Sunday, August 26, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: On the Move

As usual I will update you with the latest weather report here in Lusaka, Zambia. Things are starting to heat up as I have once again employed the use of the squeaky ceiling fan. The winds continue to blow creating clouds of dust that give me the illusion that I am getting a tan, only to come to the sad realization as I see my “tan” in a puddle on the shower floor.

This past week has been busy but good. I was involved with leading a workshop/Bible study on HIV/Aids at Chisomo drop-centre for street kids. You may recall me mentioning doing this back in May as well. So I was there every day and we had a group of 13 youth between the ages of 11 and 17 attending. It went really well. On Friday morning we took 10 of them to be tested for HIV. This is always a nerve racking experience. You can see the anxiety and fear on the kids faces as they wait in the waiting room to be called for the counseling, then get their blood tested, and nervously wait for the results. And it’s not only the kids who are nervous, I was pretty much a wreck. But the results came back and all 10 were negative! The look of relief and joy on their faces was priceless as they would walk out of the room after receiving their results. Although we did have one girl in the group who is 15 and already knew she is HIV positive. So hopefully the things that we learned and talked about in the workshop we stick with them and help them to make right choices and rely on God to face the struggles and temptations before them.

My favorite moment was when Mary, age 11, just found out she was negative and was talking to me a mile a minute, telling me she wanted to be a news reporter, her favorite, colour, her favorite food, etc. She went on non-stop for about five minutes straight. I couldn’t get a word in. She told me that when she became a news reporter she would buy me a big house and a nice car. I told her she didn’t need to. She insisted. Then was my favorite line. She takes my hand and looks and at me and says: “I will never forget you, Sheila! Hmmm, seems like you already did!

So I will be working more regularly with Chisomo which I am excited about. I will be doing a weekly Bible study with them and hopefully going and teaching them some music. I also hope to go along with another guy to do outreach on a weekly basis where we go visit the kids still on the street, bringing the ones most in need to the centre, and also trying to reconnect kids with their families. Don’t worry, Mary, “Sheila” will be back!

This past week there was also a camp happening near the farm for about 40 orphans put on by a guy from my church who runs an organization called “In Community Care for Orphans,” the goal being getting sponsors to help these orphans continue to live in their community, rather than taking them out of it. So this was their yearly camp and on Thursday night I was invited to their campfire time to teach them some songs. We had a good time. The kids ranged in age from about 10-18. It was their last campfire so they were handing out prizes for different things like the “most helpful”, “the best example”, “most improved behavior”, etc. Coming from the West I was expecting the prizes to be some cool gadget or toy like we would give out at home, but was given a bit of a reality check when the prizes were actually things like soap, toilet paper, and toothbrushes. Things these kids needed desperately and were so happy to receive.

Then there were my usual activities at the farm such as youth Bible study, choir, and guitar teaching. And then of course there is my new nightly routine of thoroughly inspecting my mosquito net to make sure no pestly mosquitoes have infiltrated my defenses. There is nothing like waking up in the middle of the night to the gentle hum of a mosquito trapped inside the net with you, buzzing around your ear while you slap your head in vain trying to rectify the situation. Few things are more annoying…except maybe having a lion trapped inside your net with you. I’ve yet to experience it but I imagine it to be unpleasant…they are big, they purr loudly, and there mane would be all up in your face. It’s one thing to be eating my a mosquito…that itches. But being eaten by a lion…that hurts.

One more thing and then I must let you go. I will be moving come the middle of September into town. There is a small, small house on the property of one of our families which I will be soon occupying. This will mean that I won’t be so isolated from the rest of the team, especially as we have two new families joining us, and it will be more convenient as it will be a lot closer to everything. I will continue to keep up my ministry here in Kasupe but it will mean less driving as right now I am pretty much having to make the trek into town at least once a day and this way will only have to come this way a couple times a week.

So all in all I’m excited about this new chapter in my time here with moving and involvement with street kids. I hope you all are well and thanks you once again for what you mean to me.

Love from Zambia,


“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because

of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” ~Titus 3:4-5a

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