Monday, May 30, 2011

2 week holiday

We have 2 boys from Kabanana Patrick and Protasho staying with us for 2 weeks. This is a "holiday" for them, away from their home and an exteded time of schooling with Kat and crash course in English. (We don't speak Nyanja!)

Katryn recently mentioned these boys on her blog. These are the ones she tutors 3 times a week. Protasho is 14 and did not even know how to read or write or speak English. Patrick is 11. Kat is doing a great job teaching them and they are doing very well learning.

Their mom is a drunk, works at a bar and frequently brings men home with her.
Most recently, they had moved to a one room place and so now on occasion she kicks the boys out at night to sleep outside, without their blankets that we bought and gave to them, so that she can use them and entertain her men.

It is cold here at night now and to think of these boys being alone outside because of their mother's treatment of them is just not acceptable. She has been known also to leave and go out of town for a few weeks and leave them along at home without any food.

We had been thinking of occasionally having the sibling groups from different families of the kids we sponsor to come stay with us over a weekend or for a holiday so they can be part of a family and see how parents, siblings, etc are to interact with each other. We have a bedroom in the little house outside that we can use for hosting kids when we need to.

So we have these boys here for 2 weeks. We asked the mom for permission to have them come stay with us and she agreed.
So after this time, they will go back home. Then maybe later we will ask again and see if they can stay with someone else even, and we hope over time the mother gets used to the idea of them being gone and then will allow them to move into a more suitable living arrangements.

As James and I talked about them coming, I was concerned that they would be here 2 weeks, and then it would be harder for them to go home.
-To go from sleeping in a warm bed, to no bed.
(Can you imagine what it would be like at 11 and 14 to put on new pajamas and get under the covers and sleep in a bed for the very first time?)
-Eating 3 meals a day and snacks, back to maybe eating one meal a day.
-Having clean clothes to wear and being able to bathe properly to wearing the same dirty clothes for a week or more.
-Sitting down with the family to eat dinner, read the bible and pray together, reading books before bed and getting "tucked in", back to wandering around at night alone.

So what do you do?
I don't know.
We have similar problems with other kids we sponsor. What they need most is to get out from the home environments they are in and be in a more stable setting.
But whether the best option or not, we decided to give them a "break".
A "holiday" with a family.

New clothes for church

Patrick being silly

Brushing teeth

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Just a few

There are so many needy kids all around us.
We can not help all of them, we can not even help most of them, but we can help a few. We know that God brings certain people along our path and it is those that we then have a choice to help or not.

Saturday a little boy Chanda 11 yrs. old knocked at our gate begging for food. We gathered some things and Ian handed it to him. Ian told me he had a huge smile when he saw the eggs.
Suunday we drove home from church and the little boy was sitting at the gate. Filthy in rags with no shoes. We let him come in to the yard and play football for a bit with the kids. I talked to him a little and found out he had not had breakfast so I gave him something to eat and a glass of milk. We gathered eggplants from the garden and then I sent him home with that and some rice. I told him to come back on Thursday to play if he wanted.

Today he came with his brother/cousin Immanuel who is 13 yrs. old and looks about 8 yrs.
Here is their story. It has become a familiar one.
The 2 boys stay with their grandmother. Their mothers live in Kapiri and works on a farm. The grandmother owns her own 2 room place and has no income. She was bitten by a snake and now has to walk with crutches and has been immobilized in some form due to the snake bite. The 2 boys go around during the days begging for food and piece work.
Chanda's mother left one day when he was out playing and took his sister ( now 6 yrs.) along with her to go work on a farm in Kapiri. She has never come back.
Chanda has Never been to school.

Immanuel has been to school but stopped at grade 5. They have an uncle that lives in the same area that brings some food over when he is able.

I had Enock translate for me today and was able to find out all these things.
They had not eaten at all today either ( by 3:00) so I made tham a Peanut Butter sandwich gave them a banana and milk and a cookie. They played awhile with the boys outside while I looked for some clothes to give them.

I found 2 pairs of Ian's sandals that he had outgrown, and was able to get a clean pair of clothes with underwear for each of them. Then I took them to the shower room outside and explained about using the shampoo for the hair and opened a new bar of soap and gave them a washcloth and said wash really good.

I can only imagine how good that must feel when you are so very dirty.

They took a really long time in the shower! They were in there laughing and I just heard the water going and going. Ian knocked on the door a few times to ask if they were done.
Finally after quite a long time the boy stuck his head out the window and yelled DONE!
So I said ok, now dry off and made the motions of patting my arms with a towel and then pretended to put on trousers. They got the idea.

They put their clothes on and came out and I helped them adjust the waist band so it fit better.
Then I gave them each a tooth brush and little tube of toothpaste and brought them to the sink and explained about brushing. They brushed and brushed. Then I said spit. They didn't understand so then I made the noise, ( oh so ladylike! ha) and then they spit. Immanuel had been holding it all in for quite awhile.

Then Chanda rinsed his off and put toothpaste on again and started again. I laughed and explained that you only need to do it once. Then we put their toothbrushes in a bag and their dirty clothes and extra pair of underpants.
I remembered how everyone uses a lot of lotion here so gave them some lotion and they lathered that all over them even their heads.
When they finished I took them to the mirror and showed them how handsome they looked!

They looked like different kids.

They left with a bag of tomatoes and bread and I told them to come back on Wednesday and maybe we could have some piece work for them to do.

I would love to be able to get both of these boys into school. They live nearby and I will be praying about how to help these kids. Enock made the comment to me that this is where the street kids come from.
These very boys just like many of "our boys" in Kabanana, are prime "candidates" for boys that end up on the street. Stealing, doing drugs, just trying to survive.

What if we could intercept that. Not for all of them, not even for many of them. But just for a few. We could be the ones that stand in between them and the streets.

(Chanda age 11, Immanuel age 13)

Monday, May 23, 2011

CMC Hostels Project

Here are the latest pictures of the CMC Hostels Project.
They are hopeful that by the next module in July they will be ready to be used by the pastors when they come for the class.
This will be a great help to the church as the congregation is small and it has become quite a challenge to host 30+ men for a week every quarter.
It will also give the pastors more time together for fellowship and encouragement during the week!

CMC April 2011 Module

Pastor Alan Dunn from New Jersey and Pastor Jeremy Walker from England came to teach the April Module in the Copperbelt.

The class was the largest one yet, and things went very well.
This was the last class for the students that started into the college 4 years ago. They will write their final comprehensive exam in September and then there should be a graduation in the spring of next year.

Jeremy teaching

Alan teaching

Each Lecturer is given an appreciation gift. It usually is a chitenge shirt, and here I think maybe some sandals were given for the wife as well. (Least I hope Pastor Dunn isn't walking around in those this summer, they look just like a beaded pair I have!)

Alan Dunn, Kabwe Kabwe and Jeremy Walker

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Orphan Work

Working with the orphans is an emotionally challenging job . Recently the needs, and difficulties of our kids have increased and seem to be overwhelming. One of the women (now employed in the orphan ministry) Katryn Belke wrote a blog post about some of the children we are working with in Kabanana and their stories.

Here is the link:

(well I wasn't able to link it I don't know why) here is the web address then.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Driving through Choma

Driving back from Livingstone we passed through Choma where there was a large gathering of people awaiting someone important. Kids were climbed up on buildings and electric towers to get a good view. We stopped to ask one boy and he said the President is coming. We asked if it was RB (President Rupiah Banda) and he said no it's HH. He is the leader of the opposition party that is running to become president in the election. People were lined up all along the road and some even dressed in tribal wear and carrying spears.

As we were driving just outside of Choma we saw a motorcade of vehicles, with loudspeakers and then a fancy mercedes benz and we figured we had just passed HH himself!

Then as we got closer to Lusaka we saw something I have not seen yet in Zambia, but of course it was not surprising. When you have seen Cow heads being unloaded from a car trunk into a wheelbarrow to sell in Chipata, I don't think much more could surprise me. But this was like a little farm on wheels.
A blue mini bus was towing a trailer and at first I just saw the chicken on top. Then as we drove past ( and the picture is bad from snapping it through the window) I saw not only did they have chicken, but also pigs and goats and ducks! all in this trailer attached to the mini bus.

Then as we were leaving Victoria Falls, I took a picture of the Zesco station.
If you look at the skyline on the right you will see 3 tall trees that "blend in" with the other trees and scenery.
This is the first time I have seen this in Zambia, where they created the electric towers to look like trees.
James said they do that in Namibia. I am sure it has everything to do with the fact that alot of important and wealthy people fly into Zambia to see Victoria Falls and they want everything to look nice. It did make it much nicer, especially as it is right across from where you pull out of the park.

Unfortunately though as we left the beauty of the falls and drove past where we had pulled off earlier another day to see the river before it goes into the falls we saw a group of 3 young people standing on top of the picnic table chucking empty glass beer bottles into the river. They were laughing hysterically and watching as each one made its way out into the middle of the river. We drove past and had we not been soaking wet I probably would have gotten out of the car but as it was I just rolled down my window and said, "What? " "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? " Why?

I am sure the why was...because its cool and we are young and acting foolish. Why not? ( and as a side note I don't think my getting out of the car would have mattered anyway and really what more could I have said? Except maybe, hey! this is your own country, why are you trashing it like that? )

Since my question stopped them in mid air holding a bottle to throw in they just stared at me for a minute I gave them a look like "come on!" Then they just started laughing and waiting for us to leave. Maybe they thought it was even cool since they were throwing Mosi bottles in. Who knows. But it was a bit disappointing coming from the beauty we saw and then to see just a few minutes later people throwing trash into the falls.

I know this happens back home alot and everywhere. It just seems like littering is so common here. I have been with friends and they finish a drink and just roll down the window and throw the bottle on the ground. You will be driving behind a bus and people are just throwing stuff out the window. Still not quite used to it and the thing is that everywhere you walk there is trash on the ground. Zambia is a pretty country if people took better care of it it would be even nicer. Every day on the way to school we drive past a area with nice trees and a big sign, Don't litter written in both English and Nyanja. Thing is its the biggest trash pile I have seen outside of the compounds.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Safari in Livingstone

While we were in Livingstone we went on a game drive.
We saw a few animals, the usual monkeys, baboons ( Grace's first full sentence...Momma I see a babbon!- with Emma's prompting) few zebras, giraffe, impalas, warthogs, wildebeats, one elephant from a distance, and a water monitor lizard.

The best part though was getting to see one of the only 7 rhinos in Zambia.
They are guarded and we asked about seeing them so a guard hopped in our vehicle and we drove out and then had to get out of the car and walk quietly in a single line out to see the rhino. it was sleeping under the tree. Caleb said it was scary!
I thought it was pretty cool.

The kids looking at the rhino. It is in the distance under the tree.

Manda Hill Day

I took Grace with me this morning to Manda Hill ( the most western shopping center in Zambia ) to do some shopping.

Several little interesting things happened so I thought, hey why not blog about it since I havent done something on the every day stuff in a while.

These are just random observations, happenings, conversations from the day.

A few related to Gracie. Beyond the normal stares, smiles, surprised looks as they see her in a chitenge on my back.

We went to check our parcels at the counter and the guy there was asking about Grace. Whose was she, he didn't believe me when I said she was mine. So then after I explained we adopted her he gave the response that I have heard many times...Well you should adopt me! Why didn't you adopt me? . I ignored it a minute then he asked again and finally I said, well you were not sitting crying in an orphanage for a family...were you? Then when I came back out to retrieve the parcels he asked again, so when are you adopting me. I told him he looked like he was doing quite well and even had a job, to which he replied "well looks can be deceiving sometimes..."

Then in the store another woman stopped me to ask who she was, she was nice about it and "approved" in her own way and asked me a few questions. It really seems more strange and unusual for a white person living in Africa to adopt a black child than it is to see a white family with a truly African child in America.

Then as we were checking out at the register the lady bagging the groceries was very friendly talking to Grace and me and then at one point said, "You are a missionary, right? " I think maybe muzungu woman + black daughter + living in Zambia = Missionary ??? Not sure, just a guess on her thinking.

It has started getting cooler here which is really nice. But you see some strange combinations. A young woman with a sleeveless tank top type of shirt and she was wearing a fleece scarf, not just for decoration but it was tight around her neck keeping that part of her warm.

In Shoprite a young muzungu lady telling her mother, (read it with an attitude) "uh...They just don't have that great of a selection of Cat food/treats here." - to which I thought, yeah I'm just amazed that they have a whole aisle of food/ things devoted to dogs and cats. I mean we are in Africa, I don't know hardly any Africans that have cats and dogs in their house for that matter.

And truth be told, I am a cat hater.
You either love them or hate them and now that I am far enough away from any friends that have cats I can say that without anyone getting upset at me. (Hopefully)
So I was feeling no sympathy what so ever for her little fluffy not having the creme dela creme cat treats!

But for me, it was a great day at Shoprite. I found frozen blueberries again! It has been a year since I last saw them there. So we had run out, though just yesterday a friend sent us 2 big bags of dried blueberries so that was great!
I stocked up on the frozen ones and we are back in the blueberry business. muffins, pies, cakes...smoothies, in our yogurt.
I took about half of these (14 boxes) leaving some for others.( and I couldn't afford to buy all of them)

Then every few months or so they have a certain juice "secrets of the Valley" that is our most favorite juice here. It doesn't seem to stay long but they had that as well today. I took the last four they had.

The only disappointment for the day was I saw this chip plate for sale, with a picture of tortilla chips on it, only to be reminded that no store in Zambia sells real tortilla chips. And that is a bummer...

Then Grace and I got lunch and while I was finishing eating, a little boy sitting at a table across the way from us threw up all over. Poor guy. Poor parents. (been there more times than I would like to remember)
poor nandos worker that had to clean it up. Poor customers...who couldn't necessarily finish their lunch...well... ok... I think it was just me, because everyone else seemed clueless, including Grace who happily finished the rest of my french fries because I couldn't.

So that was our morning!

Victoria Falls

Last week we took a much needed family break to go and see Victoria Falls.
With the rainy season almost ending this was a great time to see it and it really was awesome!

The smoke that thunders. What the Falls are referred to sometimes.
From a far distance the mist rising actually looks like smoke

This was an awesome view, the falls are in the back distance and you can see the mist rising and the water falling between the two ridges.

We walked around on a path to see them from the distance. We were up really high and no guard rails, so the 3 older kids all had a "buddy" that they had to hold on to no matter what!

In the back is the bridge we walked over close to the falls.

My most favorite part was walking across the bridge. The mist and water coming off the falls was like walking through a downpour! It was so fun. The first day I took the 4 kids while James stayed with the two young ones. I think I loved it so much because we were all just laughing and screaming together!

but then the second day we all went together and came back across, soaked!

Looking at falls

Seeing a double rainbow was pretty neat

Caleb told James this was his most favorite vacation. Great ! Especially since we were there on his birthday.
The 4 older kids hiked down to the bottom of the falls at the boiling pot where it all swirls together. James said Caleb was the first one back up when they finished the hike.