A work team comprised of Americans came out to Zambia during the month of July. This team was made up mostly of educators who focused mainly on reading, and this was a blessing because this is the area that needs the most attention at this time. Here are several pictures of their visit during the month of July.
HELLOOOOOOO………….(echo)!!! Can you hear me, me, me, me?? (echo).
It’s the Delics out of Zambia! Remember us?
There’s a lot to bring you up to speed on, so I’ll be speaking more in photos than in text. A couple of great and exciting events have taken place in the last couple of months.
First, we’ve started the new school block which allows us to split the upper grade level classes into two. We are so grateful for a couple of donors who have footed the bill for the WHOLE construction. The Lord is faithful indeed!
Second, we’ve had two work teams that came out to help this past July. First of all, we had an American team that was mostly made up of educators who focused mainly on reading. This is the area that needs the most attention at this time! We had a GREAT time with them! They not only brought the skill, but they were so fun and full of pizzazz! Thanks team USA!
In addition to that, Debbie Gerhardt out of Phoenix, Arizona has agreed to be our Lifesong educator (she is helping to bring the reading levels up to par – among many other things). We are so grateful to God for opening up effectual doors – from having her come to visit (with her husband Dave) to being willing to continue to help us from half-way across the world…. it is amazing!! While she was here, she focused on working primarily with the teachers. The entire faculty took a liking to her (including my family and I :) and VOILA! a beautiful partnership has emerged! Thanks Deb!
A second work team out of Canada came to work on the construction of the new building, along with a number of other miscellaneous construction work (plumbing, welding, shelf building, and making improvements to the property as a whole). They also worked hard on making crafts (bracelets) with each and every Lifesong student! It took a lot of hard work and determination to get that done…. so thank you!
Our family was away in Namibia (a neighbouring country) while the presidential elections took place in August. We are now back in Zambia and at the school preparing for the third term (the final term of the year), which begins September 5th.
Side note: if you think the mail is slow in North America, I would suggest that you reconsider. Let me give you an example – the Richmond Hill Sunday School sent Faith and Grace a “thinking of you” card back in September 2015. We just got it in Zambia in June 2016! Can we say, SNAIL MAIL! By the way, thanks to RH for the card! Better late than never!
There is a lot of work here that is keeping our family busy…. along with the malaria that got Grace and I earlier this week! We’ll work ’till Jesus comes! Until later…. Godspeed from our family to yours!
Nearly 23 hours after leaving Zambia, our plane touched down at the Toronto Pearson Airport. Although the entire group was exhausted, with some getting no sleep while travelling, we were all thankful that the Lord provided safe flights for us, and we were back home. Only Tommy will need to travel further on to California, but this will be on Tuesday, after a weekend of rest. Our team was greeted warmly by some of the Tomic, Nitz and Ritzmann families that had come to take us back home. The Lord be thanked for allowing us to help out in Zambia, and changing our hearts to love and give even more in the future.
Today the children made bracelets for the donors in the US and Canada. We thought it would be a good way to connect on a tangible level with their donor. As that was going on others began to work on the project of adding a slide onto the playground at the school. We continued installing shelves in the classrooms as well as the shelving in the cafeteria. Others proceeded to relocate the urinals and sinks in the boy’s bathroom, in order to prepare the placement of four new stalls. We made great progress on the leveling of the soccer field as well and hope to be done soon.
Today was a continuation of all the projects from the day before. We were able to complete all 500 bracelets today, which was a huge accomplishment. All upper level students were not able to make a bracelet yesterday due to not having enough time so we had them piece the bracelets together today. All the bracelets look amazing and the students are very excited for their donors to receive their gift soon. Some of us worked on welding up the slide for the playground. Others continued working on the urinals and sinks in the boys’ bathroom as well as installing the cabinets in the classrooms and cafeteria. After a busy work day we decided to go for a walk with the children through the Chipata compound to experience what their lives are really like.
Today was another day spent on installing cabinets in the classrooms, building the slide for the playground, building shelving in the cafeteria and relocating the urinals and sinks in the boys’ bathroom. Today some of us began a new project which was to cut angle and square tubing to be made into shelving in the headmaster’s closet, where they keep all school supplies. This was a big need due to not having anywhere to properly organize and store all the brand new school supplies that we had brought with us. We have made amazing progress this week.
Today we were able to complete all the shelving in the headmaster’s closet and were even able to begin organizing all the new school supplies. Some of us worked on gluing the brand new maps we had brought with us to a frame they had built. The teachers and students were very excited about the world maps to hang up in their classes. Since it was our last day at the school we all went into each classroom and said our goodbyes to the teachers and students and passed out sweets. It was a bittersweet moment for everyone. Some of us ended the work day early and spent the rest of the day exploring the market whereas others stayed back and continued on last minute finishes on the slide and cabinets/ shelving. For our last supper the entire work team as well as Dennis and his family went out to dinner.
You would think that waking up at 0630 every morning is early enough. Well today some of our trooper team members woke up extra early to begin leveling out the soccer field with the bulldozer and to measure the soccer field for proper replacement of the goal posts that were removed so the leveling could take place. Due to the soccer field being extremely uneven it will take at least a couple of days to get it to the proper level. After lunch part of the group went shopping for a few supplies but encountered a problem when they came back out to the car to discover that the tire on the car had been locked up because it was apparently parked in a “no parking” zone. Once that was resolved, they headed back to the school to meet up with the other members of the group who had been working on shelving for the cafeteria, as well as continuing with cabinets for the classrooms. It has been an amazing first week and we all look forward to a great weekend.
Some of the team members woke up extra early again this morning to continue the installation of the cabinets and shelving in the classrooms. Other group members joined them a bit later and at some point entertained the kids with a fun game of soccer. These kids sure can play. We ended the work day early and spent the rest of the day at the Delics’ home, where we had a nice dinner and played some games of volleyball and badminton.
Today being the day of rest, we took a couple extra hours of shut-eye in the morning before heading out. The Delics met us at the Lodge after breakfast, at which point we embarked on the hour and a half drive to the Nsobe Wildlife Reserve. There we had lunch, after which Jon led a Bible study centered around our purpose in life. We then went on a mini safari on which we saw animals such as zebras, warthogs, antelopes, and monkeys. The tour guide drove us around the reserve in these trucks that had benches bolted down to the rim of the bed of the trucks. It was pretty awesome. After the tour of the park we took a side tour of the snake house, where we saw various snakes including the Cobra, Boomslang, Python, and Black Mamba, one of the deadliest snakes in the world. We made our way back to the Lodge at dusk, at the end of a lovely Sunday.
Some of the kids in the Chipata compound, especially the ones who live near the school, always come to greet us as we’re heading to the school. Well today Jorge, who was sitting towards the back of the van, handed a big bag of peanut m&m’s to Rick, who was sitting in the passenger seat, to distribute to the few kids who were standing by to greet us. Rick handed the entire bag to the children, thinking to tell them to share, but he immediately regretted not just giving them each some handfuls of the candy, as they quickly ran home with the bag. They’ll probably wake up tomorrow with the worst stomach ache ever. Upon arrival to the school, we divided up into small groups, as usual, to take on the various tasks of the day. Part of the group continued the construction of the new classrooms, laying the brick and mortar, which was delayed by strong winds that swept one of the walls over during our lunch break. The job was quickly set back in gear as our team and hired laborers re-erected the wall. We further proceeded to backfill the trench around the foundation. In other parts of the school, the team worked to build cabinets for the classrooms which would hold books and school supplies. Some of us also cut and painted metal bars to be installed as shelving in the sea cans where we store our work materials. As a side project, we fabricated a plate covering for the well. ‘Twas another successful and blessed day.
Today we continued with the major projects of building the classroom cabinets and setting the brick and mortar for the new classrooms. In the afternoon Rick brought a bulldozer to even the soccer field. As he was driving the bulldozer to the school, some of crew stood by to ensure that the kids watching the massive vehicle slowly plow its way down the road of the compound were safe and stayed out of Rick’s way. A complication arose when the bulldozer smashed the base bar of the gate at the entrance to the school. Jacobi cut out the twisted section of the base bar but has yet to weld in the new pieces to repair the gate. Towards the end of the school day, Marlene handed out candy to the children as they left school. Instead of leaving school, however, the kids kept jumping back in line for more, which was even more difficult to manage due to the broken state of the gate. Also, some of the kids from the compound were standing by the open, broken gate and tried running through to jump in line. It was hard to do, but when we saw that the school guard was having a hard time getting and keeping the kids out, a few of us went and linked hands in front of the gate to form a wall and make the guard’s job easier and promote fairness for the kids who attend the school but hadn’t yet received any candy.
After 21 hours of travel time from Toronto, our team, comprising of Kosta & Rick Tomic, Robert Ritzmann Sr., Robert Jr. (Bob), Marlene & Jacobi Ritzmann, Tommy Kuzmanovic, Thomas Nitz Jr (Junior), Caleb Piticaru, Jon, Simon & Jonathan Ardelean, and Jorge Duduletz, finally arrived in Zambia on Sunday afternoon. We encountered a setback when passing customs as Jon found that his carry-on item was lost. After searching high and low, Jon passed on his information to the airline crew in case his bag turned up. We then ventured over to Dennis & Jazz Delic’s home for a delightful dinner and praise to the Lord with hymns. We were all exhausted from the long journey, so we headed back to the lodge in hopes of finding good rest for the displacement of work in the day to come.
Monday we made our way to the Lifesong Harmony School to begin a day of productivity. Our group was given a tour of the grounds by headmaster Albert, who proceeded to show us several of the classrooms and the cafeteria. We shortly got to work on the construction of the new classrooms, for which the foundation had already been laid. We all started by transporting numerous weighty bricks to the outskirts of the construction zone, which we would soon use to erect the walls of the new structure. Tommy, Caleb, Thomas Jr, and Jacobi were elected to formulate a massive glob of concrete to fill the void of the bricks, while brickmasters Robert Sr and Kosta laid the bricks on the mortar which Jon, Jonathan, and Simon prepared. When the students were on break, Tommy, Caleb, and Jacobi raced, played with and sang some hymns (as well as respective national anthems) with/for the students. The team tried a traditional Zambian staple food (Nshima) for dinner. It tastes a bit like white rice, so not like much of anything at all. It was an awesome and blessed day.
The team kicked off the day with a hearty breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, and jam toast. George and Jonathan went to pick up materials for shelves that they are to be building at the school, while Jon and Simon prepared some used plywood that was to be taken to the Lifesong Harmony School. Meanwhile, at the school, Robert Jr instructed Tommy, Thomas Jr, Kosta, and Jacobi to clear out a closet packed with supplies and tools in order to single out the more useful tools we would be using for our construction project. Rick, Caleb, Robert Sr, and Marlene continued laying brick and mortar for the the new classrooms. After lunch at the lodge, Tommy, Robert Jr, Simon, Jon, and Dennis proceeded to load the back of the pick up truck with the plywood Jon and Simon prepared, to transport to the school. Jacobi, Robert Jr, and Thomas Jr worked to zip cut some angle iron, while Caleb and Jon took a pick axe to the root of the giant soccer posts, which had to be removed so that the soccer field could be leveled. Tommy and Rick worked to relocate the urinals in the washrooms so that four more stalls could soon take their place. Much work was accomplished, we hope for another fruitful day tomorrow.