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Posts Tagged ‘bush’

Mikayla and Daddy go on a Photo Walk

September 14th, 2013 2 comments

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We are about to start a very busy month here at Cabrini.  We have a Medical Team coming in from Australia next week.  We close out a grant year at the end of September.  All of our major annual programming reports are due in the first couple weeks of October. And, we have a quarterly board meeting along with a strategic planning session scheduled.  On top of all that, we are doing a major database upgrade that includes launching a new system to keep up with all of our recent work in Social Services.  Needless to say, my spare time is going to be limited and my stress level will probably be a bit higher.

In light of the upcoming weeks, I wanted to make sure I spent some intentional time with Beth, Mikayla and Max.  So today, while Beth and Max were at a meeting, Mikayla and I went out into the bush behind our house to do a "Photo Walk." 

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Mikayla’s ability to actually compose a picture in the viewfinder has only developed in the last couple weeks.  Before that, she would just indiscriminately press the shudder button regardless of what the camera was actually point out.  Considering that, her skills now are pretty impressive.  All of the pictures below came from Mikayla.  Not to shabby at all if you ask me.  I think some of her flower pictures are amazing by anyone’s standard!

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Categories: Family Tags: , , ,

Bush Walk: Then and Now

November 5th, 2011 4 comments

Let me start by saying that I extremely jealous of those of you who are experiencing Autumn in Kentucky.  It has always been my favorite time of year: The color in the leaves, the brisk fall weather, being bundled up around campfires, college football on TV.

While it isn’t a typical October/November for us, the seasons in Swaziland are certainly changing.  About 2 months ago we took a walk through the bush behind our house.  At the time, it was the tail end of Winter (our dry season).  But now, the wet (hot) season is fast approaching.  We have had several heavy rains, many 100+ degree days, the mangos are growing on the trees and everything is turning green.

We took another walk through the bush today and even though I have been observant to the changes, I was amazed at how much things had changed.  Take a look for yourself:

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Then…

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… now

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Then…

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…and now.

Of course some things don’t change.  I still have the most beautiful daughter and I wife that I enjoy every minute with.

On this particular trip, we walked quite a bit further until we reached a nearby river.  Beth mentioned last week on her blog how much we love the cattle egrets that fly around here.  Well today there were tons of them out.  Here are a couple quick picture of some we saw:

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We also saw some more "interesting" forms of life.  Check out this video of a dung beetle:

 

Unlike last time where Mikayla got tuckered out pretty quickly, she was a trooper the whole time on this trip.  Here is a final picture of her leading us home:

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She is tough and cute… and she knows it!

Feast or Famine // Bush Walk

September 11th, 2011 1 comment

Activity here in St. Phillips, Swaziland tends to come as either feast or famine: either there is a chaotic rush of things that need to be done, or there is absolutely nothing going on.  That not only applies to the work of the mission, but also to weekends.

My Saturday started at 6:30am (sleeping in for us) so we could get the twins ready to return to their homestead.  Then I had about a 45 minute round trip commute to drop them off.  Most of the day for Beth Mikayla and I ran was comprised of a trip into town to look at a potential vehicle to purchase.  During the day we purchased beds for the hostel, visited a home improvement store (which was a huge find for us!), met a family from the US, test drove a vehicle, stopped for lunch, found our mechanic was gone for the day so the whole trip was a bit fruitless, drove to the entrance of a game park (and saw impalas), returned the vehicle, went shopping at a new grocery store (also a big deal!), and picked up pizza.  Reviewing the day’s accomplishments though, we had to admit that all we achieved was purchasing a few things (most notably a hand-held shower head!), eating pizza, and spending 6-7 hours in single cab truck to do it.   Eish… even our days off are busy.

To compensate, we have tried to "achieve" a lazy Sunday here on the mission.  Sure, I have a few hours of work to do (Annual Progress Report for PEPFAR – US tax dollars at work), but most of the time has been just hanging out, eating, making cookies, playing wii, and a family walk through the bush near our house. 

Since busy work does not make for interesting photo ops, I wanted to post a few pictures from our Bush Walk:

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Mikayla posing in front of some season flowers along the road.

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And a picture with Mommy.

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Mikayla riding up high…

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… and riding not-so-high.

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Following trails through the open…

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… and through the brushy.

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Tree picture with Daddy.

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All tuckered out on the way home.

Categories: Family, Swaziland Tags: , , , , ,

Swaziland Recap

March 18th, 2011 No comments

I am sitting on the couch in what will be our new Swazi residence come July.  It is a humble duplex-style place: tile floors, two bedrooms, a small kitchen, and a bathroom with a shower stall.  Nothing fancy and maybe 700 square feet (at the most).  But, it is comfortable and I already feel at home here.  I am scheduled to fly back to the states later today after a bit over a week of working with Cabrini Ministries doing some long-range planning, problem solving and networking.  And while it was great to get some work done and to prepare a few things for our move, the most important part of my time has been the feeling.

If nothing else, spending a week at Cabrini, working in the bush of Swaziland, has given me a feel for what to expect.  Obviously it is just a glimpse and I am sure there will be many “surprises” in store for us.  But, just experiencing these things helps us to plan for the transition.  This week I experienced:

  • Power and water outages
  • 110+ degree temperatures
  • Major storms and serious dryness
  • Difficulties in communication (phone lines down, no cell coverage)
  • Lack of internet
  • Crazy roads and crazier drivers
  • Long drives to get anything
  • Difficulty in coordinating overseas conversations due to time differences
  • Constantly having “the system” be down, preventing things from getting done
  • Abject poverty and even death

While in my current life in the States, I may experience one or two of those things in a year, having them all come at once didn’t bother me.  All of the difficulties were overshadowed by the other things I experienced:

  • People dedicated to Cabrini’s vision of “Restoring Life”
  • Playing soccer with the children at the hostel and hearing them sing
  • Seeing true “local empowerment” such as the woman who manages the database that hadn’t even seen a computer until 2 years go; professional office staff who grew up on homesteads in the area; all the managers being local and fully competent; continuous training for all staff; a standard-setting clinic run by mostly local nurses and support staff
  • Participating in the larger system of support in a country with great need
  • Working with dedicated staff who know all the details of patients and children they work with
  • Getting to know my neighbors who are deeply rooted in the local chiefdom
  • Visiting former students across the country who have graduated from Cabrini services
  • Seeing the incredible amount of work and extensive services being completed in this tiny village deep in the bush.

We certainly have a lot to learn and the transition is going to be tough; but, after spending a week here I am more confident in our decision than ever before.  July will come quick and I am certainly looking forward to it.