Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sunday at Kasibi

What a day we have had! This morning we combined the 12 Canadians who are here with the 24 students and leaders from Harding for a trip out to the beautiful village of Kasibi. We took the Land Cruiser, two double cab pickups, and a flatbed truck. Most of the students and some of the adults ended up on the flatbed truck--outfitted in style with chairs. The road to Kasibi is pretty bad; however, none of the vehicles had any major problems navigating the potholes and ravines.

We had to park the vehicles about a quarter of a mile away from the church building and walk the rest of the way. The bridge over the creek consisted of about six logs fastened together. We all managed to make it across without incident, cheered on by a warm welcome from the women of the congregation as they sang and clapped for us.

We tried to squeeze into the Kasibi building, but when it became apparent we weren't all going to fit, we moved outside under the trees and enjoyed a wonderful time of worship with the Kasibi congregation.

Afterward we gathered in the yard in front of Leonard Sichimwa's house for a traditional Zambian meal of chicken, nshima, and goat. Leonard was kind enough to add non-traditional chocolate cake and Kool-Aid for us.

Then the Kasibi Village Band arrived with their homemade instruments and performed. I told one of our Canadian visitors that afternoons like these are called "National Geographic Moments" when you feel like you have stepped into the pages of National Geographic!

The rain came just as we were leaving Kasibi--a gentle shower that pretty well drenched the riders on the back of the truck. Their enthusiasm wasn't dampened, however!

Back at Namwianga, the gang headed for the Merritt's house and spent a couple of hours putting together "Baby Packs" that will be given to caregivers who receive formula from the Mission. In cases where a baby's mother has died, an aunt or grandmother will often volunteer to take care of the child. The orphanage provides formula for the first year or two of the baby's life. A Baby Pack containing a diaper, plastic pants, diaper pins, bottle, clothing item, and blanket is given to each caregiver to help her meet the baby's needs.

Some of the Harding students volunteered to take babies home for the evening. The lucky babies were held, cuddled, and cooed over during dinner and the evening church service. I heard at least one student saying sadly about her new little one, "I don't want to take her back to the orphanage." What an experience the students have had--they will never hear about orphans in Africa without a tug on their hearts from the time they spent here.

Other happenings throughout the weekend: the Harding students have made friends with Namwianga students through working together and interactions on campus. Some attended a movie together in the auditorium on Saturday night. There were some soccer games today as well, and more are sure to come.

I've already fallen asleep at my keyboard once while I was typing this blog, so please forgive any typos and errors. Everyone is still healthy, and I can't think of a time when any other group of this size managed to avoid illness this long. As we recited in church today, "God is good all the time."


Anonymous said...

We are the parents of one of the Harding students, Caitlin Smith. We are delighted that she has such a life-changing experience to minister in Zambia! Thank you for all you do for the Lord and His church! Please give her a hug from us and tell her we love her!
Forrest and Patty Smith

Anonymous said...

Hey, David and Linda! Susan and I had forgotten that you were at Namwianga. You may have figured this out already, but our oldest son Robbie is one of the Academy teens visiting you this week. Thanks for arranging so much of their time there. It sounds like they are having a great experience.

You may have known this, but Susan's late sister was Barbara (Wright) Moore (was married to D. Mark). They lived/worked at Namwianga for over 5 years until 1984. We think it's neat that Robbie can see where Mark and Barbara lived and where his cousins were born!

Thanks for what you are doing!

--Glenn (of Harding Admissions) and Susan Dillard

Carol said...

Thank you so much for the work that you do. We are blessed to be able to send our son Ross with the Harding group. Our son and daughter are waiting for an adoption from Ethiopia and I know that hugging and loving on those orphans is dear to his heart and will bring a flood of memories when our little one arrives! God bless you!