Thursday, October 28, 2010


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

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

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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NW Zambia, Milky Way and Back Tucks

So LONG a trip to NW Zambia

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 4, 2010


Herbalist, Kisibi, and Baby Tori

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.

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.

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!!