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!