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July 25, 2008

Jo-Berg Robbery

So I think most of you gather I'm doing a program called The World Race this year where we travel around the world doing various different types of relief work whether it be from earthquake to working at orphanages.

On Tuesday night our entire squad (24 people) (minus my team of 5 people) were robbed by gunpoint. My team was returning from Botswana and arrived about 5 mins after it happened. Thankfully no one was hurt! This is an email that our squad leader Rusty Jackson wrote to our parents. I seriously have loved Africa so much and was really shocked all of this had happened, but God is good and everyone is safe.

I leave today for India and cannot be more excited even admist the craziness of the past couple days!

Rusty Jackson's Letter:

Dear World Race parents,

First off I want to apologize to ya'll for just now getting in touch with you. The last couple days have been hectic and stressful to say the least. And my TOP priority has been getting the squad moved out of the hostel and into a location where the folks can feel safe. Not to mention, some of us have been scrambling to get new passports and visas for our upcoming trip to India. So thank you very much for your patience in all this. I can't even imagine the worry ya'll must have been going thru and are still going through.

I'm sure you have heard all sorts of things about what happened two nights ago, so let me just give you the facts. Tuesday afternoon the whole squad, minus Patrice's team, (Patrice, Nate, Angie, Andi and Jen) arrived at The Brown Sugar Hostel in Johannesburg.

I realize it's got a funny name, but the hostel is not in a bad part of Jo'Burg plus we have stayed there three different times while in Africa. So I felt safe about bringing the team here. Anyway, around 8p that evening probably four, maybe five men came into the hostel armed with pistols and told everyone to get on their face in the lounge area. That's where about 12 of us were and the rest of the squad was being held in their dorm room.

Guns were pointed at people, threats were made, but NO ONE was physically harmed. Praise the Lord! However, LOTS of our stuff was taken: cash, cameras, computers, passports, phones, clothes, IPOD's, etc. I'd say the whole thing lasted about 20 minutes. As soon as it was over, the first thing we did was to make sure everyone was OK. Then we started taking an inventory of what was taken, I called AIM, and then people began calling and canceling cards. So anyway, things are just now settling down.

Just so you know, I got the squad at a missionary base an hour away from Jo'Burg. Luckily, when we get to India our team coaches Michael and Kathy Hindes will be there to help us process thru everything. Believe me, we are taking this matter seriously and we do understand the need for counseling at this time.

Now speaking of India, those that needed new passports got them and the whole squad has its visas. So, we will fly out in two groups this weekend. The first will leave Friday and the next group Saturday.
Again thank you for your patience. I love each one of your kids so much and their safety and well-being is my main concern.

Posted by jennifer at 4:25 AM | Comments (2)

July 11, 2008

Mozambique & Me

my month in mozambique in a nutshell via photossss....

we look an 18 hr bus drive to beira, mozambique.

the bus broke down.

so why not video and take random pictures as we wait for 2 hours?

this is mama rita's house where she houses the 20 or so orphans. she housed all 6 of us north americans. their hospitality was amazing... to say the very least.

this is mama rita.

and peter. they are some of the people that saw the need for taking all of the kids in...

this is the land where they are dreaming of putting the real orphanage one day... i seriously love their vision and they completely want to be self sufficient with having their own means of income.

one day they were mashing maize... i tried it out.

in the house there were a lot of rats around. this is one that killed by the poison... jonah doesn't wince.

some of the kids we would play with...

how many people can we pack into the mini bus? this was a question we would ask each day...

another mode of transportation to the rural parts of africa.... known as "the bush"....

we rode for many many hours.... lets just say we had some sore bums near the end of the trip.

once we arrived at various places in the bush... we would encounter as we would like to call it.... "the art of staring"

me trying to set up our tents.

i'm trying from inside my tent to take a nap during the middle of the day since we started travel at 3am in the morning...

on our way back to swaziland we got a fun day of snorkeling!

amazing times in mozambique!

Posted by jennifer at 4:45 PM | Comments (0)

July 5, 2008

A Day In the Life of an Orphan

Hey Everyone,
 I  haven't  had the time to edit video of our time in Beira, Mozambique as I have liked, but my teammate Nate put together an awesome blog of a "Day In the Life of an Orphan".... check out his blog below of our time at Mama Ritas!
 From Nate Evans Blog:
In my last blog I mentioned about a lady named Mama Rita and the 20 orphans that she helps take care of at her house. We spent over 2 ½ weeks with her and a man named Peter who has 12 more orphans at his house. About 8 days of that was spent living at Mama Rita's house. I learned about contentment, serving and incarnational living with the poor all while getting to know beautiful people of the Lord.


And although I am currently in Cape Town, South Africa, the next two or three blogs I do will be about the life-changing time I had in Mozambique.

So come meet some beautiful orphans and the people who serve them.


This is Patricia.

She is 7 years old and is in the 3rd grade.

She has one biological sister named Anaclesia that is 10 years old and 19 other brothers and sisters ranging from 2 years old to 21 years old.

She likes singing and playing with her friends.

Mama Rita had this to say about her,

"I love the deeds of Patricia. She doesn't fight with others. If she wants something, she makes sure to ask. She is always very kind to visitors and she has a beautiful smile."

Here is her back story:

When she was 5 years old, her Father and Mother both found out they had contracted the HIV Aids virus. They committed suicide by taking poison shortly after they had found out.

The parents were both members of the local church Mama Rita and her late husband Ezekiel had founded. Patricia's relatives would not accept custody and so Mama Rita took her into her home.

At first, Patricia took the death of her parents pretty hard and wouldn't eat. She was so thin, she was taken to hospital and they found out she was extremely malnourished. Eventually she was able to cope with her parents death better after spending month's in the loving, Christ centered environment that is Mama Rita's house.

Now, I want you to walk through a typical day for Patricia.

Monday through Friday she attends school from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. She walks there with a few of her brothers and sisters.
(I apologize for some of the photo quality of the pics. I had to leave in a rush and had to take some of these pictures from video footage. None the less I hope you still get a good idea of what her day is like!)

A good part of the day for Patricia is spent here. Outside the house with the other children and Mom's just hanging out.


As she plays around the house, her mom and other mom's spend most of the day preparing the food.

But even before the food can be prepared, the maize has to be mashed. And although Patricia is too young to do this task, the time will come well this one of her daily tasks in helping prepare the food.

And trust me this picture doesn't really do this justice. Doing this is a cardio-vascular workout few Americans have ever known.


 A close up view of this daily cardio-vascular task.

No video games, cable t.v. or toys to occupy her time. She often plays this simple game similar to jacks except played with rocks. (The way all the kids hang out and play together is actually a beautiful thing to witness)

Need water? Well, she can't just turn on the faucet because there isn't one. The water has to be fetched from this well down the street. Which she and other kids have the responsibility of doing.

 And what does her family do at night? Just what you thought African orphans might do.

Get together to watch their favorite Brazilian soap opera!

(I'm not kidding about this one. I thought it was hilarious to see 20 African orphans so dedicated to watching a soap opera                  every night!) 

This is Mama Rita with her 2 year old son Martz. She is the mother of 20 children, so I imagine being in her arms like that is a pretty special privelage.

Night time has come and Patricia (center with braids) prepares to find her place on the mattresses along with her 19 brother and sisters.

She hopes to fall asleep right away but often can't until everyone else is finally settled in.

She is usually woken up around 6 a.m. when other kids start stirring around.
My next blog will have some video footage of the kids at Mama Rita's.........
Get exited!
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I am still in need of support.  $1250... pretty much ASAP ($11,040 by July 2nd)!  :)  I seriously could not be doing this kind of work without all of you! Thanks everyone for your continual support!  

Posted by jennifer at 5:55 PM | Comments (0)