Friday, May 30, 2008

Celebrity Status

This will be a quick post, but I wanted to update you on my celebrity-ish status here in Zambia. Living right next door to us is the minister of agriculture here in zambia. Because of this, the village is quite busy and they are holding many meetings related to his position. Frequently, there are armed guards just standing around on the streets (guys I wish I knew something about guns so I could tell you what kind of gun, but I do not). There is another cabinet member that lives just down the street whom I had the pleasure of meeting a few nights ago.

My friend that I met at the Zambian concert at Gateway church a few months ago has been in touch with me. They will be arriving in 3 weeks and I hope to spend some time with them while they are here, and possbily going to see their school and assist them in the work they are doing. The world is such a small place.

By friends! Na Kuyewa meningue! (I miss you very much!)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Things I've Discovered in Zambia

1) There is a rooster that crows outside my window from 1:30am-6:00 am. He definitely sounds like he is on his last rooster leg and needs to be put out of his misery. Luckily, I am usually so tired he doesn't bother my sleeping.

2) Random shutting off of electricity and water, which leads to...use of head lamps and me washing Rachael's hair with bottled water...awesome. You could also use the term "sponge bath," which would be appropriate.

3) Reuniting with my friends here in Zambia. I am filled with so much joy to see them. My relationships here are beautiful and it has been wonderful to visit with them again.

4) I have a great group of villa mates. I am looking forward to spending time with them. One of my villa mates is a photographer and will be working on a book documenting the lives of African children. Very cool.

5) Above said roomate discovered that the pound button here is called "hush." When Alissa was asking her driver which phone number to dial he said 225 hush. So, she sat there quietly for a moment, and then asked again. Again, he replied 225 hush, so she sat quietly a little longer. Finally he took the phone from her and pushed 225 pound...and the world was resolved and right again. Quite funny.

6) It costs about $100 to fill up a Toyota Corolla with gas. That makes the price of gas ~$9/gallon. And we complain about gas prices. (Remember a good job here will pay about $100/month).

7) The Zambians don't use directions, or say right or left. They refer to everything as, "this side" and then use a pointing gesture. This makes it quite confusing when giving directions, as I have to adjust and also use hand gestures coupled with "this side."

So far, mostly just preparations for the first week of camp next week. We have moved into our house, but we have no kitchen. Now I remember why I lost so much weight last summer. Hopefully that will resolve soon and we will have a place to make food. I am going to try to make it to Matero to see my kids on Saturday. I hope to post more soon, but so far have experienced trouble with my own computer and I am severely lacking the ability to get to the internet cafe!

Thank you for all of your prayers. My homesickness is quite better and I am in good spirits. Please pray for wisdom in communicating with people on this side. I want to uphold integrity in every possible way, especially with my words. I need your help in this because I know only the Lord may do that. PLease pray for the children that will come for camp, that they may know the Lord intimately, that He may touch them and experience a changed heart and mind. My own mind is so busy right now that I feel I am rambling. I will try to write again soon!


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Burning Brush

Muli Bwanji Muzangas?
(How are you my friends?)

I arrived safely to Lusaka yesterday morning around 6am. After another long 10 hours of flying, where I busied myself with watching Juno, Spinal Tap and Kite Runner, I found myself stepping off of the plane into a whole other world. It really feels like that. I took in a deep breath, already knowing that I would inhale the smell of burning brush...a smell that warms my heart to the memory of this place.

As soon as I arrived, I felt quite at home, but still missing my other home far, far away. I was greeted at the airport by my wonderful, long time friend Paul Mulenga with a huge hug and the best smile you have ever seen. Once outside the airport I also reunited with some other friends-Innocent (the singer), Raphael (the pastor), and Teddy (the quiet one). Some of our drivers I also recognized and they also greeted me with a Muli Bwanji?

Much of my Nyanja I have forgotten because I have not used it, but my friends were quick to begin speaking to me only in Nyanja so that my brain would relearn quickly. Although I find this quite challenging, I enjoy it so much and can't wait to learn even more this summer. The day was very uneventful as we were all travel weary, and adjusting to the seven hour time difference is quite a challenge. We slept almost all day and i awoke at 4:30 am feeling wide awake and ready to get going for the day. yikes.

I'm really looking forward to this summer, and will be seeing my kids in just over a week. To see their smiling faces will be such a joy. This week we will be busy with working and organizing things for camp, so probably not much to write to you about this week. But I will keep you posted on the comings and goings of the staff. We are definitely going to have alot of fun, and have a great group of staff members. We have already been praying and getting to know one another. We will actually be having a staff house this year, which I am grateful for and know will be beneficial for us. We can have a safe place to go to so that we don't have to be "on" all the time, and it will provide some respite from the business.

I look forward to spending some more time with my Zambian friends here, I have missed them so much. We are having our first meeting tomorrow. I must go for now, and will be writing again soon. still no pictures, as I need an additional adapter for my computer and have not been able to write to you from my personal computer yet. i am working on that....


Friday, May 23, 2008

Ahmed and Kalil

Hello my friends!

I arrived at London HEathrow this morning around 9:30. Our flight was delayed for about an hour out of Dallas, which made some other passengers miss connecting flights, but I found it quite fine as it took a couple of hours off my waiting around here.

I decided not to go into London this year and just hang here at the airport. After the moving and running around and business of last minute preparations this week, I feel exhausted. I did however have a wonderful flight over. In the Dallas airport, I met the cutest little jordanian boys, Ahmed and Kalil. WE were instant friends. My friends Nate, Randy and I chased them around this big blue maze and then we boarded the plane where they continued to think that sticking their hands through my seat were utterly hilarious. I played with them pretty long time before they went to sleep. I affectionately nicknamed Kalil 'monkey,' as he likes to climb on things and he loves the monkey sounds-which he made incessantly. They were adorable.

And so alas, I've had my first child loving experience of the trip. Their mother was Hasi, I'm not quite sure of the spelling. She was lovely as well, and we chatted for a while in the airport. She was speaking to the boys in Arabic and as I listened, I realized what a beautiful language it was and found myself wishing I could speak it too! I really did want to take them with me.

Since I have arrived in London, Kalil, Ahmed and Hasi had to part ways and board a plane to Jordan. I have spent most of the day napping in the quiet room, and wanted to write you the first post from this side of the world!

I would like to send you my first prayer requests! Every year I think I know what I am walking in to when I return to Zambia, and every's new! Oddly, despite my overwhelming excitement, I am feeling quite homesick already. I'm not wanting to come home so much as I am just really missing all of you reading this blog. That may dissolve when I arrive on Zambian soil, but I am feeling quite vulnerable. Please pray for strength and for the purpose of this trip to be at the forefront of my mind. There are so many who need Love out there, and I want to help them find that. The Lord has done so much in me this year, that I feel like a different Stephanie is returning to Zambia this year. The really crazy thing is, an even more modified version will probably return in August! Love you and thank you, as always...for your prayers and support.