Thursday, July 23, 2015

The fighting family visits Kalukembe

We visited today Kalukembe, met the new head of nursing, the new administrator and briefly looked at some of the changes at the hospital. We also were given a tour of our likely new home! After arriving, Zeke immediately wanted to know where his friends were and who would help him fight the "bad guys!" It was a good reminder to us 1) how outgoing Zeke is--he found local children to swing sticks together without any problem, and 2) the imagination of a 4-year-old is incredible: Priscila especially had been talking with Zeke about our return to Kalukembe these last 2 years and the "bad guys" we'd be fighting together. What we meant were the "bad guy" sicknesses, the "bad guy" injustices we saw against our patients, the "bad guy" poverty in our area, and other problems that don't nicely manifest as physical beings a child could shake a stick at. Zeke took them to be walking and talking and was ready to do battle after 2 years of mental preparation and take these guys down. Love his heart. 

Priscila sharing our new contact information with old friends 
Eli caught wanting to "share" someone else's lunch

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fazenda Tchincombe

One week tent living, washing diapers in a bucket, being encouraged by Dr. Joshua Bogunjoko and running around the fazenda with the kids. Here headed back to Lubango, awaiting meeting with IESA and housing preparations in Kalukembe. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015


We are packing and arranging and packing some more. The day is set and we'll be leaving on June 29 for Angola. Barring circumstances we cannot predict, we will be there 2-3 years. It's been a lot of fun to see friends and family between storing books and packing our lives into luggage for the next several years. Keep praying for us. We don't have housing in Kalukembe and staff we knew  and respected from before have departed. If it didn't feel like a forest of unknowns before, our work in Angola certainly does now!

The health agents i followed around in Santa Rosa put on a surprise party for us at the end of our time. They made amazing munchies and doted on our kids. i learned quite a lot about the local culture and language with them. The New England Journal highlighted the community health agents program earlier in a June 4 article. You can read more by clicking here

Naomi and friend at the party

Eating so many munchies, Eliel's stomach suffered hyper-acute balloon expansion, so Opa took surgical matters into his own hands :) Zeke was surprised that Opa could pop a balloon with just a pencil

Saying good-bye to grandparents

Zeke with his friend, Marianna. 

Zeke with friends at preschool. His language grew over one month there

Difficult to see, but a double rainbow over the sitiu, where Pri's parents are growing their plants and dreams

Priscila with (L to R) Tia Filinha, Eliany, and Sandra Carvalho. The Carvalhos hosted us very generously while we were in Itajubá. Eliany amazingly tutored me multiple times until her dengue got the best of her
Back in Philly with Daniel's youngest brother, Luke, and his sweet girls.

Naomi with buddy Otis! 

Zeke and blood brother/mortal enemy Han sharing a rare tranquil moment with Tia Lisa

Eliel looking at the Atlantic from this side. Soon we'll be on the other side of the Atlantic!

The two jewels of the Cummings family

Eliel, already multi-tasking at 21 months: Computer, potty, Playstation, and (not seen in picture) cell phone

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A few things we are up to in Itajubá, Brazil

Below are a few pictures or our time thus far in the south of Brazil, where cooler temperatures (50's to 70's F) have set in. i am getting tutoring and language immersion, with a great experience making home visits with community health workers (agentes de saude) several mornings a week. This was arranged through my mother-in-law, Adriana Ribeiro, who works as a doctor in Santa Rosa's public health post. This experience has been a wonderful opportunity not only practicing Portuguese but to be shown (mostly) working-class Brazilian culture. Zeke is going to school during week days, while Eliel and Naomi remain at home with Priscila. Priscila is doing the paperwork necessary for our move to Angola done--so so thankful she's doing this! We've caught up on several immunizations that the kids would not receive normally in the States, such as Yellow Fever and BCG.

Naomi and Eliel are getting much attention wherever we go, the former for her eyes and frequent smiles and the latter for his eyes and energy (bagunça). If we had more time here, i would try to get Zeke in a capoeira class with his hilarious, extemporaneous exercise dance routines to find some outlet.

Hair-cutting day in Itajubá. Eliel being left guessing what was happening, managed to get his first haircut without a tear shed. Oma Ribeiro was there to hold him.

Opa Ribeiro and Naomi Jacira enjoy conversations with each other, here at the salon. They have a  language i think only they share

Zeke getting a haircut: note his ubiquitous cowboy boots made it to the show

On Sunday after church, we came across a local parade of farmers, ranchers, horse-lovers riding bareback, saddleback, in buggies, on wagons, you name it. Big parade that i think had most of the city in it. Looked fantastic and relaxed: as it meandered through the city, some rested, some took shortcuts to join friends in other parts of the parade, others joined at later points, some played their favorite Brazilian country hits through speakers on wagons, some double fisted their beers and reins; there were entire families on horseback or in buggies, and others were in groups. Since we love horses, this was an awesome surprise

Twice a week, the community health workers arrange for a morning caminhada, or exercise walk, through the area for people with diabetes and/or hypertension. Towards the end of the one yesterday, a billy goat joined the ladies. But in a very un-Brazilian fashion, he failed to have bathed before hand and did not apply any pleasant perfume, either. Other things community health workers do include arranging doctor and nurse home visits, keep tabs on bed-ridden patients, visit peoples' homes, inform the community when influenza vaccines are available, etc. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Check out our new info and organization at
 Christian Health Service Corps 

On the road back to Kalukembe

We are still about 6mo away from a reunion with our colleagues at Kalukembe - but we will soon be on the road again! Now with our new mission agency of Christian Health Service Corps! 

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Welcome, Our Joy

Naomi, which means "my joy", "my bliss", or "pleasantness of Jehovah," was born after just a couple quick pushes from the amazing but "i'm so done with this labor!" Priscila at 11:43pm on November 6.

"Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our natural lives."
--C.S. Lewis
What a joy she already is to us!

Tia Lisa, who cut the cord, also the first of the family to hold her. A very precious moment we're so glad she shared with us 

Naomi Jacira with Tia Ruth :)

Mamãe and the "bichinhos (little beasts)," unaware what the hospital visit was all about

Zeke the tiger, Naomi the neonate, Pri the postpartum princess, Eliel clueless, and the dorky dad

"It costs God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things: but to convert rebellious wills cost him crucifixion."
--C.S. Lewis

Tia Abby and the peanut

With Tia Vivian

Zeke and Avery, finding the traffic outside more eventful than what was happening inside the hospital room

With our neighbors and friends, Josephine and her mommy Bethany

All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small
all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all.
He gave us eyes to see them, and lips that we might tell
how great is God Almighty, who has made all things well.
--Cecil F. Alexander

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Familia Ribeiro Reunião

Yeah! Not just one family reunion this summer, but we had a second! The Ribeiros and their 4 languages converged on 1217 Wharton St for a week of playing, eating, sleeping and conversing together. Thanks to Pai, Mãe, Ana, Valeshka, Alexandra, Matt, Adrita, Isabella, Benjamin, Liliana, Amelia, Ruth for enriching our lives with their presence. And thanks for all your help! We didn't run the dishwasher even once :)

Knights preparing to fight dragons!

Cooling off in the back yard with cousins

Taking a ride on the trolley to the zoo--first time for the Snead and Noel-Saint kids

Oma and our youngest of Ribeiros

Priscila showing the little ones how the ropes are done--@ 7 months pregnancy 

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Family reunited in Japan, children alive

Sounds like a news headline :)
Posting a few pictures from our family reunion in Japan August 14-20 (too short, so we stayed till the 24th; still too short, but Daniel had work. . . ). This was probably our last time all together in Japan. Bittersweet is the best english word i can think of right now. . . . We are thankful to especially to 'Jichan' and 'Bachan' Cummings and to everyone else in the family who came to Nojiri. We love you!

the Stout kids and Han at the tennis courts

Luke and Ema at amazing ramen-ya; Luke had a daily diet of ramen that week. And he lives in Japan! Not fair!
Once i mentioned literature was discouraged for young children, Caleb was the first to start reading aloud

Eli and Gabriel at the beach. Pri thinks this shows why he's confused as a girl. i think this reinforces his Brazilian skin comparison
More discouraged practice in action. This time, Jichan is with Zeke and Paul
the 'Balea' and Bachan with Zeke
The responsible pair for all this fun and mayhem

the Clan. Calvin, Edie and a whole passel of others