We arrived in Ndola Saturday afternoon, checked into the lodge and then went to get some lunch.
Maureen came with us. She was going to help me when I was meeting the orphans and then also visit her children and bring them back home with her. So it worked well for both of us.
After a quick lunch, (and Maureen eating chicken nuggets for the first time- she had no idea what to pick off the menu so she got the same thing Emma ordered! ) we dropped James and the little boys off at the lodge and headed out to the Kawama / Pamodzi area.
We got to Sharon's house. All but 5 of the children were there. We said hello and then I explained that I had brought letters for everyone. That people in America and the UK were praying for them and wanted to hear how they were doing. The kids all smiled and seemed very happy. Then I told them after they read the letters we were going to write back to them and then have a treat I brought. They also liked that.
So I took the letters out and started passing them out. I told them they could go ahead and open them, but many of the kids just held on to them for a little bit while I continued to pass them out.
I then said again, go ahead. All the letters were translated into Bemba by Maureen. Some of the kids can read and write in English well. Some of them can not but can in Bemba. And some of the kids can not read or write even in Bemba. So we passed out the letters and when the kids opened them they looked so happy. They read the letters, looked at all the pictures that were included and then started showing their friends the pictures and the letters. Then they read the letters again. Especially the older boys and girls. Then I asked Maureen and 2 other ladies to read to the kids that needed help. I saw several smiles and heard laughter and they seemed so happy. I wasn't sure if all the kids had them read to them so I started asking the older ones to read to the younger ones.
Then I realized that several of them had the letter read to them more than once. One little girl Dyness was so sweet. She kept showing me the pictures. Then we went over the names of the children from her family. She repeated the names after me and seemed so pleased.
After I knew all the letters had been read then Sarah and Ian helped to pass out the paper and pencils so they could start to write letters. The older boys seemed to take quite awhile writing and thinking about what to write. I am curious what all they said in the letters. While the younger kids were waiting for their turn to tell the ladies what to write, what they wanted to say, I told them they could draw pictures on the back of the letters.
When I was going through the letters when they arrived to make sure all had pictures and return envelopes, I removed the dollars and pounds that had been included to buy postage. (Its about $1 to mail a letter internationally). I realized though as the kids were opening the letters that I forgot to take one out. The boy, Daniel was so excited, he had a dollar bill! I explained what the dollar was supposed to be for, but wouldn't dream of taking it from him. He was very happy!
The kids finished up the letters and then I collected them to take home to mail. We then passed out the brownies and cookies that Sarah and I had made. I was hoping to get milk for them as well but we ran out of time as we were driving into Ndola. So we passed out the snack and while they sat and ate it I explained that I had brought toothbrushes and toothpaste for them.
(Pastor Brian Borgman had brought them over). I gave a quick overview of brushing your teeth and how to do it. I felt a little odd talking to older kids about how to brush their teeth. When I started I asked the kids to raise their hand if they had a toothbrush, and then quickly said , "you will still get one today, just let me see who has been using one". Maybe 2 kids raised their hands.
So I then explained about brushing them twice a day. After breakfast I said and before you go to sleep at night. I then heard a couple boys laughing. I smiled and asked them what? One of them said, "What's breakfast? We don't have breakfast!". I smiled with them (trying to keep it light) and then said ok, well before you go to school. And not only does it help prevent tooth decay, but it makes your mouth fresh.
A couple of the older boys took 2 toothpastes, and I knew how many I had and asked if everyone had one. I had brought enough for all to have one toothbrush and one toothpaste. I asked again and then finally one boy held his second tube out ( for Ian to collect) and then he nudged the other boy to give his up. He took it out and then handed it over.
After that, I told them thank you for coming and that all their sponsors were praying for them.
Lister, one of the woman from Grace church Ndola then started talking to them about attending Sunday School and church. Evidently over half of the kids have not been going to church or the Sunday School class for the younger ones. She talked to them for awhile in bemba and then I added that those people that had written the letters were wanting to hear they were going and learning about God.
We then all went outside for some pictures, and then the kids said goodbye and all headed to their homes.
(I have more to write later, but here are the pictures for now)
Joshua showing his friend Joseph his pictures and letter
Sharon reading the letter to Patrick
Patrick having his letter read to him again
Joseph with his letter. Elias in the background in the yellow shirt, I think you can see him smiling
Florence reading her letter.
Felix writing his letter
The kids writing the letters and drawing pictures
Florence and Daniel writing their letters.
A few pictures of the kids. They smiled more this day and seemed to be more themselves, than I have seen them before.
I had asked just for the kids to be there, not the guardians and I think that helped as well.
Dyness with her toothbrush
Then I took a group picture. I told them this was the Zambian smile.
Then I said, now lets do an American smile, so they smiled more
Then I said, (which we do sometimes with our kids,...) now a silly picture!
They just looked at me. So I took the picture anyway. They looked the same.
Then one of the kids said hold up your letters and toothbrushes. So here is that picture