Monthly Archives: September 2012

Quick Update

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(I wrote this a few days ago. I have not been able to get the internet to work to send it. Hope it works this time!)

Well, another month has passed and now we have been living in Swaziland for 4 months. Much has happened since we left home, more than I could possibly write about on our blog. Here is a bit of what has been happening.

-We’ve had lots of rain here over the past few weeks. Things are green and spring is here. Flowers are blooming and trees are blossoming and everything is just beautiful! I wish you could smell the orange blossoms. Yummy!

-I’ve learned it is hard to keep up with laundry when it rains.

-I still love my clothes line.

-We have made a bit more progress on starting the campus recycling project. Brad is very thankful our collection is out of his office.

-We have had 6 baby goats born in the last week or so. A set of twins have died so we just have 4 babies now. We are expecting another birth any day now. (The last mother finally gave birth to twins today.)

-We have bottle fed the goats for a few days…and it was fun!

-I might be more excited about these goats than the girls…

-We have made several more trips to the library…even in Mbabane, which is about an hour away.

-We have been blessed with some of the food from the gardens on campus. It is always a treat to get the veggies.

-Yesterday was chicken slaughter day, again.

-I got my hair cut today at a real haircut place. I was growing it out, but I gave that up.

-Some seeds we have planted in our "own" garden have grown into plants…canteloupe, zinnia, and sunflowers. The flowers are blooming and there is a flower on the canteloupe plant.

-We have tomatoes on our tomato plants too.

-Our internet provider has been in trouble (in court) and we have had to make some internet changes. Our internet often does not work. It is pretty frustrating.

-One of my favorite quotes from the past week or so was this, "Mom, I’m tring not to scream, pick my nose and I’m learning how to READ!!!!" All coming from a very excited, sweet girl.

-I am learning the songs that we often sing on campus (non-English) and sometimes I even know when to click! You see, some letters in siSwati you click when you say them. I think there are different kinds of clicks. I only know one, but I know when it’s coming…sometimes.

-The girls are also learning the songs here and it is fun to hear them sing in other languages.

-We know songs and don’t even know what language it is.

-We really, REALLY miss Jason’s Deli…a whole lot!

-The container will be arriving soon (hopefully) and we will (finally) get our bed and our books! I can hardly wait to open up the boxes!

-I often have really great things to write about….then by the time I get a chance I forget what I was going to write about.

-I also wonder what YOU would like to know about. Do you have any specific questions or things you would like to know about? I would love your comments about things you would be interested in hearing about.

We are doing well. This is a quick, random update. Hopefully I will get a chance to be more regular writing on the blog…if the internet will cooperate.

Let me know what you would like to hear about.

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One of Those Days

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Today was one of those days…but not like the regular “one of those days”.  It all started two days ago.  You may recall we have been waiting for the goats on campus to have their babies.  We knew September was the expected month and so we have been checking often.

Two days ago the first momma delivered twins.  We missed it by about an hour, but we were excited to see them fresh out of the oven.  They are so very cute.

We knew another momma was going to deliver soon.  We went into town yesterday and like any good goat would do, it had her babies while we were gone.  Twins again. This goat was a little different though.  A few days before she had her babies something happened to her legs and she won’t walk.  Our friend Spencer, the goat expert on campus, told us he was concerned she might have a problem delivering the babies.

It turns out he was right.  She got one baby out and then was not able to get the other out for a while.  That goat was born with a lot of problems and did not make it through the night.

The mother, for some strange reason, was not being very motherly and was not really taking care of her other baby either.  It would not feed it and it was very weak.

This is where today picks up.  There are two more goats that are expected to deliver any day now.  Since we have missed the first two deliveries the girls and I (okay, really just me) decided we would just pack up our school stuff today and just do school at the goats…in hopes of getting to see a baby being born.

So, we did just that.  Packed our stuff and headed to the goats.  As we were looking around we noticed the goat born the day before was not looking so great and hardly breathing.  We talked to our friend Spencer and he told us it would probably not live 30 more minutes if it did not get fed.

How could we possibly let that goat just sit there and not try something?  So, the Carter girls went to work…fast!  We made a bottle, with the help of our friend Nancy, out of the finger to a rubber glove and a coke bottle.  We got some (cow) milk and in hopped Rachael (that would be me) in the goat pen to rescue the goat.  Well, it seemed like it would be that easy.  I’m glad no one was there except for my girls, to see me “hop” over the fence to get the goat.  I did eventually get the baby and get back over the fence (and did not even split my pants).

We immediately tried to feed the baby goat, but it would not even suck. We had to just squirt the milk in its mouth.  It was so weak it could hardly swallow.  After trying right there at the goat’s pen for a good while and baking in the sun, the girls were getting hungry for lunch.  We decided to take the goat home and the girls fed it while I fixed lunch.

We let it rest after lunch and then later in the afternoon we got it to feed it again.  At this point some goat milk and a bottle was delivered to us, but since the baby was not sucking we just kept with our handmade bottle.  Ellianna did a great job taking care of the goat…in its final hour.  Not too long after the milk was delivered to us the goat died.

But it was also about that time we found out we also needed to feed the twin goats that were born first.  The mother is not producing enough milk for them and they are needing more food.  So,we set aside the dead goat and went to get one of the twins to bring home and give it a bottle.

After it drank as much as we could get it to drink…and a couple more children that came to the scene later, we returned it and got the other baby to feed.

After all the goats were safely back where they belong, I had to then ask another student here what they do with dead animals.  He told me to take it to this other guy and he would take care of  it for me.  So, at this point  I am DONE with the dead goat.  I had to move it after it died because it was laying on a towel and I needed it and it was already getting stiff.  DONE for sure!  I actually met this guy as I was walking to my house and said to him, “I have a dead goat on my porch.  Would you mind to come and get it?”  He very kindly came and…I guess took it to goat heaven.

The girls seem to be fine with it all.  We knew there was a good chance the goat would not make it, but how could we not try to help???

Our friend Spencer said the babies need to keep being fed and do not need to stay out in the cold.

So tonight, I have two goats sleeping in a box inside my house.  I have given them both a bottle and will feed them again.  Hope they like to sleep as much as I do!

And…we are still waiting on more baby goats anytime now.  We did not finish all our school today, but maybe it can count as science.

Goats were not the only other living/non-living things we saw today.  Here are some of the other nature things we encountered: cows out on campus, a huge bee of some kind, a gigantic grasshopper, a dead frog, some unusual birds, a ladybug, and ants (in my house).

It was just one of those days…

I Wish I Had My Camera

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There are many times I am out and about and see something and think "I wish I had my camera". Today was one of those days.

We were out to lunch and I took a girl to the bathroom. There was a sign above the sink that said, "Dear Ladies, please excuse the inconvenience. The tap is broken. Please use the paraplegic toilet to wash your hands".

The sign really cracked me up. What we call a bathroom is called a toilet here. Sometimes using different words makes for funny translations…even if you know what is trying to be communicated.

And, because I don’t always believe everything I hear, I tried the tap…and it worked. Wheew!

A Weekend Away

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We got a chance to go away last weekend to a lodge in South Africa.  Brad had a retreat there and we thought it would be fun for us all to go too.  That is pretty much what the Carter girls do…we tag along with Brad on his trips.  We find our own things to do while he does his “work” thing.

The place we stayed was interesting. It was a nature reserve and there were animals just roaming around. And quite an interesting mix of animals from rabbits, to ponies, to some white antelopeish animal, to a couple of ostrich, and some mongoose looking things, and many peacocks.

Several times we just walked out of our room to find a pony standing on our porch, or peacocks just sitting there.  Even one of the ostrich’s decided to plop down right outside our door.  There were always bunnies running around everywhere.

There was another part that had a fence where there were turkeys, a pig and some of the other animals I mentioned already.  I heard there were monkey’s there too, but I never saw any.

The girls enjoyed (for a little while) the pool.  It was FREEZING and I was not brave enough to get in the water, but there was a small “kiddie” pool they liked to play in…until they turned blue and their teeth started chattering.

It was a nice place and nice to get away for a bit.  It was also very nice to come home.  You know the feeling when you are gone from home and then you just feel better when you get back home again.  Well, I had that feeling while we were gone.  I guess that means Swaziland is feeling more like home the longer we are here.  It was nice to get back home to our usual ways of life…well, most of them anyway.

Rainy Day Fun

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The past few days have been cold and rainy.  They have actually been really nice, a welcome break from the heat.  The temperatures have been rising which have made me a bit nervous about the upcoming summer season.  The winter has not been too bad, but we will see about summer.  It probably wouldn’t be that bad if we has a place to go (like inside our house) to cool off. But, we don’t.  We will make it though, I’m sure of it!

I’m not exactly sure how this all came about today, but one minute the kids were asking me to tie them on my back and the next minute I actually was doing it.  You will have to forgive the pictures…they are not great, but they all wanted to try it and get a picture, too!

Maybe after a few days of being stuck inside you have to get creative in entertaining.  And, this all happened before we even did any school for the day.

I’m sure the Aunties are laughing about now.  I know, I know.  I need some lessons.  I will add it to the list of things I need someone to teach me!