Staff Training

This month we did six days of staff training, two days at each of the schools we work with.  The first day was with the whole staff and we talked about vision, mission statements, unity and communication.  The second day was teacher training and Dan covered topics on pupil participation, assessments and phonics.

We really enjoyed doing team building and icebreaker type games with the staff at the schools.  These sorts of things aren’t often done here so they were quite a new experience for the staff.  It was lovely to see a very different side to some of the staff, particularly those we are still getting to know.  We found some real characters come out of the woodwork and had some good laughs.

Below are some of laughs Dan captured as we were doing profile pictures for all of the staff.

Kawama Teachers Janna Teachers


Oh baby baby

A few weeks ago Dan was listening to the radio and Brittney Spears’ song ‘Oh Baby Baby’ came on.  A caller rang into say how much he loved that song, so they played it again.  Awesome.  Then someone else rang in and commented on how much he loved Brittney Spears so they dug out another Brittney song.  Three songs in a row by the same artist – quality radio 🙂

I can’t quite believe that in a few weeks times we’ll be having another baby…  Experiencing life with a newborn again… 


Last week I went to Lusaka to see a doctor there and nail down some details for having the baby there.  All seems to be well with the baby and me, however the baby is breech at the moment.  It still has plenty of time to turn, and we are praying it will do this in plenty of time.  We’ll be travelling down to Lusaka when I’m 38 weeks (last week of February) and will stay there until the baby is born.  I can’t quite believe that next month (in five weeks!) we’ll be making the journey down to Lusaka and hopefully not too many weeks later we’ll be coming back with our second child.  Wow.

While in Lusaka I also met a lovely missionary family who are going home on furlough in the middle of February.  We will be staying in their house when we come to Lusaka.  They have three little boys so their house is just perfect for us.  Such a blessing. 

We feel confident in the hospital we’ve chosen and feel peace about having the baby here.  It still feels like the best/right thing for us to do, stay here in Zambia to have the baby.  That said, it’s undeniable that the risks are slightly greater here and because we are having the baby in Lusaka, five hours away from Ndola, we don’t have the same immediate support here should anything go wrong.  Obviously thinking about Jacob in all of this is a massive difference as well and would be wherever we were having the baby.

As we are having this baby away from home, it feels like there is more preparation needed.   It feels like there are many more ‘what ifs’ that pass through my mind this time around.  Most of them I don’t entertain, a few need to be planned for.  In this preparation I feel challenged not to prepare for the worst.  There can be a lot of fear here, especially among the international community, and I feel strongly that we must fight off the fear that masquerades as sensibility.  

We are trying to prepare for, and believe in, and have hope for, the best for this next chapter of our lives: the time away from home, how Jacob will cope with all of the change, the labour, the delivery, the interrupted nights, having two young children – all of it.  I know it will have its challenges but we’re trusting that God will give us all that we need to rise to these.


Have you ever had malaria? In Melissa’s first stint in Zambia (2004-05), she had it 3 times. I, on the other hand, had never been victim. That was, until Monday.

It started with a mild ache all over, as though I’d spent the whole of the previous day working out – not that I know what that’s like, but I have an active imagination (if not an active body). It got gradually worse over the course of the day and so, by late afternoon, Melissa was driving me to the clinic to have a Malaria test and, shortly afterwards, followed diagnosis and medication. It got worse before it got better – fever, shaking, sweating from the unlikeliest of places, splitting headache. I was bed ridden for a couple of days (yes, including New Years) and then slowly progressed to shuffling around the house like a geriatric ice-skater before needing to lie down again. Not fun. I’m over the worst of it this evening, I think, but the aches and sweats come back in waves every so often.

In 2012. malaria caused an estimated 627 000* deaths, most of those deaths occurred among children living in Africa where, the World Health Organisation have calculated,  a child dies every minute from malaria.

If I’m honest with you, finding out that statistic today, made me cry.  And feel incredibly incredibly guilty.  I know that may sound illogical and maybe guilt isn’t the right word, maybe burdened is more accurate… not because I caught it early, but burdened because I was able to be driven a relatively short journey to seek good medical care and could afford to pay for the test and then the medicine that followed the diagnosis.  All luxuries that many here don’t have.  I hope you can see my point.

Beyond Ourselves is committed to seeing that all the families at our schools have a mosquito net.  It’s not 100% fool proof, but using a net significantly reduces the risk of infection of the parasite that causes malaria. I know it’s just been Christmas and the January Sales can also be an expensive time of year, but for £10/$18CDN you could help save a family from malaria.  Surely that’s a bargain.

Sorry, for laying some of this ‘burden’ at your door but I would love it (love it) if my 3 days in bed amounted to more than a pile of sweaty bed linen and just another ‘life experience’.

*WHO – statistic with an uncertainty range of 473 000 to 789 000