moments {a weekly collection}

Monday, 1 September 2014

a collection of small, everyday moments from our week.

- lots of rain means hanging clothes to dry under the verandah
- super ninja, lucy
- isabel and i got busy in the kitchen, making coconut macaroons, a family favourite
- want one? (they got eaten very quickly!)
- relaxing saturday afternoon, playing games
- welcoming friends home after a four month furlough in canada with homemade carrot cake. yum!
- our front yard quickly became a muddy mess when it started raining. i think the rainy season has begun!
- nothing better than jumping in muddy puddles

project life 2014 {week 32}

Thursday, 28 August 2014

WEEK OF: 4th - 10th august, week 32
WHAT HAPPENED: isabel's fifth birthday! we celebrated with cake and guests, and our newest tradition, a giant confetti bomb. we made a wedding cake (a very simple cake), had a game night (yay!), and lucy got sick :( at least now we know our local clinic, and we were surprised to discover that all the staff (doctors, nurse and lab person) speak english. fantastic!
SPECIAL TECHNIQUES: i "painted" a flower card in photoshop to give it a watercolour look.
SUPPLIES USED: my own template, "week of" card - paislee press pictures and words no. 9, midnight edition, polka dot party mini kit, this week - own card

so far, my 2014 catch up has been very slow. i have at least decided which photos i want to use for most of the year, which is always the most challenging part for me. anyone else working on project life?

project life is a memory keeping system designed by becky higgins. it's the primary memory keeping system i use, and you can see more of my project life pages here. find out more about project life here.

a marina romper for lucy

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

a few months ago, i discovered a gorgeous new pattern, the marina romper by califaye collection. i loved the look of it, so i bought it and set to work making one for lucy. it's a very simple pattern to put together, and i sewed it up in no time, even with the added time of enclosing all the seams.
i gave it to lucy for her birthday, and she seemed really happy and excited with her new romper/jumpsuit...that is, until i asked her to put it on. not a chance. i tried a couple of times to get her to wear it, but i didn't want to push her too hard. eventually, i got her to wear it, because we were in denmark, the weather was cold, and she doesn't have many pairs of pants.
it looks so cute on her! i only managed to get a few quick snaps with my phone camera before she ran off to play, and i didn't worry about it, thinking i could get a few more later. the second time she wore them, the fabric in the crotch split. yikes! turns out that i also learnt something about sewing with african wax prints. the grain line runs differently than what i am used to, due to the fabric being used differently (mostly they grab a 2 yard piece of fabric and wrap it around their waists...instant skirt!). at least i know that for next time :)

market day

Friday, 15 August 2014

around here, thursday is market day. people come from all the small villages into nyagatare to sell and buy all kinds of goods. it's our main shopping day, and we are quickly learning which stalls have the freshest produce and the largest range. 
rice, flour, beans, sugar, and nuts are scooped into small paper bags and weighed.
it's always a bit of an adventure going to market, to see what produce is available. we usually make our weekly meal plan after we've been to market, instead of the other way around (although we have a general idea of what to keep an eye out for).

there are also many new and interesting foods to try. this is not a stick, it's cassava root, which is ground into a type of flour and made into a sticky dough. it doesn't taste of much, but is eaten as a side dish with rice and sauce.
it's not just food you can buy at market on thursdays. you can also buy all kinds of shoes, clothes, household items, and fabrics.
grocery shopping is quite different than what we are used to at home. after we've been to market for all our fresh produce, we head into town to visit the small "supermarkets", where we can get hold of all our other food items, such as spaghetti, cereal, cheese, and spreads such as jam. 

most people don't have a car like we do, but all the motorbike taxis (motos) are waiting at the entrance, so it's just to find one, and drive home with the wind in your face!

project life 2014 {week 31}

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

hello, project life! i started 2014 with grand intentions of weekly project life pages (and posts). three weeks into the year, two days before our move to rwanda, our laptop's hard drive died. ouch! project life became a distant dream. by the time we got the replacement part sent to us in rwanda (in april sometime), i had lost all my motivation. 

after seeing some very inspiring project life layouts lately (by kelseycaylee and rachel), i decided to throw myself back into it, even though it's already august. this post by caylee also gave me the push to just get it done.

WEEK OF: 28th july - 3rd august, week 31.
WHAT HAPPENED: isabel scratched lucy's eyeball and she had to wear a pirate patch, we were without water for three days, we got new lounge room furniture (yay!), and we walked an hour each way to get to church (talk about identifying with the locals!).
SPECIAL TECHNIQUES: i added my own handwriting (something i've been wanting to do forever) by using the bamboo paper app on my ipad. my biggest hesitation with digital was that my albums were missing my handwriting, but not anymore!
SUPPLIES USED: my own template, "week of" card - paislee press pictures and words no 9, calendar card freebie by ohthelovelythings.com, tracy larsen's week in review card, striped card freebie by bigcityquiet, spotty filler card from midnight edition, "this week" own handwriting. 

i look forward to sharing my project life pages on a more regular basis with you!

currently

Friday, 8 August 2014

Settling back in after four weeks in Denmark

Adjusting to life with slow internet

Appreciating every day we have water

Waking early to find some quiet time to myself

Thinking about how to start a business and create jobs

Feeling optimistic for the first time this year

Preparing for the next year of homeschooling

Planning a blog makeover

Laughing with Jackie (our house help) about our language mistakes

Hoping to do some baking this weekend




Enjoying our new living room furniture we bought last week

What have you been up to lately?

living with poverty

Friday, 9 May 2014


We don't have to go far to relate to poverty. Even with our thick brick walls, we are not isolated from it. Rwanda is far from the poorest country in the world, yet many people in our rural community live in poverty. It surrounds them, controls them, and threatens to consume them. In our brief time here, we have met many people struggling to survive, and have heard of how poverty has a devastating effect on their lives.

A friend of ours had a break in recently. The thieves came into the house during the day, unnoticed, and hid under a spare bed. During the night, they emptied the room of the bed, most of the family's clothes, which were kept in there, and whatever else they could find. This father relayed his sorrow at having had a break in, and that now he couldn't pay for his children to attend school after the semester break. Having already arranged to buy some pigs from him, we bought them straight away so his kids could go to school.

Our colleagues have started visiting the sick in their homes, providing basic health care and giving health related advice. They came to the home of a very poor family. Their one year old didn't crawl or eat solid food, and our colleagues could see that the child was malnourished. When asking about the family's diet, they heard that the family lived solely on corn. The family was allowed to grow some crops for themselves on some nearby land, and had recently harvested beans. During the night, thieves had come in through the windows, which had no bars or glass, and had stolen the entire bean harvest. The family was back to surviving on corn and waiting for the next crop of beans to grow. Fortunately, our colleagues could point out a naturally growing tree in the area which is very nutritious, giving the family hope.

A woman and I were talking (with hand gestures) about how many children we have. She held up 3 fingers, then took one down again. She had recently lost a child. I thought maybe she'd had a miscarriage or a stillborn, but when talking to someone about it, I found out that her 3 year old had died suddenly during the night. The likely cause of death was malnutrition, but as the child hadn't been seen by a doctor, either before or after death, it's guesswork at best. I just wanted to cry.

Our washing mama came looking for work. She and her husband hadn't eaten for 2 days, giving whatever food they had to their two young boys. She has been washing our clothes since we arrived, and last week she asked me if we had a spare t-shirt or 2 for her children. I didn't understand her words, but I knew what she was asking. I found a translator just to be sure, and told her I would have a look before the next time. I knew we had done a heavy purge of the kids' clothes before leaving Denmark, but we still have a lot compared to many people around us. Lucy's clothes were the only size her 2 boys would fit, and Lucy and I picked out a t-shirt together that she wanted to give, making sure it wasn't too girly (of course, they don't care about that). We sent Christian into town to buy a few things and he came home with a small stack of previously loved clothes. The mama was so surprised and grateful to get so many clothes.
Yesterday she was here again, washing our clothes, and Alexander suddenly said,
"They're poor, aren't they?"
"Sorry?" I asked.
"They're poor, because they asked us for clothes."
"Yes they are. but nobody likes to be poor. Do you see how hard the mama is working, so she can buy food for her family?"
"That's why we pay her," he said, "because she's working for us."
"Yes, and she came to ask for work, not for money. She wants to do what she can to help herself."

Hearing these stories makes me angry, sad, frustrated, grieved, hopeless and full of despair. Some days, when I just stay at home, I don't need to see what's happening around me. Some days, I don't want to know. Some days, I just don't know what to do. Living with poverty, right outside our doorstep, is one of the things I was most worried about, when moving to Rwanda. How can we help all these people? The problem is just too big.

And when I get stuck in that thought, it helps to remember something Mother Theresa said,

"Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you."
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