Saturday, January 23, 2010

Christmas 2009

Christmas was a great time for all. Check out the hats they got from the Girl Scouts in Orange, County in California!
The twins....Jacobo and Esau.....growing up.
Ready for Christmas in our new clothes!
This year the kids got to go into town and do some shopping for Christmas.

Passing out presents........very special!

Special food was served all day.
Chicken and other good food for all at lunch time!
Time for dancing!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jerone goes to Moz

Sylvia takes a break from her hard work in the kitchen. Sylvia is one of our oldest "kids". She is doing a great job cooking. She is planning to go get some vocational training soon.
There is a lot of land at the orphanage for growing corn, vegetables, bananas, etc. The season are reversed so this is like the end of summer here. They are getting the ground ready for some planting soon.
Work in the fields is a group project.
Here is a typical meal if you are fortunate enough to be able to have this much. The white "stuff" on the top is the basic fare in Mozambique (and other African countries). In Moz it's called sudza. It is comparable to cornmeal mush (white corn). They eat a lot of this. It feels you up but has little nutrition. The greens on the left are from the garden and you can probably tell what the other portion is. Check out those eyes staring at you!
The transformer needed fixing so up they go to take care of it. While it was down it meant that the power wasn't working to pump the water from the well.
When you can't pump water you have to go and get it. Here are some pictures of the well and transporting water. Fortunately, its all fixed now!

This takes really talent!

Brianna Mitchell goes to Mozambique

Erin beaming when doing one of her favorite things......holding one of the babes!
Brianna can't get enough of these cuties......
The new kitchen goes up!!
The old kitchen goes down before it collapses!

more of Simon and Erin's visit

One special night was dinner at "Mozambique Restaurant" in Laguna. The owner who is from South Africa has also been to Mozambique. The meal was fabulous and Ivan the owner said the dinner was on the house. Here he is with Simon!

Here's a picture of the board trying on these shirts brought to us by Simon.....handmade! In this picture: David and Cheryl Zimmerman, Pat and Sheila Buttes, Chris and Elaine Falcioni, Vickie Smith, John and Susan Mitchell, Simon Mudiwa and Erin Mitchell

There was fun and games . this beautiful day in Laguna.
Lots of hours were spent listening, talking and seeking to know how we can benefit the children in "our orphanage" as best we can.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Simon Mudiwa and Erin Mitchell visit the United States.

Simon and John Mitchell.......a visit to the beach

October 2009

Simon Mudiwa, the director of the orphanage, was able make a visit to the United States in September for over 3 weeks. It was a time for meeting with the board, making plans, brainstorming ideas and working on areas of need for the orphanage. It was a good time of reflection and thinking of the future. The board was able to spend many hours together with Simon discussing goals for the future of the children in Mozambique. We learned so much about what is possible and how things are going. Simon was also able to hear about our hearts as well and what we dream for the future of these children.

Erin Mitchell......enjoying the ocean

Erin Mitchell was also able to visit for the month of September as well. Erin has been working at the orphanage in Mozambique for 12 years now and makes it home every year or two for a visit. Erin was able to catch up with family and friends, enjoy some swimming and her American favorites like pizza and hamburgers.

Erin with "her kids" in Mozambique.....

Some of the ideas and goals we discussed were expanding the school in February to more grades, growing more crops, more training for the staff and lots more.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Trip to Gorongoza ....July 2009

One of the special things we were able to participate in this summer was a trip to Gorongoza. Gorongoza is a game park in Mozambique that was once the glory of the country. During back to back wars the animals were poached, fighting took place, land mines were probably present and the entire place was nearly destroyed. Recently an American started pouring money into it to restore its former beauty and collection of native Africa

Our fearless vehicle for the trip to Gorongoza
animals. It has been a plan for quite awhile to take the children there for a field trip. While there this summer, we were able to go with about a dozen of the children (all 11 to 14 years old). The others will have to go at other times. It was such a great opportunity for them.....a very rare treat......and we were just as excited!

Some mixed emotions on the way there. Excitement, apprehension......this is a new experience!

We set up tents for the night and camped out. Jen even brought the ingredients for S'mores and showed them how to make them over a little charcoal fire. No graham crackers....we had to improvise!

Here are a couple of faces we saw on our tour. One group even got to see a lion.

CCheck out these faces!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer 2009 visit

In June Jennifer Nolte and I took off for Africa on a 14 hour flight to South Africa. Shortly after that we hopped on another plane for a short flight to
Mozambique and were met by my daughter Erin Mitchell, Simon Mudiwa and several others. We began our three week adventure. Jen and I are both teachers so we were very interested in being a part of the newly formed school on the orphanage property. We spent lots of hours participating in the workings of the school.....getting to know the children and new teachers, working alongside the teachers, teaching lessons and sharing the school materials we brought with us.
CFO-MOZ was able to help start a school on the premises in February of this year. The need for the school was overwhelming because of the dismal conditions of the public school system. The 3 year olds to the 8 year olds are the ones benefitting the most from the new school with a teacher full time each day. The older students get small group tutoring from another full time teacher when they are not in public school (which is only 3 hours a day).

Erin Mitchell and "her kids"
The children are thriving with their new teachers and their much improved school environment. We watched with excitement when we saw how much they are learning and how enthusiastic they were.