6 Months

Our ‘little’ guy is six months today.  Crazy!  He’s as cute as ever – very smiley and happy on the whole.

He’s started eating solids and is now graduated to having some solids for breakfast, lunch and supper.  Bananas and butternut squash seem to go down a treat.  But, it does seem like he’ll eat anything – the kid does really seem to like to eat!

He’s been napping so well these days.  He normally has three naps and will sleep 3 ½ to 4 hours a day (heavenly!)  His nights are a bit hit a miss…  Generally he goes down to sleep around 8:00pm, he’ll wake up only once to feed and then sleep until about 7:30am.  That said, it’s not uncommon for him to also be up at 12:30am, and then feed around 3:00/4:00am and then be up 5:00am and 6:00am.  It seems his nights are either really good or really bad and we can’t really figure out what goes wrong on the bad nights.

He’s got his two bottom teeth, those arrived just before we got to Zambia.  His nights were pretty terrible when he was teething.  I’m not looking forward to the next tooth/teeth.

The other day we were shopping and a woman said to me ‘madam, your baby is looking nice’.  I agree 🙂

M.

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Adidas Shoes

This past weekend we visited a family we have supported quite a lot over the last several years. We’ve mainly invested in the one child’s education (the other’s is sponsored by someone else) and we wanted to see them so we could catch up and introduce them to Jacob.

The mother is a very humble lady. We had just paid for some school fees earlier in the week, so she expressed her thanks to us for this. She couldn’t even look us in the eye as she said thank you. My heart broke as she sat there before us. I cannot imagine being in a position of relying on the goodness of other people to pay your children’s way through school.

The mother has a job cleaning for a family six days a week. This pays approximately £34.00 ($54CDN) a month. Her rent for her two-room house is about £47 a month ($75CDN). We don’t know quite how she makes up for this shortfall and buys any food for her family.

After our visit with the family, the daughter took us to her best friend’s house as she wanted to meet us. Her younger brother came as well. There wasn’t anyone home at the friend’s place so the girls had bought a few snacks and drinks for us. They also bought a small toy for Jacob, which was so lovely for them. We had a good time with the girls as they are both very vivacious young ladies with a good sense of humour.

At one point the conversation got serious and the young girl we’ve supported also expressed her thanks to us for the way we have supported her and her family. I choked back the tears as she said that she has hope for her future because of our generosity. It made me realise yet again how important our support is for her and the free education that the Beyond Ourselves schools offer to children that are in a similar position to her.

And then the younger brother mentioned he’d like a pair of Adidas shoes. My heart sank and my mood changed and I got annoyed. There were several other things that were mentioned that they wanted but for some reason this pair of Adidas shoes really got under my skin – how dare he be so precocious and ask for these after all that we’ve done for his family and surely some of the necessities are much more important than a new pair of shoes!

On our way home I expressed my annoyance to Dan and in his wisdom he reminded me of a few things.
1. He’s 10.
2. His friends may have Adidas shoes and so no wonder he wants some.
3. He may be thinking this is the one opportunity in his life to get his coveted pair of Adidas shoes.
4. We don’t know what it’s like to grow up in extreme poverty, how can we really judge this request.

With this new perspective my annoyance fell away and compassion arose – the kid just wants some shoes…

So I had in mind that upon returning home I’d pop onto facebook and see if anyone in the Loughton area had a pair of size 3 Adidas shoes kicking around in their home to pass along to friends of ours who are coming to visit next month. Surely that’s a good compromise – he’ll get the shoes he wants but they might not be new.

I read a book before we left that was all about how if we give handouts to people we aren’t actually helping them. As I read the book I found it very convincing. Things like education, job creation, industry etc etc need to be invested in as they are the long term solutions. This is all well and good when I’m sitting in the UK but then the need or even the wants are right in front of your eyes, this all seems so much less convincing.

Earlier in the day when we were in town there was a street boy that lingered around our vehicle as we got in. He didn’t ask for money or food, he just sort of hovered around. There are loads of street kids in Kitwe so this isn’t abnormal at all. Admittedly, we didn’t do anything other than just get in our vehicle and leave. As we drove away and I just couldn’t help but feel like Jesus would not drive away. I felt sick to my stomach. Surely Jesus would do something practical. I could pray for him but when I’ve got money in my pocket, I’m pretty sure it would be shameful to pray but not fill his tummy. Even if it is a handout, surely Jesus would feed them?

And even with the shoes, I can’t help but think, surely it’s the heart of God to bless this child with new shoes. Surely to honour this boy means giving him new shoes. Or doesn’t this type of theology work here? If it doesn’t, it means it’s not good anywhere.

I don’t think I can let another street child walk away hungry. Jesus gave and gave again.  If he did it, then I should too.

I can’t quite figure out though what Jesus would do about the Adidas shoes…

M.

Home sweet home

Here are a few photos from our home here in Zambia.  It’s a one bedroom guest apartment on the same property as a larger home.  The people who live in the main house are a lovely South African family.   Our place is compact but it has all that we need.  It has a kitchen area, living room, bedroom and bathroom.  There is also a little courtyard area where we spend a lot of time as it’s breezy and shady which is a good combination in the heat.  Jacob is sleeping in the living room which is working really well.  It doesn’t work too well having him in our room as I find it really difficult to sleep when we can hear his every move.  It feels like home already.

A trip to buy some plants

Earlier this week we visited a small plant nursery to buy a few plants for our outdoor area.  We took a look around and came across some ladies that were harvesting tomatoes.  These ladies were instantly excited to see Jacob. As soon as we came near one of the women came and took Jacob for a cuddle.  No sooner had the woman taken Jacob that she had him strapped to her back!  The other ladies all grabbed their phones and started taking photos.  I guess this is becoming a universal response to seeing something interesting.  So I also grabbed my phone and captured the moment.  He seemed to enjoy it. 🙂

‘Little’ white babies aren’t exactly plentiful around here so he’s a little bit of a novelty item. We expected him to get a lot of attention but we are quickly learning that it seems that as soon as women get close enough they instantly take Jacob to hold him.  Thankfully he’s very friendly and never has an issue with this.  Long may this continue!

Sitting

Our little guy is getting stronger all the time and now can sit for a couple of minutes on his own.  He can also roll over now as well.  His rolling over tends to happen at some point during his naps or at night.  This means he’s been getting himself into some fairly awkward positions in his tent.  We never know how we’ll find him these days 🙂

Jacob’s sporting one of his reusable nappies/diapers in this picture.  We bought these just before we left as nappies here are nearly four times more expensive as in the UK.  We bought these from Little Lambs and have been really happy with them so far.  They don’t have loads of colour/pattern choice like some other companies but they were one of the cheaper kinds and they work just as well.  Most of the time when we’re at home, it’s all Jacob wears!

On flying with a baby…

Pretty much everything changes when you a baby and travelling is definitely no exception.

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a fair amount so airports, security checks, passport control and airplanes are all familiar places.  When I cast my mind back to pre-Jacob days, I remember what used to classify a good travelling experience…  A nice bit of food or drink at the airport, a couple of good movies available in the in flight entertainment, a little bit of sleep, and for overnight flights access to two blankets and pillows.  Nothing major, but nice little things that made the journey enjoyable and restful.

Now when flying, the only solitary thing that matters is that Jacob is quiet and isn’t ‘that’ baby that everyone loathes for screaming and keeping up half the passengers while they try to sleep.  Gone are the days of thinking about the movies we’ll watch, or the sleep we may get.  Who cares about two blankets, really?  A quiet child equals a successful journey.  Period.

Travelling with a baby also requires a lot of forward planning.  With all focus on accomplishing the mission of a quiet baby, everything must be thought through…

Food: it is impossible to get out the handy airplane trays if you have a child on your lap so nearly all airplane food and drink must be denied.  This isn’t too much of a shame seeing as airplane food is never anything to rave about, but one must eat before the flight.  The logistics of eating are impossible and if a child needs entertaining, this has to be priority.  And if the child is sleeping, nothing, absolutely nothing must disturb this.

Going to the bathroom: all use of these facilities must be used either beforehand or when the flight begins.  Imagine moving your baby because you have to visit the toilets and he/she begins to cry!

Bring a pillow: a friend of ours recommended this.  A pillow (a breastfeeding pillows is best) is great for awake time, sleep time and certainly feeding time.  A pillow is an invaluable friend to soften hard armrests.

Easy access: it’s important to make sure that as much as possible, everything you really need is within arms reach so as not to ever a sleeping child.

As we said before, Jacob did absolutely amazing on the journey.  I’d like to think it is because of all our forward planning J He only cried for about 30 seconds in total on all our flights – what a great kid.

We’ve arrived!

We’ve arrived safe and sound!  Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers as we made our way here.

The journey was all very straightforward, which was excellent.  Obviously travelling with an infant adds a fair amount of complexities but Jacob did amazingly.  He’s a trooper.

Our first few days here have been good, despite the powercuts on our first full day of being here. The place that we’re staying is compact, but has all that we need including a very tall shower!  We’re quickly making it home.  We just need to put a few things on the walls and then it will really feel like home.

We’ll post some pictures soon!