I am now back to work after a wonderful 2 week vacation with my mom, aunt and brother who came to visit me and meet Grace and Abigail for the first time! For my mom and aunt, it was also their first trip to Africa, so they had a lot of new things thrown at them all at once. I was so proud watching them kill spiders, battle wasps, and deal with the occasional power outage and water shortage. They were able to meet some of the children they have supported over the years, as well as meet the little girl their United Methodist Women’s group supports. Abby instantly chose Uncle Josh as her new best friend, and could even say “Joth” by the end of the trip with her cute little lisp.
We were able to travel to a lot of my favorite spots and meet my favorite people, so it was such a special time. We spent most of the first week at or near home so the girls could sleep in their own beds, but we did venture out a bit farther the second week with 2 of my friends, Julie and Ruth. We traveled to Chimanimani Mountains, Mt. Selinda where the girls are from, and the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. I couldn’t believe all of us made it to the top of the mountain where the kings’ castle used to be! Abby and Grace had so much fun, but by the end of the trip, I think they were exhausted along with the rest of us!
The girls turned two years old on October 5. It was so special to have some of my family there to celebrate. We had a small party with lots of presents, pretty party dresses, and chocolate cake. Unfortunately after so much excitement both girls got sick, so we had to send my family to the game park on their last day without us. It was sad to leave Mom, Nancy and Josh at the airport, but I am happy they arrived safely back home with lots of stories and memories to share with everyone.
During my family’s visit, there was a Prize Giving Day at many of the schools where our HOPE children attend school. We were proud to find out that many two of our children received prizes, which is a great honor. Blessing Samushonga, who attends Hartzell Secondary School, had the highest grades of his entire class (hundreds of students!). Enoch Magombera, from Vumbunu Secondary, received an award for being the most responsible child in his entire class.
We have 8 children currently writing their 7th grade exams this month. The results will determine which school they can attend for junior high/secondary school. We have 6 more writing their “O” level exams, and 2 writing their “A” level exams which will determine if they will be able to attend college. We wish them good luck and are looking forward to good results from all of them. Hopefully we will have more college and university students under the HOPE program in the near future.
I am excited that rainy season is right around the corner, but for now we have to tolerate the heat with no air conditioning!
Janine, Abigail and Grace