Sunday, February 9, 2014

Frog Socks

Inspection of the discovery
Hellloooooooo.  Funny things are happening week MUST be on it's way.  It's the only explanation.   A couple of years ago I did a big lesson on frogs.  One of the things I told the kids was something I read and thought was funny.  I also...didn't quite believe it myself.  Until just now.

I just hopped out of the pool...we're starting 'training' for the triathlon and the swim is really my focus b/c with the neighborhood's rabid dogs (they are just loose and unvaccinated but they bite, so I'm not taking changes) and our broken bicycles, running and cycling are kind of a challenge to get around to.

ANYWAY, I noticed a frog who was also trying to hop out of the pool.  I scooped it out and in doing so, noticed something funny....Could it BE?

In my froggy lesson one of things I taught was that frogs shed their skin just like other amphibians and reptiles....but instead of leaving them behind (as 'evidence' of this shedding) the frog wriggles out of it's skin like it's taking off it's clothes ....EATS the skin.  EATS it. Yup.  Crazy right? So, the froggy in my pool had the evidence dangling out of it's mouth.  A little gross.  But after inspecting the pool I noticed something funny floating around -- it was a Frog-SOCK!  Toes and everything, floating around, all inside out.

Cool? gross? funny?  I don't know but NOW I share this froggy fact with confidence having seen it with my very own eyes.

O 'tested' the skin -- i thought it would be more filmy and dissolving, but it was a bit stretchy, then broke when he pulled it a little more.

Back to work.  This years' lesson is on Chameleons.  TJ is doing Malaria+Mosquitoes 101 talks.  The kids projects....both very exciting.  One child is done and the presenation/report being written up, one still just has an idea.....send good thoughts our way.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

110 km/h

On the drive back from Malawi, I decided to put on my biggest lens and just see what kind of photos I could get -- this series is shot at 110 km/h through our dirty windscreen and mostly in the rain. Malawi has nearly the same population as Zambia (740,000 square kilometers with 13 million people) but only 1/8th of the land (94,000 sq km) (washington state is 185,000 sqm with 6.9 million and Texas is 695,000 with 27 million people). That's a lot of statistics, sorry, but it is good to put these things in perspective.  What this means is that there are people EVERYWHERE.  

My mind today does not see the same things as it saw 5 years ago.  Today looking at these photos I don't see dirt and poverty and small children wandering next to the highway.  OK, I still 'see' the very difficult life that people live but now I also see the amazing chitenge colours and patterns.  I see friendship and family and compassion and determination and creativity.  Have you ever tried to ride a crappy bike on a dirt shoulder with two live pigs strapped across your rack?  GRIT: I see grit.

Take a virtual road trip with us!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best wishes for the new year.

2013 has been exciting.... filled with moments of incredible joy and some genuinely heartbreaking times...a bit of a roller-coaster ride.   Every day we thank our lucky stars we have such a wonderful bunch of friends and family with whom to share these highs and lows.  Every day seems to bring new challenges and valuable lessons.  For 2014 we will strive to continue to grow and learn in our love of life and our love for eachother.  We send you the most heartfelt wishes for HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Best of luck for us all in 2014.

Christmas in Malawi

Christmas day at Ngala Beach on Lake Malawi 

And a collection of snaps from our week away from home.....

Santa found us - and dropped off emergency nutella...these were teeny tiny glass jars, perfect for the stockings, THANKS SANTA!!

We drove around 2,000kilometers....6 hours from Lusaka to Chipata and then another 6 to Ngala via Lilongwe and Salima....we returned via Nkhotakota Forest Wildlife Reserve to Mchinji.  My driver really is incredible...cute too!  Todd does nearly ALL of the driving on every road trip without a single complaint, and keeps us all safe and happy and entertained with an endless lineup of podcasts and music.

 We had a great day at the Nkhotakota Pottery studio but the restaurant there was...less than impressive - this photo kind of summed it up! Unfortunately for O the visit was on one of those days when he was RAVENOUS and the lack of sleep + the lack of ketchup sent him into an absolute tailspin!  He had a breakdown at the lunch table and ended up in my arms, sobbing.  The service wasn't THAT bad??!! (but, in his defense, the grilled cheese sandwich he ordered was kind of gross and I think they poured evaporated milk on something that vaguely resembled a mini apple tart....making it doubly unpleasant.)

we found ourselves smack in the middle of malawi

 Lake Malawi is famous for its ciclids and....scuba diving! we swam and paddled and frolicked but always with an eye out for crocodiles -- it was pretty difficult to trust that they really weren't there.  Malawi is also famous for it's pottery's potters.  The boys (3) had a great lesson and session at the pottery was tough to leave -- they are hooked!


(below)...rain in Mozambique --- NOT an underwater nuclear test!!