Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Today is our last night in Zambia. After breakfast we started loading up "Khaki Jackie" and some of our Zambian and American friends came to see us off. It was sort of bittersweet. Then we traveled to Lusaka to stay at the Protea! We Love this hotel, it is so swanky. BW gave us all some money to eat dinner on our own and we don't have to get up early. WE GET TO SLEEP IN! At approximately 3 pm Zambian time we will be boarding an airplane to head back to America.

This has been an amazing experience and one that I will think of forever. With that said, I am really excited about being home where there is reliable internet, consistently running hot water, and electricity that doesn't go off at 7 pm every night. USA here we come!


Friday, June 18, 2010

GA Olympics

Well, we just completed our last day of therapy at the Haven. There were bittersweet emotions flowing through our group today. We started off with finishing our Capstones (project in order to graduate) and therapy with babies of our choice. We then took a break for lunch and returned to the Haven to give each one a cake and say goodbye to our new friends, the Aunties, and the little munchkins. I felt at peace while I was with them. I went to Bennett, Nathan, Miller and Memory (she just got back from a heart surgery in South Africa) as my babies to hold. The were so content and I couldn't help but feel good about the work we had done. They have all come such a long ways with their language and feeding. Most of the babies are achieving the milestones appropriate for their age or coming closer everyday to being on track. They have all worked so hard but our time here would not be worth anything if we did not educate and get the Aunties involved in what we were trying to do.

Once they warmed up to us and saw that we were helping their babies, they had no problems wanting to know what they could do to help! This was very exciting news. The language group made lesson plans that were easy for the Aunties to follow including, activities, songs, and manipulatives. The Dysphagia group, made paper flowers and suns that have developmental milestones on the petals/rays that the aunties can cross off as each child achieves their own goals. We also made signs for the bottles that gave advice for how to know which bottles are appropriate to give to the babies and which are not (flow of milk coming out of the nipple needs to be slow for babies) and signs at the changing tables also gave examples of how to stimulate language with their children. They loved the things we gave them and they all expressed that this would help them very much. The aunties were already doing a great job, but now they can be purposeful with their everyday routines and help their babies thrive. Most of us walked back from the Haven in order to think and have our alone time before we gathered together again. Knowing that today was going to be an emotional day for everyone, Rachel and I decided to bust out our plans for...the first ever ZAMBIAN GA OLYMPICS :) haha! We had been keeping this a secret for about 2 weeks and everyone was in good spirits once they were completed...SUCCESS!!
Events went down in this order,
1) Longest Leg Hair Competition (I Won of course!) haha, Thanks Dad!
2) Sock Sliding (Rachel won)
3) Chitenge Wrap (Sarah Hendrix won)
4) 40 Sec Clothes Pile On (Kaylee & Lacey won, this was a roommate event) 5) Unlock the Door Race (Sarah Hendrix won)
6) Chug the Bottle (Lacey won)

Dr. Weaver made Caroline "grandama" and Marja honorary members of R.O.S.S. (Royal Order of the Silver Slipper) It is a great honor!!
The overall Bronze Medal went to Kaylee, Silver- Lacey, Gold- Sarah. We laughed a lot and everyone got involved to make it a great event and happy ending to a tough day. It's amazing how God can allow us to find joy on the saddest days. Thanks God!! We leave for Livingstone tomorrow to have High Tea at the Royal Livingstone, Safari in Botswana, Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi, shop and shave our legs!! Please pray for our safe journeys.

Saying goodbye

This week was my last week of therapy with the children and babies at the Havens. It was difficult leaving them today knowing that I would not be seeing them again. All of the children were so cutely dressed and just getting up from their naps. I made my way into all of the Havens (Havens 1, 2, and 3) playing one last time with the kiddos and then saying my goodbyes. All of the children have made so much progress and are doing so well. I have noticed that the children are now stringing sounds and words together while others are starting to talk. Some of the babies are starting to roll over, suck a pacifier, sit up, have tummy time while keeping their head up, and are able to smile. Other babies have met a lot of these goals and are starting to babble more often. Teagen, one of the kiddos is starting to crawl while Megan is sucking on a pacifier. Before Megan would not put anything in her mouth and Teagen did not interact and/or smile during play. Sidney is starting to sit up independently while Shelby, her sister is starting to babble. All the children and babies are doing fabulous! Today Katherine, Kaylee, Caroline and I made props/materials for the aunties when providing care to the children and babies. We cut out flowers for the girls and stars for the boys. On each flower petal and/or star triangle there are developmental milestones that the aunties get to color each time a child/baby meets a new goal. For feeding time, I and the other girls cut out bottles listing how to feed each child. The paper cut-out bottles were placed in each room near the changing table. It was nice to have an education session for the aunties so when we leave the aunties will continue to help the children with language enrichment and feeding. What a wonderful, but sad time. We all said our last hellos and goodbyes. The last person I got to visit with was Gwembe. He has made incredible progress as well. He is now starting to use more English with Tonga. He is following 2-step directions, answering yes/no questions, and is naming colors. Elvis, his one on one helper said that he would continue to work with Gwembe. Before saying my final goodbye I was able to give Gwembe some tennis shoes, pens, school supplies and I gave Elvis a hat. Gwembe was all smiles when I had him try on the shoes. I asked him to name what they are (shoes) and their color. With some prompts/cues he was able to answer my questions. I took lots of pictures and hope to hear from Roy and Elvis in the future on how Gwembe is dong. I hope that Gwembe will have more opportunities to go to school and find a job where he can feel good about himself and his strengths. Everyone has strengths we just need to find them and focus on the positives!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Legit Situation

This morning we had to go into Kalomo to get our visas renewed... Thank you B Weave!!

We got to the Haven just a little later than usual, so our Haven 2 kids were already drinking their tea/juice/milk. As soon as we showed up, Bright, Emma, and Weston ran over to me holding up their drinks so I would take the lids off. When I took their bottles, they ran over to the bench and sat nicely waiting to get their drink back. They are learning so well! While we were doing our lesson, Clintus (one of the aunties) came out to watch. I asked her if she would like to sing some songs and she said, "No... tomorrow." Well, tomorrow we are not doing our normal therapy so I had to explain that to her. Then she said, "Ok, after tomorrow." When I had to tell her that tomorrow is our last day, she got teary eyed and said, "No! So sad, so sad!" That was the first time it really hit me how sad saying goodbye tomorrow is going to be... Oh, goodness. Not thinking about that yet!! At Haven 1, the aunties are all very sweet and love talking to us... which I think is because Sarah has basically become and honorary auntie while we've been here. When I asked Pauline if we could take a "snap" she said only if we take two and I leave one with her! She is just precious!

Pauline and me!

This afternoon, we spent our time on the front porch at Haven 1 writing up a very detailed schedule of what we've been doing, a list of all the children at the Haven, and organizing our supplies that we're leaving here. We ended up getting it done pretty quickly so we had some time to just hold some babies. A lot of them are sick right now so they weren't as lively as normal. I picked up Hunter because he was crying in his bed. I ended up holding him for about an hour! He is so sweet and so tiny! Marja joined us back from her day at school and we worked on recommendations for next year. I used a chitenge to tie Hunter to me so I'd have some free hands. He just loved it! I think it was really good for him to just be held close. I didn't want to have to put him back in his bed when I left!
Sweet, sweet Hunter

Tonight we're just hanging out... the power went out again for about an hour but it just came back! We always end up finding ways to entertain ourselves, so it's all good. Oh, but we do have some sad news... probably not going to get to go on the elephant ride. Every company we've contacted is already book. Oh well! We are going to have plenty to do in Livingstone as it is!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Last Days....

Today was our last full day of therapy at the Havens. Rach, Lace and I are back on language duty this week and it is going really well. The kids have finally fallen in to routine, and are really responding to the language stimulation. It is nice to see these kids coming out of their shells and talking more. They are bright little ones with lots of potential.

We have been trying to get the “Aunties” more involved with therapy so that they can continue after we leave. It has been slow going on that front but we have managed to form so close relationships with some of these ladies. I am confident they will do some FANTASTIC language lessons after we leave.

Today is the wonderful Caroline Martin’s 30th Birthday. We are so lucky to have her here on this trip and we are luckier to have the opportunity to share in her first days as a 30 year old. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAROLINE!

We leave the mission in a week and the general feeling of the group is bittersweet. We have grown to love the babies here; each of us has claimed one of our own. We will be sad to leave them and I am certain I speak for everyone when I say that we wish we could take them with us. Home will be nice though. The land of reliable internet, hot showers, and few power outages.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A stroll through the African bush

This morning we took a short cut to the Haven (different from Ian’s “original” shortcut). Thanks to our guide Catherine, we made it to the Haven 10 minutes faster. It may have been quicker to take the short cut but I think I will be sticking to the main road for the rest of the week. This trail led through tall grass (taller than me!) in the middle of nowhere.

This picture doesn't do it justice! This was the nice part of the trail before we actually got into the bush where I was wishing for a machete. I had thoughts like: “What would we do if one of us gets bit by a black mumba or attacked by a cheetah?” going through my mind. So thanks but no thanks to the short cut!
Once we arrived at the Haven, Catherine went to work on her CAPSTONE research while Lace and I played with the toddlers from Haven 2. Charlie recently had to go to the clinic because his eye was swollen shut, we believe it was a sty that had gotten infected. He is doing tons better and today I saw him with a book, so I asked to see what he was reading. Well this is what I found…
A book cover with nothing inside. Nice.

When the Khaki Jackie arrived at the Haven with the rest of the people, our group had to do some readjusting because all of our babies at Haven 3 were at the clinic getting TB tested. Instead, we went to Haven 1 first for feeding group and no one was the “lead”, rather it was just more practice for each clinician. We have been noticing our little Lushomo losing weight lately, and today we noticed he was breathing quickly and seemed to take a lot of effort to drink his bottle. The haven nurse is supposed to check him out later today or tomorrow. Let’s keep Lush (pronounced: Loosh) in our prayers!
Caroline feeding little Lush

We headed over to Haven 3 whenever the babies arrived back from the clinic. When we got the group gathered together we noticed each one of the babies were wearing little shoes from their trip to the clinic, they were presh!

Amanda is sportin' her ruby red slippers and in the far left corner you will see Sid's pink kicks ;)

You could tell the babies were exhausted from their busy morning at the clinic. However, we pushed forward with therapy. We started off with the Beckman exercises, then some group “tummy time”, and ended with feeding. Choolwe waved this morning and rolled over a couple of times (making some progress!). At the end of the morning session we decided to lay down with the kids and have “chill time”. Catherine had Sid propped up on her legs with Bennett sleeping on her chest. I had Sid’s twin, Shelby, propped up on my legs with a bottle and “princess” Amanda on my chest/face/stomach/EVERYWHERE!
Amanda and Shelby

When we returned this afternoon we were flying solo because poor Caroline was not feeling so hot. We started at Haven 3 with the babies outside on the porch for therapy. Then we ended the day at Haven 1 where Tegan crawled-ish today! Technically, it was more of a swimming/crawling motion but it got her to her destination (the pacifier).
Meet Nathan, he is not apart of our feeding/swallowing therapy group but he sleeps in the same room where we usually have the session so we often put him on the floor with us. Well today he was being a SUPERSTAR. He ate a baby cookie/biscuit and rolled over and over and over… He is also a little talker; constantly babbling and smiling!

After we got all of the kiddos oral motor exercises in, we moved to the table for feeding time. I do believe this is Darcie’s favorite time of day…
Except when feeding time is over. She is not a happy camper.

When we were cleaning up the table after feeding therapy and getting the babies all situated for play time. I noticed Shawn crawling underneath the table at a fast pace then his little precious self was clinging to my legs. Catherine says I spoil him…I beg to differ!

Love my little boy

Tomorrow we are set to do individual therapy sessions where we will see one infant at a time for 30 minutes. We will do the same type of activities we do in group feeding/swallowing therapy except make it more individualized for the infant’s needs. I have been looking forward to tomorrow’s schedule all week :) it should be fun!


Monday, June 14, 2010

10 more days!

This morning at Haven 2 we split the kiddos into two separate groups on opposite ends of the porch. This seemed to hold their attention a lot better and cut down on the behavioral issues. Since our resources are limited here in Zambia and our container of materials has not arrived yet....I incorporated a "slap it" game into therapy where the kids had to differentiate between certain animals, slap that animal with a fly swatter (compliments of Mrs. Hamby), say the name of the animal, and practice making the animal's sound. They loved it. Rachel also did an awesome activity using sidewalk chalk to draw trails on the porch which led to different beanie baby animals that were hidden under baseball caps. Kind of like a Safari hunt. We are definitely having to pull out our creative sides without having any materials available! Tomorrow, Jaimie plans to have a "musical chairs" activity, using her Ihome and music to have the kids work on animals and their sounds as well. Super cute ideas! We hope to receive the container before we leave for Livingstone this week in order to organize the materials and have them ready for next year's group. So sad we didn't get them here in time! After leaving Haven 2, we headed to Haven 1, where I was the group leader for the day. I was in charge of leading all the songs and activities for the session. It is amazing to see all the changes from week one to week 4. Since I have been doing feeding therapy, I was shocked to join language therapy again and see all the changes the children have made within such a short period of time! :) There is much much more talking, imitating, and interacting in just a few short weeks. so exciting! I was also in charge of leading all the little ones at Haven 3 this morning. They had just finished feeding therapy (with Caroline, Kaylee, Meghann, and Catherine) so they were all really tired and ready for their afternoon nap. I think all my singing put most of them straight to sleep! haha. It was so cute! After lunch we headed back to Havens 1 and 3. I think the kids must have eaten sugar cane for lunch because they were bouncing off the walls! Talk about busy bees!

These three.... Nita, Ross, and Shawn (with poor little Jana crying on the side) were absolutely hysterical! They were all trying to sit in my lap at the same time and fighting over who got the best seat. Of course Nita, aka the trouble maker, ran the show and tried her hardest to push everyone else off my lap! She's something else!
Theres room for everyone Nita! :) haha.
Trying to keep them all in one crib for language therapy! ...aka best idea! :) haha.

We only have 10 more days left on our trip and then we will be home on the 25th! Still cant believe it! Pray that our last week here at the Haven continues to be successful and that we have a safe trip to Livingstone!

Goodnight! - Lacey

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Another day in Zambia

It has been a wonderful week filled with new learning opportunities. Once again, I’ve had the privilege of working with Gwembe, the children and babies at the Haven. I have learned how precious life is and Gods amazing abilities to let us be the best we can be and live each day through him. Alfred, one of the babies at the Haven, has been at the hospital on oxygen. It was declared that yesterday he died. When we found out about his death all of us said a prayer. It was a very upsetting and emotional time for all of us. At that very moment I thought about why we are put on this planet. That is hopefully to do unto other as you would have them do unto you, be more tolerant of others, be respectful, and to learn and do good things. I believe God has a plan and that things in life happen for a reason. Sometimes we do not always know that reason, but there is a plan. I was reminded of this plan as I was sitting at the dinner table tonight talking to the other group members. It was like dejavu all over again. I had been brought back to a place and time that I vividly remember being before. I feel that it was meant to be which all goes back to Gods plan for each and every one of us. I keep thinking of the differences we all have made and the lives that have been touched. I have gained a plethora of insight and perspective on the people here and their different walks of life. It has been great to get to know so many strong, wonderful people.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Using our Resources!

Howdy y'all! It's your favorite Native American Texan :) We have just completed our 3rd week of therapy and it's hard to believe we only have 1 more to go. Kaylee, Meghann, and I were with Marja this week for language and Jaime, Rachel, and Lacey were with Caroline for swallowing. They are both great supervisors and have taught us so much in their own ways. Language has been interesting, our favorite quote has been, "In the crate...I have this awesome activity for (fill in the blank)". It's amazing what you can do with duct tape, a couple of books, random "Zambian" household supplies, and a bag full of beanie babies. Ladies, be very proud!! With the help of Marja and using our creative noggins, we have managed to conduct therapy for 3 and possibly 4 weeks for about 60 kiddos on these supplies alone. Yeah, I know right!!! Marja has been impressed and has no doubt that we will be able to be creative using the resources we have once we get back to the states. She has been great and constructive with her feedback as well. After every session, we take time to actually sit down and talk about the sessions. Questions consist of: What can you do to play of the strengths of this child, what can you do better/more, what kind of reinforcements are you going to implement, how are you going to address that child's behavior, what are you going to plan to work on next, what do you think about your usage of time, materials, goals, songs...etc. She MAKES us talk! Haha, it took a while to get used to, but now we are spitting out modifications, ideas, and observations like we have been doing it our whole lives. She has really put it into perspective for us, what we always need to be thinking as clinicians no matter what population we work with. Thanks Marja!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Crash course.

This morning, Caroline informed us right before we entered Haven 3 (literally, I had my hand on the door knob) that we would each be leading a feeding session. Way to spring it on us! But it was totally fine. I went first and just "led" the group through all the activities (Beckmann exercises, tummy time, sitting practice, and feeding with language stim mixed all in). I felt really good about it and I realized I've learned a whole lot from Caroline! When we moved to Haven 1, Caroline let Lacey do the group while she checked Alfred out. Alfred has been at the Haven about a week and he is one month old. For the past few days, we've seen him have nasal regurgitation a few times. That's because he has poor velopharyngeal closure and the liquid was going up and out his nose instead of down his esophagus. Caroline quickly discovered that Alfred was in respiratory distress and he was taken to the clinic. It ended up being a very hectic situation for B Weave, Caroline, and the aunties. We found out later this afternoon that they are pretty sure Alfred has aspiration pneumonia. We are all praying he will get better!

This afternoon we stayed home. The first half of the afternoon we were able to rest and work on a few things. Then.... Caroline gave us an excellent little crash course in pediatric dysphagia! So now, we know everything there is to know about it... just kidding! But seriously, Caroline did an excellent job. Tonight we are going over to the Hamby house to watch the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. It's been a good day!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Under the shade of big tree we buried Kelly this afternoon. Many Tongan songs were sung, tears were shed and Kelly was laid to rest with a peaceful breeze blowing across the African bush. We all knew a day like this might come but never did we anticipate how hard it would be. Kelly rests with Jesus and plays at the Lord’s feet now. We thank him for the time we had to spend with her and how her sweet, calm spirit touched our lives in such a short time. I am certain that Kelly will not be forgotten anytime soon.

Today we took a half-day, Its nice when you make the therapy schedule! We did our morning at the Haven. Rach and I are with feeding this week and we have seen so many wonderful changes in the babies since week one. As a matter of fact, almost all our babies are now rolling and babbling. Sometimes it sounds like they are down right talking, in Tonga! Ha. There little personalities are really beginning to show too. Teagan is the happiest baby I have ever know, she never meets a stranger and she loves to be cuddled. Darcy is a Ham. She smiles and laughs and giggles, and she only has two teeth, Love her. Megan is kinda serious, she does not like carrots or chicken and veg with peaches. Hamilton is our Superman, he has gained weight and the “Aunties” even call him fat. Ha Ha. Lushomo is also so serious, he has a worried look in his eyes but it receeds when you make him laugh. Miller, oh MillerTime, he is so sweet. Loves Rach and gets kinda jealous when she’s lovin on someone else! Chowlee is super inquisitive and always likes to be the center of attention. Matty is a little bitty thing that really likes to be nuzzled up next to someone. Amanda is our resident princess, she cries when no one is paying attention to her or when we demand too much out of her. Bennett is a star, he has a sweet little smile and never complains that he itches, he has congenital syphilis, just always greet with a big smile and a coo. Dennis is Rachel’s man, he is tiny and cute and stiff as a board. He hates tummy time and is not afraid to tell us about it but oh his sweet little smile could melt butter!!

Tonight we are celebrating Ian Tullos’ 13th birthday with a trip to Jordan Rock and some hotdogs and guacamole and chips! Mrs. Hamby bought the most gigantic alvacados I have ever seen! We, being from the south, are more excited about the chips and guacamole then the party, Yay Ian, turn 13 again tomorrow!!!!!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"God made lions sound like this..."

We have started our third week of therapy. Groups have changed this week, I am with Catherine and Meghann doing language classes with Marja. We are trying to incorporate language enrichment time with every single baby at the Haven. In order to do so we split up into different rooms and lead language enrichment activities to groups of babies in Haven’s 1 and 3.
This week we have continued with the animal theme, but we are working on discriminating between animals and matching the animals at Haven 2. We have also incorporated a few other items (banana and apples) into our lessons. When working in the rooms at Havens 1 and 3 the activities vary because of the different ages. Typically, we will sing songs repeatedly (it's crucial!), introduce animals, and/or read books.

The kids from Haven 3 at "recess"

We still do a structured language class in Haven 2 (the toddlers) as well as with the older babies in Haven 1. To answer some of your questions, yes more patience is needed while doing the language classes because of the language barrier and the kids lack of familiarity with us. We are trying to get the aunties more involved so they can help us with the kids and this also allows us to teach/show the aunties how to continue with the language enriching activities when we have to leave the mission (sad day!).
This week we have already heard a couple of toddlers from Haven 2 increase their expressive and receptive language skills. We are hearing/seeing lots of imitations and babbling from Haven 1.

Ethel (Haven 2) is a "Chatty-Kathy" this week

Peter (Haven 1) styling in his 80's wind-suit jacket

Typically, Catherine and I walk to the Haven every morning in order to wake ourselves up a little. Well, today we ALL got to enjoy a nice a little (25 minute) walk to the Haven because D.T. took the Khaki Jackie to pick up Mrs. Tullos from the airport.

This is the road that we walk to and from the Haven

Tomorrow is Ian’s 13th birthday. We are planning to go to Jordan’s Rock and have a mini cook-out with hot dogs and smores to celebrate. We are SUPER excited (maybe even more than mini D.T.)!!


Saturday, June 5, 2010


It has been an eventful week filled with language enrichment activities for the children and adult I have been seeing. The four of us girls- Marja, Rachael, Jamie and I all have succeeded in establishing a routine for the children to follow. The kids are clearly getting accustomed to the routine. They will often sing transitional songs once an activity has been completed. When doing classroom activities the babies and children are able to identify some of the animals and the noises they make. For example, pig says “oink, oink, oink.” They know once we have talk about an animal when it is time to say, “hello” and when it is time to say, “bye” while imitating gestures such as hand waving during language activities. I am hearing a lot more utterances from the children, a lot more inflection in their voices, and a lot more social engagement with other children and infants. For some of the kiddos I have noticed they are using more eye contact, object permanence, and means end skills. During my time working at the Haven I have been able to witness many new developmental milestones being accomplished. The children that were not talking are now starting to talk and thrive. The adult I’ve been working is also meeting many milestones. Gwembe, is starting to imitate words and phrases and because he knows a lot more Tonga than English he has been coming with a one on one named Elvis who is able to translate. Gwembe is following 1-2 step directions and is starting to learn yes/no questions. Continuous repetition is needed for him to understand yes/no questions. He is doing a great job and seems to be making great progress. I feel like this means a lot to Gwembe as it seems he was not given many chances in his earlier years. Living in Africa has gotten me to realize how different are beliefs are compared to children with special needs in Africa. I feel I'm making a big difference while educating others with and without differences. I too have learned a lot from these individuals and have to say that what I've learned has made me stronger as a person and prospective SLP. Working at the Havens and at Eric's house has been a truly rewarding experience for me.

A Little Laugh For Everyone!

Hello Friends, It's Catherine! This story begins with my memory of one of my super awesome youth ministers during middle school and high school in Amarillo, who everyone should meet. Besides Greg's unique ability to ask questions at awkward moments, the fact he doesn’t wear socks with his loafers, his obsession with sardines, or his ability to make every moment interesting; he also has a keen fashion sense of wearing socks with his sandals (not his loafers, but his sandals). Since it is winter here, that is also a common fashion with the Zambians and I will admit to submitting to this unnatural yet satisfying feeling my feet have when they are covered yet free to wiggle! Hat’s off to Greg! Among other fashion trends here that I have welcomed with open arms is never having to match! I feel like I am a little girl again getting to finally dress myself or having Dad dress me and just wearing what I want to wear and NONE of it matches. I really do get dressed in the dark and take the first piece of clothing I come to. The other day I wore a bright tie dye shirt with a red, black and yellow chitenge. It’s almost like Zac and his never matching socks (one black, one white, one no show, one ankle)…I’ve always enjoyed this about him though and in about a year I won’t have to worry about matching his socks when I do the laundry… Whoopee!!! Another thing I have enjoyed is not wearing any makeup and never blow drying or straightening my hair. I don’t do these things just a whole lot anyways, but it’s nice not to have the pressure of society telling us that we need to do more to ourselves to be pretty.
Today was the end of week 2 of therapy and the kids are doing great. Yesterday we had a scare from one of the little twins at Haven 3, Sidney. She had this horrible cough and wouldn’t stop and as I was doing her swallowing exercises I felt her lungs and they were full of liquid. Once Caroline felt, Dr. Weaver did too and she was taken to the clinic immediately. She is doing fine today, but they found out that she had pneumonia and was having an asthma attack at the same time. We are all glad that she is doing better. It's actually been a blessing to work with medically fragile babies, because in the States most of the children would be in the ICU or incubators and we probably wouldn't be handling them like we do here. It's amazing at how resilient babies really are. Today we were able to feed Choolwe rice cereal and he kept it all in, we are so proud of him. Bennett’s skin is looking better and all of the babies are starting to feed better. We also learned how to tie babies to us with a chitenge and we all agreed that we will not use car seats to carry our babies around when we have them, because they are too bulky and all you need is a piece of cloth to tie a baby to you! Don't worry we will teach everyone once we get back and before you know it we'll be having therapy with babies tied to us!! Caroline has done a great job of documenting the progression of each baby we are working with the Feeding and Swallowing group. Here are the results from the 2nd week...check out her blog for more details.

GROSS MOTOR SKILLS: Day 1/After week 1/End Week 2
Head steady at shoulder 69%/ 100%/ 100%
Sitting with support 54%/ 100%/ 100%
In prone, head up 31%/ 92%/ 92%*prone is on the belly, aka tummy time
In prone, head up to chest 31%/ 53%/ 61%
In prone, head up to forearms 31%/ 53%/ 69%
Rolling front to back 15%/ 23%/ 39%
Rolling back to front 15%/ 23% / 39%
Sitting independently 15%/ 23% / 53%
Creeping on tummy 0%/ 0% / 7%
Search Speakers face 92% / 100%/ 100%
Social Smile 92% /92% / 92% Tracks 77% / 92% / 92%
Turns to voice, noise 69% / 92% / 92%
Reaches for objects/bats 54% / 85% / 92%
Cooing 15% / 85% / 92%
Object to Mouth 31% / 61% / 77%
Laugh 0% / 46% / 77%
Oral motor play 0% / 31% / 46%
Babbling 0% / 15% / 39%
Cononcated Babble 0% / 7% / 15%
No Non Nutritive Suck 69% / 25% / 7%

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Well, right now as I write this, I'm sitting out on the front porch and it's so cold! I don't think any of us will be making fun of Webster for carrying around his bucket of hot coals anymore!

Today was a really great day! Yesterday, we found out that Sidney, a little twin in our feeding group who lives in the medically fragile dorm, has pneumonia and she had an asthma attack. It scared us all yesterday and she was immediately rushed down to the clinic. Today we found that she is doing much better but she just rested most of the day. We are so thankful that she's doing better, but she still needs your prayers! This morning in language class, we tried a few new strategies and they ended up working wonderfully! We set up the little chairs at the end of the porch so there was less distraction. Then we called them individually, "Weston, it's time to go to language class!" and when they heard their name, they were allowed to walk over and take their seat. They LOVED it! It made each one of them feel important. Jaime and I also found a new song to sing with our animals so that was good for the kids and all of us! Beauty and Cleatus, some of the aunties, also got involved and sang a few songs to help us out. That was great! That's what we want! We are hoping to get the aunties at each Haven to get involved with what we're doing so they can keep it up after we leave. So far, they are pretty hesitant, so any time they watch or help we are so pleased! Our language group at Haven 1 this morning went great, too! One set of twins, Bester and Elias, "talked" the entire time! Mostly just "da da da" over and over, but at one point Bester had perfect inflection to answer my question even though all she really said was "da da". We were so excited to see so much talking and gestures from the little ones. We have a few who are still feverish and cranky, but overall it was great. This afternoon we headed back to Haven 1 to do our individual language classes. I was in the girls room with Nita, Donna, Lisa, Teagan, and Kritz (who isn't a girl, but is in that room). Nita was such a little stinker! But she was doing a great deal of talking so it was hard to get too frustrated with her. At one point, they all sat quietly in a bed and I read "I Am Special" by Max Lucado to them. The entire book! That's saying a LOT! When we moved to Haven 3, the kids were a little more riled up but we got through our lesson with only a few behavioral problems. It's pretty difficult to get 15 toddlers to sit still and listen for an hour! Overall, I thought it was a pretty great day. And tomorrow is Friday. We aren't doing anything on Saturday and we are all so excited about having a day of rest. Hope everyone else is enjoying their summer! -Rachel

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Duck is 1, Ducks are 2. What do they say when they talk to you?"

Overall, we see 13 infants for feeding/swallowing treatment. We see seven infants at Haven 3 (the medically at risk fragile babies) and six infants at Haven 2. Most of these babies are performing at least four months below their chronological age. Today at the Haven the feeding/swallowing group continued to work on improving the infant’s fine and gross motor skills in order to strengthen the babies’ muscles for feeding. We continued with the Beckman exercises, C-stretch, and the Z-vibe, which all have positive effects on the babies’ intake of nutrients. Whenever we do the above exercises it lessens the likelihood of any anterior liquid loss from the infants. Our little man Choowle was thriving today, he was able to roll over and sit up for a good three minutes on his own. Bennett was able to roll over and sit up on his own as well. Darcie and Tegan were babbling and sitting up throughout the majority of the hour, except when we were trying to get them to crawl; which was unsuccessful today, but we'll keep trying!

My precious girls Darcie and Tegan

Megan finally took to sucking on a pacifier, thanks to Catherine! Hamilton is improving every day and he is even fitting in his clothes now!

Baby Hamilton

Apparently feeding/swallowing therapy is exhausting to some of the infants...

Lushomo passed out!

The language class has the other babies at the Haven improving as well. We are hearing a lot more imitations from the kids and are able to ellicit verbal responses from a few. It is only the beginning of week two at the Haven and we have already seen so much progress. I can NOT wait to see what happens over the next two weeks with the infants!