The Current Time in Stavanger, Norway!

October 3, 2010

Special Painting

One day while looking at a bunch of different local Angolan artists' paintings I half jokingly said to one of the painters, named Antonio, "All of these paintings either have lots of people in them, or only one or two people. I have three boys, I need a painting with three people!"

A painting we have hanging in our kitchen
...with lots of people in it!
He said, "I don't usually put three people in my paintings (I'm not sure why), put I can make one for you." Then he said, "Do you want black boys or white boys in your painting?" This caught me off guard so I said to him, "Uh, we're in Africa...I'll take black boys!"
He just finished it last week and I am so exctied...I love it! So here it is!...

"Zach, Colby and Nolan Playing Around the Imbondeiro Tree" by Antonio

Me and Antonio the day he showed me the finished painting

September 20, 2010

Fall (actually Spring) 2010

Oh, what a summer! It's always bitter-sweet to get on that plane to return to Luanda.
Almost every day of the 2 1/2 months that we were at home for summer break we smashed in as much fun as possible. Whether it was hanging out or eating out with our good friends and family, it felt like we were always on the go. With all that smashing, intertwined with a couple mini-vacations, a full week of overnight camp for both Zach and Colby,

Colby and Zach all packed up and ready for an awesome week at Camp Cho-Yeh!

and of course lots of shopping trips to get ready to come back here, it made for a busy, chaotic, awesome summer.
I had tears in my eyes as we all waved at our house and said, "See you in 10 months!", but I was also super excited to come back here and see our friends, meet the new families that have moved into the compound, and most importantly, see Will (who was not able to make it home at all this summer.) So, although it's hard to say goodbye, at the same time, it's just as exciting to come back, and it's nice to have a break from all the running around!

Having fun together at the Magic House in Kirkwood, Mo.

March 30, 2010

Safari Time!

We all had SO much fun going on safari! We were able to find the "Big 5" (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo), as well as many other animals during our four day stay at a safari lodge (Lukimbi Safari Lodge) inside of Kruger National Park in South Africa. Here are some of our favorite pictures...

While watching the zebras up close we all came to the same conclusion....they are definitely white with black stripes (and still Zach's favorite animal)!

"You wanna mess with me?!" Nolan watching the "big, big pigs" (white rhinos).
Photographer Will at work- here he's taking 1 of the 3,000 pictures he took!
Hakuna Matata...warthogs are a lot uglier and a lot hairier than Pumba was in The Lion King (and this one didn't sing for us either)! Our safari lodge.
We followed these fresh paw prints to find these guys...
We pulled up into a circular clearing where 1 fremale lion and 5 male lions were just lying around. We sat and watched them (from inside the safari vehicle, of course) for about 25 minutes, from about 15 feet away. Once in awhile a lion would get up to stretch or find a new place to hang out, but for the most part they were just lion around. The lions really did not seem to be bothered by us at all. I actually think they enjoyed the paparazzi-ish attention. Look how well the posed for us.
We went out on two safari drives each day, for about 3 hours each time. Every trip we stopped about halfway through and got out of the vehicle (actually got out in the middle of the wild!) and had a drink and a snack. One time Lisa, Our Ranger, challenged us to put a piece of dried up antelope poop in our mouth and spit it as far as possible. And every one of us did it- all so we could get a "Junior Ranger Certificate" at the end of our stay (well, Will and I didn't get a certificate, so don't ask me why we did it!) The funny part is Nolan accidently picked up a wet piece of poop, so it got stuck in his mouth!
Can you find the leopard? He is a bit hard to see, but we were ecstatic when we spotted him (espcially Colby, since spotted cats are his favorite animal)! Our Tracker actually found him crouched down low in the bush. It's amazing he found him...although I guess that's what he gets paid for, right?
Our Tracker, Giddean, showing the boys how to make a toothbrush out of a certain kind of tree branch!
This was my favorite memory of the whole trip. We stumbled upon a journey of 13 giraffes, or as Zach named it, "our baker's dozen of giraffes". First we saw one tall, tall creature coming out of the bush, then another and then they just kept coming. It was so cool. They all crossed right in front of our safari vehicle and then stopped for a little leaf snack on the other side of us. They are beautiful and so fun to watch because they are so tall and elegant (sounds a bit like me! :)
Want to exactly which animals we found? Just ask Zach! He was a very efficient at checking off all the animals on his official Lukimbi Animal Checklist!
Family photo out in the middle of the bush.
Birds, birds, birds.
We stopped to look at a lot of different types of birds. We are not "bird people", but we did kind of get into it, as there are some really cool birds out there. Above is our pick for the prettiest bird we found and below- well, he gets the award for "not so pretty."
"What are you looking at boys?"
We found this family of baboons hanging out in the trees. Our Ranger, Lisa, estimated the baby baboon was only 5 days old!

February 14, 2010

Football Fever

It has been football (a.k.a soccer) fever around here! Angola just finished hosting the Africa Cup of Nations right here in Luanda. We did not go to any of the games, but we still got to join in on the fun. One thing I noticed and love is that there was a real sense of team spirit and country pride evident all over town. Cashiers at the grocery store wore jerseys, people had Angola flags hanging out of their car windows, and vendors were lined up on the streets selling Angola souvenirs. For a country that is still picking up the pieces from having just ended a Civil War here a little over a decade ago, it was great to see the unified atmosphere.
Unfortunately, Angola lost in the quarter-finals and even more unfortunately, 2 members of the Togo Soccer Team were killed in Angola on their way to the tournament. The bus was attacked by a group of Rebels living in a province of Angola called Cabinda, which lies between the borders of the country of Congo and the country of Angola. The Rebels tried, unsuccessfully, to fight for their independence from Angola for several decades, and entered a ceasefire in 2006, but hostility still remains there. The area where the shooting took place is hours away from here (it is only 6 miles from the Angola border), so we are nowhere near the tension, but it saddens me that the Rebels attack created a negative impression on the entire country of Angola.