Perfect Visa timing

Hi everyone,

So an update on the Visa thankfully this time with great news. Yesterday out of the blue, around 3pm, one of the ladies who works in the office at the Centre where I’m staying, came over to where I was doing school with Rachel. She asked if I was expecting my passport and I told her that I was but not till Thursday as they took 7 working days to process Visa’s.

She then smiled (as everyone in the office by now knew of my Visa fiasco – if you want the full story email me and I can tell you, it’s long but pretty funny) and handed me a package and said “I think this one is yours”

After two trips to the embassy, 3 applications, over 8 pieces of necessary documentation, countless emails and phonecalls, a lot of money, with 5 dayss before I flew and having waited for this since before Christmas you can imagine my reaction was explosive. Amidst the concoction of flailing arms, jumping around on my feet, yelling and grabbing people I somehow tore open the package and found my passport!

There it was, taking up a whole page was my long awaited, God given Indian visa. I am so overjoyed that after all the time and effort that not only I but others too have put into getting me this visa it has finally arrived. I am so excited to be going to my third and final destination, and to be doing it without a shadow of a doubt that God wants me there.

On numerous occasions God had the opportunity to stop me from being granted a visa but instead he helped me overcome all the hurdles. It was a discoraging, frustrating, time consuming and laborious process but the fact that in the end I got it is all that matters. This has just confirmed to me that he wants me there and has new and exciting things planned for me.

I fly out around 9:30am Filipino time, so 1:30am English time, I have several flights, an airline change and a 15 hour layover in which I’m leaving the airport in New Delhi. Please please pray for safe travels, for a safe taxi trip to my hotel out of the airport in New Delhi given I am alone, my luggage to all arrive at my final destination safely and at the same time that I do.

I will write again before I leave. I cannot thank people enough for how incredible you have all been for praying for me. I have been told of so many people who have remembered me in their prayers and that makes my heart so happy. You are all amazing and God answered our prayer.

Praise him, everything is perfect in his timing.

Lots of love,

Nomad Naomi x

Advertisements

Please pray for my Visa

Hello all,

So I haven’t done too many prayer points since I’ve been away, because I would rather people pray for what they feel God puts on their heart after reading my blog posts. However on this occasion I would really value prayer to cover my Indian Visa application.

After an online application failing to be processed before Christmas, we are now 3 weeks away from me leaving and I am headed to the Indian Embassy this coming Wednesday to reapply in person. Due to certain complications it may be slightly trickier to get my Visa, and it turns out that it is also going to cost a much larger amount of money than I previously expected. So if everyone could please pray for a smooth process, for the paperwork to be accepted straight away, for God’s continued provision, for there to be no issues at all and for God to really go before me and set everything up to go through without any hassle, that would be wonderful. Please pray that there will be no other extra costs involved that I was not previously aware of, and that the people dealing with my application will be considerate and efficient.

There have been more hurdles with travelling to India than any of my other destinations, for example the Visa application. The trip is going to be the most gruelling, with a 15 hour overnight layover in New Delhi airport, and me having to catch 3 different planes to get from Manila to my final destination. There are lots of questions I have about the trip including whether to stay in a hotel overnight, and if so where. All of these questions and hurdles lead me to believe that God really has something special awaiting me in India, or someone he really wants me to meet, and this is all just from the other side to try and discourage me and prevent that from happening. So I would also ask you to please pray for God to continue to give me strength and encouragement, to reassure me and to provide circumstances to just reaffirm that he has it all under control.

I thank you all for your amazing support, and for all the continuous messages I receive, they are more encouraging than I could ever explain to you.

IMG_1541Blessing and love,

Naomi xx

 

It’s all about the little moments…

Whilst considering what to write about for my next blog post, I felt I would share some ‘little moments’ from the past few months which were either funny or special to me.

IMG_3462
Rachel and me on New Years Eve – isn’t she beautiful.

Almost every week day I have been working with one of the children from the Children’s Home doing school and fun activities for about 3 hours every afternoon. She is actually a woman of 23, however it is almost certain she has some form of disability or delay so is very behind in both social skills, learning, and especially talking. – My special moment with her, let’s call her Rachel, was when she said my name for the first time as she won’t even say her own name.

Successfully jumping off the 20+ft high jump into the pool at my accommodation (the YMC) without belly flopping.

After the community kids struggled to pronounce my name, I became ‘Mimi’ and whenever they see me they shout my name at the gate.

I body tackled the fat, YMC English Bulldog, called Tyson, to save the kitten he was about to eat.

Climbing up and jumping off a waterfall into the purest looking water I have ever seen, then drying off in the suns rays while drinking a coke.

IMG_2686
Well there’s 3 of the Toddlers

All 8 toddlers at the Children’s Home running at me to give hugs and cuddles, hanging off whichever part of my body they could reach.

Not having health and safety, so for the first time setting off fireworks myself.

Killing a massive cockroach that was terrorising our toilet(after gassing it didn’t work).

Lice picking the younger girls at the children’s home and them demanding to kill each bug that I found.

Being called ‘The Queen’ by the man in charge.

Children on the outreach feedings asking where I was to other volunteers if I didn’t go for a week.

Singing and playing the guitar to do private worship with the older girls from the children’s home.

Tackling my room-mate Candace to the floor just because it seemed like a good idea at the time, and crying with laughter by the end.

Getting involved in Maths tutoring at lunch time for the kids who are slightly behind.

Having a 2 hour prayer time with God, in a glass room overlooking the skyline of Manila at night.

IMG_1658Watching the sunset over Manila from the same spot.

Rachel initiating hugs with me or holding my hand because she trusts me enough.

Being asked by one of the older children’s home girls to sit and discuss her troubles with her.

IMG_2682
Proof for those who didn’t believe

Driving in the Philippines, in an automatic, on the side of the road I’m not used to, where rules of the road don’t apply…so far so good.

Finding a full tube of Pringles for less than £2 (that’s right be jealous).

Being asked to do story time before bed with the toddlers.

Having midnight swims in the pool with Betsie(another glorious room-mate).

Playing ninja and leap frog with the children’s home girls.

Being asked if one of the babies I was carrying was mine and if I was married to a Filipino man.

Dancing around the kitchen with girls from the children’s home and being branded crazy.

Attempting to learn how to hip hop dance with the children’s home girls.

Speaking to my family on Skype for over an hour on Boxing Day.

Being told I’m beautiful by one of the ladies who works at the children’s home, every time I see her.

Receiving the title ‘yummy scrummy in my tummy Tita* Naomi’ from one of the boys at the children’s home, no it doesn’t rhyme but he insists it does.

Putting the younger children to bed and praying with them at the children’s home.

IMG_20160127_093753
Here’s one of the babies sleeping soundly ( I make a good pillow apparently)

Three babies falling asleep on me in the car on the way to the hospital.

 

*’Tita’ mean’s Aunt or Big sister and is said to females older than you out of respect.

 

Welcome to the world Baby

Last week I had one of the most extraordinary experiences I have had in my life so far. I had the honour of not only helping to deliver a baby, but cutting the umbilical cord, cleaning her off and dressing her.

Here where I am volunteering in the Philippines there is a pre-natal clinic which I have helped at a few times. Normally these visits involve taking the mothers blood pressure, weighing her, measuring the babies heart rate and measuring it’s growth by feeling her stomach. This in itself to me already was amazing to be able to be a part of as I have had no experience with it previously. On one particular day last week I was invited back with Katherine (another volunteer who is here for a month) to help with a birth in the afternoon. Having never had children or witnessed a birth we were both slightly apprehensive as to what we should expect. Well if I’m being honest we were both petrified that we weren’t going to be able to even watch, let alone help. Determined though we both agreed to come back and at 3pm returned to the clinic with faces as though ready for battle.

In the end the mother’s labour continued on till about 6pm without much happening, apart from the occasional check to see how dilated she was and the fantastic husband running to get her a coke (things aren’t quite as strict in the Philippines).

I would just like to take this moment to say what an absolute trooper this mother was the entire time even during the birth. She barely made a sound. I have made more noise from stubbing my toe than she did from birthing her daughter. Never again will I take a TV or Movie birth seriously, the screaming and thrashing around…take a leaf out of super Mum’s book and just dig your nails into your husbands arm.

At around 6pm things really kicked up a gear, latex gloves went on, endless rolls of tissue and toilet paper were folded (I am now a fully certified toilet paper and tissue roller for births now) and almost mother assumed a position. 11 minutes later after some serious pushing, some pulling from our end, lots of encouragement and a grunt from Mum which could have been mistaken for the sound you make when you bite your tongue, and a brand new, beautiful, perfect baby popped into the world. I hadn’t quite realised how blue babies are when they are born, I felt as though I was looking at a baby Smurf, but over the next 20 minutes all the blue drained away and the most wonderful and fresh tanned skin tone crept in. After the birth as I said, I cut the umbilical cord and then we wiped her down and dressed her tiny body in her first outfit.

Watching a human coming into the world, hearing their first cry, seeing their eyes open for the first time and being there for the first 30 minutes of their life is an indescribable feeling. For me nothing else mattered at that time, nothing in the world was bad or wrong, all I could process was the tiny human staring back at me.

To Katherine and my wonderful surprise helping deliver the baby did not put us off from having children at all. In fact, made us more excited for when/if our time comes. To feel that much joy and not even be the one with the baby afterwards, I cannot imagine how sensational it must be to actually be the mother (minus the sleep deprivation). What a privilege to be there and do even a little something to help in God’s creation.

received_10201293513536503

 

Twas the night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Every creature was stirring, including a mouse.
Our makeshift stockings were placed behind the door with care,
In hopes that no cockroaches would find them there.

Both Candace and I nestled all snug in our beds,
While appalling karaoke, sung in the street, assaulted our heads.
And at 2am I, almost asleep, on my leg felt a tap,
Had that mouse really just jumped and run down my lap.

When realising the rodent was sharing my bed there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed, switched on the light, and Candace yelled “what is the matter?”.
Away to her top bunk bed I flew like a flash,
While the mouse disappeared in an equally petrified dash.

The light of the morning beginning to show,
Made us realise the time till we must rise was only 2 hours to go.
When, finally it was our time to appear,
Two sleep deprived women walked to the children’s home at 5am ‘oh dear’.

Making a lot of pancake batter, so gooey and thick,
35+ children smelt it at once, and forgot about St Nick.
More rapid than eagles on their varied sized legs they came,
We trembled, and shouted, but them we could not tame!

“Now steady! now, careful! now, tongues off the spoon!
Off, counters! Off, ceilings! Go back to your room!
To the frying pan all of these pancakes must go!
Now flip them! Don’t burn them! Ouch that’s my toe!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
Our children flew around the kitchen, as a bird does the sky.
So pancakes were flipped, flopped and eaten,
And not even one child needed to be beaten.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard from next door
The scuffling and pawing of hands on the floor.
As I poked in my head, and was walking around,
With presents in arms, from behind the Christmas tree they bound.

Covered in wrapping paper from head to foot,
They held little bags in which their presents they put.
A few special Toys no child would give back,
For today, just one day, there was nothing to lack.

Their eyes-how they twinkled! For excited they were – very!
As they sat to watch a Christmas film, cheeks red as a cherry!
Little mouths smiled, and hearts all seemed aglow,
As they watched “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and saw all the snow.

The need for some quiet, some space and a wee,
Turned Candace and me back home to make tea.
We then opened our presents, ignoring the fact we were smelly,
Sat, ate, and laughed till no more chocolate could we fit in our belly!

Then, from the ministry director, we were offered…well shucks,
A free Christmas coffee from a nearby Starbucks!
A cup of that coffee, and my tired head felt like led,
Soon gave me to know I must go straight to bed.

An hour of a nap, well it sure did work,
In filling me back up and sending Candace and me with a jerk,
Back to the children’s home where they froze,
As out of our bags the lice combs rose!

We sprang into action, with a scrape, pick and whistle,
Finishing our Christmas day leaving lice all a bristle.
But as we tucked in the children, and walked out of sight,
We could contently say “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

IMG_1564
The beautiful sunset on a 30+ degree Christmas Day.

 

 

 

So what do you do in the Philippines?

How amazing that I have only been here in the Philippines for 2 weeks and yet it feels like I have been here for months. What a blessing to have met such amazing people already, formed such close friendships, become a part of children’s lives and seen really crucial areas of need where my strengths can be used.

The set up for Kids International Ministries is completely different from that of Door of Hope in South Africa. My time is predominantly mine to do with as I see useful, you’re given the opportunity to find your feet, explore the different projects and ministries that K.I.M have going on, and gradually find your niche.

Community Feeding is done every morning from 9-11 in different areas around and inside Manila where food is taken to those living in slums and a bible study is done with anyone who wishes to join. Whilst that is going on the volunteers tend to play with the children. It’s amazing how friendly and happy children, in such dire situations, can be. I’ve been to various places with the feedings and they’ve all been amazing to meet and run around with the children.

IMG_1412IMG_1421IMG_1432

During the day I spend my time either at the ‘Children’s Home’, spending time with the Community girls if they are around, seeing the girls from the JAZ Home or whatever needs to be done around the KIM Centre. The Children’s Home is where abandoned or neglected or orphaned children live and the age range varies from a few months old to 23 years old. Most of the children go to school during the day, and then spend the afternoon playing with each other or with volunteers who can go the home at any time. Some of the children are siblings, some are alone, some are up for adoption, some are not, some have simple background stories and some have some of the most heart breaking and traumatic stories I have ever heard. The variations between children are enormous, but ultimately they all need the same thing, patience, affection, structure and love. I love spending my time with the older children but also with the beautiful babies up in the Nursery. Nothing makes you feel better than baby cuddles.

IMG_20151214_143811

The Community girls live around the area of the centre and come to the centre every Saturday morning to swim. They also have a bible study here once a week. Gradually the girls have started learning my name, but Naomi is pretty tricky to say at the best of times let alone if your first language is not English. So we’re shortened it to Mimi. ‘Tita’ is Tagalog for Aunt and is a sign of respect which all the children use for those older than them, therefore I have become Tita Mimi pronounced tea-ta me-me. I’m still getting used to that!

The JAZ girls are the girls who have come from seriously abusive backgrounds whether it be mental, physical, emotional, sexual…they all need a place of safety and security which is what they get at the JAZ Home. I have had the privilege of spending some time with some of the girls so far, shopping, hanging out and making Christmas decorations. It has been wonderful to meet and get to know some of them and I look forward to being able to do it more.

In other news I now have a roommate which is fantastic and has stopped me from being melancholy about being away from family for Christmas. Her name is Candace, she is from Mississippi and is 20, same as me! This is her third time back to the Philippines and her passion for working with the children at the Children’s Home is very inspiring. We are very similar in some ways but still have our unique traits which means we get on brilliantly. She has introduced me to a new TV show so any night we have free, it’s junk food and Criminal Minds night.

So that’s what I’ve been getting up to so far. Amongst other perfectly normal things, killing cockroaches, chasing mice, doing laundry during a Typhoon, rubbing cream on numerous spider and mosquito bites, eating my body weight in Oreo’s because I was so excited that I found them…you know, all those normal things!

Thank you for the continued prayer and support, I intend to do a Christmas blog post in the next few days mentioning a bit about Christmas here. But until then, happy Christmas is coming, lots of love from 31 degrees C !

xx

 

 

 

Arrival in the Philippines

Well I have made it to destination number 2, and I am all in one (slightly crumpled) piece.

The flight from Jo’burg to Singapore went well, I only slept for about half and hour of the 10 hour night flight, but am catching up on sleep now. Then after my 6 hour layover in Singapore I caught my 4 hour flight to Manila arriving at 4 pm Filipino time,  8 am English time and 10 am Jo’burg (my body clock) time. Immigration was very straightforward, and my bag arrived after waiting about 2 minutes, praise God. I met the people picking me up straight away, which was such a surprise as I didn’t even know who I was meeting, and we set off at about 4:30pm for the 20-30 min drive back to my accommodation.

6 hours later at 10:30 we pulled into the Centre where I am staying. You guessed it, the traffic in Manila is about the worst I have seen anywhere. Well it couldn’t be a flawless trip to the Philippines could it. On the plus side I got to witness the type of driving I grew up with in Senegal. It truly is amazing how cars manage to turn 2 lanes into 5 if you really try. Finally I flopped into my new bed, a double, in my room, which I have all to myself and slept for 12 hours.

I’ve been getting to know people over the past few days and getting acquainted with my surroundings. It’s very different from South Africa, but there is nothing wrong with that at all. It’s exciting. Surprisingly so far only 1 person has identified me as English, I’ve had American, Australian, South African…am I missing something here?

I start work tomorrow with the children doing feeding outreach at a place called ‘Tent City’ about and hours drive north of Manila. I hope to write again soon to keep you all updated. Salamat (which means thank you in Tagalog the Filipino language) everyone for your continued support and prayer.

Lots of love, Naomi x