Here is the blog post I promised. Luckily my malaria medicine/Africa itself makes it harder for me to sleep the entire time so when I wake up early or cannot sleep at night I have something to do. This week we moved into different therapy groups. I am now in the feeding/swallowing group with Dr. Weaver. So far I have enjoyed working with the different tools we have and learning about infant swallowing but I do miss my toddlers. That is something I never thought I would say haha. In the morning we work in Haven 3, the “sick house.” Our first session is with a group of babies who I do not know what their illness is. In the second session we work with a group of babies who have TB. Honestly, it might sound scary to some people but the fact that these children have diseases I am not used to being around never even crosses my mind when I am looking at their little faces. Our last task in the morning is to go over to Haven 1 and find a baby to do language stimulation with. Our afternoons consist of more feeding class with some babies in Haven 1 and then time to do individual language therapy. This is one of my favorite times of day because I am able to work with Wesley or one of the other troublemakers that have captured my heart. That is a quick overview of my day-to-day activities for this week in therapy. By the time we arrive back to the houses it is dinnertime, which I am always excited about. Walking 6 miles a day makes me very hungry!
The past two nights have been exceptionally fun and a time to learn more about the Zambian culture. We typically have some time to play my drum; I am determined to be awesome before I return to the states! Then we have choir practice with our night watchmen Webster. We have added some more people to our group from the original few so that we will be able to sing in front of the college students one Sunday. We typically go over the first song that Webster taught us a few times with him patiently coaching us through the different harmonies. This is a very interesting time for me considering I was never in a choir; luckily I like singing so it is like a dream come true, sort of. It always sounds so good whenever Webster has finally taught all of us the different parts. Last night we were able to learn a new song too. For all the people that have been to Zambia before this will be a familiar tune. It was Wabuta Wabuta. I was very excited because I have been hearing Cassie sing this song to me for the past 2 years; it was about time for it to have some meaning for me too. Yet again Webster patiently taught each of us the different harmonies group by group. It is quite difficult to learn all the parts when you can hear the other parts singing as well but we finally got it worked out about 45 minutes later. I wasn’t complaining, I would much rather be learning Tonga songs than building card houses or whatever else we do to pass the time! Then the fun part came. He had to teach us how to say one of the super long words. The problem with this was that it began Nguto. Now in case you have forgotten the English language, the letters ng never begins a word. Ever. So we each had to be taught how to make this sound and transition it in the sound. Everyone else could do this pretty effectively, except me. So I was able to have individual Tonga speech therapy lessons with Webster trying to say this sound. We worked on it for quite a few minutes before he decided it was good enough but he was doing everything to get me to say it. I was saying the sound in different words and in different positions. Who knows what all he was making me say! It was fun though. Hard but fun. It was like a little insight into what the clients feel like whenever we are working with them. Right after this we began singing again and had another blackout. None of us had flashlights but we just kept singing away until Webster pulled his out, since he is the night watchman. So we were just singing up a storm in the pitch dark, praising Jesus in some Tonga songs. It was so cool. After our choir lessons Ben, Ian, and I have been staying around to talk to Webster and Justin. I believe that Webster is one of the funniest people I have ever met in my life. On Monday they asked us many questions about the United States and the weather. Webster decided he could never visit because it would be too cold. After our talk on Monday I asked them to give us Tonga names. My name is Choolewa with the nickname of cho cho; this word means luck. Ben and Ian were given names too; Chipago, which means gift and lowando, which means journey. I did not spell those words right but I mean you will not be able to pronounce them anyway. Last night we had Webster teach us more Tonga words and we have begun writing them down. It is hard to say some of them and we were told we have a very funny accent but I like trying. Tomorrow I have feeding therapy again and then that night some of us are going to Wednesday night church with one of the girls from the college we have met named Grace. I am excited. Until next time. Over and out.