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Published: February 1st 2010
So much has happened since I was almost arrested in Zambia ... really changed my life around.
Being here and re-adjusting to DRG living has been a lot more difficult than expected. I’ve been through some crazy ups and downs since I arrived. Just building character right? RIGHT!
So Kennedy and I arrived in Likasi on the 14th of January 2010 ... we got settled ... Kennedy took the big bed ... I’m over it now ... the small bed’s better anyway ... there’s an outlet under it ... checkmate !
Anyway ... settled in at the house ... the pad ... got Ken introduced to the dog ... “Snoopy” ... da na na(Charlie Brown / Snoopy theme song ... re-i-remixed) ... and got into one of the communities that we work in ... all in 2 days! NOT BAD right?
Amazing though ... the community we went to visit is called Toyota ... like the cars ... I know. When I left we were really struggling with some leadership stuff in Toyota ... the children weren’t really being fed or educated or visited ... big problem ... Erick was super stressed. When we went to visit on the 15th of January we first stopped at the school ... huge surprise! Kids lined up out the door awaiting their hot meal for the day ... tons of kids! I was stoked! Before I left the school had seemed dead ... so dead that Erick didn’t even take me to see it ... we had talked about it ... I knew it was there ... but never saw it because nothing was happening there. To come back and see all these kids attending regular classes and being fed was so amazing!
The next day we were busy resting and trying to get our lives back on DRG track ... it’s quite the task ... when Ken got a text message...
His sister had become very sick the day we left Zambia ... she passed away that Friday ...
Ken left for Lusaka on Tuesday the 19th of January ... he hadn’t even been here a week.
I’ve never lost anyone close to me before and for that I am so thankful ... however ... trying to help a friend who has just lost a close family member with no real experience of how it feels is hard ... I had no idea what to say ... what would be helpful ... what would be harmful ... I really struggled. I know it should be easy to just help a friend in need ... I froze up. Turns out we did an alright job in getting his mind off of it for the short while he was here before he left to go home ... he said he wanted to watch a movie one night ... one with a good story line ... good adventure ... light bulb ... THE GOONIES! Ken has a new favourite movie ... I’m sure of it.
So with Ken gone Erick and I were holdin’ down the fort again ... minus 2 dogs ... long story ... never mind. This is about the time homesickness kicked in ... really hard. For some reason I really started missing home ... people ... activities(skiing) ... the climate! I was really bummed out for about a week ... thanks to those of you who helped me along ... even those of you that I just talked to ... so helpful ... more than you know. Now I feel back on track ... schedule is starting to get busy again ... Ken comes back tomorrow actually ... pretty excited to see him ... and eat his food ... Zambian deliciousness ... I don’t care what anyone says ... shima makes me really happy ... especially after crushing only rice and cabbage for every meal.
We’ve been pretty busy in the past week though ... which also helped my sickness. I made some pretty revolutionary spreadsheets for HBC(Home Based Care) volunteers ... and some more for the cookers ... I’m kind of a big deal here in the office ... who saw that coming right? Also got a chance to go to my favourite community here ... LWAMBO! The first time we went there we were escorted around by the Chief’s son ... pretty much got green lights everywhere ... figuratively of course ... no traffic lights here ... but even the yellow fever waved us through ... pretty good!
This visit to Lwambo was by invite though ... they had been organizing their own meetings since we first met with the church leaders there and even had a committee with a president and everything ... super exciting ... and even better ... they are so ready to learn! The most amazing part though ... they are all from different churches ... it’s unheard of for different church leaders from different churches to meet together and work together ... so exciting to see it happening!
Today I was back in Toyota to introduce the spreadsheets that were still warm from the printer ... delicious. I think the volunteers liked the idea ... a little more structured so they can see who they’ve visited and who the need to visit more. Also got a chance to go on a couple of home visits with Erick ...
Our first visit was to a house that one of our patients lives in ... he’s dying ... or was dying ...
The entire Toyota HBC crew went to visit him last week when he was in rough shape ... found him dying ... his house a mess ... and his roof leaking ... it’s rainy season. We had a tarp that was just lying around the house here ... Erick got it over there ... patched the roof and the crew cleaned out the house. Cas ... a nurse that has been involved with Hands at Work before was along and got some meds to the man ... they’re working! On the visit today we met with the guy and he’s doing better ... but wanted some money to buy tea and sugar ... crucial! Anyway I got to pray with him and just sit and listen ... so awesome! He was super stoked that we came to visit ... his family lives waaaay to the east and he has no idea where exactly they are ... he’s alone ... not anymore ... I can’t wait to go visit again!
Our next visit was to a young boy named Kamy ... Erick has a special place in his heart for this kid ... I’ve heard so much about him but had never met him until today. The boy is an orphan and is living with his uncle Usai who is a HBC volunteer in Toyota. A while ago he had his head shaved with a dirty razor and it got really infected ... it’s beginning to heal now but he has been left badly scarred. He’s in such good spirits though ... and when Erick and I showed up today he got a huge smile on his face.
Side note: on the walk back up to the car from Kamy’s house we overheard some children arguing ... Erick and the volunteer we had with us began to laugh and I had to ask ... turns out my long hair causes some confusion among the children in the DRG ... half believe I’m a woman ... with (lots of) facial hair ... and the other half are correct.
The last house we visited was the house of a widow who lost 2 children when her house burnt down last year. She is left with 2 other children ... one is 13 and the other is 6 ... the youngest is named Van ... he attends our school in Toyota ... when asked what he they have been studying in school he answered ... “We’re not studying anything ... we just write a lot!” I laughed ... a lot.
A pretty solid day ... I hope there will be plenty more to come ... I’m sure there will ... it gets me excited about being here ... I know it’s where I’m supposed to be ... I’m back!
Tomorrow I risk my life driving to Lubumbashi and Kasumbalesa ... the border ... to pick up Ken. Our car has been having some problems so we’ve opted to take public transit ... oh dear. Angel said it would be a “good experience” for me and I would get to see how “real Congolese people get around” ... the first problem I have with that is ... I’m not a “real Congolese person” ... and in no way will it be a “good experience” ... trust for the journey I suppose. Packed on a classic African mini bus for at least 2 hours ... nice work!
Find out how the “bus” ride went ... next time ... oui?
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