Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Yummy Mummy: Ami Swanepoel

Name: Amina Evangelista Swanepoel (Ami)

Child:  Lucas Alejandro (Luke) almost 14 months old

Occupation:  Director of
Roots of Health, a non-profit organization focused on improving the health of women and girls, and their communities, in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Ami in her weekly feeding program for the women & children in Puerto Princesa
Your Dharma or Life's Purpose
I believe my life’s purpose is to do what I can to help improve the things that I care about. Mahatma Gandhi said to “be the change you want to see in the world” and this is something that inspires me. I remind myself of this and it encourages me to put in the effort to have strong, loving relationships with family and friends, and to work hard with Roots of Health where we provide education and services to women and young people who otherwise wouldn’t be getting that help.

People Who Inspire You

I am constantly amazed by my maternal grandmother, Alice Potter. She’s 99 years old and is brilliant, has a sense of humor, is generous to a fault, and is generally a beautiful person. She went to medical school at a time when women didn’t focus much on education and she is just amazing in so many ways. I get my love of dark chocolate from her.

Parents Susan & Oscar dancing like no one is watching :)
My parents, Oscar and Susan Evangelista, also inspire me. They’re both educators and taught at UP and Ateneo for decades. They just celebrated 45 years of marriage and set such a great example for my siblings and me. They’re so cute – they still hold hands and dance and go on trips together. They are also both really active and involved in the issues and causes they care about, despite being retired. They are always working and on the go! But they take the time to come and visit their grandson almost every day. I am so glad to be living near them again after 11 years of living so far away (I was in the US for college, work and grad school). 

Family Portrait at Nagtabon Beach, Puerto Princesa
Favorite Family Getaway 
When we have a day or two to get away we love going to Sabang. When we only have a few hours our getaway of choice is Nagtabon beach.

Precious Moments In Motherhood

  • Breastfeeding Luke for the first time. It took 5 days for my milk to come in after Luke was born and by that 5th day I was so stressed that he was hungry and that he might get dehydrated and I thought my body had failed me. And then my milk came in and Luke fed to his heart’s content. I was so thankful that I could breastfeed him and marveled at how my body could do this and sustain another human being.

  • In Luke’s first few months he would only sleep well at night if he was sleeping on Marcus or me.  I loved how he snuggled into me and how he looked as he slept. But I have to admit it was also a precious moment when he learned to sleep on his own! ;-)

  • Marcus and I love swimming, whether in a pool or in the ocean, so we were thrilled to discover that Luke is a water baby. From the first time we took him swimming he loved being in the water. We are so happy that he also likes doing something that we love so much.

  • The joy that Luke brings me and Marcus and our families and friends on a daily basis is amazing. He is such a blessing and it is so cool to see that even at such a young age he is touching the lives of so many others beyond Marcus’ and mine.
in Chichen Itza, Mexico

Dreams Realized
I am so blessed and give thanks every day for my amazing husband and wonderful son. I grew up in a really loving and close-knit family and always hoped and prayed I’d have that when I got married and had my own kids and I am so happy this is the case.

Despite not really loving being a student (I hate studying and writing papers!), I really wanted to go to grad school to get training on human rights and public health issues. I was pretty thrilled when I finished my graduate degrees.

It was also super cool when my mom and husband and I started Roots of Health. We are overjoyed that despite the ups and downs of running one’s own organization that generally things have been going really well. I think of Roots of Health as my first baby and I love watching the organization grow.

Dreams To Be Manifested

visiting a sacred site, the Stonehenge in the UK
I love traveling. I’ve had the opportunity to live in many countries and visit a lot of cool places but there are still so many places I want to go to. 

Marcus and I dream of figuring out a way to live in both the Philippines and South Africa. (Marcus is from Cape Town). It would be amazing if we could figure out a work and school situation so that we could spend a few months of the year in Palawan, a few months in Cape Town, and the rest of the time traveling the world 

Ami & Marcus in Coron, Palawan

Thoughts on Marriage and Life with Husband

Marcus & Ami with their dogs, Harper & Scout

Marcus is an amazing husband and life partner. He is so loving and supportive and patient and he balances me out in a lot of ways. I am really thankful for the four years that we were married before Luke because they were fabulous years of just focusing on each other and traveling and having lots of spontaneous fun. Since Luke, Marcus has proven to be a wonderful, hands-on father and I am so thankful for that as well.  We’re really enjoying the stage we’re in now and love being parents, despite the sleep deprivation and completely different lifestyle we now have. I have so much to be thankful for.

Follow Ami's Adventures

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