A new blog post is on its way... but in the meantime, we're a little distracted by the cutie in the pictures below. We welcomed our baby boy on March 20th and we couldn't be more delighted.
We've been back in Canada only a few short weeks now and I find myself starring at my phone, treasuring the photos of our precious little ones back in Mozambique.
We boarded a plane back to Canada a couple weeks ago as we're expecting our first biological child! And while we wait with eager anticipation to greet our new little one, our hearts can't help but yearn for our beautiful little ones that are waiting for us back in Mozambique. Just a little while longer girls and we'll all be together again.
We were so grateful to receive a donation for sports and fitness in December to help us buy new equipment for the girls to enjoy during mozambican summer school holidays. We were so thankful to enjoy new volleyballs, new soccer balls, a punching bag, a new T-Ball Post, new baseball bat & balls, a slip and slide, the missing parts we needed to get our bicyles up and running, a new hose to fill our mini-pool on super hot days, swing/raquet ball, and more! The new swing set at our centre has brought endless amounts of joy and fun. We were even able to purchase the equipment we needed to project some super fun exercise and dance videos for the girls to enjoy and stay fit. We enjoyed many fun days full of sports and tournaments.
In the video above you'll see the girls laughing away, competing at long-jump, high-jump, and more. (Look closely at the high jump course, we built it out of lego, a broomstick, and bed mattresses!) We also got to take our whole dorm of girls to the local swimming pool; it was one of the top highlights of the school holidays.
One of my favourite moments... Evan is passionate about teaching the girls self-defense. One of our girls has extremely limited mobility due to medical conditions. Evan worked with her on the punching bag to explore her range of movement and learn some modified self-defense. Usually shy and timid, her face couldn't help but light up as she took a few swings at the punching bag!
1. Organize a Party for 200 people.
2. Face paint!!
3. Fun crowns and glowsticks!
4. Twelve activity stations: Beads, cookies, crafts, and more!
5. Dress up in a leopard costume and party the night away!
6. Rock some awesome games!
There are some truly Canadian things that are hard to escape from even here in Mozambique: calling it a toque and not a beanie or merely a hat; or eating real maple syrup brought over in the bottom of my suitcase. Earlier this week, I got to do another quintessentially Canadian thing: I taught some of our kids how to skate.
Albeit, it was inline skating – rollerblading – as the nearest ice rink is probably 12 hours away (let me pause a minute daydreaming of being in such a room full of ice….) Now where was I, right skating! Some of the boys had two sets of adjustable rollerblades, just big enough for me. I came across the boys struggling to ‘walk’ on skates.
In his broken English (still far better than most) Felix asked, “You from Canada. You show me.” After trying to show them a video of the Sens skating on ice, Felix urged me to strap on the skate and give it a try.
It was really fun teaching them to make baby steps almost like a penguin walk, then push off for more power, and “crossover” for better cornering. Some of the boys really mastered this and are now working on backwards crossovers. When teaching them, I realized how language is very subject based… I have never needed to say “crossover” before, so I had really no clue what it was in Portuguese. (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYAMRN3CyzY)
As much as it seems like just fun and games for the children of the centre during summer break, sports programs play a big role in development. Many sports programs teach vital skills and characteristics such as perseverance, team work, and sportsmanship. It isn't easy losing well. It isn’t always easy trying something new, especially if it means falling down a few times, but the important lesson is getting back up and trying again.
We are so grateful recently to have received a donation specifically for sports programs and activities. This donation will go a long way keeping our kids active by covering the cost of repairs, replacement parts, and new equipment. As with any new toys, after skating a bit, we spent half an hour looking for the right tools, finding the missing screws, and reattaching the loose wheels.
Goals for the Future:
- Find a few more sets of inline skates to teach some of our girls who want to learn.
- Get a set of field hockey sticks for the girls. As much as ball hockey would be really cool, might be hard to get. It is far easier to get field hockey sticks. At least it’s hockey!
Recently we received a donation of soccer balls-enough for every room in our dorm to receive one. Excitement was in the air and to prevent any fights over who got what ball we gathered all the girls together and drew numbers.
A representative from each room came up and chose their ball. Squeals of excitement and thrill filled the air. Something as simple as a soccer ball has brought endless amounts of fun and joy.
Just look at the girls running for a chance to play with the balls first. The passion and energy of our youngest girls was the most fun to watch.
Even the older girls got in on the fun. Our girls have invented so many different new and exciting games. Soccer balls rarely get used to play traditional soccer when there are so many fun games to play.
The following video is one of the more creative games I've seen them play. Jumping over a ball being passed and jumping back into line without being touched. Click link here or view below. Never a dull moment here!
Playing Monster with my Dad
Growing up in my house as a child, Monster was a classic go -to game. Basically my dad would start chasing us around the house making goofy faces and we would run around screaming our heads off. And we weren't the only kids that loved playing it. This silly game gained a reputation in our neighborhood and we would have friends lining up to join in the fun.
Recently when my dad was great visiting us in Mozambique it was so much fun watching him play the same old game here with our girls! They screamed and howled and had the time of their lives-just like we used to. Such fun to watch our girls get to experience some of the same childhood joys that we used to.
Click the video above or follow the link: https://youtu.be/6q-7J2b0ApQ
She is only twelve, but she knows the importance of school. As she moves to live with a new relative she is worried about whether she will be able to continue her studies. Will she have enough money to buy a uniform and school supplies, the mandatory school requirements? Will she be able to graduate someday? Will she have to stay home and take care of her younger sibling or elderly relatives? Will she have enough time for homework when household responsibilities of cooking and cleaning are thrust upon her? Will there be enough money to have food to eat at lunch time or snack time?
This is the reality of many young children in Mozambique.
Dear Canadian Boys and Girls returning to school,
To those of you that are dreading the return of school that lingers around the corner, please remember that you have been given the opportunity and privilege of a lifetime. Seize the day. Your reality is one that many have only ever dreamed of.
With much love, Mme Natasha & Mr Richmond
I love to party and I love to celebrate special occasions.
For many of our girls who have grown up being abused, neglected, passed from one unstable environment to the next, or abandoned, they have a very limited perspective on what is "normal". And although few people would ever consider growing up in a dorm with seventy other girls to be "normal", we do our best to create as much of a family environment as possible. And as a family, we celebrate. We celebrate birthdays, we celebrate Christmas, holidays, and special occassions. And recently we celebrated our third year anniversary of marriage with them.
For so many of our children, they have only witnessed unhealthy relationships. So we love taking moments like this one to celebrate and create a new and healthy sense of "normal" with them. Check out our two videos below from the celebrations and festivities. The first is the Swing Dance Evan did for our first dance at our wedding-a little rusty and tricky on sand, but fun nonetheless. (Fast Forward to 2:15, 2:43, 3:35, 4:36 to see jumps and dance aerials) The second video is a compilation of silly dances during the dance party that followed.
Dear my Former Fantastic Grade Four Elmdale Students, now graduating from grade 6!
I so wish I could be there with you to celebrate your grade six graduation this week. Just wanted to send you a little video wishing you a huge congrats from me and our girls here in Mozambique.
I miss you so much and cherish our memories from grade four: April Fools Pranks, Halloween Pranks, Pink Day Performances, Christmas Recital, Special Guest Gymnists Musicians & Poets, Throwing Pies and Much More!
I hope the last two years of your elementary school have been filled with such fun memories, friendship and love. Wishing you an incredible summer holiday and an amazing start to your grade seven year in the Fall.
Each and everyone one of you are filled with such incredible potential, passion, and compassion. I look forward to hearing of your many world changing adventures in the years to come!