I cant believe I skipped a whole month and a half of blogging. A month and a half that were so full and so ...big.
Last week- I went with Fanny to visit Mrs. Tembo. She refuses to take ARV's or any medication for that matter. When she used to fall ill, she would come out and sit in the living room and chat with us. I knew this was different because Memory told us we'd have to go into the bedroom. We walked in and I was shocked. Shocked. I have never seen a human being in that state before. You see it in movies and posters for AIDS and things like that but to see it and hear it and smell it and TOUCH it is something else all together.
She couldn't move. All that remains of this woman I used to sit and laugh and joke with just a month or two ago- is a skeleton. her skin is shriveled and dark around her tiny frail frame. She has no cheeks- no flesh to speak of. She managed to move one arm anough to shake my hand and I was so scared her fingers would break inside mine. Fanny talked with her for a while and she chatted with me a bit too. Finally we decided to leave as it was clear she was falling asleep. She had mentioned that none of her prayers were being answered so now she had stopped praying and was just "waiting". I asked if I could pray and as soon as we bowed our heads my mouth went dry. What do you say? How do you pray for Mrs. Tembo? She is going to die. She is leaving behind 4 kids and a grandchild with no money. Her oldest son is starting COLLEGE this year. An impossible achievement for a kid with his backgroundand she won't be there to see it. Wisdom is facing the same pain and suffering as she is going through if he follows her footsteps and avoids medication. Morgan wants to be a soldier. She's leaving the world at a young age almost by choice. I scrambled for some words to put together and we left. I relaized I had just looked into the eyes of death- held it in my hands.
I went home and told Megan- if you plan to see Mrs Tembo, go now.
I love Alice Tembo. She may not have the same beliefs as I do but I truly beilieve that she does NOT take medication because she loves and believes in God. Her faith in many ways is stronger than most. It is twisted, and I think it's wrong but it's between her and God. What I know is that she believes SO MUCH in God's power that she doesnt take medicine. I will miss her hemming my chitenges for me. I will miss her laugh and the way she looked sitting on that leapord carpet. I'll miss the way she thanked me everytime I came to see her and always asked me to come more often. I wish I had. She's got 4 good kids. Each of them make thier own mistakes but they are all people who need God's love and protection.
Ba Alice, I promise will be there to show it to them.
My friend Jacky moved in with me for the month of June. She had been here since November trying to adopt two girls, Evolet and Kiera. There was a sieries of things that went wrong- one thing after another really. She had to move around from place to place but for the last month, she moved in with me. In a strange way I feel honoured and so happy that they were with me at the end. Things continued to go wrong and discouragements grew and there came a point when it was clear that she was going to be going home without these two girls. Being in this house through those rollercoasters of thinking it was finally working out and then being shot down and gaining hope and then losing it again... it was stressful and tiring.
The hardest part was hugging and squeezing and loving those little girls knowing, especially toward the end, that the woman they called Mommy was flying back to America- never to return, and without them. I tried to make it a fun time, we had dance parties and coloured and we even went out to a reptile farm and spent the day playing and looking at the animals out there. On the last day- we found out they were not even going to be placed in the same orphanage they'd come from- but rather a brand new one with no freinds, no familiar faces....
I have a hard time with things like these. Evolet, after learning that she was not going to America to have the family and birthday parties and bedroom she had been dreaming of, even asked me why she couldn't just stay here with me. Try explaining to a 5 year old laws and regulations when all the while you are actually thinking about how no one would probably ever notice if I did just keep them... Then my mind turned to adoption costs and if I could swing this and if I was ready for two daughters.... If I had an extra lump of cash laying around those girls would be here in warm beds with me.
Even writing about it now is gut wrenching to me. I know no reader will ever understand but Jacky was my freind and these girls became daughters to me too and then they were just gone. One day I woke up and there was no more spilled milk at breakfast, no more yelling at anyone for sitting on the coffee table, no more E's drawn on the wall, no more dance parties and no more excited screams that I was home every time I walked in the door... just quiet.
For that month it was hard to focus. I had a foot in work and a foot in this situation and a hand in my own dealings with freinds and another hand in other things it was like playing life twister and I am still remaining with a backache from all the twists and turns and split emotions. I stretched myself thin trying to figure out my role in each thing and was left feeling helpless in everything.
Jacky left toward the end of the month. I am visiting the girls this afternoon. I want them to have at least one constant in their life. They are amazing kids and God is with them. This much I know.
The day Jacky flew home, I fell really sick. My fever broke and I have been coughing and struggling to breathe, especially at night, for almost 2 weeks. I lost my voice completely for a week of it. I was treated for pneumonia but it never subsided....
We've been so busy with the kids. Teaching and cooking and preparing them for exams. We had a group meeting to touch base about rules and celebrate birthdays. We've had a lot of sickness and most of the kids are coughing and sneezing- it's abnormally cold this cold season. Feels like the end of fall and most people especially our kids, arent prepared for it. We gave out blankets and bought sweaters but you can't stop the noses from running. I love these kids and I am enjoying getting to know the new ones, who are much more rwody and rambunctious that any of the others. Somehow, I have a soft spot for "bad kids" and I'm drawn to them. I want to know what's up- what's behind that behaviour.
We've started the process of getting Alex "certified". He's severely mentally challenged and in order to get him into skills training, theres a mountain of paperwork and trips to clinics and hospitals and ministries and all that. We got the preliminary letter after hours of waiting and then we took him to Chipata clinic.... the place is a nightmare. An absolute nightmare. We finally got a referral to UTH (another nightmare) and we'll taki him there for steps 3-6 next week. Alex blesses me with his big gummy smile. and his silly little laugh.
They are a good group. 45 sons and daughters, thank you Lord.
In June, I had a break in. Some theives jumped over my fence and stole whatever was outside and of value, including my trashcan (you'd be surprised how expensive they are. I spent 3 weeks saving up and finally just took the plunge and bought it and within a week it was stolen), my wheelbarrow and shovel etc. Expensive stuff. I realized I needed to take my security seriously, since the next stop is inside the house, and I had electric fencing installed. It was an invasive process and there were guys inside and outside of the house, and in the process about 50$ was stolen from my purse.... On top of all that the water shut off for a week (actually there was a leak the water company didnt want to fix, so they just turned off my water. nice.) and I had the power shutting off every day. Then the landlord told me they were finally ready to put in a hot water heater (I have been bathing with frigid cold water in this cold weather- not helping my pneumonia) and then they came and left every day for a week saying they needed one part and would be back tomorrow. It finally got installed and didnt work so I called the plumber who installed it and he said "Yes, madam- that's the wrong water heater for your house". WHYYYYYYYYYYY he didnt say that before spending a week installing it I'll never know- but after that they removed it, bought a new one and now I finally have a water heater, but it takes about an hour to heat up and uses a lot of my expensive electricity so I haven't used it yet.... life. Stress can feel like it's choking you sometimes.
We've been busy planning Maureens wedding also, which is set for September 1. I had her and Fanny over last weekend and we spent the day dress shopping, budgeting, planning and making her invitations. Very fun and so happy for her.
I hosted a church Braii (barbeque) at my house on Monday. I was nervous as it was also sort of a housewarming- the first time most of them were coming to see my new place! Our cell group just finished our Bible Study topic so we were celebrating and also saying goodbye. Uncle Hillary Anderson, one of my very favorite men at the church, is moving to another country for 2-4 years. He has always checked on me and he and his wife, Rita have been like parents to me. I'll miss him dearly.
It's been an emotional roller coaster this month. Being sick has only made it more of a bumpy ride and there seems to be no end in sight for this painful cough. Between worrying about money, then having theives, then having to put in a VERY expensive electric fence then having money stolen- and mrs tembo and jacky and the girls and my own friendships.... not a fun game of twister.
I feel lonely. Even having people around and having my amazing freinds and church family- at the end of the day I go home and stare at while walls and empty bedrooms. Patience is wearing thin but I continue to pray for a companion and children of my own.
I look forward to having Catie Woodman come on Thursday. She'll be staying in my home for 5-6 weeks as she works with the ministry. It will be good to have the company and get to know her. I have gained many dear freinds from the people who come here and volunteer- I knw she'll be another.