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