Monday, December 6, 2010

Last Days in Zambia and Africa

So I know that it has been quite some time since I have written! To that I apologize! We have been crazy busy with travelling/ visiting villages and just learning from the awesome missionaries that we have been living with! So here is the long anticipated update on my last 2 weeks in Africa. I know have the time to write since I currently have a 7 hours lay-over in Nairobi, Kenya.
November 13- Today, we went and visited the International School in Mwanza, Tanzania. Some of the missionary kids attend this school and it follows the British curriculum. I was very much impressed with the school and all that they had to offer. They even had a swimming pool and swimming classes! I liked learning about that! Emily Miller was saying how in her son Judah’s class, he is exposed to so many different ethnicities and cultures. She said that his class of 20 was: about ½ Tanzanian-Indian and then a lot of other ethnicities that I cannot remember because there are so many. I was also very surprised to see how many Muslims there were while we were driving around the town. I don’t know why but I just did not think of there being such a heavy Islamic influence in East Africa. I guess its just because in Zambia, there is not so much of that there and so I just assumed that it would be in East Africa.
November 14- We packed up our bags and headed out to a village a little over an hours drive away. We attended church with them and then shared in MANY, MANY meals. That is one thing that the Africans do no matter what: they always make sure their guests have PLENTY to eat. We ate a meal at around 3 in the afternoon with them and then our group (Shelby, Taylor, Jessica, Amanda, Judah, Jason and I) all split up into 3 groups and headed for the homes we were to stay in that night. Shelby, Taylor and I were in the same house and stayed with an elder in the church named Josephat. He is a very sweet man and made sure we felt extremely welcomed. It was very difficult to communicate because we couldn’t speak and Swahili or the local language, Sukuma, and he and his family spoke little to no English. We were taken away one by one and directed towards the bath hut where we took a “shower” which was just splashing water onto ourselves from a bowl of water. Thankfully, Jason told us that it was very taboo to leave water in the bowl and if they came in after you and saw that there was water left, they might send you back with someone to teach you how to bathe in order to make sure you get cleaned. It is a very weird feeling to somewhat waste water in a place where water is such a precious commodity. After all three of us were clean, we sat around and played with the children and took pictures with them. We then ate dinner at around 8:30 and then went to bed. Josephat and his wife gave up their bed for the three of us. That was a very humbling experience since that meant that him and his wife and the SIX children all slept in their living room and the childrens room. Now in my saying living room and bedroom, you may get the sense that this house was big. Quite the contrary. The house was probably 20 feet by 10 feet. It was extremely small and was divided into 3 separate rooms. Needless to say, we were treated like royalty. They even put up the mosquito net in their room for us and proceeded to tuck us into it. It was the sweetest gesture. We did not sleep very well at all the night between the three of us being on a full bed, tossing and turning and the heat. But we woke up to a beautiful sunrise.
November 15- Time in Africa does NOT exist. We were picked up by Jason at 9 am and then left around 10 for the other girls. Well, we didn’t leave the house they stayed until after 11 and then had to go visit another man named John who was a strong Christian man in the village. Well, we got there to discover that good ole John had gone to the clinic that morning. We sat around under a mango tree and spoke to the others there at his house and enjoyed a couple of mangos each. Around 12:45, John comes riding up on his bike. We knew we were in for the long haul. We had 2 more meals before we left at 4pm.
November 16- We were privileged to be able to tour the hospital in Mwanza. The hospital is 10 floors high and we visited several of them. Most of our time visiting was spent in the pediatric ward. We saw many cases of severe burns along with cases of malnutrition. We also saw an albino girl with a burn on her scalp. Albinos here in Africa are seen as evil but are also taken advantage of by witch doctors. Some witch doctors will tell a person that in order to be cured of their HIV/AIDS, they need to get a limb of an albino and that will cure them of the disease. Most of the albinos end up bleeding to death. We went out to dinner at a very nice restraunt on the banks of Lake Victoria and ate some Indian food. We also reunited with the rest of our group who had gone to Geita which is about 2 hours away. It was so good to finally be back with them and we really realized how much of a little family we had become since we missed everyone so much in just a couple of days! Christmas break is going to be so weird without my HIZ group and my group of girls here that I have gotten super close with.
November 17- November 18- We travelled to the Serengeti desert for our safari. We saw many, many animals and were told that we had a very good safari since we were able to see cheetahs, leopards and lions! We were told that seeing all of those on one safari is extremely rare! We stayed at this super nice resort. We all split up into twos and each pair had their own lodge overlooking the desert from a bluff. This was the nicest place that I have ever stayed at! Emily and I had a king sized bed and a full sized bed in our tent/lodge. We also had a couch and two decks. One deck was off the side of our bathroom and had a tub out there! We each were able to enjoy a nice, hot bubble bath while watching the sun set over the desert. I will have to post pictures of how marvelous this place was!
November 20- WE ARE IN UGANDA!!!! My dream of coming to Uganda one day has finally come true. It is such a beautiful country filled with plenty of farmland and hills. We drove to Jinja and met up with the missionary there, Bobby Garner. He is a Harding graduate and has lived in Jinja for about 2 years now with his wife. His wife, Candace, teaches children of another missionary here who is Katie Davis! I have been following Katies blog,, for over 2 years now so it was really cool to find out that I was in the exact place where she lives!

November 21- We went to church at Jinja Church of Christ and it was probably one of the best/lively church services that I have been to while here in Africa. The lady next to me was so happy to worship and had the biggest smile on her face the whole time. After church, we were encouraged to find some people to take out for lunch. Emily, Kayleigh and I invited Enoch and his sister, Esther, out for lunch. We walked probably close to a mile to this place called Surgios Pizzeria for lunch. We were able to eat pizza, listen to Hillsong, fellowship and overlook Lake Victoria. It was such a nice time and it was so nice to be able to sit and talk to Enoch. He is very open about his life and we were able to ask him about the war in Uganda. He informed us that the LRA had not reached the southern part of Uganda that we were in or if it had, he didn’t remember it since he is only 18 years old.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Zambia to Tanzania

November 11/12- We left Namwianga today. We had a prayer right before we left and Webster and some of our tutors showed up. Webster stood between Callie and me and just held our hands during the prayer. Hand holding in Zambia shows friendship and it touched Callie and me so much that Webster would purposefully place himself in-between us. As we were driving away, he just waved and blew us kisses. Talk about choking down the tears. We were all such a wreck while leaving. We headed to Livingstone after departing from Nam. In Livingstone, we ate at this fabulous Italian restraint called Olga’s. Some of us had eaten there before and they have some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. Who knew I would have to travel all the way to Africa to have a fantastic pizza? We caught our flight from Zambia to Joburg and all endured a 9 hours layover in the Joburg airport. There was not a whole lot to do but we found ways to entertain ourselves. We then caught our other flight right around 1 am to Nairobi, Kenya and flew out of Kenya at 8 am. We arrived in Tanzania shortly after 10. We flew right over Lake Victoria and I didn’t realize how massive it was! The lake is ginormous. We met the missionaries that we are staying with and had lunch with them. I am staying with the team in Mwanza and we met the Millers today. They graduated from Lipscomb and have 3 children. They are so wonderful and sweet. I have really enjoyed being able to see them work in the community since I have been here. They are fluent in Swahili which is something that we have not been able to see a missionary do since we have been in Africa. They can usually speak bits and pieces but carrying on a whole conversation is another thing. Us girls went to a woman’s prayer meeting in a village for the afternoon. We were able to sing along with them and study the Bible with them. All of the missionaries here are fluent and so Marissa Bailey and Emily Miller both translated for us so that we knew what was going on.

here comes goodbye

November 10- We left the havens for the last time today and it was so hard to say goodbye. Saying goodbye on mission trips is always so hard because the possibility of you even seeing that particular person in this life is very slim. I hated putting Sam down for the last time. He rarely cried whenever I would put him down but of course he decided to cry today. I just could not stop the tears at that point. I hugged one of the aunties, Loveness, and she began to cry. After all of the farewells were said, we piled in the cruiser and then we all began to cry again. It sure did not help when Jason, George, Luke, Benja and Shane all started running after the cruiser. We all lost it. Namwianga had become our home. The people had become our family. I honestly believe that leaving Namwianga was harder than leaving my parents 3 short months ago (sorry Mom and Dad!). Im going to miss Namwianga so much and I hope that I can one day come back and see how everyone and everyone is. That night, we had to say our last goodnight to Webster, our nightguard, who had become like a big brother to us. My whole house had gotten so close to him and I value his friendship so much. I will surely miss him. We had gathered some of our things that we were planning on leaving for him and his family and put them into a bag. When we brought it out to him, he had to walk away and excuse himself to gather himself. Well, that started all of our tear-works yet again. We could not keep ourselves together. Kristen and I gave him our Bibles for him and his wife to read and practice their English (Webster is currently in school). He wanted to pray with us and so we went inside and he prayed for us. All you could hear was his quiet voice and our sniffles. It was such a heartfelt prayer yet so simple. I already miss him and wish that he could come live in America with all of us and continue to be our good friend.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


When did it turn into November? Can someone please tell me this? Is it true that I really leave THIS MONTH? I am not ready for this adventure to end. I fall more and more in love with the children here every day that I am up at the havens. Every time that I hold a child or rock them to sleep, I love Namwianga more. I have started referring to Sam as my son which is not so good seeing as I’m leaving in a week and a half but I think it describes how I feel about him perfectly. I would love it if I could just bring him back with me.
We had our last nursing test today before our final next week. I did not do as well as I was hoping but I still have an A so far in the class and that’s really all that matters, right? I have been trying to convince the directors that we should get graded on how much we interact with the children, culture and by how much Nsima we eat (I think if this was the case, I would love to learn nsima) but so far Ba Shawn, aka Bash, hasn’t responded to the idea that we have placed before him.

For our nursing class, we had to prepare a presentation for ¼ of our grade. My group presented to the havens on dehydration and nutrition. We decided that doing this presentation to the aunties would be the most beneficial since a lot of the kids are dehydrated up there. We also thought it would be important to discuss how children need well balanced meals and what they should feed them out of what they have already.

We had our last clinic devo tonight. I will miss going up there so much and being teaching the bible class. The children are so sweet and really love the Lord. They have passages that they recite and there was a 4 year old who recited a passage about 5 verses long. I was so impressed. They had a prayer for us and formed a greeting line. I couldn’t help but feeling so touched as they prayed for the Lord to bless us and keep us safe as we travelled back. I’m going to miss Namwianga so much and honestly, I think leaving here will be so hard. It’s become my home.

We had a very productive day. We went to the market to buy all of our ingredients and we learned how to cook a traditional Zambian meal which consisted of: eggs, nsima, rape, tomatoes and okra. It was so much fun to sit around and learn from the girls. They had so much fun teaching us how to cook their food. We then had a “Twalumba” party for all of our workers. It was so much fun but also extremely bittersweet because our time here is drawing to an end. We all feel it but yet we are all trying to avoid it because we don’t want it to end.

Halloween Weekend

Friday was so much fun! We had our last nursing class (praise!) and then went up to the havens. It also rained Friday afternoon so we got to enjoy the sound of that on the tin roofs. Friday night we had our tutors over to help us translate skits into that we were doing for chapel on November 3rd. After translating into Tonga, we all shared a meal and then we had a karaoke night! It was so much fun! We all laughed so much and Zach and Shelby rapped to "Thug Story" by Taylor Swift aka TSwizzle. All of the girls in my house karaoked to "Ridin Solo" because we are always walking around the house singing it and working out to it! It was a great moment for the Estes house girls.

There is a place about 7 kilometers behind Eric’s House called The Rock. It is one of Roy Merritts favorite places. The Merritts invited all of us out for a night of fellowship and food. WE had steak, chicken, sausage and other delicious foods. We were under the stars and sang songs for close to an hour. I had George, one of the Eric House boys, sitting in my lap and he ended up falling asleep on me. He was in a rare form- he was actually sweet. Lately he has been acting up and being mean but he was a sweet boy that night.

I went on outreach to a village about 30 kms away called RR (named for the railroad tracks about 20 kms from the actual place). We ate a meal with them and it was so nice because we were able to serve ourselves so we didn’t get heaping piles of nsima. We were blessed with another rain in the afternoon. I love watching the storms roll in here. You can see the lightening miles (or kilometers) away. We have gotten so funny when it rains. We lie in our beds and enjoy the sound on our tin roof and then we get tired of laying around so we all file outside to play in it. Who knows what kind of parasites we could possibly be contracting by playing in the mud.
Since it was Halloween, we went trick-or-treating around in our house. We had a study break and ate oreos and peanut butter! It was the best Halloween in the world. It’s so nice to be able to have things like that from home especially in a stressful time when we are cramming for our exams. Emily had been saving the Oreos for about a month and was waiting for the perfect time to break them out.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I went over to the George Benson dorms the other night to hang out and talk to some of the college girls. I went into my friend Chipo’s room and some of us American girls just sat down and talked with her for about an hour or so. She made a statement about a particular lotion that her roommate was using that was sitting out on the desk. She said that she really did not like the lotion at all. One of us asked her why she disliked it so much. She said that she didn’t like it because it lightened the skin. She said that in Africa, lighter skin is seen as more beautiful. Chipo said how she wished girls here loved their skin color the way she does and embrace the way that God made them. She asked us if we ever used that kind of lotion and we said that we had not. She asked us if we liked light skin and we explained to her that in America we have lotions that make someone skin darker instead of lighter. She kept asking us questions like why we would want darker skin when our skin is already so beautiful and shouldn’t we be okay with the skin we have already. We tried to explain to her about how the media in America says that darker skin is more beautiful than lighter skin and how so many girls and boys have bought into that lie that has been fed to us.
This really made me think about the different value that people put on beauty worldwide. In Africa, lighter skin is deemed more beautiful while in America, the more tan the skin is the more it is seen as beautiful. Another difference is that in America, the skinnier a person is the more “beautiful” that person is. In most of the world, it is not this way but actually quite different. In the rest of the world, the bigger a person is, the more beautiful and valuable they are seen.
We also taught her the game of “nose goes”. She loved it and wanted to play it while we were there. She asked us what languages we knew and so we taught her some Spanish and any other language that we knew. I taught her a couple of phrases in French and Kristen taught her some Swahili. She told us that “jambo” which mean hello in Swahili means a garden hoe in Chitonga. She is such a sweet girl and so easy to talk to. I hope to go spend more and more time with her in the last 2.5 weeks that we are here.

We just lost another baby today. Trey died tonight around 5ish. Im so tired of being so upset over babies dying that Ive made myself so numb to death. I hate being this way because I know it is not good for me to keep everything bottled up but im so tired of being so heartbroken and feeling that no matter what we do, its not enough.
Trey began getting ill really on October 4th. We had to put a feeding tube in because he wouldn’t eat. He got better and gained back the weight back that he lost and then some. We went to NW Zambia and when we came back, he looked a lot better. He was gaining weight but then last week, he started looking really bad again. He was barely taking a bottle, having diarrhea every couple of minutes and therefore was extremely dehydrated and wasn’t getting much from his bottle. Yesterday, he started expending more energy eating than he was actually getting from the bottle. He was put on another feeding tube yesterday afternoon around 4. He died today.
I don’t know what to feel anymore. Im tired of the babies dying but Im at a point where its so much easier to just not feel the hurt. I don’t want to be numb. I want to be able to grieve in the correct way for all these babies.
We have another baby, Nathan, who we are pretty sure has malaria. He is so sick and was put on an IV tonight to make sure he is getting electrolytes because he is so dehydrated. He is at the Megans house tonight because Ba Janice and Dr Black were not comfortable with leaving him up at the havens over night. I just laid by him tonight while he was falling asleep. I just cant help thinking about all that these little babies could be when they grow up and that they wont be able to have a full life. He has already battled measles and TB this year and is now trying to battle malaria. He is a fighter. Im praying that he continues to fight, no matter what.
We found out today that another baby, Lincoln, is HIV+. Being HIV+, there is a great chance that he will not reach his 5th birthday.

I went up to the basic school today with Natalie, Emily and Shelby. We were walked in and the teachers said "they are all yours" and left!!
Natalie and I taught a class together and she taught about flowers since that was what our art project was for the day. She went over the different parts and functions of the plant and what it needs to survive. We then made tissue paper and pipe cleaner flowers and the kids loved it! I was in charge of teaching math so we covered addition, subtraction, multiplication and long division. I also went over different shapes such as a square, rectangle, hexagon, pentagon and a triangle and how you can identify each one. The last thing we did was cover fractions and the kids understood it very well! At the end, we had them clean up the room and then I handed out some pencils that my mom had sent me! They were so excited to get new pencils! After that, we walked over to Erics House and then to the havens. We sat around and held babies for about 45 minutes. We had our traditional meal for lunch. Ive decided that im just not a big fan of nsmia. I hate having to eat it. I went on outreach this weekend and we were fed nsmia. They gave up a HUGE portion of it and you have to eat it. We were being watched and so we had to eat it. We were imagining it was other foods such as: french fries, cheeseburger, apple, taco, sandwich, CHICKEN BISCUIT. The chicken biscuit was just torture. Us Harding students LOVE our chicken biscuits (or in my case chicken minis) and instead of helping the situation it just made us want a chicken biscuit so badly!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NW Zambia, Milky Way and Back Tucks

So LONG a trip to NW Zambia

October 6- We all packed up, locked up our houses, ate breakfast and hopped onto the bus. We left Namwianga at around 7 am and we were on the road driving until about 3pm with about 3 little breaks. And that was one of our short days! Now riding for 8 hours may not seem like such a horrible thing, and it wasn’t that bad, except that it is getting hot here since we are going into the hottest month of the year! So we rode on a hot, sticky bus for 8 hours and as soon as you got to sleep, the bus hits a bump (the roads in Africa are filled with pot holes-if they are even asphalt roads at all) and you are awoken. So instead of sleeping, we just sat and talked and listened to music and sang. We had great fellowship time on the bus and were able to just enjoy the talking and light breeze from the windows. And at every stop, we got a drink! I drank so many Fantas on this trip! I love them and I'm so glad that the USA has them because it might have become my new favorite soda (besides Vanilla Coke, of course!). We stayed at this place called Fringilla that night. Well, this place had 4 in-ground trampolines that we all jumped on for hours! It was like we were little kids again. We jumped until dinner, ate dinner, had our devo and then went straight back to the trampolines to jump some more! And after we were all tired from jumping, we just laid down and watched the stars. The stars here are so bright and beautiful! And I can clearly see the Milky Way! There are big metal crates at Namwianga that have been sent over on ships from the USA with supplies. Well, we all like to climb up on the at night and just look at the stars. We have seen so many shooting stars and its so neat to think that I've never seen most of these stars before I came here.

October 7- We woke up and had a great breakfast at Fringilla and then hopped back onto the bus for our longest day on the road- 11 HOURS!! It actually was not that bad and went by pretty quickly and we got even more FANTAS!! We arrived at Mumena around 1700 hours and unpacked the bus. We then had dinner with the missionaries that we were visiting and were also blessed to eat with some of the people that work at the Mumena school. Our homes for the next 4 nights were bunk houses minus the bunks. We each got a straw mat, a sleeping bag and a mosquito net! It was actually pretty fun even though it was not always the most comfortable thing in the world. We all hung out that night and just talked and looked at the stars.

October 8- We woke up and had breakfast at 800 hours (which is sleeping in for us!) with the missionaries. The missionaries at Mumena are: The Davis, The Loves and The Boyd's. They were all so welcoming and wanted to get to know us and welcomed every question that we had! We would just sit around and get to hear all of their stories about life on the mission field. Brian Davis also held some classes that we went to about African beliefs and culture in Mumena. The Africans have a very animistic world view, they fear the night because that is when evil things happen and attribute bad happenings to people cursing them. They strongly belief in witchcraft and are terrified of being bewitched.

October 9- We visited the refugee camp today in NW Zambia. This refugee camp is the biggest in the world and up until a few years ago, it was the largest in population, also. The refugee camp is named Mehebe. We went and attended one of their church gatherings. 4 of our boys gave sermons and we were, once again, asked to sing songs. We got up to sing several times. There we had a sermon, a prayer, stand up and sing, another sermon, another prayer and some more songs. This went on for about 4 hours and then we broke for lunch. Lunch provided for us consisted of kapenta (little fish), nsima, goat, rape and rice. Emily and I split our plate and yet we still could not eat all that was served to us. In Africa, you eat all that you are given because it is very disrespectful to throw away food when there are people going hungry. Emily and I had no clue how we were going to put down all of the nsima and rape but thankfully our boys were there to save the day! Our boys were so awesome and probably ate their weight in nsima. I mean, piles of nsima that were literally almost as big as my face. It was crazy how much they served us. It turned into a fun game (for us girls at least) to who could eat their handful of nsima the fastest. After about 15 minutes, all of our plates were clean and food-free…and then we realized that the children had not even eaten yet. Here in Africa, the children eat last and had waited until we were all done eating. Needless to say, we all felt horrible and wished that we had given them all the food that we had to get all of our boys to put down. Thankfully, the cooks had prepared a lot of food so the children did not go hungry but we were all so sick with ourselves the rest of the day.
That night, we got to dress up and the missionary kids came and trick-or-treated at our doors. They were so cute in their little costumes and were so excited to be able to have Halloween (even if it was early). Well, the missionaries even had a little haunted house set up! It was so much fun! It was not scary though so do not worry!

October 10- On Sunday, we went to visit some village churches. Emily and I went with the Boyd's to the village church that they go to on Sundays. It was this little pavilion off on the side of the road. I think there were about 30ish people in attendance that Sunday. The people there were so nice and friendly towards us. One of our boys gave the sermon that morning while another did that Lords supper. Whenever we are present at any church, the Africans always want for us to lead at least some part of the service. I don’t know if I have actually seen an authentic African church service because they always want for us to be a part of it in some way.
Sunday night, we were able to sit around the fire and talk with the missionary women. We asked them questions about raising children on the mission field, what their greatest struggle as women is and what they do as women missionaries in a culture where men have the authority in every aspect of life. It was so awesome to be able to hear from them. They are such wonderful people and it was cool to be able to see the work that they are doing there. It made it more real to see young couples with children on the mission field and see how the children are being raised and how they are turning out.
October 11- We left Mumena and the goodbyes were not fun! We had gotten close with some of the missionary kids and The Davis boys were so sad to see us leave! It was so sad to leave them while were they were so upset. Bryon started tearing up and I just couldn’t handle it. His dad said that they really look forward to groups coming to visit and that Bryson had been so excited about us coming for weeks. We took a pretty short ride in the bus to a place called Chimfunshi. Chimfunshi is a place where chimps go after they have been rescued from their owners who try to keep them as pets. It was an interesting place but a lot of us were not quite sure why we had stopped there. We learned that it was costing $16,000 a MONTH to run the chimp havens. I just couldn’t and still cannot rationalize spending that much money on 100 chimps when there are children just down the road dying from starvation. I just don’t see the sense in taking care of chimps instead of humans but it was still a neat experience.
October 12- We went to a place called Zambikes and learned about the work they are doing there. Zambikes was started by 2 college students from California as a hypothetical class project. Well, after graduation they decided to implement their idea. They moved to Lusaka and created Zambikes because they wanted to make bikes that were accessible, appropriate, affordable, sustainable and that also provided jobs. Right now, they are busy with starting to produce their bamboo bikes! Well the founders of Zambikes have also opened a Mexican restraunt in town so of course we went and ate there!! It was such good food and we were all so excited to have Mexican! We stayed at place right outside of Lusaka called Eureka and they had Zebras roaming around! It was a pretty cool place and we were so thankful to have mattresses to sleep on...even though we didn’t go to sleep until after 2 am because we all just love to stay up and talk to each other.
October 13- We had a long day in the bus and arrived at Fringilla again at around 1400 hours. We spent a lot of time on the trampolines again. I even got my back tuck on the trampoline! I was extremely proud of myself because I have always been afraid of doing things backwards.
October 14- We finally arrived back home (Namwianga) at 1300. We were all so happy to finally be home and ate and then a bunch of us ran up to the havens to see our little babies. Sadly, we learned that another little baby had died while we were gone. Baby Janice, who we suspected to have AIDS and be a downs baby, died right after we left for our north trip. It scares me to think about what will happen to some of the babies once we leave Namwianga in 3 weeks. There are just so many babies and not enough Aunties to take care of all of them and pay enough attention to all of them.
October 16- We went to the Calder's house which is just a couple of kilometers away. They used to live here at Namwianga but moved a couple of years ago to start their own haven. They invited all of us over to have dinner and have some time of fellowship. We ate some stew which had some antelope and beef in it and then we also had some traditional South African pies. He is from South Africa and went to ACU. He and his wife have 3 biological children named Daniel, Joshua and Emily and they also have about 25 haven children. They live at a place called Seven Fountains Farms.

October 17- We went to the wedding of Jennifer Merritt. She had her wedding at the Kalomo High School. Her wedding was a mix between a traditional wedding and a modern wedding. She had so many guests since she is so loved by the community. To begin the ceremony, there was some dancing by men and women with some drums in celebration of the marriage that was about to happen. Her soon-to-be husband came in first and did a little dance down to where she would meet him. She was escorted down the aisle by her father and she wore a beautiful white gown. Her father handed her off to her fiancĂ© and they sat down at a table and waited for the minister to begin the ceremony. The ceremony was given in Tonga and English but the man speaking English was too quick so we couldn’t hear him at all. After they said their vows, they walked back down the aisle and got into a car to drive away. Weddings here go a little differently. After they were married, they got in the car and the new couple, along with each of their parents, went into town to eat a restraunt. After they eat, they come back for the reception which can last hours. At the reception, there is a lot of dancing and there is the eating of cake and other foods.
October 19- I went to a special education school located in Choma which is about an hour away. This school is focused towards the blind, the deaf and the mentally handicapped. It was such a neat school and I wish we had been able to spend more time there. We went and visited with the different classes. When we went into the deaf classroom, they started signing to us! It made me wish that I knew sign language. I really want to learn some when I get back to the States. I was able to sign my name to them and they gave me a sign name! We then went over to the blind classroom and met some of the students and instructors. The students were practicing their Braille and were copying words from one sheet to another. After the blind classroom, we went over to where the mentally handicapped students were. They were having a dance break to help them get their energy out! So naturally, we began dancing with them! A little girl took my hands and so we began doing ballerina twirls together. She was so full of joy. Visiting this school made me want to be a school nurse at a place like that. And you know what? They have a little clinic on sight. Perfection! I really have no clue where God has me going. I feel like I am supposed to have some part in mission work somewhere but I just have no clue. I love Africa but I also love Mexico and I would love to go do mission work in India and South America. Then I remember that England and other European countries need God, too! I'm just so torn and I'm really just praying for God to reveal little pieces here and there for me. I don’t know if I'm called to go somewhere every year for a couple of weeks or go somewhere for 2 years.