Need for Change – My Sister (Aunt Doreece)

My Sister, Doreece Devone Lawrence, has a personal goal to visit all 50 states in her lifetime.  Because of this goal, we have lived In in different city and states most of our adult years.  We did have the opportunity to live together in Oakland, California (1987 – 1989), until her continuous desire to move surfaced.

Our tenure together in Oakland, California gave Aunt Doreece the opportunity to build a relationship with Magic (my Son).  Our continuous residential distance has caused her to be far from her dear ones and miss most of our family milestones.  This challenge didn’t seem to bother her until my GrandDaughter Mink was born.  Mink was 3 months old, when they were able to meet personally in St. Louis, Missouri.  Because Mink was just a little baby, Aunt Doreece didn’t really expect her to know her.079

Though we have been distant in location, she has always been close at heart.  She would consistently send Mink gifts in the mail.  She was sure this practice would ensure to build on the relationship bridge with her.

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Yet, when they met again in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico for my Son and Daughter-In-Laws wedding, Mink treated her like a complete stranger.  Mink was only 16 months; she was dealing with stranger anxiety and viewed most people as a threat.  Aunt Doreece’s feelings were really hurt and making Mink like her was her goal.

She was so determined to turn Mink around that she volunteered to babysit her on my Son and Daughter-In-Law’s wedding day.  She bathed her, dressed her and made her sleep with her.  This is a picture of how Mink felt about it.

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Unfortunately, Aunt Doreece left Mexico without being able to break through Mink’s stranger anxiety.

They met again a month later, when Aunt Doreece came to Chicago for my Surprise Going Away to South Africa party.  And the gap still existed.  Mink was comfortable playing with other children, but still was not feeling Aunt Doreece.  Our little cousin, Kaliyah (7 years old) had to be a buffer in order for Mink to even take a picture with Aunt Doreece.

I tried to convince Aunt Doreece that she needed to be patient and allow Mink to grow up more to get to know her better.  Just as I advised her, when she came back to visit in December for Christmas (after my return from South Africa), Mink (22 months) was more comfortable with her and they were able to engage with each other.

Though Aunt Doreece was very happy for their new found relationship, she vowed that if/when my Son and Daughter-In-Law had another baby, she would not have this problem again; she would come around more in order to be able to spend more time with the baby.

Opportunity for Change

When my Son and Daughter-in-Law informed us (November, 2014) that they were expecting again, Aunt Doreece cancelled all of scheduled travels and immediately started making plans to be in the Chicago area for the birth and every milestone after.  She confirmed this vow, when we went to visit Mink’s Godfather Eric and his Girl, Rachel in Atlanta for 2015 Spring Break, she came from Virginia to join us.

Transition

Just as she said she would, when we called Aunt Doreece to let her know that my Daughter-In-Law was going into the hospital for delivery, she jumped in her car and drove to the Chicago area from Virginia.  She was able to meet Magic Deuce, when he was 1 day old and was one of his first visitors, when he arrived home from the hospital!

Even though the internet and smartphones are the next best thing to being there.  Hopefully, Aunt Doreece will continue to choose the Best and has learned the value of being there!

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Will she change her quest to visit all 50 State to ensuring that she makes it to all family milestones?!

Our Second Weekend in Chintsa – Nelson Mandela Museum in Quno

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We had originally planned to begin our tour of the Wild Coast with a tour of the Nelson Mandela Museum in the Umtata Bhunga Building for an experience in following the footprints of a man whose long walk to freedom … Continue reading

Our Second Weekend in Chintsa – Bulungula Lodge

This gallery contains 17 photos.

After our overnight stay at the Mbolompo Home stay, we began the next day with a tour by Roger Galloway, who is coordinating the building of home stays in the of the rural village of Zithulele; located in the Eastern … Continue reading

Our Second Weekend in Chintsa – Mbolompo Home Stay

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For our second weekend we traveled to Mbolompo, on the Southern Wild Coast, for a cultural experience in a traditional Xhosa village with a Xhosa family.  We spent our first night at the Mbolompo Home Stay. The homestead belongs to … Continue reading

Our First Weekend in Chintsa East

Though we were some hard workers in Chintsa East, our weekends were planned to be fun!  We spent our first weekend in Chintsa East and most of the time studying.

We did take time to enjoy the beach!  Because our house was beach front, we only lived a short walk to the beach.

While we were at the beach, we saw people beach horse riding.

We thought about trying it, but we never got the chance.  Though, it was fun just watching other people do it.

GREAT time at the beach!

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Bamboo Siding for Gwegwesha Day Care Center

The shelter for the Gwegwesha Day Care Center was made as a Tin Shack with three of the outside walls already covered with wood.  Tin was still displayed on the outside of the front of the shack.  Our third project was to cover the front of the shelter with bamboo.  Shelter sided with bamboo is low maintenance and blends beautifully with natural landscapes.  Bamboo is fast growing grass.

We began this project by going to another location and cutting down the bamboo.  The men used a machete and hand saws to cut it down.

And we, the women carried it the trailer to be transported to Wellington’s place.

Note:  After our first day of cutting down the Bamboo, Amber broke out in an allergic reaction and had to go to the Doctor for medication.  For this reason, she was restricted from working with the bamboo.

Next, we used the machete to clean the bamboo up.  The guys used the machete, hammer and the hand saw to split each one in half.

We, the women, lined up the bamboo and drilled holes in them in for the screws to be placed through.

That was the end of our week.  The next week the other group from our group worked on putting up the bamboo.  When we returned for our final visit, we were able to see the final product!

We all were so proud, on our final review day we used this spot as our back drop for taking pictures.

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Resources at African Angels

I was most impressed with the resources available to the children at African Angels.

They receive traditional dance lessons from Yiva Mpatana, who lives in Chintsa Village.

They receive yoga lessons called “Wiggles.”

They receive recorder lessons.

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They have community volunteers that come in just to spend time with them.

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African Angels Independent School

This gallery contains 43 photos.

As Volunteer Interns, we worked in two different projects: African Angels Independent School in Chintsa Gwegwesha Day Care Center in Mzwini African Angels is a non-profit organization based in Chintsa in the Eastern Cape of South Africa that provides quality … Continue reading