Monday, May 31, 2010

Please pray for Emma

Please pray for Emma.

She is in the hospital with Malaria.


She has been receiving the medications well and the IV fluids. She was quite dehydrated when she got to the clinic yesterday.

It happened so fast,  she was fine on Sunday and Monday morning she was very ill.


She seems to be doing better now that she is on medications and in the hospital.


Thank you for your prayers. I Will update as I am able.

She slept well last night and we are getting ready to go up to the hospital to stay with her now. James stayed overnight.



Friday, May 28, 2010

Pictures around Kabanana

There are so many kids outside playing that do not go to school. They are just walking around. Here are some pictures of them playing.

We have seen several kids with kites made out of plastic grocery bags. They always seem to be flying them in an open field near power lines.
Here is a picture with them all caught up in the line.

These children were sledding down the bank on cardboard

We drove along a back road and there was trash piled up on one side and kids playing on the other side. We also drove past the well. We saw many woman at the Well, and kids getting their water for the day.

Kids dancing in the street
(Love this one! The one girl in the red dress is clapping and the girl and boy were dancing)

Kids in School

Today I went to Kabanana to sign kids up for school. When Leah was here we went to visit 3 families along with Pastor Chirwa’s wife, Fanny.

The children in the homes are orphans living with their mothers or grandmothers. There was a total of 11 kids.  These are kids that have been attending the church already.


 Fanny went earlier in the week to the children’s homes to prepare a list of what was needed. Which also seemed to turn into a wish list as well.

So before we even started off to the schools to pay the fees, Fanny showed me the list and then went through it and said what seemed to be real needs and then things that the family could provide.

She said that one of the mothers wanted to be given the money so that she could buy the things, because after all they were her children and she should be the one to provide and give it to them.

To be quite honest when I heard that I was a bit put off. We were coming to help, but I was explaining they needed to contribute something as well and we are not just giving random handouts for everything.

 And as I mentioned it to James tonight, we were talking about how that is the point, She couldn’t provide for the kids to go to school and so we are helping.

Most likely there was probably the hope that money could just be given to the individuals and then they be the ones to buy what they thought necessary and distribute.


We drove to the first school, where one of the boys already attends but needed help with uniforms, shoes and other school fees.  When we got there as we were waiting to go back into the office, we saw him walk up and said hello.  He was wearing a uniform and had school shoes. The very items said to be needed.  We left to go somewhere else and when we came back and saw him again he had changed out of the uniform shirt into  a regular one.  (Most likely hoping we did not notice).  


We went into the headmasters office to inquire about the fees and realized one of the kids had said they owed fees when in reality there were no fees. To which Fanny told me, “this is why we go to the school to see what is really needed.”  We talked about 3 students and took care of what was needed with them and then asked about 2 new pupils. A 8 yr old boy and a 10 yr old boy. Both starting in grade 1.

The man told us that they were not taking any new students.  So we let it go and then talked about something else.  I came back to the question a few minutes later and his response then was still tentative so I asked further, “what if their siblings attend school here?”  “Could you just have room for 2 more?”.  He thought about it a few minutes and then started talking about vulnerable children and orphans whose dad died and are not able to go to school.  And then he gave a speech about what we would call “deadbeat dads ( in America) that abandon their families,  etc…) As he was thinking about it, I was praying,  and the Lord gave favor and he said yes they could come now into the school term, but if they can’t catch up they may have to repeat grade 1 next year.  (Fair enough)  we thanked him and then he mentioned there are 75 kids in one class for grade 1.  We went to another room to buy the uniforms. We saw him again before we left. I had wanted him to give us something in writing so that when the moms and kids come to school on Monday they can be assured they really do have a spot in the class.  He assured us all they had to do was coming in and mention the name of the church and that was good.  He said he had a good memory and if he agreed to it, then it was fine. 


Then we drove to another school. A high school. We met one of the boys from a family of 4 who is to be sponsored. His father died years ago and his mom has AIDS and doesn’t seem like she has much longer.

The kids attend church and the Chirwas have been a help to their family.  So Nathan came out of his class and showed us around the school to the office to pay the fees. We ended up having to go to 3 offices to actually pay for the fees,  which was eventful.   As soon as we sat down in the first office we said we were here to pay The school fees for Nathan and his sister. The woman at the desk then launched into an attack on us- (all the while smiling in the pleasant Zambian way) , “Why only 2 students”  There are so many needy kids. They come to me and ask for help with their fees. Why won’t you do something to help these other kids!?”  Then over the course of the few minutes we were there, she said, “You people…”  about 10 times.  Fanny was great. She handled it well and said, “you even do the same when you buy mealie. You feed your family first and then look to see what is left for the others outside.  We are taking care of the kids in our church first.”   Then she explained it was the church helping the kids.  And mentioned even Jesus talks about going into Jerusalem first then the outer parts.

The woman thought we were with some organization and was just wanting to give us a hard time. At one point I said, “ I know you see me and see white and think we have an endless supply of money, but we don’t. For now we are helping these 2 kids.”  At one point Fanny asked her what church she went to and she said, “We are not talking about me..”

It was quite an unexpected reaction and I just was thinking, “What?!”  We just came in to pay school fees.   I am sure Nathan might have been a bit embarrassed.


After we left her office we went to another office and then another. We finally arranged payment. The one woman showed us the grades for Nathan and said he was doing well and she thought he would do even better if he was not worried about his school.  I will just say it was quite a contrast, to walk around with him at school.  He is in grade 12 trying to finish his school.  As he led us to the office I looked down at his shoes. They looked about 3 sizes to small and I could see the seam ripping apart in the back and the way his heel was shoved in,  he wasn’t walking properly.  

But he wanted to go to school. And to go to school he needed school shoes. So he was wearing a pair.  I whispered to Fanny as we were walking, “Now he really does need shoes.”


She told me that because his house has no electricity he will sometimes come over to their house to study for school and get help with his studies.

I was so encouraged, to see how motivated he is to finish school and to do it well.   He and his brothers do a little bit of piece work when they can to earn a little bit of money.


We then went to the last school for the day. This was a small private school  in a rundown house.  We walked in to  a dark room and the woman got off the couch moved her books over and showed a toddler of the couch. The toddler didn’t really want to be shooed away and so she came over to Fanny and I as we were sitting down on an old sagging couch.  A Maid then came out to retrieve the little girl and she let out a big scream and eventually was removed so we could do business.

We asked about one student already enrolled and then started the process to pay for the new student, a little girl 6 years old going into grade 1.  The woman was nice, very nonchalant and took our money and told us what the child needed to do. When we came back a little later to pay for her older sisters uniform, she was watching an African reality tv show.


Interesting to think over the 3 different schools we visited and contemplate what type of education the kids will be getting.  I know one on one, or even in a small “one-room schoolhouse”  type setting  some of those kids would most likely learn a whole lot more in a shorter amount of time. But this is what is available to them for right now.


In visiting one of the younger boys in the homes after we talked about school, I was getting ready to leave and he blurted out, “Can you buy me a bike!”  I looked at him and just flat out said, “No.” Then I explained we are here helping with school but we are not here to just buy anything.  Then I said, I  know bikes are fun. I’d like a bike.  I have a son your age and he would like a bike but he doesn’t have one.


I later asked  Fanny I hope I didn’t sound rude, and she said no it was fine.  He needed to know.

I do want to help, but buying every person that wants a bike is not necessarily the best thing to do for them.  In God’s Providence we were talking with a pastor in the morning on the drive up to Kabanana and he was telling us how a project from the US  just failed because things were just given out free and no value was attached to anything because they didn’t have to pay anything.

So even in this college that has been started,  the men pay fees and pay something for the books.  When they pay a reduced amount, it becomes worth more to them than just given something free.



I picked up James from the College and then we went to get some lunch and then to the store. I had a list of shoe sizes to buy and notebooks and backpacks.

It was great to be getting the shoes for the kids and supplies they needed.  Then I went to another place to get backpacks. I had anticipated buying ones I have seen kids carrying, that look like the mesh bags you buy at Walmart to save the planet and reuse, reduce and recycle.  But, Where I went had some nice looking ones for a good price and so I got those.

That was pretty fun. I found a pink and purple one for the little girls and something “cool” for the boys and older kids.  

When we got home I had the kids help me put the shoes and notebooks into the right backpacks and put names on them. I was glad they wanted to be helping with the project. One boy is in grade 7 studying for the big exams this year and so he needed some of the same supplies Sarah has gotten over the last few months, so she packed up his bag.


Sometime before Monday we will take them back to the kids so they can be ready for school.







Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tusday Visit

I went to the orphanage yesterday and found out that Akim was sick again. He was very lethargic and would not make eye contact. His chest was working pretty hard and he had the IV port in his arm again. Poor little guy. It was so sad. I held him a little and he wouldn't smile and just kind of looked off in the distance.

When I saw one of the head ladies come in, I asked her about him. She said, it was sad, he was a hard case. Then she said something about TB medicine should be given at 2 months and then they start the ARV's after that. He is around 9 months old. So I am not sure if she was saying the medicines were not given soon enough so they are trying to do what they can. Then she pointed to two other tiny little girls on the other side of the room, mentioning they too are on ARV's and the medicine. I asked if they had moms and she said no, they died. One is real tiny, can't be more than a couple months old and the other was 9 months but looked about 3.

ARV's are given when an individual is HIV positive. The assumption than can be made that Akim and these other girls have the disease.

I held the girl from the village and sang to her. She looked at me the whole time with her big brown eyes. Her mom is still in the hospital and is maybe slightly better. I asked what the mom had and was told, stomach TB. I really have not learned what that is yet, but know it has something to do with the stomach being extended out. She too seems malnourished.

I always have mixed emotions being there. I look forward to going and seeing the kids and how they are doing. Then when I am there I am glad to see them and hold, feed, sing, pray with them. But I always have a sinking feeling leaving. At times, I am glad when none of the babies are crying. That means they are doing ok. Other times when I really think about it... that they are not crying means that they are used to being in a crib all day long and not having any individual attention. That is just as sad as hearing them crying when you put them back or when they want to get out.

When I left I went back to Akim's crib and talked to him a few minutes. He finally looked at me and held onto my finger with his little hand, and he gave me a smile.

So many things to pray for!
And this is just one room of one orphanage in one area of one city in one country, on one continent that is full of orphans!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chisomo Drop-In Centre

Kabwata is in the planning stage of opening a home for girls. There is a man, Rev. Chilunjika who has a ministry to street children that has been helping Kabwata in some of these initial meetings.

A couple Saturdays ago a few of the members went out with him to the City market downtown just to observe the children. I had planned to go along with Leah, but was so sick that I could not go. The experience was eye opening to many of those that went.

Many of the kids in Lusaka on the street use Stickla. Glue that they used to get high on. The boys have it in smaller waterbottles and the girls put it in their chitenges. Leah said they met one girl (probably about 16) with her baby. The baby stays in the chitenge on the mothers back and therefore has the drug going into her system as well. Mr. Chilunjika was telling us that in the last few years there has been an increase in the pregnancy rate among the girls, it has become a status symbol for them to have a baby.

We made plans later in the week to stop by where Mr. Chilunjika works and have a meeting with him. He heads up the ministry at the Chisomo Drop-In center.
Leah had been communicating with him over email before she arrived in Zambia, so she was eager to see his ministry.

The drop-in center is, like it sounds, a place for street kids to just drop in. They can take a bath, wash their clothes and get a meal for both breakfast and lunch.

When we arrived, most of the boys that were there were sleeping. Mr. Chilunjika explained to us that at night when they are on the street they are just trying to get by and because it is cold they are not able to sleep. So they come here and sleep. They were just laying on the ground both outside and inside the rented house. When they come to the center they are automatically missing out on the money they could be trying to earn on the streets during the day.

We had a good meeting and Mr. Chilunjika shared their goals and desires for these kids. They work hard at reuniting them with their families and giving counsel before the kids go back into the home and after.
They have a Center, where if the kids are serious about getting off the street they commit to going there and living there. The drop in center is only in the daytime.
He said that there are kids who work on the streets during the day and then those that truly live on the streets, and that there is often just a thin line, or small amount of time before those that work there, end up there. Many of the kids come from the compounds.

After we finished the meeting, we were shown around the house and then were speaking with the man that does the cooking. He said that they have a teacher that volunteers twice a week but she did not show up that day. So we looked at the clock and determined that we had about 45 minutes before we had to leave. We offered to stay and Leah taught a very impromptu, (but good), lesson on spatial things and grammar. Directions, left and right which then worked on letters and having them write. Some of the kids don’t know how to read.

The Lord has really given Leah a gift in teaching and drawing people out and making them feel comfortable. I looked at the situation, and knew if it was just me standing there with a small group of teenagers, I would have had no clue what to do!
But she just jumped in and made it up as we went along, seeing what the needs are and how she could help, and I could clearly see she was loving it.

I enjoyed being a part of it, and helping but I know where my abilities are and that doesn’t seem to be it. I am much more “comfortable” jumping in and holding a baby or playing with little kids any day. It is great to see how the Lord gives us each our own “sphere” that we find particularly natural and easy to work in. Though it is good to expand and be stretched too.

Please pray for these street kids.
The boys are the ones that come mostly to the drop in center. They tend to keep the girls away, they see it as “their place” and don’t want them there.
Pray for the boys. Also pray for the girls who are these teen mothers. Mr. Chilunjika told us that there was a woman the police were trying to catch who was running a prostitution circuit. The girls would work for her and in exchange she would buy them nice clothes. It is so sad to hear. Their greatest need…The Gospel.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Shopping with rifles

Today as I was  walking into the grocery store to buy some milk and bread  I thought to myself  “this is strange. “

I saw 4 men carrying rifles and 3 security guards all at the same time. 

That might sound very strange to see at  the grocery store.

But the strange thing I was thinking, was that this is normal  and no longer strange!


They walk around the main “western” shopping centers, just guarding and patrolling.  Just a precaution and deterrent I guess.

Every bank has a guard hired from a security company that stands around outside the door and at the ATM machine .


So when I was walking, I was going past 2 ATM machines so their guards were together and then the 2 men that patrol one area were walking back with the 2 men that patrol the other side of the shopping center. So 7 men. In the beginning, and even our initial visit, It was very strange and a little scary, when you are unfamiliar with what is going on or the situation.

You just see rifles and all you want is some milk and bread. 



Street Vendors are the same way.

The first few weeks every time someone approached the car to sell something I felt strange. I didn’t want to look at them or what they were selling.

Now its fine, its normal.  I think the “ice broke”, one day when we passed the same intersection about 4 or 5 times within a couple hours.  After a certain point, I just laughed and smiled, “no, we still don't want  the Arabic monopoly game you are selling”.  I even know one guys name now, Lazarus.  James bought a hat from him the other day. He sells Zambia Souvenirs, hats and t-shirts. Leah was looking for some of those items, so I knew where to find him. So if you come visit we can go there and get something.  Now when we are stopped at the light he walks by with his wares,  and says “hello my friend. How are you today. How is the family?”


The thing is, they are so good at reading people. Almost every time I give a second glance, to one walking by or up ahead  thinking to myself, “do I need that?  Or maybe I could use that? “   instantly their face is right there at your window ready to negotiate the price.  And for me, even if I am interested and able to negotiate, the light is turning green in less than 60 seconds and that is way too much pressure.



The other thing I noticed recently was that I am getting used to being called, “Mama”. 

Strange I know,  and maybe a bit uncomfortable at times when they are either young guys, or old guys for that matter. And often when I am not with all the kids, so how do they know I am a mom?!

“Mama,  here is the paint you were buying.    Mama,  come buy this rice. Mama come see the apples today. 

Do you want potatoes Mama?”      All for “Good Price”,  of course!


 Women are the Mamas  and the white man is the Bwana. 

We had a man cleaning out the septic the other day at the house and he asked me what I wanted to do about a certain thing.  He said well you can decide because you are the bwana.

I said no, my husband is and he can tell  you what to do, he is the bwana.   (I am just the Mama)

Occasionally Enock will ask me something and then mention what the “ big man” said.  It still takes me a minute to figure out, “big Man” refers to James.  Good thing he is not really a “big” man or that could be bad. And it is a good thing that they don’t combine the Big and the Mama together.  That would be really bad.  

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Faith Baptist Church

When Pastor Andy Dunkerton was here, he preached at Faith Baptist Church.
It is mostly a vernacular speaking church that occasionally uses english.

Faith Baptist is a church plant of Kabwata, started in 2008.

This is Pastor Chirwa and his wife Fanny and their two children

They are meeting in a rented classroom in a local school

Sunday, May 16, 2010

More pictures of LMC

The internet was having trouble last night so I didn't get to upload these other pictures from the College.

First Day of class

The second day they met, there were about 5 more men.

This is a landmark in Kabanana, the water tower. This is on the grounds of the room that the school meets in. It is a great place because everyone knows where it is.

And they get to hear the sound of running water during the entire class. A bit of an irony I think because water is rationed to 3 hours per day. One hour three times a day that is. And here it is dripping out all day long.

Entrance to the area

The college rents one of the rooms in this building.

Pastor Curits Chirwa opening the first day

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lusaka Ministerial College

This week was the first week of class for the new Lusaka Ministerial College in Kabanana. This college is geared to train pastors who are in and around the compound area of Kabanana.

Kabanana is a poor area outlying Lusaka. There are many of these compounds around Lusaka. James along with Pastor Curtis Chirwa of Faith Baptist Church have been working to see the college established. Curtis is part of a church plant sent out from Kabwata.

The first week went very well and James said, "What a great blessing that the Lord provided for this college to start."

Providing training to men in Lusaka was a desire and plan for James in coming over, but we did not know how that was going to work out.
About a month or two into being here this all came together.

There is a mixture of Baptist and pentecostal pastors that are attending.
The classes for this semester and teachers are:
Introduction to Biblical theology - Victor Kanyense
Introduction to Christian Ethics -Issac Makashyini
the Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount- James
Legalism, Lawlessness and the Gospel of Grace - James
History of Christianity in Africa - Matthew Phiri

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Invited In

While we were in the copperbelt, we were invited into children's homes. We spent the entire day driving around and observing and interacting.
It worked out very well. We had 3 women with us. Sharon Chisala, who has the most direct contact with the kids, and Lister and Mrs. Kabwe. Then Leah and I. We had a good system. I drove, and the Ndola ladies directed me on which roads to turn down. Then once we arrived at the homes I took pictures and occasional video while Leah took down notes.

This is Sharon, Leah and I at the end of a long day

Are you serious?
This is the road that we turned down and I asked that question. It was barely a 1/2 lane road and we were brushing both sides of the car with tall grass.

It opened up though on a beautiful spot. There was a banana plantation and a community school, and a well.

Joy community school

Water Well
When we came up to the well several kids were there with their buckets and pitchers getting water. Most of them ran away when they saw me coming and with the camera.


We drove to most all of the kids homes. We were invited in. We sat in the living rooms and listened to the guardians and children tell us their stories.
It’s hard enough to hear when kids are orphaned, either one parent dies, or both parents. Or to hear of parents leaving them to go work.
But to spend all day hearing so many stories, each one sad and unique. Each one deserving its own place to be sympathized with, not just all lumped together into one group of “orphans”, or those without their parents.

I just wanted to post some pictures and tell you a little more to give you an idea of what we experienced.

Of the homes we visited, only about 3 or 4 had electricity, and I think only one home we were in had a toilet. So no running water for most all of them either.
We were greeted warmly at each home and then brought into their living room. Most all of the homes were very dark inside. A few of them, so dark that it took several minutes for my eyes to adjust and even see around the room. On several occasions I would try and open the door a bit more to let more light in to get a picture, or lift the curtains back briefly.

A few houses had a room that was their “kitchen”. The place where they store their food, dishes, utensils, etc. But no refrigerators, or cook tops, ovens, etc. They cook their meals outside over a coal fire. A few homes had a specific area outside that they used to cook.

After we finished our time in the living rooms, we would ask to see the children’s bedrooms. After the second home we then started asking if we could see where they “sleep”. Realizing that the room might not actually be their “bedroom” as we would think of, or even “theirs”.
In the first couple of homes, we could tell it actually was the child’s room. But after that, the majority of the kids had a shared room with everyone in the house, along with all the clothing, and any item that was not in the kitchen and living room. So for some, it was a bike in their room. Buckets. Miscellanea. One girl had a page from a catalog or a sales flyer for toys, taped to her wall.
We also were taking note of whether or not they had a mosquito net.

A few children had actual beds. But beyond that, we were led into rooms where there was just a blanket , or a reed mat with a blanket on the hard concrete floor.
You know this happens all over the world. But when you are invited into someone’s home and life it becomes much more than just a statistic or a story.

One boy lives with his grandfather. His mom died in the hospital when her second child was born. She had a c-section with the first and the way the c-section was performed with the second child, led to her death. As well as the second child dying a couple months later in the hospital. So he has lived with his grandfather for many years.

Another girl lives with her aunt and uncle and cousins. Her mom died when she was 18 months old. Everyone in the family knows that she is “orphaned” except her. We suspect she knows though and has been very distant and not knowing how to relate to her aunt and uncle through what we heard of her interactions. It was very sad to listen to the aunt talk to us, knowing that she has intended it for her good, and loves her as her own, but has kept this information from her. She is close to being a teenager and we encouraged the “auntie” or mother to tell her the truth, since even her younger cousins know.

Another sibling group, -in discussing the health situation of their girl, found that the mother ( father died) knows the girl is HIV positive but has not taken her to the clinic to start treatment.
We found out this same “mother” has brewed beer in her home and been accused of running a gambling ring.
In discussing this matter with the deacons at GRBC, we see the difficulty in supporting the children in school and sponsoring them when the guardians and the home environment are running counter to what they are trying to see achieved.

One of the homes we went to was in the “Habitat Community”, A group of homes built by Habitat for Humanity.
The home belonged to a grandmother who has 6 children and 6 grandchildren living in the home. Of the 6 grandchildren, 3 are supported by the Hope for the Afflicted Ministry.
3 sisters. 2 of the 3 are HIV positive.
We were invited into their home and sat in their living room talking with their grandmother and the girls. Heartbreaking stories. The older sister was very sick with malaria when she was 3 years old, it ended up that she needed a blood transfusion and was given 2 units of blood. That’s how she contracted the disease. The other sister received it from the mom, most likely, at birth. The mom died shortly after having tested positive at the clinic, but unable to afford the ARV drugs at that time.
When we asked the youngest, 8 years old what she dreamed of being when she grew up, she said, “a truck driver”. Sounded sweet enough for a child’s dreams. It wasn’t until I was watching the video I took at her home later that I caught what she was saying. I heard the grandmother say that her dad was a driver.
Her dream was that she wanted to be like her dad…

You might think it’s easier not knowing those things. It’s easier not seeing those children, or hearing their stories because your heart just breaks.
I have heard people say in relation to those types of situations, something to the effect of, “I just couldn’t handle that. It would be too hard. Too sad.”
Well yes and yes it is.
Yes it’s easier, and yes it is too hard and too sad, and yes you can’t handle it.
Easier to not know, or think about; but is that really better?
The blessing though is that in knowing Christ, you are not the one handling it anyway.

So we were “successful” in finding out a little more information on the children and seeing where they live. But it was hard, and it was sad. But it was a good be invited in.

At one of the homes, we entered in and all the neighborhood kids stood at the doorway peeking in.

Different Homes

Habitat homes


They put the maize ( corn) up on the metal roofs along with groundnuts (peanuts) to dry. They will leave them there for months sometimes. Then the maize is taken down and pounded into the mealie meal.

Kitchens in different homes


Friday, May 7, 2010

A few pictures from SOS Village (in Lusaka)

We went to the SOS childrens village with Leah on Sunday for Sunday School. Emma does especially well with the little ones. She held one on her lap during the lesson and then 3 wanted to hold her hand at the playground afterward. Jackson was pretty cute because he saw the swings and kept asking to swing. So after the service he ran over and played on the playground. (First time in 3 months)

A few more from the morning.

This one little boy was sitting one child away from me. I had one on my lap and had my arm next to his. He took it and wrapped it tightly around him.
Then a couple times I had to get up to help with crowd control and he would get up and follow me to the next place I sat down at. So sweet.
I think here, he was playing and got dirt on his face.