The last several days have been incredibly busy as our time here draws to an end for this trip. We have been trying to make sure that we leave the workmen with all materials which will be needed until we return in October when, we believe, most of the orphanage construction will be completed. We have, therefore, spent a lot of time the last few days hunting for those last needed items.
The well company workers have been on site today erecting the tower for the water tank and setting the concrete footings on which the tower will be placed tomorrow. Once again, these men have come from many kilometers away and will camp out at the site until they complete the job. They arrived, as did the workers who preceded them, with mattresses and pots and pans–African style.
We have spent some time this week checking up on friends and have found that some are doing a bit better than when we were here in April because malaria is not as constant a threat now that the rainy season has ended. Malaria is always present, but it is not quite as prevalent this time of year. Also, this is harvest time for maize so food is a bit more plentiful right now. Those who are fortunate enough to have enough maize to feed the family and some left over to sell may even have a little extra money at this time for needed items or to pay for school for the children.
On Tuesday we interviewed two very impressive women who are interested in positions at the orphanage. Today we spent time with them at the facility where they are presently employed so that we could learn more about the program they are now involved with which does outreach in Serenje with orphans but is not a residential facility. We met some delightful children there and were impressed with all that we saw. It has been agreed that we will visit this center again when we return in October and bring clothing for the children from the US. Once again we were reminded of the stark reality that there are orphans all over this county–precious children who deserve to be cared for and educated so that they can have a chance for a future filled with hope.
Please continue to pray for the future of the Agape Village Orphanage. Pray that it may become a haven for vulnerable children where they can come to know that they have a Father in heaven who cares for them so very much that He provides for them through people like all of us.
Blessings and Shalom,
Some of you know that Mickey and I lost a dear Zambian friend quite suddenly a few months ago. We were at home in NC when we received a text message that Beauty, wife of Lyson, had died. I insisted that there was some mistake and that it must have been her mother who died. We had been in Africa recently and Beauty wasn’t sick but was terribly concerned that her mother wasn’t well. Mickey sent a return text and asked for clarification. The answer came back that Beauty was, indeed, dead–no diagnosis, just “her body was tired.” How could that be? She was only in her late 30’s/early 40’s with 2 young children still at home. She just suddenly died because her body was tired?
Today, Mickey and I returned to Serenje from Lusaka after being away for a few days purchasing building supplies. When we arrived I was met at the van by Martin, one of the young workers at Mapontela, who had come to help us with our bags. When I asked about his week he told me that he had been away from work while we were gone because his 3 year old brother died. Had he been sick for a long time? What happened? Was it malaria? ( Martin, himself, had malaria a couple of months ago.) “No, we don’t know what was wrong. He was sick for 3 days with a cough and a headache, and then he died.” No diagnosis–he just died.
It is likely that in both of these cases these lives could have easily been saved if they had lived in the US. We have reason to believe that Beauty may have been diabetic, and Martin’s little brother may have died as a result of any one of a number of things that kill small children on the continent of Africa everyday–things that are easily treated in our country
It is sad to realize that people–really fine, caring people–live and die this way everyday without the basics of care that we can count on in our country. Please pray for the people of Zambia–and other parts of the world–who suffer because of poverty that makes access to good medical care impossible.
For the last several days we have been in Lusaka buying construction supplies. At present the Agape van is loaded down with toilets and sinks, light fixtures and florescent bulbs, and septic tank lids. (We look a lot like the rest of the overloaded trucks one sees all over Africa.) We have sent ahead of us the last of the roofing materials and electrical wiring supplies. The shopping in Lusaka has been, as always, a challenge.
It is fair to say that the well saga continued a few days beyond our last blog. The drillers struggled for a couple of extra days removing a broken pipe from the bore hole before finally finishing their work. They have now capped the hole and left, and are being followed by the group who will construct the stand for the water tank. Hopefully they will be here next week, but in Zambia you never know…We are very grateful to be at this point.
The workers are still laying brick and finishing the bathroom walls, as others are framing the roof over the dinning area. Maybe, by the end of next week the roof will be completely finished, except for the bathrooms and the porches.
Blessing and Shalom,
Praise the Lord and pass the water…. Yes, we said water! After 10 days of drilling and breakdowns – at 112 feet and on the second bore hole – late today we found water. We can hardly stop celebrating!
Many, many thinks to all of you who have prayed so faithfully for water to be found for the orphanage. God has surely answered all our prayers. “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.”
Next week we will have the water tank, water tower and water pump installed. This would be a simple procedure in a lot of places but that is not the case when you are doing this in the African bush–many miles away from where the needed materials are found. This may be another adventure, but we only need to remember how faithful God has been in the past to know that He will take this project on to completion.
All else has been going along very smoothly with the construction. A person has even been located out in this bush area who has plumbing skills. It never ceases to amaze us the way God continues to provide the things and people that are necessary for this project.
Blessings and Shalom,
Well, the internet is back up and running but the drilling rig isn’t . There have been several additional problems–one after the other. After the much needed pipes arrived on Monday to continue the boring process–which looked so promising at that point–the drilling head broke and had to be welded. That took a full day.
The following day work resumed but then the diesel engine which operates the drilling rig quit running. That, also, took a full day to repair.
In the meantime, the drillers had not been able to insert the casing that protects the hole since the equipment wasn’t operating, so the hole that had been drilled to a depth of 120 feet collapsed.
Because this soil is so sandy, if you don’t case the hole soon after you bore it, it will collapse– and that is exactly what happened.
Tomorrow we start over with a new hole. Please pray for successful drilling, no more breakdowns, and for an abundance of water.
We arrived at the orphanage site early this morning only to learn from the drillers that the needed pipes would not be arriving until late this afternoon so the drilling will not continue until Tuesday morning. This is Africa and we have learned to expect those kinds of things.
The drilling crew, 6 extremely nice men, are just camping out at the orphanage until the boss comes with the pipes. They arrived with their pots and pans and mattresses, so they are content. They walk to Chitambo village and buy vegetables from the locals and return to cook over an open fire. All is well with them.
Meanwhile, construction is moving forward. The bricklayers are busy and so is Kennedy, the electrician. (When the orphanage is finished we will be using a generator in the evenings.) Yes, it is amazing to find an electrician in the African bush. He was trained in Lusaka before coming with his family to live in Chansa, close to Chitambo.
After Kennedy received payment for his work today he asked to ride back with us to Serenje in the afternoon. The reason for the trip–he needed to replace his worn out bicycle and his wages allowed him to do that.
We are happy to report that Beauty and Anton, the wife and youngest son of Reverend Royd, are both recovering nicely from malaria. Thanks so much to all of you who prayed for them.
The local board that has been formed to identify the most vulnerable orphans in the area is busily at work. We will be meeting with them soon.
Please pray for the orphans here and all over the world. Also, please continue to pray for an abundance of water for the orphanage.
Jackie and Mickey have no internet access today. The latest news is that the drilling equipment is not working right now. Please keep them all in your prayers.
The drilling crew finally arrived this morning after traveling for five days to get to the orphanage site. Being only two days late is, we have learned, not so bad for Zambia The drilling crew had many breakdowns along the way, including a broken axle on their trailer and, of course, the usual changing of tires that is so common on the Great North Road — just ask us.
The drilling rig looks pretty good. A big, short- bodied truck carries the drilling machine and it pulls a 12 wheel trailer that has a BIG air compressor on it that is powered by a BIG diesel engine–all very impressive for Zambia.
The first thing that happens when the drillers arrive on site is that they determine exactly where they will drill. Much to our surprise, they do this with divining rods. We have heard a lot about finding water using this method but, quite frankly, never took it too seriously.
After walking over all the available drilling area, the diviner- the guy with the rods- marked the drilling spot with a stake. Interestingly enough, one year ago Steve Luker, our project manager, marked the same spot when he used his divining rods to look for water on the property. There surely must be some law of God at work here–like gravity or the changing of the tides. At that time we tried to dig a well using villagers and dug about 30 meters but failed to find water. Because of the danger involved, we stopped the villagers at that depth.
It was amazing how loud the operation was when the drilling started. With the first 6 meters they drilled, the clay that came out of the 6 inch bore hole was light in color. With the next 6 meters the clay was darker. Then the soil turned solid white and looked like really fine sand. According to the drillers this was a good sign because they were then drilling through limestone–approximately 4 meters of it . It was then expected that the soil would turn back dark before reaching water.
The good news is that the soil did then turn dark and felt quite moist. The not-so-good-news is that the drilling had to stop at that point because more pipe is needed in order to continue. That pipe is due to arrive by Monday morning– maybe. Such is life in Zambia.
According to the drillers, all signs look good but water hasn’t been reached yet. Please continue to pray for an abundance of water for the Agape Village Orphanage and EXPECT A MIRACLE.
It is fair to say that this has been “one of those days” from beginning to end. We were so excited to begin the well process today but spent the day in a holding pattern waiting for Memsa Well Drillers to reach the orphanage property. They were to travel here from the eastern province overnight and arrive at the orphanage property this morning but apparently encountered trouble along the way. Our last report was that they were on the way, but communications are sometimes very difficult in Africa so we are still waiting to hear when they will arrive.
On the way back to Serenje late this afternoon on the terribly rough Great North Road, we had a flat tire–a very common occurrence on this road. Granted flat tires are not fun anywhere, but the Great North Road is a narrow two-lane highway with almost no shoulder and bordered by tall, thick elephant grass. The vehicles which travel on the Great North Road are huge, overloaded, tandem trucks–some with 26 wheels–traveling at break-neck speed…..makes one change a tire pretty fast!
This has made me think again of Memsa Well Drillers. I hope that whatever equipment difficulty they have had along the way is just aggravating and not serious.
It is very comforting to know that you are praying for the orphanage project and for us as we serve here. We can’t thank you enough for that. We ask that you please continue to do so and we ask, also, that you please pray for the drilling process to get underway in God’s perfect time.
It is another beautiful day in Zambia as we make our 50 mile trek out into the bush to the Agape Village Orphanage. This is the cool, dry season, it’s about 75 degrees and there is a steady breeze blowing; it doesn’t get much better than this. If Zambia were in the US with it’s beautiful views of gently rolling hills, vast valleys and perfect weather, it would be a gold mine for developers. But it’s not. We still are amazed how such a beautiful country can be so poor.
For the last two days we have been preparing for the well drillers who are to arrive tomorrow. It was necessary to remove a lot of trees so that they could get their equipment in the right place. Fortunately, over a year ago we took a chainsaw to Zambia and it came in quite handy today. The villagers don’t understand this strange piece of equipment that makes so much noise. They have never seen such a “machinie“ that makes so much noise and takes down trees so fast!
Tomorrow is a BIG DAY for the orphanage. The well boring crew is suppose to arrive very early to start drilling. We can hardly wait to see water coming out of the ground!
It has been a long day so we will say goodnight for now but will let you know soon about the well. Please pray for an abundance of water at the Agape Village Orphanage.
Jackie and Mickey