Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Tuesday morning I dropped Sarah Catherine off at school and headed for the Driver's License place again.
I arrived about 7:45. They didn't open until 8:30, so I pulled in line behind 2 other vehicles on the side of the road waiting for RATZA to open. Around 8:30 I walked over to the gate and asked if they were open yet. The men in the office were not there yet so I stood around a few more minutes since I wanted to be in the beginning of the line.

My appointment was at 9 hrs, but that didn't really matter. The man arrived and took my forms and papers again. He said to wait by the car. So I waited. About 9:45 the instructor walked over to the car to start the driving test, then he said there is a problem and asked me to go back to the office. I went in and they told me that I did not have the booking form. I showed them the paper that the office had stapled to my other forms last week when I had to apply for another test. The man said sorry that is not the right thing. That is only a receipt and we need the form to write on whether you pass or fail the test. He said they had been having the same problem with others and the man at the downtown office was making lots of mistakes.
I tried to appeal to him saying that it was not my fault that they made a mistake and can't they just test me any way and write things down on a piece of paper. Well no they can't he said and that I needed to go to a totally different office outside of town about 30 minutes from there and get it quick otherwise that office would mark fail if I didn't show up there. I was to go there get the form and then come back.

Well I was not happy. No smiling face from me. Not happy is mild. I was frustrated and upset. So I checked the clock to see what time it was. I had exactly one hour before I had to pick Sarah up from school. I decided to go and give it a try. Things were sailing along smoothly, making good time, picking up speed when all of a sudden outside of town in the middle of the road a police officer pointed at me to pull over. I was picking up too much speed.

I circled around and pulled off the side of the road. A police woman came over and said hello my sister.
I was going over the limit. She then asked where my instructor was, because I was speeding with L ( stands for Learner ) plates on the car. Oooo. Yikes. I was a bit apprehensive of what was to happen next. When someone has their Provisional License they are supposed to drive only with someone who has a Zambian license, with the L plate attached to the back and front of the car.

Well when you take the test you are supposed to put these plates on the car. A man stands at the DL place and for about 2.25 you pay for the use of the plates.
When it was decided I could not test like I was going to, the man took the plates off the front and I guess he forgot the back.
So here I am now pulled over for speeding with L plates on the car and no instructor. On my way to get the form so I can go test again and have a license.
I prayed and spoke to the woman kindly. I explained that I had a real license but it was not Zambian and then showed her my KY license. I told her I was in the process of trying to transfer to a Zambian license.
She said ok and was kind but said I owed 70,000 Kwachas (about 15 dollars) I told her I did not even have that much money with me ( not that it was a lot, but I didn't have it) and she said that I would need to go downtown and pay for it at the police station. She took down my info and then let me go. I was thankful and kept on to my destination. I kept checking the hand drawn map of where this testing ground was and finally found the right road. I went down a ways and did not see it so stopped a couple times to ask where it was. I finally saw it and pulled into the parking lot, and started heading for the office with about 20 people staring at me.

I walked in and saw the form with my picture sitting on the empty desk. Great! they have it. I asked for it and the woman said, "you are late". I had to then explain to her that the form was sent to this office by mistake and I was testing at a different location and they called about it. She looked over the forms and then signed something and handed it to me! Yes. I was so happy that part went smoothly. I hopped in the car, and headed back, watching my speed the whole time.

I picked Sarah up from school at exactly the right time. I then took her home and had to get petrol in the car and then started to head back that way to take the test. Enock called while I was at the gas station to ask if he could ride along and see how they do the testing. So I picked him up as I drove past the house and we headed to the testing center.

We arrived and I handed the forms to the man again and he said ok go wait.
So we stood under the tree with all the other men and one woman waiting for the test. There was only one instructor for the day and so things were moving even slower than last time. The man that tested me the first time was not there and I was so thankful. We waited more and then I realized that they were not going to get to me before lunch. Things pretty much shut down here from 12:30 or 13:00 until 14:00. The guard even closed the gates and everyone was starting to settle in for another hour and a half wait until they came back for lunch. I was quite disappointed when all of a sudden I heard "Megan…Megan" The instructor was walking over and said, "Let's go". So I took my test. This man was much better, didn't say more than a couple things and tell me which way to go. I even at one point approached a stoplight and he said these are broken just go ahead and go. The whole test was probably less than 10 minutes and I was back at the testing yard. He didn't say anything like, "You passed" but just handed me the signed forms and said to go turn them in.
I was very happy and thankful and smiling again.

I walked over to turn in the form and another man in the office said, well at least you got it now.
Then the man looking over more forms said, It shows that you didn't pay for this booking. You are going to need to pay. I was very adamant and said, I have paid two times because I have been tested two times.
He continued to say it, and I was not in the mood or backing down either. I think he was ready to go to lunch and get rid of me so he finally signed and stamped it and then said you can go tomorrow downtown to pay for the real license.

So you pay for the provisional, then you pay for the testing then in my case you pay for the testing again and then you pay for the actual license. So next step is to go downtown and pay for the license. Then I will wait several weeks and then hopefully go to the final office and get the actual license.
James just got his today.

Entering and leaving the yard, there is a washed out part of the road. No matter how you take it, it's a big bump. So as I was leaving I hit the bump pretty hard and almost took out one of the orange plastic cones that was marking the entrance. It was pretty funny and I don't think I have seen Enock laugh as much as he did at that. As if to say, I got my license now see my driving.

While I was testing Enock told me he talked to a man who had taken the test 3 times, made to fail and then in the end he paid some "fees" so he could get the license. The man was upset and said what is this world coming to? I tried to apply biblical principles and it didn't work.
Evidentally they don't string muzungus along failing them again and again the way they do others. Because they know that they would complain and take it to a higher officer, or maybe they work at an Embassy.
So in my case they tried once failed and seeking a bribe and then they passed. Same with James.
On the one hand I am glad I passed, and on the other it is not fair to treat me better than they do their own people. I don't like that.

So the end of the driving saga but not necessarily the license. Will let you know when I get that one.

James brought home the door today. I had mentioned earlier that he gave dimensions and order a door, when it came home it was too wide and would not fit. So more hassle, ordering again, waiting and waiting. We checked on it on Monday. They told James it was not ready because the power was out for two days. Ok. But they work outside with no power tools so what does that have to do with anything? It just wasn't ready. But today it was. He brought it home… Too tall. Again they got it wrong. How is that possible when you have the dimensions, to get it wrong again?
Well there was no taking it back so James asked Enock to come in and they started sawing and planeing it down to fit. Now there is a door hanging on our room once again.

Weeks like these past few (and there are so many more "stories" I could tell, landlords and banks, the internet more non existent than existent, etc) are when I say, "Africa...sigh...It is starting to get to me."

Monday, October 25, 2010


Friday the kids had an independence day celebration at school
In 1964 Zambia gained it's Independence from Britain

They sang and did "sketches" (skits)

They also had Mama Bette, a freedom fighter give a speech


Thursday, October 21, 2010


This week I took Katryn to one of the orphanages for the first time.
We held the babies. Something very simple. Our two arms picked them up brought them near and they stopped crying. They even looked at us and some even smiled.

A few babies stood out in my mind that day.
With Katryn and I both there, we pretty much covered all the babies, giving each child an opportunity to be held, if even just for a few minutes. One baby boy watched me as I was going around to the cribs lifting out a baby, talking to him or her, singing, praying and then putting them back down. He watched me and then when I was able to give him a turn, I lifted him out and he instantly hooked his arms around my neck and his legs around my waist. I have never experienced such a tight grip from a baby. I even held my arms out for a minute to show Kat that he was not letting go. He clinged so tightly, as if he didn't want me to let him go and he was going to do all he could to ensure that.

The other baby was a tiny one. She was already crying when we walked in the room. She looked familiar.
I realized later that the familiarity I was seeing was the look of a malnourished baby. Wamasa and Akim ( both who later died) had this look. The big sunken in eyes, the frail face, thick gums with no teeth, long thin fingers and toes, arms that were about as thick as my thumb. Skin loosely hanging on the body, . My heart broke for her and Katryn's did as well. She said I don't think I will ever forget her.
I told her you don't. Not the first time. Just like I will not ever forget Akim.

I asked the workers her name and no one knew. She had just been dropped off today they replied.
She was sitting up just crying and crying. Kat held her for awhile. I held her for awhile. Then Kat held her again then I held her. I could tell she was hungry, the way she was sucking and then also chewing on her arm.
I asked one of the workers if she needed a bottle. The woman said, "what?" then I asked again. About the same time I was asking she was reaching her hand to turn the CD player on and turned it on, then looked back at me and said no, and then started dancing a little. I would like to tell you that I just could not believe it! But I could believe it, sad that it didn't surprise me. Still appalling, but not surprising.

The workers come in and out of the room cleaning, or getting things, etc.
The babies all share bottles and spoons and cereal. One baby had finished what he wanted of a bottle and it was still propped up next to him in his crib.
So after the dancing lady stepped out of the room I took the bottle picked up the little baby and started feeding it to her. She stopped crying drank just a little bit and then cried some more.
I am almost certain this baby had not drank out of a bottle before, but rather only was nursed. She needed someone to take her and hold her and gently teach her and get her used to drinking from a bottle. But no one thought to do it I guess or had the time to.

I changed her and she was so small that the snappy diaper 'pin' that is supposed to stretch to the sides of the baby just would not stay on her. It kept falling off. She was that tiny. She weighed nothing and guessing her age from other babies that have been malnourished and have been similar she was somewhere between 6-9 months.
And she weighed nothing.

A picture of a snappy next to my cell phone to give you an idea. She was smaller than the width of a cell phone.

We had to leave and Katryn and I talked on the way home. I explained why it is still my desire and prayer to see the Lord use us to establish an orphanage for the littlest ones. Not even necessarily because if we don't than the babies will be left with nothing, but because if we did, think of the impact and care and love we could give to these babies and little children. We could spend the time with a new baby, give what little bit we could to help them in the tragedy of being taken from somewhere and stuck in a crib in a new place, without anyone they know.

So please pray with us. That PERHAPS, the Lord would prepare a way and the means to see this desire of my heart fulfilled.

Kabanana Work

Today we went to Kabanana. Thursday is usually the day that we go to Kabanana. It works well with my housework schedule and thursday afternoon Maureen is free to go and help.
She and Katryn have been going together when I am not available. It works out about every 3 to four weeks that I can go. This has been a blessing to have the two of them working with Fanny and visiting the children's homes.

Today we looked at a house to rent for the orphan ministry and at schools.
We have started looking for a house to rent in Kabanana of which to work out of for tutoring for the kids, bible studies and general times to meet with them there.
Once we find a house, Maureen will be moving there to the house and be employed full-time in the orphan work.
She has been a great help in this area already and used to work with orphans before she began cleaning houses just as a way to make money.

I have told her that I can see her heart is in the work with the kids and not scrubbing my floors. So I am very happy for the new development in this work in Kabanana. She will stay in the house with her kids and use 2 of the 3 bedrooms. The 3rd bedroom will be turned into a classroom and then the Living room is available for meetings and any projects of get togethers with the kids. The house we looked at today had a small kitchen and a small front yard and a small area in the back that can be used for growing a garden. Hopefully at least once or twice a week the kids can come there to have a meal that Maureen will prepare.

Once she is moved up there she will continue to work with the kids we are supporting and hopefully Katryn would be traveling up there several times a week to tutor the kids. She will also go with Katryn every other month to the Copperbelt for a few days and check on the orphans there that are being supported.

We are excited to see this move forward. A few specific prayer requests:

-Please pray for provisions for Katryn to purchase a vehicle.

We have one car that we are sharing between James and I and arranging his work schedule, his times of teaching at Lusaka College, running to get the kids at school and church, my weekly errands, etc.. that sharing with another driver is not feasible.
There have been a few incidents with men making advances at Katryn while using the bus system, simply because she has white skin. She never goes alone and has always had Maureen with her. But when Maureen moves up there in about a month, Katryn will not have someone to go with, and thus not be advised to use the bus system. So a lot depends on whether or not she can get a vehicle to continue visiting the kids there, and tutor them and spend the time that would benefit the kids. As I mentioned I can only spare the time every 3 or 4 weeks to take her up there.

-Please pray for a fair deal on a house to rent and that the Lord would bless our efforts and plans

Also once we have secured a house we will need to make some purchases of tables, school items, chairs etc.
I plan to post a list of items later to see if any individuals or churches would like to take on that as a project, to provide some of these items. more to come on that later...

We have plans to put the children that we are now sponsoring, into better schools next year.
It is great to have them in a school, but we have found out this year that the schools that most of the kids are attending are not very good. Many of the kids walk an hour to school each way and then are in a class of 60-80 students. There are a few that go to a private school close to home. We were at one of them today visiting to pay fees. We inquired about one of the students supported who is preparing to write her grade 7 exams. Evidentaly she does not really know how to read. And this is very typical.
I got a picture of the outside sign. I don't think you can read it well but it said something like...If your kids are having trouble with reading, TRY US!

In just a month and a half Katryn has been tutoring Richard and Mwansa (maureen's kids) and they are already reading much better and are getting good at it

We then visited a school we were thinking about for the kids. It was better than the previous one. We looked at tests and the work that the different grade levels are doing, saw the classroom and spoke to a few teachers.
After there we visited one more school, a christian school. We were very impressed with this school and it was an actual real school.

The others are houses turned into classrooms with every inch of space being used for something. It is fine because they are using what they have, but the classrooms were crowded, dark and dingy.
This last school ELION had progress reports posted of the different grades and had no more than 25 kids in a class. We saw their classrooms and they looked just like you would expect and want a classroom to be. Desks for the children, blackboards, each grade had their own room. They do placement testing to ensure the level of the child and where they should be in school.

Some of the kids we are supporting are way older than what they should be at their grade level.
One boy is 17 and writing his grade 7 exams this coming week. We hope to have Katryn tutoring him and others in similar situations to be able to advance in school and another grade. The more I thought about him, I have been concerned that as he continues in school he will be older than his classmates and when you are 18, 19, 20 and the oldest boy in your home with no father, the pressure upon him to drop out of school or become involved in something else increases with each year he is in school.

So I was encouraged to see this school and hope that we can get the kids all enrolled there.
We are currently supporting 12 kids. We plan to be adding 3 more for the next year, which starts in January 2011. School fees per child at this good school are roughly $48 a month, or $144 dollars per term.
The other school we had looked at was somewhere around $20 a month or $64 per term. A significant difference but we will pray and see what we can do. We know at least for the older kids we want to send them there, so it could be that half of them go to one school and another half to the other.
But we are not deciding yet and will wait and see what the Lord will do.

A good day today in Kabanana. I have mentioned it to a few people, but the times that I am having my sad and missing home days, days when I think about what if we were back in America are NEVER the days that I am in Kabanana or in Kawama, or have just come back from visiting the orphanage.
Those days I am always happy to be here helping in the small ways that we can and knowing the Lord has prepared this work for us to do and that He is going before us. And He is walking with us through the dirt roads of Kabanana helping His orphans.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Strike Outs!

Drivers' License

After being here several months you are supposed to get a Zambian driver's license.
And yes you have guessed right, it is a lengthy process.
So James has gotten his license but does not have the actual license yet. He went to pick that up at a 3rd location and though it was supposed to be ready a few weeks ago, it was not.

I started the process about a month and a half ago. Here is what is involved.
First Go downtown to RATZA ( pronounced that way though there is not an a after the r.) Named after a rat, it's already not sounding too good.
You need to have the correct form and wait in line to have it signed and take the oral test.
When I went there, I had Grace with me. I walked in to ask the lady at the desk where to go because there are about 20 different windows all doing something different. She asked how I had gotten the form and said because I already had a certain form then to go ahead and walk into the examiners office. I checked to make sure because there was a long line waiting for something, but I guess they didn't have the correct forms. I walked in and sat down immediately at one of two desks in the room. As I did I sat on the edge of my chair because Grace was tied on my back. The man at the desk said,"You are supposed to move them to the front". Which I knew, but was only planning to be in there a few minutes. SO I said, oh yes, thank you and slid her around to my side. Then he asked me questions about, is this your baby…etc. I answered them and while we were talking he just started stamping things and handed me the paper back.

I was thankful that part went smoothly.Maybe the whole thing would go this smoothly?
Then the next window was where they capture your data. I was almost through there when they said I needed to have a copy not only of my passport but also of James's work visa. So at that point, The buzzer rang and I was out. sorry…TRY AGAIN next time.

Another week later I came back with the copy of the visa. That was accepted then on to another office to get the photo taken. Then to another window to pay for it all and set up an appointment to take the driving test.

That was set up, and on the day of my appointment I drove to the place where they do the testing. I waited in the line and handed the appropriate paperwork, which was the provisional license and my current US license and something stating I was to take the test. Well the man looked over the papers and said I needed another copy of James's passport and visa. I explained that I had already given them at the office where all the data is collected and where they gave me this provisional license. No, I still needed to bring them a copy.
Again the buzzer rang and I was OUT!

I was told I could come the next day. The very next day one of the kids got sick and was in the hospital and after that, many visitors and travels. So the license again was put on hold.
But yesterday I had time and had the right papers and arrived in the morning at the Driving Yard.

Everything was accepted and I was told to wait at my vehicle for the driver to come. I waited there an hour, which also happened to be one of the hottest parts of the day, and got sunburn.
Several others were waiting at their vehicles, and right next to where I parked was a driving school vehicle with about 8 younger men waiting for their test. They had been waiting over 2 hours already. A few of them said hello and we talked for a little bit. I noticed that no women were there taking the test, so I asked if not as many women are driving as men in Zambia. One guy said, yes they are because you know, "GENDER". You know how you women are.
i wasn't exactly sure what he meant by it but think I got the gist of it.

As we were waiting, it was a few of their turns. One guy got in the car, the instructor got in and he drove only a few feet and stopped the car and got out. NEXT. Another guy got in. He drove a few more feet, still not even out of the parking lot and he stopped and got out. FAILED.
Wow, I knew they were tough but this was crazy. Ended up the last guy didn't release the parking brake.

Finally it was my turn. A bigger older man called out my name and I said, yes and he walked over to my car. Repeating my name over and over trying to figure out how to pronounce it. He got in and I started to roll the windows up. He didn't like that because he was hot. precisely my point, we could use the air conditioner. But it didn't instantly give out cold air so we sat there a few minutes discussing the windows. At that point, I was not sure whether I had turned the car completely over or not. Was a bit distracted with all the window talk.
So I turned the car off and said well we can just open the windows then. ( That gave me the opportunity to start the car once again and know if it was fully on. ) He said, "You know we have started the test". I said yes and then told him that we have an alarm on the car and I was turning it off. ( You have to partially turn the engine over then press the button then fully turn it on). I didn't want to fail before the car even got in drive!

We started off and the man was very chatty and unfortunately flirty as well. He asked why I was smiling and happy. So I told him because of Jesus. Then he asked a few more questions relating to Jesus and what work I was doing here, etc… more kinds of questions and it was a little distracting. At one point he got a phone call and was laughing and chatting away on the phone and motioning with his arms where I was to turn. Everything was going smoothly and then he started asking me about the Catholic Church and what church I was part of now…

I was stopped at a red light and was in front. The light turned green and I inched up to get ready to make a right hand turn on green ( which you do when you drive on the opposite side of the road) as I was getting ready to go when it was clear, I "stepped on the zebra crossing". So he pointed that out to me and then said, "Megan, Megan Megan. Now I am going to have to Fail you. Do you want me to fail you." "No". I said. Then he said "well I am going to have to. What do you have to say? "
At this point it was a bit awkward and I replied, "umm I am sorry I stepped on the Zebra Crossing????". Then he went on about how there can be no mistakes and he is going to have to fail me right now. Then he waited another moment. Then he said I am going to fail you so I can see your smiling face again tomorrow. How do you like that? ( I can't remember what I said, but what I thought was---no I will not like that and no I will not be smiling then!)

We drove back and he kept talking about the smiling face and stepping on the crossing and mistakes.
I got back to the yard and he got out of the vehicle, saying, "no megan its really not that I want to see your face, but you can't make any mistakes." As I drove away the young guys waiting for their turn gave me a thumbs up, saying "you got it?" to which I gave them a thumbs down. nope.

I then had to go back to the downtown office, wait in line about 30 minutes was the 2nd in line at the end , make another appointment, pay another fee so that I can go back and take the test next tuesday.

AFter I got home I mentioned to Enock that I failed. I then realized as we have often talked of corruption in the government and especially the Driver's License branch that the man was waiting for a bribe from me!
The way Enock described it would be that I would have offered to give him some money for a drink because it was such a hot day or something like that. That is how it is done and that is what was expected.

It explained the awkwardness I was feeling and the confusion of why he kept saying, "so I am now going to have to fail you…"
I was oblivious to that because I was thinking well technically I was on the zebra crossing, so I was figuring him more for a stickler to the traffic rules than a man awaiting a bribe!

Monday, October 18, 2010


A video of Emma's friend's trip to Zambia

Copperbelt Churches

When Jim , Mark and Rick were here they all preached at different churches as well as James the one sunday we were in Ndola.
A few pictures from churches in the Copperbelt.

Church in Ndola

Church in Kitwe

Central Baptist Church in Luanshya

Rick with Pastor Hakanyaga from Central Baptist Church along with two deacons from Grace Baptist Church in Ndola

Marshall's church

Their pulpit made of bricks and covered with a cloth

Just another day...

Today was James's day off. A day off to do all the errands and stuff that needed to be done, since he was gone last week. He took the kids to school and then came back home to get Grace and I to run the errands. The 3 older kids were in school and running around didn't appeal to the little boys so they stayed home, which was just as well.

We had heard there was a shoprite in a nearby area to us. When I go once a week to Shoprite we usually drive about 20 minutes and it is in a shopping center that is currently under construction and being turned into a Mall.
It seems to have the cheapest prices for just general grocery shopping. So when James heard there was one nearby we decided to look for it.

We drove in the general direction and then stopped about 3 different times to ask people walking by for directions. Most Zambians we have talked to for directions do not say turn right here and then a left. They move their arm in a sweeping motion and say, you go this way! So a little hard to follow sometimes.

We found the store it was pretty small, a total of 5 or 6 aisles I think.
Literally every single person in that store was staring at us. We would walk down an aisle and heads would just follow. Then later I would look over a certain way and there would be a flurry of heads turning back so we wouldn't see them staring. The area it was in must not be frequented by white people.
Even going to Kabanana we have not been stared at like that.
We found a few items and checked out, with about 8 pairs of eyes on us. just at the checkout.

I had to laugh to myself because it really was every single person. Just staring… Not the threatening stare which occasionally have felt, but just a "what is going on here type of stare"
James said they probably rarely see a white woman in the store. Then on top of that for a white woman to be accompanied by her white husband in the morning at the store. And on top of all that, for a white woman to have her white husband with her and a black baby. That topped it all!

After there we went out to the other side of town to check on a door and a table.
About a month ago James went to buy a wood door. It had the carving of a lion on it. He gave the dimensions for the door we needed and asked for a lion and lioness and flowers to be carved in the three separate panels.
When the time came to pick it up, it had on it a lion and a rhinoceros. Not sure how the rhino and lioness were confused. But then where the flowers were supposed to be there was something that really looked like 2 EARS.
Very strange. He was disappointed but brought it home anyway because we needed a door. ( Ours was rotted through and I got locked in once). He spent quite awhile trying to hang the door and when it finally was hung, it would not close. They made it wrong, even though he had given the dimensions. It was too wide.
So it has been hanging for about a month anyway and he finally had time to go by and ask them to make another door.

He had planned to bring the old one and exchange once the new one was made. So we drove out to where they make them which is on the side of one of the roads. I stayed in the car because Grace was sleeping and watched all the deliberations. About 8 men are involved in the business sale and all giving their thoughts on the matter.
After about 15-20 minutes he came back and said they will not make it until they have the old door because they don't have money for materials and need to sell the one door first to be able to make the next door.
So we drove off to the next stop, which was to pick up a wood table for outside that one of James's students was making for us. Last week he had told James that the table was ready. It was finished.

So, we drove out to where he was going to meet us. We waited for a while and then e said no he was at the bus stop. So we drove back to the bus stop and then James called him again. He wasn't there but was at another bus stop further down. We needed to "keep coming straight". We finally found him and he hopped in the car and we said hello. Then he took us to where his workshop is. He does nice work carving things, A basic table is not really what they do, but he was still making it for James. He showed us the office, outside where "his boys" as he referred to them were all busy working and hand chiseling the designs out. They work kind of in stalls set up to other booths or shops. We said it all was nice and then he came back to his office and right outside showed us our table. It was not finished. Built but holes still needed to be filled in with the putty and a stain put on it, etc. We told him thanks for showing us his place and let us know when the table is finished.

All that time and effort and it was not ready. EVEN though he told James it was ready.
We drove away just thinking, "well that was interesting." What else can you say or do?

We stopped in town to pick up a couple things and then headed home.
I made lunch and then James went to take Katryn to get her fingerprints done so she can apply for the work visa. That didn't go as planned, and then another stop he made to pick up something from the landlord's office still was not ready and available even though a month ago they said it would be ready.

He stopped at another grocery ( because they didn't have chicken at the shoprite we went to earlier in the day)
and only found chicken dated as expiring today. So yet another grocery store to find chicken.

It was just one of those days. Which quite frankly happen a whole lot more here in Zambia than they do in America. I asked him if he was enjoying his day off… Thankfully Saturday was more restful.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Grace is 2!

Today is Grace's birthday.
2 years ago she was born.
2 years ago we were waiting and praying for a baby girl.
In fact 2 years ago, this very week is when we got the long awaited email that our dossier was approved and we were given our travel date to go to Ukraine and adopt a baby. (Only she wasn't there...)
We prayed for her every day and I know on this exact day when she came into the world we were praying for her.
Caleb was singing a song he made up for "her". And here she was waiting in Zambia for us. For the exact right time for her and for us. We are so thankful the Lord has brought her into our family.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sam's Club Day

Every few months I have a full morning of "sam's club" shopping.
Today was my day. Not because I can't find these things at the regular grocery store, but I can get them in bulk and at a much better price if I make the rounds.

I dropped the kids off at school, and then started on my way downtown. I stopped at the ATM machine to get out some cash. The account we have here was still holding the funds for a few more days I guess, because hardly anything was showing available though there was sufficient amount in there. I then had to drive home to go and get my other bank card for the ATM for our bank in America. I try not to carry too many cards or cash if not needed, since there is always the real threat of being pick pocketed, moreso downtown than other places. So since Grace had already cried once when I left I didn't want to come back 30 minutes later to get a card and then have her cry again. Enock opened the gate and then Emma came out and we exchanged cards.

Back again to the same bank and then I was able to get the money out. We headed first to the Social welfare office to pay the fee to record the adoption forms. We should hear sometime of our court date.
After there we went to the first of 5 stops on the bulk shopping trip today.

National Milling Corporation.
I buy flour in bulk so we pulled in to the parking lot after the guard took down my name and license plate number. I had been there once before with my friend Janet but today she was not with me, it was just Enock and I. He helps carry things ( as you will see) stays with the car when there are things bought and also helps to navigate around downtown. And as I mentioned before it is best not to go alone.

So In order to buy flour in bulk- I go first to a sales office. I walk in and say hello and then order the flour. I then get a piece of paper and go to another window to pay at the cashier. Then I am sent back to the first window to show that I have paid and am given an order form and receipt. I then walk outside across a couple parking lots to another building. Once there I walk up the steps of the factory into another office building. There are a few men in the office there and so we greet one another and then I give the order form. The man asks why I need all this, am I going to sell the flour?
I told him no, I have a big family and use it to make pancakes, breads, muffins, cookies, scones, cakes…
He then asked if I had adopted some of the kids and then told him yes, one of them.
Then he said well I want to be in your family. Because of all the baking.

He then asked what is common to be asked sometimes, and that is what language am I learning or do I know.
Unfortunately not any really but I would like to learn Bemba. I then asked what tribe he is from and area of the country. He then told me which language was his language and then handed the form off to another man who then went to get the sack of flour.
He brought the sack in gave the from back to the man at the desk and he stamped it and then gave it to me and said a few more things and then I was on my way. The man carrying the sack of flour to the car. Enock was waiting, opened the trunk and then we got in to go to the next place.

Enock drove since he was more familiar with the area and it is more in the city market section of town.
We arrived at the warehouse that sells potatoes. I got out of the car, he reminded me of the price ( so I wouldn't be "taken") and then I started looking around at the people and line / queue that was forming.
A man that worked there saw me and came over to ask what type and how many bags.
He then took me to where all the potatoes are laying around on a concrete floor warehouse with lots of people all around looking over them and showed me what I was looking for.
I then walked back outside across from where the car was parked and Enock was waiting. I couldn't tell where the line was starting and ending at the window where you pay for the potatoes and get your order form. So the man said, one side was where the women wait and the other side was where the men wait.
Very interesting. SInce I was only ordering one bag, he told me to stand in the "mens side of the line behind another woman. A new man came up and told me I was in the wrong line and asked why I was there.
The woman then turned to ask how many bags of potatoes I wanted, and since it was only one I paid her and then she added one to her order of 10 bags.

Many people come there to buy the potatoes and then re sell them all over town.
I was just looking for an inexpensive bag of decent potatoes for our family.

After she got her order form I walked with her and Enock came out at that point and we went to get the potatoes. But since I was on her order I had to wait until she picked out the 10 bags that she thought were best and then I added my one bag. We then walk back toward the entrance and wait for the man at the front to check the order form and count the sacks of potatoes. Once that is cleared we take our sack and head back into the car. Onto the fruit!

I remembered how much I paid for a box of apples last time since when we were there with my friend they tried to charge me more being the muzungu. (white person). As soon as we drove up to the shop, there were about 10 guys sitting around in front and so I asked Enock to come in with me. Whatever was in the car would be fine at that point, I wanted to make sure I was going to be fine.

The price for a case of apples had increased from 120,000 kwachas to 165,000.
I talked to them for a little bit asking why the increase and they said they are no longer in season…
I reminded them I bought them last time at 120 and so asked for 130. Reluctantly they agreed.
I then asked about the oranges and they brought out a 15 kg sack and said it was 65,000.
I offered 50,000 since I was already buying apples from them. He said yes, we already gave you a good price on the apples. True enough, so I offered 60,000 and it was a deal.
While we were in the shop a man was walking around the car- the PRADO- touching it and saying, "Nice vehicle". He repeated it a few times until I just finally said, "Thanks." and got on with the fruit buying business. I walked out with a case of apples and sack of oranges.

Next stop was the wholesale shop.
The traffic was very heavy all morning long, since it was a monday. We arrived to where the shop is and couldn't find parking. Enock was going to stay with the vehicle and then hope to find a parking place when one came open.
I went in and started my "shopping".
Shopping is standing in front of the caged area looking up high at all the shelves and then telling one of about 20 guys working there behind the cage, all scurrying about, what things I wanted. If I was fully prepared I would have a detailed list of brands and sizes and how many. But I wasn't. I had a partial list that he took and brought things to the floor behind the counter and started my pile. Other guys are doing the same thing and the counter is always crowded with people giving and waiting for their orders. And piles all over the place. As I was standing there another guy that worked there was standing next to me catching boxes and then throwing them on.

One man behind the counter threw 2 or 3 boxes down for him. He then took 2 at a time threw them to another guy standing in the "store" ( and I say store but the place you all stand is no bigger than an average living room)
The third guy caught the box and set it down making piles on the floor in the store. Right behind where I was standing. (Personal space is not something practiced here)

I watched them working as I waited on the order. Finally it was completed and then it was counted out to the cashier and placed on the counter. At that point I phoned Enock in the car for him to come and help get the items. They are not packaged in boxes so you need to have someone stay with the things and another person take the things to the car. Enock came in and told me that the vehicle was clamped for parking in the wrong place. My first thought, "oh no…" and then he said, the man said if you pay 20,000 kwachas ( like 5 dollars) he will unclamp it rather than officially take it in for 450,000 (close to a hundred dollars).
I let out a sigh of frustration and then gave him the money to pay the collector.

He came back in got the items and loaded the vehicle. I walked out and the man was standing there in front of the car. He seemed friendly enough but I asked him, if he was with the vehicle the whole time I was in the store why was it clamped for wrong parking. He was just waiting with it.
he then told me that if he had been waiting in the drivers side it would have been ok. But for some reason he was waiting in the passengers side. Another sigh of frustration. The man gave me the receipt and then I briefly talked with Enock. We got in the car to drive to stop number 5.
It was pretty quiet and I had told him next time to stay in the side so if he needed to move the car he could.
Ended up he was sitting on the other side talking with a friend out the window while he was waiting for me.
He made a comment about it spoiling the day, and how the guy was just out to get us and get some money.
Which could be entirely true. There is much corruption in govt and down. As we drove away he pointed out another vehicle that had the tire clamped. I told him it was fine.

The Milk factory was the last stop. Parmalat.
I get butter, cheese, milk, cream and juice here.
You never know if they will have what I want in stock like mozzarella cheese or cheddar.
You walk into a small office/room and order and pay. You then get the order form and wait in another line.
It was rather long today, different people in there buying their items to re-sell. I waited quite awhile and then someone came to take my form and start collecting the items. It smells a bit like sour milk at times.
We gathered up the items they checked off the list and we loaded up to head for home. By the time we get back to the house I will have been gone over 5 hours.

As we drive out of the gate, the guard stops us to check the order form see that it is paid for and then opens the trunk and looks in it to see that what we have bought is paid for and nothing more has been added.

And THAT part reminds me of Sam's Club. As I push my "buggy" or "trolley" out of the store. At Blankenbaker The man in the wheelchair stops me, says hello and takes his orange highlighter and draws a line down the side saying that all the items are there. He turns it over and draws a smiley face on the back of it and shows it to one of the 5 (now 6) kids that have tagged along for the shopping trip that day. We have enjoyed the free samples along the way and I have found everything I needed in my one stop bulk shopping, in under an hour!
Sam's club--oh, how I do miss you.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


The Lizards are back. I thought I would show you a picture.
You never know when you will see them but at least each day they seem to "pop" up somewhere inside the house.

The other day I was opening curtains and there it was. Tonight I turned the light on in my room when I came in and it surprised me and started climbing up the wall above the window. Then it got on the ceiling.

Spiders are back too. (and Roaches even though we sprayed recently)
Katryn took a picture of this huge one we saw in Grace's room right by her crib. Honestly it is the biggest spider I have ever seen in Zambia, or anywhere for that matter. I called her in and then asked Enock to come in and get it. Maureen came in too and there was a discrepancy of whether or not they were "bad" spiders, meaning posionous. She thought they were and he said just some of the time. At any rate I was glad I saw it before I put her in the crib. It was hairy and everything.

Friday, October 8, 2010

To share or not to share

...That is the question.

In a family of 8 now, the issue of sharing is often on the front burner in our household. Whether it is sharing a room, a toy, a book, a blanket, food, space in the bathroom, anything you name. Sharing is not something we are naturally just prone to do.

Yesterday though I was faced with my own, "sharing dilemma". It's not just for the kids, but all of us.

Here is what happened.
We had an extremely full day, starting at 7:30 taking the kids to school and going downhill from there. Errands and stops all over the place with the 4 younger kids in tow. Waiting and waiting and being disappointed and things as usual not working out like they should. We finally got home just in time to grab some lunch, at most 45 minutes, before needing to head out to pick up the kids from school and then come back drop them off and take Kat and Maureen out to near Kabanana and drop them off. I was in the house at most 5 minutes and then Kat came in to ask if I had anything for an allergic reaction.
Richard ( maureen's 10 yr. old son who is currently living on the property with her) had been stung by a bee and was developing a rash.

Here is the my heart on the matter.
A bit bothered by the fact that now I need to figure out what to do for this boy and how to help because his mom was gone for the day.
I opened my hall closet where I keep medicine and started looking through the bottles I have.
I knew what he needed. Benadryl.

I also knew that I only had 3/4 of one bottle of children's benadryl.
Back home, at times we would go through Benadryl during allergy season like it was Kool- Aid. Honestly it is great stuff that works really well for my kids.
But for some reason there was a big ban on bringing this medicine into the country. It is illegal. So I am not sure where this one bottle came from but when I was packing up things for our shipment to come over, I intentionally did not pack it though I really wanted to. I packed several bottles of other medicines, but not Benadryl.

And here I was standing in front of the bottle literally holding it in my hand and feeling torn. What if my kids need this sometime? And I will already have less because I am sharing it now…

Then I think back to just a couple weeks ago when Richard had another reaction and some cream was found and that was used up as well. Then I think of the broken window from last week when he hit a baseball into it, playing with Caleb. And the water storage tower that just a few days ago he encouraged Jackson to climb up on. And the general mischief that seems to come when he is around.

And my mind focuses again in on this bottle of Benadryl. I take it and start walking to the kitchen and said to Kat, "This is when it is hard".

Something as simple as sharing medicine with a sick child. And it becomes hard. Hard because I think, "well what about my kids…"

And then I think the Lord brings to mind, where is my trust?
Is it in a bottle of Benadryl? How ridiculous.
Is it in being so prepared, that everything I can think of is on hand and now none of the kids will get sick?
That too is ridiculous. The last 5 months here have proven that is not the case with both Emma and Jackson being hospitalized.

If my trust was not entirely and completely in The Lord, then I would not be here.
If my chief concern was "what about my kids" and not "what about what the Lord is clearly laying out for us to do" and I know He loves my kids more than I do…. and "what about His name being proclaimed to the ends of the earth" then I honestly know I would still be sitting on my comfortable porch overlooking beautiful rolling hills in my Ole Kentucky home. I would be watching my children running around laughing and playing in the nice green grass ( as opposed to the dusty brown here ) and that is where I might be tempted to have my "security and trust".

God is faithful to remind me of these things, and help me keep my focus.
Sharing is hard stuff sometimes.
But I am thankful God uses things like Benadryl.

( In case you were wondering, one dose of it and Richard was fine.--It is great stuff!)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Orphanage visit

Last week we visited the orphanage that I used to go to weekly before we started the process to visit and adopt Grace.
I have never asked about taking pictures because I just figured that was not allowed.

Rick asked me if he could so I asked one of the workers and they said it was ok.
He was able to get several pictures and video footage, before one of the head ladies came over to tell me that just a few pictures is what they wanted and not alot.

I wish everyone could visit this orphanage. The kids are craving attention and cry when you put them down after being held.
It is always good and hard at the same time when I go there. Many times I have to remind myself when leaving, this is what the Lord talks about as pure religion. I was telling one of my girls that once as we were leaving and though hard, it is good to be there.

Here are some pictures of the kids.

Where the toddlers eat their meals

This little boy reminded me of the little guy Akim that died.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pastor Jim

Pastor Jim Savastio left this morning to fly home.
We had a great time with him and were encouraged by his visit.
He has been "our pastor" for the last 14 years so it was more than just another lecturer coming to teach at the college.
We laughed alot and stayed up late talking and visiting with one another, catching up on how different friends in the church are doing and he was checking on us to make sure how we were really doing as well.
The kids also enjoyed having him here and it was especially neat to have him meet Grace. She took a liking to him and would go over to him and sit with him occasionally. And the little boys would "discuss" whose turn it was to sit next to him at the meals.

The Lord blessed our time together!

Playing with Jackson (aka Action as Jim refers to him)

Board Books

Thursday I took Rick , Emma and her friend Graceann to the orphanage where our Grace is from.

One of the things I noticed when we were there visiting her was that the kids often are in the "classroom" in the afternoons and in the living room on the weekends with absolutely nothing to do or play with. I thought it would be great if they could have board books to look at. The first evening we met Grace all the kids were sharing a couple paper books and they were ripped to shreds within the short time we were there.

I also knew that the kids often did not wear underwear or if they did it was so old and ratty or 4 sizes too big for them. (Really).

So several weeks ago a friend from our home church was wanting to send something for Emma's birthday and asked if there was anything they could send for the orphans or any help needed. I knew exactly what would be great and wanted to be able to give this gift to the other kids at the orphanage who are still there, in the fight for themselves with no one coming to take them home.

Several people donated books and underwear for the little ones. It was shipped over here and we finally were able to deliver them on Thursday.
It was a delight. After we passed out the books and sat reading them, and several wet kids climbed up on my lap, I decided to go to the office that the big bag of underwear was sitting in and start putting them on the kids. So Rick went and Emma too and we slowly got each kid in the room a pair of new underwear. We don't have pictures of that! I was slowly getting around to a few kids at a time and then all of a sudden there was a rush and all the older toddlers started undressing at the same time to get the new underwear. One boy even found the package and put a pair on his head!
It got a little chaotic but once everyone had their own pair it settled down a bit.

Thank you to our home church RBC of Louisville, for collecting and sending these things for the children.
They were so happy and I wish all those that gave could have been there to read the book you bought to the kids.

Here are the pictures