Zambia Update – February 10, 2015

This is from Dennis and Yasna’s blog, which will be posted here to keep everyone updated on the work they are currently doing in Zambia.

After a tearful goodbye, we were ushered off through the gate with one final farewell prayer offered up on our behalf.  We finally settled onto the airplane preparing ourselves for a long and arduous journey to Zambia, Africa.  Other than narrowly missing our connecting flights a couple of times, our trip was rather uneventful. ;)

We finally arrived on African soil on the twelfth of February!  It was hot, muggy and ironically enough, we missed the cold Canadian winter that we were so excited to leave behind!  We arrived at the rental house to find the plumbers working steadily to install running water so that we could at least shower inside the house.  Before we left Canada, Dennis warned me that the landlord might not have time to organize plumbers to come and install the running water before we arrived in Zambia.  If that were to be true, then I would be taking a shower with a hose that would be fished in through the bathroom window! Needless to say, I was very happy to see them!

We spent a couple of days running errands and trying to settle in and adjust to the life here in Africa!  Dennis and I had a lengthy meeting with Kenneth and Victor.  They were pleased to know that the fundraising went well, and that we would begin feeding the children as soon as we purchased all the necessary supplies.

Dennis has been running around trying to find us a car, visiting the school for morning prayers, and preparing our papers so that we can stay in Zambia long-term.

At the school, Sarah and I spent a couple of days observing each class and reported our “findings” back to Kenneth. Currently the teachers are not using a curriculum which makes teaching extremely difficult!  That has changed since we’ve come and we are expecting the new books in the next couple of weeks!  Everyone at the school is really excited!  Teachers and students alike!  Many thanks go out to the donors back home!

On a rather sad note, our Senior Teacher’s son died suddenly at the age of 24.  Another sad piece of news is that Frieda’s (our Care and Compassion volunteer) son was involved in a very bad car accident resulting in two fractured legs. Also, on Friday, one of the student’s mother passed away in her sleep.  Two of the teachers went to represent the school, and we purchased beans and some staple food items to help the family with the funeral preparations.

One of the problems that we’ve encountered at the school since we’ve arrived is that the students are boring holes in the wall fence.  They do this so that they can play soccer on the school field after school hours.  One solution to this problem is to install a couple of gates.

Earlier this evening Faith was struggling with missing family and friends.  She sat quietly in the corner with tears falling down her cheeks.  I tried to comfort her, but I find myself struggling with some of the same things.  I have to believe that we are investing our time and effort into something far greater than we can understand at this point.  Are we outside of what we are comfortable with?  Yes, without a doubt!  Yet, I believe that we have a purpose here… and that’s what keeps me going.

Dennis addressing the children

Dennis addressing the children

broken-gate

The broken gate

future-garden

Future garden

holes-in-wall-fence

Holes in the wall fence

moringa-tree

Moringa tree

sarah-teaching-with-preschool-teacher

Sarah assisting the preschool teacher

Zambia Team Blog – August 29, 2013

Today we were digging the holes for the swing set.  Some of these holes were quite difficult to dig as we ran into some very large rocks, which needed to be removed.  Once this was completed, the swing set was installed and levelled, and the concrete was poured to anchor it into place.  This took all day to do.

Several large used tractor tires were delivered to the school yard to all to the children’s playground equipment.  These were donated by a construction company called Girder Engineering from Kitwe.  Robert Jr. sat next to the owner of this company on the flight into Zambia, and through conversation, Robert was invited for a visit to his fabrication facility.  We ended up purchasing the pipe for the swing set at a reduced price from this company, and then he also offered to donate as many tires as we wanted for the school.

Marlene also had the opportunity to walk through the nearby village with one of the teacher’s to see the homes and living conditions of some of the children who attend the school.  One family had six children sharing one bedroom which contained only one bed.  The oldest boy, age 21, sleeps on the bed, while the remainder 5 children sleep on the concrete/stone floor.

Thursday evening, Marlene, Ryan, Jamie and Jacobi spent preparing and getting organized for the trip home on Friday.

George finished up the final coat of paint on the swing set on Friday, and then also left for home on Saturday.

Everyone on the team feels incredibly blessed by the experiences and relationships made while in Africa.  We are especially grateful for the work that was accomplished and the progress that was made with the school projects. We praise God for His goodness and protection upon us while here.  May He continue to bless the ongoing work and ministry of Stacey’s School of Hope according to His perfect will and purpose.

Starting to dig for the swing set foundation.

Starting to dig for the swing set foundation.

This rock needs to come out!

This rock needs to come out!

Team work

Team work

The old tires being put to a new use

The old tires being put to a new use

Almost complete

Almost complete

Mission accomplished.  Once the concrete is hard, the kids will have fun!

Mission accomplished. Once the concrete is hard, the kids will have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

Zambia Team Blog – August 28, 2013

This morning Doug, Millie, Hannah, Robert Sr. and Robert Jr. left for the airport in Ndola to fly to Germany.  The rest of the team went to visit the Kamitondo Health Centre.  This is an urgent care type of clinic.  Mothers come every Wednesday for nutrition for their undernourished children.  We visited with about 14 mothers with their children, and George and Ryan shared words of encouragement with them.  The team also brought food packages to distribute to the mothers for their children.

Ryan continued with the fabrication of the swing set and once this was complete, the swing set frames were delivered to the school yard.  They were strapped to the top of Ken’s van for the delivery.  Once at the school yard, the layout was done for the holes for the swing set posts.

With the mothers and children at the Kamitondo Clinic.

With the mothers and children at the Kamitondo Clinic.

Ryan intensely at work

Ryan intensely at work

Ryan using the latest Zambian technology welder

Ryan using the latest Zambian technology welder

Marlene with kids and more kids.

Marlene with kids and more kids.

Jacobi and her grandfather George with kids and more kids

Jacobi and her grandfather George with kids and more kids

 

 

 

 

Zambia Team Blog – August 27, 2013

Today was the last day before some of us leave Zambia. Doug, Millie and Hannah are leaving for Balingen, Germany tomorrow for the wedding of their son Ryan to Ruth Zarkovacki.  Robert Sr., and Jr., leave with them to Balingen also, to visit relatives.  Marlene, Ryan, Jamie and Jacobi are scheduled to leave on Friday for Canada, while George is scheduled to leave on Saturday due to the way the tickets worked out.

Patrick and his friend came to weld the A-frames for the swing set. By the end of the day the three A-frames were welded and rust-proofed.   They are currently making the swing seats (chains and rubber seats), but the power went out as scheduled, so here we are sitting in the dark. Good thing about batteries on laptops and backlit keyboards.

Doug did deliver a 30 minute presentation to the grade 7 class on global warming, but there were no more than 7 students there.  Hannah wanted to sit in and took some photos and videos.  On the construction front, Robert Sr., completed the steps to the washroom building.

As scheduled we visited the ward for malnourished children at the Kitwe hospital.  There were only three children with their mothers/grandmother present. The reason for so few was because of the season.  During the wet season the ward is full since it is during this season that most illnesses manifest themselves.   After introductions by the director of nutrition and descriptions of the operation of the ward, Victor asked us if we would like to add some words of encouragement.  Doug, Robert and George all shared and then Doug prayed for the children, the mothers and the staff who cared for them.  We then went to the mothers and children to meet them and handed them some cash to help their cause.

After a short lunch, Doug, Millie, Hannah and Marlene went back to the school to say farewell to the children.  Seeing some of the children’s clothing we felt moved to purchase a new set of clothing for about 14 of the neediest children.  Foster and the school board members, Imelda, Edith and Georgina walked to the local village and purchased clothing and brought it back to the school. They called the children into the classroom and had them try the clothing on. Just to see the smile on the faces of these children was worth coming to Zambia for. We were very moved to see these little ones who were just minutes before in tattered and dirty clothing, now clothed in new and brilliant colored dresses and clean and pants and shirts.   The children went home to their parents with a sense of dignity.  It was a very heart warming scene.

We said our farewells to the teachers, board members and contractors and reluctantly to the children also. As usual, it was quite an emotional departure.

Two of the four completed A-frames for the swings.

Two of the four completed A-frames for the swings.

Ryan with his improvised welding mask – 5 pairs of sunglasses in one.

Ryan with his improvised welding mask – 5 pairs of sunglasses in one.

A young mother with her ill child in the malnourished children’s ward.

A young mother with her ill child in the malnourished children’s ward.

Doug – the “mad professor” making a presentation to the grade 7 class on global warming.

Doug – the “mad professor” making a presentation to the grade 7 class on global warming.

Robert Sr., completed the steps to the ladies washrooms.

Robert Sr., completed the steps to the ladies washrooms.

Robert Sr., saying farewell to the contractors. They developed a very friendly relationship over the two weeks.  The front and two side walls were completed to the ring beam level.  The back and inner walls were completed half way to the ring beam level on the third classroom building.

Robert Sr., saying farewell to the contractors. They developed a very friendly relationship over the two weeks. The front and two side walls were completed to the ring beam level. The back and inner walls were completed half way to the ring beam level on the third classroom building.

A grand-mother and her 5 year old grand-daughter who was infected with tuberculosis.

A grand-mother and her 5 year old grand-daughter who was infected with tuberculosis.

The children waiting to receive their new clothes.

The children waiting to receive their new clothes.

The “before” shot.

The “before” shot.

The girls with their new clothes.

The girls with their new clothes.

The boys with their new clothes.

The boys with their new clothes.

One happy child!

One happy child!

Another happy child!

Another happy child!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zambia Team Blog – August 26, 2013

Well, today marked the last day of work at the school for many of us since tomorrow (Tuesday) we plan to visit the local hospital children’s wards and spend some time at the local market shopping for souvenirs before we leave this beautiful country of Zambia.
Although Ryan felt quite ill in the morning, he was determined to continue working and spent most of his time planning and assembling a swing set for the school. Robert Jr., had purchased metal piping for about $300 with which Ryan designed and cut the necessary members to be assembled at the house and taken to the school. Since there is no electrical power at the school, Ryan and Robert cut and filed the pipes to form an A-frame from which about 6 swings could be hung for the children. The school board member Patrick, offered to weld the members together and brought his “welder” a large transformer, to the house. Since Ryan will be staying until Friday with his mother Marlene and siblings Jamie and Jacobi, he believes he will have enough time to manufacture and install the swing set for the Harmony school. The idea came from George who felt the children needed something like this to enjoy for a long time. The teaching staff heartily agreed.
Doug was asked to deliver a 25 minute presentation to the grade 7 class on global warming, but when he arrived, there were only 7 students there. Since school had not officially re-started after their holidays, the teacher Pascal said that many students likely are having a holiday “hangover”, so he asked if Doug could come back on Tuesday and present it to a larger class. Doug was touched by the fact when he entered the class, the students all stood up and in unison said, “Good morning, sir”. It is a general observation that the Zambians show much respect towards one another and the muzungu (white man). The Zambian culture is still steeped in the old English influence, perhaps due to the lack of communication (and corruption perhaps) with the Western world, for which we are very thankful. Since they have very few distractions such as electronic media (few have electrical power) and due to their poverty, they spend more time socializing and their strong emphasis on family values and relationships. They have little, yet they have much. We have a lot to learn from them.
On the construction front, Robert Sr., added some for steps to the washroom building for easier access, since it is quite elevated. He complete one smaller set and the other larger set at the northern end is awaiting a finishing coat.
Doug, Millie and Ken went shopping for chalk, blackboard dusters, Bristol paper and date stamps for the 7 teachers, for which the principal Foster was very grateful. We have not decided on the book cabinets and desks yet, as they are fairly pricey.
In the evening, for supper, we invited Ken Makondo, Victor Kasongo and Foster and their families – a total of about 18 guests. Yes – 18 plus our team of 10 – for a total of 28 for supper. Millie and Marlene prepared a wonderful supper of beef stroganoff with rice and carrots. After a slow start, the kids really got involved playing cards and hacki-sack together in the living room. The night was filled with stories of Zambian wedding traditions and the backgrounds of each of our guests. These are beautiful people with hard beginnings. We had a wonderful evening and learned much from them. We have developed a wonderful relationship with the principal Foster and she has a great love for the children and the Harmony school.

Foster and her husband Winter. Their sons from left to right: Winter Jr. and Peter and their grand-daughter Moberry.

Foster and her husband Winter. Their sons from left to right: Winter Jr. and Peter and their grand-daughter Moberry.

Victor, Josephine, and their youngest son, Nehemiah.

Victor, Josephine, and their youngest son, Nehemiah.

Kenneth and Calma Makondo.

Kenneth and Calma Makondo.

Victor and Josephine Kasongo, Robert Sr., Calma and Ken Makondo having ice cream and cookies for dessert.

Victor and Josephine Kasongo, Robert Sr., Calma and Ken Makondo having ice cream and cookies for dessert.

The youth playing hacky sack in the living room. They had a great time.

The youth playing hacky sack in the living room. They had a great time.

Group shot before we said goodbye.

Group shot before we said goodbye.

 

 

 

 

 

Zambia Team Blog – August 25, 2013

This morning for devotions Jacobi showed us a video called falling plates (http://vimeo.com/60558878).
The video was presented in a way that the computer age generation could understand it. It graphically showed how man fell from God’s grace by being unfaithful to Him. From that point on man’s world was shattered like falling plates, being impossible to be put back together by man himself. The battery icon on the computer screen began to drop from 100% towards 0%, meaning that man not only was separated spiritually from God, but that he also began to die physically. The pristine and pure water in the glass representing man’s initial innocence became corrupted with the filth and corruption of sin. The paradise in which man planted man soon became barren and the flowers shrivelled. Man began to “search” or “google” for ways to fulfill himself. As man indulged in immoral relationships, alcohol and drugs, it appeared that nothing could satiate his lustful soul. But it did not bring any lasting happiness, only sorrow, pain and suffering. Until Christ, who was represented by another glass of pure water came and suffered for man’s sin. Our filth and corruption and sin was poured into this pure glass, as Christ, who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might me made the righteousness of God in Him. This great event of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, made it possible to reverse the curse and man could be brought back into a right relationship with God. The shattered pieces of the falling plates were now miraculously brought together, the shrivelled flowers found new life and the filthy vessel of man was once again pure, as the relationship of man to God was restored. The battery icon now showed that it was charging from 0% to 100% and man no longer had to search or “google” for satisfaction as he had found all he needed in Christ. This video generated much discussion amongst us as we could see the parallels with the world we live in.
After devotions we went to Harmony School where we arrived to about 20 children waiting in the first classroom building for services. We had informed many that we would be handing out candy after the service, but it appeared that not everyone got the message or that many had gone to their own churches. So we waited a little longer until more and more trickled in. The Patrick, a school board member went to round up some more children. I told the school pastor Richard Chalwe, to start the singing and perhaps when the children hear it, they would come. Sure enough, with the enthusiastic singing, more and more children came until it was full to the back. There were well over 100 children in the class by the time the sermon started. Doug had a simple sermon on the account of David and Goliath. He asked Ryan to put a child on his shoulders and their combined height was over 7 feet. Doug indicated that Goliath was another three feet taller to give the children some idea of the opponent David had. When it came to the part that David slew Goliath and cut off his head, there was a great applause and cheering that David had defeated that scoffer and enemy of Israel. After the sermon, Robert Jr., also added that if we overcome the small problems we can also overcome the big problems with God’s help. After the messages, our team sang two gospel Hymns, “We’re Marching to Zion” and “What a Friend we Have in Jesus”.
We then dismissed the children row by row to receive their candy. Following this we had our traditional walk to the river with the children, which was very heart warming, as the children clung to the arms of the team members as they walked through the surrounding village to the river Kafua.

Enthusiastic singing with the children.

Enthusiastic singing with the children.

Doug relaying the account of David and Goliath with school pastor Richard Chalwe interpreting.

Doug relaying the account of David and Goliath with school pastor Richard Chalwe interpreting.

Hannah, Jacobi, Marlene, and Robert giving candy to the children. Yesterday it was the main course and today it was dessert.

Hannah, Jacobi, Marlene, and Robert giving candy to the children. Yesterday it was the main course and today it was dessert.

Front row (school board members): Imelda, Edith, Georgina / Hannah / Principal Foster / Pastor Richard and Marlene. Back row: Millie and Jacobi

Front row (school board members): Imelda, Edith, Georgina / Hannah / Principal Foster / Pastor Richard and Marlene. Back row: Millie and Jacobi

Jacobi and children

Jacobi and children

Hannah and children

Hannah and children

Marlene amidst the children at the top of the hill.

Marlene amidst the children at the top of the hill.

Jamie crossing the Kafua River. This river does have hippos and crocs.

Jamie crossing the Kafua River. This river does have hippos and crocs.

George loves the children

George loves the children

Millie in her Zambian wrap, a gift from Principal Foster. She adores the children and has fallen in love with the Zambian people.

Millie in her Zambian wrap, a gift from Principal Foster. She adores the children and has fallen in love with the Zambian people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zambia Team Blog – August 24, 2013

Well, today was a big day. At around 8 am we all headed to Lifesong Strawberry Farm and School. We met the brethren from the ACCA sister church which we had for supper last Thursday, as well as Caleb Spingler who is here with his father Robert from Texas and they are secondary school builders. This is quite a big project and the standard of building is superior to that of the Harmony school. Lifesong seems to be well financed as the additional buildings are projected to cost about $US 350,000.
The Spinglers are not part of the ACCA but are very zealous for the work that is going on. You can see that their hearts are really for the children of Zambia. This secondary school will be in par with the top secondary schools of Zambia, academically.
The strawberry farm was wonderful to experience. We all tasted their fresh strawberries and observed the pickers in the early morning. Contrary to popular belief, they do not supply all the strawberries for Kellogs in Zambia, but they produce great strawberries and are very competitive.
After the visit to Lifesong, we raced back home to prepare for the feeding of the children. We had purchased 300 buns, over 12 kgs of bologna sausage, 4 tubs of margarine and 300 cartons of Maheo which is a nutritional drink for the children. At home we buttered (margarine) 300 buns, and inserted 1/8 inch slices of bologna and placed 10 in every plastic bag. We hurried to the school to prepare and upon arriving we saw only a few children in the courtyard. As we neared the first classroom building we heard great cheers from the children, as the school pastor Richard had already assembled most of them in the classroom. By the time we started we thought we had about 200 children there. Due to the large number we asked the children to file outside into the quadrangle where they sang enthusiastically under the direction of Richard in the Bemba language. Following the singing, Doug had a short gospel message followed by short words of encouragement by George and Robert. After praying the Lord’s prayer together, we distributed the food and drink to all the children. Towards the end, we realized that we would not have enough buns for all, so we halved about 10 of them. It appears that there was just enough (300 sandwiches and drinks). We thank God for His providence and the joy we could experience in sharing this food and time together. This event has always been the highlight of the visit.

Strawberry fields at Lifesong.

Strawberry fields at Lifesong.

Weighing and packing the strawberries.

Weighing and packing the strawberries.

Millie pointing out the irrigation system.

Millie pointing out the irrigation system.

Ryan and Victor (Jacobi in the background).

Ryan and Victor (Jacobi in the background).

Delicious. Robert Sr. samples the strawberries, as we all did.

Delicious. Robert Sr. samples the strawberries, as we all did.

Doug - addressing the children before the meal.

Doug – addressing the children before the meal.

The children of Harmony School - for the most part - prior to the meal.

The children of Harmony School – for the most part – prior to the meal.

Young man just got his lunch.

Young man just got his lunch.

Jamie with his friends.

Jamie with his friends.