Posts Tagged ‘Swaziland’

This Week’s Happenings 12/27-1/8

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

We got home from our Christmas vacation on the 26th and then spent the 27th prepping and preparing for the arrival of the twins.  We were supposed to have Nosipho and Simo picked up and brought to us on the 28th, but it was the evening of the 29th when they got to our house.  We fed them a quick dinner and then all three kids took a bath in Mikayla’s tub.  The school break this time around is 7 weeks and the childcare staff had some concerns about the twins (who were now pretty healthy) returning home for that length of period.  So it was decided that after a few weeks they would be picked up and brought to us for the remainder of the break.  However, after their arrival and spending a couple of days with them it was decided that they were being well cared for at their homestead.  So, after a week and a few days we returned them home on Friday.  It was a little more chaotic with them this time around.  They are both walking and running and are much more active than they were in August when we kept them the first time.  I think Mikayla enjoyed the company and even asked last night when the twins would be back!

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Three kids in a tub…doesn’t get much more entertaining than that!

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Nosipho and her many faces

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Smiling Simo

Mikayla has enjoyed playing with all her new Christmas toys in the last few weeks.  Despite being far from family she seemed to get a lot of toys this year!  Her aunts and uncles really made sure she was well taken care of in the toy department!  Thanks everyone who sent us packages!  A special thanks to Pam Cate for some amazing peanut brittle!

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Mikayla and Nosipho enjoying a ride on her swing.

We got a call from our friends Peter, Callista and Aviva to spend New Years at their house.  We happily accepted and on New Years Eve packed up all the kids and headed to Mbabane (about 2 hours from our house).  We enjoyed a great evening of laughter, white bean chili and Settlers of Catan!  That’s right folks, we met a fellow Catan player in Swaziland – Keri.  She was a friend of Peter and Callista’s who joined us for New Year’s Eve.  A Swaziland tradition (at least in town) is that to ring in the New Year, at midnight fireworks are set off.  Since we were on top of a large hill we got a great view of all the fireworks being set off.  We stayed up entirely too late and the kids woke up entirely too early the next morning, but we all had a good time.  We were even able to have a couple of Skype conversations with friends who were ringing in the New Year in the states!

This was also a sad week as we lost a very important member of the Cabrini crew.  One of the sisters’ dogs (Boy) got into a fight with a 7′ black mamba (a poisonous snake) and lost the battle.  Boy managed to kill the snake, but in the process the snake bit him and killed him.  We were all very sad to hear the news.  I think Socks (the other dog) was the saddest of them all.  He spent the next day moping around our front porch and didn’t chase a single bird (his favorite pastime).  He seems to be slowly getting back to his normal self and I even caught him chasing some chickens the other day.  On Friday some of the staff members killed another mamba in our front yard and he started to go help and changed his mind when he saw what it was.  So he isn’t back to himself completely, but he is slowly getting there. 

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One of the few pictures of boy we took!  He was a good dog and reminded us a lot of Shiloh.

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The mamba that killed Boy.

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Mikayla enjoying a mango the Swazi way.  By Swazi way I mean eating it skin and all!

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Posted in Life |

This Week’s Happenings 8/14-8/21

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

The twins went to the hospital on Wednesday for a check up so they were gone most of the day.  Mikayla and I took full advantage of it just being the two of us.  We cleaned, watched a movie and had some fun Mommy/daughter time.  She only complained about the twins not being here first thing in the morning!  We ended up having company over for dinner on Wednesday night (Ben was actually in town trying to take care of some things) and the kids all went to bed late.  That meant they all woke up early on Thursday and for some reason didn’t take good naps.  Needless to say with all the crankiness everyone had early bedtimes!

I made some really delicious banana bread courtesy of a recipe from my good friend Jennifer.  It was delicious and enjoyed by many in the office and hostel. The recipe is below.  That was really the only thing I baked this week because we ran out of butter and it isn’t like there is a grocery store on every corner here!!

The twins are making a lot of progress this week.  Nosipho is crawling efficiently and moving all over the place. She has gone from crawling while dragging one foot behind to crawling the right way.  She is also pulling up on stuff and cruising along the furniture like a mad woman!  She is smiling, laughing and jabbering constantly.  Simo is also becoming very good at mimicking you.  We even caught her the other day soothing her brother when he was upset by patting him on the back like we do.  She has also picked up a few signs along the way.  She now knows eat, more and milk.  Simo is making progress in his own little way.  He is now pushing up (with a little help) while holding on to your hands into a standing position.  This is something that a week ago (and even a few days ago) he refused to do and would hold his legs up so you couldn’t make him stand.  He is laughing and smiling and jabbering along as well.  He will occasionally sign for eat and more.  He is clapping and is still perfectly content to just sit still!  And of course they are both eating like champs.  They eat twice as much food as Mikayla (and poop three or four times as much)!  It is amazing the progress they have made in a week, I can’t wait to see where they are at the end of the month. 

We are getting into a pretty good groove of being a family of five.  Bath time is still a little tricky because everyone wants to be in the bathroom at the same time and if you saw Ben’s video, it really isn’t that big of a space.  We have started letting the twins "cry it out" at night and that is going well.  It takes a little bit longer for them to settle down than it does for Mikayla, but they are getting much better at putting themselves to sleep. 

I also found out that Ben will be in Manzini (the town about 1.5 hours away) for three days next week for a meeting.  I will get a real taste of what it is like to be a mommy of three toddlers then!

I almost forgot, one of the volunteers here talked me into going for a run with her last weekend

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Cookie time!  Or as the Swazi’s would say Biscuit time!

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Beautiful Nosipho

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My baby girl and I

Banana Bread Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes

  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

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Posted in Cooking, Parenting |

The Miracle Drug

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

First of of all, we finally made it to Swaziland.  We arrived two nights ago (Friday night for us), a day later than expected and extremely tired.  If you want to hear our whole story you can jump on over to Ben’s blog and read about it here.  We hoped to post a video of the house, but are not going to have long enough for it to download.  We will try again soon!  It is a nice house, much larger than we were expecting.  Fully furnished, we even have a Crockpot!!  I am going to be keeping my eyes open for some sort of stand up mixer to fill our empty counter spaces soon. 

Now, back to the story at hand.  As most of you may know I was a little bit anxious about traveling with a toddler.  Most people asked me if I had entertainment together for myself for the plane ride.  My response was a light chuckle and yes of course, I have Mikayla!!  I knew she was going to keep us busy most of the long flights.  If you know her at all you know that she doesn’t stay still for very long.  Others would ask me how I thought Mikayla would do on the flight.  My response was, either really well or really bad.  I was leaning toward the really bad though.  However, in true Mikayla fashion she took it like a rock star.  Even with all our delays and long layovers she never got overly cranky.  She was in a good mood the majority of the time and we only had to bring out a few of her toys we packed for entertainment.  She really enjoyed the busy book that her Mimi and Poppy gave her, as well as a flannel board and story pieces I picked up for her.  She woke up today after almost 15 hours of sleep and was excited to play with her new friends and hang out in her home.  She jumped right in at the hostile and played with the kids while we stood around a talked with one of the workers. 

I think she also did really well due to a wonderful recommendation given to us by our travel doctor.  She said to either give her a little Children’s Benadryl or Melatonin (100% drug free sleep aid).  Since we couldn’t find Children’s Benadryl we opted for the Melatonin and I am so glad we did.   It was like a miracle drug.  Even when we had to spend the night in the airport she was still able to sleep a little.  Seriously, once she took a 3mg dosage she was out in like fifteen minutes.  It was amazing!  And not only was she asleep, she conked out asleep.  No noises or bumps would wake her.  It also worked really well for us and allowed us to get a little sleep on the plane.  If you travel long distances at all or are traveling with a toddler, I would recommend this natural remedy to help you out!  For both of the long flights Mikayla slept for at least 80% of the time (maybe a little more).


This is Mikayla sleeping in the airplane after one 3mg dose of Melatonin.  She slept through all the hustle and bustle of the plane during meal time!

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Posted in Life |

Bye Bye Daddy

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

Ben leaves in the morning for Swaziland.  He will be gone for almost two weeks.  We area already missing him!  Mikayla especially, she asked to pack today and this is what we found.

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We have some fun planned (like a girls weekend to Atlanta with Catherine and Molly), but nothing is nearly as fun without daddy/husband around! 

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Posted in Life |

Ten Thoughts on Swaziland

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

We had a fun trip to Swaziland, but are also glad to be back with our daughter.  It was tough to leave her for two weeks!  It has been hard talking about our trip, because it wasn’t your typical trip/vacation.  We met up with a lot of people to talk about what their organizations are doing on the ground in Swaziland.  It was very informative and left us with a lot to think about. 

Here are ten thoughts/moments/whatever you want to refer to them as from our trip:

1.  Swazis are very hospitable.  Wherever we went and whatever we were doing people were very nice.  We felt right at home, not like tourists at all.

2.  Swazis love their tea and instant coffee.  This is a hard one for me to get used to because I am somewhat of a coffee snob, and really am not a huge fan of tea.  I am coming around though!

3.  I am not sure I could drive in Swaziland, but Ben did a fantastic job.  First, they drive on the opposite side of the road!  Plus there are all these unwritten etiquette rules you have to follow.  For example, people expect you to drive on the shoulder so they can pass you.  It works well, but when you aren’t used to it, it makes it kinda tricky!  Plus all the cars are five speeds, which I am not a huge fan of driving (I can drive them though).  In Mbabane (the capital) every street is on a hill with lots of stop and go.  This is tough in a five speed, Ben even had a little trouble sometimes (although he wouldn’t admit it). 

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4.  It is a beautiful place.  There are basically three levels (and Ben might correct me on this, but these were my impressions).  Highveld which is up in the mountains and has lots of trees.  Also, quite cold at night in the winter!  Midveld which is in the middle (duh!).  It has mountains, hills, trees and grasslands.  Lowveld which is more deserty like and hot!  It was dry and sandy here.  Each level was beautiful in its own way.

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5.  The food was yummy and even a little Western.  They love their meat, we went to several braais while we were there and the majority of the food that was served was meat!  Not a very vegetarian friendly place.  They also eat a lot of “pop” (not sure on the spelling of this) which is finely ground maize served several ways.  One way they served it was in sticky patties.  It didn’t have a lot of flavor, but they used it to pick up other food.  They also serve it differently in the morning as more of a porridge type dish. 

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6.  There are also fresh fruit trees everywhere, and most people have a garden year round in their yards.  We saw lots of avocados, bananas, mangos and spinach.  Can you imagine having an avocado tree in your yard…yummy!

7.  Livestock rules the roads!  No kidding, wherever you drive you have to be extra cautious because there are cows, goats and chickens crossing everywhere, even on the interstate type roads.  The animals wonder all over the place grazing.  No one has big fences to keep the animals in, they just go where they want.  The crazy thing about all this is that everyone knows which livestock belongs to them and have no problem (for the most part) with animals wondering around.  Can you imagine that happening here in the states??

8.  Housing was interesting too.  You had anything from the indigenous mud and grass huts to concrete/brick homes.  Some houses were very “Western” and others were out in the bush.  We definitely found all levels of living while we were there. 

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Helping to build the roof of a traditional hut.

9.  Converters are no fun!  Half the time my hair dryer and straightener wouldn’t work.  I even “dried” my hair with the air conditioning from the car a couple of times.  Next time I think I will just bye a hair dryer there!

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It was like a game to see what converters we needed to plug different things in! 

10.  We are mores sure of our decision to move there now more than ever.  We just aren’t sure what we will be doing, although now we have some more concrete options in mind.  I think Mikayla will love it as well!


Here are a few shots of a WKU tradition…the red towel photos!

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Posted in Life |