Saturday, May 12, 2012

One Family, Two Weeks, Three Countries

We spent almost the first two weeks here in Africa traveling around. Let me tell you, that's a lot of traveling with a toddler and a baby. It's a lot of traveling for me in general, and I was pretty worn out about halfway through our travels from place to place. It can be tiresome going away for a weekend when we're in the US because of all that needs to be packed and organized, and so it was definitely tiring here too. Thankfully, we were visiting family and friends and we had time to relax and catch up on sleep.

(It's nap time here now, and I can hear Edwin talking to himself in his room. He'll most likely eventually fall asleep. If not, early bedtime!)

After arriving in South Africa (country #1), we stayed with some good friends of ours. Dan originally met them in Swaziland, and we've been able to see them on a yearly basis for the past number of years. Dana, Sibongile and their boys hosted us for the first few days. The Friday after we arrived we hopped in our rental car and drove about 4-5 hours to Swaziland (country #2). Unfortunately for us it was a holiday weekend, which meant we waited over an hour at the border. We finally got through, and drove to the Swazi homestead Dan had lived at during his SALT year.

( 1.5 hour interlude during which Dan returns, Edwin finally falls asleep and I get supper started. Tonight's menu: homemade pizza)

We spent Friday night through Sunday morning at the homestead. Edwin met Make (pronounced "MA-gay) and Babe (BA-bay), his Swazi grandparents, Dan's host brothers and one of Dan's host sisters, plus her two boys. It was nice that Edwin had some other kids to play with while we were there. Did you know Dan has a Swazi name? It was given to him shortly after his arrival in Swaziland. Now the kids and I have Swazi names too. I felt honored to be given one. :)

Make and Elena in Swaziland

On Sunday we left the homestead and drove to the capitol city of Mbabane and stayed with another friend named Carla, who teaches at an IB school called Waterford. It's high up on a hill, so the view was great. (Driving to Swaziland and being in Mbabane was beautiful b/c of the mountains there!) She wasn't staying in her home right then, so we actually had some time to ourselves (although she came and cooked for us!!!), to catch up on laundry and e-mail and so on.

Dan spent that Monday visiting some other friends in Swaziland while I hung out with the kids at the house. It felt like a very normal day for me because I did laundry, made meals, cleaned up, and took care of the kids. In the midst of visiting people and driving here and there, this down time was just what I needed that day.

On Tuesday we left Swaziland and returned to South Africa where we stayed at a Guest House for a few days. We spent time with Dana and Sibongile's family again, but didn't invade their house this time around.  Edwin was fascinated by the water fountain outside our room and we found a sand "box" there that was perfect. He was also really fascinated by the pool vacuums in the two swimming pools. I think he could've watched them all day.

The sand "box" at Cornerstone Guest Lodge

(The baby is screeching from her little bed. I'd better go take care of her!)

(It's now two days since I wrote the first part of this blog entry. You'd think I'd have more time to write these days but it doesn't seem to be that way.)

After 3 days at the Cornerstone Guest Lodge we loaded up our rental car (Minus one suitcase because we were able to consolidate our things a bit more. Good thing too, since that last suitcase would not have fit in the car. We really did pack too much, I think.) and drove to Gaborone, Botswana (country #3).

We arrived in the evening and stayed at some self-catering flats (apartments) nearby until the house we're renting became available. There was a pool, and once again, Edwin was fascinated by the pool vacuum. (Did I mention that except for the guest lodge, each place we stayed in has had a broom, and Edwin wasted no time in finding it and using it.)

Sweeping at the Dlamini homestead in Swaziland

On Sunday of last week, we drove a short distance to the house we're now at. It feels so good to be staying in one place for a while. We were able to unpack our things from the suitcases, and Dan has delivered the medical supplies we brought along (that means one more suitcase is now empty!). I pulled out the cloth diapers I brought for Elena and have gotten back into using them. (For any interested, I'm using Flip covers with cotton prefold inserts. I brought 2 normal bumGenius diapers for bedtime, but I didn't bring any of the microfiber inserts b/c they need to be washed too many times.)

We did some grocery shopping, and I've been cooking meals again. I pretty much had a two week break from cooking. I'm not sure when that last happened!

 So here we are. Whew. Home Sweet Botswana Home.

Our home-away-from-home in Gaborone.


  1. Amy! What a phenomenal experience you are giving your children. It will totally be worth all the hard work, fatigue and schlepping. Love your writing and your photos. Good choice to document this exciting time! I'll stay tuned. :)

  2. What a great update! It sounds like things are going really well -- what great memories this trip will produce, at least for you and Dan! The kids will love the pictures as they get older. But hey -- you didn't happen to mention what your Swazi names are! =)

  3. Love the update! Sounds like you are having a really great trip.