Our little boy seems to be growing up very quickly these days.  In the last few weeks his few words have become a lot clearer, he’s added some new ones and he is getting very good at mimicking sounds.  His understanding when we talk to him seems to have suddenly developed significantly and sometimes he even actually does what we say! 🙂

Jacob’s also showing more initiative when communicating his wants – yesterday he was hoping to go and out the front to play with the neighbours and so he brought me his shoes, then he brought me mine, and tried putting them on my feet when I wasn’t moving fast enough for him. Jacob seems to finally be learning how to use a spoon (‘though he rarely chooses to use it!) and his play is a lot less random then it used to be and sometimes has a bit of sense to it.  It’s amazing to see these developments and see him move more and more from baby to toddler.

Most weekday mornings Jacob goes to nursery, and when he wakes up from his nap in the afternoon, the rest of the day is usually spent playing outside with the neighbouring kids.  He absolutely loves it outside.  Despite having a number of toys, most of the time Jacob prefers a good stick, some dirt and a few stones.  That said, he does love any kind of ball and has a remarkably accurate throw that is nearly always impressive (although not always appreciated when it’s at the dinner table, or towards the car).

Through nursery, Jacob has also started singing some of the songs taught around the house or whilst in his car seat – very cute. There may be no discernable lyrics just yet, but his ‘twinkle twinkle’ hand choreography is coming along nicely.

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Every year Beyond Ourselves makes a calendar of various photos from life in the communities we work with in Zambia.  Dan’s been busy taking photos and we’ve just sent them to the printers.  Here’s a sneak peek of some of the photos… 5 15 November9

If you live in the UK and would like to order a calendar, you can click here and place your order or email us and reserve one.  If you live in Canada, or anywhere else outside of the UK, send me an email and we’ll arrange the details that way.


Our last three weeks have busy busy for us.  We had two teams, back to back, and then our director stayed for another week.

The first team was from a secondary school in the UK.  They are partnered with one of our schools in Kitwe.  They came out to do some building work, help out at the school and do the interviews of the children and their carers.  Every year around this time we sit down with each child and their carer to chat about how things are going at home, in school, with their health and we weigh and measure them to chart their growth.

The second team that came did the interviews at the other two schools we work with and do a load of reading assessments to help Dan begin to gauge where the children are at in terms of their reading abilities.

It was wonderful to have the teams – it’s always fantastic to see the enthusiasm visitors have for the work they are involved with.  Also, it reminds us of what it is like to view the poverty and need around us with a fresh set of eyes.  It is a challenging reality that one can become used to seeing such levels of poverty and so having people come to visit renews our perspective and reminds us yet again of why we are here.

One of the other very exciting things about these teams was the goods they brought out for them.  This past summer we packed six bags full of our stuff that these teams brought out for us.  It felt like Christmas as we unpacked all of our games, loads of my favourite kitchen things, a few more of Jacob’s toys, pictures and other ‘things’ that help make our house feel more like home.  In addition to this we now have a healthy stock of proper chocolate which we’ll be rationing for the next several months. 🙂

The Hitchhiker

The other day, when driving back from Kitwe, I decided to pick up a couple of hitch hikers. I’m not sure why I do this to myself, because it is usually supremely awkward as their English is usually not brilliant (my Bemba is worse) and I feel as though I can’t play music too loudly, so we tend to simply sit there in an awkward silence. Anyway, something compelled me to try try again.

I pulled over for these two middle-aged women. After confirming where they were headed (and in the process, confirming that this would be another supremely awkward encounter) one got in the front, and the other taller slimmer lady went to get in the back. She opened the side with Jacob’s car seat in so I motioned to her that, maybe she should go around to the other door. Again, not really understood, because sure enough she continues to try to get in that side. So I start to move my bag and cooler (that were in the footwell on that side) so that she can shimmy past. But does she shimmy? She shimmys not. To my surprise (and smothered delight) when I look up, this tall, slim, fully grown, middle-aged woman is perched silently in Jacob’s car seat! Wearing stoic expressionless face. It was one of the funniest things I think I’ve ever seen. I wish I’d let her stay in there, I wish I’d got a photo. Sadly, I said that maybe she’d be more comfortable moving out of the car seat (seeing as her head was skimming the roof)… Needless to say that throughout the awkward silence of the journey onwards, there were little stifled sniggers coming from the front as I recalled the image. Classic.