*blah* This is my first time being sick in South Africa (barring my two fantastically horrific food poisoning episodes - I'd like to forget about those) and I gotta say - its stinks to be sick at Christmas and it stinks to be sick in 100 degree heat. It stinks even more to have to get dressed and walk through the Embassy to get to the med unit to see a doctor - I don't know about you, but its hard to be sociable when you feel puny. Anyway. I've spent the better part of my day camped out on the sofa watching girly movies and snuggling Muddy.
So what have we been up to? I guess we've been pretty boring lately. So boring we forgot the SEC championship was last week. Will looked at me in horror and said, "Did I just forget about FOOTBALL?"
We've painted our downstairs, finally framed my art from Tanzania and hung it on the walls, bought potted plants for the house and patio, planted a bank of hydrangea, and even decorated for Christmas. We have a red tree with UGA ornaments. It was news to us that people here don't get real trees. We went to the plant store to look at trees and the ones they had made the Charlie Brown tree look like a 8 ft. Frasier fir tree. Seriously.
I guess our exciting stuff is coming up. In two weeks, we head to Cape Town with Steph and Christy for a week's vacation. We'll celebrate New Year's there - exciting!
Next weekend we are going to my housekeeper's township and handing out food and toys to the children there. Maria is like the mama of the town. Everyone comes to her for care and advice. Sadly, there are lots of child-led families (i.e. families where the parents have died of HIV/AIDS and the oldest sibling raises the younger ones) as well as families that don't have much to give to their kids so Will and I are going with our friends Heidi and Brian (who also have Maria as their housekeeper) to bring Christmas to these needy families. We're taking flour, beans, rice, sugar, salt, cooking oil, candy, tea, writing pens, soccer balls, and some pull-aparts to give out. I don't have any gift bags so we're going to use grocery bags, but I have lots of ribbon to dress them up with. We're going to have a little party there with cookies and balloons and Will is going to dress up as "Father Christmas." I am really looking forward to it and think it will be really fun. Pictures to follow!
I've already suggested to Heidi that we go back in the winter time and take things like small first aid kits, ramen noodles, knit hats, socks, etc. If you'd like to contribute to this cause, be on the lookout for winter things when they go on clearance at the end of the season (or in the $1 spot at Target) and send 'em my way. We bought enough to give things out to 30 families.
And one more note: I can't believe it but I've written over 90 Christmas cards to send back to the states! Unfortunately, my stamps haven't arrived yet so please forgive me if you get your Christmas card at New Year's. I was thinking of you long before but -sigh- the barriers of being halfway across the world!
And, as promised, Marine Ball photos!
Christy, Steph, Will, and Valerie