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