Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Here are some pictures from the day.
Sunday School Class
Pastor Matthew Phiri and James
As we walked out of the Holy Mountain Church, a little girl was standing nearby and Sarah noticed she had on the same sweater as she did.
These kids watched us the whole time and waited on top the "baptistry" to wave goodbye as we were leaving
Pictures around Kabanana
There is a dumpster off one of the roads but the trash and garbage is everywhere. That seems to be where we find alot of kids playing and looking through things.
Ian wanted a picture of this, he thought it was funny the name of the ntembo (little shop)
I snapped this one quickly as we were driving by. She looks so sad.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
When I walked toward the room that the babies are in, I past a man on the porch holding a baby. It was a bit unusual to see a man holding a baby, and a bit unusual to have them on the porch area. Usually the relatives wait at a different spot for the baby to be brought out to them.
But I passed this man and headed toward the baby room. Once I got to the room, I do what I always do now , and that is look for Akim. I didn't see him and then looked out at the baby that the man was holding. It was Akim. His father was visiting and that is the first time I have seen a relative there to visit him.
Since he was right outside the rooom, I watched him as he was holding his son. He was the most affectionate and loving that I have seen a Zambian man with his child. He was talking to him, kissing him, tickling him, making him laughing and looking at him the entire time.
I wanted to go over to him and tell him, "We have been praying for your son! We love Him!" but I was not sure if he knew English or would understand an emotional woman talking to him about his son.
It was such a sweet thing to see. I was so thankful to see it as well. He was loved by some one. He seemed to be feeling better as well and smiled later when I talked to hiim after his father left.
Today I went for a visit again. I walked in the room, said hello to the workers and reached for the bowl of porridge to start feeding the babies. I looked around and did not see him. It was a little crowded so I was thinking maybe he is in the other row of cribs. No I did not see him.
A little later I asked about him and they said, "he has died".
I asked if it was last week and she said yes. Then I mentioned that his father had just been here to visit and she said yes.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Having lived in Kentucky, which gets cold and Montana which gets even colder and snows alot, who would have thought that the first time we had and used a fireplace would be when we were living in Africa! Certainly not me.
The house has a fireplace and we have been using it almost every night, the past few weeks. It is nice to take the chill off in the main room, and the kids think it is great. It is chilly in the evenings and in the mornings, but by the middle of the day it is usually very nice, sunny and warmer. Yesterday morning it was 13 degrees celsius. (Not sure the ratio in F). It feels like Fall weather, and it has been a nice change. Since the houses are made out of concrete blocks there is no insulation and I have noticed some days it is warmer outside because the sun is shinning than it is in the house.
Strange to think that we are sipping hot chocolate, when most everyone else we know is sweating with their lemonades.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
A few weeks back, Sarah and I were planning to go and deliver the backpacks to the kids in Kabanana.
We had set up a meeting place to drop them off with the Chirwas. They were at someone's home having a celebration, or party. It was Fanny's brother and the event was called "Atembeto"
When I have asked what that word means it doesn't seem like there is a clear translation, but basically a welcoming to the family. We were invited to stop by and come in for a minute. We were curious as to what was going on anyway and certainly did not want to be rude. So we were welcomed in and given a place to sit.
The ceremeony is a welcome from the brides family to the groom and his family.
It can be done during the engagement or after the wedding. In this case it was before the wedding.
The bride's family prepares every kind of dish that they cook as their family and bring that to the groom and present it. The ceremony is very elaborate with the women walking into the room with the pots on their head. Then their are drummers and dancing and people throwing money onto the floor around where all the pots are placed.
The groom sat on the couch with the "mediator" ( as I mentioned in the white plate and milk blog post) next to him and another family member on the other side. The job of this mediator, was to explain the customs and traditions and what he can expect from his new wife.
The pots of food are carried into the room where the groom and all his family is seated. They then place the pots on the ground in front of him and people are supposed to throw money out. In the corner there were 3 women beating on drums and singing also. Throughout the whole time the mediator was whispering to the groom different things. Explaining everything.
I told Fanny that I needed to be sitting on the other side so I could have understood everything too!
Quite interesting though.
So the women are placing their food down and different ones are supposed to dance. Then it gets quiet and 2 older women, they seemed to be the representatives of the family, start to organize the pots and then place their hands behind their back and the two of them start opening a special pot that has been wrapped in a white cloth. They opened it with their teeth, all the while people are cheering and the drums are beating.
They managed to do it and more cheers came from the people.
Then the woman started some of the other things in the ceremony. Washing the grooms hands and then his face. Shining his shoes and then laying at his feet. All things that were showing the respect that the wife was going to give him.
Then the older woman threw a chitenge over her head and the grooms head and the mediators. I really had no idea what that was about. I think something symbolizing that even when others are around that the husband and wife are still to be romantic. Very interesting since culturally the husband and wife show now signs of affection even holding hands, etc in public. SO it must be referring to in the home even though various different relatives live with them.
I was told that a couple has one year to be alone after which they are expected to be having various family members living in their house with them. And it should be equally distributes one from the husbands side and then the wifes side…
The women then started showing each individual pot of food to the man to explain what it was. The types of food he should expect to see served to him from his wife. Pumpkin seeds were one of the items as well as a few other similar things and that was to symbolize that even when times are lean and there is not much food in the house these are the types of things the wife will cook.
After everything was shown then it was time to eat. All the food was taken to the table and the bride's family left, they do not eat with the grooms family. The grooms family were served drinks and then we went through the line to get the food.
We certainly did not intend to stay very long, but we ended up staying quite awhile and then getting a "take-away" container with a little food. It was very interesting to watch.
I am glad I was able to go and see this part of the Bemba tribal culture. There were two things that I found to be most interesting. The first was that the groom did not even crack a smile the whole entire time. Even when the mediator borrowed a chitenge tied it around his waist and started dancing!
The other was that the bride was not there. She was at home, and not supposed to be there.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Last Saturday my Grandma finished her race on this earth and went to be with her Lord and Savior.
After I received the email I was thinking back at what time she entered into glory and what I was doing at that moment.
She passed away in the morning hours on Saturday. That was the afternoon here and as I remember looking at the clock, I know exactly what I was doing.
Saturday is James’s day off and so we were spending the day together as a family. After lunch we were playing a game of hide and seek with all the kids in the house.
It was probably one of the best games we have played. Everyone was involved, with a good attitude ( that is the key!) and it was a very nice family moment. The kids were running through the house to get to base. In one of the rounds, Emma was seen and Daddy was chasing her. They got caught by a couch and she was going one way and stopping and turning to go the other way, James was trying to catch her. I was hiding behind the curtain in the living room just listening to her laugh and laugh thinking to myself, we are so thankful she is well again and so thankful to have our family together.
After I heard the news I thought back to remember, at the moment her life ended and she stepped into eternity, what was I doing. What if it were my last moment? And I was standing before the Lord at that moment. What if it was when the Lord was returning? Would I be found doing the Masters will? Was I ready?
Bless God yes I was (and am ) ready and yes I was doing what the Lord would have me do.
The sadness for me comes now in that today the entire family will be gathering to celebrate her life and have a memorial service, and I will not be there.
She had 8 children. It’s a big family that gathers together with grandchildren and great grandchildren. She has left a legacy. May we all follow after her in seeking, serving and loving the Lord Jesus Christ!
I wrote her and told her “ You have been a great example to me in your life, suffering and pain and now as you are approaching death. You are a jewel in the Lord’s sight! I will rejoice with you when your “race is finished!”
I sent her these songs and quotes.
GIVE ME JESUS
In the morning when I rise, In the morning when I rise
In the morning when I rise, Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus you can have all this world, but give me Jesus.
And when I am alone, And when I am alone
And when I am alone, Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus you can have all this world, but give me Jesus.
And when I come to die, and when I come to die
And when I come to die, Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world. You can have all this world.
You can have all this world, but Give me Jesus.
IT IS NOT DEATH TO DIE
It is not Death to die, to leave this weary road,
and join the saints who dwell on high,
who’ve found their home with God.
It is not death to close the eyes long dimmed by tears,
and wake in joy before your throne,
delivered from our fears.
O Jesus, conquering the grave,
your precious blood has power to save.
Those who trust in you will in your mercy find
that it is not death to die.
It is not death to fling aside this earthly dust,
and rise with strong and noble wing
to live among the just.
It is not death to hear the key unlock the door
that sets us free from mortal years
to praise you ever more.
O Jesus, conquering the grave,
your precious blood has power to save.
Those who trust in you will in your mercy find
that it is not death to die.
The quotes I shared are from a book titled, “Heavenly Springs” by Andrew Bonar.
They are just short random thoughts…
“Come you blessed of my Father.’ That word, ‘come’-how it will sound through our heart! It was the word that drew us first to Him, and it will draw us into the kingdom”
“Lord, now let your servant depart in peace’. You are dismissing me from my post. It is the same word used when Christ ‘sent away’ the multitude at evening. ‘Lord You are sending me home in peace at evening.’”
“Rejoiced in the idea of it being God alone that I had to do with in going into eternity. He seemed so well known and sure. His heart is open. His grace has made all known to us. “
“The man who sees Christ in life is sure to see Him in the valley of the shadow of death.”
“Christ has the keys of death, and it is He who opens the gate and admits us into that invisible world. Then His will be the first face we see there-a known face.”
“Dying is just more of Christ”
“What a happy thing it is that it is the kingdom of God our Savior (2 Peter 1:11). We know Him so well. It was He who put our robe of righteousness upon us. We would be lonely in the great company if we did not know him so well. Would it not be a great comfort to the dying thief that Christ said, ‘Today with me in Paradise’”
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Baby Jack has started saying her name. EMMMMM. He watches her when she comes in the room and will fussy when she leaves. He missed her too. Maureen said the house was just not the same without her.
I bought a headscarf this week and wanted to learn how to tie them. I have always thought they are great because you can have a bad hair day, or have not washed your hair and then just tie your hair up in that. They are the fashion here for the women, so I was eager to join in that fashion.
Emma said "I'll ask Maureen, she can teach you." So she used Emma to show me how to tie it. Emma then liked having me take pictures.
Emma fixed the scarf for me. We showed Maureen and she said, "Emma you are clever!".
Mine is rolled almost more like a turban and Maureen had tied hers more like a bow.
We are so thankful she is back to normal!
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Initially this was a very stressful event. It is on the grounds of a church and there is a wide open area where everyone sets up their things. All kinds of people go there, Zambians, Chinese, Indians, Europeans and Americans.
I have the same people I go to now for the same things I get each week.
The apples, and oranges, grapes occasionally for a treat since they are more expensive and then tomatoes somewhere else, green peppers, onions, potatoes. I squeeze through the people to walk down the next row where I get the bananas and then most of the time I finish off with the lady selling eggs. She greets me each time and we ask each other how the week was. Then she says, "Enjoy" as she hands me the eggs. The are in a plastic sack carefully arranged but thats why she is last, less time to break the eggs. I just have to walk from her out the market to the car.
This is pretty much the same every week, no changes.
But the thing that was most stressful and changes from week to week is who to say yes to when they come asking to carry the bag.
As soon as I turn down the road that the market is on, teenage boys start pointing to me and holding up their finger as in number one. They yell and then chase after the car waiting until I stop. They follow me to wherever I park and are there at the window. Usually there are about 3 or 4 of them that think they spotted me first and so I owe them the privilege to either watch my vehicle or carry my bag. The first couple months this was stressful because I was a bit overwhelmed pulling into a place to park and everyone is right there crowding me out. One week I thought I would avoid the hassle and park inside the church grounds pay the few thousand kwachas and not have the trouble. Well that day seemed to be the worst because every boy that saw my vehicle followed through the parking lot (which had no space) so I ended up going outside the parking lot to where the boys were on the other side of the street. That day they even started pushing each other saying they saw me first.
I think I must not have been in the mood for it because I was pretty firm and said, Stop. No one is watching the car! And got my basket out of the trunk and walked away quickly as I hit the button to lock the car and set the alarm. And kept repeating No.
Since that time, once a boy came up and asked to carry the bag. I told him , "no thanks. " I'll get it". He asked a few more times and I said the same thing. He followed me the entire time I was there, just looking at me always ready to take the job. I got to the end of my shopping and he was still walking by me. i thought there is something to be said for persistence. So I asked him his name, Matthias. Then he asked me if next week he could carry the bag. I told him there are so many boys it is hard to know who is who. he said well I am Matthias and I will look for you next week.
So for many weeks following he has come and found me and carried my bag. I think he is probably around 15. Well yesterday I didn't see him. I told the group of boys no thanks and started carrying my bag and then a boy came up and told me, "Your boy is at school, he is not here today. I am his brother so I can carry the bag". He was older and for some reason I wasn't buying it so I just said, "oh. ok." and then asked him if he went to school also. He said yes, in the afternoons. Then I said, well "no thanks" and started walking on. Another little boy saw me a minute laster and asked me and I said "that's ok" , well he proceeded to follow me and kept asking please.
My dilemma is usually I don't know how to choose who to carry the bag.
it might seem like a no brainer and such a small thing, but some days when I look at all these young boys wanting the job I just don't know what to do. That's when I wander around repeating, "no thanks". Its not that I mind paying about a dollar to a boy that needs the money, and the basket does get heavy with potatoes and apples and things, I just don't know how you pick one.
So yesterday, when Matthias was not there and this other boy started following me around I said, Ok", and handed him the basket. I asked his name, "Johns" he said. He helped me carry the basket and I watched him too. His clothes were very worn and torn and he looked younger than many of the other boys. I noticed he even struggled a bit with the basket at the end. He looked at me a few times and smiled.
I asked him if he went to school. He said, "no money". Then I asked him where he stayed. ( that's how you phrase the question, where do you live?) He just looked at me. I asked him again and he still didn't answer and then I said do you stay on the street? He looked away and then said, "I don't know…I don't know how to answer".
I dropped it and we started walking back to the car. I asked him how old he was.
He said 12 years old.
I hope I never get used to hearing that. I paid him and watched him walk off as I sat in the car. 12 years old. He doesn't go to school and probably lives on the street, at 12 years old.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
I went yesterday to the internet café to try and upload the video I mentioned.
It was actually my second day there to try. The first day I bought 30 minutes for about a dollar and then it was extremely slow and not able to even open the page let alone upload a video.
I went back the second time at a different part of the day hoping it would be quicker. It wasn’t working and I didn’t have much time because I had to go pick up the kids from school. So I went back again after lunch and thought I had everything set up. My battery was fully charged, I had my new computer so I wasn’t worried about it just randomly shutting down in the middle of a project, and I bought an hour of time just in case at 29 minutes it would be almost finished and then shut down due to using all the time up.
As I was in the process of uploading, a couple of young people came in. They were trying to decide to do something online but knew the speed wasn’t great and were asking me about it. I answered their questions but after they left I thought to myself, they are Zambians. Does such a thing as fast internet exist in Zambia? Where have they even seen it to know whether something is fast speed or slow speed?
You would think if you were at a place that is the internet place I could have accomplished my task, but no I did not. I had plenty of time left but I had already exceeded my data capacity. At that point I shut it down and came home. A bit frustrating, when you worked on something and then it continues to not work and you keep putting time and energy into it, only to become more frustrating in the end. So I will stop working on it. And that will end the frustrations (for now).
Main point of the video was just to show through pictures and video clip and music how thankful we were for the Lord’s working in our family and restoring Emma’s health. She said, “thank you” on the video as well.
So there you have it. I will go back to blogging and regular pictures hopefully next week.
When I remember that it is amazing to even have email where we can communicate daily through those means and occasionally instant messaging, and am able to upload some pictures that should help put our internet woes in perspective.
Emma’s rash has been slowly going away and she is no longer itchy. We are very thankful for that as well and I hope to have a regular week next week…. Regular for living in Africa.
Friday, June 11, 2010
Yesterday she developed a severe skin rash all over that is most likely a reaction to the anti-malaria medicine Antemeter that she was on.
It hopefully will clear up in a few days.
The doctor confirmed that the malaria is gone and the bacteria culture they had done last week came back negative at 3 and 6 days.
I asked him which type of malaria it was, since I had seen online that there are several different types. He said that it was the most severe of malaria.
Then he reiterated why he went straight to the injections to get the medicine in her fast rather than waiting for the oral medicines to take effect. Time is a critical factor when dealing with Malaria.
Please praise God with us for healing Emma and providentially working in us so that we acted as fast as we did.
Praise God with us for the wisdom of the Doctor and for the availability of medicines and a hospital.
Please pray for continued good health and strength for everyone in our family. If we never had to deal with Malaria again that would be wonderful! And not beyond the Lord’s Hand.
We again want to thank everyone who prayed for her personally and churches that prayed in their prayer meetings for her. The Lord has answered all the prayers that have been prayed and we have been humbled to know how many people were lifting our family up before the Throne of Grace
I hope to get a video posted soon.
Megan and James Williamson and EMMA
Sarah, Ian, Caleb and Jackson
Friday, June 4, 2010
Dear Friends and Family,
Emma continued to feel better yesterday, though a bit emotional too. She started the day crying off and on for an hour, and being very down emotionally. They were able to take her IV out yesterday morning and she continued to eat well and drink well. She was worn out in the afternoon and started crying to go home again.
The doctor had told us that probably Friday she could go home. I spent the day at the hospital again and in the evening James brought the kids up for dinner and then I was getting ready to leave with the other kids.
Emma started Crying and Sobbing! For quite some time. She wanted to go home! James asked the nurse to check with the doctor if she could go home. She came back a few minutes later and said, “Yes”, but we needed to bring her back in the morning. It took her a little bit to settle down and be glad to be going home. We were so thankful! We all laded everything up in the car and thanked God that we could all be going home together.
We got home last night around 8PM. Emma went straight to bed and asked me to lay down next to her. I stayed until she fell asleep and we had to wake her up early to take her to the doctor.
We dropped the kids at school and on the way to the doctor she threw up again. We stopped back by the house and then headed back to the hospital.
They took a blood sample when we got there so it would be ready when the doctor came in. She went back to the room she was staying in, sat on the bed and we waited. We ordered some breakfast and waited for the doctor to come in. By that time she looked like she was feeling well again, and the doctor said she looked much better. They gave her another injection and then the doctor came back in with the results from the blood sample.
The doctor came back in and said, “Good news!” The test showed that there were no parasites and she was negative for Malaria! Praise GOD!
We rejoiced at God’s goodness.
She has to continue on the antibiotic orally until Monday and needs to go back to the hospital for 2 more shots of the anti-malaria medicine, on Saturday and on Sunday.
She will see the doctor again on Wednesday for the final ALL CLEAR.
She is feeling much better, cheerful and happy today. I told her to she still needs to take it easy today and the next couple days, trying to still get some rest and not be up climbing the trees and running around.J
I don’t think I can adequately express our thankfulness to everyone who has prayed for us and encouraged us this week. We received over 150 emails concerning Emma!
Though the week has been very difficult and trying, scary and emotional- we have known the Lord’s kindness and love as expressed in you all.
Thank you for bearing our burden with us this week. For praying for Emma and for James and I and the other children.
For weeping with us when we wept and now for rejoicing with us when we rejoice!
The Lord has been good to us in the midst of difficulties, he has shown kindness and mercy to Emma and all of us.
With much love and thankfulness,
Megan, James and Especially Emma and the rest of the Williamson family!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I arrived to the hospital around 8 am.
I was so happy to see Emma sitting up in the bed coloring.
She said she slept better last night. An answer to prayer!
The doctor came in and we had a good talk with him.
Her IV solution was dripping causing her hand to get wet, so they changed her IV to the other hand.
She did well with it. In fact the doctor said the nurses are all talking about the muzungu (white) child! She is so good. She doesn’t cry or put up a fuss when they take her blood, give her injections, start the IV.
The results from the blood culture they did won’t be ready for another day or so. This was to check if anything else is going on.
As the doctor was explaining Malaria more to us, he said that it multiplies so rapidly there is almost like an explosion in her body when it is multiplied. Which is why she can be feeling well and then so quickly feel awful again. She is staying again today and the rating is now a +3 instead of the +4 that it was one Monday. ( On a scale of +1 to +5 with 5 being worst).
We are very thankful with the doctor and trust him. He is a pastor, Grave Singogo, that James has known. He attended the classes last month at the Pastors college in the Copperbelt.
He said his wife and he were praying for Emma last night. He also said we acted quickly so that was very good. He said, “When I got the call on Monday I was thinking this is just an American panicking” and even when he saw her initially he did not think it was malaria. So we are very thankful we brought her in on Monday. He said it is just a hard case of it and Malaria is a terrible disease, but she should be fine, she is getting the medicine and he said keep praying.
She was more cheerful today, even smiled and giggled a bit and has a little bit of energy. Though right now she is getting tired and still looking pale. So we will see if she is heading down again, or just sleepy.
She has not eaten, but Dr. Singogo said she can eat whatever, he said even a few sweets to get her blood sugar up. So she ate a pack of Smarties! You can tell Pastor John, she got her candy fix. ( He passes them out to the kids at church every week back home. And we had some someone sent in a package to us)
We saw the pictures from the Memorial Day picnic that a friend took back home and that cheered her as well as reading her a few emails from you all.
Thank you so much for praying. Please keep praying she improves and can go home soon.
I will plan to update again later this evening.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Dear Praying friends,
I just returned home from being at the hospital all day with Emma.
She did not have a good day.
She was not able to keep anything down, and her malaria symptoms continued as well as the fever.
As the day went on and into late afternoon, her fever rose up to 104.5. She had problems with the IV drip, starting and stopping throughout the day. So she was not getting as much fluids as she could have.
She is still on 2 antibiotics now, given through the IV as well as fluids, and still receiving her anti-malaria medicines.
The doctor came by to see her in the evening and after hearing the report for the day decided to do another blood test to make sure there was not anything else going on of a bacterial nature. He said usually by the second day the individual should be improving. Sometimes it is the third day.
Quite a stressful day. Most of my prayers were quick arrows to heaven, "Lord Jesus, please have mercy on her!"
Thank you all for your prayers. Your notes have been encouraging to us and even Emma as well, the ones I have been able to read to her.
She had wanted me to stay with her tonight, but after being there all day and wanting to be of use to her in the morning we decided that Dad would stay again.
Before James came in the evening with the children she was getting worse and I was feeling scared. I am not sure it would be good to be there alone tonight, not knowing how she is doing. But my mother's heart wants to be there with her.
Hopefully in the morning the doctor will come by and let us know if there are any new results from the CBC. Then we will see where to go from there.
This morning he mentioned maybe her coming home tomorrow and then just coming back in for the next few days to get the last shots of Anti-malaria medicine. But after how she was today, I don't think she will be coming home tomorrow. We will have to wait and see.
She has been lethargic and obviously feeling bad. At one point I asked her something and she said, "I just want to go home."
Please pray for her to get good rest tonight. She only slept about an hour today in the later afternoon. I think she just couldn't get comfortable and was so feverish. They gave her medicine before I left to bring down the fever, so hopefully that was taking effect as I left.
Thank you for your prayers and such love that has been expressed to us in the past 24 hours. Even the emails with scriptures. It is good to be reminded from God's Word in trials like this. Quite amazing to know so many are praying for her all over the world.