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I Am

I am Joanna. I am the writer of this blog. In the midst of children who grow too quickly and time that passes in a whirlwind, this is my attempt to chronicle a small part of this life and to connect with the people I love who live very, very far away.

It is my journey as a wife, mother, woman, friend, nurse, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law in a very small, very remote part of the world.

I live in Southern Ethiopia, along a most beautiful river that starts in the highlands of Ethiopia and empties itself into the vastness of Lake Turkana.

I am the wife of Caleb, a man who loves East Africa and his family and motorcycles and living rough and free while we still can.P1010200 I am the mother of Elsa, my eight year old girl who is my first in everything–my first baby, my first girl, my first love that fills me and empties me more than I ever knew possible.P1010201

  I am the mother of Ezra, my seven year old boy who makes me love him more every day because he shows me what his daddy was like when he was a boy.P1000947

 I am the mother of Daisy, my pixie-girl who will steal your heart without your permission.P1010234

I am the mother of Dexter, my last. He will never outgrow being my last.P1010009

I am the daughter of parents far away and parents near who have been the ones to go before and show us what it means to live life as a family.

I am the sister of brothers and sisters spread from the African north to the beautiful Washington to the American south. They hold my heart more than is bearable at times.

I am someone carrying a candle that I believe can light the whole world, if only we’ll be willing to bend down and light the next person’s flame.

I am full of hope and skepticsm in equal portions.

I am asking for more faith daily–to walk this journey, to be his wife, to be their mother, to be His child.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen Vander Sluis permalink
    December 30, 2010 4:02 am

    We just recieved your Dec. letter and were soo happy to get your blog address back. We lost everything (computer crashed) twice in the last 6 months and did not know how to reach you. I read your whole blog in the last 2 1/2 hours and loved it. We both pray for you and think of you often. It is a real challenge with 3 kids but I’m real happy you can do this. Thanks for doing what you do. Say hello to Dick and Donna. Love, Karen Vander Sluis

  2. Shellee Potocki permalink
    January 7, 2013 1:20 am

    Your writing is so authentic, entertaining, and heart wrenching! Thank you for sharing a part of your heart with all of us. I loved reading about “the booger”! I have shared it with many moms who can totally relate! May you continue to know God’s plan for your life as you take one day at a time!
    Bless you~
    Shellee Potocki

  3. Ellen Buffington permalink
    September 28, 2013 2:50 am

    Joanna, I have so enjoyed reading your blog, am Blessed by you and your committment to the work you do, and moved by your strengh and courage. My prayers will be with you and your family and know I am following your story.

    I work with Jeff, at Olive Crest, and it is a joy to get to know him. I will thank him for sharing your blog!

    Blessings, Ellen Buffington

  4. November 30, 2013 6:09 pm

    Dear Caleb – I found you though google… actually searching for Bob and Morrie Swart 🙂
    i live and work in Egypt – and i also happy to collect postage stamps. Through that hobby I came across a letter that Bob And Morrie wrote in 1948 to a fellow RCA person. Jarret Hondelink.
    If you have any interest in your grandparent’s heritage – i am happy to send you the letter. it contains a very nice hand drawn picture of the house that was in the process of being built for them in Sudan.

  5. Anton frans gijsen permalink
    January 14, 2014 1:07 pm

    Dear Caleb and Johanna Swart,

    My name is Anton, I just graduated medical school and am on my way overland to Zambia to work at the Monze mission hospital. Om my way south I am planning to make my way to Kenia via the western lake turkan route.
    If possible I would very much like to visit you and your mission.
    I grew up in a remote (although not as romote as where you live) part of Zambia where my father, who is a pastor for the Dutch reformed church, was a missionary. Visitors to our mission back then always had a good and interesting time.
    I will be in the area around the end of January.
    Very much looking foward to your reply!


    Anton (from Holland)

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