Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Kids are Alright!

I realize that lately, in this blog, I have not made much mention of the children. And yet they are obviously a big part of our life in Cameroon. The last day of school was last Wednesday, and they’re trying to adjust to the lazy summer lifestyle. In fact, they’re getting under our feet … So let me catch you up to date on each one of them.

Rachel is eleven – our oldest. She just finished fifth grade with fantastic grades, and has been asked to jump to seventh grade next year. She did extremely well in all subjects, including a special mention in French (in fact, all three of our girls received awards in this subject!), art, and music (she plays the flute). Her favorite class was language arts – mostly because she loved her teacher, Ms. Garza, who is a fellow Texan, by the way! But she’s also been taking some online classes to further her writing skills. She still claims that she wants to grow up to become a writer and live in New York.

Rachel’s most exciting news is that she will be returning to the States for six weeks this summer, to spend time with friends and family. Besides hanging out in the Dallas area, she’ll be going to Tennessee for a family reunion, flying to Portland for a long weekend with her aunt and uncle, and visiting cousins, uncles, and aunts in Austin.

Chloe will be turning nine next month. She sparked a mini-controversy when she wrote an article for our family newsletter a few months ago, and admitted that she didn’t like living here. Ever since then, things have been looking up for Chloe, and she seems to be really enjoying life in Africa. She’s different from the other two in several surprising ways – she loves jazz music, is interested in nature, and loves photography. Just the other day, after a field trip to a cocoa farm, she said to me, “You know what? I love the nature in Cameroon a lot better than in Texas.” I take that as a big step forward for the kid who once called Yaounde a “litter box”!! Chloe has started taking horse riding lessons at a nearby stable, with her good friend, Joelle.

And then there’s Mallory … what can I say about our six year old? First of all, don’t call her “Mallory” anymore. She didn’t like the way Cameroonians said her name – it always came out sounding something like “Maw-ry.” So she changed it – to Butterfly, or “Papillon” which is French for “butterfly.” She even got to signing her name as “Butterfly” at school. That tells you everything you need to know about her – smart as a button, converses in French better than any of us, thinks she’s extremely cute with her long blond hair. She likes playing games, teaching our guards how to speak English, and reading to her Dad.

We are extremely proud of the girls – they have adjusted so well to life in a foreign country. We know that many of you pray for them on a regular basis – please keep it up, because it’s working!