Aug 14th-my last full day in Africa, for now....

here is my last blog entry from Africa:
today pepito decided it would be a good idea to open a jar of baby powder and then throw it at me. i had to tell him he was being naughty, but i was laughing so hard inside. the little ones all still have colds and so of course so do i, but it is ok. i gave vitamin c to all of them yesterday.
i went running yesterday with the older girls, and we talked about what we want to do with our lives and where we want to live and how many children we all want to have and regular things like that. they are all courageous and strong young women and i am proud to be their friend.
today we went to the market for a final shopping trip and bought some presents for people at home. we also- gasp- ate ice cream.
the kids taught me some more kwadam, now i know how to say "i love you and i want to kiss you" but i also know how to say 'i hate you and i want to punch you in the face' hopefully i never meet anyone who i want to say that to. i also learned how to say "an elephant sat on my car' but i forgot it before i could write it down. oh well, i guess that that is another phrase i will probably never have to use.  
tonight we will make flat bread for tomorrow morning, even though i will have to pack mine and eat it on the plane. then mabye the kids will dance, they like to dance to african hip hop music in their free time. they made me a cd of it, so now i can rock out to namibian rap in ovambo at home.
i am going to miss them so much, the three little ones, my champion chicken chaser, and the older girls, especially the ones who i give voice lessons to. it is going to be hard to leave, but it will be nice to go home, sleep, eat sushi, and get rid of my farmer's tan.
i think that God has used me to make cozv a better place for the summer, and to be a good incfluence on the kids, but my time here has proved to me that i am still learning so much that will prepare me to work with kids in the future, and have empathy and compassion for people. i learned how to give and keep giving even when i feel so tired that i worry about falling over. i am so thankful for my time here and i will leave part of my heart with these children.

August 9th

yesterday  went to church in the village with some of the staff here. the service was half in lozi and half in english, and it was three or four hours long!
i sang some of the songs i know in lozi for them and they loved it, they were so surprised that a white girl could sing in lozi, but they were disappointed that i can't speak it. their singing is beautiful, they make up amazing harmonies and they sing in loud strong voices.
today we went to the wedding of two of our african staff also. all the kids got to go which was fun for them, and they made friends with the kids from the village. the houses there are made of mud and have tin or grass roofs. the kids were all saying 'i have to go to the bathroom but where is the toilet?" and i had to explain to them that they had to use the bushes.
the people are so hospitable but everything in africa always runs late, so the wedding didn't start until an hour after after it was supposed to. all the kids from the local villages danced in singing at the same time and made a circle around us, and then all the mothers and aunts and cousins of the bride came in singing to her. the bride wore a traditional african dress and hat, but the groom wore a suit, pink sunglasses, and chucks.
the reception included lots more singing, dancing, and speeches, and i think it is still going on, they probably will not stop until they run out of food or get totally exhausted.
the little kids have colds, so i gave them cough medicine. we played with play dough all afternoon today.
i cannot beleive that i will be coming home in one week.

Aug 8th

Jamie's Mom here again. Jamie comes home Aug 16th. If you are interested in the Children of zion Village web site it is at:
They also have a facebook page.

Jamie will be making a few more updates this, her last week. Please keep them all in prayer, the volunteers, the change of command with the Minks and, most of all, the children.

Aug 7th

Ok, this is Jamie's Mom. The team from Calvary just got back and Jessica and Jenny had some pics of Jamie on facebook. So, I borrowed the pics and here are a few on Jamie's blog.
Please keep her in prayer...Jamie's Mom

Aug 7

today i found out that one of the workers here speaks 11 languages! it isnt unusual for someone here to speak like four, but eleven is so many! she speaks english, lozi, afrikaans, vambo, lesotho, and like seven other ones.
in the last few days we have seen lots of hippos and some crocodiles, and a chameleon and lots of beautiful birds. the sun when it goes down is twice it's normal size and it is getting warmer, because it has been winter here for a while. winter here isn't very cold though.
we also had some birthdays this week. when it is someone's birthday, we make huge cakes with frosting and everyone gets a piece. when the girls turn 16, mama rebecca takes them to town to get their ears pierced.
there is a new baby goat whose mother is sick, so we are feeding her from a bottle. last night and the night before, she slept in a box in the little girls' room so that they could feed her during the night. they were very responsible and we read stories to it.
some of the older kids have gone to windhoek for a sports competition. they will be gone for the weekend, but i am proud of them because the last time they went, they came back talking about the bad behavior of the other kids and how they were the only good ones there.
i am still so in love with these children and i will miss them when i go home. 

August 5

i spend lots of time here with the three three year olds. since i am not allowed to put their names on the internet, i will call them josefina, miguel, and pepito.
miguel is the sweetest child. he never cries and is helpful. he is getting so big and i said "miguel soon you will be as tall as a giraffe!" he is the one who got stuck in the hole last week.
josefina has the saddest eyes. she is only three, but her eyes naturally look as if she has seen a hundred years worth of living. she is so beautiful. she likes to wear pink, but she is very tough as says things like 'i'll beat you!" and "i'll dig a hole and put you in it". she was sick and sneezing and coughing yesterday and my heart broke for her, but she is better now.
pepito is the one who is always causing trouble. he is the one who threw shoes at me the first week i was here, and the one who stole the vaseline. yesterday he had a glue stick and was rubbing it all over his body. he looks like an angel, however, and he is behaving better now. yesterday i had an adventure with him though.
he scratched josefina, so i took her to the medical room to put some anti bacterial cream on it. pepito was angry with me because i was holding him and i had to put him down, and also because he got in trouble for scratching. i took josefina to the med room and my mistake was that i left the keys in the door when i unlocked it, so the next thing i knew i heard a noise and turned around and he had locked us in! he ran away laughing his head off. i opened the window and one of the workers came and let us out. it was so funny, but i had to tell pepito he was very naughty and punish him.
i love th three of them so much. it will break my heart to leave them.

August 2

this week there is a lot of preparation going on for the change in management at cozv. they are meeting with the local tribal chiefs and social workers to discuss the changes, so please pray that everything goes smoothly and that the kids will be able to deal with the transition.
it is starting to get warmer here now, and i learned some songs in lozi and a new word in quadam. it's !koive, and it means kiss.
yesterday we went for a walk with a lot of the younger children on the dirt road. we sang songs. they know the bumblebee song, the noah's ark song, and lots of other ones. when we walk or run on the road we always meet people, some who we know and some who we don't, but in namibia everyone always says hello to each other, even if you don't know them. they say good morning, or good evening, or good afternoon, or just hello. and in lozi, hello is guchwani, which actually means how are you, and you reply hande, which means good. i asked what you say if you are not doing good, but they just laughed at me and said that you always say hande, even if it's not true.
the volunteer team from calvary umc leaves on tuesday but they have been really helpful, they gave the kids a week off from school and taught skills like sewing, drama, and first aid instead.
this morning we had church and then i chased around the little kids and pretended to eat them. one lesson i have learned here is that kids are basically the same all over the world. sometimes they are naughty and sometimes they take advantage of you and take things for granted, but most of the time they are sweet and creative and playful. the older ones are amazing young people also. it is beautiful that this is a place where kids dont have to worry about their next meal or where they can sleep, but they have the freedom to be kids, which means that they might act badly sometimes.

July 28th

yesterday i was homesick, but today i don't want to come home. if i could smash africa and home together it would be the perfect place.
i have still been carrying the littlest one on my back wrapped in a long piece of cloth. also, i got sunburned, picked wild aloe, and used it for the burn.  i also wear shetenges and then when the kids and i are sitting together on the grass, i use a shetenge as a blanket. when the local staff see all these things, they say 'now you are an african, you have to stay here'. it will break my heart to leave, but i miss home also.
the smallest one has grown even since i have been here. he used to be afraid of white people, now he sleeps on my back. he used to just crawl, now he walks, and he has also started speaking in the last few weeks.
the most misbehaving three year old has also changed, the one who put vaseline all over himself and threw shoes at me. now he has calmed down a lot and is much more respectful. it is so beautiful to be here long enough to watch these kids grow up.
the team from Calvary is teaching the kids first aid, which is something really important for them to know. arrangements are also being made for vocational school for the older ones, and hopefully a few will go to university. they are growing into the most amazing young men and women, i am so proud of them for how hard they work.
yesterday one of the little boys was sitting on my lap and his breath was so bad! i said 'did you brush your teeth this morning?" he said "nooo..." 'did you brush them yesterday?" "noooo..." did you brush them the day before that?" "nooo..." "do you have a toothbrush?" "nooo..." so i then got toothbrushes for the three three year olds, and made sure that they brushed their teeth. today that first one walked around saying 'look at my teeth! my teeth smell good!" it was so cute.

July 23

please pray for the kids this week, and always, because they are going through some difficult situations. there is going to be a huge transition here because the couple who run the home, gary and rebecca mink, are moving back to america and they will be replaced by others. also, some of the kids need prayers for dealing with the physical and emotional effects of hiv.
the two baby goats are like baby angels and they are getting stronger every day. i have also been getting to know the local staff better, the namibians who are employed by cozv. we hang laundry (imagine how much laundry) and cook and take care of the babies together and i invented a new way of wearing a shetenge which they like.
the team of volunteers from calvary umc, my church at home, arrived here a few days ago and they will stay for two weeks. there are eight of them and it was really good to see them. whenever there is a voulenteer team here, gary takes them for a pickup truck safari through chobe wildlife park in botswana, which is about an hour and a half away. i did not go with the other teams but this time i went, we rode through chobe in the back of the truck, and we saw hundreds of elephants and giraffes and zebras and impalas and kudu and baboons and alligators and hippos, and one big dragon lizard and two lionesses. the giraffes are my favorite because of how they look so graceful but so totally ridiculous at the same time. i love watching them run or the way they drink with their legs all splayed out awkwardly.
tomorrow is friday and then it will be the weekend. on saturdays we have fried flatbread for breakfast and on saturday nights sometimes we watch a movie. on sundays there is church in the morning and then soccer in the afternoon.
the school system for the kids allows them to go at their own speed, which is good, only some of them are behind because they did not start school before they came to live here. so there are high school aged kids who want to read books but don't yet have the reading ability to read beyond children's books. i always read to the little kids, but now i am reading to the older ones too, i am reading them the narnia books and they love them, except i always have to stop and explain the brittish-isms to them. thinking about that, it is so beautiful to see the little ones who have been here since they were babies, being on track witht heir education. in the morning i can hear them singing/screaming the alphabet at the top tof their lungs from the schoolhouse and i think that they are so luck to get to go to school here.

July 19th

today the older boys and girls are going to town again for soccer, but instead i had to go to the grocery store to buy food for dinner. we fill three or four shopping carts, which feeds the kids for mabye three days, not counting meat which is delivered by a truck every week.
when we go to soccer, we have to take the team plus all the people watching plus any of the staff who want to go to town, so we all pile africn style into the back of the pickup truck, there can be like 20 people back there, it's not very safe but it's fun.
last friday we had some of the staff members to dinner and one of them was telling us about the local marriage tradition. she said "i (the bride) had to hide in a room in the house, and then all of my uncles and brothers and father and cousins and male relatives gathered outside the house. they got a ram and a spear. then my fiancee came driving up and in order to marry me he had to first spear the ram through the heart and then use the spear to fight his way through all of my relatives, who had to try to stop him from getting to me. i was so afriad that he would not suceed, and i really wanted to marry him! then, in the house, he found me hidden behind the deep freezer and i knew we could be married. they took me outside and piled all the intestines from the ram on my head, i did not like this but i really wanted to marry him!"
she said that that is the way things have always been done in her culture.
also another use for a shetenge is to tie babies with it on your back, so yesterday i walked around for the afternoon with the littlest one tied on my back while he took a nap.
today is sunday and we have church. first we sing praise songs together, and then we have a message given by gary or rebecca or one of the voulenteers, and then we pray. the kids often pray in their native languages. then we have solo music, which i often sing trios or duets witht the girls, and then we close with more praying. it is beautiful, but it is hard for the little one to hold still the whole time, they like to poke each other.