Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Conquering Sand

This is the hospital where we have spent the last 10 days. It is in a tiny village called Zithulele. Lloyd and I went to a rural part of our country (Eastern Cape, previous Transkei) to support and serve 4 of our friends who live and work here.

Our friends Ben and Taryn (both doctors at the hospital) have recently done up this cute hut on their property for visitors. We were blessed to be the first occupants.

I took this photo standing outside our hut. You can see the sea in the far distance. All around us the view was the same - rolling green hills and little huts.

Matt got to learn more about roosters, hens and chicks - much better than just reading about it in the books. Although the rooster had a bit of an attitude problem and felt he needed to assert his dominance by attacking other "alpha males" - so poor Lloyd was often the object of his assault. (Fortunately Lloyd manage to run for cover or throw water at the determined fowl - and was spared an actual pecking)

We weren't worked too hard, and on one beautifully sunny day we headed down to a stunning rock structure called The Hole in the Wall - you can see why in the next photo. Matt loved playing on the stones - picking them up and throwing them. Matt had been really unwell for the first 4 days of our stay, fortunately by this time he was starting to recover.

Matt and I enjoyed watching the waves break through the Hole in the Wall. It was quick magical and Matt (who usually is always moving around) sat still - transfixed by the sound and movement.

Ben and Taryn have the BEST trampoline. Matt took a little while to get into it. He preferred it when dad jumped and the sensation of being thrust into the air, as opposed to jumping himself.
By the end of our visit when Matt could easily spend an hour on the trampoline being flung in different directions as others jumped around him - should people rest he would sign MORE MORE. And as soon as the jumping started so would his lively laughing.

Here is a cute pic of Matt and Emma having a laugh - Emma's parents Karl and Sal are also doctors at the hospital. Matt enjoyed being around the other kids although he is definitely in the phase of playing alongside kids, rather than with them.

The Saturday before we left the weather was gorgeous so we headed down to the beach with Ben and Taryn and their kids Joshua, Grace and little Elijah. The beach sand was very firm, the sun hot on our backs and there was a little river of warm water running into the sea. The perfect setting for Matt to overcome his sand-and-beach-hatred. Having other kids around who loved the sand and water thing seemed to really get Matt's attention.

It started with walking on the firm sand and discovering that it was not at all scary.

Next thing we know - Matt is crouching in the water, rubbing his hands in the mud/sand. Thoroughly enjoying it and looking as if he does this every time he goes to the beach.

Our 12 days in Zithulele where filled with many fun and challenging adventures. (One of which was learning to survive without running water for 3 days as the dam pump had broken. I believe our friends there are still without water. Boy did I appreciate my tap when I got home). In terms of Matt's development that Saturday at the beach was a joyful highlight. I am coming to see that Matt's favourite way of showing us he has learnt something new is by surprising us with his new skill. No indication or forewarning that he is learning, no it just arrives - in its complete form. Makes life with him exciting.


Cindy said...

How exciting! ...both your trip and Matt's development.

Kelly said...

What an experience you will never forget! Kelly F

Kristi said...

I'm late reading this but it looks fabulous. Noah used to hate the sand and water at the beach but now he loves it too.,

Tarah said...

Wow, the pictures are beautiful!