Archive for January, 2012

The Rest Of The Story

This is the part of the return trip from Lusaka that we didn’t include in the blog yesterday:

Back on the Great North road and close to Mukushi we noticed a quick movement of some sort and a big puff of blue smoke about 100 yards in front of us. When we got to that spot we saw a van – one of the local “buses” carrying 8 or 10 people- that had cartwheeled off the road and had landed upside down in a ditch in the tall grass on the side of the road.  We stopped immediately to see if we could render aid and ran to the upside-down van.  People were trying their best to get out. Some were bleeding, others were crying and some seemed to be walking around in a daze not believing what had happened.  

I  helped several people out of the destroyed van and tried to check to see if everybody was accounted for and conscious.  I then did a little first aid on the ones that were bleeding and tried to reassure them that they were ok. There were 2 or 3 small babies on board but all seemed unhurt.   One woman, however,  kept saying “my baby, my baby” so I immediately went back into the wreck to see if I could find her baby. After not having any luck it dawned on me that this woman is probably pregnant.  I returned to her side to see and, yes, she was very pregnant. What a relief!  

Miraculously no on seemed seriously hurt.  Some  had deep cuts and would need some stitches but there was nothing life threatening that we could tell. This is a ” LUCKY” group of people.  By this time others had gathered to help and someone had arrived in a vehicle that could transport the injured to town.  Fortunately this happened close to Mukushi where there is a clinic, so about 20 minutes after all of this happened someone loaded up all of the bleeding into a car and off they went to the clinic.

There is never a dull moment in Zambia!

Thursday Jan. 26, 2012

This morning we headed out to the orphanage to off- load all of the supplies that we brought back from Lusaka.  With the help of some of the workers it didn’t take long to empty the van.  

Since we have been in Lusaka the workers have been bricking up the support poles in the dining  hall, which looks really good.  They have also started erecting more homemade scaffolding so they can box in the other ceiling beam.  We met with the plumber and went over some details about how we wanted the showers done.  He is a nice guy and is doing a fine job. He has requested a cell phone.  I also spent a lot of time with Robson going over how we would do the  gutters and discussed other details. 

This afternoon at 2:00 PM we had a meeting with the local Agape Advisory Board at the Chitambo Hospital to introduce Nyawa and Annie to them.  By 3:00 PM only 4 members were present.  We have learned that the Zambian culture is not very punctual.  That can be very frustrating at times and this was one of those times!!

During our meeting Rev Royd slumped over and became almost unconscious. He has had malaria for 3 days and today it just got the best of him. During the rainy season malaria is wide spread here and it is sad to see so many people sick with malaria. We took Rev Royd out of the meeting to get him some help and in 30 minutes he was up and about acting as though nothing had happened.  

As we were leaving the meeting and preparing  to return to Serenje I got a call that Robson had fallen from the homemade scaffolding at the orphanage and needed our help. We rush back to the orphanage, scared to death to see what condition Robson was in.  Expecting something would be broken for sure, I was relieved to find him standing, holding his rib cage and with a really bad scrape on his left side. We took him back to the Chitambo Hospital where they gave him  ibuprofen and valium.  It seems Robson had escaped with a bruised or fractured rib and a pretty nasty scape on his side.  We were much relieved that Robson was not more seriously injured.  He is a good man and we believe a very important part of God’s plan for the Agape Village Orphanage.

Just another day in Zambia!  

Blessings,
Mickey

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Shopping In Lusaka

The last few days have been a whirlwind.  Nyawa and Annie went to Lusaka with us on Sunday to buy supplies for the orphanage.  Lusaka, the capital of Zambia,  is still that mostly poor, busy and dusty city of about 2 million people. The traffic in Lusaka is hard to describe.  Most people walk but there are big traffic jams of cars and big old trucks. There are small shops by the thousands selling all sorts of cheaply made imported goods from China. As chaotic as it looks somehow it all seems to work, but shopping there can be a nightmare.

We bought everything from sinks, serving dishes and spoons to fire  extinguishers, electrical boxes and gutters.  Add to that 24 light fixtures, 48 bulbs and 2 bath tubs for washing children’s clothes and you will understand why Nyawa and Annie had to take the bus back to Serenje today while we headed back in the Agape van, looking as overloaded as everyone else on the Great North Road.

Late this evening we arrived safely in Serenje, for which we are most grateful.

Blessings from Africa,
Mickey and Jackie

A Beautiful Gift

Today was a beautiful African day, just like so many others in the last 2 weeks – not at all what I expected for the rainy season.  The rains have come mostly at night –  often all night – and they have been very heavy at times.  But the days have been nice and even sometimes a bit cool.  This is the season referred to as the “hot and wet” season?  I love this Zambian weather.

Mickey is working very diligently with Robson, Agape foreman, and his workers to iron out the million details in this last phase of construction.  Each day that we have gone to Chitambo the van has been loaded with building materials from Serenje.  It is good that Mickey is the ultimate “detail man.”

The orphanage is really shaping up nicely.  I can hardly wait until it is finished and there are children sleeping there in safety.  There will be banners hanging in each of the dorms bearing the words of Psalm 4:8, “I will lie down and sleep in peace for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” It is hoped that these words will be a constant reminder to these children of their heavenly Father’s love for them.

We were finally able to receive email from home last night and one of the messages that we received was such an encouragement to both Mickey and me.  There is a precious child named Lisa Renee in North Carolina who heard about the Agape Orphanage a bit over a year ago when her grandmother was  remembered at Christmas with a donation made in her honor to Agape Village Foundation.  Lisa Renee, out of the goodness of her innocent little girl heart, emptied her piggybank and sent the total contents in quarters, nickels, dimes and pennies to help the orphans in Zambia.

This Christmas Lisa Renee’s grandmother was again remembered with a donation to the Agape project and Lisa Renee, again, wanted to help the orphans in Zambia.  When she celebrates her birthday on Feb.4, Lisa Renee has asked that her friends not bring presents to her party but that they bring money that she can, once again, donate to the orphanage.

Thank you, Father, for the example of a child like Lisa Renee who has the love of Jesus in her heart and wants to share that love with other children.

Blessings from Africa,
Jackie

Friday Jan. 20, 2012

Friday – January 20, 2012

The day started early with Nyawa, Annie, Mickey and me taking care of some orphanage paperwork with the Zambian Department of Social Welfare and Child Services.  All is going smoothly with that and we have just one more step to complete this registration process for the Agape Village Orphanage.

Mrs. Namonje, at Child Services, was able to give us a recent update on Osward, the disabled child who was being so severely neglected in Chitambo.  He is currently at the home of an uncle after spending a month at Cheshire House in Lusaka where he was treated for severe malnutrition.  Osward was so malnourished when he arrived at Cheshire House that he had to be transfused before enough blood could even be drawn from him for testing.  He will be returned to Lusaka soon for surgery and will then be fitted for an “auxiliary” leg.  We hope to visit with Osward tomorrow.

Many trips ago we met a young man named Philip who weaves baskets out of  dried palm bark and palm fronds and sells them by the side of the Great North Road.  We talked to him about making hanging light shades for the orphanage dining hall.  Today he presented us with the first one and we were so pleased that we asked him to make 8 more which we will pick up by the side of the road next week.

As we travel back and forth each day to the orphanage it gives us time to reflect on what we see and witness here in Africa.  Along the highway you see many poor children and adults trying to survive by selling mushrooms, mice and lots of other things that come from the bush land. How can so many people be so poor for so long and how can we not help if we are able.  Is God watching us as we pass by the poor, the sick, the hungry, the thirsty, the naked and the lonely?

Matthew 25: 42-45 . . .

Blessings,
Mickey and Jackie 

Thursday Jan. 19, 2012

Today we finally got some diesel fuel and drove out to MECCO to check on the bunk beds this company is building for us.  We ordered 48 bunk beds that were to be completed in 3 months.  That was 11 months ago and they haven’t even made the first 24 yet.  Such is Africa. In their defense, when they make a wood product they start with the whole log. They mill it with a small portable mill, then let it air dry for a month (much longer in the rainy season) and then they start work on the project.  They have promised us 24 bunks by February 15th.  We will see. 

Our next stop was the orphanage.  Work was continuing and the new plumber, Isaac, is doing a fine job, so far. We made another list of supplies, mostly plumbing parts, that we will buy when we return to Lusaka in a few days.  After talking to Robson, Issac and of course Rev. Royd we made our way back down the Great North Road to Serenje to our little room with no electricity. A couple of days without electricity will always bring you back down to earth, especially in Africa.  

Mickey

Remember The Poor

Remember The Poor

“All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”
                                                    Galatians 2:10

The words of Paul as he and Barnabas depart from Peter, James and John to begin the ministry to the Gentiles, resonate strongly  in my head tonight.

Mickey and I could not leave Serenje today for Chitambo because there was no diesel in the area and tonight there are no lights in town.  The water will soon be gone with no electricity.  However, for the multitudes of outlying villages it is always like this.  And there are even greater challenges than these for them every day.

It was good for me to be reminded in my study tonight that caring for the poor is a foundational expression of our faith.  May we never, ever forget that.

Blessings from Africa,
Jackie

Monday Jan. 16, 2012

We left Serenje today on our way to Chitambo Village,a 55 mile trip.   Annie and Nyawa traveled with us along with Gabriel. We were very anxious to see the progress of the orphanage. 

After traveling 50 miles on the Great North Road we turn on a dirt road that is miserable to drive on and push on for another 4 miles. Then we turn on the road that we actually made. We call it Agape Drive. We are now less than 1 mile from the orphanage and surprising to us we can see the top of orphanage from here. The power company has cleared so many trees to run the power lines that you can now see the orphanage from the main dirt road that leads to Chitambo Village.

 As we approached the orphanage we could see there has been much progress on the outside.  Once inside we were pleasantly surprised to see how much progress was made inside as well.   Although not ready for children yet, the orphanage is looking good. Once the plumbing is finished, the dining hall floor is poured, a few more light fixtures are installed, a little paint work is finished, a little ceiling work done and it will be ready. Then we just need to furnish it. That can be daunting!

We couldn’t get over what a fine job Zesco, the power company, has done. In 45 days they have cleared 1 kilometer of land, erected 11 poles, strung the cable, installed the transformer and all this work was done by hand.  There was no fancy truck with a drill to make the hole and no hydraulic arm to place the poles. 

Today we hired a new plumber named Isaac. The other one didn’t work out. 

Gabby from Golf View Hotel has been traveling with us for the last 2 days and has been a great help. He is a very spiritual man, a good friend and a very important part of God’s plan. He lets us park our van at the hotel that he works for in Lusaka. When we need something from Lusaka he will buy it for us and put it on the bus that travels out close to Chitambo Village.  He also picks us up from the airport and takes us back as well.  Without his help this would be must difficult. 

Blessings,
Mickey

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