Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future

Wow... turns out I haven't updated since November. So much has happened I don't even know where to begin. We traveled to Ndola and had our Christmas party there, as well as some necessary meetings. There were a few irritations along the way, mainly due to our skin colour... but for the most part we accomplished what we set out to do and were kept safe and healthy and so we thank God for that.

By way of example: When we visited the first house of some of the kids we sponsor, we found out two of the girls had not had chest Xrays done in a while. They are HIV+ and one has had TB in the past, so it was very important. We got to the first clinic and it was military owned, so they wouldn't let Megan and I in. They pointed at everyone else and said they could go but not us because we were white/foreign (without asking for any papers to see if we had Zambian citizenship or if Maureen and Lister might have been black Americans). They directed us to park in the visitor parking space and within 5 minutes another officer came to the car and told us we couldn't even park and wait there, but we had to leave and come back when they were done.

Later we went to the other clinic and the doctor refused to do an Xray. Megan finally convinced him to write a script for one, but he said he refused to read the Xray when we were done. So we finally got it done and then had to go around looking for someone to read it. In one hallway there were people waiting in line to see the doctor. I sat down in the middle of everyone with one of the orphans and Megan and Lister poked into the room to see if the doctor was willing to read the Xray (in which case we would have waited in line). He ended up just  basically saying "sure, give it to me now" so I had to sit out in line with everyone audibly talking about how they can't stand how whites always jump in line and get special treatment and Americans think just because we have money we can do whatever we want at the expense of the Zambians... I wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out.

Another time we stopped for lunch and the call boys (who are basically hustlers) came up and told Megan they would watch the car while we got lunch. It was a fast food place and we could see the car so Megan said No thanks. The guy got a little upset but didn't say much. When we came out he said he'd watched the car and told her to pay him. She quickly shut and locked the doors and we pulled away. The man was yelling to the car in Bemba and Maureen said he was saying if he ever saw our car again he'd slash the tires because we didn't pay him what we owed him, when we so obviously had money. Because we're white... we "owed" him money for no reason.

On the way home, we brought a friend and her mother so they wouldn't have to ride the bus. The mother was looking for mushrooms that they sell along side the road so we stopped to buy some. The people SERIOUSLY overpriced them and would not come down. They litterally told her "If you are in the car with white people, you can afford to pay more". Sometimes our friends even get negative effects of being close to us- and I hate that.

So we had some issues along those lines, but the party with the kids and seeing them recieve (most of them) their first Christmas gifts was pretty great!

The weeks after we got home we had our party in Kabanana. It was equally wonderful and we had a great time. Megan explained snow and then read frosty the snowman and we all sang and opened presents  it was very nice.

About two and a half weeks ago I was at Young People's group and everyone decided they wanted to have an overnight braai and we needed to raise money for it. I suggested we offer to people in the church that whoever needs house/yard work done, we'll come do it for donations. First, we painted a room here in my house (the one Maureen had been living in). We had a blast, and the next day we finished and then went to the next venue. A family in the church is having a new house built and septic tanks need to be put in so two holes neeed to be dug... 4 meters by 4 meters. In total, it took 6 days to do both and it was back breaking work. Most of us (especially those present for every single day) are bruised, blistered and completely worn out to the bone. I have some bad slices on my feet, horrible bruises ( that i had to explain to my freinds because they were completely horrified at my skin changing colours) and I am BEAT. I have been feeling sick the past few days so the 6th day of work I slept in the shade under a tree most of the day. (please note the progression of work)

It was a lot of fun and we have a lot of great memories but we are all WORN out completely. The braai is tomorrow and it should be a great time, we are taking today off so everyone can sleep and get ready for the braai.

In other major news of the month- I FINALLY got my car! There were about three weeks of delays and I had to practice extreme patience but it's here and it drives and it's mine and I am finally free to become more involved in the work in Ndola and Kabanana as well as church activities here, and becoming more part of the culture in general. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off.

I am really looking forward to the coming year. There is a lot of work to be done and a lot of expansion opportunity with the work so I am ready to get into it full swing. It will be nice to have some fun times this week in preparation for the upcoming work starting in January. I have been missing my family, and I am very thankful for the Williamsons who are always taking care of me and making sure I am ok, and also for my family in the church here. This week is "family week" at church so they cancel the regular weekly meetings (bible studys and ministry meetings- everything except church) and you are supposed to spend the week visiting and ministering to family. When they announced it on Sunday I felt a pang of sadness and thought in my head... ugh those meetings are what keeps my mind OFF missing family and now I'll have it thrown in my face all week that I am without family.... quite the contrary.

I have been spending time at the homes of my brothers and sisters here and some very special people have planned it so that I am not alone on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. I am and I will be very well taken care of and I am feeling very loved and close to my new brothers and sisters here.

I do miss my family- and it's hard having this be my first time away from home. I pray that God will continue to bless me the way he has been and will watch over my family at home- many of them are having similar feelings and hardships this year and I know we are all sympathizing with one another from different distances. I love you all and I hope that everyone reading has a wonderful and blessed Christmas.