Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Day On the Cricket Pitch

If you Google “What to do in Melbourne?” you will get the The Melbourne Cricket Grounds as one of the top answers. This facility was built for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and holds over 100,000 people. They can pack the place for international cricket so you can bet that cricket is a big thing here. We had never seen a game and had no clue what the rules were but this did not deter us from enjoying the sport. After a visit to the library to get kids books explaining cricket we were off to a national one day game. It’s important that it was a one day game because typical games can be about 5 days and I don’t think our enthusiasm would hold out that long. The game we attended was between Victoria and Tasmania. It was not an international game and so we did not get to see the place packed out. I’ll spare you the details on how it's played but we had a great time deciphering what was happening and cheering at all the appropriate times. We had some good laughs at the positions they play – silly mid off, long leg, gully, slip.

Three and a half hours and 290 runs later Tasmania’s inning was over and it was time for tea before Victoria came to bat. This was also our time to leave for dinner. We learned the next day that the Victoria Bushmen lost. Pity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


by Danielle

G.O.R., also known as the Great Ocean Road. The soldiers who came back from World War I built the Great Ocean Road by hand using picks and shovels. These are some of the things we saw and did on the Great Ocean Road. We traveled with Maree and Andrew. My favourite site was the Twelve Apostles because it was very clear water with very beautiful rocks.
Here is a picture of me and my family at the Twelve Apostles.

We went to see some koala bears in trees. We saw 28 koalas. They were very cool.

I also like seeing the blow hole. It is where the waves go through rock making a blow hole.

We stayed in a motel at Apollo Bay. We bought a boomerang in Apollo Bay. When we tried it out Daddy threw it in the water and almost lost it in the grass.

If I came back to Australia I would go on the Great Ocean Road again.
P.S. - We also think Danielle liked the Great Ocean Road because there are no potatoes allowed in some areas.

Wildlife in Australia

Hi this is Simon here. I will be talking about some of the wildlife that we have seen in Australia. Well first you can look the column of wildlife and see how many animals we have seen in the wild. Well first I will talk about the koalas. As you may already know we have seen 28 koalas in the wild. My Mom’s friend Maree has seen 5 to 8 koalas in her life until now. So we saw lots. The only food that the koala eats is eucalyptus leaves (gum tree leaves). Did you know that koalas do not drink because the leaves that they eat have enough water in them for the koalas to live.

Next I will talk about Little Penguins, also known as Fairy Penguins. Did you know that the Fairy Penguin is the smallest of all 17 types of penguins? The Fairy Penguin is about 30cm tall and can weigh up to 3 lbs. Some other facts about a Fairy Penguins are: the mother only lays two eggs at a time, the baby only stays in the egg for 35 days and both parents take turns sitting on the eggs. Some of the food the Fairy Penguins eat is pilchard, squid and anchovies – ewww. After sunset , we saw over 1,500 Little Penguins coming from the sea to their burrows past the beach. The downfall was that they were load and smelly. If you want to hear them you can click at the bottom of this web page (

One other animal that we saw down under was the kangaroos. We saw over 30 kangaroos. Mom’s friend’s brother took us to a field where kangaroos graze at sunset. We saw one kangaroo jump a fence very effortlessly. It was lots of fun to watch.

We also saw many different types of birds like the rosella (in the picture), blue wren, gallahs, and kookaburras.

Tesoros de Dios

We have written about a lot of fun and interesting things we saw and did in Nicaragua but the most rewarding part of our experience was volunteering with Tesoros de Dios. It has been a real blessing to see the work they are doing and to learn about the life of the children here.

Tesoros de Dios’s vision is to work together with families of children with developmental disabilities enabling their children to gain the skills necessary to develop to their fullest potential. The centre sees about 80 kids and most of these are affected by cerebral palsy. The centre was started less than 4 years ago. It has its own facility and has grown in leaps and bounds.

Children come to the centre twice a week: either in the morning or afternoon. Here they receive physical therapy, equestrian therapy, speech therapy, early schooling and a chance to play and interact with others. The parents gain support from other parents and learn how to help their children. In addition to this the parents have the opportunity to learn English, to learn sewing or beading, to attend a Bible study and join a cooperative to raise some income.

The kids, parents and staff are amazing people. We had the opportunity to get to know some of the kids and have gained a whole new appreciation for their talents and the challenges they face. The parents lives are testimonies of perseverance and love as the effort required to care for some of these kids would seem insurmountable to us. For example, Pam visited a family house - the truck she was in could not make it down the steep dirt road to their house. The young boy lives in a mud-floor house with metal sheeting for walls and a roof. Some friends are helping his mom build a cement wall around the house and lay a cement floor so that it is easier for him to get around in his wheelchair.

The staff are very caring and dedicated to their work. Michelle Adams is the director and has a heart for the needs here. The seven national staff are involved with the families and each bring particular skills to the program. They were all very welcoming to us even though there were significant language barriers.

Our work at the centre was varied but allowed us to learn what was going on, to contribute some of our skills and to get to know some of the kids. Pam helped Michelle with some organizational and strategic issues, taught an English class for the staff and helped out with the education centre. John did some painting, helped improve the accounting system and also helped out in the education centre. The kids worked with us in the education program and pitched in as needed; making posters and preparing crafts. There were uncomfortable times for all of us but this was part of the learning process and part of stepping out of our comfort zones. Through the experience we met a lot of amazing people and broke some of our stereotypes. You can check out more of what they are doing (and contribute) at