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.

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