Holiday

Last week we set off on a bit of an adventure and holiday.  We wanted to take a holiday together before us three Whitcombes become four. We also wanted to explore a bit more of Zambia in the process.

Our trip began with a quick detour to Lusaka.  Rumour had it our work permits would be awaiting us, but best not to listen to rumours as that wasn’t the case.  That said, we’ve been told mine has been issued and Dan’s should be any day now and they will actually send them up to Ndola for us to collect them at the immigration office here.  We needed to go to Lusaka anyways to look at some clinics/hospitals there for the baby and had great success in this department (more on that some other time).  Also on our to-do list; Dan had to pick up some work things, we enjoyed a couple of nice meals out and we did a little bit of Christmas shopping.  It was very full schedule, we probably should have stayed there an extra day in hindsight, but we got everything done that we needed to and then we continued on our travels.

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We went camping at Mutinondo and had a really fun and relaxing time together as a family.  After vowing to never ever go camping again while pregnant, we took the plunge (in the rainy season!) as camping is definitely the most economical way to see this beautiful country.  Admittedly it was glamping – the tent was set up for us when we arrived and we had proper beds, set up and all made up for us, upon arrival.  But, I’m 6 ½ months pregnant, I’m not ashamed to sleep on a bed when camping!  It also had a massive cooking shelter which Jacob loved playing in and was very handy for food prep and storing our things.

The scenery was beautiful, and the weather, surprisingly gorgeous.  We spent the next few days swimming in the river/slow running rapids, exploring, going on walks, and talking.  Jacob loved his wilderness experience; he played for hours by himself, singing, “oooh”ing at bugs, dancing, learning how to play an air guitar and the like.  Dan and I actually had time to talk and rest and just be.  It was really lovely.

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We ventured to Kundalila Falls and explored around there a bit.  It was beautiful – the photos really don’t do it justice.

Kundalila

On our way back home we stopped around Mukushi for two days and stayed with friends there.  This is a big commercial farming area and the enormous farms there fascinated the prairie girl in me.  The friends we stayed with are working with Foundations for Farming, teaching conservation farming to both commercial and local farmers.  Their home is on a tiny corner of a big commercial farm.  The owners of the farm have both a working farm and some bush areas as well where they have stocked up on some wildlife – zebras, kudu, impala, bushbuck etc.  We went on a game drive and Jacob loved all of the animals.

Mukushi

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Water is life

There is a simple poem that many children here in Zambia learn in their early years at school.  It goes like this:

Water, water.
Water is life.
Without water we die.

Simple and straight to the point, I think we’ll all agree.  Perhaps a bit graphic for four and five year olds but it’s a classic around here.

We spent today at Greater Joy School, watching a bore hole being sunk.  Thanks to a couple of generous donations this school will now have continual access to good water.  Greater Joy’s water supply has been erratic at best.  This has made things difficult for the women that cook for the feeding programme and has required the school to close on certain days as law requires that schools must have water in order to be open.  It’s also been difficult to have proper sanitation at the school with limited access to water as well.

Today things changed for Greater Joy.  Water was found!  It was really exciting to see the bore hole dug and the water spring up deep underground.  Access to water is so important, and something we can often take for granted.   This school will massively benefit from this bore hole and my guess is that it will be a blessing to the whole community.  What a gift.

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Firsts

This past week Jacob has had a few firsts.  All of these were at Nursery (hence some of the shoddy pictures that were taken at Nursery, then printed and scanned) during their last week of school before the holidays.

First encounter with Father Christmas.

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First ‘class’ photo with the other children in his age group at Nursery.  Just a little FYI – Zambian’s don’t tend to smile in pictures so it’s not that the staff hate their jobs, they are actually very smiley and lovely, they just don’t want it recorded in a photograph!

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First face painting experience.  Dan and I laughed very hard when we saw him.  So cute and so funny looking all at the same time.

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Home sweet home

Today marks three months of us being in Zambia.  We can’t quite believe that three months have passed.  It feels like the other day that we arrived and yet it feels like we’ve been here for so much longer than three months. Settling into our home and life here has been relatively straightforward.  I think because we had been here so many times before, it felt like home again right away.  We are getting more established in our work and our roles with Beyond Ourselves, we are making friends and it feels more and more like home all of time.

We know that living in Zambia isn’t for everyone, but we often reflect on how incredibly blessed we feel to be here.  We feel like we live in such a beautiful country, surrounded by incredibly beautiful people.

Last year, when we were in Zambia, we were blessed to find accommodation for this September. We’re living on a Mechanics college, just outside Ndola (one of the two towns where our partner community schools are). The house is one side of a semi-detached house on spacious grounds. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room/dining room and a very useful concrete space out the back where Jacob spends many an hour.  Beyond Ourselves is renting the other side of the home as of the beginning of December.  This will be our offices and now we have space to have visitors and will have some gap year students staying there next year as well.

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There are two other families that live on the premises, one British/Israeli family and one Zambian family.  Our neighbours are so lovely and we really appreciate the community we have here.  Their children have taken Jacob under their wings and are very good at playing with him even though he’s much younger than they are.  Daliso, the youngest boy, has particularly taken to Jacob, and Jacob to him – they are best buds.

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Here are a few photos to show you around our home, so that you can get a picture of where we’re living.  DSC_2642 DSC_2641 DSC_2639 DSC_2638 DSC_2637DSC_2643

Nine food parcels

Since the teams that visited in October have left, we have spent a fair amount of time following up children who weren’t able to attend the interviews when the teams were here and those children who come from more vulnerable families, who have very low weights and BMIs, and those with medical issues.

In this process of this, we’ve had conversations with the directors of the schools and have identified that between the three schools there are nine families who at particularly needy at the moment.  These are the most desperate situations at the moment with the families really struggling to have the means to buy food and eat.  For these children, often the only meal they get is at school.

We know that handouts aren’t a sustainable way to help people however, we also know that meeting the immediate need is important.  At the moment, these children and their carers are hungry so we’d like to provide food parcels for them in the next couple of weeks.  We were looking people who might be interested in helping us to buy these food parcels.  You can buy them online from our Alternative Gifts store for £15 which works out to about $25CDN.  We’d really appreciate your help on this.  If you’d like to support one of these families please buy a parcel online and send me an email and I’ll send you more details about the family you’re supporting and send you a picture when we’ve delivered the parcel.

Below are some pictures of children from Kawama School, the neediest area we work.

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