Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Lucas Update–Please pray for surgery tomorrow!


Sweet Lucas has had a broken femur in a very large and poorly done cast for 38 days.  They took the cast off yesterday, none too gently is an understatement, and declared him fine and sent him home, saying to bring him back on the 22nd for a check-up.  He was crying there in the hospital and cried all night, poor dove. He is in incredible pain, which was made worse by his rough treatment.   Let me just say that some of you know my long history with frustration (and anger!) with the public hospital here and the whole story here only added fuel to the fire.


Today he was taken to one of the private hospitals in the city for an x-ray.  It shows the bone is horribly broken, still.  I wish I had a copy to post here, you’d be shocked at the bad break.

The nurse who was attending to Lucas spoke with Sonia, the missionary who was accompanying him.  When she asked for the bill, the nurse said, “leave the paperwork with me, I will pay for it.”  WHAT??  AMAZING!!!!  I cried.

But wait, I cried even more!  The doctor said that Lucas needed surgery.  It would cost 130,000 mets, equivalent of $4,500.  When Sonia left, the same nurse said “I will call you by 4pm after I speak with the doctor and hospital director.”  At 3:59, she called to tell Sonia the surgery would be done tomorrow – FOR FREE!!!!!  Yes, that’s when I cried again!


Here’s the neat part – Sonia had thought about bringing a letter from our center, saying Lucas was part of a large children’s center, etc., and could they provide treatment for a discount.  But she didn’t, I’m not clear if she didn’t have time or chose not to.  And all she had said to the nurse was, when the nurse asked if she was his mom, she said “no, he’s part of Arco Iris Children’s Center in Zimpeto, we have about 300 kids.”  That was it.  And from there, this compassionate woman intervened on Lucas’ behalf!

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking for help but it sure is a wonderful feeling to experience a  miracle in that way, that you’ve done nothing to bring about and know is clearly God working in the hearts of people!

Lucas has surgery tomorrow, Thursday, but we’re not sure the time.  Please keep him in your prayers and pray a blessing over this generous hospital and it’s staff!  Thank you!


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Meet the Meninos ~ Julio and Gil


This is the delightful Julio, who came to live with us in June of 2013.  His brother, Gil, (who may in fact be his cousin!) arrived with him.IMG_2272

Julio and Gil are both on the quiet side but they are warming up.  Julio has a good sense of humor and is making friends.  Gil is more pensive and can sometimes have a bit of an edge to him.  They are both behind in school but we are hoping they will catch up with consistent schooling and input.

They have two cousins here at the center as well – they were all living with their grandmother who wasn’t able to continue to provide for them. 

I’m hoping these brothers will stay close, as well as with their cousins, as they continue to adjust living in our center.   I’m also hoping they thrive here and find great love and joy and acceptance.

Can’t wait to see them again, along with the rest of the munchkins!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lovely Lucas


Will you please pray for this gorgeous hunk of love, Lucas?  He has a broken leg and is in an uncomfortable cast.  His broken leg seems to have created some health complications as well.

Older readers might remember Lucas is disabled and doesn’t walk or speak but if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a hundred times, he sure knows how to communicate  - and flirt!  What a love!

(In case you’re wondering, I wasn’t there and my head hasn’t exactly been there either so I don’t have all the details of how he broke his leg but it appears he fell out of a chair, poor sweetie.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Mom

3693395187_9cbaee3298_oMy sweet mom, Joyce Andrea Johnson Anderson, passed away on January 29, 2014. 

As you can see, it’s taken me a long time to write this post.  I feel intimidated by the idea of writing what feels like a life-summary post about my mom.  I’m afraid I won’t do her justice.  That I won’t say everything I want to say.

So I’ve decided not to.  Not to write a life-summary post that is, not to say everything that needs to be said in one post.  I think I’ll feel free to write more about my mom whenever  I feel like it.

It makes me sad to know she won’t be reading it, my most faithful Clearlyliving reader.

At my mom’s memorial, I shared that she is my biggest fan and greatest cheerleader.  I think she told everyone she ever met – including people standing behind her in line! – about me and my work in Mozambique and my blog.  She was always giving people my blog address.  I sure will miss having my biggest fan on my side.

My mom was diagnosed with Stage Four Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma back in 2004, shortly after I moved to Mozambique.  She did amazingly well with having cancer these last nine years and I am so grateful for that time.  Even though I’ve lived out of the country, I’ve had a lot of wonderful times with her over these years.

But I still wasn’t ready to lose her, of course.  Her mother had died when she was 76 and I always thought that was so young, and here my mom died two months before she turned 76.  I still think it is so young.

I miss my mom.  4069062517_394b322223_o

Saturday, January 25, 2014

One lesson learned from my Mom ~ generosity (or I should say “hope I learn!”) . . .


As I sit by my mom’s bedside and she’s no longer able to communicate with me, I am thinking of some of the things she has “said” over the years, in actions or words.  So I felt like sharing one.

I was looking through some of her papers and came across this ShopRite grocery store gift card.  I said to Larry, “don’t forget you have a gift card here” but then I remembered, this gift card wasn’t given to them.

IMG_2370My mom had bought several recently because she wanted to be able to give them to someone she would see shopping in ShopRite who looked like a mom with a large family, I guess a woman with a lot of groceries in her cart!  So not necessarily a homeless person or someone down on their luck, just an ordinary mom with a lot of kids who $20 might bless on their shopping trip.

Once she offered to a woman who turned out to work for a group home and they had a good laugh about that.

I love my mom’s generous, kind heart. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Our Birthday Board

IMG_2298So.  I’ve been here eleven years next month.  You’d think I’d have thought of certain things a little sooner.  But the good news is, I keep learning and getting new ideas!

Like our Birthday Board!  I actually got the idea from a Catholic center for disabled people.  Over a year ago.  Sometimes I’m a little slow at putting my ideas into practice.  Ahem.

But now we’re up and running and the boys love it!  I love it too – except when Dionsio asks me every day if today is his birthday since he’s been told it’s soon but doesn’t quite grasp the calendar concept yet!

Apparently we have a drip above the board and when it rained it ruined my little Feliz Aniversario sign.  Which is not a big problem as I was hoping to find some visitors with fancier writing skills to make better signs and captions anyway!

Pray that no one discovers the fun alternate uses of push pins!

Love, Laura

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Meet the Meninos ~ Afonso!

IMG_2249Afonso Pequno (Little Afonso) has now graduated to be called Afonso-Bonso!  You see, we had another Afonso here in the dorm whom I called Afonso-Bonso and he moved up in December to the next dorm.  So this little munchkin feels pretty special now to be called Afonso-Bonso himself!

IMG_2007Afonso-Bonso is one of those quiet boys who, sadly, is easy to get lost in such a big crowd.  I have to make an effort to reach out to him.  He’s not angry or moody, he just doesn’t seek a lot of attention and he doesn’t get in trouble. 

He is sweet-natured, a good friend to the other boys and loves to help!  I look forward to getting to know this little boy more!

With 33 kids, it’s not easy to “find” the invisible ones with so many clamoring for attention – pray for me that I do!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Meet the Birthday Boys, Francisco and Lourenco


These two pumpkin noodle heads are turning seven today!  They are darling twin brothers, Lourenco on the left and Francisco on the right.  We only have one birthday hat so we were silly and improvised a hat out of the bottoms of the Spiderman birthday pjs!  Let me tell you, the rest of the boys were delighted to get TWO pieces of candy today!


Francisco is the bigger of these two non-identical twins.  He still sucks his thumb, which can be quite cute although we’re working on stopping it, and doesn’t seem at all put off by his two missing front teeth!  Francisco is lively, squirmy, silly, funny, helpful and full of love.  He is going into second grade this year (if school will ever start – I’ve now heard it won’t start til Feb 4th!!!)


Lourenco is the smaller of the two but I like to call him scrappy!  He is also thoughtful, reflective, funny, inquisitive and loves to pretend to be in church – he plays all the roles, preacher, dancer, singer!  He also loves to play our toy guitars!  Oh, and one thing I love when he does – he taps his temple when he is thinking!  He saw me do it once and has done it ever since!

Now you’ve met Francisco and Lourenco!

Love, Laura

Sunday, January 05, 2014

San Diego Chargers Repost! While hoping they win the game they are playing right now!

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Some of you may know I LOVE the Chargers!  I LOVE football!  I LOVE visiting the US during the Fall so I can watch as much football as possible!  The sights, the sounds, the action - I LOVE it!

And it's 100 times better when you're there in person!  I've been to only a few games but I always tear up during the National Anthem and love the fireworks and canon booms at the end.  The last couple games I've been to have included F-13s doing a fly-by as the last note of the anthem fades away and the crowd cheers their hearts out - amazing!  At that particular moment this year, I so wished I could share something so exciting with all my boys, none of whom have ever experienced anything like it.  Maybe someday . . .

Everything 293Until then, I gladly share my Charger games with my oldest nephew, Randy.  He's a huge fan himself and we've tried to go to a game every year for the last several years but a few times things have come up preventing us from going.  One year, it was the San Diego fires!  We had tickets but had to return them when they had to move then venue to Arizona. Everything 301










Anyway, nothing stopped us this time and it was a great game.  Sadly, the Chargers lost to the Colts in the last seven seconds so it was a lame ending but it sure was a lot of fun!

We'll beat 'em next year!

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Randy and Emma Fariss from Faith Fellowship sent me this jersey as a gift after reading a previous post about my love for the Chargers - what an amazing gift!  Thank you!

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The Chargers hold off a touchdown but couldn't prevent the field goal that ended the game.  Bummer!

Ain’t it grand to be a kid?


I remember when my nephew Sean (my wonderful nephew Sean that is!) lived with me for a couple of years when he was 12, I rediscovered how to play!


It crept up on me but really kicked in full force one day when we were at the beach.  He was playing in the ocean, and I was tanning on the beach – of course!  (That was back before I was worried about wrinkles and dark spots!) He strayed out a little further than I was comfortable with so, grumpily I might add, I swam out to bring him back closer to shore.  Fully intending to get right back out to my reading.


Instead, I played!  And played!  Dove under the waves, tried to dunk him, tried not to let him dunk me, tried to bodysurf – it was so much fun! 

IMG_2191We had a terrific time!  I can’t say I never laid on the shore again but it highlighted for me that having him with me helped me rediscover the kid in me again.  And it was fun!

Now of course, I have 30 something little ones to remind me to play!  I don’t join in as often as I should but when I do, I’m always glad I did! 


Make sure you make some time to play – and not just video games or candy crush!  And hey, why not come visit me and play with my kids?  So I can take a break and lay on the beach and read!!! Smile

Love, Laura

Friday, January 03, 2014

Welcome Little Ones!


“Mana Laura!  We’re moving to your dorm!”  That’s what I’ve heard ever since I’ve been back from these three little cutie pies who were living in the transition house.  They had moved there from the Baby House and knew that this January they would be coming to me.

Today is the day!

They arrived this afternoon and are so excited, maybe a little apprehensive, but mostly excited.  They’ve been visiting to play and get to know the boys and the dorm for a while now so it’s not all new to them.  And as it happens, they have the same PJs that we have so they will fit right in tonight!

Igor, Manuel Sergio and Manuel 2 (who join our existing Manuel, bringing us to THREE Manuels in the dorm!) – more adventures to come!

(Please excuse my outfit, I threw on what I had where I was housesitting and then life happened and I never got around to changing so that I would match!)

Love, Laura

Thursday, January 02, 2014

New Look!

Hey loyal – and first time – readers!

What do you think of the new look of the blog?  I LOVED the color scheme I’ve had for years now but just thought I needed something a little different and lighter and fresher.  After much experimenting, I’ve chosen this look – for now!  I may still tweak it a little.

Your thoughts?  Is it light and fresh or plain and boring?  I’m not sure myself!

Comments welcome, good and bad, you won’t hurt my feelings!

Love, Laura

Happy New Year!


Alas, I was too busy doing the macarena, manning a craft station and putting tomato sauce on grilled sausages to get very many good photos but wanted to show you a glimpse of New Year’s Eve, Zimpeto style!


Superman even made an appearance!


There’s always someone in a crowd who can’t stay up til midnight!


Must have been the chicken dance that wore him out!


And a good time was had by all!

We all know that January 1st is just another day of the year but . . . I think most of us are wired to pay attention to natural turning points, mile markers perhaps, those bends in the road that signify a change.  So while you might not make resolutions, I do pray that at the beginning of this new year, you take time to reflect on where you’ve been and dream a little of where you are going!

May God open new doors for you you never thought possible and give you the faith and courage to walk through them!

By the way – I’d love to know if anyone still makes resolutions, please share if you do!  Although I get why it’s fallen primarily by the wayside, we don’t keep them, they aren’t SMART goals, etc., it makes me kind of sad that another tradition has passed out of fashion!

Love, Laura

Monday, December 30, 2013

Birthday Boy ~ and Cat!


Julio’s birthday was actually the 27th, poor thing, but with all the fuss of Christmas and me just returning, I hadn’t yet looked at the calendar.  So we’re celebrating today!  He didn’t know his birthday so he’s not at all fussed!

It’s a rainy day – couple of days really – so the boys ate inside which means we celebrated inside!  “Celebrating” just involves the birthday boy giving out candy to everyone, which they love!  Then the birthday boy sleeps with Spiderman sheets and pjs, and uses the Spiderman towel and washcloth during showers.  They love their special Spiderman day!


Today is also a precious boy named Elidio’s birthday.  He moved up to the next dorm two days ago so he’ll be celebrating with them.  But a year ago, we “discovered” that Elidio shared his birthday with one of my cats, Gato Antonio! 

So Antonio got to celebrate today too!  I got the boys really, really quiet, then led her out with a bowl of tuna, her birthday pressie, since she doesn’t eat candy!

The boys loved it!

(and yes, her name is Antonio – hey, the boys told me “here’s a cat Mana Laura, it’s a boy and his name is Antonio – and I never looked!)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Movin’ On Up

IMG_2138It’s that time of year again, a little earlier this year, when my oldest bunch move up to the next dorm.  Sad day for me!  (I’m also a little sad how the lady cut my bangs last week but that’s not really germaine, I’m just self-conscious about them!). 

IMG_2096IMG_2099  First, I took my boys to a yummy farewell lunch at Mimmos – chicken and chips for everyone!  Three wonderful visitors joined us, two ladies from Reunion Island (extra points if anyone knows where that is without asking our friend Google!) and Graham, a return visitor from England about whom my boys said “Mano Graham works really hard” because he is always helping!  Too my surprise, Maria asked to treat us all to lunch, that was so sweet of her!


IMG_2121Once we got home, we had a little farewell with the rest of the boys, including praying for the ones moving up, and popcorn and soda, without which, no party by Mana Laura would be complete!  Their last time using the Spider and Super Man cups!


IMG_2134IMG_2136They carried over their things to their new home in their new dorm, where they were warmly welcomed!  They are so excited to each have their own new bed!

IMG_2139And finally, here we are all crying for them having to leave.  Ok, so I’m the only one crying.  And in fact, although I held it together in front of them, only a little watery eyes, I did cry myself home without them.  Yes, they are nearby and no, it is not the same at all.  I know from experience.  And it breaks my heart every time.

I will miss these boys!  They are precious to me and include my absolute favorite, Felizardo.  And I realize that I really enjoy my mix of ages and love having these older boys to actually converse with, who get ideas and concepts, who aren’t so clingy but still so loving.  It’s hard to lose all the oldest and have almost all younguns now. 

But, they are growing up, and they are excited for this evidence of it!

Pray for my babies! Smile

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Smiles, Smiles Everywhere! It’s Christmas in Mozambique!


(Alternative Title:  The Boys are Really Happy – I am Really Tired!)

Look at those cutie pies, all kitted out in their new outfits!  Looking so darling (only took about 20 photos to get them looking that way, let’s be honest!).  They always love their new clothes and feel so smart in them.


But what they really love are . . . presents!  In the photo above, you see two of the three rooms looking at this . . .


The Tias carrying in their new Dorm Gifts! (minus the trampoline which I didn’t have time to arrange but still will!).  They love Tonka trucks (and thank you to Doris, Pat and Kathy for carrying those beasts in your luggage for me!), skateboards and scooters (which everyone marvels that I carry in mine) and of course, soccer balls (thanks again Cesaer!)> 


Looks pretty good there under our teeny, tiny tree doesn’t it?



IMG_1934Listening to Papa Steve, aka Pai Natal, talk about Christmas!


Hey, I’m in a photo!  I really am here for Christmas, honest!


Some happy, silly boys – and one almost teenager who went straight for the handheld game!  Things aren’t much different all around the world, are they?


My goodness they loved these glasses, a last minute find at Party City!


New shoes!  Wahoo!  And socks too!  Not that you could pay me to wear socks in this heat, but they love ‘em!


The Three Amigos – sad, all of them are moving up in two days.


Latifo, The Thinker!  And Lulu, who just arrived last week and doesn’t know what hit him!  I’m quite sure he’s only ever had a present or two in his whole life, and not a bag full and not with new clothes and new shoes at the same time! 


The center eating together (my table is the first one you can only see a teeny bit of).


That’s a lot of boys!


Two cute-patoots, Horacio and Junior!

A special thank you to all those who sponsored my boys for their gifts and clothes, what a blessing!  And to those of you who give all the year thru, enabling me to be here and love on these precious boys!

The boys wanna say:

“Come see us this year, we’d love to meet you!

And now, we’re tired of looking at the camera, we’re just gonna look at our new stuff! 

Merry Christmas!  Feliz Natal!”