Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Years!

Today (Friday the 31st) was another filled day! David got his tour of University Teaching Hospital and loved it. He was impressed at the system and made some great friends with ENT Zambian docs. David has been invited back for clinic rounds on Monday.

After David’s tour he met up with the 2 peas in a pod (Bwalya and John) and they went to buy doors and windows for the classrooms we are building at Greenhill School. The discussions on prices for doors was a tough one, and in the end Bwalya’s bartering skills proved us well!

Somewhere along the way the guys ran into this fellow walking down the street. They came home so proud begging me to hire him.

I had another big day of meeting out at Greenhill and seeing the progress of the classrooms. What has been built is impressive. We haven’t built them one classroom, but three, and an office, and a secure room for official governmental papers. I was a bit taken back at this discovery! The classrooms aren’t as finished as I expected but I think it will give us an opportunity to actually get to help build!

I spent the rest of the day running last minute errands and getting our final schedule hammered out.

One thing I had impressed upon Bwalya on Thursday morning that was important was that we needed to get a stand made for Clayton’s pitching tarp before he got here on Saturday. We brought over the tarp that he can pitch into, but needed the frame welded. Bwalya well got a little busy yesterday and forgot so I was nervous about getting it finished in one day, given we are in Zambia.

Bwalya, John, and David took the tarp and their own engineering plans for the stand to a welder on the side of the road. When they arrived back at the lodge yesterday evening with the stand, they couldn’t have been more proud of their masterpiece! And I am impressed! It was like watching three little boys. We had to immediately put the tarp up and then spend the rest of the hour throwing rocks (from the driveway of our lodge) at the tarp attempting to hit the strike zone.

Or New Years eve John, David, and I headed to the Intercontential Hotel for dinner. Unfortunately the main dining area was closed so I opted to take us to another local restaurant with great Italian food. We had a blast. There are lots of fireworks in Zambia which was fun to see.

The team arrives in just hours and tomorrow is our first official day. We can’t wait and will update again!

In Him,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

How does one explain what toilet paper is?

Well we are certainly off to a running start. John, David, and I landed in Lusaka on Thursday morning our time (11PM USA time) and had a huge day! We ran many errands, bought water, met with local schools and churches we will be working with,and had a great time with our Zambian team! John and Bwalya are long lost brothers and have discussed more business plans for Arise Africa.

We have laughed alot, been made fun of and thrown it right back, learned a few important songs in Nyanja, taught kids how to use a phone camera, and already been called musungu (white person) by kids in the compounds about a thousand times. David is butchering Nyanja but is definitely getting an A plus in trying!

We also have had some awkward cultural barriers such as trying to buy toilet paper and asking where it was located only to get a blank stare by the store attendant. Then trying to explain what toilet paper is can be very entertaining.

We already hit up the one and only Mexican food restaurant for dinner. Tomorrow (Friday) is our last day until the rest of the team joins us on Saturday morning. David has an official visit to the largest hospital in Zambia, to learn about medicine over here and we are really interested to hear about it. I will be doing last minute errands. (the beds are SO hard here at the lodge, I hope I can help do something about that!)

We will continue to update, and thank you for all your prayers. One last minute prayer request that is trivial in the whole scheme of things is that I have lost my voice as of this evening. Maybe God is trying to tell me something; but it would be really nice if I could rebound before our team arrives!

In Him,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Zambia here we come!

Well today is the day. The day our first mission trip team leaves for Zambia! Words cannot express the excitement that we feel!

As the group leader I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I am, about Heathrow, and the fact that planes are delayed, or maybe the logistics on the ground in Zambia, or maybe that we have over 2500 pounds of luggage that needs to arrive on time, (that is over 50 bags at 50 pounds EACH!, that’s why we have a flatbed truck picking us up at the airport) or so many other things. Or maybe that the Vic Falls travel agent just called me and told me she didn’t get return plane tickets for us in time. (No worries right?!)

But beyond the nervousness I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to take 15 amazing people ready to serve and love on those less fortunate whom I know so well and call my family. Our team is made up of enthusiastic, young, and ready people who know they are the guinea pigs on this first trip! Basically these are my close friends who have volunteered and gone above and beyond already! I am pumped to see the kids react at Laura’s read hair, or see Kasey and Katie cooking up a storm for our team meals! I can’t wait to see our guys building with materials in Africa and learning that power tools aren’t the only way! (don’t worry we have power tools packed too ☺ but pray for electricity) I am excited about seeing the kids faces when Clayton teaches them about baseball! And I know Greg is going to be friends with everyone within minutes or arriving. I know that Charlotte and Kate and Ellen are going to provide that loving touch and ability to explain things better than I can! I can only imagine what David will find on the medical side of things. And I can’t help but get a large grin on my face when I think about Kim in Africa, don’t know why, it just makes me happy!
Some of us leave today and others in the next few days. As of January 1st we will all be in Zambia, ready to go! We ask you to follow our blog posts throughout the week right here. No doubt, get ready for some great stories! I am sure we will have them! It will certainly be crazy! I can't even imagine how much we will laugh these next few weeks.

As we try to spread God’s love and his word please pray with us! We ask you to pray for the schools we and all the people we will interact with. As we distribute supplies that have so generously been given to us, please pray that those who receive these gifts know it is out of Christ’s love. Please pray for our kids vacation Bible School/Camp we will be holding! And pray for protection from illness, injury, or anything else that might happen. (No worries we got a doctor on this trip!) Please pray for our Zambian team, as they have prepared for MONTHS for these crazy Musungus. (white people)

We thank you for supporting Arise Africa, and what so many of you have sacrificed to make this trip possible. We pray that we will be good stewards of your money, materials, and love.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and the kings to the brightness of your dawn. ” Isaiah 60:1-3

In Him,

Alissa Hollimon

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We got T-Shirts

Yep that's right we got merchandise!!

Shirts are $20 and all profits go to building classrooms in Zambia.

Order Here if you are interested

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

God's Grace

The past few days our Arise Africa team has been nervously praying for God to help us find two brothers who are in our child sponsorship program. Brian (11) and Armond (7) live alone in a child headed household, that Brian is the oldest in. Basically they have no parents after watching their father stab their mother and then be taken to jail where he died months later.

When we started the child sponsorship program the headmasters at the school chose the kids who were most in need of help. And they were at the top of the list. The past month through our donors we have been able to pay for their school fees, start feeding them and tried to keep an eye on them. But they have nobody else at all watching after them.

The boys had not been at school the past few days and our Arise Africa team members and teachers from the school had started looking for them at their house and in the community. They had disappeared and were nowhere to be found.

We just got word from Zambia that they were found, in a market picking food from a dump. We are so grateful to know they are safe and sound. But yet just as our Zambians said, "the situation needs an alternative solution."

Please be praying for all of our team and most importantly Brian and Armond. As we navigate through these tough situations and try to do what is best we ask you to pray with us for solutions and stability for our kiddos.

It is easy to feel overwhelmed at times, but then I remember that I am blessed to work with some of the most driven and compassionate people on earth both in the USA and Zambia.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Playing for A Cause

On October 23rd Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw will be holding a baseball/pitching clinic in Dallas to benefit Arise Africa. Please take a look and sign up if you are interested! And spread the word!

Clayton Kershaw Baseball camp 2010

What: Baseball Camp with L.A. Dodgers pitcher, Clayton Kershaw. Join Clayton (and the Varsity Scots baseball team) for two and a half hours of instructional pitching, hitting, base-running, catching and fielding! Followed by a Question & Answer session, and pictures with Clayton! Parents, feel free to stick around & watch!

When: Saturday, October 23, 2010 1:00- 3:30 pm

Scotland Yard at Highland Park High School

W h o : Boys 1st-8th grade. Dress in baseball attire, and bring your bat & glove!

Cost: $60 per baseball player. Proceeds will go towards building & equipping 2 new classrooms in Lusaka, Zambia. Please make checks payable to Arise Africa.

Sign Up today: Spaces are limited, so e-mail us to save your spot!
Bring a friend and spread the word!


Questions? Call Ellen 214-906-3333

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Links to Prayers

My good friend, Sarah Chidgey, is currently battling cancer and fighting for her life. See her most recent post on her blog about our little ones in Africa praying for her!! And please join us in lifting her up!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Good hard day

This morning we began the process of selecting kids for our child sponsorship program. I was so happy to be getting back to the schools and the kids after spending a few days doing the non fun stuff like car shopping and signing bank documents that Bwalya kept putting in front of me! I have learned alot about car shopping in Africa. First, don't ever trust the kilometers on the car. I learned this by looking at a car and commenting about the high number of kilometers on it. Then we came back to the lot a few days later and somehow it had about 50,000 less kilometers! Now that is a miracle!

As Bwalya so elegantly said "It's like God drove in reverse in the car for a few days to help us out."

I told him that doesn't work and i knew this because it didn't in the Ferris Bueluer movie. Then the conversation of who Ferris Bueler was started, which lasted for quite some time.

I've also learned that all the car lots and salesmen are related. So they just run from lot to lot as you try to make a deal. This is quite entertaining to watch. But I'm pretty sure it's one big conspiracy too! They also are terrible drivers themselves. We learned this by so naievely getting in one's car as he drove us to his brother's lot across the street to try to make a deal there. I thought I might have knocked out a tooth at the speed we were taking some pot holes at.

The last thing I have learned that if you throw in an iphone with the deal, you can knock down a substantial amount on the car. This is good information to have.

Needless to say I was happy to have today of just good old school!

So we began the child sponsorship process today.
We are working with great community school leaders and teachers who know the kids and work with them on a daily basis. Ruth, our discipleship leader was awesome in this process too!!! She really took charge and we got to follow. This is something I LOVE to do in Zambia, follow behind the folks who know how to run things!

We interviewed alot of kids and took photos for their bios. I am always shocked at this process or hearing the stories that break my heart. But I also was encouraged at the potential I saw in the school we were in and how we can REALLY make a difference. The teachers and head masters commitment to these kids was very evident. And Ruth was so excited about our program. Watching her work with these kids for the first time and seeing them naturally draw to her was awesome. I could see how with a little help, the school could preform even better. The hard work is there, they just need resources to really help the kids.

One particular story that stuck out to us were two boys Brian and Armon who live in a child headed household. This means that Brian the oldest, cares for them. Brian is 11 years old. The boys watched their father kill their mother years ago and then the father passed away in prison. The grandmother was left to care for them but leaves them to care for them selves for months and months at a time.

As they came in they were hesitant of us, for good reasons. Two white girls, a computer and Ruth all trying to talk to them. After some time of warming up and explaining why were are there, they began to open up. As I sat and spoke to Brian whose frame is tiny due to malnutrition I began to wonder how God chose me to be so blessed in this world. Brian is missing half his hair on his scalp due to a terrible ringworm infection and yet he still had a sweet bright grin as he held his little brother's hand while we talked. The bond between the brothers is palpable. And I understand why, at the ages of 11 and 7 they only have each other.

As Brian and Armon walked out of the room, I knew this is why we are there. With just $35 a month per child we can provide the basic needs and an education for these kids, and God will do the rest.

If you are at all interested in our child sponsorship program or want to sponsor Brian or Armon please just let us know through email at:

Off to take a shower - it's been a few days folks!!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

PTA Meetings

This morning Katie and I ventured out to Greenhill school to have a meeting with the parents of the school. This is a big step in our process of helping them build a classroom. We wanted to discuss the process of building and ways they can contribute to the building.

Greenhill has done a great job of organizing the parents of the school and they are very involved. Although money is sparse their effort to help their kids and the school is not. They were very involved in the meeting and helpful. When we arrived they had already met with multiple builders who have quoted them I was given a sheet with the breakdown of the supplies and cost.

One thing that always impresses me is that these people want to help and work. They aren’t lazy and are willing to do anything to help make this happen. We looked again at the land that the school will be built on and they were already clearing it from shrubs and laying out the perimeter. Once again this was great to see but also scared me because our team in America is just getting started on the fundraising for the classroom. It is hard to plan and not get ahead of ourselves because God willing this will happen. I explained this to the Zambian parents and asked them to pray too for our fundraising. And trust me they are!

The block will actually have two small classrooms on it and will be built specifically to be able to hold government exam papers. Apparently right now the kids have to go to other schools to take their government exams because Greenhill school is not able to administer the tests because they do not have a “secure” classroom. The government requires a school to have at least one classroom and closet that is secure and enforced to hold these special exam papers. Wow, I am learning a lot! This is just one more step that we will help Greenhill become more of a renown school and recognized by the government.

We spent alot of time surveying the land:

After hanging out with the parents and surveying the land I got to chill with some of the kids. They are currently out of school and will begin classes in a week. A lot of the kids are not around but the orphans who live at Greenhill stay during the holiday breaks because they have nowhere else to go. It was fun to hang out with the older ones and talk about how things are going. These kids have been raised by Mr. and Mrs. Tembo for a long time and I am impressed at how polite and caring they are.

As we were hanging out I went in the dorms where the 50 kids sleep. There are two dorm rooms, one for boys and one for girls. And there is one toilet for ALL the kids. About 25 kids sleep in each room that has bunk beds everywhere. They boys dorm is tight, and some boys have to sleep 3 or 4 to a bunk bed. But they are so happy to have a place to stay that keeps them warm and safe. One 16 year old that I have known for a long time, Joe, showed me around the place.

He showed me his bunk bed and his one suitcase with all his possessions. I am always shocked at their living conditions even though I have seen these dorms many times and sometimes think we should be trying to improve the living conditions before the school. But as the Tembos have expressed, education comes first. You see, these boarding kids are fine in their rooms, although it is tight and cramped and certainly below American standards. But they need help with their education and their school. And that’s what we will do. I dream about being able to provide a room big enough for each boarding kid to have their own bed and a desk but know that right now we are building two classrooms and that is what is needed most.

OK that is all I got for now, off to more meetings and scouting out places for our team to stay in January!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bike Day!!

Yesterday evening I picked up my friend Katie from the States. As I was waiting for her the power went out three times in the airport, welcome to Africa Katie! We crashed last night and got up early today.

We spent the morning sitting in some Equipped To Counsel classes that Arise Africa is teaching throughout this week at a local church here in Zambia. We have two great American teachers that are teaching 30 Zambians from three different churches. Rachael and Renee are teaching through material that they have gone through themselves in the USA with Equipped to counsel leaders. The class is focused on training people how to counsel Biblically and it was really interesting to hear. There were great questions that Zambians asked about salvation, suffering, and predestination. I was glad I wasn't teaching the class!! Renee did a great job with that!

After checking in with our Equipped to counsel class, we took Jayrose in to town and got that kid a bike! and a big one! We spent a long time in town scouting out various shops that sold bikes and looking at their prices. Katie and I spent most of the time in the car because when a white girl shows up, the prices go up!

We got Jayrose a bike and boy is he happy! He wanted a blue one and I was concerned the size was too big. But after some time of discussion it was emphasized to me how important it is that it is big enough so he can grow into it. Well he certainly can and the kid doesn't grow much from year to year that I have seen!! He was so sweet and excited, this huge grin was on his face! We explained to Jayrose that he is getting the bike because he held up to his promise of going to school. We were told by his grandmother that he loves school now and doesn't ever miss it. And he doesn't even play in the city dump that much! Bonus!!!

I finished off our day with a long meeting with Bwalya about future plans and desires. We discussed our business projects we have ongoing and were really encouraged by God's work. We continue to meet people over here to help with our partnership and see God's hand in opening opportunities and relationships that are benefiting these kids and our Zambian team!

Tomorrow is another FULL day of meetings, and planning so please continue to pray for us!

- Alissa

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Yes that is a TV you are carrying on your head...

This has nothing to do with anything with Arise Africa but this woman was carrying a TV ON HER HEAD! That's awesome!

Today (Monday) was a great day.

This morning Joe, our driver picked up Benson and I and we were off to Greenhill school and orphanage.

I was beyond impressed at their progress from this past year and getting to see all my friends was so fun. The kids were singing and jumping all over me, like I had never left! It was awesome.

We had a long meeting with the headmasters at Greenhill and are beyond grateful for their commitment to these kids. They are boarding more kids than ever before and they are pouring out of their sleeping rooms. Literally some are sleeping on the porch! We prayed for their struggles and thanked God for their success and achievements. Their kids made some of the highest academic scores in community schools in Zambia. Unfortunately they didn't have enough funds to allow all their kids to take the government tests required to move to the next grades. It broke my heart to hear that lack of funding for a test that costs $30 American Dollars was what would hold these orphan kids from moving to the next grade of school. Not lack of commitment from the kids but just $30 that they don't have. We prayed about how to avoid this in the future.

Another major success that Greenhill has achieved is their sustainable growing. They have crops all over the place and are feeding their kids so much better! From corn, to cabbage, to red onions to even herbs they are winning agriculture awards and selling excess crops to the community to raise funds for the school. I mentioned that an American is interested in coming to teach more about sustainable farming and they were really excited.

We spoke of their needs and what they had been praying for. A major concern for them is that their school has run out of classrooms and they have moved the babies (grades 1-3) back to outside to the same tress that Greenhill School was started under.

That was when I was able to tell them that God willing a team of Americans would be coming early next year to build them a classroom. They couldn't believe it and Mrs. Tembo fell to the floor and started thanking God and praying to Him. It was overwhelming for them and myself! At that moment I realized that we are showing God's love in ways that I can't comprehend to these people. Then I almost peed in my pants realizing I just told them we are coming without all the funds raised for the classroom! I explained this and that our team is working hard in America to make this happen. They said they would be praying for everyone involved. We discussed the project and we will be having a community meeting with the parents in the weeks to follow to begin to get them prepared to be inundated by loud young Americans who are ready to build!

So if you want to help us make this classroom a reality (and make me feel much less nervous!) CLICK HERE and donate to the school fund! Every little bit helps!

I also was able to give Greenhill a laptop that had been donated by Vinson and Elkins law firm and they were PUMPED!

Ok guys I won't be around for a while but you will hear from me early next week.
Have a great week!

In Him,

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Arrived and Alive in Africa

Well I arrived in Zambia yesterday morning and had the WONDERFUL surprise of getting all my luggage. ALL!! I was shocked and I am not so sure what to do with having so many personal items in Africa! (Note: for those of you who don’t know the story, I spent 4 weeks in Africa last year and NONE of my personal luggage ever arrived and I lived with a pair of jeans and three t-shirts that were Bart Zachry’s old school uniforms that were supposed to be donated clothing. And got a nasty stomach “issue” because of no food or medicine) I was laughing at myself as I set up my toothpaste, soaps and shampoo in the bathroom, I was like a kid in a candy store!

We had a full day even though I was jet lagged. I hit the ground running with Benson and Bwalya. I learned a lot more about some business investments we have going on and was overwhelmed at the work these guys have been doing for us in Africa. We also mapped out the next few weeks and what it will look like for all of us. We got a lot to do!

Another great surprise was that Benson had received his grades and did really well in college this past semester! In fact, the local newspaper had congratulated those with good scores and he made the paper! Go Benson, I sure am glad he can show me up with his academic skills. Let’s be honest I wouldn’t say my name has ever appeared anywhere for an academic award! All you 4.0 overachieving Chi O’s in college can be quiet.

Last night I had dinner with my close American friends who live over here in Zambia. Their hearts and openness to help Arise Africa and me is amazing, we couldn’t do it without their support. It was a blast and we had quite a fun time even though the back patio was taken over by yellow jackets. The guys took care of them after I recommended the trusty Peter Hollimon tactic of soap and water. Thanks dad for teaching me those good old ranch tricks!

I’m excited, overwhelmed, and blessed. We ask for your prayers in big decisions, partnerships, and relationships we will build, strengthen, and continue to pour into these next few weeks. Pray for our Zambian team and pray that I listen well and together we continue to glorify Him!

And did I mention I am going to Namibia for a little VACAY too?!?!

Thank you for all your help and support!

Alissa for Arise Africa

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Meet my friend Jayrose

I first met Jayrose in 2007 in Zambia. He was probably about 7 or 8 at the time and is tall and all bones. It was evident that he wasn’t fed much at home. In 2008 when I was in Zambia for 5 months, I got to know Jayrose and learn his story.

Jayrose and his brother live with his grandparents who are amazing. His mother does live somewhere but it is unknown to them, and his father they have never known. It is believed he has died. Although they are extremely poor and not in the best health the boy’s grandparents try very hard to care for their grandsons. Jayrose’s grandfather does day labor at a local farm when his health permits. During the time I was in Zambia, they were going to have to move out of the house they were living in. We spoke to his grandparents who informed us they would be moving across the Lusaka near a city dump. They owned a plot of land out there and they didn’t have a house but the land was theirs. They were so proud of the land and that they owned it.

A few weeks after they have moved we went to check on Jayrose and his family at their new location. I am not sure what I was expecting but it broke my heart at what I found. His grandparents had done the best they could to “construct” a home for them. The home was made up of tarps and metal that they had collected in the city dump which was a couple hundred yards away.

They had a few chairs in their “home” and a mattress on the partial dirt floor.

Right next to their land was an open field, with overgrown weeds and bushes. I decided to explore a bit and began walking through the dirt field. I noticed that it was rather uneven ground and there were a lot of dirt mounds and trash in it.

This is an actual photo of the field!

This was when the stupid American (that would be myself) began to ask questions to Benson, who was with me.

“Hey Benson this field is so bumpy whoever owns this land should farm it or something but they need to get these bumps out.” I said as I walked across it stepping from hump to hump.

“Yes Lissa well you see this field is a cemetery and that is why it is bumpy because you see the bumps they are the graves.” Benson so calmly replies.

“Dude Benson! I am walking on GRAVES!” I say.

Benson gets the grin on his face that I know all to well. “Yes Lissa I thought it was funny you wanted to walk out here” He responds once again so calmly.

“You could have told me earlier!” I exclaim as I turn around and try to get out of the field. We headed back to their house while I looked like the stupid white girl walking on dead African graves.

Over the next months we visited Jayrose and his grandparents often. We helped Jayrose enroll in his new school and I still had a broken heart every time we left their house of tarps and sticks. I began blogging about the issue and decided I wanted to help them build a house. After lots of prayer and donations through people reading the blog, we built them a house, costing roughly $1,500. And it was amazing to watch the process. His grandparents had tears in their eyes every time we showed up and could not stop thanking me. It was overwhelming to try to explain to them that it wasn’t myself but other people in America who had read their story and wanted to help and were praying for them. When I left that summer they were settled in their home.

Last year I visited Jayrose and his grandparents and his brother. They have been in the home for a year at that point. I was so proud of them when we saw how great they were doing. They had banana trees planted and had built a fence made out of sticks to protect their chickens from running away. And they were growing plants of some sort I’m not really sure what they were you would have to ask Benson. And there was the cemetery, which I stayed out of this time. I am sure everyone was happy about that. I had so much fun chatting on the porch and catching up on all the events in the past year.

We heard that Jayrose hadn’t been so stellar in school. In fact he didn’t like school and wanted to stay home and play instead, in the city dump. Seriously! So we got on that boy and explained to him that school is the most important thing. His dream is to be a cab driver one day and I always love encouraging him to work for that. And maybe even beyond it. Jayrose commented that his school was really far away to walk to and maybe if he had a bike he would go. Which we told him that was a lame excuse. (Well that is what I wanted to tell him but Bwalya and Benson of course handled it better!) You see there is no such term as “too far” in Zambian in terms of walking. They can walk for HOURS and still not think it is very far. I have been a victim of this and been told things were “just around the corner” when really that’s like 6 miles away. So I wasn’t buying the “too far to walk to” excuse from Jayrose.

But I did tell him that if he attended school and had good grades when I came back in a year that we could go look at bikes and get one. That’s a BIG deal for a kid whose playground is the city dump. Throughout this past year Benson has been checking on Jayrose and his family and helping with school fees and providing extra protein in their diet.

A few months after our visit, Benson did walk to school with Jayrose and sent me a text explaining that school was actually REALLY far away. Now when a Zambian tells you that something is FAR away, you better listen. Because their idea of far is probably like 30 miles or something ridiculous like that! We discussed options and Benson found a government school closer to Jayrose’s home, which also provided a better education. The only problem was that Government schools require a uniform, which would cost around $75, which they could not afford. Arise Africa paid for Jayrose’s school uniform and we got Jayrose in the school. And he has gone everyday and loves it. Benson checks in on them very often and I love the updates.

Here is a picture of Jayrose at school.

A few days ago as I prepared to go back over to Zambia I remembered that promise I made to Jayrose, and you know what, he has gone to school and is making good grades! I texted Benson about the promise made and he of course remembered.

So in just a few weeks I will have the honor of taking Jayrose in to town and purchasing a bike for him. I don’t think he has ever ridden one. Do they have training wheels in Africa? I am sure not. I am excited about having the opportunity to love on such a special kid and continue to be a part of his life. I thank everyone who gives to Arise Africa to make this possible.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Special Shout Out

We would like to give a special shout out to Courtney Hollimon who has by far won the contest for collecting the most hotel soaps, shampoos, pens, and writing pads! All of these will be great to hand out to kids and people in the villages and surrounding areas we work in.

Who is up for this challenge in trying to collect more than Courtney did?

Thank you Courtney for your due diligence while traveling!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dollar Days!!!!

TARGET Dollar Aisle!

OK folks, literally with just a dollar you can help us out. The dollar aisle at your local Target store is LOADED with great school and education supplies right now! Please take 20 minutes out of your day to go and stop by your closest Target. We would love anything you could purchase! There are great puzzles, flash cards, dictionaries, thesaurus, pencils, and coloring books.

The school supply aisles also have great bargains right now! Crayons are a major need as well as markers and pencils.

We will gladly pick up your purchases (if you are in Austin, San Antonio, or Dallas)!!

OR if you are too busy or would rather have a personal shopper for you than
DONATE TO THE SCHOOL SUPPLY FUND and we will purchase for you!

- Alissa on behalf of Arise Africa

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meet Benson

Meet one of our team members, Benson. When I was in Africa for 4 months in 2008, Benson was my right hand guy. Benson spent almost every minute with me working on a photography book project (it is in the publishing phase don't worry you will know when it is released!). His job was to integrate me in the culture and pretty much convince them to accept me so I could take photos. This is not an easy task, to show up with a white girl and huge cameras and not only protect but convince people to accept me!! We traveled to remote villages where he had never visited but had no issue having people accept and like us after talking to Benson.

We laughed ALOT those 4 months! We talked about culture, both of our dreams and God's plan in our lives. Benson taught me patience, how to interact with his culture, what was right and wrong, and most importantly how to love. I saw Benson's true heart and spirit for the kids we were working with daily. And I saw how much he desired to be a part of the changing force in Africa. You see, Benson steps up, and makes more happen than you think you can. He takes a task and the resources and makes it work. He is passionate about leading kids in the right direction and promoting education. He can play games with the little ones, and get through to the teenagers. I watched Benson interact with many people some of whom he had never met and he has a natural connection with people and they feel comfortable with him. This is how I was able to do my job. He made it happen. Benson is a listener and slow to speak until he has the facts (something else I learned!) Benson learned about how picky I was when it came to eating, or how to work on my computer and download images for me, he learned all about the video camera, and how to read a map! He saw elephants and monkeys for the first time. He saved us from a dead smelling rat. And he took a 4 wheeling trip through Vic falls. Most importantly I saw how God works through Benson with his interaction with everyone we met.

Benson at Vic Falls

Benson is currently attending college through Arise Africa's Scholarship Program.

You might ask how much it costs to go to college in Zambia and his tuition is around $2,500 annually. He is getting his degree in social work with hopes of continuing his career in changing the lives of the people in his country. As Benson attends school full time, he works for Arise Africa and gets a small stipend to cover his living expenses. This means everyday after school he does what we need him to. He disciples kids and goes out into the communities on the weekends. He literally works almost 7 days a week. About a week ago I texted Benson at 4AM his time, thinking he was asleep and would get the text in the morning. But he was up studying for his exams that are this week.

Benson is the type of person we love to work with. He is passionate, serving, and ready to do a job. He loves his country and culture. We cherish the opportunity to work with our brother, Benson.

I want to help pay Benson's Tuition

(This will direct you to a secure online donation page, please click on the "African Team Scholarship Fund" when it asks you where you want your funds directed. You can put Benson's name in the comment section.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Beginning

Well here is our first blog post... I can't even describe what the past few weeks have been like for all of us involved with starting this non profit ministry. I think I can say we are all overwhelmed at the amazing support we have received.

Let's just highlight a few of the past week's awesome developments:

  • We have had 20 laptops donated to us, 20!! Thank you David Hornberger and Vinson and Eklins law firm!
  • We were able to purchase over 120 books for $1 each at the DTS (Dallas Theological Seminary) bookstore. AND when I arrived Greg (who had called and gave me the heads up about the great sale) had somehow managed to get them to give us 530 Bibles. GIVE US 530 BIBLES people. Do you know how crazy that is?? Now we need to figure out shipping! hmmm... anyone wanna drive a boat full of books to Zambia for free?? Here is a picture of the poor girl who had to check us out and Greg holding one or our receipts.
  • We have an incredible group of people ready to go to Africa at the beginning of 2011 to help us build a classroom and paint a current school. In accordance to this we have had many teachers donate school supplies, posters, wall art, and children's books for this trip. Please read our material donations page to learn how you can help us too!
Our African Team is pumped and moving forward very strong! Between juggling jobs, school and doing things completely voluntarily for us until we have profits to hire them, they are sacrificing SO SO much for the people in their country. I'm so proud of them and can't thank all of you enough for your support!!

So here we go, let the games begin!!

Thank you for your support in all the ways it has come!

- Alissa Hollimon on behalf of Arise Africa