Thursday, June 3, 2010

The "Lorato Baby House"...House of Love

Sorry it's been so long since Ive written Mom! It's been busy;) Everything is wonderful here in Botswana. Beautiful weather, amazing children, and an incredible work taking place. Since Ive been here, Ive been assigned to the orphan house, "Lorato Baby House," which is where all the infant orphans are housed. I am completely in love and am definitely bringing one back! haha...Each of their stories is unique and tear jerking. BEcause of confidentiality, I do not have any pictures at the moment but will have a time to take some in the next few days so you can see why I am smitten. Currently, there are 5 infants, all under the age of 1, except our Khosi, aka "chief". He is the oldest at 20 months. Here are there stories:

Rose aka "Rosita" (since she likes to shake her booty)- She was brought to the mission at 1 month where she was found in plastic bag with a note from her mother stating that she loved her very much but her circumstances wouldnt allow her to keep Rose. She also had AIDS. Rose is the chunkiest, softest, most sweet baby Ive ever seen. She is the one I wish I could bring home with me:( SHe is almost 6 months old.

Benolo and Nadul- Set of brother and sister twins brought to the mission at about 3 months, they are currently 5 months. There story really brought tears to my eyes. Their mother was raped and birthed the twins. Upon their birth, the mother became very mentally ill and depressed and upon several occassions, tried to kill the twins. The grandmother brought them in and they are now surrounded by so much love. You can tell they have been through alot because Nadul cries more than most babies Ive ever heard, but they are both sweet and loving. 

Olisejo "Blessed"-she was the firt baby brought to the mission, actually during our visit last year. Se is a miracle baby and is the most loving and laughing child. She loves to bite but she is playful and loud:) She will be a year on the 16th. She was found by the side of the road and was brought to a hospital by a villager. She was a premie at about 5 weeks early. She is strong fighter and is a blessing to everyone she meets. She is a gift from God and you can only hope that her mother is ok. Her story is amazing because of the fight and amount of prayers it took to get her to the Lorato House. We were a huge part of that last year. The fight with the government for the rights to house infants here at Love Botswana was our biggest challenge last year and it is so amazing to see that after a year there are now 5 babies. :)

Khosi aka "Chief"- 20 months, he was brought to the mission by his teen mother, which actually attends the village church. Their goal is to reunite the mother and Khosi when she has finished school and is capable of caring for herself and her son. Khosi is the man of the house and is very loving. He LOVES to read books and walk around the house naked. haha...he has the most beautiful big brown eyes ive ever seen on a child and the biggest dimples:) I just love him...he is my dance partner. We like to dance to the "Jungle Book" song, "Bear necessities":)

All of these babies have brought so much joy to my life in such a short amount of time spent with each of them. They have so much love to give and I am so thankful that the staff and volunteers here treat them with such love and care. The local women I have been working with have treated me with such kindness and openness. They ask if I am married and have kids and I always laugh at them.  I tell them Ill probably just bring Rose back with me and be a single mom for a long time. haha...they also tell me I have a black butt and that If I ever get pregnant, I am going to explode! How comforting. I have been doing a lot of solo work while the other team works within the schools and other various projects so Ive had a lot of alone time, which is nice. We have alot of great stuff planned this week and next and I will do my best to share every minute with you. Im looking forward to showing pictures of the babies when I can. 

I am considering staying longer if possible since Sierra Leone fell through, if I can get my flights changed around. If not, I will still be going through London and am looking forward to some quality Lauren time:) When I visited Oxford last Jan, it was beautiful, peaceful, and I felt safe so I am considering staying there for a day and just relaxing, writing, and eating in some of the awesome pubs:) It would be a lot more fun without the snow on the ground. We will see, but knowing how I am, I will probably not know until the day before so no worries mom, I will be safe! Ive got mad karate skills ;) Anyways, I need to go eat lunch and play with my babies! Love you all and thanks for everything...i miss you so much!:)

ps...yes, Prince Harry and William are here and we may get to meet them next week! Im so excited!! :)


"A man travels the world in search of what he needs
and returns home to find it."
-George Moore 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Botswana, Africa

After 2 days of travel, we finally arrived on the beautiful Okavanga Dessert of Maun, Botswana. My Aunt Karma and my cousin Christian travelled to meet Daniella, her boyfriend, and 3 of her college friends to work with Love Botswana Outreach Mission. I will be working with the Lorato Baby House..."House of Love,'' where the orphaned babies are housed, most of them with Aids. The oldest is age 2, so as you can imagine, I am extremely excited to pour my love into these beautiful kids! There will be a lot of other projects going on and each of us have some individual works. It will be a very eventful 2 weeks and I couldnt be more excited! I really need this in my life right now. It seems the past few months have been filled with disappointment and setback, but trips like this always seem to remind me of my passion and purpose and I always leave feeling refreshed and more in love than before. I also planned to go from Joburg to Sierra Leone after the first 2 weeks; however, I had to cancel the day before we left because of some safety issues. I will definitely be planning a return in the future.

The most eventful thing happened within the first 10 minutes we arrived. One of the local guys told us to come look at this huge snake so we all ran towards his direction. It was a huge Puffadder, which is a poisonous and deadly snake that is the "fastest striking snake in the world". We watched as he caught it, decapitated and skinned it and then a few minutes later, he threw it on the grill for everyone to try. Wow! I thought I would try it and it was very interesting, much like chicken and a nasty after taste. I think im paying for it now because I have heartburn and a terrible stomachache:( Poor snake..

Also, on my trip back to the states in mid June, I will be laying over in London for a few days where I think I will have some ME time and just explore a bit. I want to use this time to reflect on some things and find some new direction, I also hope to start writing again, which is something I love to do. Im so hopeful for the things this trip has in store and Im open to the wonderful things God is going to do in my life. I need to realize that my plan isn't always the best and to trust his will. This time is definitely a vulnerable and tough time in my life, but I am strong and I have an incredible support system that I appreciate so much. Don't worry, I will be safe, Im not stupid and I can be a pretty savvy traveler :) It's experiences like this that bring the joy back into my life and help me appreciate everything I do have, rather than the things I don't. Thanks for all the prayers and love...see you soon!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hayden's 1st birthday :)

This weekend my niece turned 1. I cannot believe how fast time flies; it just seemed like she was born yesterday and now all of a sudden she is running around and making puppy noises :) She is literally the pride and joy in my life. She makes me so happy and I love her so much! Im so proud of my sister for being such an incredible, loving mother. Hayden had a great birthday and got plenty of presents to last her the rest of the year! Her best was her Power Wheels Harley :) I can't wait until she can stay the whole week with me and then Aunt Loo can take her to do crazy stuff. Its great to have the benefits of having a kid around, yet you can give them back at the end of the day....she lights up my day:)

Enjoy these awesome pics...she really loved her cake..can you tell? haha

Sunday, April 11, 2010

DFW MudRun body hates me!

So I had a crazy idea to get some people from work together to do the DFW Mudrun. It's a 10k with over 10 obstacles in between the running and each obstacle involved LOTSSSS of mud. Some of the obstacles included a rope wall, over and under, the army crawl under wires, crossing a river, crossing over logs over mud pit, along with other crazy muddy, intense obstacles. The run is to raise funds for the young marines and a few other various charities, so it was for a great cause. My friend Karle from work, her boyfriend, and my roomate Jaime all decided to make a team since a few other friends had backed out. I drove from Fayetteville today at 7am and then went right into running so you can imagine how exhausted I was to begin with. On top of that, we had to wear camo pants and boots, so I wore my mountain climbing boots..MISTAKE!! My legs and lower back are hating me right now on top of filling with water and mud, which added 15 extra pounds..haha. I respect the men and women in military after this experience. Its amazing how they can run that distance with all the added weight in ever condition possible. I was very motivated and had a lot of drive to finish strong. Overall, it was an awesome experience and we all made it...we crossed the finish line together and we didnt leave anyone behind. The race had 4000 participants and was 6.3 miles. We finished at a little over an hour. I was proud that we survived and we looked like little mud monsters:)The best part was at the end when the fire truck hosed us off. It stung like a beast and was freezing but it beat being muddy and crusty! After an hour long shower and digging the grit from every area of my body, I will sleep hard tonight and can guarantee a miserably sore upcoming week. Here are a few pics...enjoy!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Surviving the humps:)

On days like this, Im reminded of all the wonderful things I do have rather than the things i dont. I realize that everyday is a blessing and I should focus on the positive, rather than the hurt. Anything worth having is a challenge whether it's career, love, or friendships...I realize this everyday. Stay strong and "pull myself up by the bootstraps," good things will happen..thanks mom:)

It's easy to get off track and dwell on the things that are keeping you down, rather than the great things that are happening. Ive been presented with so many great opportunities and have just started my last prerequisite class to take while I wait to get accepted into PA school; however, things have been weighing heavily on my mind and heart lately. I guess when everything in your life is up in the air and unsettled, it's easy to get lost sometimes. When people you love and confide in are miles away, its hard to push through those days sometimes. From love, friends, school, and my future, I know these things will all work out for the best, yet its human to worry and hurt when things are still in remission. Between my accelerated 8 week class, full time work, and preparing for a move to a new state or out of the country, I know these next few months will keep me busy and distracted and will hopefully bring many new things. Ill know about PA school before you know it and then I can start to breathe again! Thanks to my amazing family, friends and God, I have been able to pull through these minor humps, but I know the things I want in life are things worth the struggle and the wait:) I just remind myself to take each day as a new fresh start and to enjoy this beautiful weather, try to breathe and relax; it always works out how it's supposed to. Enjoy this time as it's for something big!

Romans 8:28, James 1:2-4

So excited to see my family the next 2 weekends!! yay!!:) I love all of you more than you know!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Girls Just wanna have fun!

Hello my lovely family! I cant believe spring has sprung! These past few months have been flying by so fast! Just an update on life because I know I cant always keep up with everyone but I have really appreciated all of the sweet and uplifting emails and calls from all my loved ones, it really means more than you will ever know and I cant tell you just how much all of your prayers, support and comments have helped  me. I've definitely been a little impatient with my life lately, but I have been praying for strength and guidance probably more than I ever have before. I know its a very pivotal time in my life and I want to make sure I make the right decisions for myself. God has definitely been separating me from others, i think he still wants me to just be still and listen. I guess sometimes space can be a good thing even though its difficult. Ive been reading more than I think I ever have in my life recently. I guess when I have down time throughout the day and at night it helps me relax and find some peace. I just started reading "The Kite Runner," and I love it! Ive become very fascinated with the middle eastern culture since India and I realized I was very ignorant so Im digging further into the unknown:) Mary and I have become new roomies:) Its a temporary situation until I know the next step in my life as far as school and location goes. Its been a great transition to be a little closer with friends and have some much needed girl time. You forget how truly important is to have great friends that really do care; not just a selfish, superficial friendship. Mary has proven to be one amazing, uplifting and trustworthy friend that I could have ever asked for, especially in these past few months when things have been trying at times and I just needed a good shoulder to cry on and to make me laugh. Oh, and cant share a jar of pickles with. Ive been surrounding myself with positive strong friends and family that have really kept me grounded and happy. Im seeing the true value in a good relationship, not just the quantity of friends but the quality. I had my first girls night in forever last night with Mary and a few girls from work! We went to a karakoee bar and had a blast! I definitely belted out some tunes! My class starts tomorrow and will end May 13, then hopefully after that, I will now about school and I can start my new beginnings in a new town or a new country possibly:) I should have my interview in Tampa in late April! We will see...something new and wonderful approaches every day and I can thank none other than God. Yes, there are days that i get a little emotional but there's this amazing peace and strength that i've recently discovered on a different level than ive ever experienced before. I think it's al of my families prayers! Even though we are unsure of the unknown, if our heart tells us something, we should listen. Im listening more with my heart lately instead of over thinking too much. I have certain things I want to be committed to or people I want to be able to trust me and ive found that i am the person i was raised to be, all the other obstacles that tripped me along the way have become smaller and smaller and is something i have been able to strongly push through. Theres alot inside I will always have and I look to that for strength. God truly has covered me with love and filled my heart when it was broken. I love you all and Ill see you all at Easter (hopefully)!! I cant wait to squeeze my little Hayden cheeks:))
Another thing, ive gained like 7 pounds!! what is wrong with me?? haha....actually i feel like a big kid now! haha..thanks to all that ice cream and indian carbs:)
ps...Bob has been really sick for going on 10 days now; ever since he returned from Haiti. Ive been making sure he was ok everyday and helping him out since Cman is gone on spring break but I just wanted to tell everyone to keep him in your prayers, it was pretty scary! He's doing alot better now!
my little angel:) sisters day out in dallas!
Mary and I about to strut our karaokee skills
Girls Night Out!

"It helps to remember that hidden within every obstacle is a treasure to behold...your heart is wiser than you know"...still havent let go:)