Tag Archives: children

New courtboxes delivered to the intermediaries

On Sunday November 16th I had the big privilige to hand over 40 more court care boxes to magistrate court representatives Mulaudzi Mukondeleli and Ntabisini Dzivhani visiting our church. 40 more boxes will be delivered once these are all given out to the young witnesses of assault. _MG_2816 _MG_2818 courtboxesThe court representatives were so excited about our practical help. Ntabisini then proceeded to share with our senior class in children’s church about the dangers of abuse and how to avoid abusive situations and help friends who can not help themselves. Definitely not your average sunday school topic but since the Limpopo province has such high numbers of child abuse, we can not shut our eyes. On that sunday we also launched our first book, so we have been keeping really, really busy! _MG_2826a

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Hiking in the Soutpansberg with Toddlers

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Happy faces!

Today we took our preschoolers on a hiking trip into our nearby fantastic Soutpansberg mountains in northern Limpopo, South Africa! I had been teaching my 4 year olds about space, the globe, Africa, and our place on the map and now we went to check out geography by ourselves. Lots of excitement and many happy faces!

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The local mountain biking club developed some great trails that lead over mountain streams and through beautiful forrestry. The kids loved to stop and listen to the murmur of the water, the bird song and the wind! Hiking with 2-5 year olds must be about fun, different textures and a stimulating environment. A lot of children have never been to this mountain let alone have ever hiked, so this was real great exposure to a new experience.

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My husband, pastor Andries, came along to help keep our rambunctious boys safe and supervised!
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Picnic in the mountain
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It’s all about having fun!
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Thanks to the Akkedis Mountain bike challenge, we can enjoy a fantastic trail through our beautiful Soutpansberg mountain! http://www.akkedismountainbike.co.za/

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Thank you from the courts

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Intermediary Salome Phaho and myself when I handed R 4000 worth of comfort over to the court. Yeah, sorry we had no professional camera with us, just cell phones. But that’s exactly it – helping is gritty and not about looking pretty right?

Thank you from the courts

Today I received this letter from the intermediary for child witnesses and victims of sexual crimes at the Magistrate Court in Sibasa about how our Comfort boxes now are helping even children in the Musina court:

Good Afternoon Mam,blessed be God and the Father of our Lord Jesus who causeth us to triumph through Christ!

I am simply excited for the foundation that has been laid because for this vision to manifest like this means Victory!

My colleagues Nthabiseng Dzhivhani has just given out a 12-15yrs box yesterday @ Musina and I heard the girl couldn’t put it down.

This project is really working as I realized that most kids come dejected and rejected with little or no support from parents or relatives as if they chose to be victims.

But when they find LOVE in that little box is like their WORLD has suddenly changed as they understand that irrespective of what happened and how they feel and what others take them for, there’s still HOPE in life because someone out there loves them and care about them so much.

DSC02559Thank you once again Woman of God for your heart for souls.

Pass my regards to Pastor

Salome Phaho

So wonderful to hear about those boxes really making a difference in children’s lives.

Of course I cannot post details about the children involved, but share some photos of the people who work with the children and pictures of the court:

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The ladies working with the children who come to testify in court.
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the entrance to the court room
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the tiny space available for children to wait for their court hearing. Our boxes make it so much more comforting for them.

Make today with your child: Deliciously quick and easy home made chocolate eggs!

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So you have some time with the kids over this Easter weekend and would love to do some baking, but grandma already did the Easter egg cookies?

I have something fun for you. An edible dough to shape Easter eggs from and dip them in melted chocolate for a wonderful taste feast.
(Inspiration hit me when dipping my teaspoon in a bit of Nutella and some peanut butter and enjoying the taste together.)
If you love Reese’s peanutbutter cups, these special chocolate Easter eggs are perfect for you!
I made them yesterday with my preschool class, and everyone had a lot of fun.
The peanut butter – Nutella dough is easy to make:
To make that super elastic and delicious dough, put equal measures of peanut butter, Nutella and mini marshmallows into a plastic bowl. It renders a lot of dough, so work with 2 Tbs each in the beginning to see how far that gets you.
Microwave on high for no longer than 3 seconds. The marshmallows will crack if they are overcooked, which will give you lovely little, chewy candy pieces in the dough, but you will add and warm more marshmallows to get the softness into your dough. Take it out of the microwave, stir vigorously. Add the same amount of icing sugar as used per ingredient.
Microwave a few marshmallows for about 10 seconds if you like crispy-chewy candy pieces in your chocolate egg: immediately incorporate into the dough while still warm, they will break up and form delicious crispyness for your soft chocolate eggs.
Knead till all ingredients are incorporated beautifully and the dough is soft and supple. Add more icing sugar if needed. Process into any shape you like, coat with chocolate, yumm.
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Marshmallow candy inside the dough, yumm.
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Lovely soft peanut butter – Nutella dough. Not sticky at all, ideal dough to work with children.

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Visiting orphans in Uganda and equipping their carers

Yippeh, my husband just returned from a real intense trip to Uganda/South Sudan. He went to encourage Christian leaders, ministers and educators, conducted leadership seminars and visited a lot, a LOT of orphans ministering to the children as well.

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The best room in his hosts house – no electricity, just a gas stove. They shared their food with him, beans, a little rice, a bit of pineapple.
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So happy to have a guest from South Africa!
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Many people came for prayer
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Children from the orphanage presenting an item
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All the children are eating a day: one cup of liquid porridge and maybe a fruit for tea. Resources are scarce.
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Preparation of the porridge
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Traveling on the back of a pick up truck to the next destination.
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Sunday lunch. although Uganda has fertile soil, people lack the knowledge to generate wealth from farming. Much more training needs to happen for people to be able to look after themselves. Many rely on the bananas that grow everywhere for food!
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Leadership seminar
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Equipping pastors and educators who are the ones looking after the needy in their communities.

Here is what he saw: IMG-20140312-WA031 IMG-20140313-WA002 IMG-20140313-WA003 IMG-20140313-WA004 IMG-20140313-WA008  IMG-20140313-WA011  IMG-20140313-WA013 IMG-20140313-WA014 IMG-20140313-WA015 IMG-20140313-WA017 IMG-20140313-WA018 IMG-20140314-WA014 IMG-20140314-WA016 IMG-20140314-WA018 IMG-20140314-WA020 IMG-20140314-WA024 IMG-20140314-WA025 IMG-20140314-WA028 IMG-20140315-WA002 IMG-20140315-WA003 uganda (2) uganda (6) uganda (13)

Welcome to Geluksfontein Goat Cheese Farm – How to Tame a Goat

Sharing some travels through South Africa, you are welcome to check out my traveling blog.

Traveler's Log

While my husband had some business to attend in Pretoria and the Waterberg area, we used the chance to explore a little bit more of south Africa.

The following posts will be describing some destinations around that area.

The Geluksfontein dairy goat’s  comprises a 400 acre dairy goat farm in the Waterberg region of the Limpopo province. It is 30 km from Modimolle (Nylstroom), 30 km from Vaalwater and approximately 2½ hours from the city of Pretoria.

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Steven enjoying the farm feel.

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Coming closer to look at the goat.

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Hi goat, stop, we just want to play!

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Chasing wont work.

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Daddy to the rescue. Look, boys, it’s a kid. Be gentle, do not scare her.

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So Steven is trying the careful approach now.

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Introducing himself without being a threat.

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Can we be friends now?

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Making friends

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In the end, the little goat followed him everywhere.

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What an interesting part…

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A Special Needs School: Love the Children

PS: Read the update on this post here: Revisited

 

When you live in South Africa, chances are that you are barely making it through your month.

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That’s why at month end the supermarkets are overcrowded with people who received their pay and can buy some food again. I was not used to this from my former life in Germany. I now earn a fraction of what I brought home monthly in Germany. Medical costs are high – my son needed his teeth fixed and it actually cost more than what I get in a month.

As pastors of a big community church in the poorest of all SA provinces, we deal with so many crises that it sometimes seems like climbing a never ending mountain. We had to bury a lot of young people recently due to crime and traffic accidents.

Working for a church means to be the crisis center of a community. And a church in a poor community in the poorest province has very limited funds, so you end up paying a lot out of your own pocket. A new T-shirt for your child or some shoes for a needy sister? I hope some of you can relate when I write that one becomes a little hesitant to get involved in new things. I am not one of the south Africans driving around with a flashy car spending my mornings in gyms and glitzy malls. Wouldn’t mind, but there is real life happening to real people and i don’t want to play the violin while the titanic is busy sinking. I’d rather be tossing more people onto the life boats, if you know what i mean.

In Africa it goes like this: if you have once helped, you will be always responsible to help. Somehow helping creates the impression you have got a money making donkey in your backyard somewhere. We had many people who we helped, showing up again and again demanding more and more things, not understanding that my sons also must eat.

But the Lord Jesus challenges us to never close our hearts, we need to trust Him to replenish what was given.

Out of that call to love, we dared once more to go and check out people who might be in need. You know, when it comes to children, you just have to throw caution into the wind and get ready to help.

So today I have been on the road to Thohoyandou, the former capital of Venda in the Limpopo province.

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Africa runs at a very different pace (hurry up and wait).

This Special Needs School has been all the time on my mind though, and after being in contact with the headmaster and some people who wanted to help, I was pushing my husband and finally today we got to go!

I want to share some impressions and pictures with you.

I pray and hope my words can reach your heart and those of some people able to support.

The school was founded under the old Afrikaans regime, a huge complex with great facilities – in theory.

It is immediately evident upon arriving at the school that the gardens are landscaped and the offices comfortable.

Apart from the front, the back buildings are starting to show signs of neglect and disrepair.

At the moment, the TSS is home to 360 visually and hearing impaired children as well as physically disabled children and children with various degrees of mental disabilities who are schooled in 3 separate complexes at the school.

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The Principal, Mr. Maluma, received us sitting at his desk.

He informed us that this is a government school. The government build the school in the 1970s. The different buildings on the vast complex are big and solid. But it is obvious that for a long time no repairs have been done.

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The Deputy Principle of TSS Mr. Msrabu was so kind to lead us around the school premises.

This is the main building where the staff offices are.

Please read my report carefully. It is easy to come in, judge and criticize. I really do not want to do that. I am sure the staff of such an institution is really weary of people with a camera throwing some bags of cookies around and thinking they are saving the world.

It is hard to serve at any place and not get accustomed to all the wrongs over the years so much so that you get comfortable and stop saving the world, though.

The way leading to the teaching and housing area of the visually impaired. You are looking at classrooms.

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Classrooms around a courtyard.

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Dorm room for 7-12 year old girls. Everything was clean except for a strong smell of urine due to the bedwetting problems of many children.

Mr. Maluma kept stressing the fact that they need waterproof mattresses.

I really wish the government would provide the funds to renovate the dorm rooms and add some cheer and deco to them.

Another dorm room.

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Just get me some paint a a few arty aunties and lets paint this happy!

Stairway to the first floor where there are more bedrooms. I was sad to notice the total absence of decorations.

The cafeteria for the blind.

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The facilities were all very neat and clean. Although to me the bedrooms are totally drab and sad, I am aware that many learners are from backgrounds where they probably never even had a bed of their own and also not three meals a day. That is much, and it is too little at the same time.

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The government pays the school R17 (about 2 USD) per child per day for food. The parents pay a fee of 1400 ZAR, about 160 USD, per year as a school fee.

As I said it is a government school, the principal and staff are paid by the government. There is no extra initiative to repair the school and purchase any extras out of the private pocket. The government seems to have no funding available to upgrade the cafeteria. The chairs and tables are so worn. I pray we will meet somebody with enough funds and a hart to change this!

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The library and resource room. The materials where basically 20 years old or older.

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Kids are between grade K (in South Africa it is called grade R) and grade 7.

The severity of their disability differs greatly.

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A great number of Albino children (lacking normal pigmentation) whose eyesight is usually seriously impaired, often up to 80%, but who are otherwise fine, are in these special needs classes. To me it was astonishing that they were not wearing any glasses. I do not know enough of the customs in their villages to be able to judge if they are actually better off at this school. I personally felt that the environment in the classrooms was careless and unengaged.

The children were definitely bored as this was not the appropriate place of schooling for those with Albinism.

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The classrooms lack teaching materials especially for the little ones.

The kids live at the school but do not have any personal belongings. There are no decorations and also no special materials to teach blind kids. In most classrooms the children were asleep on their desks.

There were Braille typewriters in the class but the teacher said she does not know how to use them.

These typewriters are the only way that blind children can write.

The manager had never heard of Braille and was amazed when I showed him that you can type dots that form an alphabet.

The teachers said it is too difficult for her, she is new. She has been working there since 2010.

I see the effort in teachign the children academic skills. It would be nice if some fun franchises such as Kindermusik could be sponsored to come in and support the teachers.

I noticed that there was only one crafts class,  all other craft classes such as sewing and wood work were closed down, although they could produce toys and the likes for the school. I hope the leadership will realize again that fundraising can and must come from within the school, and the nearby tourism due to the proximity of the Kruger National park would provide a great source of income if for example woodwork was to be sold.

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Another challenge I noticed is that severely mentally ill children where together with learners who were only hearing impaired and obviously frustrated with the little education they were receiving.

Although the school is only up to grade 7, learners are often 20 years of age when they finish school due to the fact that up to the time they get to this school, they have not been given any education at all. Hearing impaired children have not learned to communicate even the simplest terms in sign language before. The teachers have to do a lot of hard ground work and are in over their heads.

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These teens were all desperate for a hug and some praise for their samplers of their work.

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One teacher, asked about the stimulation the children are receiving in the afternoons, told us they are only roaming about. No toys, no activities. I want to bring toys for each child, but I am told that the teachers are afraid that this will cause strive amongst the children. I understand that problem.

I can make simple Montessori-type teaching aids by myself for these children. I will try to get our people to help me purchase the materials needed to make those teaching aids myself.

But I would really need you to ask for some sponsors for waterproof mattresses, and anything else you can think of as well.

There is no visible application of modern educational materials. The teachers need to be taught to use computer programmes to teach vocabulary to the hearing impaired children.

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This is a government school. But the braille typewriters stand unused because teachers are not knowledgeable about their use.

There is a computer room with about 16 computers in it and I am told the deaf children can never learn to operate a computer.

When I mention that there are loads of educational games available for cheap or even free online (like for example sorting a picture to match a word), the teachers in the class who are on their cell phones and the manager as well say they hear that for the first time.

Who can support us to be involved in helping??? It’s not just material needs. The children are sleeping their formative years away. So much could be done.

The kids were desperate for a hug and an appreciative word.

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This lovely young first grader sang for us a song with a voice as clear as a mountain stream. So beautiful. Her teacher was the mopst enthusiastic of all the teachers we met, although she has to make do with materials more than 20 years old – only two buckets full of plastic toys, no numbers or counting beads, no alphabet to feel etc. I want to make her some tools like that.

This little blind girl touched my heart with her beautiful song about the love of Jesus she was singing for us. I so hope to have the time soon again to go again and show the teachers how to use teaching aids.

What I can not do is to buy 360 standard mattresses with plastic covering.

The sad thing is that my skin colour is always putting me in the box of “rich and responsible for everything”. Which is not true – I had to even borrow a car to go there.

The classroom with a teacher I really enjoyed. She was trying to do the best for her grade 1 learners with whatever materials she had.

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The teacher urgently needs some toys and learning materials. All she has are some plastic toys in two plastic buckets.

I can rally my friends to help get 360 stuffed toys so the kids do not have to sleep alone on a cold room.

I can make teaching aids.

I can get books and building blocks.

I can try to inspire the teachers to re-open the workshops so that students can produce goods to the benefit of all. (toys can be self made as well).

Can you help us contact organizations who might donate modern day teaching aids to the school?

I can talk to farmers to donate fresh produce and food.

I can buy treats.

I can inspire my youth group to come and do a show for the kids and minister the love of Jesus to them.

Can you find sponsors for the mattresses and other material needs?

Lots of blessings to you from South Africa,

Christiane van Heerden

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Airtravel with children

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Can’t wait to board our flight. Some bright coloured, comfy clothes makes it easy to quickly spot my busy boys when they find a play corner and are surrounded by other friends.

Because my husband and I are from two different continents, my family does a whole lot of traveling. In fact, before we were married, right after we got engaged in Durban, South Africa, I found myself standing in the Berlin airport watching people kiss loved ones good bye, realizing: That will be my life from now on. There will always be somebody left behind. A sharp sting burned my heart when I thought that this will be the life I will be dragging my yet-unborn children into. Always having to say good bye for a real long time to either set of cousins and grandparents, and having to stretch to accommodate two different continents …

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Our life in South Africa is drastically different to the times we spend overseas, and somehow the kids find it very easy to adjust to both settings.

Right there and then I decided I will give my everything to make this a bonus in my kids life rather than a burden. No matter how much it hurts me to leave everything that I love behind, I will get my kids excited about all the different wonderful things in their lives.

Sure, my kids miss out on the amazing playgrounds and parks, culture and education Germany has to offer, while they grow up in Africa. (Click the links to see what I mean)

But once a year we are trying to make up for that and have them dive into their German heritage, full package. Musicals, History, Arts, friends, family, food, the full Monty. And while in Africa, we focus on doing and enjoying all things south African: The vast landscapes, the game, the wild, the roughness of freedom, hospitality, food, family …

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crossing the country by train is one of the favorite ways of traveling for my family. We usually send our suitcases with the luggage service of the Deutsche Bahn (German train company) and travel easy with just the hand luggage. Fun!

I am telling you, to recycle ALL your waste into 5 different bins and to take EVERY SINGLe bottle you ever buy back into the store for refund can be tideous.

Anyway, before you get to expose your little ones to the wonders of exotic destinations such as Landshut, Bavaria, you got to face often long and exhausting journeys.

Here’s my little cents of advise from the experience of so far 18 take offs  (this includes in land flights and connection flights of course) with toddlers …

First things first.

Before you fly, check in online to reserve your seats in the “baby isle” (where nobody sits in front of you) on the airplane and book child meals.

You need to really talk this through with daddy BEFORE the big day. Because we can not afford business class or direct flights, but have to stop over in Dubai, the flight day is even harder and longer. So really, make a plan beforehand and stick to it.

We usually agree Mama is sitting in the isle seat, and is responsible for all the potty breaks, nappy changes etc on flight, simply because I am smaller than daddy and manage to fit WITH a child into the tiny airplane bathrooms. I will also take the kids for little walks inside of the plane. Dad will enjoy a movie or two and help me with the feeding of the lot. Your under 2year old will most likely not have her own seat – this means, worst case, 14 hours with a toddler on your lap… but not necessarily so. More about that later. But this is why you need to have a night or 2 of sound sleep before and after the flight day.

When your baby is still tiny, a baby carrier is a real good idea. Hands free.

Because I know I will be on major duty during the flight, I don’t even plan on reading or watching anything. But I do get to sleep through the night before, as daddy is taking both kids for that night. Fair deal, in my eyes as daddy also handles the passports and luggage and I can focus on keeping the kids happy.

Whatever you prefer, it’s really good to have an agreement beforehand. During the whole travel, it is not a good idea to be discussing who should hold on to the boarding passes or why is dad nodding off to sleep while you have to handle a sudden running tummy and find yourself in the “lavatories” every 30 minutes with a screaming baby. Nope, agree, and then switch on the “autopilot” and do your thing. Rest once you arrived! I am so much more relaxed when I don’t have to discuss who does what while we’re at it.

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Less is more. I know this is on the train. But really, don’t feel tempted to pack pens, favorite toys and too much snacks.

I was asked recently by a first-time flyer what kind of things one should pack for the flight to keep the kids happy. Please trust me, less is more. Pack in a way that enables you to check in as much luggage as possible. We normally check in all our hand-luggage trolleys as well, so that my husband and I each have only one reasonable sized backpack to carry and our hands are free for the children. As much as you’d like your kids to bring their own little pack, remember – you’ll have to look after every item of luggage. It’s easier if they have just themselves to carry. Mine are 4 and 1 year old and I believe once they’re a little older it will be neat for them to carry some backpack, but right now I prefer traveling “clutter-free”.

Remember, from the security check to the gate and even from the gate to your plane are often long ways. You might have to carry tired kids. There might be stairs. You do not want to have nappy bags, hand bags, shopping bags etc dangling from your wrists while you try to catch the kids. 2 backpacks. Nothing more. Feel the freedom.

In my hubbys backpack are his man-things, a book, tablet, chargers, camera, tickets etc etc. In my backpack are extra clothes for each child, plus basic toiletries and nappies (diapers). no, I will not have a diaperbag at my feet during flight. Remember, you have to stow ever loose item overhead during take off, landing and turbulences. I do not feel like doing in-flight gymnastics. Rather, I have a slim zipper pouch holding 6 nappies, a tube of bum cream, a travel size pack of wet wipes (two others are in the backpack), moisturizer and hand sanitizer. This pouch fits neatly in the magazine pouch in front of my seat. Two bottles, one with milk and one with tea, also fit into the pouch in front of my husband’s seat. the pouch in front of my son holds his drinking bottle. That’s it. Sorted. Stays there even during turbulences. I don’t have to rummage through the overhead compartment for anything except if baby’s tummy really gets runny and I need to refill on diapers. Okay, if baby is under 12 month and doesn’t drink cows milk yet (which you get from the stewardess once your initial supply of formula is used up) you little formula container will also fit in front of you. I prefer to not have to look for a lot of things when we get off the plane.

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I am sure your kids have their collection of favorite “guys” too. But beware. Little things tend to get lost on airports or in planes, other kids come and want to play with them and break them etc etc. So I generally advise to get a little keepsake at the airport or be surprised what the air hostesses have for your kids, but do not risk tantrums because someone special like Spidey or Buzz got lost …

Such a zip pouch you can easily get when you buy a gift pack of toiletries etc. Perfect for baby things. Small enough for a baby change tango in the tiny cabin loo.

Refill in water you get anytime on board, so don’t worry about that.

Remember, if you bring pens and a coloring book, the pens WILL roll off the table and you’ll have to go crawling in a search mission. the same goes for superman, and other favorite small toys the kids might want to bring. Loose them in-flight and you are in for terror! Mama, practice your finger games, funny songs, rhymes and stories beforehand. You are the main source of entertainment now.

Also, make sure you greet the flight attendants very friendly right from the start and point them out to your children. My boys will get all excited saying: Hey mom, look at the beautiful princess! (Emirates Airways – great outfits) Of course the “princess” will stop by later with some extra goodies for the kids.

Also, having the flight attendants on your side right from the start will help you with the extra seat for baby you bargained for when booking “baby isle”. Most likely at check-in you discussed it with the lady at the counter, too – a free seat next to you. Often, flights are overbooked and there will still be somebody sitting next to you when you board the plane, no matter how you tried to sweet talk the person at the airline counter. Do not panic.

A person in single free seat next to you in the baby isle is most likely traveling alone and wont mind moving to another open seat elsewhere in the plane after the plane took off. Especially after you and your husband had a lively discussion on how you hope the kids wont throw up again after the airplane meal … you get the picture. Having a flight attendant on your side helps, as she will kindly ask the single traveler if he minds moving to another open seat and she’ll even help him with his luggage. Done, free seat secure. Mind you, I had to travel twice for 8 hours with Sam on my lap. It is manageable, if your relax about it.

The little kiddies bag Steven is wearing was a complimentary gift from Lufthansa filled with little surprises. No need to bring too much stuff on board.

Today’s airplanes provide each passenger with his own screen. Perfect. For your toddlers – relax if you’ve been limiting their screen time. This is not the time to get all educational conscious. this is the time to focus on peace. Do not choose a Disney movie for your little ones, as they wont hold a 2 year olds attention for long. Go to the “TV-Series” options and check whether CTV (stands for Children’s TV) is available. My best bet is CeeBeebies, the BBC’s children’s channel. They have a nice compilation of favorite 10 min episodes. My baby’s hooked. Disney Junior will do as well. Stay clear of Cartoon network and the likes. Makes them all edgy.

You know about the bottle during take off and landing. Get ready for the need to pee soon after, of course. But again, I am entering the plane knowing I will be walking to the loo with one of the two kids more than sitting down and relaxing. So it’s no biggie. I also take the child that’s bored the most on little exploration tours through the economy part of the plane. Next to the emergency exit are little windows through which we can see “the whole world”. How amazing, every time.

When it’s real hot in South Africa, we have winter in Germany. So you gotta pack a set of warm clothes to change into at the airport. Lots of fun.

The flight attendants will usually bring the child meal before your meal, so you have enough time to assist your kids with their eating. The plate Steven gets is more than enough for him and his brother. They will also bring toys for the kids, and even some coloring books and pencils. You see, there was no need for you to bring your chest of wonders from home. If you’re the cranky passenger, there will be the one set of complimentary toys for your older child and you will hear: Sorry, it’s only for the paying child. When you’ve made the flight attendants your ally from the start, there will be, miraculously, another set of toys and gifts for your baby as well, and a back pack, and extra chocolate … you get the picture. It’s worth a try. If your baby has a bad day, it is hard on your flight attendant as well, because she needs to make sure ALL passengers are comfortable. So try to show appreciation.

The complimentary on board magazines have a lot of “strange”  photos in them to keep baby entertained for a bit as well.

O yes, and, very important, have one nice and thick empty plastic bag handy, folded away neatly in the seat in front of you. I tell you why:

Mealtimes often last an excruciating long time on board. It literally takes over an hour before the tray with lots of flimsy little containers on a flimsy little table in front of you is removed by the hard working crew. Not good with rambunctious toddlers who need to jump on their seats and definitely will want to go pipi twice while you both are stuck with that tray. Enter the plastic bag. You drink that tiny sip of a juice you were provided with, finish any open container or put a lid on, unfold your bag into which you elegantly slide one tray on top of the other, place it on your seat, get out with the kids to attend their needs (no waiting time at the lavatories because everybody else is “stuck”), go back, sit down and slide the tray out again and continue your meal as if nothing happened. Easy peasy. Helps every time.

Later you can use the bag to scoop up all the little favours you received, and put your nappy pouch back into the backpack, slide the bottles into the backpacks sides and you’re good to leave the plane, no mess, no clutter, no panic.

Especially if you have to stop over somewhere it is a big advantage to not have too much luggage to look after. There is always another security check, passport control etc. Yes, it is good to prepare, but unless you are going somewhere 3rd world (with little kids? Not a good idea) remember that you can purchase almost everything in an airport.

Dubai airport has little strollers available which is excellent, because both kids can sit down and rest while we find our way to the connecting flight. We had to stay from 8pm to 4 am at the airport.

Tapas Restaurant has cosy little quiet corners to sit and wait for your connecting flight.

We found ourself the quietest of all restaurants, Tapas Authentic Tapas Bar located near Gate B26 offering  delicious Spanish tapas in a very comfy setting.  We put the kids on the soft couches and enjoyed the little portions of Spanish starters and just had a good time. If we had waited at our gate or in the overcrowded main restaurants, it would have been really exhausting.

IMG-20130718-01389I hope it helped a little.

Enjoy your flight.


Intermezzo

Hi there, dearest readers… it’s sure been a while… I  am freshly back from a lekker long holiday in Europa, and wow, what a blast it has been.

Give me a few days to come back to you with some stunning images from a real underestimated holiday destination.

 

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Show me how God feels about me

Just a little post on a sunday morning while my kids are chomping down their breakfast…

 

As a Christian family, we try to raise our kids in touch with the spiritual realm and have to answer many, many questions.

 

The other day, our son asked about God’s love. And about my husband’s occupation being a pastor. My husband took this blanket and hung it around like a mantel, similar to a Jewish prayer shawl. This mantle represents the weight of responsibility we carry as God’s children, as well as the protection and comfort of God’s love towards us.

My son enjoyed this demonstration of fatherly care thoroughly and I just thought this cellphone snapshot would be nice to share with you on a sunday. The picture says more than I can explain in words.

 

 

When did Mob justice become normal? Do tribal customs triumph over legislation?

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On the road from Vivo to Louis Trichardt.

So today after work I went with my 4 year old to town to quickly get some gifts for a baby shower tomorrow morning. I love to teach my son the value of giving generously.

Normally going into town would be a happy event. Today, as soon as we reached downtown, one block away from the main street drama unfolded right before our eyes. A man was being pushed to the ground by an angry person. Soon several men where kicking him everywhere. Ribs, legs, head. Before I knew what was happening, a mob started forming, screaming angrily. The men started to kick the guy in his head, he was bleeding and I saw him loosing his consciousness.

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In this street, an angry mob of about 100 people formed within seconds right in front of me.

Suddenly more than a hundred of angry people shouted all around us. It all had happened so quickly, my heart felt like melting wax. All I could think about was how to get my son out of there as quick as possible.

A few moments later I was trying to calm down at the store I went to in order to buy baby garments for my friend.

My son luckily hadn’t really noticed too much of the scene. He just asked why the people where behaving badly. I promised him to find out what was going on.  If you think action movies are fast paced, try real life. It happened so quickly there was nothing one could have done. The same morning an African student who is in our church’s youth had posted a video on facebook where people in some village where apparently burned to dead alive. I didn’t watch it, I was just horrified of the kids posting this, the thought of somebody recording it with the cellphone, the barbaric terror of it all.

“Last week my village necklaced a thief”

Now there I stand, still shaking, at the queue to pay. I do what any woman probably does, I talk about it. I am the only white person in the store that afternoon. The guy behind me laughs at my report and says with a calm, assuring voice: “He probably stole something”. The till lady nods. “Yes he must have stolen something. Last week in my village they necklaced someone.

They put a tire around his neck and set it on fire for him to die. He had taken R 2000 (about 170 Dollars) ” She smiles kindly.

Imagine my feelings standing there. Hello. If you don’t know South Africa – it is a beautiful, intelligent, civilized (I thought so) nation with all the 1st world comforts and 3rd world challenged mixed into one big potjie (hot pot).

First world country.

I am not standing in the bush. I am at a till with make up displays and advertisements for elegant dresses and funeral policies.

Oh that’s why. The guy behind me is amused by my questioning looks. “Listen that’s how WE do this. It’s the law of blood. You steal, you pay with blood.”

I turn to my son: “Steven put that lipstick back. Don’t steal stuff darling.”

I am stopping at our school on my way back. Our handy men are still working on some gates. I mention the incident in town. They aren’t worried. “He probably stole something” is their answer.

My Zimbabwean coworker is preparing next weeks class. When I ask her if its normal, she smiles patiently. “He must have stolen something”.

Okay. I get it. After almost 8 years here in the country of freedom and reconciliation I still didn’t know that this is how we deal with thieves.

The legal system – too western?

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At the odds and ends store around the corner you can buy this little rich feller who wills squeak when you squeeze him.

Today #guptagate trended on twitter. A super-uber rich Indian family had a ridiculously fancy wedding party and since they have close links with the ruling party, the ANC, they got some special treatment…

Twenty flying squad members, 10 high-powered flying squad cars, as many as 40 members of the police counter-assault team and VIP protection unit and several armoured and specialised surveillance vehicles.

This is what taxpayers coughed up to protect more than 200 guests of a very rich Indian families wedding party.

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We are connecting local farmers who are willing to help with needy people and fetch the food and prepare it on site, like here for hungry Zimbabean refugees in Musina.

There is also controversy about the arrival at Waterkloof Air Force base of a passenger jet carrying wedding guests.

The civilian guests, who arrived at the air force base without being screened by customs officials, were whisked away in a convoy of white Range Rovers, protected by the large police detail, who clocked in at 5am.

A police officer who was involved in the operation and its planning said yesterday the security detail had been finalised last week already.

As many as 40 policemen from the counter-assault team and the VIP protection unit were ordered to escort five trucks from OR Tambo Airport to Sun City. Two of these apparently contained gifts for the wedding couple and dignitaries.

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In the end South Africa can not go on being wobbly about values anymore if we all want to live a fulfilled and happy life. Cooking the mielie pap (maize porridge)

“The CAT members used their armoured Humvees and specialised surveillance vehicles for the operation,” said the officer.

So our president is once more stealing from the taxpayers. After building a mansion the German politicians can only dream of (in my home country you get fired when you allow your aunt Anna to go on holiday in a government jet, in south Africa it’s commonplace) while it’s May and many kids still have NO schoolbooks (government has no money ?), what’s next … ?

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My husband Andries assessing the individual needs.

In our municipality, according to Afri-forum in the Soutpansberger newspaper, new, job-providing businesses can not be allowed to register because we do not have the infrastructure for it. Power cuts, no clean water, etc. No money for that. But boy oh boy, you should see the villas sprouting like mushrooms on top of the mountains.

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Choose the wise path, South Africa.

When confronted about this, the answer was: This is Africa. We do not do things the western way anymore.

I am sure there comes a day when president Zuma must decide: Does he want Western justice with a legal court, commission, hearing, investigations where all the tax money went, or should we rather deal with it the African way?

Youth killed in mob justice in limpopo

“Witch” set alight in Limpopo

One week closer to achieving your dream – Thursday: A ride on a steam train

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Steven at two.

Hello again to One Week closer to Achieving your Dreams! Today I want to think about how to keep our lives beautiful.

My little boy Steven was 2 years old when somebody gave him a kiddies plate. Now my son is growing up in a loving home and has a big, loving, sensitive heart. We hadn’t exposed him to any violent entertainment yet as we do not deem it age appropriate.

After receiving this plate he got very sad, and then asked me: Mom, why would they give me a plate with a devil on it? Don’t then know that I do not like the devil? …

The plate he got was a Ben 10 plate like they are common in all stores, that little boy with all the dragons and monsters. Well my baby boy did not enjoy it and he simply did not want to use that plate. If you think about it – why would anybody make anything violent for a child? A small child’s soul is pure and lovely, may we not soil it with evil things and even pay money for it.

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Taking Steven on a steam train ride on one of the oldest steam trains in the world – the Harzquerbahn in Germany.

Little children have such a good understanding of what is right and wrong, and they want nothing more than to be loved and protected, and love you back. Can we try to keep that child-like innocence?

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The train goes up the Harz mountains to the highest peak north before the North Pole, the Brocken…
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Every little boy should be shown how a steam engine works … well I enjoyed the explanations myself as a little child. My dad was a great technology enthusiast who had a knack for making facts come to life!
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On top of the Brocken
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Click on this picture to find cool info about the Brocken, it’s history during the cold war and its heavy role in German literature…
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Exhausted on the way back…
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Back home …

Harzbahn (50) Harzbahn (91) Somebody once said it is never too late to have a happy childhood.

It’s never too late to clean up our ambitions and lives for a lighter, clearer way of doing things!

It is time to say to Satan: don’t cramp my style. Go to hell. –

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This train I took many times as a child, either to go visit my grandmother or to go skiing in the mountains…

Today is a good opportunity to allow God to show you which nasty things you are unnecessarily toting around on the journey of your life. Achieving our dreams is possible if we travel light.

Joh 10:11  I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

Never forget, that Jesus is the one who loved you so much that He would trade His royal rights for your shame, so that you can walk upright again.

There is no plan B with God, no matter what happened in your life, His plan A is still valid and there for you to go for.

Sometimes we are so shrouded in shame and guilt, and negativity, that we give up on our passions.

Maybe you know somebody who has no food tonight, but rejection has damaged you so much that you don’t dare cooking for the poor person. You are afraid they might not like your food! Well, give that rejection to God, and go buy some buns and butter … do not ever let the past steal the joy of the future.

Stop eating from satans plate of shame, rejection, hate and bitterness – refuse them like my child did. Give this day to Jesus, He loves you so very much!

I included pictures of a day trip to the Brocken mountain with my dad. I hope you enjoy the journey. I have always loved train rides.

 

 

 

 

Create in me a heart so

full of love that it reaches

each person I meet and

brings out their goodness

Create in me a heart full of joy

so I can lift up those who feel

they have no hope

Create in me a heart full of forgiveness

so I can be free to give peace and understanding

Create in me a heart that grows

in love for you each day

Most of all Jesus

Create in me a heart

which desires only you

and to do your will

 

by Cindy Tuttle