Monday, July 25, 2011

NEw folks

The rest of our team safely arrived in Lusaka on Saturday. Stephanie and Avery’s flight arrived almost 2 hours late so there was alot of waiting around at the airport (pretty typical for Zambia). But we got everything together and made it back to Shakespeare Lodge minus one bag which was full of donations and not personal items thankfully. Caroline and Michael spent the morning securing nesting boxes for the new chicken “fortress” at Destiny. In Caroline’s words, “Who are the natural predators of chickens in the chicken fortress? Humans and ants. This is hard to plan for.” Hopefully, with the well built fortress the chickens will be secure and live a long life. Shortly after we went to check on the progress that John and Bwayla were making putting up a basketball goal for the kids. We really tried our best to scale it to regulation height, but the goal was Zambian crafted and looked quite a bit different from a regular basketball goal. To begin with, the backboard was made out of wood and the inner square on the backboard was quite a bit smaller. To top it all off, the net was red, white and blue. A very interesting mix of sorts. The kids will have alot of fun with that once we teach them how to play. We also made a trip out to see one of our sponsored kids and his family. We checked in to see how schooling was going with the children and how the family was managing. They were also provided with new clothes for school (which everyone was extremely excited about). Our visit was short because we were due to pick Callie and Kelly up from the airport. At the time of their arrival, 100% of the electricity at the airport was out (also not unusual for Lusaka where there are regular rolling blackouts). After collecting everyone we made it back to the Lodge to make pizzas and get some rest.

On Sunday morning we headed to church and had a great time. We all were happy that one of the speakers was out and the keyboard was not working! Sometimes it can be a bit loud and it was great to hear just voices. After church we headed to the market and bought souveiners. We finished Sunday off having dinner with the Zambian and American teams.

Today is a big day and we will blog later tonight!

The crew

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Arise Africa Engagement!

Yep you heard it, Caroline and Michael (our chicken farmers) are engaged! Michael popped the question while they were in Victoria Falls last week. Caroline has received many questions from kids this week about her ring! We offered for them to get married this Sunday at Peter’s church but they kindly declined only because their parents would be upset. Caroline has received many suggestions and ideas given from Zambian women who are experiences Zambian wedding planners. It has been quite educational to learn about Zambian ceremonies. Also Caroline has been asked if she will have 7 or 8 children. She’s thinking more like 10 (jk)

Alright folks we’re tired but all is going well!

- The Crew

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Turn right at the tomato stand…

Well it is 5am on July 20th and I am up thanks to jet lag. But I slept much more than I did two nights ago!

Yesterday July 19th was absolute chaos. After sleeping for only two hours last night (hello jet lag) John and Bwalya and I headed out yesterday morning with a large list of things to try to accomplish. We first met with and scouted out a new school to maybe work with. We got a tour and met the headmaster and John found a tiny kitten that he couldn’t put down. After taking iphone photos of john and his kitten we went to our next stop.

We went to exchange our car for another one because the brakes were acting quite funny and when we applied the brakes it sounded like a dying cat was in the trunk of the car. Seriously it was damaging to your ears! We got a new car, (Toyota Corolla) which is so much better except for the fact the passenger door is the only one that will unlock with your key. So the passenger has to get in first, then reach in and open everyone else’s doors. I will take it over the dying cat noise!

Then John, Bwalya and I headed out of town to check out an orphanage we had heard about. We are trying to gather as much information about orphanages right now as we plan to start one in the next year thanks to Kershaw’s challenge! We haven’t met our goal yet but are getting there and are beginning to plan. We began driving and chatting and then realized that the directions that had been given to us said to drive down one road for at while and turn right at the tomato stand. Well, let me tell you one thing about Africa, there is a tomato stand about every ten feet on the side of the road. As we were driving we realized we had a problem. There were so many possibilities as to where to turn right! We kept driving and all three of us arguing about if we were going too far and had a great discussion on the Zambian stock market (of course I am with John and Bwalya!). We finally stopped at some shops (think mud huts in the middle of nowhere) for us to buy some phone time so we could use Bwalya’s iphone to try to look it up on the internet. After failing to find it on the internet and two cokes and a Fanta later, we were defeated. We turned around and stopped by another orphanage on our way home that we had heard about out there while asking for directions! We toured this orphanage and saw the homes and asked many questions.

Then the three of us ate a quick lunch and met with a realtor to help us look for land for the orphanage. Given that buying land over here is as complicated as possible, we know we have to have professionals help! This particular realtor wasn’t very helpful but we realized we were at the top realty company where they sell the big properties that are a bit pricey than our orphanage budget. That is when she politely told us that we should look in the paper or go to another reality company to help with what we are looking for. So we left and went downtown to another realtors’ office. We chatted with them for a while. We are pretty sure they thought the three of us were crazy as we emphasized the importance of a CLEAR title and that we didn’t want property that we had to beg some chief for. We made a plan to meet the next day to go look at some properties.

Then we headed to another development that we had been recommended to where they are selling plots of land. We briefly stopped at Pizza In to order dinner since it was buy one get one free night. John went inside to order and came back outside telling us that we needed to pray for him because he had gotten so frustrated with the woman at the counter he had walked out, without ordering the pizzas. This was at the end of a LONG DAY. Bwalya and I listened to the story, wanting to laugh, but we emphasized with John and patted him on the back and then I took the money in and ordered our pizzas.

We met with the developers of the land and saw two possible plots that would work for us. It was very encouraging to see that the land was in a great place in the city, and close to two really good schools we could send our kids to. It also is land in our budget. By the end of our tour Bwalya was asking about plots for himself to build on! He was drooling over this land! We made fun of him for a while and then took off to go pick up the pizzas we had ordered.

We got home to meet Caroline and Michael who had been at Destiny school all day working on their chicken-farming project. Let me tell you, chicken farming is more intense than the three pet chickens my dad bought me at the feed store (after I begged, and begged, and pleaded) when I was 11 in Devine Texas. They had been in town all day with Isaac and the rest of our team buying wood and all sorts of supplies. They have all these fancy drawings that they have made themselves about the construction of this coop. It is impressive! They were as exhausted as we were. We all ate the pizza and I took some drugs and went to bed.

One thing that was so great about yesterday was that John, Bwalya, and I spent a lot of time in the car together, I mean like all day practically. Once we got a car without a dying cat noise, it was quite peaceful. But it was a GREAT time to catch up and discuss EVERYTHING we needed to. We covered so many important topics and the conversation was very effective. As the day ended and John and I walked over possible land we will buy, I couldn’t help but be blown away at God’s work. I looked at John and said, “Could you have ever imagined we would be looking at land to build an orphanage on?” “Not in a million years, it is so awesome!” was his response. We are constantly humbled by the generosity and support we have received as Arise Africa grows. And we only wish that all our supporters, (especially Kershaw’s challenge supporters!) could be here with us to see the impact it is having! I am sure you too are jealous that you didn’t get to ride in the back of a Toyota Corolla for hours looking for the token tomato stand to turn right at!

Off to another day!

- Alissa

Monday, July 18, 2011

on the ground and rolling

I arrived in Lusaka today and met the rest of our Americans who have been here for a few days.

John, Megan, Bwalya, and I wasted no time heading to the coffee shop and organizing all our calendars together for the next few weeks. It was complete chaos as we tried to coordinate so much we need to do. It was rather entertaining as I only had about two hours of sleep.

We all then split and headed to our respected places and started working on our lists! John and Bwalya and I headed to buy a basketball rim for a hoop that we are having welded for one of our community schools. (they don't make basketball hoops you can buy in Zambia, so you have to get one made) After John and I somehow managed to buy an $80 basketball only to have to return it, we headed to Destiny school where our other Americans, Caroline and Michael were already there and meeting with folks and working on their chicken farming project.

We hung out at destiny for a long time today and we got to see all our sponsored kids and other friends we have there. We left with Caroline and Michael feeling like they have a good plan for the next day.

We had a great steak dinner at an awesome restaurant and then headed to bed.

Big day tomorrow folks!

- The crew!