Monday, March 28, 2011

Three is the number...

(Dylan and Mom at the hospital)

The number three is the first odd prime number.

A human elbow consists of three bones.

There are three primary colors, red, blue, and green.

Earth is the third planet in our solar system.

In Muslim devotional rites, certain phrases are repeated three times, and others thirty-three times.

In ice hockey, a game consists of 3 periods of twenty minutes each.

In Christianity, there is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Counting to three is common in situations where a group of people wish to perform an action in synchrony: Now, on the count of three, everybody pull!

In Vietnam, there is a superstition that considers it bad luck to take a photo with three people in it; it is professed that the person in the middle will die soon.

But most importantly, Luck, especially Bad Luck, is often said to "come in threes". In the last three weeks, the African Valdmanis Family has had a lot of bad luck.
1. Our house was broken into. Three treasures that had photos and videos of the boys were stolen. (The computer, the camera, and the video camera).

2. Richard became very sick with Hepatitis A. (He is fully recovered and is no longer ‘yellow’.)

3. Our son Dylan was hospitalized for three days and three nights at the Clinique de Madeleine here in Dakar. Despite many blood tests and examinations, no one is still quite sure about what caused his high temperature. He is home now, and very happy to be back in action with Brother Laird. (And for the record, three days is the longest amount of time the two brothers have been apart. Prior to this hospitalization, it was three hours.)

Ask us how we are doing and we will say, ‘Things could be worse’.

If Bad Luck happens in three’s, then we are ‘smooth sailing’ ahead.

In fact, just yesterday my Dad called to say he and Cilla (aka Nana and Grampy) have booked tickets to come visit. We are on the countdown to having our first guests visit us in Africa.

And after writing this entry, Laird took his first steps…and would you believe there were three of them?

Life is good.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


As some of you may know, we were robbed last week.

Rich was away and I was home with the boys.

Without getting in to too much detail about the evenings events, I will share with you that we now know the burglar was upstairs on our 2nd floor (where my bedroom and the boys bedroom are) waiting and watching for 6 hours for the perfect opportunity to intrude.

The good news, is that the intruder did not go into the boys room.

However, he did enter my room while I was sleeping. He took all of my electronics that were right next to my bedstand. I was sleeping just a few feet away.

Rich and I do all the 'right' things while living in a place where there is a high home invasion rate: we sleep with mace within our reach, we sleep with whistles, we have a guard, and Richard sleeps with his hockey stick. We are now learning, that sadly, we did not do enough.

On this evening, I did not hear a sound. The mace, whistle, and guard, were of no help as I did not wake.

In the United States, a robbery like this would be considered Grand Theft, as thousands of dollars of equipment was stolen. But here, the Gendarmie are treating this case as if I was 'just another rich ex-pat that lost some electronics', as this happens all the time.

They do not understand the violation and fear that I now live with. They do not understand the violation that will forever exist because my every move was watched for over 6 hours. They do not understand the fear that I live with knowing that someone was a few feet away from me while I slept. Was this person armed? Did he have a machete? They do not understand that every time the sun sets, I feel sick to my stomach as nightfall is approaching. They do not understand that when the sun rises, I feel an incredible sense of relief that I made it through the night without incident.

But more importantly, they do not understand that I have lost all pictures and videos of my beloved children. I used the cameras and computers back up for each other; everything is lost. Footage of our babies in the NICU, pictures documenting their first year of life, and precious video I cherish are all gone.

It breaks my heart to think that these precious memories are in the hands of someone else who could care less. I wonder what this intruder thought to himself, when he opened up my computer and saw the screensaver of my two children sleeping with one another... probably nothing.
This heartless intruder probably wiped it all away without a care in the world. Gone.

I hate this person for what he has taken away from us. I am not talking about monetary value, but our sense of security, our memories, and our trust. We now sleep in fear. Every noise now requires a 'walk thru' of the house or a call to the guard.

Richard and I are learning a lot about living here. We are no longer naive. We are currently 'battening down the hatches' and making many changes to the home we live in, 24 hour guard coverage, bars on all windows and doors in the entire house, and alarms.

We are all safe and no one was hurt. Thank God.

There is a sadness for what was taken from us.
There is a precious 'innocence' that is forever gone.

We are slowly moving forward but are forever changed from this experience.