town to pick the sisters up from the airport on Saturday we decided to take full advantage of the situation and spend some time on a hike we have been wanting to do since we arrived in Swaziland. You can read all about it here on Ben’s blog. We basically hiked up to the top of Execution Rock and drove around Mlilwane to see some wildlife. Here are a few of the pictures we took.
Our view coming into the park. Please note the two hippos just hanging out on the island!
Close up on hippos. The lighting is terrible, but you get the picture.
At the beginning of our hike. See that big rock on the left…that is where we went.
Cheesing with daddy…
Our little hiker. She insisted on walking most of the way. We only carried her when the rocks were steep and plentiful!
The wildlife around the rest camp is used to humans and so they are really friendly. Here is Mikayla hanging out with a Nyala.
Huge crocodile! We were able to get pretty close to this guy!
And of course we saw lots of zebra!
Here are some bird shots from our visit.
This is one of my favorite bird shots we have taken thus far!
We also spent a lot of time at the hostel this week. I am helping out with the afterschool enrichment program we run for the children. It is a program that focuses on English, reading and math skills. Basically I am just offering support and suggestions for ways they can make the program more engaging and meaningful for the kids. Mikayla has even started taking part in the groups and joining the youngest group that is focusing on sounds and basic math. She is becoming more independent at the hostel and runs off with the kids to play immediately. Where a month ago she would have hung onto my leg at all times and made sure I was in her line of vision at all times. She still has though moments, but more and more she gains her independence. It has been really fun to watch her progression. The hostel staff even commented on it the other day!
Ben did some cooking this week. He made a really delicious meal with Impala steaks one night. And then another night he made a grilled shrimp dinner that was super tasty. He used Julia Child’s birthday shrimp recipe and it was delicious! On Sunday morning I made Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with a cream cheese frosting. Mmm! Who ever said you couldn’t eat well in Swaziland!
Mikayla enjoyed spending time playing with her baby dolls and princess dolls this week. That is pretty much the only toys she wanted to play with! We were also able to take some three year portraits one evening. It was a very impromptu thing so her hair is a hot mess and the outfit isn’t what I had intended them to be taken in. But she is still cute! There is an album on Facebook with a lot of the pictures, but some of the best ones can be found here.