i used the word "grody" for the first time since perhaps 4th grade the other day. i don't even know how to spell it. but, i used it in reference to myself. i got sick on friday, so suddenly and so dramatically that i have not left my house since friday afternoon. i showered today for the first time since thursday (yeah, i went to work and didn't shower on friday, so what?). that was the longest that i had been standing up since i was at work on friday. i have gone through a box and a half of tissue and a roll of toilet paper since saturday morning. there is only one word to describe me: grody.

p.s. i am getting ready to venture out of the house for the first time in four days...don't be too impressed. i am going to dillons to get some meds. i live a block from dillons. and i'm not wearing a bra.


finally...the third and final leg of our SA trip...the Transkei

Thanks to my new computer (remember the "blue screen of death?" It proved to be the catalyst for buying a new mac!), I am finally able to tell you about the final leg of our trip to SA. After our time in Jo-burg, we flew down to East London, where we were met by Daniel and Kristi on Thanksgiving day. They are from the KC/Wichita area and have been serving in the coastal region of SA with an organization called Oceans of Mercy. Their purpose is to feed children, but that job can have many different faces. Kristi keeps a wonderful blog that you should check out from time to time as she describes their experiences. http://kristiapplesauce.typepad.com/kristi/
The region that we visited is called the Transkei. It was one of the 10 tribal homelands that SA was divided into during Apartheid. It was a "dumping ground" for Xhosa people that the white people did not want in the cities. It still is one of the most uneducated, impoverished areas of SA.

We were able to see a few types of ministries dedicated to feeding children up close from the "other side." We observed the benefits and challenges that Daniel and Kristi face in trying to feed kids in the most reliable, consistent way possible without giving handouts and stripping the people of their dignity. They constantly ask themselves how they can help people to learn to feed themselves and become self-sustaining without trying to "americanize" them.

One of the villages we visited, called Bukwini, has a child sponsorship partnership with a church in the States. The council maintains a list of needy children and families and prioritizes the "most" needy when a new sponsor becomes available. The money provides a monthly food parcel with basic like milk, mealie, oil, sugar, etc. as well as clothing for school. We visited on a day when the food was being delivered, sorted into parcels, and distributed to the guardian of the child that is being sponsored. There are challenges, though, like having to say "no" to giving away food on a whim (food depends on the number of sponsors) and knowing that once the food is distributed there is not a guarantee that it will go where it is supposed to go. It was good for us to see these challenges up close.

We also visited a village where Daniel and Kristi have helped a woman to run a daycare. At this daycare, Mama Christina is able to feed kids two healthy meals a day, store their school clothes and shoes in cubbies to keep them in good shape for longer, and teach the children. Mama Christina was recently trained on how to keep a garden and now she is teaching her daycare kids to do the same so that they will have this skill as adults. Also, she is a rocking soccer coach! She has a team that competes with other area villages and these boys are awesome! We played around with them for a few hours and they were clearly superior!

We learned a ton from our time with Daniel and Kristi. They are also doing a lot of work to train people in basic first aid and nutrition to help lessen the effects of HIV/AIDS. Read Kristi's blog for more on that!


cecil adventures...funny story...even if you are dog person

so, cecil is a rather social cat. all of our neighbors know him and regularly report to us about his visits to their yard or porch. during the summer, he comes home every evening smelling of bbq because he frequents all of the neighborhood cookouts. he's quite popular.
anyway, due to cecil's roamings we have a little collar and a tag that says "CECIL" and my phone number on it. the other day, cecil came home in the evening with a piece of masking tape on his collar. on the tape was written, "i think every dish is mine" with a smiley face. "oh no," i thought, "cecil's pilfering from a neighbor's cat dish again." there's nothing i can really do about this. i mean, if you put catfood outside, you can't really be surprised that it becomes a community dish, right? i figured if the mystery sticky note person was really offended by cecil's behaviors then they could call me.

next day, cecil comes home with a new note attached to the collar. this time it says, "cecil t catt at facebook." we looked on facebook and, yes, cecil now has a facebook page. courtesy of a neighbor that has been wooed by his cecil-ness. i don't have a facebook page but my cat does. he doesn't even have thumbs, but he has a facebook page. hilarious.

so if any of you facebook-ers want to "friend" my cat you may do so. cecil t catt.