Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Five years

Jed and I celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary on Saturday in Kruger Park. It was a great anniversary and a great weekend away. We didn't see any cats, but we saw a couple of rhinos right next to the car and a spotted genet (who showed us his acrobatic skill when he was scared by a rock thrown by our guide and jumped about two meters in the air). We also had a nice dinner together and reminisced about our wedding day. It was wonderful. I feel so blessed to love him more every day. He is a great husband!

Florence

We have had a video team working here to document some stories and see what Hands at Work is all about. We recently uploaded a few videos and here is another one.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Rafting

Rafting is the best thing ever! We had so much fun. This was our last full day together, Thursday, July 10th. We had a delicious dinner together after rafting 7km...Mom and Dad ate ostrich, Jed had kudu steak (venison), I had bobotie, an Afrikaner casserole dish with curry and bananas, and Jon had a good ole steak. Delicious! A great end to a great holiday.







Monday, July 21, 2008

One year

Today marks one year in South Africa for Jed and me. It's a bittersweet anniversary. We are happy here, in that we love what we're doing. We love Hands at Work, our friends and coworkers, the Farm, and Boo. We believe that we are doing what God wants us to do, to serve the least of his children. But today also marks one year since we've seen all of you, and that makes our hearts ache. Know that you're in our thoughts and prayers constantly.

I've been meaning to post a more thoughtful blog on my time with Mom and Dad and Jon. There's so much I haven't told you about. I've been working really hard on uploading some of the pictures from their time here, so until I get something posted to the blog, you're welcome to sort through the photos.

Love,
Brooke

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hands Videos

Our friend Jayme from Canada put together a very cool video for Hands at Work recently. It's called Together We Can Change Something.


Another volunteer just posted a recent video of George (the founder and CEO of Hands at Work) on YouTube. George is a great storyteller. If you want to hear more about the heart of Hands at Work, you can watch the video Visiting Hours.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Why did the elephant cross the road?

Kruger Park with the Rittgers
Let's just say that Kruger Park with the Rittgers was unlike any other Park experience we've had so far...ha! Seriously, we had a great two days in the Park in our weird little purple Fiat. It's hard to decide which pictures to post, so I'll try to get a few of the animals most appreciated by our family. (We didn't see any cats, so don't get too excited.)

Jon's loved the rhinos and hippos. (We saw a few rhinos but didn't really get any good photos, so here are a lazy group of hippos we admired.) I think Jon might envy their lifestyle! ;)



The elephants were a huge highlight for Mom and Jed. We accidentally surprised the matriarch of this little herd as she was coming out of the bush and just about paid for it. Ears flapping, she turned toward the car and Jed threw it into reverse as she headed straight for us. Yikes! She was half bluffing though, because she quickly turned and headed back on her way.


Dad's faves were by far the giraffes. Lucky for him, they were out in full force last weekend. We admired their awkwardness, their spots, and their seemingly useless "horns."



On of my favorites are the lilac-breasted rollers. God is so creative!


This handsome guy was my favorite animal to admire in the Park. I felt like I was getting to know Jon all over again when they were here. He is still the same boyI knew, but he's so much more grown up. He has overcome so many challenges this year, and I couldn't get over how interesting he is, how loving he is, and how hard he is working to adjust after moving back home. He is very brave. I can't explain how much joy it gave me to have Jon see all of this--Africa, my apartment, my dog, the animals. I'm incredibly grateful that he sacrificed himself to be here. He says he did it for me, but I hope that he received something from the experience, too. I am looking forward to the year ahead. For Jon, I look forward to him driving, getting a job, and a new school experience. For me, I'm just so relieved to be able to hear his voice periodically. (We always struggled to get in touch via phone, and my almost-weekly letters to him last year weren't a substitute for talking to him.) Jon is one of my favorite people in the whole world, and getting to spend time with him the last last few weeks was wonderful!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mozambique

Hi all! Mom and Dad and Jon have been keeping us so busy, we haven't had time to post an update of our trip to Mozambique, but I wanted to get a few pictures up. If you haven't seen it yet, Kim and Mike blogged about Moz already, so check it out here.

This past weekend we spent a couple of days in Kruger park, and another day sightseeing, and I'll blog about that soon. Tomorrow we're going rafting down the Sabie River in the afternoon...Jon's pretty excited about that. Should be fun.

We're having a great time. I love having them here. I only have another day and a half with them, and I'm starting to miss them already!

Love,
Brooke

The Rittgers at the beach in Ponta Malongane


The Loggerhead Tent where we stayed


Jon doing one of his favorite things...reading


Our beautiful beach