Science in Malawi

Abigail is doing biology for science this year, and she is loving it!

We are currently studying birds, and today’s lesson on nests had a section about weaver birds.

So we decided, since we have weaver birds in Malawi, to go find one of their nests. We found lots, right on our own street!

They’re way up in the palm tree in front our neighbor’s house, so the picture is a little grainy, but you can see the hole/tube on the left side where the birds enter from the bottom.

Then we went home to study a feather. If you have to study the barbs of a feather, why not take a close look at a beautiful guinea hen feather?

We love doing science class in Malawi!

Catching Dragonflies

I sent Abigail and Naomi out with a butterfly net to catch a butterfly that they could observe and draw. Five minutes later they came back inside quite proud of themselves: “We caught something!”

Yes they did! But not a butterfly! They caught a DRAGONFLY!

If you’ve ever tried to catch a dragonfly, you’ll know they’re fast! It’s no small feat to catch a butterfly, and even more impressive to catch a dragonfly!

So they grabbed some paper, colored pencils, and their friend Rejoice and started drawing their dragonfly, just as though it was the most ordinary thing in the world to catch a dragonfly. I love sharing life with these girls!

Blogathon!

It’s time to catch up! There has been a lot going on the last couple months, so much so that blogging has been the last thing on my mind. So hold on, dear reader, we’re about to fly through a couple months of life in Malawi!

Driving Lessons

Years ago when we were on furlough in the States, Abigail showed her first signs of being a backseat driver. She and I were headed to visit my grandmother, taking small backroads in rural Washington state. All of a sudden she yelled, “Mom! You passed that sign!!!!”

“Which sign?!?” I asked.

“The one that says DO NOT PASS! You passed it!”

While most American kids would have just ignored a road sign that they’d seen for their entire lives, for Abigail it was new and quite distressing! And so she got her first “American driving lesson” that day.

She got another such lesson yesterday. We were driving down what is arguably one of the nicest, widest roads in Lilongwe, if not in all of Malawi. “Mom?” she asked, “How is it possible that more than one car can go the same way we are going and that there are 2 lines of cars going the other direction too?”

I smiled, knowing that probably 95% of all her car travels have been on two and one lane roads, paved and unpaved, but very rarely marked. “Well, there are special lines on the road that tell us what we can do. The big bunch of lines in the middle of the road separates us from the cars going the other direction, and the white dotted lines here separate us from the other cars going the same direction. The idea is that more cars can be on the road, going both directions.”

“Wow, whoever thought of that was really smart! That’s a great idea!”

O child of Africa who is fascinated by 4 lanes, you’re going to love furlough road trips in America!

Ready, Set Bone

Considering the events of yesterday, we had a surprisingly good night. Matt was up to give Abi Tylenol about 11:30pm, and I was up to do the same at 3:30am. Then the girls slept until 7:01 – a Floreen girl record for sleeping in late!

Right after breakfast the girls and I jumped in the car and headed back to the orthopedic doctor. They had told us to come back in the morning, so we got there about 8:30. No doctor. He wouldn’t be in until 2pm. So ended our first clinic visit of the day.

Back in the car, we drove all the way across town to Partners in Hope. Dr Barrett Jones (fondly known in our house as “Judson’s Dad”) had been consulting with us since the accident the afternoon before. We knew he wanted to see the X-ray anyway, and we like the X-ray tech there, so we walked into our second clinic of the day about 9am.

All checked in and reading Tintin comics while we wait!

Abi is apparently an X-ray pro now. She knew exactly what to do. Oye, I’m sure it’s not a good thing that she’s so good at doing X-rays, or that we have a favorite X-ray tech… but I’m thankful for competent medical staff here in Malawi!

Naomi came along for moral support. In the whole event of “Aslan” jumping off the ottoman that started all this, Naomi was playing Peter, brave and faithful. She continued in the brave and faithful role for today’s encore of clinic visits.

Yep, looks like there’s a problem in there…

The rest of the world is probably totally used to this, but we still think digital X-rays are fascinating! The buckle fracture is just below the mouse arrow, with evidence of the buckle on both sides.

Once diagnosis was confirmed, we just needed to wait for the orthopedic guy to recheck the X-rays at 2pm and decide if we needed a cast or not. As we already had plans to meet our dear friend Rene for lunch, we kept that appointment while we waited for 2pm! Such a sweet time with a great friend!

Just after 2pm found us at our third clinic visit for the day, back to see the orthopedic guy!

And this time we got to see him! Dr Manda said the break would heal quickly and likely not even leave any trace of having been broken. Since it was so straightforward, he recommended a brace as opposed to a cast. He also highly discouraged playing lions or any animals for the duration of the brace. Smiles all around!

The brace should be with us for the next 4 weeks, with no playing animals, running, jumping, or carrying heavy objects. Our hearts are all lighter from the relief of just knowing what had happened to the bone and of having the wrist and arm stabilized. We are so thankful to the Lord for his protection of Abigail and his sustaining grace over the last 24 hours! Thank you all for keeping us in your prayers!

After Hours Broken Bones

Late this afternoon, Abigail and Naomi were playing “Narnia.” Abigail was Aslan, and made a flying leap off the ottoman, to land on her hands on the hard tile floor. “It felt like my bone bent,” she said. Amidst much screaming.

Our doctor recommended the orthopedic doctor at the Seventh Day Adventist Clinic, so we headed there. We got there just before 5pm.

Abi was a champ. Her arm hurt about an inch above her wrist, and there was no big bump or obvious break, so I wasn’t too worried about displacement of the bone. We checked in at the clinic and waited.

Back in another part of town, Matt dropped Naomi off at the Kopps house, and told them Abi wouldn’t be joining them tonight. They were both supposed to hang out with the Kopp family tonight while Matt and I went on a date. We had called in an order for our favorite Indian food and we were going to take it home and watch a movie. Instead, he picked up our food and met Abigail and I at the clinic, where she got to join us for our dinner date!

A little after 6pm, I started asking questions. Where was the Dr? Could we just go ahead and get an X-ray while we waited? Not many answers were forthcoming. Someone tried to call the orthopedic doctor, but he didn’t answer. Finally, another doctor told us the orthopedic guy had gone home for the night about 45 minutes ago, and besides, their radiology department closed at 4:30pm.

Hmmm. That would have been nice to know when we arrived just before 5pm. The doctor told us that at this time of evening there was almost no place in town to get an X-ray that was not considered an emergency. He was very kind though, and gave us a reference to a diagnostic clinic in another part of town (Area 6) that could do the X-ray. We headed to the car, and had a frank discussion with Abigail. We knew even if we got the X-rays, no one would be able to treat her arm until the morning. In the end, we all agreed to go home, gently splint her arm, and try again in the morning.

So she’s in bed now, with her arm wrapped in an ace bandage and strapped gently to a foam cushion. Poor kid! Please pray for her tonight. Pray she can sleep well and that we’ll be able to get this taken care of quickly in the morning!

Termites and Rain Frogs

It’s finally raining! We’ve had days of grey and stormy skies, and finally last night it started to rain a nice, slow, sweet rain. 14 hours later, it’s still lightly raining. Ahhhh!

It has rained enough to bring out the second wave of termites – the little ones. So of course they must be caught:

Rain frog and termites - 2

The big termites are better for eating, so these we were just catching for fun. Until… we found something that did want to eat them!

Rain frog and termites - 3

Sorry it’s blurry, this little rain frog was really going places!

The girls watched him catch a few termites himself, then they decided to “help” him.

Rain frog and termites - 1

Here froggy! Have a termite!

You Know You Live in Africa When…

You know you live in Africa when in your 3-5 year old Sunday School class there are more kids who HAVE eaten grasshoppers than have not. Sorry John the Baptist, your food choices are no big deal with this crowd!

Normal Life

After a couple days of adventures, we were glad to get back to “normal” life by the end of the week. Here are a few glimpses of the last couple days, in no particular order… just us, living normal life!

Abigail has been very interested in art, so we took a couple hours to go to Round and Square during our shopping trip on Thursday. She had some great ideas to go with her water paints, and then Miss Sue, who is the server and hostess at Round and Square, brought Abi a couple kids’ art books to inspire her. So fun!!!

Abi may be pursuing watercolors like her mom, but Naomi is trying a little photography, just like her dad! Not bad for a four year old!

Meanwhile, the last of the fields in town are being burned in preparation for planting. We’ve had 2 rains now, the last 2 weekends, and it looks like we will have more rain within the week. And yes, by “field,” I mean every available piece of land, including all verges and any land that someone else hasn’t already planted.

After a couple days of crazy, my sweet husband took us out to dinner. Not only that, he kept the whole family entertained the entire time! I love this guy! He started drawing a picture, and then we each in turn had 30 seconds to continue the picture and add to it.

We all loved it! It has so much of everyone’s personality in it, including “a baby sun and a daddy sun!” thanks to Naomi!

Our finished product:

Lastly: my tree. Each member of the family has their own tree in our yard. Mine is a flamboyant, and I love everything about it, especially this time of year as it has the most beautiful blooms!

Thanks for reading along and joining us in these normal but special moments of life!