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, kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com, 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

NOVEMBER?!?!

11/1/10
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.

11/2/10
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.

11/3/10
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.

11/6/10
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

10/29/10
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.

10/30/10
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.

10/31/10
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

heartbreak

10/22/10
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.

10/25/10
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.


10/28/10
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.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Photos.....
















Herbalist, Kisibi, and Baby Tori


10/2/10
Today, we had an herbalist come and talk to us. He even took us on a walk around the compound to point out the points that he uses to help treat things such as malaria, snake bites and sexual problems. It’s really neat to see how there are natural things in nature that God has placed here on earth for us to use. I always think of drugs being made in laboratories somewhere. I hardly ever think that there are natural remedies already in nature. It was really cool to be able to listen to the herbalist speak about the plants. There is even a certain tree that only grows near underground natural water reserves so if they find that tree, they know that they can drill for a well near the sight of the tree.
Tonight, we watched a movie called “Sometimes in April” that is about the Rwandan genocide. The movie was so powerful. It was so hard to watch but I’m also thankful that we did watch it. It’s something that actually happened and I don’t think we should ever try to sugar coat a subject like that because then it takes away the power behind it. I think everyone needs to watch movies about the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust because they are true and we don’t need to undermine the extremeness of the horrible situations. I also think that hearing the true facts about horrible events like those can motivate people to never let it happen again. I hope to, one day, go to Rwanda for at least a couple of weeks and spread the gospel there so that they can heal from the genocide.

10/3/10
We went to a village called Kisibi today for church. Our cook, Ba Leonard, lives here and invited us to come to his church and have a meal at his house. Church started at 10 am and went until about 12:30. We of course got up and sang a couple of songs! The Zambians love it when we sing and I'm sure we butcher a lot of their songs but they just stare at us with big, gap-filled, grins on their faces! After the church service, we all filed out and shook everyone's hands (as is the custom here) and said "Mwabuka buti?" to everyone (which means "How have you risen?"). It really is wonderful that they take the time to greet each and every one of the people in the church every time they gather. We then went up to Ba Leonard's house and ate a traditional African meal that he prepared for us! It consisted of: chicken, nsima, FANTA (my drink of choice), rice, rape (a green vegetable similar to cabbage), rolls and this orange sauce. I have to admit, I'm not a complete nsima fan. Nsima is like a mashed potatoes/corn meal mixture that is really bland and thick. After lunch, we got to listen to some men play guitar and hear this instrument which was to resemble a drum/cymbal! It was so cool. They had made it out of round pieces of tin and then had wire attached to each one with bottle caps on the wire. And when they beat the tin, it made such a cool sound! All of the little kids started dancing around in a circle, so naturally we joined them!! Boy can those kids move! Some of us girls are trying to figure out how to move our hips like that and we just cant. Its amazing! It was so much fun to just dance around with these little kids and our guys even joined in, too! The songs that they sand about related to God and missionaries. The first song said "My God, we praise You because Your hand can heal." The second was somewhere along the lines of "sin is sin". The third, "God forgives us". The fourth was praising the NGO (non-government organization) World Vision for the work it has done in that area. The last two songs were played by this cute little old man who sang songs of poetry about being "born alone" or being an only child which is very rare here. The people of Zambia are so welcoming and want to make sure that you feel at home! I felt so guilty though because we all ate right in front of them and they didn’t eat while we were there. They all had to wait till they got home to eat or they brought their own food to the party/gathering.

10/4/10
We found out that this morning, another little baby died. Baby Tori, who had just been brought to Namwianga last week, died at 4 am. She had not been eating all day Sunday and was so weak. Dr. Black and Mrs. Bingham left during church last night to go put in a feeding tube in Tori and another little baby named Trey. There is so much hurt going around our little HIZ family. One of the girls had gotten so close to Tori in the week that she was here and is having a really hard time today. Another girl here was up at the haven all night feeding her through the tube every two hours and had to do CPR on her a couple of times before Tori finally gave up her fight.
I just cant comprehend the reason why these little babies have to die. It doesn’t make any sense to me and it never gets easier. Tori was the 6th baby since we have been here. Its just hard to think about the reason for their death. I mean, if they had been in America, they would have probably not died. I was talking to a girl today and we were saying how its harder for us to comprehend it here because we know what the medicine in America can do and its just not available. Little baby Tori needed Oxygen last night. The havens have 2 oxygen machines and one is broken and the other was up at the clinic. TIA. Resources here are so sparse that even if you do have a certain machine that you need in order to save a life, it may or may not work. Its hard to rationalize all of it. I think my group is getting to the point where we are just tired of all the deaths and we just want to be able to do something to save all the little babies. Hopefully, we will use this heartache that we are experiencing to be our driving force to go and change the world.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Malaria study and Elephant ride!!

Monday (27th) was a pretty chill day here at the mission. We were allowed to sleep in and rest up from our weekend and our classes did not meet which was such a blessing. A lot of us caught up on homework. (It is so hard to focus on studies here because I much rather be out playing with the kids or hanging out with everyone!) It was nice to be able to plan our own schedule for a day and just stay inside in our shorts (we aren't allowed to wear them outside our house because its not culturally appropriate) and be care free.
Tuesday (28th)- We had to wake up and be ready for our day trip at 7 so we actually got in sleep in a little later than normal! We went to a hospital about 3 hours away in a town called Macha. This hospital is so cool! Its one of the nicest ones that I have seen here (which would still be atrocious to Americas standard) and they actually conduct Malaria research out of their little lab. This hospital teams up with John Hopkins and sends some American students over to work in the Malaria lab. It was so neat to be able to explore the hospital and see how labs are run in Africa. It gave me a whole other perspective on medical mission work in Africa. I always thought, for some reason, that medical mission work in a developing country would be in a village and treating them there. I had never thought about setting out to cure a disease that affects a whole population here to be mission work! It really opened my eyes to so many more possibilities on the mission field. The missionary that lives in Macha and works at the hospital was actually born there because his parents were missionaries. As he got older and grew up, he went through school and became a pediatrician. He said that he got so tired of seeing Malaria being the number one killer among children in his hospital. He knew that he had to try to do something to help out so he set out for his lab. They collect mosquitoes from villages around and also take blood samples from the area. They have found that mosquito's are very smart insects. They used to feed at dusk and dawn but now that mosquito nets are used, the start to feed earlier. They have adapted their feeding schedule based upon humans schedules! The area of Macha has actually had a decrease in Malaria cases in the past 10 years or so! They have found out so much just from their little research lab and are able to teach the public about what precautions to take in order to avoid getting Malaria.
Wednesday (29th)- About 6 of us students loaded back into the cruiser to head back to Livingstone for a day. We also had to take the PA students, Tori and LeAnne, back so that they could catch their flight back home. They were with us for 6 short weeks and it was so sad to see them leave. They really became close with a lot of us here and are so fun to be around. They explained a lot of things to us in the clinic. Once we got to Livingstone, we checked into our hotel room and went to the market! We were able to purchase a few things before we walked over to The Hungry Lion for dinner. The Hungry Lion is like a KFC/Burger King. They have fried chicken and burgers. I got a hamburger which was so good!! We then walked down to this place called Wonderbake and had ice cream and coffee! I had the BEST cappuccino that I have ever had. It had such a good flavor and was very strong!
Thursday (30th)- We had to be ready for breakfast at 6 am and ready to go at 6:45. Emily, Rose and I went on an elephant back safari! It was so neat and the elephants were so adorable. Emily and I decided that we are going to adopt one and bring it home...we will just split the overage charges. We were on the elephant for about 1.5 hours and walked through a game park and the elephant even went into the Zambezi River! It was so beautiful and I think we picked the perfect time because it was dawn and the sun was gorgeous! We then fed our elephant at the end. Ours actually ate the WHOLE time. It would just stop at pull off a couple of branches from the tree and start eating. I asked the guide if the thorns hurt their trunks and he said that their skin is one and a half inches thick! For lunch, we went to this wonderful little Italian place in Livingstone. An Italian restraunt in Africa! Think of the irony. But it was so, so good! It’s a NGO (Non-Government Organization) that is supported by the Catholic church there in Livingstone and Italians actually own it. They take in troubled teens and teach them culinary arts! It’s a really neat place. AND they had gelato!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stitches and Jumps!!!

So the past 12 days of my life have consisted of some very exciting things!

On Tuesday (14th), we went to the havens after class and played with the children. We didn’t really have anything exciting happen but just enjoyed living the life here in Zambia.
On Wednesday (15th), our boys led chapel and did such a great job! Trey spoke about how if we don’t give God 100% of who we are, He wont be able to use us to our full extent. He used an illustration with a glove and showed how if we don’t put our fingers inside the glove, the glove is useless. That’s how we are with God. If we don’t allow God to permeate our whole being, we will not be useful in spreading His gospel. That afternoon, we had a lady come in and speak about the traditional marriage practices in Zambia. The girl usually didn’t know that she was getting married until the day of her wedding- the parents of the husband met with her parents and arranged everything. She did not meet her husband until the day he and his dad came to pick her up from her home to take her to their village! Crazy! That would never work in the States. This lady said that there was never divorce because the couple trusted their parents and knew that they had preapproved this marriage. They also learned to love each other so it developed into a stronger marriage.
Thursday (16th)- I worked up at the clinic between classes and lunch and got to see a man come in with a 6 inch laceration to his upper left arm. He has been in a fight and was stabbed and his attackers had flown from the scene. Whenever there is a crime like this in Zambia, the victim has to go to the police station and fill out a report before they can seek medical attention. Because of this rule, the man that came in had actually been attacked about 15 hours before hand before he ever came in to get stitched up. In many cases, this can cause many problems because of the onset of infection that is likely to happen. Thankfully, an infection had not really started but because it was now an "old" wound, it would had to be sewn up differently. We made sure to clean it out really well (after we gave him a couple of shots of lidocaine) and made sure all the dirt was out. It was a deep wound but it had not gone very far into the muscle so Dr. Black and the PA students sewed up the muscle and then preceded to sew up his skin. It was really neat to watch the procedure. The Africans can take pain like no one that I have ever seen. We Americans wince at a headache and immediately take some Tylenol to solve the problem. The Africans have to deal with their pain because they have no other choice. The women here don’t get any medicine before giving birth and don’t even make a single noise throughout labor. And only about 30 minutes after giving birth, they are already up and moving around the room! It is insane to be able to witness their strength.
Saturday (18th)- We went to visit this German missionary named Klaus Muller. He attended ACU and now he runs a farm and teaches people how to manage their farmland while also preaching the gospel. While first being a missionary and teaching men how to preach, he would get so frustrated at teaching these men how to change the world and then them still not being able to provide for their families. Klaus finally came up with the idea of teaching men how to spread Gods word while still being able to feed their family back at home. The school is 3 years long and cost just a little over $1000 for the 3 years. They pay off their tuition by growing crops on their plot of land that Klaus gives them. After harvesting their crops, they take them to the market and sale them. All the money that they make off their yields goes directly to their tuition and any money that they make after that, they get to keep. It is really an interesting school. We got to tour the fields and see all of the crops. They also teach how to care for animals so there were some sheep running around. Klaus spoke about how the worst thing for a poverty stricken country is to get outside food aid. At first when I heard this, I thought that that was a very harsh thing to say. I didn’t understand how it was bad to give someone suffering from starvation food. His point was that when outside food aid comes, people stop working in their own fields and become reliant upon the outside aid. That is what has happened in Africa. Most Africans have stopped working in their own fields for their own food because they know that they can get it from someone for free and that costs them no time and labor. the principality of working for food and being independent is gone in most places.
Sunday (19th)- We went to church and our guys led the service. Kelsey preached that day but I didn’t get to hear his message because I helped with children's church. Before the message was given, we all got to hold some of the haven babies. I got to hold Sam and Bright saw me and came and sat in my lap! Those little boys have me wrapped right around their little fingers! I love them so much! We also went to a bridal shower for the Merritt's (one of the missionaries) adopted daughter, Jennifer. She is getting married in October and we will get to go to her wedding!
Monday (20th)- Monday wasn’t really that eventful because my whole house got sick and we couldn’t go to the havens. It seems like everyone is taking turns getting sick around here. I did a lot of studying for our midterm that was on Wednesday, though. I also went over to the girls dorm and hung out with some Zambian girls. They gave me a Tonga name and its Luyando which means love.
Tuesday (21st)- I went up to the clinic for the first half of the day. I got to give another shot to a child. I also saw a guy get checked up on that I saw last week. He had a 6 inch laceration on his right arm. My house did not sleep much on Tuesday because we had our missionary anthropology midterm so I got about 4 hours of sleep but it was fun staying up and studying with everyone and us waking up so tired the next but we have decided that when everyone is in the same boat (whether its being sick or not sleeping) its so much more fun. We made a game about how many times everyone got sick and therefore we could laugh about the whole ordeal.
Wednesday (22nd)- We went up to The Merritt's house (they are some of the missionaries here) and they had an older lady come and speak to us about mission work in Zambia. It is said that she is one of the oldest Christians in Zambia. It was really neat to hear her speak about the times of the first Christians and how they impacted Zambia. In her family alone, there are close to 200 Christians!!
Thursday (23rd)- I went up to the clinic and I just helped with the patients that came in. I didn’t go back in the afternoon because I went up to the havens to play with the children. My little boy Sam has rickets which is caused by a vitamin d deficiency so I took him outside to play on the playground for a little bit. I then came back home and was typing out some emails and kept hearing these extremely loud thuds on the roof. At first I didn’t think anything of it because the tin roof makes a lot of noise and then we gets these huge wind storms that also make noise. These thuds kept getting louder and I was the only one on my side of the house so I ran to the other side and they thought it was me making the sounds. Finally, Callie and I walk outside to see some little African boys peeking their heads around the corner of this shed in the field across from our house. They had been throwing LEMONS onto our roof and our boys had put them up to it! Needless to say, we ran after them but by they had already had a good head start on us so we didn’t catch them. Then at dinner, all of our guys denied everything. It made for some fun jokes though! Thursday night, my roommate Emily and I both got really sick. We felt miserable and the bad thing was that we were leaving in the morning for Livingstone which is a 2 hour drive away! When we finally went to sleep, it was after 1 am and we had to wake up early to get everything ready to leave. Ba Janice gave us some medicine so by the time we actually got to Livingstone, we felt much better!
Friday (24th)- We got into Livingstone and a group of us went to go Bungee Jump! It was the most intense/exhilarating/frightening thing that I have ever done! Its a 111 meter drop till you don’t have any more slack in the cord! And then you are bobbing upside down, hanging by your ankles, over the Zambezi River and there are tons of rocks below. After the bungee jump, I also did what was called the Swing. Emily and I did it together and its where instead of diving off like in bungee jumping, you step off the platform. The drop was way more intense than with the bungee jumping but it was so much fun to have someone there with me this time! I also did a zip line across the Zambezi River! It was so much fun and was relaxing after having just done the prior two things. I also walked over into Zimbabwe for a tad bit! The place between Zambia and the bridge where we jumped is called "No Mans Land" and it is not owned by either country! We were talking about how it America that would never happen because we are too territorial of our land and don’t want any to not be able to be used. This past weekend we stayed at this cute little camping ground. All the tents had 2 beds in them and also had a lamp! It was really nice but it got so cold in the mornings! We would wake up shivering. Right now Africa is just coming out of their winter months so its still chilly here at night and early morning. We are heading into the summer months though where we will want those chilly moments and none will be found.
Saturday (25th)- We went on a couple of safaris! We first went on one in Botswana (so I got another stamp added to my passport!) where we were in pop-up safari cars! It was so cool! I had never been on a safari and I absloutely loved it! We saw tons of elephants, hippos, impalas, a few giraffes and a couple of crocodiles! At one point we were within 15 feet of about 10 elephants!!! They are HUGE! They were also baby ones that were adorable. We then went on a water safari that afternoon. We all piled onto the boat and floated by several crocs and got so close to hippos!
Sunday (26th)- We woke up early and went to Livingstone Church of Christ. They were so welcoming to us and were so happy to have us with them. The service lasted about 3 hours and at the end they wanted us to sing some songs. We got up and sang 3 songs in Tonga and they loved it. Its so neat how people get so happy when they hear you sing praise to God in their language. The Zambians are so happy to see that we are trying to relate to them.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

group sickness :(

Please pray for my group. People are getting sick left and right and Im starting to feel a little but Im hoping that I can sleep it off tonight!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So, its has been a long time since I have updated this and I apologize! We have been have some internet problems and I was not able to get on the net for almost a week! TIA! (This is Africa). That has become our slogan for a lot of things. "Our night guard, Webster, just killed a black mamba...TIA." "Webster just killed a cobra outside our house...TIA."

So I'm going to try to give a brief description of what my life has been this past week.
On Monday (September 6th), we started classes...at 6:30 am! Haha. It is already light when we leave for our 2 minute walk from our house to the Hamby House for class. We sit outside on the covered porch and start off the day with Chitonga class. At 7 am, we have our humanities course and the professor changes everyday. At 8 am, we eat breakfast which is prepared by our fabulous cook, Ba Leonard! All of the food he prepares is so wonderful! At 9, we have chapel. On Mondays, we have family chapel where we meet behind the sheds (one of the houses where 3 of our boys stay) and have a brief lesson and worship together. At 10, we have another class which is my nursing class! 11 o'clock is yet another class and is missionary anthropology! It is a really interesting class and we are studying world view right now and what defines a persons world view. I have a break from noon to 1 so I usually try to read a little for my classes (or I come back and plead with my internet to work...it usually doesn’t listen to me.). At 1, we have lunch and then I am free for the rest of the day until dinner and family meeting at 7! In our family meetings, we just talk about our struggles and what we have felt blessed by that week. We also give hugs since we are behind closed doors where Zambians cannot see us. Male-female interaction is frowned upon here. Even hugs mean something very different to them. When shaking a mans hand, I have to be very careful and make sure that my hand shake is limp and I don’t maintain eye contact with the opposite gender.
I went to the Havens for a couple of hours on Monday and played with the kids. We have "adopted" children while we are here and we are responsible for noticing any changes in them health wise and for making sure they are loved on! I have adopted a little boy in haven one named Tanner who is actually named after Tanner Nichols in our group! Tanner is a twin and his twin is named Quintyn after Quintyn Bolay in our group! They were 8 days old when they came to the havens and their mom had died after giving birth to them. That is another thing that I'm learning how to deal with. Giving birth is not as safe as it is in America. There are so many babies that come to the havens because their mom died during childbirth and the dad cannot afford the milk to feed them so the babies are given to the havens. The Havens try to place the children into their original village after 2 years or so but sometimes it doesn’t happen. The other two little boys that I have are Bright in haven 2 and Sam in haven 3. Sam is my man! He is such a little shupa (trouble maker) but he just melts my heart every time I hold him! When he sees me walk in the door, he will run to me and just look at me. And boy, if any other child tries to sit on my lap while he is, he just pushes that child off! I have tried to explain to him that other children can sit with us too but he just doesn’t like that idea one bit! I just repeatedly tell him that there is enough love to go around. Sam is HIV+ and was orphaned when he was a couple of months old. His mom dies of AIDS and his dad has it. I was talking with Dr. Black today on the way to church and we were saying how HIV/AIDS is such a hush-hush topic in the USA but here there are so many man made signs that are helping raise awareness about the disease. It is hard to get used to the fact that HIV/AIDS is so common here and is spoken about frequently. Actually, we went to the graduation for George Benson Christian College on Friday and they mentioned AIDS about 4 times during the ceremony! That is definitely something that would not happen back home! The graduation was so much fun. Some of us got to sing in the choir with the Zambians! A man from the University of Zambia came and spoke and he mentioned how great he thought is was that mukuas (whites) were singing with Zambians.
On Wednesday, we had class and then we walked to a soccer game! Our guys played on the Namwianga team and actually wore jerseys. Namwianga was playing another team from a couple of kilometers away. It was so exciting to watch our boys out there with the other boys playing some "football". Our group is really becoming a family! My roommate, Emily, and I just lay in our beds at night and talk about how God really could not have placed a better group together. We all fit together, work well together and love each other. I know that I will have a special bond with each and every person on my group forever! I was actually speaking with Emily today about how cool it would be if people from our group actually became missionaries and they started that journey here! I, personally, would love that. I don’t know how my parents would feel about that though. Actually, I know my mom would not be thrilled for me to live anywhere besides Nashville for more than 3 months! Hah. I will just keep listening for Gods voice and His direction on that. I know that I am supposed to do some type of mission work but God has just not made it clear to me yet the time and place! Wednesday night, we had Bible Study as a HIZ family along with some of the Eric's House boys. After that devo, some of us went to the clinic for that devo at 8:15. I helped with the children and immediately made friends with the children. The women there wanted us to give a lesson (we did a lesson on creation) and sing sings with the children. We quickly learned that we need to sit down and have several things prepared by this Wednesday!
On Thursday, I went on mobile outreach. We took a ride in the back of the pick up truck to a village about 30 minutes away. When we got there, a line had already formed and we weighed the babies and administered shots to them. By the end of the day, I got to give 5 shots! So my running total so far is 6!
Friday was graduation and the campus was the busiest that I have ever seen it! The graduates danced in and danced out of the ceremony! I think we are going to suggest that Dr Burks for Harding's graduations! hah. Some prizes were given out and the best student got a new mattress! We were all very surprised that it was a gift! It is a wiser gift since it is actually something that they will use instead of a plaque that hangs on the wall. We learned first hand on this day how to use "Africa Time". We were told to be at graduation no later than 1 pm and it would start at 1:30. It actually did not start until 2:44 and went until 5! I felt so honored to be invited to the ceremony! Everybody was so full of joy!
Saturday morning we woke up and walked into town. It is about an hour and a half to walk there. Once we got there, we went to this little place called El Panteno and got a coke for K3500 which is less than $1. We then walked to the market which was less busy since it was Saturday. At the market, we bought citenges and some other little things. I spent 41,000 on citenges so under $10 and I got 5 of them! I'm getting several things made out of them by a lady here on the mission! We then went back to El Panteno for lunch. We all had a grilled chicken wrap and fries and got an ice cream cone for the walk back! All in all, we estimated that we walked a little over 11 miles! I didn’t feel guilty at all for not working out that night! And later that night, we had everyone over to our house for a movie night and watched "She's The Man." The guys left early because they didn’t find it amusing but us girls loved it, of course!
Sunday, we went to a little village church about 3 miles away in Mutala. Every church we go to, they want our guys to deliver the message, present the Lords Supper and pray. And we always are invited to get up front and sing a couple of songs and they are just so taken back when we sing in Tonga! Most of the time, they laugh but its not because we say it wrong but because they are so pleased that we would take the time to learn a song in their language.
We are slowly learning the different sounds that happen at night. For example, we have a tin roof that makes noises all night and the wind can be quiet strong during the day. Well, Sunday night Emily and I were getting ready for bed and heard something. I thought it was her stomach rumbling. Turns out it wasn’t. It was coming from outside and it banged on our window. Well, we run into Elisabeth and Taylors room across the hall and are freaking out and hiding in their closet. If you know me, you know that I don’t like the dark and I don’t like being scarred at all. I freak out when I hear a squeak in my own house so of course I'm going to freak out when I'm in a new surrounding. Well, we look out our front window for Webster and do not see him. That does not ease our fears at all. Webster carries a big gun on his back and we were hoping he was out there so he could easily shoot whatever was banging on our window. We end up texting our guys from our African cell phone (none of our phones work here) but no one answers our text messages. Our last resort was to crack open the front door and yell out for Webster. I open the door and scream for him a couple of times. Less than 30 seconds later, he comes running up. He has this horrified look on his face and asks us if we are okay. We tell him the whole story and he goes around to check it out. It was Makua, the cat. Needless to say, I'm not very fond of that cat anymore! We now feel so horrible for making Webster so alarmed but we were so afraid! But everything is okay! It was just us being silly girls and over-reacting to a sound that ended up being the cat.

We found out on Saturday that a little boy named Request passed away. He had just come to the havens at the begging of the month because his mom passed away and his dad couldn’t take care of him. He was 8 months old when we got him which is usually old in comparison to the others that come. He acted very lethargic from the beginning but we blamed it on all the stress that this boy had just gone through. He ended up getting really dehydrated and they had to start an IV on him. I'm not quite sure what was the cause of his death but ill try to post it as soon as I know. The death of a child never gets easy here. It is almost like they don’t have a chance simply because of where they live. Its hard to come to grips that if they had simply lived in the states, they would have had a significantly better chance of survival but here in rural Zambia, they simply don’t have the technology and medicine.
We just got word on Monday (13th) that two more babies passed away early in the morning. The little baby Ellie who was born at the end of August got so dehydrated and could not get any nutrients from the bottles we were giving her. We tried giving her ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) but it did not help. She gave up her fight at 4 am on Monday. The other little baby that died is Luseko. He was 3 weeks old and was so under weight. He had gone to the clinic at the end of last week and got an IV. He was so small that they had to put the IV in through a vein in his head because the veins in his arms were so small. These deaths kind of hit us all in different ways. Some are confused as what to feel since they weren't extremely close but are still so sad. Some are mad because if these babies were in the states, they would've had a better chance. Some are heartbroken and aren't quite sure how to handle the situation. We had our family meeting on Monday night so we were able to express what we were feeling and realize that we are not alone in our confusion, heartache and anger. Ba Bingham has said that she hopes that we get angry and that we stay angry when it comes to the injustice of location in relation to healthcare. She told us that our anger will motivate us to make changes. The deaths don’t get any easier. We have already experienced 5 in less than 3 weeks. I just ask that you all pray for our hearts to be healed, for us to not blame God and to not let the chance of death hinder us from loving the babies the way that Jesus did.
On Monday, a little boy named Charles who I had gotten close with went back to his home village. It is so bittersweet. The fact that he went back to his home is so good and he gets to live with his daddy again but its hard to say goodbye when you know that at least at Eric's House they get 3 full meals a day and you aren't sure what his living conditions will be like back in the village.

"And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."-Romans 5:5
"If God is for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:31
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."- 1 peter 4:8
"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel."- Ephesians 6:19
"The harvest is plenty but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." -Matthew 9:37
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come!"- 2 Corinthians 5:17
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love."- Ephesians 5:1
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of bring content in any and every situation." -Philippians 4:12
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace." -Colossians 3:15
"Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity."- 1 Timothy 4:12
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress." -James 1:27
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear."- 1 John 4:18
"My whole life is Yours, I give it all and surrender to Your ways. Forever I will pray, 'Have Your way. Have Your way.'"-Hillsong

"Therefore go and make disciples of every nation baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to observe all that I have commanded and I will be with you until the end of the age."- Matthew 28:19-20

Monday, September 13, 2010

9-8-2010: Havens and Black Mamba!!!

This is from last week, but I was just recently able to send it due to our internet/power being out:

So, Im writing this email by candle light. Our electricity just went out and we are thinking that it is the transmitter thingy since it flickered on and off for 5 minutes before it actually stopped.
Lets see, yesterday
I tried to get online all day yesterday so I could call kinsley but my internet is still not working...hopefully we can get someone to look at it tomorrow and fix it. All of the macs can sign on but the pcs cant (the reason why you got brief emails yesterday). I went up to the havens after class yesterday for a couple of hours. I am just loving those kids! They are so sweet and it always seems to be that the babies in haven 3 are the happiest despite that all of them either have HIV or TB. On tuesday and thursday, I have class from 6:30-9:30! its nice because the rest of the day is free for me to do whatever.
Today (Wednesday), I had class from 6:30-12 and then after lunch at like 3, we walked to a soccer game about 1.5-2 miles away! Our guys even played on the team from namwianga! It was a lot of fun! After dinner, we had devo and then about 12 of us went to the clinic for devo at 8:15. Some of us girls helped with the childrens class. It was a lot of fun to get to sit and sing with the kids.
Okay, we saw our first black mamba today. Well, I didn’t but our night guard killed it! And don’t worry Momma- it is only about 1-1 1/2 foot long so not big at all!
All of the students at the college started classes yesterday so the mission has been more busy which has been awesome! Its so much better than us just sitting around and it pretty much being us running around. We are getting to interact more with the students and pretty soon we will get our tutors!
Emily and I volunteered to get together the list of all the haven babies and assign the babies to the students. I ended up with Sam in Haven 3, Bright in Haven 2 and I just got Tanner in Haven 1 today!
Tanner is named after Tanner in our group! Yesterday, 2 baby twin boys came to the haven. Their mom died after giving birth. She had a c section and it obviously did not go well. The baby boys are 9 days old and so precious. Quintyn was there when they came in so he got to name them so he named the smaller one Quintyn and the bigger one, Tanner!
Well, tomorrow I get to go on outreach and give immunizations

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sadness and Chicken

Today we had another funeral. It was for a baby girl named Shelby. She actually died a MONTH ago but since she was orphaned, the haven had to get in touch with the relatives in her original village to get permission to bury her. Behind the havens sits a little grave yard for the haven babies. Im pretty sure its fairly new but there are already 5 little graves and in the next couple of days, another will be added. A baby boy named Delitso passed away this morning. They are not quite sure, last I had heard, what was the primary problem but at one point they were thinking that it was an infection in his blood. Its just so sad that to think that just because of where a person lives in the world could actually determine whether or not they live. I know that little baby Delitso is in Gods hands but its still hard to comprehend sometimes why a little innocent baby goes home so early.
I went to haven 3 today and to see Sam my man for a little bit. He was asleep so I watched him sleep a little and read up on his charts. His mother died from AIDS when he was a baby and Im not sure if his father is still alive or not but most times if the mother dies, the father will give the baby to the havens because they cannot afford the milk for the baby. Im pretty sure Sam is HIV+ which just absolutley breaks my heart because he has done nothing in his life to deserve this terrible disease. The thought that some of these babies that Im falling in love with may not be alive in a year just upsets me. I just want to bring all of them back to the USA and give all of them the best medical attention that there is.
After the funeral, we had an outing to the market to put into practice our tonga that we have been learning. We were put into teams and were given a list of items to buy and we had to use only tonga to purchase the items. One group can back with a CHICKEN which was not on the list but that’s my HIZ group for you! The chicken was actually killed a couple of hours later. It kept getting loose and Trey chased it and I think he just had enough of it getting loose so he just wrung its neck....I wont go into anymore details but lets just say it provided some entertainment for a couple of hours and we will be eating fresh chicken tomorrow! Yum! My mom is convinced that between HUT, where we HAD to kill our own food, and HIZ, where we do it because we can, that I will become a vegetarian but I think its just making me like meat more. Supposedly the boys are going "hunting" tomorrow (Saturday) and if they kill anything, they are going to bring it back and cook it!
Every other saturday, we get free. We can spend our time at the havens, at the clinic, Erics house or just sleeping or doing homework! I am hoping that I can go up to the clinics and observe some! I love it there and cannot wait to get my clinic schedule on monday!

I will write again soon!

"He must become greater; I must become less." -John 3:30

Friday, September 3, 2010

I went to the havens today and spent some time with the little babies. When I go to the havens, I usually spend all of my time in haven 3 which Emily and I have renamed the "under-the-weather" haven. Most of the babies either have HIV/AIDS or are thought to have it but their tests havent come back yet or they are too young to tell. Also, some of the babies have TB and are really sick. The little babies in this haven just have me wrapped around their little fingers and they literally run to you when you walk in the door and want to be held. I try not to think about the fact that these little babies are orphans. Some of the moms died in birth, some cannot afford another child and still some just do not want another baby. I just want to take them all home and give them a home where they will be loved on for their whole life. I know that the aunties love the babies so much and take great care of them, though. We have one little haven baby that is very sick right now and its not looking too good. He cannot eat, has a stiff neck and was seizing this morning. They have him at the clinic right now and are taking care of him until he gets better.
I love it here! I love the culture, the people and the babies. Our classes start Monday and that is also when all of the students will be arriving to start their school year. Im excited for them to get here and be able to get to know the girls!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

9/1 - African Funeral

Today, I went to my first African funeral. All of us filed into the church and we shook hands with a man at the doors. We stood in the back of the church during the service. There was reading from the Bible and prayers were said. Some songs were sung in Tonga, also. I noticed that most of the men were standing outside of the church building so that the women could have a seat inside out of the sun. After the songs were sung and prayers were said inside, we lined up and looked inside the casket and then went outside. Once outside, some more songs were sung in Tonga and the casket was laid into the ground. The family shoveled or threw dirt into the grave and once all of the family had a chance to help put dirt in, some men shoveled the rest in. Then they laid some cement on top of the dirt and then put another layer of dirt down. After all of these layers, the men packed the dirt down. At this point, the family, friends, relatives, and anyone else who wanted to, came and put flowers over the grave. The whole grave was covered in flowers by the end. After the flowers were laid down, speeches about Mrs. Moonga were given. The speeches talked about how she was a very "clean" woman and very loving. She was very dedicated to God and was a member of the Kalamo Church of Christ. They spoke alot about her life and how influential she was. After the speeches were completed, a final prayer was said. The family then hosts everyone at their house, the "funeral house", and provides the guests with means and refreshments.

8/31/10 - I gave a shot!!!

GOT TO GIVE A SHOT TO A REAL PERSON TODAY!!!

The man has pneumonia and I had to give him a shot of antibiotics in his hip!! I am so proud of myself!

Today, I didn’t really do anything. I just had breakfast at 8, Tonga lessons from 9-12, lunch at 1 and then went to the clinic to organize some supplies. Kristin and I followed around Dr. Black when he was checking up on the patients. He realized that a patient hadnt been given his shot. Kristin and I played paper, rock, scissors for it and I won!! I was so excited to give a shot. I was afraid I would hurt him and I went in a little too slow but he didn’t wince in pain! Im still so excited that I actually administered a shot to someone.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 1

Namwianga Mission, Kalomo, Zambia

Where to begin? After about 49 hours of travelling, we finally arrived to Africa! We left our families on Sunday, August 23 and went to camp to start our Mission Anthropology class. We had class all day Monday and then left for Africa on Tuesday. We left Arkansas at 10:30 and drove to Memphis. We flew from Memphis to Atlanta and then Atlanta to Johannesburg, South Africa. We then stayed the night in the Africa Center which is a hotel a couple of miles from the airport. We then left the next morning Joburg to Livingstone, Zambia. In Livingstone, we saw Victoria Falls which is so beautiful! And HUGE! We then rode a bus from Victoria Falls to Kalomo, Zambia! It was about a 3 hour bus ride on a very bumpy dirt road. We were welcomed by the people that live here on the mission. We then ate some delicious food prepared by Ba Leonard. Ba is used as we use Mr./Mrs. Ba Leonard made us some taco soup, salad, cornbread and cake. It all tasted so wonderful. Our internet was up in working so I got to call my mom via skype. We then unpacked our bags and settled into our new house for the next 3 months. I’m living with 7 other girls and our house is too cute. We have a living room, dining room, kitchen, 4 bedrooms and a study room. We also have 2 full baths which is so nice for 8 girls! Not that we are really worried about being clean but its nice to wash off our dusty feet. All of the roads here are just dirt roads with sand so when wearing chacos, our feet get really dirty but hey, its Africa! As we were unpacking last night, Kristin found a little lizard between her mattresses and box springs. We thought it would be a grand idea to set the little guy free and let him go forth into the world. Well here is the deal. As soon as the little guy took about two steps, our night guards cat (his name is Webster so we nicknamed his cat Dictionary) came and snatched the little guy up! It was absolutely hysterical. We all laughed so much! And we even got it on video! Today, we woke up and had breakfast at 8:30 am. After breakfast, we toured the mission. We got to spend 2 hours at the Havens. The Havens are the orphanages here at Namwianga. There are 3 different ones. The first one is for healthy babies. The second is for healthy walkers. The third is for very sick babies. Some of the babies in this third haven have HIV/AIDS or TB. Not all of them have AIDS or TB but all of them are very sick little babies. I spent about an hour at the second and the third havens. When I walked up to the first haven I was going to give this little boy, Timoth, a high five but he wanted a hug. Of course I just scooped up that precious little boy and played with him. Then 2 little girls became my friend and we went and played on the playground and drew pictures in the ground. PS little kids really like bubble gum (: They are so precious and so full of joy. I then went to the third haven which is also called the hospice. It just breaks my heart but I think I have found where I will be visiting a lot. I made friends with this little boy named Sam and he would just rest his head on my shoulder as I held him. I think I really want to take all of them home with me. Sam would make faces as I took pictures of him! He is such a jokester. After the havens, we made the 20 minute walk back to the hamby house through the African bush. The Hamby house is where we will have class (which starts at 6:30 am!) and where we will eat all our meals. After lunch, we went into town and went to the market. We were able to get money out. Their currency is called kwacha and 100,000 kwacha=about $20. Most of us girls all bought chitanges which are pieces of fabric wrapped into skirts. I bought 5 for 8,000 kwacha each so I got 5 skirts for less than $10 dollars! What a deal! Hah. The culture here is so different. Certain hand motions have VERY different meanings. Like when you wave your hand and you put your fingers to your palm it means, “come here” but if you palm is faced down, it means something very derogatory. After the market, we came back and ate dinner and then went to a church service about an hour away for singing and a devotional. Thankfully, the preacher translated the Tonga into English. The insisted that we get up and sing a couple of songs for them so we did and then they had their boys choir sing a couple for us! They have beautiful voices and they sing very loudly.

I absolutely love my HIZ group. We are already a family and have so much fun together. Before we even left the country, we were up late laughing and joking around. All of the guys in the group have been so great with the kids and have played soccer with them with their free time! Its so cool to see guys not flinch when the Zambian boys hold their hands which is a sign of friendship and is not viewed as strange one bit. All of us girls have just been loving on the babies so much in the havens. I cant wait to go work in the clinic in a couple of days! We went and toured it today and it is set up like a square with a courtyard in the center. They are hoping that in a couple of years it will be built up enough and have the right equipment to be considered a hospital.

“I want to leave a legacy. How will they remember me?”- Nichole Nordeman

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Sweetly Broken"

This song was written by Jeremy Riddle.
One of the best worship songs.

"To the cross I look. To the cross I cling
Of its suffering I do drink
Of its work I do sing
For on it my Savior both bruised and crushed
Showed that God is love
And God is just

Chorus:
At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love
I'm sweetly broken, wholly surrendered

What a priceless gift, undeserved life
Have I been given
Through Christ crucified
You've called me out of death
You've called me into life
And I was under Your wrath
Now through the cross I'm reconciled

Chorus

In awe of the cross I must confess
How wondrous Your redeeming love and
How great is Your faithfulness."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Countdown!

I am leaving in 40 days! Oh boy. Where has the time gone? I remember when this trip was a year away and now it is just right around the corner. Im getting slightly anxious about not being able to see my family for that long but Im just trying to turn those over to God because I know that He is the only one that can take away my anxities.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. " Philippians 4:6-7