Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Questions 1-3 (NGO in Ghana, HIV, and Kids' Names)

Wow! I already have questions--AND I have free time tonight to respond!

1. What's your favorite NGO working in Ghana (that accepts volunteers)?

That is a question I don't have a very good answer for, believe it or not! Since we had to close Eban House in April, and because my work is always focused on AAI's adoption program, I don't have a ton of personal experience with other NGOs. However, I truly admire my friend Romana's work in the country. She runs Beacon House, a small children's home, and does humanitarian work in the north part of the country. Romana takes volunteers. This NGO would be for Christians only. I love the work that "Trashy Bags" does, but I don't know if they take volunteers. Basically, they take all of Ghana's plastic wrappers and turn them into uber cool bags, wallets, etc.! I know of some private foster homes and small orphanages that could ALWAYS use volunteers. Email me if you'd like their contact info! They are in need of folks to help care for the children, and teachers. Maybe others can comment on their favorite Ghanaian NGOs?

2. How can an HIV positive woman get pregnant? If she has unprotected sex, won't she pass HIV on to her partner?

This is a question I asked our HIV specialist about too. NOT stupid! Some HIV+ women who wish to get pregnant would do so through IUF or IVF--so they aren't actually having unprotected s*x because the baby is conceived without intercourse. However, there are couples out there that have chosen to deal with the risks. Yep--HIV-negative men or women who choose to have a "regular" s*x life with their partner, accepting the risk of contracting HIV. HIV is so treatable now that, to some people, the risks are acceptable. If a person's HIV is very under control, the risk of passing HIV on to another person is less likely (although ALWAYS still possible). Currently, an HIV+ woman on medication has a 98.5% chance of giving birth to an HIV negative baby!

3. How did you come up with your kids' names?

I'm surprised more people don't ask us this! I guess most assume that we made them up. Taevy is a Cambodian/Khmer name (sometimes spelled Devi or Tevi) that means "angel." We had planned to name Taevy "Anna Mareya" but when we saw her we knew she wasn't an Anna. We searched for Cambodian names and knew that her name was Taevy (our spelling) as soon as we saw the name. Mareya (ma-ray-a) is her middle name. I had a student named Mareya and thought it was so beautiful. When I looked up the meaning I found that it meant "long awaited child." Perfect. KunThea is Taevy's second middle name. This was her name at birth, and means "fragrance of a flower."

Samren is a name (spelled Samrin) that we found when looking for Cambodian names. We knew our future son's name would be Samren (expecting that he would come from Cambodia like his sister). When Samren was actually born in Vietnam we couldn't let go of the name. It means "sun." At least it's SE Asian! James is a family name. Tuan (twan) was part of Samren's original name, and means "bright and intelligent." We find that of all their names, people assume we made up Samren's name the most-- as a combination of Samuel and Camron.

Bright was the name Bright was given at birth. It's actually a fairly common name in Ghana. Lots of kids are given names like Gifty, Promise, Comfort, etc. in Ghana. We thought Bright would be just a little far out in America so we planned to name him Brighton. It didn't stick. When we met him, he was Bright. =-) Isaiah is his middle name, meaning "The Lord Helps Me." Bright really needed the Lord's help to survive when he came into care, thus the name. Anagbo is Bright's second middle name--his surname at birth.

Kendi is a name that we chose for our second daughter years ago. We were waiting to find out who our Kendi was, rather than finding a child and then coming up with the name. Kendi means "beautiful one" in Swahili. Mae is short for Mabel (Kendi's original name) and means "lovable." Anadene (ah-na-den-ay) was Kendi's surname in Ghana.

Once you have a kid named Taevy, you can't really follow that up with Bill or Sue! After Taevy was named, I suppose the rest of our kids were destined to have fairly unique names. =-)


Cora 1:35 PM  

Wow these are great questions, I am not good at thinking of things to ask like this but I am glad others are because I am really enjoying learning from the answers.
Thanks for being so open.

Nikki 2:18 PM  

thanks so much... love the answers! and love your blog!

Nikki 2:24 PM  

By the way, I have followed your blog for awhile, but was gone for a few months volunteering in India and Thailand when i wasnt reading. This must have been when Eban House. so sad, what happened??