Zambia Update #13 August 5, 2011

Our last night in Zambia-it has been an amazing time, and a fantastic day in Livingstone to end our time here.  I will try to briefly recap the last 2 days.

We left Macha on Thursday morning to head to Choma for lunch with a missionary couple that is stationed there.  We thoroughly enjoyed their company and also a fantastic meal!  We got back on the road to Livingstone in the early afternoon and pulled in to town at about 4:30 in the afternoon.  It was just enough time to check in to our lodging for the time here, and also there was enough daylight to get to the Game Park to see what time the gate would open the following day…the early bird gets the worm!!!(or at least sees the most animals!)  We enjoyed a nice meal of pizza together for dinner, and then studied the 6th Commandment during Team Time back at our lodging for the night.  Since we are staying at a back packer’s lodge, there is no shortage of action…so some of the team got less sleep than others, depending on whose room was closest to the lounge area!

We were up at the crack of dawn…well, actually before the crack of dawn, to be at the Game Park’s gate at 6 a.m.!  We drove around for hours and were blessed to see a lot of awesome animals…elephants, giraffes, zebra, wildebeast, buffalo, crocodiles, hippo, a huuuuuge python, impala, bush buck, monkeys, baboons, and wart hogs!  We enjoyed a picnic breakfast by the Zambezi river, entertained by monkeys playing in the morning sun.  After heading out of there, we stopped for a quick lunch and then off to the mighty Victoria Falls.  What a scene!  It’s amazing to stare at such a wonder while realizing we are so blessed to even be here to see it.  We took it all in, and also enjoyed a hike to the bottom of the gorge, where we befriended multiple baboons…well, those of us who weren’t afraid of them!

We then spent a couple hours bartering for goods with the craftsmen who were selling all their wares.  Its such a fun time! They are very friendly people, and love to give “discounts” and trade for the dirty socks off your feet!  At then end of the shopping round, one of our team returned to the vehicle with a big grin, a bag full of goods, and no shoes on his feet!  Time and money well spent I think!

We enjoyed a last meal together in Livingstone again…most of us choosing pizza again…and then treating ourselves to a vanilla ice cream cone at the local bakery.  We ended the night with  prayer time, and are now winding down our last few waking hours in Zambia.  We thank you once again for all your prayers…we look forward to seeing you soon back in the USA!   We are blessed to have had the opportunity to be here.  I am certain we are all coming home with a new perspective of some nature, God has been at work!  We are so grateful also to the community of Macha, who were so hospitable and friendly to us during our stay.  We were blessed to have been able to serve among our brothers and sisters there.

The team

elephants!

Victoria Falls

Zambia Update #12 August 3, 2011

Well folks, this is officially the latest night of our trip thus far!  Unless of course you count the overnight flight to get here on which most of us were awake watching movies.  It’s almost midnight as I type, which really isn’t so bad at all, especially because we can sleep in a bit tomorrow as we head to Livingstone for our last day and a half in this wonderful country.

Today was our last day here at Macha, and it was packed with action!  We started off by walking to a local primary school…where we had been one day last week.  They were more than excited to see us coming needless to say, and were full of tons of energy.  Incidentally it was their last day of classes for the term, so maybe that was part of it.  We spent about 2 hours there, seeing about 120 children.  Their English comprehension was not great, so lots of demonstrations for the soccer part!  Luckily there was a teacher helping us out so she could do some translating as well.

When that was over we walked back to our dorm, had lunch, and then headed to our 2nd clinic of the day.  This was a bit farther away, so we hopped in a truck to get us there.  This primary school was also ready for us upon our arrival!  The children had all been gathered and were sitting in a huge group just waiting for us!  After meeting briefly with the headmaster(who is a wonderful Christian man) we introduced ourselves and shared with them why we had come to spend time with them.  They listened very intently as we talked and as one of our players shared his testimony.

We started with supposedly about 80 children…which quickly turned into about 130!  Since there were only 8 of us, we had to divide them up a bit more.  Needless to say, it was great to see the team work together to make it happen.  The headmaster also was very gracious as he had organized a teacher to be with just about each of us to help us in making sure we were understood.  At the end of our session with them, spectators had gathered just to see what exactly was happening!  I’m sure it was quite a sight to see as us with our American attributes  at this soccer field in the middle of nowhere doing soccer clinics with all these children!  Praise the Lord though for the wonderful time we had there.

We loaded back up again, racing back to our dorm to quickly prepare for our last friendly match of our time here. We were on our way to the field where we thought we were playing, but we caught word of a match that was already going to be there, so we had to switch our game to a local school field.  It was actually the field of the school where we did camps all last week.  The game was fun as always.  We tied 1-1, which seemed to be  a fair result.  After the game we all huddled up  at the center and prayed together…a great ending to a busy day!

Dinner was potatoes, peas, and chicken!  Yum. I’m going to miss all the fresh food here.  Though I am not sure we will ALL miss the food here:)  We ended the evening with Team Time, where we spent some time “debriefing” regarding our time here in Zambia.  It was a great time of encouragement for each other, but also to spend some time praying together.  That pretty much ended the night, and now its time to sleep because tomorrow’s a new day!

 

Thanks for all your prayers!

The team

Zambia Update #11 August 2, 2011

Tuesday is in the books!  The day started much like every other day…breakfast at 7!  After that it was off to the hospital to finish up the painting project, and then off to help dig some fence post holes and tie the barbed wire fence to all the fence posts.  It was nice to be back out working in the fresh air, getting a bit dirty too never hurts.

We had a quick lunch and then we were driven to a school about 3 miles away where we did a little soccer clinic with about 80 of their students, grades 5 and 8.  The level of English comprehension wasn’t great, but luckily the soccer drills are pretty easy in that you can always demonstrate!  Thankfully, their sports teacher was around and he did a great job translating as we shared with the group that we were there for more than soccer.  They listened very intently as a couple of the team members shared testimonies and we shared why our team was there.  It was a great session, and we took a photo of us all together as we left.(see below)

Upon returning we rushed off to the basketball court of Macha to play the local high school boys team, in basketball just to clarify!  It was so much fun and very competitive, and I’m not even sure who won, but that doesn’t matter anyway.  Again, just a fun time building relationships because of a common interest in sports.  Thankfully, we’ll be back to the soccer field tomorrow…it was quite evident that we were(for the most part) a soccer team.(picture below)

At dinner time we ate with 3 others that are here doing research at the hospital.  Two women are from the US, and then our one dorm mate is a young Austrian man.  It’s been fun running into them here and there, and even being able to pray at meals with them!  We have invited them to our last soccer game tomorrow, hopefully they’ll be there to watch!

We had a wonderful time of prayer and singing to end our day with Team Time.  Most of us are heading to bed, hard to believe tomorrow is our last day of ministry here in Macha.  It has been amazing.  Thanks for praying:)

The team

Soccer clinic
basketball game

Zambia Update #10 August 1, 2011

So today was a holiday here in Zambia- Farmer’s Day!  Schools were closed, and most people were not working(except of course the hospital staff!), but we managed to get a great 2nd coat of painting done, leaving only a bit more to do in the 3 rooms we attacked there!  Tomorrow we’ll finish that up in the morning, and we are hoping to get a new task assigned to us-there were rumors of digging some holes…that would be fantastic!

That was our morning today, and then we enjoyed lunch and had Team Time where we discussed “Honoring your Father and Mother” as we continue to work through the 10 Commandments.  We enjoyed hearing from our 8th and final team member as he shared his testimony as well.  By the time all that was over, it was soon time to head to the football field behind the hospital, Toku Stadium. If you are picturing a field surrounded by lights, seating, and all that, you’d be way off!  This field is awesome…but it has no grass, and no seats!  This was the rematch from last Monday when we tied the men’s nursing school.

A nice little crowd had gathered by the time we started, and we were even treated to an awesome cheering section from one of the schools we had been running clinics at!  A bunch of teachers showed up to cheer for us, and they also sang choruses during the game too, it was amazing.  Despite our best efforts, they won 2-0 this time…but we all gathered together at the end and prayed with each other.  I am certain through both sides’ effort and attitudes, that the Lord was pleased with the game.  I hate losing, but in circumstances like this, the bigger picture is an amazing thing, and the result of the game has very little importance.  We have been here just over one week, and its so cool to see all the relationships we’ve been able to build.  And in proper response to that, we say Hallelujah!  (Hallelujah was a word we heard a lot yesterday as we shared worship with several groups, so its pretty ingrained in our heads at this point…well, and it’s very appropriate!)

We headed home and showered quickly to make it over to dinner.  One of the employees here at the research facility had invited us for a meal, and it was amazing.  She cooked us all kind of goodies, including pumpkin bread for dessert!  We were all very full, and enjoyed her hospitality very much…really, we’ve enjoyed everyone’s hospitality since arriving.  Here hospitality is pretty much a lifestyle…its pretty amazing and personally challenging, knowing many of us have much to learn.

We are closing the evening together with a movie, and then it’ll be a new day before we know it!  Thanks again for all your prayers, our team all seems to be back to 100% health!!!

The team

end of another camp day
welcome to our dorm!
game time!