Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Caught in the crossfire

I really need to get more consistant with this blog. It is so hard because when I am finished work for the day the last thing I want to do is write it all down. I have been doing much better health- wise. I am sleeping again and the headaches are gone. I am still extremely tired and feeling worn out all the time, but I have come to find that is par for the course.

School is going well with the kids. Protasho and Patrick are improving slowly but steadily and they are learning quickly. The others are doing well also, and starting to really losen up and feel free with me- whihc makes my job so much easier. They love riding to and from "school" in my car and have been singing at the top of their lungs and dancing and everything- I want to video it one day.

The kids who were feeling sick have improved. Maggie is 100% healed although she has been left with some unfortunate scarring. Felix is doing much better and is back to school. Alot of the kids have flu and colds right now because our weather has been very strange (raining and cold one day and then 100 degrees and burning sun the next).

Things with Morgan have been touch and go. As many know, he was quite abusive to his mother, ran away and then came back and got in a fight with his sister wherein they again were physically abusive to the mother. He has since come to ask for forgiveness but we are between a rock and a hard place figuing out how to deal with the situation. Please keep us and them in your prayers.

This weekend, Maureen and I will be traveling to Ndola to see our kids there. It's my first time traveling that distance here, so keep us in your prayers for that as well- for both safe travel and a fruitful trip.

I have been thinking about how much my life has changed and how far I've come. It is truly amazing the paths that God takes us down. I was chatting with Fanny and her husband today  about how things that were so "different" at first when moving here are so normal now. Sometimes (in fact, two weeks at a time) I have no hot water for showers. In the states I would have been in an uproar not having hot water for just one day and yet here on day 7 of an icy cold shower I am not even thinking that it's strange enough to complain about! I coexsist with cockroaches and spiders and grasshoppers... things that would have made me run and call an exterminator and now I just walk around them. I am always sweaty and have just adapted to carrying a cloth around to wipe my face with rather than complain about no fans or breezes... I don't have so many of the ingredients and things I am so used to for cooking, and yet I have made up some new dynamite recipes. I used to see something in a store and say TWO DOLLARS? that's a steal!, Now I see something that costs two dollars and I am appalled at how expensive it is. It is really funny to think about how perceptions on every single thing in life change.

Today, on my way to go teach Malama, I was stuck in traffic behind a white car. Behind me was a pickup truck, and behind that a bus (*shutter*). The bus was annoyed that the white car in front wasn't going around the block in traffic (which was a little boy pushing a wheelbarrow WAY over full of bottles of beer accross the street) and so He pulled into the other lane and overtook all three of us- not knowing that in the white car were two armed soldiers. WELL- needless to say the soldiers didn't take kindly to this and started screaming at him. They got past the block and swerved back around in front of the bus sideways and blocked both lanes. One of the soldiers got out, with his gun pointed and started screaming at the busdriver. It was very obvious that the soldier was drunk (this was 9AM) and they were yelling and spitting at eachother. It is common practice for a busdriver, when caught doing an offence like that, to be pulled in the street and publicly beaten as an example to the people around. The bus driver refused to get out. Seeing that it was going to be an issue, the soldier turned and motioned for me to go around the car on the other side to keep traffic moving. I slowly crept around just in time to see the busdriver pull around the other side and come parallel to me past the white car. At this point (with children and people EVERYWHERE around) the soldier started to open fire on the bus. I could not pull away as there were kids on the right of me so all I could do was step on the gas, but unfortunately the busdriver had the same idea so as this drunk soldier is shooting at the bus that is inches from me, people are scattering away and kids are crying- it was absolutely insane. I let the bus overtake me and when I saw which direction he was going I pulled off and went the other way as the soldiers were now chasing him down the road, with the one leaning out of the widow with his gun.

Now..... please do not think we see this every day. There are solders and police patroling ewith VERY large guns all over the place, but I had never actually seen one use it or been that close in proximity to a situation like that. Usually, like I said, a driver would just be publicly beaten in the street for such behavior. When I got to Fanny's I had sweat through my shirt- it really shook me up! God was protecting me, and the people around. Noone was hurt and hopefully it ended well- I didn't stick around to find out.

I am hoping to get some rest this week in preparations for travel and work this weekend in Ndola. (hoping...) I will update as soon as I get back!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Sky is the Limit

It's been about two weeks since I've blogged... or had a moment to rest! (Or so it feels like!!) I am now tutoring full time. The way my schedule was worked out and what's REALLY going on is, as usual, two different stories. Saturday (the 29th) we had our monthly meeting and this time had a devotional and then an HIV awareness/education meeting. We will be taking all of the kids for testing soon so we wanted to make sure they were all up to date and informed. It went very well and the kids learned a lot and seem to be ready for this, which is good

Last week on monday I tutored Protasho and Patrick in the morning then got news that Felix wasn't feeling well so I cancelled afternoon classes with four of the others and took him to the clinic. He was put on injections (for 5 days) and other medications, but thankfully now it seems he is doing much better. He is supposed to go this week for a follow up (if he isn't better, it could be TB and we will have to get him to a hospital for chest XRAYs.)

The rest of the week and the tutoring went well, the kids seem excited and motivated with this extra help and I pray I will be able to assist them and boost them in their education. .It seems so funny to me to read this back and think of how it must sound to others, it doesnt seem like much- but the amount of driving and clinic visits and hours tutoring and talks and plans with Fanny and Maureen, then the lesson plans and purchasing food and bags and shoes and visiting families in between all that... It's insane. At the end of every day I am almost limping from exhaustion- only to go back and do twice as much the next day (because something ALWAYS comes up. Then I come home from a full day tutoring and doing these other things and answer emails and update spreadsheets and file reciepts.... The work is never done. Almost always I am waking up to a text of something more that we need to do, or as I am driving away to come home one of the kids will name another need they have. It's a constant stress headache. This is not to complain but rather explain my exhaustion- the work is litterally 24 hours. It's like I am mothering and teaching 19 children.

Protasho has a twin sister who we do not sponsor because she has stated she is uninterested in getting an education. He came to us telling us that she had sores and her skin looked like it was burned. I got to his house to take her to the clinic and went inside. My heart just filled with pain for them. She looked as though she had leaprosy. She was disformed with raised boils and sores all over her including her face and eyes, and was just laying on the solid ground wrapped in cloth.

She had gone to a nearby clinic when it started, but the only thing the mother could afford was the pain killers, so she had not been treated for the actual disease. She was diagnosed with small pox- which is a term they refer to any kind of "pox" but she has a bad case of it. She has been on injections 4 days now and seems to be doing much better. The boils have turned to mere bumps, but some of them unfortunately are leaving scars.

This morning I took her for her second to last injection, then picked up Kaumba, Richard, Mwansa and James and brought them to Mount Makulu (my church). They had a good time and seemed to get along with everyone, and are already asking to come along next week.

Next week will be just as full, if not more so, as this week. In addition to teaching and clinic trips, We have two more kids to enroll into school and I am making preparations for our Bible Study/ hygiene meeting and also my upcoming trip to Ndola with Maureen at the end of the month.

Next week also marks 5 months in Zambia. Almost half a year- it's hard to believe! This work  of raising 19 children is challenging and exhausting and stressful and at times even frustrating, but there is nothing more rewarding than hearing Protasho read a sentance or Christian say the alphabet or seeing Maggie recover from a potentially fatal or disfiguring disease so quickly. I am here for a purpose that is so much bigger than me- and I am so thankful to have been designated by God to be put in this position. I know it's only through His strength and power that anything gets done, but I am telling you this- He is moving mountains in this place, one day at a time.