Mango Tree by Haley Roberts

I am starting to realize that my time here in Africa and at the Haven is starting to dwindle down. Knowing that in a few short weeks I will be leaving those sweet babies breaks my heart. I am going to miss the welcoming atmosphere, the kindness of the people, Ba Harold’s cooking, the soccer games, and just the simple-ness of life here. Oh how I am going to miss the babies, all the love that is spread at the Haven, singing Mango Tree and dancing with the Aunties. And most of all I am just going to miss seeing God everywhere I look, whether it be in the beautiful scenery he has provided for us, the people, or just the small slap in the faces he provides for us and the humbling feeling I have been able to experience while on this trip. The love these people have for others and God is amazing. Romans 12:9-13 states, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” These past few weeks here I have seen the true meaning of building relationships with people and showing hospitality to others. Let your love be genuine! We are called to be love, love one another, and love our enemies. We need to show and share Christ’s love with those around us!

It is winter here and to say it is cold at night is an understatement. I am currently sleeping in leggings, pj pants, sweat pants, a short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt, and two sweat shirts to try and keep warm. I am definitely a wimp!  The morning and nights are very cold but then it gets very warm during the day. I am currently experiencing a sore throat and of all the things I didn’t pack, it would be cold medicine.

The walk to the Haven this morning was warm, breezy, and very peaceful. I love getting to walk to take in God’s natural beauty and to interact with all of the people along the way. Both of my clients did really well today. My morning client is starting to get to use her AAC device during our group sessions and language class, she is learning to sequence two hits to communicate what she wants on her own, and the past two days she has completed her lunch in thirty minutes without throwing up. She is also starting to drink water out of a sippy cup! I know I say it every time I talk about her…. but how amazing is that? To be twelve and never get anything to drink and now she is able to drink water out of a sippy cup? That will bring tears to your eyes. Getting to see the progress she has made in this short amount of time reminds me over and over again why I love the field of speech language pathology. My afternoon client is slowly starting to come out of her shell. Today she did not cry one time during the session. Whoop Whoop! She is talking more and more and today she said mamama, pa pa, dada, wa, and waved good-bye. My how I am going to miss that sweet voice when I come back to America.

For lunch, today we had the traditional Zambian meal of Nshima, chicken, rice, rolls, and cake. I want to say that the Nshima is starting to grow on me, but I really do not think it is. I have to make myself eat it every time though because when we stay with the Aunites that is what I will be eating.

Tomorrow is our last full Friday at the Haven (which makes me very sad) because June 14-18 we will be traveling to Livingstone, the 21-23 we will be staying with the Aunties, and then the 24thwe head back to Livingstone before traveling home. I am going to have to start praying that the days last a little longer so I can spend a little more time loving this place and these people.

John 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

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