Before the year ended, my class had the opportunity to go on one last field trip together to a nearby safari lodge. We traveled about 30 minutes outside of town and then were able to enjoy a nice walking safari, where we saw lots of animals: zebra, giraffe, ostrich, horses, and sprinkbok. Here are some pictures of our day:
Loaded up on the bus and ready to go
Halfway there we were able to switch to safari trucks
I was so excited to see zebra!
Hanging out before our walk
We all loved this cool tree
Heading out on the walk
A couple of students and I getting a tour of some of the fancy lodging
They loved the outdoor showers
Learning from the great Dougie Learning about this old tree
Mason's fun find!
Giraffe! One last ostrich on our way out
Heading back to school after a long day
We enjoyed our day so much and were grateful for one last outing together. Not to mention getting to see some fun animals! :)
With the end of the term being so hectic and our internet at the mission being unreliable, there were many things I wanted to share but just wasn't able to. So, here is the first of a few "catch-up" blog posts.
(These are just some random pictures of the class from October and November.)
"And the angel said to them, 'Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'" Luke 2:10-11
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your Christmas is a blessed one!! :) Andrea
Since I returned to America, I've been spending time with my dear friends, The Pelotshweus (Gary, Stacy, and Tshepiso, my god-daughter). These guys were my family and best friends during my first year in Botswana. My heart was broken when they moved to Dallas last December to begin a year of study at CFNI. We've kept in touch this year, though, and I was thankful for a chance to briefly see them when I visited home in April. Now they are packing up and preparing to move back to Botswana. I am blessed to be able to spend the last few days with them before they fly home. (And thankful to my family for being so understanding!)
Here are a few pictures of us from their going-away party last night: Me with the Pelotswhweu Family Reading time with Tshepiso I love this little girl!!
Just a quick post to say that after 40 hours, five airplane rides, and thousands of miles, I have successfully landed on Texas soil! It feels good to finally be home! Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. More updates to come soon!
Boo. That's how I feel about good-byes. I love hellos, but good-byes...not so much. Especially when you're not sure if you will see the people again. Ugh. So hard. I am going to miss these kids and my Botswana "family" so, so much. Much more than I can put into words. There has already been a lot of tears and I know many more are to come. With every tear of sadness that this season of my life is ending, I also offer up thanksgiving for having had this opportunity at all. What an enormous blessing it's been!
Just four and a half more days now, all of which will be filled with many emotional good-byes. But I leave with a peace, knowing that God brought me here, He helped me start a life here, put many incredible people in my life, grew me in so many ways, and did over and above all that I expected/hoped for. With that knowledge also comes the hope of things to come. Just as He led me here and blessed me so abundantly, He now will lead me into the next season where many more blessings are waiting, beginning with all of the exciting hellos I get to have in just one week. :)
Today is World AIDS Day, so the day was packed with activities and learning opportunities for the secondary students that addressed the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Botswana. Check out this information I found on Wikipedia concerning this topic:
HIV/AIDS threatens the many developmental gains Botswana has achieved since its independence in 1966, including economic growth, political stability, a rise in life expectancy, and the establishment of functioning public educational and health care systems.
*You can go here to read the rest of the information in this article.
I can't tell you how sad these facts make me. At first glance, these might just seem like common statistics and facts regarding AIDS in Africa, but to me, this information has much deeper meaning. You see, in the two years I have lived here, I have grown to love many adults in that 15-49 year age range. When I read that 24.1 percent of this age group are HIV positive, I wonder how many of those people I care about are included in that percentage. When I read that more than 20% of all children will be orphaned here, I wonder how many of those are students I taught or children I worked with in the children's ministry at church. How many of those children have sat in my lap, held my hand, or given me a hug? And how many are not yet orphaned, but have parents that fit into the first statistic? It just breaks my heart.
Today my class was on a mini-field trip to a local lodge here in Maun. We went on a walking safari and while walking, one of my students stepped on a thorny branch. Unfortunately she wasn't wearing very good shoes, and one of the thorns punctured her foot. When I handed her best friend a Band-Aid and she went close to put it on her friend's foot, the kids around them spoke urgently, "No, don't!" One thing I've gotten used to about living here is that when someone is bleeding, you do not go near that blood. If you have to treat them, you wear plastic gloves. If you don't have gloves, you don't touch. That's just reality here. With almost 1/4 of the population HIV positive, people are forced into being extremely cautious.
My student didn't mind putting her own Band-Aid on (I'm sure she totally understood) and nothing else was mentioned, but this scene stuck with me all day. And my heart broke again for this very sad reality these kids have to live with.
Please could you say a prayer today for Botswana and all countries dealing with this ongoing battle with the HIV/AIDS, especially for all the children whose lives have been severely affected by it.