Charlie continues to be the rascal of the family but also the most charming. He seems to always be in some sort of trouble but his dimpled smile has saved him from certain death numerous times. He “sleepwalks” and miraculously always ends up on my side of the bed. Paul HATES this because I crowd him so the other night he made a pallet on the floor for Charlie and when he showed up around 3am Paul told him to get in it and out of our bed. Charlie immediately started fake snoring like he was dead asleep and couldn’t hear and we had to laugh that even at 3am that boy can think on his feet.
Chapman was so frustrated with his little brother always trashing their room that he begged to please sleep somewhere else. We have great sympathy for Chapman so we took the bunkbeds apart and divided the room in half. Charlie can only come on Chapman’s half of the room with permission and this system has been working great so far. We tell Chapman that although Charlie is a pest now he will be his best friend in a couple of years.
Charlie is always looking for a fight and can trash talk like you can’t believe. He loves to wrestle Paul and won’t quit even when he is pinned to the ground. If he thinks his siblings are too quiet or happy he will punch, bite or pinch someone so there is tears and screaming and then he is very content with the mayhem he created! He has his share of spankings but I guess Paul spanks harder than me because he always begs me not to tell him what he has done.
He may be almost 4 but he is still my baby and Paul says I spoil him. I told him I don’t care if I do–well, I don’t care right now but I will care when he is 18 and still wants to live with me!
Annelise turned 10 last Friday (the 16th) so we officially have a child in double digits. I think Paul and I are kind of nostalgic about it all–he even mentioned that maybe we should have another baby (but before my mom has a heart attack, let me mention that Paul only felt that way for about a second. Once I mentioned sleepless nights, diapers, potty training, etc. he quickly decided he was VERY satisfied with 4!)
On your birthday you don't have to wear a uniform to school and you can wear your hair down!
Annelise took a cake to share with her class at school. She chose a yellow cake with chocolate icing and covered with chocolate covered strawberries.
Saturday was her actual party and the theme was Hawaiin Luau. Most of the girls didn’t know what a luau was so we told them it was just a fancy name for a beach party. The girls swam and swam and our dear friend, Jenny, taught them a lot of fun games that kept them running and giggling all afternoon. Annelise had a wonderful day and I am glad to have 2 birthday parties down, 2 to go!
The pineapple pinata was a huge hit!
Annelise and friends
Our Bible club at church, currently called Kingdom Kids (until we come up with a different name–some people don’t want their kids called “kids” because that is another name for goats and we all know where the goats go in eternity. I had a great laugh over this but seriously if you have a name suggestion please leave it in the comments) is about to wrap up for the year. The school year in Namibia, and in most of Africa for that matter, goes from the middle of January to the beginning of December but this year all the schools are getting out early because we have a national election the end of November and they use the schools as polling places. We have had a good couple of months with the kids and they have been diligent to memorize their verses and Susan has done a terrific job with the Bible lessons. They respect her and NO one dares talk when she is talking–she has absolute control of the class! She should teach classroom management. I think they even wait for her to tell them when to breathe.
Our end of the year program will be Sunday night, November 15th. Each of the children will say verses and sing a couple of songs they have learned this year. We will be giving them all medals and awards which they are looking forward to.
We need some prayer regarding next year. AWANA has officially “denied” us as far as starting a club because they don’t have an official AWANA missionary in Namibia. We wanted to use their materials but they say that isn’t an option so we will be looking at other materials. The older kids are memorizing “Fighter Verses” from Piper’s church and will continue with that since they only got through Section A this year but we need something for the intermediate kids–ages 6-9. If you have suggestions please email me or leave a comment.
We averaged 15 children this year and had another 15 come in periodically from an orphanage outside Windhoek. We are praying that the Lord send us more children, especially unchurched kids. It has been a joy to see the kids quoting Scripture and playing all of Miss Susan’s Biblical application games.
About 4 weeks ago we went to Paul’s parents’ farm. There is a “river” there which is mainly dried up but there were some patches of water that are sourced from an underground spring. If you can believe it this water was enough to support lots of little tadpoles. Chapman decided that he needed some new pets and caught about 20 of them. We successfully brought them all back to Windhoek and had to google how to take care of tadpoles. They live on a diet of boiled lettuce. All was well for a couple of days and then unexpectedly about 15 of them died and were floating in the top of the jar. We had company over at the time and Chapman had an utter meltdown about the “deaths of his beloved pets.” He carried on and on and sought comfort from Miss Susan who assured him that if God wanted them to live they would have lived and how grateful we should be that not every tadpole turns into a frog or the earth would be overrun. He wasn’t very comforted but was glad at least he had 5 left.
A lady at church who also has kids who have tried the tadpole experiment told me that they would all probably die and would never turn into frogs because our jar was not the proper habitat, etc. We convinced Chapman that the most loving thing he could do as the pet owner was to take his tadpoles to the local dam and release them. I had been noticing that him tadpoles were getting weaker and weaker and couldn’t eve make it to the top of the jar and since I hadn’t fed them in many days I knew their days were numbered. Fortunately we had time tonight to go and release them. Chapman was so precious letting them go and then he cried. He has such a loving heart. I am glad that he still has Jock to hug and play with. He is definitely an animal person.
He had to write a story about when he went back to the farm with Paul and his uncle, Henk. One of his sentences was “I went back to the birthplace of my tadpoles.” Paul and I laughed about his dramatics and we can’t figure out where he gets it-wink, wink.
One another wildlife note, we had to go to a town 2 hours north of Windhoek for Annelise’s gymnastics meet to qualify for nationals. (She came in first for her age/level so we will be going to the coast in 3 weeks for her to compete again. Don’t be too impressed though because nationals in Namibia is like going to a state competition in the US since the total population of the country is only 2 million.) On the way back in the early evening we hit some rain and I saw what I thought were baboons in the road. Once we got closer we saw there were 2 cheetahs. We have never seen cheetahs in the wild and it was amazing to see. We also saw a full rainbow that was very cool. Unfortunately a photograph wouldn’t do it justice so you will have to take our word for it.
I have written a little about Amor in previous posts, but for those who don’t know she is our house helper. Over the years when I would visit South Africa I would vow to Paul that if I ever moved to Africa I would NEVER have house help. Well, I am officially eating my words. The unemployment in Namibia is 40% so it is looked down on if you won’t offer someone employment if you can afford it. Amor had worked for Paul’s sister, Lise, but when they moved to southern Namibia, Amor agreed to work for us. We are thrilled to have her. She is trustworthy and such a hard worker. She comes 3 days a week and our house is all the better because of her. Since there are no screens on the windows and lots of dirt and sand swirling around outside, our house is in constant need of dusting and mopping. We don’t have a clothes dryer or dishwasher so some household chores take a little longer to accomplish than they did in the states.
Awhile ago Amor told me that she had a sister in prison. She was transferred to the central prison here in Windhoek because she was dying with TB and who knows what else. Amor would faithfully go and visit her and care for her but was apprehensive about visiting too much since she is pregnant and didn’t want to get exposed to viruses etc. that might endanger her pregnancy.
A man called me on Amor’s cellphone and told me that Regina had died and that he wanted someone who was with her to tell her instead of him over the phone. He also asked me to bring her right away to the prison so that all the arrangements could be made to have Regina’s body released. My mom and Erika were still in Namibia when all this happened so they went with me and waited with the kids in the car while Amor and I went in. Amor refused to go by herself. I think she was still in shock from the news and wanted a companion.
To get into the prison you have to present ID and then turn over any cellphones, etc. go through a number of metal detectors and then walk a long way to get to the actual prison itself. Once there a very nice man helped us find the chaplain who was the man who had called with the news. I was impressed with how kind all the men who met with us were. They were very compassionate to Amor and tried their best to make the process as easy on her as possible.
As we walked up to it I did have thoughts of maybe I should have called Paul and let him know where I was going but truly the Lord was walking with us there. I felt such a calm as Amor and I walked and the whole time we were inside. After all the necessary paperwork was signed we were led out again and had to pass through a room full of prisoners, all men. I remember thinking that things might get ugly. Instead, all the men greeted us and were so courteous saying–good morning lady.
The atmosphere of that prison truly is something. I sensed no hatred or defiance. The men all seemed obedient and even cheerful. They are there for all number of offenses. The men who run the prison are gentle but firm and seem to have the respect of the prisoners. I have talked to a few people who have also gone to the prison and their experience was similar to mine. I of course took no pictures as that is strictly forbidden but while I am so sorry for Amor’s loss I am grateful for the experience. Here poverty so often leads to a life of crime and the prison was a good reminder of the quote–“Therefore but by the grace of God go I.”
Last Thursday was school picture day. It is officially Spring here in Namibia so the boys are not wearing shoes to school EXCEPT for pictures. All the teachers made sure the boys would have on the correct socks–grey with 2 white stripes–and shoes for the class photos. Chapman looks so much like Paul at this age, especially when he has his uniform on.
Annelise and Chapman started tennis lessons with their school today. I like any sport that makes them run, run, run! Hopefully they will fall into bed early tonight.
This week has been a busy one! I have so much to blog about but when the kids are finally all in bed I am brain dead and can’t seem to put 2 words together! Hopefully next week will be calmer so I can catch you up on all the news.
Audrey is officially 6! Charlie is still in denial because he hates for anyone to have a birthday but him. Her birthday festivities began on Thursday with 70 cupcakes for her school. I had to get a recipe for cake that would work in Windhoek since the altitude is about the same as Denver and cakes don’t always cooperate so high in the sky! My sweet friend, Hilda, translated the recipe for me but in my hurry to make 70 cupcakes I misread the recipe and added 1 and 1/4 tsp. of salt to the batter instead of 1/4 tsp. I knew something tasted funny and had Susan come and taste. We kept adding sugar and finally decided this is how African cake tastes and baked on! Fast forward 2 days to when I am making the birthday cakes–I am rereading the recipe and discover to my horror that I added WAY too much salt. Those poor kids ate those salty cupcakes and didn’t say a word! The birthday cakes tasted delicious!
Looks are deceiving!
Audrey’s teacher, Miss Ester, made her a huge birthday crown which she wore for 3 days straight! Anywhere we would go she was sure to have it on so people would know it was her day–or in her case “3 days.”
The Birthday Crown
Saturday was her party. We had planned on it being a swimming party but when I woke up Saturday it was freezing outside. The party was at 2pm so it was a bit warmer when all the girls arrived. They braved the cold water and swam away and then would lie out on the rocks like little lizards to get warm and then jump in again. The theme was butterflies so the cakes were in the shape of butterflies, we made tissue paper butterflies and had a butterfly scavenger hunt.
Audrey posing with her cakes
Audrey and her friends
I think Audrey’s birthday was a success although I still feel a bit dead after all the festivities. All of the kids have their birthdays in the Fall so once the birthday season is over, I will have another 9 months to recover and forget all about icing and goodie bags and have enthusiasm once again for parties, parties and more parties.