Monday, December 28, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
David cooked our Christmas chicken outside in a Dutch oven. Delicious! We also had corn, black-eyed peas, and strawberries, all from our garden. And the electricity stayed on all day so we were able to talk to our kids in the US.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
We have had electricity most of the time this week, with just a few outages that lasted less than three or four hours each. Kind of took some of the excitement out of cooking. I had grown used to having menus for Plan A if the power stayed on, Plan B if I had to cook outside and Plan C if the food started out on the electric stove and ended up on the propane burner when the power went off.
Last Sunday we went on an outreach with Rodgers Namuswa and six guys from the community. We dropped the guys off in pairs at three different congregations along the Kabanga Road, and then Rodgers went on with us to Kanchele. The main road was in great shape, but the side road to Kanchele had some huge waterholes to cross. We were again very thankful for 4-wheel drive in the Land Cruiser.
Tomorrow we’re doing the same type of outreach, taking local evangelists with us to drop off at congregations along the way, but this time we will be heading north of Kalomo and ending up at a village near the entrance Kafue Game Park, one of the largest game parks in Africa.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I found this chaotic scene in the college library last Monday. Our librarian's usually neat desk area looked like the aftermath of a tornado. The cause of this mess? A cobra! Someone spied the snake slithering into the reserve section behind the desk. The librarian and students pitched in to pull the shelves out and dispose of the unwelcome intruder. All in a day's work for a Zambian librarian.
Monday, December 07, 2009
Sunday, December 06, 2009
This worn out, falling apart Beginner’s Bible is a beautiful sight to me. I found it in the hands of a Bible teacher at Nazilongo last Sunday when we went there for an outreach. Nazilongo was one of the first congregations to receive a Beginner’s Bible at a training session way back in 2006. The women of Nazilongo immediately began using the book to teach their children in Sunday School classes, and they have worn out their copy. It’s not stained, torn, or water-damaged—it’s just falling apart from good use. I sent a brand new copy to Nazilongo this week, because I want to keep this one. Beautiful, isn’t it?
Friday, December 04, 2009
I was in a classroom giving an exam on Thursday when a messenger came to the door. “Someone is here to see you, Madam.” I stepped outside onto the veranda and saw a 12-year-old boy standing there on crutches. But this wasn’t just any 12-year-old; this was Current Hangoma--who was sitting in a wheelchair when I last saw him in January. This was Current who couldn’t walk when he was sent off to school. This was Current who was carried on his Uncle Laiford’s back or in his uncle’s arms for the first ten years of his life before we found him a wheelchair two years ago. And now Current stood there proudly outside my classroom, his uncle beaming by his side. I fought back tears, not quite believing the sight in front of me.
Laiford and I started searching for a school for Current way back in 2006. Last December we finally found a school, and I located a sponsor for him in the US. Now after a year at the special boarding school for children with disabilities, Current no longer needs the wheelchair and is able to get around on crutches. Laiford showed me that Current can even stand alone without the crutches for a few minutes.
Current’s report card reflects great progress in his verbal ability as well. He had a vocabulary of only a few words when he went off to school in January. Now he’s ready with a quick “Fine!” when you ask, “How are you?” He and Laiford can communicate with each other in Tonga, and Current’s English is also expanding. His big smile and Laiford’s obvious pride are pure joy to watch.
When I wrote about Current in January, I said I hoped for a happy ending. In a way, this is a happier ending than either Laiford or I had dared hope for. And yet, once again, this not just an ending; it is another beginning, the beginning of a life of new freedom for both Current and his uncle. A happy ending and a new beginning—I’m very grateful to be part of this story.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
As always, the end of the school year is a bittersweet time for teachers. We are happy for these fine young women, but we will miss them.
Last week we held a dedication ceremony to officially open the new college women's dorm. The dorm was funded by Ross and Leota Davis of Austin, Texas, in memory of Joann Merriman Davis and Leon Clendenen. During the ceremony David shared the history of the Davis and Clendenen families and their desire to honor their loved ones by providing the dorm. The Zambian Board President Goliath Sikute and Mission Superintendent George Phiri expressed their appreciation to the donors. Shown above are the residents of the dorm in front of the decorated entrance. This blessing was given at the close of the dedication: May this building always be a place where students prepare to serve the Lord as teachers and Christians. May the conversations that take place in these rooms build up the women who live here and glorify the Lord. May the friendships that are formed here become bonds that will last through eternity. And may the memory of JoAnn Davis and Leon Clendenen live on in the service that spreads forth from this place.
Friday, November 27, 2009
It was what some might call a minor miracle--the electricity stayed on all day while we did our cooking and baking! I held my breath every time I put a dish into the oven, hoping that the power would stay on long enough to cook it. I breathed a sigh of relief when everything was hot and ready.
Our Thanksgiving guests began arriving at 6:00 just as the sun was going down. We were about to gather at the table when the seemingly inevitable happened-- the power went off. We ate our feast by candlelight. Just as we finished dessert, the power came back on at 8:50 p.m. David called it another TIA (This Is Africa) experience.
We ended up with 21 for dinner with an interesting mix of ages, stages, and cultures. We had five Peace Corps volunteers from our area plus American missionaries, Zambians, a Peruvian, and a South African family.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
We are expecting at least six Peace Corps volunteers from our area to join us. Some we have met, but some will be new friends. Then we'll have a mixture of Americans, South Africans, and Zambians to round out our guest list.
My own children have friends and extended family to share the holidays with, and we are blessed to be substitute family for other young people who are far from home. We have much to be grateful for as we look forward to Thanksgiving Day. And we will be extremely thankful if the electricity stays on while we do rest of the cooking!
Friday, November 20, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
21 new residents of Marjorie’s House, and friends.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
A few nights later, the night watchman at the Mann Guesthouse (two doors away from us) killed a puff adder, another very dangerous snake. We're thankful for these diligent guys who watch out for us!
Saturday, November 07, 2009
When I talked to David right after the storm on Saturday (see previous blog), I told him that I thought the flying ants would arrive that night. Sure enough, the invasion began at dusk.
In between numerous appointments with a variety of doctors, I have had a great visit with family and friends. I am very thankful that I was able to come back here for the tests. We looked into the possibility of going to South Africa, but the timing wouldn't work for both of us to go, and it turned out to be about the same cost for me to travel by myself to Austin. I have been blessed by the prayers and support of so many here, and it was a great relief to be seen and advised by the same doctors who treated me last year.
This is a quick trip; I'm headed back to Zambia on Tuesday. I've missed lots of excitement at Namwianga, so I'll blog some of that as I have time.
Monday, November 02, 2009
Lots of prayer and hard work produced Zambikes in 2007. The bicycle parts are shipped to Zambia where local workers assemble the bikes. We met the enthusiastic employees who proudly showed us around their workshop and introduced us to their newest product, the Zambulance. The Zambulance is a lightweight two-wheeled cart that can be pulled by a bicycle and used as an ambulance in rural areas too remote for cars and trucks. Some of the Harding students tried it out both as “patients” and drivers,
I had planned just a quick, one-hour tour at Zambikes, but Zambian hospitality overwhelmed us once again. The Zambikes staff invited us to stay for lunch and shared their nshima, beans, and cabbage with us. We closed our time by singing to them and listening as they sang to us. We reluctantly said goodbye to our new friends and headed back to Namwianga, and the end of our wonderful trip.
Friday, October 30, 2009
The HIZ group posed in front of the yellow bus at Mumena. The bus was broken down at this point, so right after this photo was taken the students boarded a rented bus and went on to Chimfunshi. This bus was repaired a couple of days later and managed the return trip with no problems.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
During lunch at Mumena on Sunday, our driver Donald came to us saying that the bus would not start. He had been working on it for some time and knew he needed a mechanic. We consulted with Brian Davis and got some leads and phone numbers for diesel mechanics, and Donald made phone calls. At Mumena there was only one spot where our cell service would work. As Sondra Davis explained, “You have to go stand under that jacaranda tree over there.” So Donald did just that and tried to find a mechanic. No luck on this Sunday afternoon.
The next step was to rent a bus to get us three hours down the road to our next destination at Chimfunshi Wildlife Refuge on Monday morning. Donald made the arrangements, and the rented bus with its driver got us there in time for Monday lunch. Meanwhile Donald was in Solwezi trying to get a new starter for the bus and find someone to install it.
As soon as we arrived at Chimfunshi, I asked whether they had cell service. The answer was, “Well, yes and no.“ There was no service at the spot where we were staying (dorms at the education center), but there was service on the soccer field. Innocent, the director of the Chimfunshi program, invited us to jump in his pickup for the half-mile jaunt through the woods and past the workers’ compound. Sure enough, on the edge of the soccer field my cell phone came to life and we were connected with the world.
I called Godfrey Lemba at Namwianga and discussed Plan B—he and the head mechanic from the mission would drive the other big bus from Namwianga on Tuesday. They would drop the bus off at Chimfunshi and Donald would drive us on home. They would proceed on to Mumena and repair the broken down bus. But Mr. Lemba had a new complication—Zambia’s one refinery was shut down, and the news stations were reporting diesel outages around the country. He wasn’t sure they could get diesel for the trip, because the Kalomo station had none.
I told Innocent about the diesel issue. He knows people in towns up and down the main highway through Zambia, so he got on his cell phone and started making calls while I kept up conversations with Mr. Lemba about possible scenarios for getting enough diesel. Within a few minutes Innocent had called enough people to reassure us that at least for now there was diesel between Lusaka and Chimfunshi, and I had located enough diesel to get them to Lusaka.
Amazingly, the plan worked. Mr. Lemba and Buster, the mechanic, set off from Namwianga at 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Donald left from Chimfunshi at 7 a.m. and went by public bus into the nearest big city, Kitwe, and bought a starter for the bus. Mr. Lemba and Buster met him there late Tuesday afternoon and brought him on out to Chimfunshi. They arrived at 8:30 Tuesday night. Donald stayed with us while Mr. Lemba and Buster went on to Mumena. I tried to talk them into spending the night at Chimfunshi, but they were determined to get the job done as quickly as possible. Mr. Lemba’s words were: “We are men. We will do what we have to do!”
We left Chimfunshi on Wednesday morning in the working bus and continued our trip without interruption. Buster and Mr. Lemba had the other bus at Mumena working by 2:00 on Wednesday afternoon and started their homeward trip. They spent the night in Lusaka and actually made it back to the mission a few hours before we did on Thursday.
Transportation and communication—conquered once again.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Konkwa is in the forest; the building is surrounded by tall trees. On this Sunday we sat outside and enjoyed the beauty around us. The Konkwa choir presented several songs, David preached, and Derek Molina led the Lord’s supper. Some of the students taught the children’s classes. It was a delightful morning and another experience to remember from our time at Mumena.
On Saturday we drove to the Meheba Refugee Camp to worship with the Congolese congregation. Meheba is the largest refugee camp in the world in terms of size and was once the largest in population as well. The chaos in the Congo during the 60s sent refugees streaming across the nearby border and prompted the area’s chief to offer the land to the United Nations for the establishment of the camp. Later, refugees from Angola arrived, and during the war-torn years of that conflict the population of Meheba swelled to over 150,000.
Organizers attempted to form stable communities for the refugees, settling them together with people from their own country and area who shared the same language and similar customs. The UN provided housing materials, land, and seed for each family with the expectation that the family would be self-sufficient within two years. Clinics and schools provided health and education services, and the Meheba camp became home to a generation of children who were born there or cannot remember their homeland.
The Road 68 congregation of Congolese refugees was formed because Namwianga sent Leonard Mujala to work with the people in the camp. Leonard has a gift for languages and was able to communicate and teach effectively, planting new churches at several locations, including Road 68.
We spent a spirited four hours with the Congolese, who welcomed us warmly and led us in enthusiastic singing and praise. Ross Cochran and Derek Molina preached, as well as one of the Congolese church leaders.
The congregation fed us a wonderful lunch of goat, chicken, and rice. We were humbled when Brian Davis told us about the sacrifices that were made for that meal. Brian and Sondra drove to Meheba the Saturday before we came to make the final arrangements, but found none of the members at their homes. They investigated and found that the church members were all out hoeing fields to earn money to buy a goat and chickens for our lunch.
This truly was a love feast.