Saturday, February 28, 2015

Wonderful Visitors!



I had the most wonderful surprises this week.  THREE of my old – and older! – boys stopped by to visit me, all of which I hadn’t seen in a couple years. 

Francisco came to see me with his baby son who is named in my honor – Lurio!  SO sweet! He has been living in South Africa. Francisco and Pedro were best friends when they both lived in the center.

Nandino – yes, about a foot taller than me, he is seriously leaning in this photo – popped round for a visit.

And Rafino stopped by today.  He has moved back here to Maputo after he and his brothers moved north while his oldest brother studied to be a doctor.  His brother is a doctor now and working in our local hospital.  They have all moved back and care for their elderly father.

Please keep these young men in your prayers.  Life is not easy in Mozambique – the unemployment rate is very high and corruption to find jobs is rampant.  Please pray for their futures and all that God has for them will be theirs!


Something about that 12 year anniversary (which honestly, they don’t even know about!) has them coming home for a visit!  What a blessing!

Thursday, February 26, 2015



I love puzzles!  I seem to have passed that on to many of my boys, for they often choose a puzzle when they come in to play.  Felizardo was particularly proud of putting together the Solar System puzzle. 

Floor puzzles are the best.  I brought back two of them in my luggage, even though they are big and heavy..

The Solar System puzzle will feature in our little unit study on space coming up in the next month or two.  Feel free to chime in if you have any ideas on teaching Space concepts to younguns who’ve not been exposed to much (like science museums for example!).

Monday, February 23, 2015

One or two years–or TWELVE!

I’ve been here in Mozambique twelve years today!  Wowza!  How did that happen?

(This photo is actually from nine years ago – I don’t have any older ones at hand. But I did wear that skirt over the weekend!)

When I prepared to come work with Iris Ministries in Zimpeto in 2003, I had in my heart that I wanted to spend “a year of my life, maybe two” working with orphaned, abandoned and abused children.  Well those precious children captured my heart and haven’t yet let go so I am still here!

And while they are here with us precisely because they are orphaned, abandoned or abused – or something is not right in their home setting – to me, they are basically just precious children.  Whom I have the privilege of loving on, pouring into, praying over, believing for, hoping for . . . with a generous sprinkling of tearing my hair out over thrown in for good measure!CD group cropped

(I am wearing that same skirt as I type this – this photo was from 2007.  Maybe time for some new clothes??)

I wonder how many little boys have passed thru my dorm in the last 12 years?  Sometime I will have to try and figure that out, I haven’t kept a running list or anything.  I would guess hundreds.  Some for a few months, some still live here – one is coming to visit me this very morning with his girlfriend and one year old baby who is named in my honor!  (I wish he would have waited to have a baby but they don’t all listen to my advice to wait until they are 25 and have a job and home to get married and have kids!!)

Each one of these boys is created by God for a purpose and is uniquely gifted for their part in this world.  I hope to see in them who they are and help nurture that into fruition. 

That isn’t easy with, on average, 30+ of them at one time, the precious ages of 4-8.  This remains my greatest challenge and frustration, how to parent them when there are simply so many.  I’m not trying to pretend things are perfect or easy – far from it.  But it remains my hope and goal to be used by God in their little lives to lay a foundation of raising them into the young men God created them to be.

Thank you so much to each and every one of you who has supported me in this adventure these 12 years.  Whether it is through monthly support, one-time or occasional giving, prayers, encouraging words and scripture verses, creative ideas, visits, care packages, a listening ear, a kind comment – all of it serves to provide for me to be here in tangible and intangible ways.  Without you, none of this would be possible!

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(I wore this skirt this weekend too!  That’s it, I’m going shopping!)

Much love,

Mana Laura

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Why yes, in theory, I do still have a blog!


And a few dozen gorgeous boys ready to be written about and shared with all of you kind readers!

These were banners of their handprints they had made with recent, amazing, visitors, Lisa, Jo and Jo and their three sons.  Ladies, you’ll be happy to know the banners are still intact and look lively and happy in their rooms!

As I am now back home in Mozambique with my boys, and settling back into routines, I will be sure and get back into writing, keeping you informed of our little adventures here in Zimpeto. 

I must add, the offer still stands – why not visit us and join us in our adventures?!

Love, Mana Laura

Friday, November 21, 2014

Christmas is Coming!


Christmas is coming friends and we’ve been busy getting ready to celebrate with all the kids in the center!  I’m getting things organized for my 34 gorgeous little bundles.  They are so delighted with everything they get, it is easy to bless them!

Would you like to participate in making their day special?  You can sponsor one of my cutie pies for their Christmas gift with a donation of $20.

This year, we’ve been so blessed with donations of enough clothes and shoes (and a few things I’ve bought and tucked away throughout the year) that we are all set for their new outfit!  Praise God for generous people!

So your gift of $20 would bless them with a special Christmas gift bag of goodies as well as some Dorm Gifts (skateboards, soccer balls, mini badminton, etc). 

If you would like to sponsor one of my boys, you can leave a comment here, or email me at or contact me on facebook.  I will send you a photo of your special little guy!


You can give in one of three ways:  1.  Send a check payable to Laura Anderson to: Laura Anderson, PO Box 734, Roseburg, OR 97470.  2. Via the Paypal link on this blog on the right hand side.  3.  For tax deductible credit, you can make a check payable to Faith Fellowship and mail it to: Laura Anderson, PO Box 734, Roseburg, OR  97470.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Merry Christmas! 

Mana Laura and her darling boys!


Thursday, November 13, 2014

A little gift goes a long way!


We just had three lovely ladies and their three cool teenage sons here from England.  Because of their sons’ ages, they wanted to adopt our dorm.  While they spent time in all the areas of the ministry, we were the blessed focus of their attention!


I don’t have photos of all the things they did but I do have some.  They left a leaving gift of a bag for each boy – and they didn’t forget even one! – a sure way to a little boys’ heart, a plastic bag of goodies with his name on it!



They also came prepared with precut triangles to make bunting for the boys’ rooms.  Each boy got to paint his hands and then put his handprints on two triangles, then they sewed the whole thing together.  The boys were delighted!  (now to get them up high enough on the walls they can’t be pulled down by mischievous hands!).  This had gone along with a  teaching they had prepared teaching the boys, “you are special” and uniquely created.

Thanks so much Jo and Jo and Lisa and Noah and Jonti and Jacob!  You were a wonderful blessing with your gifts, supplies, your hearts and love and energy!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Everyone needs a Guard Cat!


I’ve been working on arranging the boys outfits for Christmas and needed to step away but didn’t want them to be seen.  So I threw a capulana over the whole mess.  A few minutes later, the crowning touch arrived to settle in – Guard Cat Antonio!  The boys would never try and peek now!  They will just have to wait!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Raising smart boys!

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I love educational toys!  I love toys that challenge and get kids’ brains working and prepare them for future learning.  I’ve been on a semi-Montessori kick lately and am trying to implement some of their educational philosophies.

So I bought a really cheap Tangram “game” at a really cheap store in South Africa.  Julio pulled it out and he loved it!  He played with it the entire 30 minutes he was in my house and was so excited with every shape he could re-create.

I could just FEEL his brain working!

And yes, that’s a good old fashioned, non-educational viewfinder toy next to him.  I’m not ALL about the educational toys!

So do you have favorite educational toys or activities or crafts you might recommend?  I love new ideas!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner ~ or Lunch?

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I’m still learning!  I’m still getting great ideas from all over – directly from the Lord somedays as he plops an idea in my head, something I read online or see somewhere, or in this case, from a kind visitor!

We were chatting about the lack of good quality time with so many boys and she asked if I ever brought them in for a meal together in my house.  You know what?  I never have!  Plenty of meals with a room at a time (11 boys) but never just a meal at my table.  Abby was recalling how that was a priority in her family and the great conversations that developed at the table.

I said “I’m doing it!”

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So I will be inviting in the “brothers” – not REAL brothers, the brother groups that we created..  I started with big brother Felix and the two “little brothers” he chose, Lulu and Junior.  They came in for lunch.  Most of the time, I will simply bring the plate of whatever all the kids are eating from the kitchen.  Maybe sometimes I will make them something different.  The point is the eating together more than what we are eating.

Their highlight might have to be that they got to use forks instead of spoons.  Who am I kidding?  It was definitely the little chocolate I put out for dessert!

They were awfully quiet – I think they were a bit overawed by eating with my at my table!  Cutie pies!

Who wants to come join us???

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Just because . . .


. . . he is gorgeous, thought you’d all like to enjoy this little cherub with his improvised Cap-i-tan America hat and shield as much as I do!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It’s that time of year again!


The Shoe Store is open for cute customers!

Although I’m a big believer in Christmas festivities starting after Thanksgiving, I don’t get that luxury here in Moz – with 34 munchkins to prepare for, I need to start early!

I have been collecting shoes since Children’s Day (june 1) and we’ve also received a huge donation from China recently so I had a lot of shoes to set up for the boys to try on.  I would prefer to surprise them but there’s no way I can estimate the size for 34 boys!  What you see here is about a third of the shoes, there were two more lines on the floor. 

Out of 34, I only didn’t have a pair to fit ONE boy!  Amazing!  I think there were others his size and they got it before him.  So I’ll be on the look out for a pair of shoes for Gil. 

In case you’re curious how I do it, I line up all the shoes in size order.  Then I start with the biggest boys and usually invite two or three in at a time but a couple extra slipped in when this photo was taken.  I compare the size of their feet and the boy with the biggest goes first.  They choose the ones they want to try on (while I pray they find something they like that fits!).

In the past I have bought almost all their shoes so they were new (and set aside the new ones from donations so they’d be equal).  But since we had a big donation, it seemed a waste to not use them even though they are used. 

Amazingly, every boy was happy with the pair he chose!  Sweetie pies!

Next up – arranging new outfits for 34 little pumpkins!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

X is for Xima!



X is pronounced “ch” in Portuguese and there aren’t a whole lot of words that begin with it.  Xima does though!  And it’s pronounced “shee-ma”.

Xima is Mozambque’s variation of an African staple, known in other areas as pap or mealie-meal.  It’s corn based.  It can be served as a type of porridge but it almost never is.  Instead it is serves as a type of thick, solid mashed potato-y type side to go with anything with a sauce.  I served theirs with sardines in tomato sauce, yum!  It is thick and filling. Plain with no real taste but I like it. 


I invited the Tias of each room to come in and tell the boys about Xima, what it’s made from, how it’s made, etc. and then make it for the boys.  They loved it!  We used store-bought “Top Score” corn flour but many, many Mozambicans make it from scratch from the corn in their fields and that’s the process the Tias described for the boys.


As much as the boys like Xima, watching the Tias make it does not constitute a program!  (The tia above is one of the sweetest ladies ever, I just captured a funny face on her, don’t think she’s mean!)

I had just ordered (and a nice visitor delivered for me) a set of peg boards for the boys so we tried them out and boy were they a hit! They never wanted to stop playing with them!


First I asked them to make an X, then the first letter of their name.  Then various shapes as I held up our wooden shapes.  Then more intricate things like planes and houses.  Here’s a fun, blurry shot of us with our houses!


They did finally break from the the peg boards to color in X-Men sheets, that my trusty helper alisha hand-drew!!  They pronounce it “sheeshi-man” – SO adorable. 

I don’t have too many photos because they always turn out blurry in my house if I use no flash and over-exposed and yucky if I use one. 

Speaking of, in case you’re wondering why I’m inconsistent with blogging about the letters of our Afternoon Program, it’s because I usually forget to take photos!

Monday, October 06, 2014

V is for Viola!


Look, the Incredible Hulk dropped in for a jam session with my boys! 


For the letter V in the Afternoon Program, our main activity was creating “violas” which is the Portuguese word for guitar.  See, if you read my blog, you will learn Portuguese in tiny, incremental bits!


The boys love imitating our worship team on their guitars and these may have been one of the biggest hits we’ve ever made!  I love how in the one above, it looks like Armando, the littlie, is listening to tune his!  And in the one below, Ernesto, in bright green, has perfect form!



Marley, on the left might follow his namesake, you never know!  And Julio on the right is putting on a proper performance.

Love these cutie pies that are so excited about everything!

Friday, October 03, 2014

We’ll Miss You Alfiado!


This little cherub, Alfiado, left us recently to return to live with his mom and new little sister.

He arrived when he was Baby House age so I don’t know all the particulars of why he was here for a time.

But I do know his mom was a faithful visitor in the last year and asking regularly for her son to return home to live with her.

This is one of my favorite scenarios.  When we can provide care for children whose situations are volatile or desperate but the family is able to make a change and return for their children. 

And Alfiado was delighted to go home.  We miss him though, his little intense nod for a yes, his thoughtful questions, his unexpected grin . . .  he’s a treasure and now back being loved on by his mom.  Yay God!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cap-i-tan America visits–with gifts!


My wonderful co-worker, Alisha has her amazing parents visiting her and the boys.  They fell in love with the kids via skype long before they arrived.  The boys call them “Mae e Pai” – (mom and dad), so cute!

We suspect Alisha’s dad IS Cap-i-tan America (as the boys pronounce it!) and he loves everything about him.  So naturally the boys love him too.

They came with a surprise for the boys for every day of their visit, can you imagine?  So thoughtful and generous!  These are the best – new t-shirts.  Alisha prepared them well and they had all the right sizes, different color for each room!  I was impressed!

Are you seeing that Cap-i-tan America brought his own shield???

They also brought fun masks – adorable!


Nothing wrong with a little mix-n-match superheroes is there?


Our littlest Superhero!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Meet the Meninos ~ Lulu


What is with the cheesy over-smile at this age?  Anyway, Lulu is short for Luis, very common even for grown men here, I had to get used to calling a man “Lulu!”

IMG_1994He is cute – obviously!  He is also earnest, trying hard at learning new things, which almost everything here is new to him, even coloring.  He is quiet and usually content with whatever happens.  He seems often uncertain, trying to see what’s expected or what the norm is or what this new crafty project is, and what in the world is the alphabet?

He’s also very proud of himself when he tries something new he was previously afraid if – like the swimming pool!  He must have told me at least 16 times after his most recent visit there that “I went in the water Mana Laura!”

He’s not overly affectionate or clingy but he does enjoy a good hug and kiss.  He seems to be finding his footing!

Love, Laura

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Little Belated Birthday Post

The boys love a birthday – anyone’s birthday cuz they all get candy!  Of course, they love their own the best.  They get to wear the birthday hat (it’s now in tatters after so many uses!), sleep with Spiderman sheets, use the Spiderman towel and washcloth and wear the soccer slippers.  What more could a kid ask for, really?

 (they were pretty stoked when my feet fit in their slippers!)
For my birthday this year, way back in July, I wanted to provide them with cake.  Not because I’m more special than they are but cuz there’s one of me and 34 of them.  There’s lots of things I do for these cute-patoots but making 34 cakes a year, (enough for 40 people when you count our workers) isn’t one of them!
(I admit it – I didn’t make these either, I ran out of time and bought them and slathered them with jam!)

Bummer – I didn’t get a group shot with all of us.  That’s Room Three behind me, worried I’ll eat the whole cake and there won’t be enough for everyone!  Lucky I showed some self-restraint!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Four Eyes are Better Than Two!


Letter O in the Afternoon Program gave us a great Opportunity, get it?, for wearing Oculos!  That’s glasses in Portuguese.


Dave and Josh of the Buttershaw Team brought up some giant pipe cleaners (how did I not know about those before?) and the idea was born!


I had to jump in and show off my Oculos too!


Looking very chic don’t you think?  Igor pushing up his glasses to see a little better, Jeremias chose his colors to match his shirt and Josh – what a great sport!  Thanks for sharing with them about prayer (oracao) as well Josh!


(sorry for going backwards in my Letter posts – I had written this and lost it in”drafts” so here you go!)