Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Warrior Race 2013

May 12, 2013 - a day that might very well live in infamy. In under 3 weeks time, Darin, Auntie Nona, Auntie Vera, Kagiso and Tom will be taking part in a Warrior Race. Here is a description from the website that explains a bit of what these men and women will be subjecting themselves to:

The Warrior Rookie race consists of a 6.5km(4mi) course, with 15 adrenaline pumping obstacles.  On average, participants will encounter an obstacle every 500m.  The Rookie race is all about having fun, but make no mistake, participants will be challenged and team work will be the order of the day.  Participants will be expected to climb over some larger than life obstacles, crawl in and climb over mountains of mud, slide down steep slopes at lightning speed, jump off high…very high platforms into water and heaps more!

Some of the obstacles Rookie Warriors will encounter:
The “Aaaaa”valanche
“T-t-t-t”ower of Rage
Touch of Mud
Arctic Mud
Spider Web
and many more…

Why would these 5, relatively sensible (and in the case of my husband, relatively sedentary) people want to take part in something so physical, so muddy, so exhausting?

Here are a few reasons:

Not to mention the other reasons that have already passed through these doors and the reasons that will come through in the future. These 5 individuals will be taking part in the Warrior Race to benefit the children of Tshepo ya Bana. There are multiple maintenance and building projects that we hope to accomplish in the next year that require funds that we don’t currently have. To do this, they need YOU. If you are reading this on our blog site, you will notice a button on the right that says “Donate”. Please click on this button and show your support for Darin, Nona, Vera, Kagiso and Tom. If you are reading this post via email or through another source, please head on over to our blog( and donate!  No donation is too small!

Thank you in advance for your help.

If you are not comfortable donating through Paypal, please contact us at to set up alternate arrangements.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tshepo ya Bana News

It is a rainy Saturday here. It started raining around one in the morning and continued until after 8. The sky has remained gray and there is a definite chill in the air. Winter is coming…

We have had a busy week at Tshepo ya Bana. On Tuesday, Darin, Nona (a volunteer) and I headed to town to run a few errands. We also had to bring something to a social worker who handles the case of one of our children. While we were there, we left messages for two other social workers. We then stopped at another office to try and figure out what’s going on with another child’s case. It appears that in the one case, no social worker has taken responsibility, for various and complicated reasons, for over a year. We were glad that we stopped in and hope that the ball is now rolling, although that remains to be seen.

We arrived home a bit after noon and, lo and behold, one of the social workers we had left a message for drove up. We spoke with her about what is needed for this little guy to become available for adoption. We actually have a few things we can do to try and help the process along, but again, it’s complicated.
On Wednesday, the other social worker we left a message for rocked up. I don’t think she appreciated my aggressive nature, but this whole system makes me want to pull my hair out. There are social workers who do what they need to do and they do It in a timely manner (well, timely for South Africa), and then there are social workers who want to do what needs to be done, but are being held up by biological families, the courts, the lack of funding or a host of other reasons. Then there are the social workers who want to blame someone else for the lack of progress in their caseload. Those are the ones that are probably going to really not like me, but I am pretty sure I can handle their disdain.

If you are counting, we had four face to face visits with social workers in 2 days! Really, we had 5 visits over 3 days because Baby Boo-boo was picked up by her new family on Monday and her social worker was here for that happy occasion. That leaves us with one more social worker to connect with as our little Amo is here per her mother’s request, which is a different kind of case entirely compared to all the others.

In other TYB news, we just started a Facebook page! So if you are on Facebook, come and like our site, please. I will be posting more family/personal stuff on my own Facebook page now, although I am guessing the lines will always be a bit blurred. I also working on a new website for Tshepo ya Bana. I do not understand web design stuff at all, so it might still be a while until it is up and running, but I’ll let you know when it’s ready. I know there are some people who have started reading our blog for TYB updates and info and many of you aren’t necessarily interested in what’s going on with our family of four, although you are welcome to keep reading here as well.

I don’t think I mentioned it on this blog, but we had an outbreak of impetigo over the school holidays. It started on one little guy who has eczema quite severely and quickly spread all over his body. Then we noticed spots on three more of the boys. Tyson and Jori also got it, were sent home from school one day and managed to infect at least one child at their school even though they were already taking antibiotics and were supposed to no longer be contagious. Everyone seems to have kicked the impetigo and we hope to not see any new eruptions! Now we are dealing with coughs and colds, which will probably stick around now for the next 4 or 5 months. Did I mention that winter is on its way?

Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Update on us!

Happy Friday! It is a cooler, overcast day here today. Tyson and Jori both came running back in the house this morning to get their jerseys and Tyson also put long pants on. It is a good day for drinking coffee and wearing slippers.

My mom and dad are back in Oregon, safe and sound, trying to get settled into their new house. We really miss having them here! Tyson and Jori loved going to visit their Papa and Gram after school and I loved going there for my midmorning coffee break. It is taking some time to get back into our “normal” routine, but we are getting there.

Tyson and Jori are in their second quarter of school. Tyson seems to be getting a lot more homework this quarter, which I am not a fan of! Both kids are happy to be back at school. They enjoy their friends and they both love their teachers. In fact, a couple nights ago Tyson said “I wish I had two moms; then I could have my mommy and Miss Lazenby could also be my mom”. I guess I will just be glad he still wants me for a mom : ) Jori is always saying “Ma’am this” and “Ma’am that”. She takes everything her teacher says so seriously. Thankfully both kids have good teachers, so they are following good examples.

Jori has really adopted a strong accent over the past few weeks. She now says “ah-sking” instead of a-sking” and “ah-ntie” instead of “a-ntie”. Both of our kids seem to becoming more Afrikaans and more Tswana lately as they have adopted little cultural traits and language patterns from both groups. Darin and I spend a lot of time looking over their heads and smiling at each other over the things they say and do.

Our kids seem to have renewed their friendship with each other. When we lived across the road, they only had each other and seemed to be running off and making up new games every day. Then we moved in here and they kind of lost touch with each other. There are other kids to play with and Tyson and Jori were having a hard time getting into a groove. Since we went on holiday with my parents, they seem to have remembered how much fun they have together. They still squabble, as all siblings do, but they definitely are spending more time together and laughing more together. It is wonderful to see. They enjoy playing “Lego Indiana Jones” together on the Wii and the other night Tyson said “Jori and I are a perfect team”. Melt my heart!!

I am getting back into my meal making groove. My meals aren’t quite as exciting as what my mom made, but everyone is eating and seems satisfied. The little boys ask every night “Are we having dessert?” Thanks Gram for introducing them to nightly treats!

Darin is keeping busy with his business. He always seems to be headed out to a meeting, on the phone or sending emails. It is easy for me to get resentful of how much time he spends on the water filters, but then I remember that he is working HARD to provide for us and that usually shuts up my crabby inner dialogue.

Ok, that is all for now. Will write about TYB stuff soon!

Friday, April 5, 2013

The news from here

Happy Friday everyone! It is getting close to 2 in the afternoon and the little ones will be waking up from their naps soon. This morning the physiotherapist came to see Oarabile and Amo. She was so pleased with the progress they've made over the past 3 weeks and was able to show us a lot more exercises to do with them. The volunteers who are here right now are so passionate about these girls and really want them to succeed. They are so faithful in doing exercises with them and putting in the time and effort to bring about positive change for these little ones. We are so thankful for our aunties!!!

My parents are still here, but they will be leaving on Tuesday night. It is so hard getting ready to say goodbye. I really feel the distance living in South Africa, so much more than I ever did while we were in Michigan and they were on the West Coast. We have had such a wonderful time, with holidays to Kruger Park and a wonderful overnight to the water park in Bela Bela. The little ones here have also gotten to know Papa John and Grandma Willie and have spent time with them at their cottage. My dad has been playing guitar and teaching the kids new songs, and doing a lot of gardening and tree trimming and all sorts of other busy work that has been a huge help to us here. My mom has been in the kitchen non-stop making meals, zucchini bread, cookies and more. I think I might need a refresher on making supper after she leaves!

Tyson and Jori have had a nice break from school. They've been having sleepovers with my parents, playing their new Wii games (Just Dance Disney and Lego Indiana Jones), watching movies with the aunties (seriously, did I mention how thankful we are for them??), playing with the little kids and so much more. Chris and her boys were gone the last 10 days and Tyson and Jori eagerly took over with the dogs; Kiki, Cassie and Bishop. I would love to get them a dog of their own, but Darin doesn't think adding a 4th dog to the mix would be such a good idea. We have been tossing around the idea of getting a goat or a sheep though, but I'm not sure that would be an equal substitute in their minds.

We are all almost back to health here. The stomach bug that was going around seems to have stopped, Koki's impetigo is almost cleared up and other than a few spots on some of the other kids, we seem to have avoided an outbreak. Little Amo still has a lot of phlegm and junk that she struggles with at night, but we've been putting her in a steam tent and that seems to help.

This week my dad helped me haul over all the stuff that we had left at the house across the road except for Darin's filter inventory. I spent the rest of the week sorting, discarding, organizing and packing away. It is a good feeling to have our stuff in one place again and an even better feeling to have a clean bedroom! Tyson and Jori had a little help from Papa and Gram and their room is also clean and organized. We'll see how long it lasts.

Fall is here and we can feel that winter is on its way. I have been wearing flip flops non-stop since mid-September, but this morning I finally caved and put on a pair of slippers. My feet were just too cold. It is beautiful outside right now, but there is a definite chill in the house.

That is the news from here. Tuesday the kids go back to school (yay) and my parents fly out (boo), so please be praying for us as we say good-bye to them and settle back into a normal routine, if there is such a thing! 

Build Them a Home Progress Report #3

Wow, wow, wow!!! We are only $50 away from reaching our goal!! Thank you to everyone who gave over the past week. The house is really taki...