Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hello from Zambia!

Muli Shani! Hello from Zambia! It has been nearly three weeks since I arrived in Zambia and so much has happened already! The team and I arrived in Kaombe village and were greeted with a huge welcome ceremony. We all watched and listened as members of the village gave speeches, sang songs, played drums and danced. My favorite part of the ceremony was when a group of women stopped their dance to pull John out of his chair so that he could join them in shaking his hips! Needless to say, John’s dancing impressed the entire village :)

The next few days were spent in renovating the Mango Tree building. It was great to work alongside of the villagers and see the building totally transformed in a week’s time! See the “before and after” pictures of the Mango Tree below. Bonnie did an amazing job with the mural on the front of the building. When you enter the front door, the first room is a cafĂ© with five tables for people to come in and buy tea, coffee, fritters and scones, all made in the adjacent kitchen. Then there is an office, followed by the library. The library was so much fun to put together. As soon as we put the books on the shelves, both kids and adults started swarming inside to begin reading! The final room is a classroom. This is where the village preschool will meet from 9am-12pm every day, and the rest of the time it will be available for the villagers to reserve the room to hold various classes or meetings. This can be anything from a bible study, to an Anti-AIDS club meeting, to a class in proper nutrition.

When the renovation was completed the village hosted the opening ceremony of the Mango Tree. The ceremony was held outside the entrance of the Mango Tree, and we estimated that about 500 people were in attendance. Many people had traveled for hours by foot just to see the Mango Tree and thank our team for helping to do the restoration on the building. The four-hour ceremony was packed with many speeches, dances and performances, and it was slightly difficult for our group to sit under the hot sun for that long :) We had a great time though.

It was hard to say goodbye to John and rest of the team, but I was so thankful that I was able to spend my first two weeks in Africa with them. It was fun to make the transition to no running water, no electricity, no toilet, and no shower with all of them. Actually, I only had to really “rough it” for the first two weeks while we camped outside of Katie’s hut. After the team left, I moved into the guest house at the Chilonga Mission Hospital, right up the road from Katie’s hut. See below for a few pictures of my humble abode. After two weeks in the bush, I feel like I moved into a five-star hotel – complete with electricity and running water! I was also really blessed to have my own desk and sink in my room. My only complaint concerns the enormous spiders and cockroaches that share my new home. Without John around, I’ve had to overcome my somewhat irrational fear of all things creepy and crawly and fend for myself. Although, I don’t think I’ll ever get over the sound of that sickening crunch and splatter when another cockroach meets it’s death at the bottom of my flip flop. Yuck.

Anyway, I’ve spent the last few days getting settled in, practicing my Bemba, getting caught up on school work, etc. Oh, Katie, Jeremiah and I went on a hike the other day through the mountains that surround the village. It was an intense climb but it was great to be out in the fresh air and get some exercise. We even had two local tour guides, Emmanuel and Timothy, who managed to make the 5.5 hr hike barefoot! We took some fun pictures, including a few that were taken in a field of termite hills.

Well, I will try to update my blog more frequently in the future so that I don’t have so much to write at once. I am sorry that it has taken me a long time to post my first blog. Thanks so much for your prayers and emails! Keep them coming! Love, Beth


John said...

Daggone Beth....when did you learn to jump that high?? I had to look close and make sure that was you. Tell Timothy to read his Sword.

jen said...

bethica! you look like a high jumper, girl! where did that come from?!?!?! :) miss you much, can't wait to see you!

Lisa said... is so great to see the awesome work you guys have done, we are keeping you in our prayers and i am living vicariously through you as i sit at my work desk...hope you dont mind...Lisa

kelli said...

Hi Beth - Glad that you have your blog up and running. We are looking forward to hearing what you are doing. We pray for you everyday. Usually twice a day, given the whole snake situation. The girls are very particular about making sure "protection from poisonous snakes" gets covered. : )
Will write again soon. love from lee,kel,reid,meg.. btw, how's the food???

Julia said...

You look so natural there, Beth. I'm so proud of you and thrilled to have stories to read and pictures to look at because I sure miss you and think of you all the time. Must agree with John...impressed with your jumping skills! Awesome pics! LOVE TO YOU FROM US!

Mrs. G said...

Beth this is so awesome. We are so proud of you and are keeping you in our prayers! Did you get your bike?

Rebecca Allen said...

Beth - it is so awesome to hear about all that you are doing. I'm sure it was great to have the group there too!

Josh said...

Hey Beth!

It's awesome to hear from you. I'm glad to see everything is going great. 3 weeks already?!! Wow. Anyway, continue to keep us posted as you'll be in our prayers.


Shannon said...

Beth it's GREAT to read an update and hear all abouto what you've done so far, what you've experienced, etc. I get the creeps just READING about the big spiders and cockroaches though -- i have a completely irrational fear that doesn't seem to be going anywhere. haha...

It really is great to see pictures, and I agree with one of your other friends - you seem to fit in so naturally there!! How are you feeling about it all? How's the food, etc?

I'm enjoying Nicaragua.

Miss you!

stefanie said...

We are so proud of you, you are making our dreams and visions come true. Steve says hello and please send our regards to everyone there. We love you and are praying. Love Stef and steve

stefanie said...

We are so proud of you, you are making our dreams and visions come true. Steve says hello and please send our regards to everyone there. We love you and are praying. Love Stef and steve

Calli said...

Hey Beth!!!

Wow...what an amazing way to keep in touch with everyone! Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us and keep us updated on life in Zambia! You're pictures are awesome....and it's great to see your beautiful face! Please let us know how we can specifically pray for you if you need it! We love praying for you sweetie! Miss you!! Calli & Steve

tim said...


Its Tim your cousin. Im am glad too see that things are going so well for you. I am currently teaching in Korea. At times it is hard being here and I long to be in a steak house or my mom's kitchen. But i know that HE has a reason for me being here.

I love you... Never doubt in the dark the things that God has constantly revealed too you in the light!

Mrs. G said...

Wow Beth you are such a great writer! We are thoroughly enjoying this adventure of yours. Please watch out for Crocks.