Monday, October 1, 2012

Breeding Family Update - 3 years


Dear A4A Family,

It has been 3 years since my sister-in-law died and we decided to adopt her four youngest children.  My wife, Selloane, and I never forget the impact that all of you had in our journey to bring these children into our lives.  When you all decided to help us in 2009, and helped raise well over $50,000 to go toward the expenses related to our endeavor, you made these children forever a part of your own lives as well.  

I am constantly asked, "How's the family?"  It is a question that many of you are sometimes sorry you asked because the answer is never "Oh fine, thanks for asking."  I am happy and willing to share the stories, the challenges and the milestones with anyone who asks.  Going from a family of 3 to a family of 7 overnight has challenged us in all the ways you can imagine and some maybe you can't.  We are 2 years into the adjustment and I can report that all the children are healthy and relatively happy to be here.  

Our oldest son, Phillip, is now a freshman at Bellingham HS and is playing his first ever season of football(American style). It is a huge eye-opener for him to play such a physical sport, but the coaches are going slow with him and he seems to enjoy it so far.  He is even more passionate about basketball and hopes to make the high school team when tryouts are held this November.  Although he is very challenged academically, he is determined to succeed so that he can play. Sports are his motivation and thank God he has some natural talent and now lives in a place where he can have the opportunity to participate and challenge himself in athletics.  
Our daughter Michelle has had to adapt to being one of 5 after spending the first 10 years as an only child.  She has excelled in this adjustment by being a loving big sister to her younger siblings.  She likes the energy and chaos that permeates our house daily.  She is an avid reader and 7th grade honor student at Whatcom MS. She is going to play volleyball and basketball this year at Whatcom and has an aptitude for art in different genres.  I cannot express the depth of my love for and pride in this strong young lady.  

Our daughter Karabo is now a 6th grader at Whatcom MS.  She is playing soccer and loves to dance.  She performed a hip-hop dance routine at the Mt. Baker theatre in June this year.  Seeing her on that stage brought tears to Selloane's eyes as she thought of the little malnourished girl from that little village in Lesotho who said to her, "Ke batla ho ea America le uena." (I want to go to America with you.)  It was those words that first prompted my wife and I to even consider adoption, and it was the events immediately following the funeral of her sister that confirmed to us what we were being called to do.  

Our son David is now a 4th grader at Parkview.  He is the one that said he would like to come to America if he could learn how to drive.  He is a wise soul who challenges us constantly with his questions and observations about the world.  He loves to play soccer and basketball.  This summer he found another passion when he performed on stage in a production of My Fair Lady at BAAY.  He told me in the car on the way home from one of the rehearsals, "Daddy, when I am on stage, I feel alive."  My heart soared to hear this from a 9yr old boy born in Lesotho.

Our son Alex is now a 3rd grader at Parkview.  He is the fireball of constant kinetic energy who amazes us with his athleticism and flexibility.  He is fearless on the trampoline and the diving board having learned how to land a front flip off of each this summer.  He plays soccer and basketball and really can't wait to give tackle football a try as soon as he is old enough.  Alex is a very affectionate snuggle bug who gives the best hugs and smiles.  

Action for Africa helped us to collect the money we needed to adopt the children.  They have never left our side and they continue to support these children in so many ways.  It is obviously expensive to support a family of 7 and since my wife is not yet in a position to go back to work, we are left to survive on my solo WTA paycheck.
It is hard.  When Phillip wants to play sports, when Karabo wants to join a dance class, when Michelle wants to go to Firwood, when David and Alex want to be a part of How the Grinch Stole Christmas production, Action for Africa writes the check.  I get what scholarship help and reduced fees that I can, but it is still beyond our means to afford all of the activities our children want and need.  

Therefore, Action for Africa still maintains the "Lesotho Orphan Fund".  This is the same fund that you and many others contributed to in order bring the kids here.   As I said before, these children are forever a part of your own lives and you can continue to support them by donating to Action for Africa and designating your donation to the "Lesotho Orphan Fund". You can contribute online at actionforafrica.org.  Just be sure to designate "Lesotho Orphan Fund" in the notes.

Thanks again for your love and support of our children and helping our dream come true.  

Regards,
Mike and Selloane Breeding

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bellingham Traverse 2011 Video

Realized that this "Thanks for participating" video from 2011 Bellingham Traverse was never posted on the blog.  Better late than never!

 

Monday, September 3, 2012

2013 Bellingham Traverse

Action For Africa is again looking forward to having a strong showing of teams in the Bellingham Traverse.  Saturday Sept 21 is race day.

The Bellingham Traverse is a fun, low stress, 5 leg relay race.  It is for both for "competirs" or "completers".  Details on the race and the course are at:  http://www.recreationnorthwest.org/bellingham-traverse/course/  This will be the forth year Action For Africa teams have participated.  Each of the prior races have been exciting and rewarding.

Participating in the Bellingham Traverse as an Action for Africa team has many unique benefits:
  • The fun of being part of something important -- showing your support for the children and families of Lesotho.
  • A cool (and free) Action for Africa team athletic jersey.
  • An invitation for you, your family and team mates to Action For Africa booth at the finish line after the race.  Snacks and refreshments provided.
  • Access to Action for Africa kayaks for training and/or competition (see http://www.actionforafrica.org/p/kayaks.html for detail)
  • Satisfaction knowing you have helped change the life of a child!
We do you this race as a catalyst for fund raising for Action For Africa.  Participating in the fund raising activity is option.  Please assist in this if you can (more details at fundraise).  Please feel no pressure to do so, our strongest desire is that you participate on an Action For Africa team.

Please register your team at our web site http://www.actionforafrica.org/p/bellingham-traverse.html

If you do not have a team but would like to be placed on a team with other Action For Africa participants, please respond via email to traverse@actionforafrica.org with the race leg (or legs) you would like to do.  We will be happy to help place you on a team.

We are looking forward to seeing you on September 21!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Recent Action For Africa interview

We recently received questions for school project about Action for Africa.  The response are worth highlighting and sharing with all.


Q: Who does the money raised by Action for Africa go to? (AIDS orphans, people with HIV/AIDs...)
A: The money that is raised goes to (1) World Vision and (2) the Breeding family. We are working in partnership with World vision. This money is used to bring clean water, food, health related help (including ant-retroviral drugs to help those with HIV/AIDS), education and economic stimulus. The area we are targeting is the Taung region of Lesotho. This is an area that has about 25 villages and 10,000 people. We are also supporting the Breeding family. Mike and Selloane Breeding have adopted four children from Lesotho. These children were orphaned when Selloane’s sister passed away. She died of complications as a result of HIV/AIDS. We have supported this family with an addition to their home and continue to provide funding so that the children can participate in extra-curricular activities.


Q: How will the money help these people?
A: We will continue to support the current projects that are in place. We will have a special emphasis this year on funding to minimize the impact of HIV/AIDS in the Area Development Projects.


Q: Does Action for Africa do/plan on doing more fundraisers like the Bellingham Traverse?  What would they be?
A: In the past we have put on a couple of shows (Richard Turner) at the Mount Baker Theatre. We also had a New Year’s Eve Gala. We are looking at Hoops of Hope as a possible fund raiser in the future.


Q: Will the Bellingham Traverse be held again this year?  What might the goal amount of money raised be?
A: Our goal will be have 25 teams participate and raise $50,000.00


Q: What has the money donated to the people in Lesotho already done for them?
A: A group of us have made two trips over to see the work that has been done in the Taung region. We saw examples of clean water being  piped to a variety of villages. Our money provided the materials and volunteers did the labor. We have provided food to needy areas, AIDS care kits to help in caring for the ill, scholarships to children who have had  both parents die of complications as a result of HIV/AIDS and seed money to start small businesses such as a candle making business, dairy business, farming business and seamstress business.


Q: Did the Bellingham Traverse race raise as much money as you hoped?
A: We have achieved our goal ($25 k in year 2 and $50k in year 3) each of the last two years.


Q: What challenges did you come across when hosting the Bellingham Traverse?
A: We are a small group without any full time staff. It was challenging to get so many teams and to do all of the organizing and fund raising.


Q: How was the Bellingham Traverse successful?
A: We had a great time and we raised a lot of money for a good cause. We also raised awareness about some of the challenges in sub- Saharan Africa.


Q: And, finally, what suggestions would you make to others looking to take action on this issue?
A: Take time to read about the challenges that many people face around the world. Find something you are passionate about and take action. Even if you start small you are making a difference.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bellingham Traverse fundraising

Mark Rhode has laid out the simple steps for setting up your fundraising portal for the Bellingham Traverse.  You can read about them at http://www.actionforafrica.org/p/bellingham-traverse.html#fundraise.

If you can't or don't want to raise funds this year, you can done using one of the personal fundraising sites already setup like http://www.razoo.com/markrhode.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Signing up for the Bellingham Traverse 2011!

It's not too late to sign up for the Bellingham Traverse, which is just next weekend (9/17).  It's not too late, but be sure to get you team registered by Sunday, 9/11.  You can register at http://www.actionforafrica.org/p/bellingham-traverse.html#registration.

Breeding Family Update - September 2011


August 7 marked the one year anniversary of our arrival in the USA as a family of 7.  The first year was a whirlwind of activity and transition for all of us.  The house was under renovation for most of the year and still has a few small finishing touches to be done before we can say it is complete.  It is very nice to have the extra space and the additional bathroom, even though there are still turf wars for the privacy time in the kids loo.   The first year of school was a success and all the kids did their best and improved dramatically in their English skills.  Lots of soccer, basketball, and swim lessons preceded the first summer break.  Summer in the PNW was a little cool early but by August the weather turned and we were able to enjoy a family camping trip to Birch Bay where we cooked out, went biking,  kayaking, crabbing, and spent a day at the water slides.

Now we are back in school.  Alex is a 2nd grader, David is a 3rd grader, Karabo is a 5th grader, Michelle is now in 6th and likes being a Middle Schooler.  Phillip is 14 and Selloane and I have decided to Home School him for 8th grade.  Not that we don’t like the school, but we have found that he gets lost in the shuffle and has certain needs that can be better met in a more flexible setting that can cater to him.  This is going to be a big challenge, but one that we feel  is the right thing to do for this young man at this time.
 
September 5th marked the 2-year anniversary of my sister-in-law’s death.  We honored her and remembered her  in several ways and continue to deal with the loss and grief related to her passing and the huge transition we have all been through.  HIV/AIDS sucks, period.  It is a constant in our lives and we do our best to keep it out in the open and not hidden under the rug or behind the couch.

Action for Africa continues its good work by collaborating with the people of Lesotho to provide the support for life in all its fullness.  We continue to be a part of A4A and on September 17th, three of us will be racing on three different A4A teams in the Bellingham Traverse.  Selloane and I will be on the 1st  leg, running 5.5m, and Phillip will be running 3.5m on the 4th leg.  Hope to see some of you out there!