Tuesday, September 28, 2010


What a long weekend. It feels like we were in Ndola for a week, but at the same time feels like we had no time to get anything done. On Friday night when I was packing up I started to feel a scratchy throat and some coughing. I thought it was just the dust from setting up my kitchen and bedroom. That night I didn't sleep at all... My throat felt swollen and I couldn’t swallow. I got a pounding headache and laid in bed all night just praying for sleep that never came. We left early Saturday morning and drove the 4ish hours to Ndola. Other than stopping to occasionally fix the luggage and tarp on top of the car, it was a fairly uneventful trip, thank God. I was starting to cough more and pretty much lost my voice. As soon as we got there Megan and James and some of the kids went to pick up Pr. Jim Savastio, Pr. Mark Chanski, Rick Kelley and his daughter, Grace Anne from the airport. It was so great to see Pr. Jim and Rick especially... a little taste of some people I really miss from home. Rick will be here in Lusaka for another week and a few days, and Pr. Jim will be coming Thursday after the Pastor's training is finished in Ndola.

As soon as we picked them up most of us went to go see the orphans that are sponsored through the Lion of Zambia program. They were gathered at the home of a woman named Sharon Chisala who helps with keeping track of the orphans and their needs while we are home in Lusaka. We had our introductions and I read some verses and prayed with them then we sang some songs and read letters from their sponsors in the US and UK. We then had some time to help them with writing back, and then played a game. It was a short visit but I was so grateful to be able to visit with the kids and get to know them a little better. I started failing health-wise shortly after that. We went to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant there called Michelangelo's... which was delicious. That night James, Megan, Rick and I had some time to talk and visit and I got to hear about some friends that I am missing very much back home, which made them feel a little closer. I took medicine to help me sleep since I didn't sleep the night before... but that night was the worst. I didn't sleep and I was in and out of bed and pacing... I started getting feverish, very hot then freezing but sweating... In the morning (after realizing I had trapped 3 mosquitos INSIDE my net for the night....) I thought I'd go take a shower to cool myself off and when I got up and walked down the hall I felt very dizzy and almost passed out. I made it back to the bed and then just prayed... I had promised the orphans I'd see them at church and Sunday school- and I have such a limited time in Ndola I wanted to go. So I sat up for then minutes, then stood, then walked... and finally got a shower and went to Sunday school and church.

Mark Chanski preached both sermons at the church and they were amazing... exactly what I needed to hear. I took a short nap and after the evening service I felt rejuvenated and replenished, and as an answer to prayer, much better healthwise also.

On Monday Megan, myself , Emma and Grace Anne went to shoprite and got notebooks and mealie meal (the ground maize they use to make nshima) so that we could go visit the children on this one day we had with them and fulfill at least a few needs. We had heard Saturday that some of the children were not eating so we wanted to make sure we got some food to them. It was a great opportunity to drive (with Sharon and her son, Joshua's, help) to most of the children's homes, meet their family and present them with the Mealie and the notebooks for the kids. We also had heard from two of the kids, Elias and Dyness, that they had not been feeling well so we took them to a clinic. The clinic was quite an experience... with Dyness they simply asked her what was wrong and then prescribed pills... they didn't look at her (literally) or touch her... she simply said she was sick and they gave her pills. With Elias they sent him to the lab where they pricked his finger for a drop of blood then 20 minutes later they gave him 3 bags of pills. They never talked to him, never told him what was wrong with him. (He complained of severe headaches and abdominal pain.... Dyness complained of abdominal pain and diarrhea... yet even the two of them were seen and treated differently because of “how they described their symptoms”) I went to the counter and asked the woman. What is wrong with him. Without looking at me she pointed at his “chart” which said “ TSD? Malaria. TSM...” I said I don't know what that means and she sort of shooed me along. Megan and I will be looking for a better clinic the next time we go... unfortunately we are far and have no way of researching it fully unless we are there. The sad part is most clinics are about at that level... unless you go to a much farther and much more expensive one. At this clinic it cost K1,000 for each child to be seen and receive medication and K2,000 for Elias's bloodwork. Total that's K4,000... the equivalent in American dollars? 82 cents. Let that sink in....

We also had time to go pay Lawrence's school fees and get him back into school for the rest of the term. (he has to go to a special school because of metal and behavioral issues) All in all, we got food to around 16 families, school notebooks to 23 kids, medication to two sick children and got one child back into school who hadn't been able to go. Quite a productive, and tiring day. Monday night we went to dinner at the house of one of the deacon’s of the church here in Ndola's house, a great couple who I fell in love with named Twandi and Teleka. Another deacon, David, and his wife came also and the church planter that Louisville supports, Pastor Mondestors Hakanyaga. It was good to meet him, I'd heard about him for so long. They had great food and it was a wonderful time.

This morning Megan, the baby and I flew back to Lusaka while the rest of the Williamsons, Rick and Grace Anne drove (there wasn't enough room in the car for all of us.) Everything went smoothly in all the travel this weekend... which is an amazing thing, so thank God for that.

This week I will be back to teaching just Richard and Mwansa (Emma will be spending time with Grace Anne) and working on getting my missionary work visa, since my other one was just a 30 day visa and 30 days will be up in no time. I am almost all the way settled in. (Within just a few days of not sweeping and cleaning the cockroaches and beetles and spiders have all made themselves quite comfortable on the nice cool tile and comfy bed... I came home to a half dollar sized roach on my pillow.) The joys of Africa... :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Do insects go to church?

Today was the first day of school. It went well- it was a good day for me to get a feel for where the kids are at in terms of grade level. It will definately be a challege to say the least to get Richard and Mwansa where they need to be to pass their exams at the end of the year. They can speak and understand english 1,000 times better than they can read it- and being a written test that's a big challenge. Add math, science and social studies into the mix and it's.... well a challenge. I am definately up for it, and will have to make many adjustments as I go along I'm sure.

Richard is a firecracker to say the least. His "shy" lasted about 2 hours, as did his attention span. I looked up after reading a page in a book and he had gotten hold of my chalk and painted a white beard and white nose on himself. He then stuck the chalk down the back of his shirt like it never happened... Later we were studying bugs and the diseases they carry and he siad "Mosquitos are so bad. Do insects go to church?" I siad "Well no... there are insects in church like flies and ants, is that what you mean?" to which he said "Well I don't know... I thought if fish go to school maybe insects go to church." Emma thought this was completely reasonable and Mwansa just shook her head. It can only get crazier from here :)

I am almost at the point of moving into my house. The paint is on the wall and I've been sewing curtains for days, I need one more color for the shower room curtains.... I had forgotten about them. But the kitchen ones are finished and the bedroom ones are halfway done. It takes a while doing that much hemming by hand. I have all the major stuff I need (A hot plate, fridge, a bed and a dresser) That's all I'll be getting for now... I am hoping to get a microwave eventually. And a kitchen hutch because i currently have nowhere to put plates or dishes or dry food... but thats a lot of money....it will run me around $300.  I will definately need a fan soon which is another 100$ purchase... it's getting hot pretty quick (summer is just starting). I am trying to take things one day at a time. The tile is being laid today and tomorrow, and I shorted myself a box or two of tile to they have to get more in the morning.

I've been doing a lot of organizing and spreadsheeting for the Orphan Ministry stuff, which isn't the most exiting stuff but it's what I'm good at and it gives me a sense of accomplishment when everything is in it's right place. Lots of sickness all around here, I have been spared but Jackson, Megan, Emma, and Sarah have all been sick in one way or another for a week or so... keep them in your prayers.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fist visit to Kabanana

 Today we went to Kabanana for the first time. We went to pick up a woman named Fanny who I will be working very closely with (and I LOVE her). She and I seem to have a similar sense of humor. We then went to the home of four children who live with their mother who is HIV+. The youngest boy, Wisdom, found out just before I came that he is HIV+. The oldest girl is Memory. She had a baby out of wedlock a few weeks ago. She is not healing and keeps having some complications and health issues (She is 20). They thought she might also have HIV but she was negative when tested. We brought them (there are two more boys, Morgan and Nathan) letters. It was so encouraging to get to see them open their letters. These are children living in the most dire circumstances being given a peice of paper and a photo from people miles and worlds away pledging to love them and care about them. One of the letters was from Debra McDearmon (She sponsors Morgan). She mentioned Greg and Hannah in the letter and I was able to tell him, "Greg is married to my sister, he is my brother in law", which conected us even more. Another letter (The one for Nathan) was from Gabe Kelley (my good friend from RBCL) After he read it, he quietly closed it up and looked at us and said. "I like him. No. .... I love him" It stuck me as so sincere and so appreciative that gabe took maybe 15 miinutes of time to send that letter and Nathan will NEVER forget opening it. I know for a fact he will read it until it disinigrates into nothing. As we sitting there the boys were speaking Bemba and Megan asked what they were saying. Fanny told us they were saying "These people are ours"... such a powerful statement. It is impossible to describe the conditions in which these people are living. I need each of you to come here, at least once because there are no words.

We took Memory (for a post-baby check up since she is having so many complications) andWisdom (too get his second HIV test... they do an initial one then a blood test to determine the kind of ARVs (HIV meds) you need.) It is so draining to sit by a little boy and pray with all your might the whole way to the clinic that his blood test comes back negative, that maybe the first test was a fluke. You feel your whole heart just yearning. In the waiting room I sat with him and asked him about school... his favorite subjects are Math and Science and English. I told him I needed him to help me with math because it was my worst subject. He considerately gave me a laugh but I looked at his bloodshot yellowish eyes and realized he had so much more on his mind... so much more than a tiny little boy should have, than math.

We also visited little Memory (a different Memory). She is an 8 year old girl who just found out she is HIV+. Her mother does not want her on any medication because it makes you hungry, and I suspect she can't afford the food, it also would mean she had to be on these meds for life. When we got there, the mother (who is seldom home, I am told) was not there and the aunt was in the shower. The aunt was described to us as an alcoholic who is pregnant and does not know the father (When asked she apparently said "I don't know...you know how these things can be"). Memory and her brother (?) Christian were sitting on the staircase and appeared to be crying but neither of them would say anything was wrong. You just want to hold them and tell them it's going to be OK but how can you say that?

I am very excited to be into this work 100%. It is hard at first when you are just getting to know the work and the people and the situation. I have alwasy been reserved at first but then once I am at the point where I know what I am doing and am comfortable there is no stopping me. I pray I get to that point soon... I don't like feeling hindered by my own uncertainness...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

First Sunday

I feel 100% better today. We went to church this morning at the McDonald's farm. They are a Scottish couple who have started a mission for boys where they encourcage them to come off the streets so they stay with them and the church here sends a pastor to preach each week so that they don't have to transfer the boys every Sunday. I had a chance to sit and talk to Megan and James also this afternoon about my plans/our plans/ finances... more to come on that. Then tonight we went to the church here and I thought it was interesting that we started by reading in Ephesians 6... it was like I never left Louisville (THat's what Pr. Jim has been preaching on for weeks). And the sermon was on good hospitality and "Where there's a will, there's a way." That's my mom's favorite phrase to say. It made me feel very far away and very at home all at once. I had a chance to meet a lot of people, and finally meet Maureen also. Great Sunday.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'm home...

I am so tired I just want to curl up in a corner but I know if I don't write this quickly now then I never will.

Everything went amazingly. Thank you all so much for your prayers. I had minor glitches with the first flight (read: wthere was no water supply to the sinks and toilets so we landed in boston and it was litterally a 30 second fix (the pump was off kilter) and so then we sat there for an hour and a half while they did paperwork for said glitch and then we tried an alternate route because of weather and Heathrow was packed and THUS a 6 hour flight became 11 hours.) The wait in London was just long and boring and after a nice enough Norwegian man saw the internet machine eat all of my english pounds and gave me all his change, I spent the rest of my time hiding in Terminal A's women's restroom because his "nice enough" became "that's enough" and so when he asked me for my address here and phone number and if I was single, I excused myself to the restroom and never came back. BUT I met a woman there, around 55. She came up to me and said in an alllll too familiar accent said "I recognize that bag (made out of chitenge cloth) any chance you are flying to Zambia?" I said I was and she said "Please, I am so nervous and so confused. This is only my second time flying and the last time I had a guide, can I follow you around?" So I said yes and for the last hour or so we were buds and I learned about her. And Miss Bilwe (Bileeway?) if I pass through Kabwe I will most definately look you up in Morning Star Cafe.

On the plane I sat next to a Catholic Bishop from Poland. He didn't speak any English but had his Bible out for a while so I got mine out also and we took turns finding verses to point out to eachother's respective language's Bibles. That and a bunch of smiles were really the only communication we had or could have had but it was interesting none the less.

Well I got to the airport, got my visa for 50USD (which was much less than I expected) and I get my working visa next week I presume (or start the process anyways). All three bags were there in plain sight, I cruised through security and let me tell you, seeing Megan Sarah and Emma was jkindof the reality of it all. A new sister and two new neices... and just in the nick of time before my body shut down.

 I got a burst of new energy riding through Lusaka, so when we got in I unpacked a bit into the guest room, took a MUCH needed shower and got ready to go to a wedding! So we went to the wedding and then immediately after went to a ceremony they have here the week before a woman gets married (a separate woman, marraige is in the air this weekend) All the women get together and show the bride to be how to cook and make nshima for her husband and they spend all day (and I mean ALL DAY) cooking tons and tons of food... when it's all finished (complete with songs and dances) we brought it over the the husband and his family. We held the pots on our heads and you enter the door facing backwards then present it with two hands... there had to have been 40 women at least and 100 pots of food. it was insanity. (and yes, I forgot my camera). Anyways they do a ton of dancing and singing and rituals (washing the mans hands feet and face, taking the lid off every single pot and showing the family what was prepared while the family and friends throw money in the air. Very awesome. Megan and I caught the bus home (not sure I am a fan of the bus... ;) ) and now I am writing this and then LAYING DOWN.

I wish I had been more myself today for all that. I hit a wall somewhere during the wedding ceremony where words became nonsense and my whole body just felt numb. I am so beyond tired emotionally and physically... I traveled for 3 days on 3 timezones and my body is sooo confused. I know tomorrow will be a new and fresh day. I'm glad I got those experiences even with the grog.

Oh yea, and Grace..... is my little bud. She seems to have taken a liking to me right away and cried when they took her away! Love her. Can't wait for tomorrow!.... or an hour from now... who know's what's going to happen!

Pictures will go on facebook for now. check them!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The time has come, the walrus said....

Well time is winding down quickly. I had a chance to say goodbye to everyone at church in Louisville last Sunday (THANK YOU for my send off... and all the baking and hard work the ladies put in, I appreciate it so much!). The hardest part of leaving Louisville was of course saying goodbye to my best friend, and sister- Steph (and OF COURSE Cora... my tiny twin).

The trip to NJ went well and the day after getting back my Mom and I unpacked all of my earthy belongings into the garage, packed the car with some flip flops and bathing suits and headed to the beach. It was nice because I had missed this tradition two years in a row because of money being tight and moving etc. Friday we got home (after the severely overhyped Hurricaine Earl scare) and the next day I had a cookout with my sister Jo and her husband, and my sister Gret and her husband and kids.

Sunday was great. They had a student from Westminster named Bijan Mirtolooi visiting who preached Sunday School and morning service. S.S. was about turning sorrow and trials and sadness into joy, and remaining positive through every situation. Morning service he spoke about 'Hesed' love (giving, truly unconditional love) as displayed through humans in the book of Ruth. Pastor Dunn's sermon Sunday night was entitled "Go and Be a Blessing". Talk about dead on. He spoke about leaving everything and the command to be a blessing to others, leaving country, family etc.... After eventing service I had a chance to speak and explain what brought me to this point in my life and what I'll be doing there in Zambia.

Yesterday I had more opportunity to spend time with family and my very special Aunt Jen :). I have all of my shopping done and all of my little last minute things... One quick stop to the bank tomorrow and packing all my stuff into the bags themselves and I will be done- ready to go!

My emotions are quite mixed, but thus far I haven't had a breakdown quite yet. Mom's first meltdown was yesterday. I'm surprised she lost it before me... I'm sure it will hit me when I least expect it.... right now I am just ready!