Monday, July 7, 2014

Just Pictures

Just some pictures that didn't make it into the other posts....enjoy! :)

sweet girls at church 

Rodrick and Elias - Grade 6

Isn't she beautiful?!

Machael and Aaron

These boys were in the band.
Rodrick is playing a kazoo type instrument he made out of
2 plastic bottles and a plastic grocery sack.  Amazing!  

Grade 2 class

Grade 6 Class 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Traveling Home

This year we left on a Friday night, which seemed really strange, but I was glad to get to spend the full day in Zambia.  We spent the morning at Camp Life.  We watched them sing Camp Songs and receive their "blessings".  It never gets old seeing how they react to the smallest gifts, especially the warm blanket they get to take home.
We ran into some of our girls from Kamanga that were at Camp for the week!  So fun!
After camp, we drove down to the Tree of Life school to visit Kenley and to see her office.  The school has definitely changed from when I was there last year, and she implemented wonderful things for them.  I loved seeing her in her element! I also went in and visited Teacher Mwangla in her classroom.  She was letting the kids paint for "Fun Friday".  She told me I better be back next year or she would be sad! :)

with Kenley outside her office at school
We went to dinner one last time as a team at Mint Lounge.  It has American food, and it was really good.  I just loved all of the ladies in our group, so I was already preparing myself for a hard goodbye.
love these ladies!

Patty was the only one leaving with me, and she was flying to Houston.  The rest of our group drove us to the airport, and after postponing it for a few minutes, we finally said goodbye.  We got checked in, and just as we were about to go through the door to another area, I heard the other girls on the second floor hanging off the balcony waving.  In unison, they did the "Superstar" move.  It made my heart smile!!  Hated saying bye to them.
What  a great team!
The flight to Dubai wasn't bad.  A 7 hour flight doesn't seem that long when your other flight is 16 hours!  When we landed, I had to say goodbye to sweet Patty.  She only had a 3 hour layover before getting on a flight to Houston.  The Dallas people had a 20 hour layover that day, and since I was by myself, I didn't want to go out into the city.  It was a long 20 hours!!  I checked into the hotel, ate breakfast, napped, showered, read, journaled, slept some more, and even bought 30 minutes of internet time when I got desperate.  We left for the airport at 11:30, and the plane took off at 2:45am.  This was actually good because I was able to sleep a good portion of the flight.  The time that I was awake, I watched 13 episodes of Friends! :)

We landed at DFW around 9:30 on Sunday morning.  Erin was so sweet to drive mom and dad to the airport to pick me up.  Mom hates driving in the airport!  After a really long wait to get luggage, I finally met up with them.  We headed to Matitos for lunch, and Kristen and Bret met us there.  They happened to be in town for a Rangers game.  Mom, Dad, and Erin came over for a bit after lunch to take home my suitcases and to let me show them pictures and tell stories.  It helped keep me awake and fight jet lag, too!  I made it until 8:30 that night before crashing!

I have now been home for almost a week.  I feel like the transition period has been harder this time than last year.  I can't explain the mix of emotions I feel while adjusting back to life here.  I am constantly checking my watch to see what time it is in Zambia, wondering what the girls are doing, wondering how the kids/teachers are, and thinking about the thousands of children still on the streets .  It's hard not being there.  I truly feel like I left a piece of my heart there.  Before I left for the trip this year, I thought it might be my last time to go for awhile just because of financial reasons, wanting to buy a house next summer, etc.  When the plane landed here on Sunday, I knew that those plans will probably change.  We will see what God does, but I have a feeling I will be going back next summer! The great thing about the transition period, though, has been the increased focus on reading in His word, memorizing scripture, and praying.  I know God will bless this time and season and use it to grow me.  I am also looking forward to him using it to show me what is next and how I can help the fatherless around me, not just in Zambia.  

Please join me in praying for the second team of teachers doing Teach ONE this summer.  3 girls will be joining my friends who are already there, and they will be working at a new school.  Pray for safety in travel, good relationships with the teachers, strength and rest, and bonding within the team.  I can't wait to hear what God does during their 2 weeks at Mtendere Lifeway Christian Academy.

Last Day at Kamanga

Our last day at Kamanga was sad, and it was hard saying goodbye to all of those sweet faces.  However, we made it a special day for the kids, and seeing their smiles warmed my heart.

The morning was interesting!  We had to exercise the skill teachers use most often...flexibility!  Since it was a Thursday, the Americans were coming to tour the school and see their short performance.  However, it was Camp week for some Kamanga kids, so about half of them were not in school this week.  The performance was supposed to begin around 9:30, so they had all of the kids come to school that day.  This meant that the morning group AND some of the afternoon kids were there!  We piled Grade 6 and Grade 2 (and a few Grade 1) kids into our classroom.  I quickly told Chewe that we would just do some buddy reading.  It turned out great!  The Grade 6 kids got to help the Grade 2 kids read a book from their reader, and then I had the Grade 6 kids choose a story to read to the Grade 2.  We made it work, and it ended up being a great experience for all of them.

How precious is this?  Big kids reading with a little Grade 1 student.
 We borrowed speakers from Kathryn, rigged them up in the office, and hung them out the window.  Mariah brought along a few of her favorite Camp Life songs, and she led the kids in singing and dancing out the window.  The kids remembered the songs from last year, and they would cheer as soon as the song came on and the recognized it.  They kept saying "One more song!" when we would tell them we had to stop.  Mariah did such a great job leading them, too.  She was completely at home doing her thing, and you could tell her heart was overflowing with joy!  Loved seeing God use her! :)  As they sang, Diana and I also got out the bubbles to play with.  They loved them!!  Looking across the courtyard, all you could see was pure happiness and excitement.  For a little while, those kids get to forget about everything else troubling them outside the walls of that school.  It is such a safe place for them, and I thank God that they feel protected and loved there.

so much joy as they sang!

Audrey is the deputy over 4 schools.  She is incredible!
She is well-educated, so put together, and just a beautiful lady.
She is doing great things for those schools!
She joined in on the singing of Camp Life songs with the kids on the last day.

At the end of the day, we had an assembly where we gave the teachers their gifts.  We gave them each a bag with an umbrella and extra teaching supplies such as stickers and notecards.  We also gave them each a class picture with us to hang in their classroom, and the biggest hit of all is the certificate saying they completed the Teach ONE mentoring.  They LOVE getting certificates and treasure them.  They mean so much to them!

We showed the kids what gifts they would be getting from each of us:  a bookmark that said Jesus loves you, a paper book, a mechanical pencil, and a lollipop.  They were overjoyed at every item!
sweet Andrew with his blessings 

  Some Grade 7 students sang a special goodbye song for us, but many of them had to stop singing because they started crying.  One girl even had her jersey over her head at one point.  It was emotional for all of us!
We let the kids go back to their classrooms so we could say our final goodbyes.  I handed out all of the "blessings" to the kids, and they were most excited about the books!  They were simple, paper books, but many of them probably have not had a book of their own.  They were SO excited when I told them they could color them if they had time sometime.  They were also so precious trying to figure out their mechanical pencils. We had to have a quick mini-lesson on how to use them, how to not break off the lead, etc.  They had never used one before.
showing off their new books, bookmarks, and pencils 

Rodrick (otherwise known as Lodrick with a Zambian accent!) :)  
Before leaving, I went around to each child and gave them a hug and told them I loved them.  I fought back tears because I didn't want them to start crying, as well.  It was very hard to say goodbye, though.  I am so thankful that God chose me to be a small part of their story.

Grade 2
one last picture before I had to go!
What an amazing 2 weeks it was with those kids.  In such a short time, I saw them blossom and grow.  I learned some of their stories.  I saw them become readers before my eyes.  I saw potential and hope.
I saw Jesus.

Week Two

During our second week at school, we continued to teach reading and phonics and provide feedback for the teachers.  We slowly let them take back over and observed them as they taught.
Amos and Mapalo, 2 of my Grade 2 students 

sweet little Kebby 

a sweet scene - These kids did not want to go outside for break.
They wanted to stay inside and read with Miss G!

precious little Zindaba!  Cutie!!!  

some sweet Grade 2 girls 
We also worked on the book room in the office.  They had gotten a delivery of new textbooks, but it is hard for them to sort through them and know which level they are.  They are leveled for the United States grade-levels, but this does not match up to where there students are.  We tried to make it very simple for them and created a system of just "easy, intermediate, advanced, very advanced".  We put the readers in plastic baggies and labeled them so they could just come grab what they needed, and we sorted all of the extra supplies.  Hopefully this new system will make it easy for them to use and to expose the students to more reading material.  They are supposed to be getting more shelves and will hopefully have a small "library" soon.

some of my Grade 2 sweeties 

reading with Grade 6 kids 
One day, the video guys were there, and they wanted to capture a shot of the kids looking up and waving at the camera.  They brought in a drone to fly over the kids.  When they saw it, they were in awe and were jumping around waving and screaming!  We organized them into lines in the courtyard, and we let them wave at the camera and say, "We are the next 50 years of Zambia!"  It was cute watching them get so excited!

Other Highlights of Week Two:
*watching some of the Tree of Life girls do a ballet dance.  It was so precious and had us in tears again!
*having teachers from 2 other areas of the city come and observe us and talk with us about reading strategies
*eating out at Taco Hut with everyone - their version of Mexican food
*getting to hear about the new River of Life Medical Center opening soon and hear Dr. Guffy speak - He is the only pediatric infections disease specialist in the country, and he will be working for Family Legacy.  God is good!
*getting to hear the vision for the secondary schools they hope to open next year so that our Grade 8 and above students do not have to attend government schools
*spending some time at Camp Life on Friday - seeing the Legacy Center packed with kids and Americans all singing sweet songs about Jesus then seeing each person release a balloon into the air saying, "We are the next 50 years of Zambia!"
*visiting the Tree of Life, seeing some of my students from last year, and getting to see Kenley's office and see her in action


Saturday we had such a fun and relaxing day!  We went to Chaminuka on a safari.  The drive there was an adventure in itself.  There was about a 10 mile red dirt road leading to the entrance, and I have never seen bumps and potholes like the ones we went over.  I think we almost gave each other bruises from grabbing onto each other, trying not to hit our heads on the ceiling!

The safari was great!  We saw elephants, giraffes, zebra, antelopes, and even cows!  It was so funny to see a whole area of cows in the African bush!  The drive across the land in the jeep is just so relaxing.



 After the safari, we ate lunch at the buffet there.  It was so yummy!

They had asked us if we wanted to do the cheetah walk for $30 more, and we all said sure!  No one really explained it, so I just assumed we were going on a walk to look at cheetahs.  I had no idea we would be walking it on a leash!  It was such a neat experience!

There were 2 cheetahs, and we got to just pet them as they were lying down first.  You had to approach them from behind, and they liked to be petted on their heads and around the ears.  They would purr, and I am pretty sure I put mine to sleep.  Since they were pretty young, they were very playful.  Amanda's and Diana's both turned around and bit them on the leg.  It was very playful, but Diana did have a bruise to show for it! :)

"Hey guys.  Remember that time the cheetah bit me?"

After that, we all got a turn to walk it on the leash.  It was crazy!  If they heard noises in the bush, they would want to pull you that way, but other than that, they were pretty slow and tame as you walked.

At the end of our time, the trainers let them go into the bush, and they took off running so fast.  That made me remember they aren't just tame animals but have natural instincts, too!

After all of our Lion King references during the safari, we had to watch that movie when we got home.  Kenley, Alicia, and Kathryn brought over their projector and computer, and we set up the movie on the wall in our house.  They made cookies and brownies, and we enjoyed a relaxing evening just hanging out.  I'm so thankful for them and their servant hearts!
love these friends!