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... :)