Ready To Go!

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Hello! This is my very first post on this blog. I’m leaving for Zambia on Tuesday, May 15 (the day after tomorrow!) and will be working in an orphanage called the Haven. This is my third time to visit the Haven; I went with my graduate school for six weeks each the first two times, and now I am traveling independently for 10 weeks. If you have not yet seen the 10-minute documentary filmed last year, I would encourage you to take the time to watch it. I think it was beautifully done and does an excellent job describing the work of the Harding in Zambia Speech-Language Pathology (HIZ-Path) program, and it contains lots of footage of the sweet babies who have stolen my heart, which is enough to make me want to watch it over and over again.

For those who don’t know, there are four houses for orphans on site. Haven 1 is the home for infants. Once babies start walking, they are usually moved to Haven 2. Haven 3 houses the sick babies of all ages – those with HIV, TB, failure to thrive, etc. If medical treatments are successful, these babies can “graduate” to Haven 1 or 2. There is also a home, called Eric’s House, for older children, primarily boys.

Generally children stay at the orphanage until they are around 4 years old. Some leave sooner, some later. At this point, the children either return to their families or are adopted by Zambian families. Many of the children at the orphanage are not “true orphans”, meaning that at least one parent is still alive but unable to care for the children. For some, the mother has died, and the families can’t afford formula, so the babies go to the orphanage until they are old enough to help with chores at home or until their families are more financially stable and can care for the children. For others, the parents are physically or mentally ill. The children who are true orphans, or whose families will not take them back, are usually adopted by other Zambian families, but some remain at Eric’s House. Others at Eric’s House did not live in the Havens as infants or toddlers, but are street children with nowhere else to go. Here are a few pictures of the facilities:

My goal for this year is to *try* to update my blog at least twice a week. Last year I used this blog, but only updated seven times in six weeks. The electricity doesn’t always work; internet time is limited, and the internet is very slow (even slower than the old dial-up connections); life there is busy; and sometimes I’m just plain lazy. My posts may be short, and I may not always have a good enough connection to post as many pictures as I’d like, but I will sincerely make an effort to keep up with blogging and to reply to questions and comments as much as I can.

I would like ย take a moment to thank my family and friends for prayers, encouragement, and monetary donations for my trip. I truly have been amazed by your generosity and love. There are no words to describe how loved and blessed I feel, and I know the babies would thank you as well for helping to provide clean diapers, food, and life-saving medicines for them. I wish there was something I could say or do to properly express my gratitude, but a simple “thank you” will have to suffice for now.

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21 responses »

  1. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 โ™ฅ Ashley- we have posted your photos on our prayer bulletin board at home and will be praying for you, your team, and the precious children daily! (And reading your blog!) Love to you———Dawn

  2. YOU ARE THERE!!!! I am sure you are hugging and holding those sweet babies. Mazi says,”Go MOM”. She is fine and enjoying “Grandma’s” Pound Cake! So cute…chomp, chomp, chomp. ENJOY EACH MOMENT – WE LOVE YOU!!!

  3. It is Saturday morning here and I am really missing you, but wondering what fun adventures await you today! Each day is a new adventure and doesn’t that make life so much fun! LOVE YOU!

  4. It is Monday and rainy! That is fine though because the weekend was wonderful!!!! Nice weather and lots of fun with church family! Hope you are doing well! LOVE YOU, Mom

  5. Good Morning (in PA) it is Wednesday and a nice day!!! No pool open yet, but maybe soon. We are sorry you are having connection problems – this too shall pass! Write and post when you can!! We love you so much!!!

  6. Hello Ashley, It is Saturday – we just got back from Addy’s party!! Fun and Jacob wore a robe so he could be part of the spa party ๐Ÿ™‚ Opened the pool today. Cleaned Mazi’s little apartment. She was so excited and kept thanking us – with her familiar – ch, ch, ch sound! Sounds exciting and I look forward to reading more posts when you get them out!! Love you, Mom

  7. Hello Ashley – It is Tuesday here. I am back to no kids at home – me and Mazi are running the PA office of the Dowler’s! She is such a source of inspiration to me! Have a wonderful day!!!! LOVE YOU! MOM

  8. Good Morning Ashley!!! I prayed for you as I walked and hoping that you are accomplishing and learning so much!!! Mazi is good…she was so hungry last night. I feed her chicken and made a pound cake. She was my taste tester and seemed to be a thumbs up! YEAH! Enjoy your day…we love you and miss YOU! mom

  9. Hello Ashley: I hope you part of the world is going well. We are doing good here. The temps are a little cool today in the mid 70’s, but feels nice with the wind! We are having Zori’s shower on the 23rd. She is excited! She sends her greetings to you! Dad leaves on Saturday for Japan and then maybe Vietnam. Little Mazi is doing well. I told her she has to get herself in shape while you are gone. ๐Ÿ™‚ I catch her on the wheel every so often so I am sure she is taking my advice. LOL You take care and you are so missed here!

  10. There are no words only a prayerful heart and loving you and the blessing you are to so many people. I am THANKFUL God blessed us with the opportunity to watch you GROW!

  11. Good Morning Ashley! It is Friday morning here. I am thinking of you so often. I was reading a beautiful little piece on GIFTS. We’ve all been given G-I-F-T-S. G- Grace; I-Individuality; F-Faithfulness and Friendship; T-Thankfulness; S-Sharing! You are definitely using your…GIFTS!! Love you so much!!! MOM

  12. Hello Ashley, I loved the picture of you with the girls that was on facebook!!! I hope you are feeling better and can keep the pink eye away! It is a beautiful day here today!!! I am sure it is there also. Enjoy the day and each moment! LOVE YOU, mom

  13. It is a hot one today!! 100 degrees and humid! The boys will have fun in their tent today! Poor little Mazi she got her toe stuck in her blanket last night! I felt sorry for her. I went in to check on her and she was happy to see me so that tells you something! Dad and i worked on getting her free and then Dad cut her toe nails. She was a good sport! ๐Ÿ™‚ All is good once again in Mazi world! Enjoy your day and remember…YOU are only One, but still You are One!

  14. Hello Ashley: Top of the morning or evening to you!!! We are getting Jacob ready to leave to Honduras/Nicaragua. You know that a Dowler Child can never stick around too long! LOL One leaves another will return! Yeah that means YOU! Enjoy your day in what ever adventure it may bring! LOVE YOU…mom

  15. Parker said for his next birthday he is going to raise $5100 for you to make a blue room! He thinks it’s very sad that all the boys don’t have a blue room.

  16. Here You Go…Hug and Kiss and do it again…for Wednesday you will be home for US to hold you again!!! I know the next few days will rip your heart in a hundred different directions!! I am praying for you my sweet girl!!! I LOVE YOU and am anxious to see you Wednesday!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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