Tuesday, May 25, 2010

O Yea, That...

I made it home safe'n'sound bright'n'early Sunday morning and am now working on adjusting back to life on the other side of the Atlantic. Strangely enough it kinda feels like I never left...but there are those few exceptions where I am strongly reminded, "O yea, that..."

-Coffee shops. Surprise, surprise...Starbucks was the first thing I saw upon landing.
-Bagels. Yum.
-Pre-sliced Bread. Well, you can get it sliced, but you have to ask them to open it and do it for you once you buy it.
-Stoplights. What does red mean again?
-No sand in my shoes!
-Drinking water straight from a spicket.
-Flipping the light switch up to go on, not down. Why is it suddenly darker in here?
-Dishwashers. The plug in, electric type.
-Driving on the right hand side of the road...this is really going to get me in trouble. Aaaaand i keep turning on the windshield wipers when i want to turn...
-Not having to count the seconds I'm online. I love unlimited FAST access.
-Having to write today's date as 5/25/10 instead of 25/5/10. That will be a perpetual state on confusion for quite a while.
-The roads are huge. And they curve.
-Dryers. I prefer a string and some great African sunshine on this one.
-The washing machine doesn't give you a nice little medley to start off the washing.
-The microwave isn't narcoleptic...
-There isn't 'fresh' meat being sold along the side of the road.
-TV shows in their original language, not crudely translated from Spanish by the same 4 people.
-There is no bleach water to dip my dishes in when I'm done washing them...no matter how much I keep trying...
-Driving to town in a car. Sure beats a boat.
-Church only lasts for an hour...not hourS.
-Amish Buggies...something that really should be in Africa. But I guess donkeys are close enough.
-Street Names. There is more than one in each town aaaand its not Hage Geingob St.
-Waking up to the sound of silence. Deafening actually...I'm a little too used to Petro? :-P

But on a more serious note, I don't even know where to begin in expressing my gratitude and thanks toward those who made this last year of my life possible; and I know there are alot of you. Whether it was the daily prayers, the notes of encouragement, keeping in touch, or supporting me financially (or d. all of the above); all played a cumulative role in making the last year of my life my biggest adventure yet. I miss the kids, the staff, and life there like craaazy! They were all my extended family and home away from home. But anything good that came of my time there was a team effort led by God, not anything I could have ever done on my own. So for that, thank you all for letting me be a part of what God is doing around the world!

Friday, May 21, 2010


The constant decibel level in the children's home has quintupled overnight as the first lot of kids were brought back yesterday from their villages. With every one that Jenny and I picked up yesterday, the van got louder and louder with more and more stories and more and more laughter as they quickly picked out who had gotten chicken pox and who hadn't...yet. So with 14 more kids in the home, all with 14,000 stories to tell, its no wonder. They all had a very nice holiday and can't wait to go back in December for the next one. "Wonderful, excellent, & too amazing to describe" were responses I heard alot of. Since it was harvest time during the holiday, they brought home and learned to cook many different traditional vegetables, milks, and nuts, all of which I can't prounce (me and bushman !clicks are not friends...). Many got to see friends and family they had not seen in a long time and some even meeting parents and siblings for the first time. Overall a very memorable and valuable experience for them all.

Pictured here is Beerina & Djolo (in greens) with their siblings & cousins.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Mafuta is a nearby village in which there is a feeding center that we provide food for. There are local volunteers who do the preparing of food, serving, and teach the preschool. Since Jessica has been gone on furlough, I've been the delivery/firewood girl and yesterday was my last day there. Shortly after they had made me do the final stirrings of pap (corn meal) for the kids (exhausting...seriously), a guy rode by on a bike selling tiny little fish. The largest was maybe 1 inch long and were N$1/cup. So the makuwas threw in N$5 for the experience on how they are prepared and, of course, a taste test :-)

First you separate out all the large (1 inch) ones from the small ones then put them in water a bit at a time and start squeezing handfuls to remove their innards. Then you sort through them and pull out any grass or large pieces of dirt. To cook them, they are all put into a pot together over an open fire and fried with oil. They are stirred for a while before finally getting mashed up and adding salt to taste.
The final outcome included everything from bones to eyeballs, but all eaten mashed onto a handful of pap. I have to say, I had my doubts, but it was extremely delicious and definitely worth the experience. Pictured above is me with the Mafuta volunteers enjoying our meal of pap and (tiny) fish.


The boat has finally reached its long-overdue retirement...until next year anyway; Gilligan has escaped Zion Island via road!!! For the first time in more than 9 weeks, we have reached the tar road by something other than a boat!! The road is still not completely dry, or fixed, but is at least now passable by 4 wheel drive vehicles.

The 2.5 mile road is now visible, not knee deep at the shallowest part, the ponds have been reduced to large puddles, the largest holes have been filed with sand, and the large gullies have been filled in with bricks (only wide enough to pass one car of course, as you can see by the photo). And last but not least, the bridge was fixed yesterday making the road now fully "passable" for us at Zion, the end of the road. We had kept our truck on the inside during the flood and it can now get in and out, but I was also able to get one of our other vehicles back here with very little problem. Now getting our low-riding 14-seatbelt (but up to 30-some passenger) van back in may be another story, but all-in-all an excellent start towards normal travel once again.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fish Are Food, Not Friends...

Over the past several months Dave has been teaching the kids how to fish, especially the boys. There are many that are now excellent fishermen thanks to Daves work and many have enjoyed private tigerfish dinners thanks to Margaret's cooking as they celebrate their catch. But perhaps the best fisherman of them all (or the most lucky), is Muny. He has been away at his school for the deaf in Windhoek until recently, but save the last learner to be the best learner.

He has trumped them all in the biggest tigerfish caught (pictured right) and the first and only to nab a bubble fish (pictured above & helped by Albert just this morning). Yesterday alone he caught 3 large tigerfish, also a record for the number caught in one day by one person. Since so few are left in the children's home these days, he has reeled in a scrumptious dinner for everyone on several occassions. This bubblefish might even be enough for a couple of nights.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Earlier this week, the local news showed a small clip about a newborn baby, only 1 day old, that had been found abandoned in the bush here in Katima. And of course, not but a couple days later, we got the call about our newest addition!! So off Jenny and I went this morning to meet the social worker, the magistrate, and to collect her from the hospital. Since she had been living there since discovered by the police, the nurses were very sad to see her go. But she is now the youngest of Zion's very large family, one week old today, and weighing in at 6.8 lb and adorable. When we told Josiah (no longer the 'baby') that she was coming to stay in this crib, he looked at me and yelled "Liar!" before screaming his head off for the next half hour. Though the extremity of his antics funny, they are also due to the fact that, though the smallest, he has the chicken pox the worst of all and is an overall very unhappy boy these days.

Since such a public story was made about her case, we were asked several times if she was the one from the news when we seen with her in town. In addition, the Minister himself granted a nice donation towards clothes/supplies for her at the hospital and was given the honor of naming her. He did so after his own mother, Nsala.

Pox De La Chicken

That's right, chicken pox. Did you really think things could get quiet, calm, and normal around here with only a few kids left?? Ha! :-) Now there are only a few who don't have the chicken pox. Starting with 2 of the young boys at the beginning of the month that are now gone, only 2 kids are left here who don't have it (yet...) and a few staff members. And all who do have it are large lovers of Calamine Lotion...so much so that they look like makuwas (white folk) before they are done applying it. Moses (pictured left), one of our most energetic staff members, is also the most proud wearer if his Makuwa face and daily welcomes each new person to the chicken pox club with open arms. We have heard of at least a few of the kids not here that now have it and we're sure there are/will be many more. It may be easier to count the ones that don't have it by the time they reach back to Zion.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

O Yea...The Flood Thing

O yea, the water started going down this weekend!! It's not going down so very quickly this time, but has at least started. Please pray it goes down quickly!


This ridiculous dog has become a very good guardian, friend, and source of entertainment for me over the past year. Though it is really Jessica's dog, she has been on loan to me as protection since I've been living alone most of my time here.

In short, this dog is quirky with a loyal superiority complex. She follows me everywhere, except she "follows" from about 20 feet in front of me. She is always looking back to make sure she's predicting correctly where I'll go next and, if I'm sitting in a room, she will jump up and race to the door at the first remote sign that I'm even considering getting up. If she needs to stop and scratch or pee along the way, she will do so, but will immediately stop as soon as I catch up to her and race ahead before continuing her business, just so long as I am never in front of her.

Kleptomaniac--an all too fitting name. I was with Jessica when she got this nice little border collie mix from Windhoek in the summer of 2008. She had several nice names picked out to try, but upon getting to know her better, Klepto soon replaced them all. There were 3 of us living in the house at the time and suddenly our things kept disappearing only reappear where they didn't belong. It only took a few times of Jessica asking me why in the world my socks were in her bedroom before the new name was final.

Now I say she "follows" me everywhere, but there are a few exceptions. Namely Cleo, Ginger, and the chickens. (Cleo & Ginger are cats...) Now, she is the fastest dog I've ever seen (she can run from the children's home to my front door in 11 seconds, if you are familiar with the compound), but she has only ever managed to catch a cat once...and she came out of the fight limping and bleeding. But nevertheless she continues to try. She has become quite the avid tree climber, but so good that her newest trick is to climb up onto the children's home roof. She then proceeds to chase the cat all over the roof, but still to no avail. From the inside, it just sound like Santa's reindeer are practicing their crash landing...

She also loves to chase other things, especially small children. Now this may sound horrible, but hear me out (don't worry, noone gets hurt). Out of all of them there is only 1 that hasn't quickly figured out that if they just stop running and stand still, she will bring her full-out running charge to a screeching halt right at their feet, then both parties just walk off. But this sheep-herding quirk of hers has more practical uses indoors. If I am in any room of the children's home, she will lunge at anyone who comes running down the hallway so as to stop them dead in their tracks...its actually been a quite effective policing tactic; they come to a screeching halt and she comes back into the room to wait for the next one.

I will really miss the protection and daily entertainment I get from this quirky dog, but maybe she will finally have time to master catching a cat? I'd hate to know what tops learning to run around on a roof...

And Then There Was One...

Okay, really 14. The children's home is almost completely empty now as, for the first time, arrangements have been made for many of the children to be on an extended home visitation. It is currently a one-month school holiday and 43 of them are busy visiting with family and friends in their home villages. Even though these kids live here in the children's home, most still have aunts, uncles, grandparents, and some even a parent, that they can go to to visit, but that can't financially support them full time. The kids were very much excited for this opportunity to be reunited with friends and family that many haven't seen in years and certainly not for this length of time. There are even some that are getting to meet family they have either never met before or never knew they had.

There are several that are welcoming this opportunity to take their relationship with Christ back to their villages. Most of these kids had never heard of Christ upon first coming here to Zion, but now many are on fire for Him. There is one young teenager who has had a particular heart for her two older sisters that remained in the village when she was brought here. In one of her past shorter visitations, she was able to lead one of her sisters to share her faith in Christ. It was only a while later that this sister then passed away, but now both find comfort knowing they will meet again someday. She expressed to me that she wants very much to lead her other sister to faith in Christ during this visitation. Please pray that this young girl finds both the courage and opportunity to do so and that the sister has an open heart to receive her words. Pray also for the others that wish to take this opportunity to share about their heavenly relationship with their friends and family.

Meanwhile, back on the Zambezi, things have never been so quiet--or empty. Several of the kids have their whole bedroom to themselves and there is a whole lot less fighting over who gets the leftovers :-) It will be hard to keep them 'un-bored' during the coming weeks, but Dave has been teaching the boys how to fix the boat and they are all now all the way up to season 3 (in only a week) of their newest television addiction--LOST. Today we had a modified church service surrounding a fellowship lunch with all the volunteers and staff that were working today. The staff cooked a chicken, pumpkin, and potato salad meal while Margaret & I made some desserts and we all fit around one large table setting for a nice Sunday meal. I spoke this morning about one-on-one fellowship with God. Pray that those left might be able to use this rare opportunity of a few quiet weeks to deepen their relationship with Him.