Sunday, April 27, 2003

Well if I ever had any doubts that I was living in Africa, I now know for certain that I do. For several weeks Stephanie and me have been planning a trip to a nearby village, Shantumbu. Steph would teach her True Love Waits program to the youth and I would teach the children some Bible stories. My good friend Womba helped arrange the outing because of some connections she has with the church there. Womba and her friend Victoria came with us not only to translate, but also to also take care of us and show us the “ropes” of village life. Our plan was to stay there Friday and Saturday night. So after we packed up the vehicle on Friday afternoon we headed south to Shantumbu. After about an hour’s drive literally off the beaten path we were there.

Stephanie, full of enthusiasm as we set out for Shantumbu.

The roads to Shantumbu.

When we arrived at the church, the people were there to greet us. There were many children and youth waving to us as we got out of the vehicle. We immediately unloaded our stuff with the help of many of the villagers. We took it inside the church where we would be sleeping. After everything was unloaded we got out the balls we brought to play with. This was a big hit! While everyone was playing the ladies started preparing supper. The way they cook in the bush is over a small fire. The ladies even asked us if it was okay for us to eat food prepared “village style”. We told them yes (which I would find out later was a mistake on my part) and handed them the food we had brought with us.

A kid warming himself by the cooking fire.

Some pumpkin that they gave us as a snack.

Kids eating their nshima and kapenta (small sardine-like fish).

When the sun started going down, the choir circled up and started singing. They were really good and they even brought out the drums to play. There was also a lot of dancing going on by all, especially by the children. Even this white Southern Baptist girl from Louisiana (with no rhythm or coordination) joined in. Needless to say, many of the kids thought it was pretty humorous to see a “mzungu” (white person) acting like a Zambian. Womba tried to convince me that they weren’t making fun but rather they were very happy to see me participating. I’m not sure if I believe her.

Me and Stephanie trying to be Zambian by carrying the babies in a chitangi. Enoch, the baby I carried on my back.

A few of the children were pretty brave and would want me and Stephanie to hold their hand or pick them up. Eventually, we both ended up with babies tied on our backs with chitengi’s. After being here for 6 months and actually had the experience of carrying a baby on my back, I really do believe this is the best way to carry your kids around. As we were outside dancing and singing with the choir we looked up at the sky and were amazed by the stars and the night sky. When I saw all the stars the first thing that came to mind was when God promised Abraham that his descendants would become as many as the stars in the sky….that’s a whole lot! Stephanie proceeded to show off her knowledge of the constellations and pointed them out to me (I was really impressed!). We could even see the Milky Way very vividly. One constellation in particular was really neat to see because it can only be seen in the southern hemisphere. It was the Southern Cross.
Finally sometime after 8 pm it was time to eat. The ladies had prepared the nshima and rape we brought with us. They even made us chiwawa (pumpkin leaves), which they brought themselves. It was all very good! It was hard to believe it was prepared over a fire. But I guess when all you have ever cooked on is a fire then you become pretty good at it. After supper we began to get ready for bed. The church was made up of a large room where they met for worship and two other VERY small rooms. We guessed they were probably about 7ft x 5ft in size. They were just long enough for us to lie down and wide enough for two sleeping bags to fit side by side.

This is right before we went to bed…..pre ants! (here, “nock off” means go home. written above “nock off” is the schedule for the choir.)

Steph getting ready for bed.

Womba and Victoria slept in on room and Stephanie and me slept in the other. Me and Stephanie had come prepared with a mosquito net tent to protect us from the skeeters or any other little buggy that might come our way. But in the process of making our beds we decided against it because we were in a fairly enclosed space. While getting ready for bed Womba informs us that the ladies are insistent on sleeping in the church with us. We did not want them to but we knew this was a battle we would not win so we did not argue with them. The women told her that they wanted to sleep in the same room as a mzungu.
So while we are trying to sleep we can hear the ladies in the next room talking and laughing and their babies crying. I could tell already that this might not be the most restful night. Around midnight I felt something on my face. I picked it up and assumed it was dirt because it kind of crumbled between my fingers. Looking back I think I just told myself that so I could sleep. A couple of hours later I woke up again to pain on my head. It felt like something was biting me. I reached for the flashlight and when I turned it on I discovered ants on my pillow, on the ground around me, and on the wall that my head was against. I started making whimpering noises and feeling sorry for myself thinking that I was the only one the ants were attacking. Stephanie leans up from her bed and asks what is going on. I tell her that I have ants in my hair and then I change position and put my head where my feet were. As soon as I move she starts wiggling around and says she has ants too. The poor thing even had one in her underwear! So after a few minutes of flicking ants off of us we settle back down in bed.
A couple of minutes had passed and we hear something at our feet. I asked Steph what that was and she says, “You mean that wasn’t you?” I tell her no and she immediately starts scrambling for a flashlight. I, on the other hand, pull my sleeping bag over my head and curl up into a ball out of fear from what is in our room. When she shines the light she sees that it is a lizard. Better a lizard than a snake or rat! I figured that the lizard was there to eat the ants. When Stephanie sees that it is a lizard she says, “That’s it, we are putting up the tent.” So we then spend the next 30 minutes trying to assemble a tent by flashlight that is the same size of the room we are in. It was actually pretty funny. So now we are safe inside our tent but the problem is we cannot take in our sleeping bags or blankets because they are infested with ants. I had a sweatshirt to help keep me warm and Stephanie had a chitangi that she used as cover.
As soon as we lay down we hear Womba exclaiming, “There are ants in my hair!” Me and Stephanie start laughing at the whole situation but stay in our tent because there isn’t anything we can do. So Womba and Victoria go into the room where the women are and they all start making so much noise. The ladies then go outside beneath our window (which has no pane but only a security bar) and start a fire. So smoke is blowing in our room. The ladies then bring fire into the church to either smoke out the ants or burn them. Meanwhile, Stephanie and I are lying there watching burning embers and smoke coming into our room over the walls. This goes on for a while and I finally get up and go into the big room where Womba, Victoria, and the ladies are. I offer for Womba and Victoria to sleep in the car. They accept the offer and as we are walking outside the girls are saying there is no way they are spending another night here.

An unhappy and tired Ashley Saturday morning inside the tent.

Since we are approaching the cool season here, the next morning we woke up shivering. When we got dressed and went outside there were already kids outside playing and the women were gearing up to start preparing lunch. We got the privilege of watching the ladies kill, clean, cut, and then finally cook a chicken. That was my first time to ever see a chicken being slaughtered. It was quite interesting to say the least. We finally started teaching sometime before 10 am.

The ladies who cooked for us. Notice the chicken.

The chicken getting it’s throat slit. Me “helping” her kill the chicken.

When lunchtime rolled around the four of us made the final decision that we would return home when we finished teaching. So around 4pm we packed up and headed home. As it turns out, the very ants that I cursed and caused us to come home early were actually a blessing in disguise. All night Saturday and early Sunday morning I was incredibly sick. I am not sure but I think maybe some of the food that was prepared for us in the village did not agree with me. I am SO EXTREMELY thankful that we came home Saturday. I cannot imagine what would have happened if I would have gotten sick while in the village. The toilet in Shantumbu is nothing but a mound of dirt with a hole in the top…so thank the Lord for the ants!

One of the kids I taught. She had quite a hairdo.

These are hills near Shantumbu. If you look closely you can see some huts in a village.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Gone to Shantumbu. PRAY for us and village life! Details and pictures in a couple of days!

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

So as I sit here in my living room I am typing away to the sounds of Nintendo’s super Mario brother’s (the old school version). Tommy (another journeyman here) downloaded some Nintendo games from the internet for his computer. So now he and Stephanie are reliving their childhood and even playing the part by fighting over the game. Good times I tell ya! I can’t wait to play myself. Only problem is is that I can’t remember how to save the princess. I guess my skills are a little rusty.

I was super excited today because I picked up a great big package at the post office! It was from my parents! I received the notification about my package on Thursday at about 4 pm. I was too late to pick it up on Thursday and since it was Easter I would have to wait in suspense until today (Tuesday) to pick it up. Needless to say, it was worth the wait! My family sent me some really great things that I appreciate dearly. You can never have enough kool-aid and bubble gum! Thanks mama and daddy!

Mallory (completely bald head on left) and Alan (sorta-bald head on right) hanging out at our house.

Sorry for the lack of info this past week. But I have not done anything too exciting or out of the ordinary in the last week. I did cbs at state lodge and went to the house of moses to hold babies. I really like going there. yesterday when we went they had a new baby. Her name is chisomo. She was only 2 weeks old! I cannot tell you how tiny this baby is! . I was super nervous when holding Chisomo from fear of breaking her.
I think she might have been a few weeks early because of her size. Patience, the name of the nurse who was working yesterday, said the mother abandoned the baby in the hospital. After she delivered the baby she looked at it and said I don’t want it….and just left it! That kind of thing is hard for me to understand.

I do have some exciting upcoming news. Steph and me are going to go spend the weekend out in the bush. We are going to a village in Shantumbu. We are taking Womba and another national friend to translate for us. Stephanie will be teaching the youth and I will teach the children. We will leave on Friday afternoon and return Sunday afternoon. We are looking forward to it but would also like for you to be in prayer us. I will mention more about it later.

LINUS!!! My baby! I realized I have 2 pictures of chikulu on here but none of Linus.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Perfect weather! That is the best way to describe what it is like here. The past couple of days it has been in the 80’s with a nice constant breeze. I would definitely say the highlight of my day was lying in the hammock at the mission underneath a massive shade tree.
Well I started out the day by going to the House of Moses orphanage with Stephanie, Dorothy, Jane, and Paige (Jane’s daughter). We had a great time holding the babies and playing with them. And as usual, we all had at least two babies per lap.

Jane, Dolitso, and Cecilia. Paige and Hope.

After lunch the kids from another orphanage came over, the Tasche House. While they were here we watched a couple of movies (a bug’s life and ice age), ate cookies, played outside, and blew bubbles. While they were here, I made icing for a carrot cake Stephanie had made. When I finished frosting the cake, Chisomo walked into the kitchen. She is a cute little active four year old. I gave her the bowl, spoon, and beaters to lick. It was quite amusing to watch her. From the way she was accomplishing the task it seems that she has had experience in this area. Later, Stephanie came into the kitchen and attempted to get a few licks herself. Chisomo refused to share with her. But she did however agree to share the icing with Chikulu.

Chisomo, icing, and Chikulu.

Saturday, April 12, 2003

My prize and me!

Is it Christmas? Well it sure felt like it here today. This morning I went downtown to pick up a package that a dear, sweet, wonderful friend sent to me! There is just something to be said about walking out of a post office carrying a box that is so heavy and full of goodies that the bottom is about to fall out! For those of you interested in the contents, it contained some much appreciated kool-aid, many videos, JIF peanut butter (I was way excited about that!), make-up, clothing, popcorn, candy, and many more things! Thanks so much Kristin……and Trey and Tracy!!

Tonight I went to a super bowl party. Yep, nothing like watching the super bowl in April. It was great fun. One of the families here received tapes of all the play-off games and super bowl. So for the past month we have been having a count down to the big game. And in good Baptist fashion we had food with the games.

This afternoon I went out to state lodge for CBS with the children. Stephanie had been out there all morning teaching True Love Waits to the youth. She used the church for her program and the kids and me had a great time outside underneath a tree. The weather was beautiful today— in the 80’s with a great breeze!
And also, for those of you who are concerned about me and my little African ailment (the maggot)…worry no more, I am now on medicine for it.

This is Abbigail. She lives in the State Lodge area.

Friday, April 11, 2003

I thought my family and kinfolk could appreciate this picture. Looks like even Zambia knows that “nothing runs like a deere!”

So I have a lot to be thankful for! For a few weeks I have been praying for open doors in my ministry. I wanted to do more and I wanted to become actively involved with some of the orphanages in the area. One of the main reasons I felt a call to Zambia is because I had a huge burden for the orphans and vulnerable children. I have been praying for a contact that would give me access or an “in” into the whole orphanage scene. All I can say is God is so faithful. A couple of weeks ago I received an email from one of my college ministers when I was at Tech (good ole Wheeler!). He wrote a very encouraging email and also passed my email address on to a new friend of his. The friends name is Greer Kendall. Turns out Greer’s parents were missionaries here way back when and he was born here in Lusaka. He now lives in Texas with a family of his own. I got an email from Greer on a Thursday and he was informing me he would be landing in Lusaka on Sunday. He wanted to get together with me and talk about the work I do here and what he does here.
He has been on many trips to Zambia since 2000. His trip this time was to make preparations for a volunteer team he is bringing here in late July. When he comes, his main goal is to concentrate on the orphanages. I was very excited when talking with him. He also introduced me to some Zambian friends of his that work with him. One girls name was Tendai. She visits about 5 orphanages and is involved with them doing various things from taking stats of the children to teaching. While Greer was here I visited 3 orphanages with him. It was such a great opportunity! In the future I am supposed to be getting together with Tendai and working with her. So you can pray that Tendai will call me very soon!
Now here is an even cooler story…..
So while Greer was here I got my roommate to come along with me to the places we went to. She met Greer and told him about the ministry she does here. Her main ministry so far has been True Love Waits (TLW is different here than it is in the states). She goes into the schools and teaches it to the students. Well the Zambian man who has been helping her set up appointments has moved to South Africa. So that has been a bit of a problem for her. After she told Greer about her recent situation he told us about his friend that would be coming around with us tomorrow. His name is Kongwa. Greer had nothing but super positive things to say about this dear friend of his. Well as it turns out, this dear friend of his is a famous Zambian actor. He plays the moral/Christian guy named Jason on a soap opera. So basically it is the equivalent of us being friends with one of the cast members of the TV show “Friends”.
Well, Kongwa is trying to move away from the soap opera thing and dive into a youth ministry. What he does is go around Zambia and talk to youth about abstinence…the same as Stephanie! He is starting up something called GANG (God’s Anointed Next Generation). He was very eager and interested about teaming up with Stephanie and working together on a program. So, woo hoo!!…. I know a famous person!
So, isn’t it funny how God works! Who would have thought that he would have all of this happen through a guy from America.
The possibility of working with Kongwa is very exciting! Since he is “famous” the people here respect him and listen when he speaks! The other day we gave him a ride to the TV studio because he was about to film en episode of the soap. He even invited me and Stephanie to come in and watch the taping, but we had to decline because we had somewhere to be. But the funny part of the story is when we came to a stop sign a group of young girls were standing on the side of the road. One girl looked up and started screaming, “Jason, Jason!!” and they were all trying to hid behind one another. It was really cute! But he graciously rolled down the window and waved and talked to them.

Now here is my story of suffering (this is not a story for those with weak stomachs)…….….
So one day I had an itch on my back. I went to scratch it and apparently scratched a little too hard. I had a bump that I did not know about and when I scratched it I made it bleed. So I didn’t really think much about it. Well over the next 3 or 4 days the bump became this huge red, swollen, supersensitive sore. I thought that maybe it was just a mosquito bite that maybe got infected. But then I remembered being told about these things we have here called putse flies. They lay their eggs in damp places for them to hatch. And when you put on clothing that has them on there, the little critters will burrow into your skin. So I started to get a little scared that it could be a putse fly because they are known to get on bath towels. YUCK!
Well I was at my supervisor’s house yesterday and while I was there I decided to let her take a look at it. I was in so much pain I had to do something. So she got out the alcohol, Neosporin, cotton, band-aids, and a pin and went to work. After about 15 minutes of poking and picking she was finally able to see what was under the “thick shell of a scab” (those were her words, not mine). She said that it looked to be a worm. A WORM!!!!! I wanted to throw up right then. So then she proceeded to get the little critter out of my flesh. And this was done by a high-tech means….she squeezed the mess out of it (so painful!). so after it was out I was kinda bummed that I didn’t have my camera with me to take a picture of it. Because I know everyone reading this is just dying to know what it looked like. Well I guess that if you can picture what a maggot looks like, then you have a pretty good picture. Isn’t that gross, I had a maggot!!

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

So today has been a good one (although a little long). Me and Stephanie spoke at a school assembly bright and early this morning…7am! Before we left this morning I picked up some clothes off my floor to put them away. I picked up a pair of shorts to fold and suddenly I felt something odd. I quickly threw them down and nearly started crying because I knew I had just touched some sort of living creature. So I carefully wiggled the shorts to get whatever was inside to crawl (or slither) out. And wouldn’t you know it…a lizard. Now this isn’t a type of lizard I had seen before. It was kinda bumpy and had an unusually large, misshapen head. So when I returned home from the assembly I walked into my room and found my new “friend” ON MY BED!! That was it, the last straw. I got a dust pan and tried to scoop it up in that to throw it outside. But he refused. So then I called for reinforcements. I turned to the resident expert hunter of lizards…chikulu (stephanie’s cat). I brought chikulu into my room and showed him the lizard. I guess you can pretty much figure out what happened next. Thanks, chikulu!

I have started Chronological Bible Storying (cbs) at a new location. It is more rural than the place I was at before, kalingalinga. The new place is called State Lodge. I have been there 3 times so far. I go on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. It will last for three months so I should be done at the end of June. So far I really like it out there. The children are so attentive and well-behaved….let’s hope they keep it up. My language/culture tutor, Womba, comes with me to translate and help lead choruses. I could not do it without her! I am so thankful for her and her willingness to help me.

The fierce hunter, chikulu. Womba, my friend and language teacher

My friend, Mr. lizard….may he rest in piece(s).

Here is a group of kids who came to cbs today. Afterwards, I gave them a ride to the end of the road.

Monday, April 07, 2003

Today me and Stephanie and Dorothy went to the House of Moses orphanage. We go to this orphanage frequently. We really enjoy holding the babies and playing with them. The House of Moses takes in babies that are 18 months or younger. Their main goal is to reunite the child with a family member. For the children who are not reunited they are either put up for adoption or are kept at the House of Moses until they are too old to stay. When they get old enough they are sent to another orphanage in town that houses older children. Most of the babies here are dumped by the parents. Many of the babies are found in trash bins.

this is a picture of me and hope. she has been at the house of moses since she was a newborn.

Dorothy and Annie.

Here is Steph and a lap full of babies.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

so now i am trying to move up in the world by having my very own website. hopefully this will be easier and more effective than those mass email things. although i still do plan on sending those out periodically. i am still trying to iron out all the kinks with this so just bear with me. i will figure it out someday. and as always if you want to get in touch with me just email me at i'd love to hear what is going on with you!