The Beauty of Life Rests In Africa

December 18th, 2012

Lumela!

I’m going to talk more about intimate moments/experiences while being here so far in order to kind of give you a small taste of what we’re experiencing. I hope you enjoy!

This morning a group of 6 of us got up around 4:15am to go for a walk outside of Thorns and into the village to watch the sunrise. Little did we know, the sun did not rise until 5:30am… giving us about an hour of waiting around. But as soon as the sun started to rise above the mountains, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. All I could think of during this moment was: “The beauty of life really does rest in Africa”. It completely made the hour wait worth it!

Every morning and every evening, a large group of children from the village meet us at the gates of where we are staying to play before we leave for our work site and when we get home from our work site. This is by far my favorite part of the day. A great number of us have already made individual friendships with certain children and each of us already has wonderful stories to share. Personally, I have made great friends with a 12 year old boy named Tapelo. We hit it off right from the first day, I’m pretty sure it was both of our love of dancing that started it :) He gave me a Sesotho name (many of the children have given Witt students Sesotho names) and mine is Debujo, which means “kindness.” Needless to say, that put an even bigger smile on my face. He is extremely bright and he wrote me an amazing letter today (several of us get letters from our friends) telling me how excited he is that I am here. It made my day! He, along with so many other children are great at teaching our Wittenberg group Sesotho words. (Our memories aren’t as great as we would probably prefer… but we’re slowly learning). The kids are currently on Summer break from school and therefore we’re a primary source of entertainment for them, and I’m pretty sure that they are even more of a pleasure for us. I know it is Wittenberg’s motto to pass on our light… however I’m pretty sure the kids are doing most of the passing it on.

Everybody is so warm, friendly, and just full of joy. I asked one 16 yr old boy today what he likes to do for fun and he said, “I just like to show people to love”. I think this is a great illustration for the mentality of several of the people that we come in contact with. This so far has been such a magical experience and I look forward to waking up tomorrow and having another beautiful day in Lesotho.

Hope all is well in the states!

Love, Ben

PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!! I hope it has been a great one! You deserve it :)

Habitat Day 2

December 18th, 2012

Hey everyone!

Today we continued our work on the two houses for the orphaned families.  We compacted the dirt then laid concrete in both houses. We also dug out the dirt around each of the houses in order to prevent flooding. The skilled laborers  continued to lay bricks as well as help us do our jobs.

It was nice and hot during our work time. There was very little clouds. Also, today many more children came to talk to us. However, unlike the children at Thorns, they did not speak much English. We were still able to communicate through gestures and games. Some of the boys played baseball with Josh, Dr. Rosenberg’s son. The kids also taught us some of their games. In addition to games, the children are more than willing to help teach us Sesotho.

One of the most enlightening moments of today was that a boy said he did not like Lesotho because we worked in the fields and ate porridge every day. He said he wanted to come to America.  On the other hand, we are astounded by the country’s beauty. This helped to show us how lucky we are coming from such great homes.

Tomorrow we will be throwing a carnival for the Children at the Baylor Clinic (pediatrics AIDS clinic). While this will be an emotional day, it will also be a great opportunity to put a smile on the kid’s faces and allow them to have fun.

Bye Bye,
Kenzie, Vitalia, and Sarah

 

P.S. Kenzie says Hi Mom and Dad! Zac– I found your friend David. He is writing you a letter

 

From Sarah: Hi Mom! Today I taught the boys here some Wittenberg cheers. They loved learning them and were really cute. We have videos. See ya soon. Love ya!

Day One

December 17th, 2012

Lumella family and friends!

We are in Lesotho and already working hard in the hot african sun. Today our tasks involved laying the foundation for two houses and digging a latrine. The two houses we started will be completed for two diffrent orphan headed house holds. Both of wich are tragic and motivating stories.

The first involves two very young children who lost both their parents, and were taken in by their grandmother, who passed away last week. A 15 yesr old female relative, who is also an ophant, was given the daunting task of tsking csre of these two children with no source of income. The second family involves two sisters that were born out of wedlock, and once their parents died their family disowned them.

All the people on the worksite kept these stories in mind as we moved dirt, fried in the sun, moved some more dirt, laid bricks, and then moved dirt back again. All of us are excited to see these houses be completed, however if we do not finish because of time, some of the donations have been put aside to ensure the project is completed.

The entire group is in awe of the breath taking scenery, and also the welcoming we have recieved from the Basotho people. There is no language barier when it comes to smiles and laughter. Regardless of the ocean between us, people are people, and smiles need no translation.

We look forward to the many work days ahead and returning to the site tomorrow!

Selahankle,
Jess Batanian, Maggi Quigley, Maggie Smith

From Maggie Smith, hey everybody I hope you are all doing well! I am awesome and so happy. Love you so much and happy birthday to the bestest sister in the whole world!! <3 Mags

From Jessie Batanian, hey mom, dad, grandpa, grandma, megan, chris, nick, kaye, morgan, grant, and everybody else reading this!! I hope you are doing marvelous and had a great Monday! To give you a laugh, i currently look like a lobster but it’s worth it! Love you all and cannot wait to share my experience with you! Hugs and kisses!

From Maggi Q: What up home skilletz?! Quick shoutout to all of you back home, especially those who supported my journy here. Mom, Dad, Ginny, and Nana, I love you very much and hope you are doing well. I’ll be in contact soon!

WE’RE HERE!!

December 16th, 2012

We have made it to Thornes safe and sound! The compound is absolutely beautiful with gardens everywhere. We left the hotel around 8am this morning and arrived here around 430pm this afternoon. We found out shortly after arriving that we are having some difficulties with the phone and internet here. It should be up and working soon but just know we are safe and will be able to communicate more soon!!

But as soon as we got here the children of the village were waiting at the gates for us. :) We unpacked and then met them and played some futbol and some hand games similar to “concentration” and “down by the banks.” They were all so sweet and also very clever! We have an early start tomorrow (leaving here at 8am) and will be starting on building a house. I am so so excited to see and experience everything! Onto the next adventure tomorrow :)

I love and miss you Mom, Dad, and Adam!! I hope you guys are having a good break :)

Rachel

December 14th, 2012

Well we are sitting in the Washington, D.C. Airport waiting to board the plane! I can’t believe today has finally arrived. I remember filling out the application for this trip in May thinking that my Mama would never let me go to Africa and yet here I am!

 

-Chelsey

Get Hyped!!!

December 14th, 2012

I can’t believe I’m traveling half a world away in just a few hours! I’m super excited to embark on this amazing journey!!!

Leaving!

December 14th, 2012

I can’t believe it’s here already. I didn’t sleep very much because I’m too excited, plus I have a whole 18 hours to do that on the plane to South Africa. I’ve been wanting to do something like this since I was in 6th grade, and finally I am able to! A big thank you to all that made this a possibility for me. See you all on the flip side.

- Maggi Q

Road Trip Time!

December 13th, 2012

Well I still don’t really know how it happened, but finals are FINALLY over!! Ben, Brittany, Alyssa and I are about an hour and a half into our drive to DC and we are so excited! The car is jam packed with suitcases, donations, and of course lots of snacks. We have about five and a half more hours of pre-trip bonding left before we arrive. We’re going to have a LOT of travel time in the next couple of days, but it will be the perfect opportunity to catch up on the sleep that hasn’t happened this week. I just can’t wait to be there. I have no idea what’s in store for all of us, but that’s half the fun; I just know it will be amazing. I’m so excited that I’m not even going to complain about the terrible, terrible country music I’m being forced to listen to right now.

Well, here goes nothing! See everyone tomorrow!

-Emily

The big day is almost here!

December 13th, 2012

I head out for D.C tomorrow morning! I am so excited for this experience =D  in 48 hours we will be in a marvelous new world! hope everyone has safe travels!!!!

-moriah

It’s Our Time Lesotho 2012-2013

December 11th, 2012

I can’t believe we leave in 3 days, 72 hours, 4320 mins in counting. I completed all of my finals now I just anxiously await the time we step foot on that plane and embark on the journey to Lesotho. The excitement has taken over me and I look forward to ALL the new experiences we will encounter together. It seems like just yesterday we had our first meeting, now we’re talking about what we’ll be eating on the first night :) I need to start packing lol, that’s all for now but get ready for MORE!!!!!!

P.S. Good Luck on Finals, and have a safe flight/drive to DC everyone.