Back home to Zambia we go, with 16 – plus more – luggages in tow!
Being back in Canada proved to be more challenging than we ever could have anticipated. Life there is so vastly different from what we experienced in Zambia (though we’d only been there – in Zambia- for a relatively short period). The trip to Canada made us cognizant of the fact that we really don’t fully belong back in Canada – nor do we feel 100% Zambian at this point. Essentially, we feel as though we’re in a sort of a “no-mans-land”. I guess that’s how we should be feeling anyway as believers. This land is not our home, we’re just a-passing through .
I’ve read a fellow blogger express it this way, and I quote,
“In America (Canada) we were yellow.
We thought yellow, we talked yellow, we dreamed yellow, hey, we even ate yellow!
We really like yellow.
In Zambia, we are blue, or at least try to be.
We find our minds stretching to think blue, interact in the blue way, and occasionally we eat blue.
We really like blue.
But we really aren’t either blue or yellow…we have become a shade of green.
And we like green. We think.
Green feels strange. What is familiar? What is normal? What if we act blue in a yellow situation? For instance, eating rice with our hands. Or forgetting to wear shoes in public. Or, driving on the wrong side of the road. And these are the obvious ones. Who knows what will go through our green minds. But, we look forward to the adventure and certainly will have many laughs and embarrassing moments. Isn’t that what makes life interesting?”
Unfortunately the trip is now over but what an amazing two weeks it has been. Since they had to leave at lunch, Mark, Edmund and Josiah were on light duty while the others worked on closing up loose ends. Mark finished off the rest of the plumbing in the bathrooms by fixing some loose connections and replacing leaky faucets, Edmund assisted Robert Senior with mortaring the remaining blocks at the new cafeteria cooking area and Josiah worked on various electrical jobs. Due to injuries, Mike assisted Josiah until around lunch where he assisted with some computers tasks for the head teacher Albert. Robert wrapped up a number of outstanding electrical items in addition to assisting Patrick with the new climbing section on the swing set. George cleaned out all of the tools and parts out of the various rooms and reorganized it all in the container which definitely needed it as we used almost every tool available there during the course of the two-week stay. Marlene and Jacobi spent time talking and playing with the teachers and kids who love every minute of it.
Due to a shortened school day, Marlene, Jacobi, Faith and Grace handed out goodie bags to all the kids in the school just before noon. Depending on the age of the children, they received candy, gum, small play animals, punching balloons, headbands and tennis balls. The children were overjoyed to receive the gifts and all the extra items were given to Albert to use as rewards for the children later in the school year.
At noon, Mark, Edmund and Josiah said their goodbyes to the teachers, children and the group and headed back to the lodge with Victor to clean up and get ready for their flight. The others continued various small tasks or spent time with the community until end of the day. As the day came to a close, the reality of seeing the school for the last time sunk in and it definitely was difficult to say goodbyes to the teachers and the children. Although some of the children have difficulty understanding English the older ones were able to translate to the younger ones that we weren’t coming back which resulted in some big group hugs with the children.
Before dinner, Robert worked on fixing the leaky hot water tank for the Lifesong Lodge since the pipes were failing but unfortunately due to lack of parts and tools, we could only put a makeshift solution in place until a plumber can be called. Dinner was served at the Delic residence and consisted of pasta, salad and garlic bread with strawberry rolls for dessert. It definitely was a fantastic meal to end the trip.
In closing, we appreciate all the support and prayers from everyone. Many amazing experiences were had and the memories created are sure to last a lifetime. God bless you all!
Today started off with breakfast at 6:00 so that we could attend the student assembly at 7:15. Dennis and the head teacher Albert addressed the students and then the floor was given to George to talk to the kids which was translated by Albert (see video below). We continued to focus on getting water into the water tank. We had hoped that during the night less people would be using water therefore increasing the water pressure to fill the tank. Unfortunately that was not so. Rob Jr. and Mark hooked up a 1hp booster pump in hopes of increasing the water pressure to the tank and to service the bathrooms. Thankfully now we can fill the water tank and service the bathrooms. We are now trying to fix all the leaks that are caused by poor by the “high quality” fittings that we can find in Zambia. George and Mike finished fixing the swing set and now there is a line of both young and older kids waiting their turn to go on the new swings. Josiah made up a bunch of extension cords and a cord that allows the welding machine to plug into the generator or the generator into the main panel which can also service the welding machine. Patrick continued to fabricate pieces for climbing rope addition to the swing set. Unfortunately Mike was having a little too much fun with the kids. He swung a bit too high and the link that connects the chain to the hardware on the top beam broke sending Mike to the ground and spraining 2 fingers and scraping his elbow. Marline and Jacobi inventoried all the school supplies that we donated to the school. As we opened each suitcase of supplies all Albert could say was “Wow, wow. We have gone from the year 2000 to 20015 in 1 day!” All the teachers are very thankful for what we have done and what the people from North American have given them. Rob Sr. and Edmund continued to build the room behind the cafeteria for the cooks. In the Afternoon Marline, Jacobi, and Josiah went back and braved the Chsockeny Market to get some gifts for their families and friends at home.
Tonight we had dinner at Spurs which is a Zambian take on a Texan steakhouse. The Wigand family also joined us as the came down from Garneton to see the progress on the school, Lifesong Lodge, and to say goodbye. We also celebrated Marlene’s birthday which was yesterday.
Today Mark and Marlene taught the Grade 7 class for 3 hours. Mark took all the boys and assigned small groups to help out one of the team members for the first 2 hours. Josiah had his boys help him pound the ground rods into the ground and had them layer charcoal, salt, and dirt over the ground rods and earth mat for the grounding of the electrical system. George had his boys paint the offices, Rob Sr. had his boys help mix mortar and carry blocks for him as he built a room in the back of the cafeteria for the cooks in shelter, and Mark had his boys helping him with the piping from the water supply to the water tank. We hope that at night the water pressure will be great enough to push the water up into the tank. Mark and Marlene also talked to their classes about purity. Marlene also gave her girls a bag of toiletries and taught them how to use them. Most didn’t have at home or knew how to use them.
Today Rob Jr. was driving to get more building supplies when he was stopped at a police and immigration road stop. When asked for his licence he gave him his Canadian licence which is not valid in Zambia. When the guard asked for his passport, Rob replied that it was at the lodge he was staying called Lifesong Lodge. The guard then replied that he also works for Lifesong in Garneton and if he knew Luke. Rob replied yes and that he was actually at the farm getting a tour from Eric Wigand yesterday. Since a minister from immigration was with the guard he could not let Rob go without seeking his passport, so he took Rob’s licence and told him he would return the licence once he was able to see Rob’s passport. Rob drove back to the lodge, retrieved his passport and showed to the guard and got his licence back. It is amazing that Rob happened to be stopped by a guard who knew Luke and Eric and was able to let Rob go.
In the afternoon Edmund, Mike, George, and Jacobi went to Care and Compassion with Victor. The group we visited is the most successful of Victor’s groups. The leader, Agnes, borrowed 2,000 K and purchased a machine that will fill and seal freezes. She needs to put in 300K in material and is able make 1,500K in profits. Even today she sold 100K of freezes. She has bought a second machine and given it to her niece. The group had gathered more capital and was using it productively. They specifically thanked George who had been there before and explained how this micro financing had really helped them. There was one man and 7 women in the group. They were mostly in the 50s and 60s and had children. Many of them had orphaned grandchildren (or children of other relatives) that they were also taking care of. Their success has encouraged a number of other neighbourhood in the area to start. We shared some words of encouragement and helped them with some gifts and purchased some of their products.
In the evening, the Chipata Compound Community Board cooked a very traditional meal for us. This community board has voted in 6 representatives from the community, 3 men and 3 women to represent the community’s interest in the school. In order to help create cross-cultural bonds, the board members created about 20 Zambian dishes including Nshima (the base staple which is a stiff maize porridge with the consistency of mashed potatoes), caterpillars, minnows, a hot drink, fish of various kinds, beans, vegetables, nuts, and exotic fruits. The meal was eaten with our hands, without utensils. You dip your hand in the Nshima and then pick up whatever else is on your plate. A few team members were brave enough to try the caterpillars. In conclusion there was a number of speeches made expressing appreciation for what God is doing at the school.