It’s a baby.

Well, it’s with much joy and, dare we say, surprise, that we’d love to announce the birth of our son, Benjamin Moses Whitcombe – born at 18.45 on the 27.02.14 – He’s a couple of weeks before the due date and so weighs in at a slender 6lb 2oz. 

Let me tell you a little of our journey to the hospital, which was rather eventful. When we realised that ‘this was it’ we were at the house (25 mins from the hospital in good traffic – well over an hour in rush-hour!) and needed to wait a short while for a friend to come and look after Jacob whilst we went to the hospital. By the time we were leaving home, Melissa was already having regular contractions every 3 minutes or so. Then we were off. At rush hour. Through the bumpy roads of Lusaka. In the bustling capital city of Zambia. I tried to still obey most of the traffic rules, but one or two may have been overlooked along the way.

During the 40min drive to the hospital, through rush-hour traffic, we drove past lines of cars on the wrong side of the road, shouted “We’re having a baby, now” at people (who generally received the news with a smile) as we cut into lines of waiting traffic, drove on the wide walk-ways, got traffic policemen to stop traffic for us and drove over curbs and walkways to join a parallel road that was clear.

In the end we arrived at the hospital with time to spare, around 35 minutes I reckon. Because just under 40 minutes after of arriving at the hospital, we had a baby in our arms. Crazy. 2 Weeks early and arriving in a rush – so, even though Ben will be Zambian by birth, it looks like he’s not quite working to a Zambia clock yet.

Here’s some photos – I suspect it’s what you clicked on this link for.





Operation Mary and Joseph

Pregnancies aren’t really spoken about here in Zambia.  My friend and I realized this years ago, when we lived here, we made a big cultural mistake.  After the long end of school year holiday, we returned to school to see that one of the teachers was obviously pregnant.   We shrieked with excitement when we saw her and were full of congratulations and the like.  Then we saw her face of shock and those around us as well and how everyone was quiet and didn’t say anything.  We later learned that that sort of thing, just isn’t done, it goes against tradition.  You don’t talk to a woman about her pregnancy in Zambia and as a pregnant woman, you don’t really talk about your pregnancy, that is also culturally inappropriate.

When in Zambia, do as the Zambian’s do.

So in our nearly six months of being here, I have very rarely talked about my pregnancy with the Zambians that we know here.  It’s been interesting having a very obviously growing bump and no one really talks about it.  I’ve been interested to see if any Zambian’s would bring the topic up and one once has a Zambian asked me about it.  In the last few weeks I’ve brought up the topic a few times and the few people I’ve spoken to about it have seemed open to talking about it, but I don’t think they’d ever bring up the topic themselves.  Interesting.

Being pregnant here has also brought about some interesting situations.  I was driving once and was stopped at a police check.  The officer told me to take off my seatbelt and told me off for wearing it.  She then proceeded to get her superior and I honestly thought I was going to be fined for wearing my seatbelt while pregnant!  The officer in charge also told me off for wearing one, saying it was too constricting and uncomfortable.  Thankfully I wasn’t issued a fine (you can be fined for pretty much anything here!) and I drove away and quickly put my seatbelt back on!

Today we’re heading to Lusaka. It’s going to be a life-changing trip as we will be returning as a family of four. It’s a little surreal to think about – life has been pretty full these last couple of months and, somehow, this feels like it has snuck up on us. We think that all the logistics are thought through; we have somewhere to stay whilst in Lusaka (there will be room at the inn!), we have someone to look after Jacob when the ‘show starts’ and we have a hospital back packed. So we just need to get mentally prepared for the next chapter of the adventure.

Thankfully the baby is head down and looking ready, but we’d really appreciate your prayers for the labour – we believe a straight forward, pain-free, labour is not beyond God’s capabilities. Prayers for the transition of moving to a family of four would also be great – that the baby is a good sleeper as well as content and happy when awake, that Jacob loves being an older brother, and that we have enough energy and enthusiasm for the journey ahead.

Well, we’ll see you on the other side.



Last week we had friends from the UK staying with us.  It’s been so lovely to have them here.  It’s done our souls good.

All of them have teaching backgrounds so Dan put them to work in the schools and had them model some lessons and model observations as well.  It was really helpful for Dan as he tries to get the teachers more familiar with observing and learning from one another.

We also ate lots, played games and just laughed.  It was so wonderful.

We’ve felt spoilt with gifts, love and encouragement.  Thank you so much to everyone to sent gifts from our family and church for us, Jacob and the new baby.  You are so thoughtful.