Rev. Banda teaching
This past week we had our first TEEZ training of 2012. We started off close to home here in Kitwe. When we arrived on Tuesday morning to begin the training we found that the church was all locked up and there were no students in sight. We spent most of the morning hanging out in the pastor’s home and office, waiting to see what would happen. Eventually a couple students, including the organizer, showed up and we had to discuss what would happen with the training. Rev. Banda and I ended up leaving our supplies and a challenge to come up with a class by the next morning.
Students in a practice study group
As we headed to the church the next morning, we were hoping that we would have some students. When we arrived at the church the doors were open and people were gathering, such a welcome sight compared to the day before. We ended up having eight students from three different churches in the neighborhood. It was one of our smaller trainings but one of the best once we got started. All the students were engaged in the training and will hopefully go on the use what they have learned to start TEEZ classes in their congregations. We would rather train a few tutors who go on to teach than have a whole church full who never end up holding a class.
Kitwe tutor training group
This was another good learning experience for me. Rev. Banda did a great job handling the situation with patience, honesty, and grace. He was able to hold the pastor and organizer accountable for not being prepared, but also gave them another chance to start the training the next day. At one point it seemed they were just going to cancel the training, but he encouraged them to give it another try and we ended up having a wonderful group. It would have been discouraging for both the church and TEEZ if this first training had fallen through. By the end of the week we were all glad to have held the training. We were even presented with chickens at the end as a gift of thanksgiving. Please pray for TEEZ as we continue our 2012 trainings.
Me with my thank-you chicken
I finally got my work permit! This is a big deal because I have been waiting for it since I arrived here in Zambia. The permit was actually approved in August last year, before I even arrived here in Zambia, but they had run out of the books on which the permits are printed. So at the beginning of each month I have been reporting to the immigration office to get another stamp in my passport allowing me to stay for one more month in Zambia. Sometimes these visits were quick and sometimes they would ask for more paperwork or I would have to explain again and again, I would never know what the situation would be that month.
Then in January the TEEZ director and I made a special trip to Lusaka to try to get the permit (which is a five to six hour drive one way). We had been informed that the price of the permits had doubled in 2012, so we went to pay and pick up the permit. We were able to make the payment, but they told us we would have to wait three more weeks for the permit to be ready. I was so frustrated! Not having the permit has kept me from being involved in the prison ministry that other TEEZ fellows have participated in as well as limited my travel plans. Also, having to report to the immigration office each month, sometimes being hassled a bit, made me feel uneasy, insecure, and so temporary. I would always be a bit nervous and in the back of my mind I would wonder what would happen if they didn’t allow me another month.
I found out the permit was ready a few days before I was setting off for South Luangwa, so I stopped on the way to pick it up. I was so happy to finally be holding the permit that I kissed it as I left the immigration office! I am thankful to have it before we start traveling to do our trainings this year. Also, I was so glad to have the help of Rev. Banda and the TEEZ director throughout the process. I have seen that MAPC has a ministry assisting immigrants and I encourage you to come alongside those who need help if you are familiar with the system in the States. Having an advocate within the country definitely made a difference for me, both in understanding the system and in making sure things were moving in the right direction.
Hanging out with zebras and giraffes!
This past weekend I had a short vacation at South Luangwa National Park and it was fabulous! My friend Kim, who is working in Malawi, met me there and we both had a wonderful time. We stayed at Marula Lodge, which is literally right across the river from the game park. The first afternoon as I was relaxing by the river I watched giraffes, crocodiles, and hippos just going about their business. We ended up going on four game drives all together and we saw over 20 different animals. This was really a treat for me as I had not yet had an opportunity to go on a game drive. We had a great guide who was able to spot the animals and patiently approach. Several times we got within feet of the animals! I kept having to remind myself that I was not at the zoo or watching television, but that I was seeing these magnificent creatures in their element.
Not only were the animals amazing, but it was great to have a vacation and time with Kim. We enjoyed chatting together – filling each other in on what we have been doing and how we have been adjusting to life and work in Africa. It was great to just hang out with another American for a few days. Also, because it is still the rainy season we were often the only guests at the lodge, so it felt like we had hired the whole place out ourselves. The owners were great, the game guide fantastic, the property beautiful, and the food delicious! Every evening the hippos would come up onto the lawn from the river, so after dark we were escorted by the staff as they could spot the hippos and other animals to be sure it was safe to walk around.
Kim and me
The highlights of the game drives for me were seeing a baby elephant who was only 3-4 days old, watching a leopard mark her terriorty, and following a pride of lions at dusk as they set out for a night of hunting. I also really liked the giraffes and the vervet monkeys. I am so thankful I had this time to relax, spend time with Kim, and enjoy the beauty of Zambia.
Mom and baby elephant
Buffalo after wallowing in the mud
Heading out for the hunt
Baboon at sunset
Kathleen on a recent walk
Almost every afternoon Kathleen and I take a walk around the compound where we live. After I am finished with my work for the day I go home to change, then head to the Lund’s to meet Kathleen. We do a loop down the road past Jenny’s house, around the chapel into the MEF campus, down by the pond, then back up to our homes. Some days the road is dry and dusty, some days we wear our wellies (rain boots) and squish in the mud, but it is always a highlight of my day.
The road on our compound
As we walk we talk about our day, point out things we see along the way, and sometimes sing a bit. Now that Colby has joined us, we also encourage him as he is learning to walk on a leash. No matter what we are talking about we almost always end up having a good laugh. This past week we spent one walk thinking of silly things that Colby could do - ice skating, riding the bus, shopping, and going to doggy church. Then we had to make up some doggy hymns, of course, and Kathleen announced that the sermon would be given by Hoolie (the Lund’s dog and Colby’s mom).
A tiny grasshopper we spotted
Chipolopolo with the Africa Cup of Nations trophy! (photo from bbc.co.uk)
Zambia’s national soccer team, Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets), won the African Cup of Nations tournament! They were up against the Ivory Coast in the final last night and it was quite a game. There were no goals scored in regulation time or overtime, so the game came down to the penalty shootout. Each team made their five goals, so it was on to sudden death. After a total of eight penalty shots, Zambia won the victory. By the time the game was finished it was past midnight and all the Zambia fans erupted with excitement! Jenny and I were watching at my house and were clapping and shouting along with the rest of Zambia. The celebration went on until about 2am and picked up again this morning. It was even rumored that today and tomorrow have been declared national holidays by the president in honor of the win.
The Zambian team just after the win (photo from cnn.com)