Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In which a very, merry Christmas was had, I 'intertained' a few thousand Christmas 'guests', and I kill a mouse.

Well, it has been a wonderful Christmas out here in the bush, and while it would have been even better if my family were here, getting to spend time with my Sakeji family was pretty awesome too.

Us three single ladies enjoyed a progressive, or 'kangaroo,' breakfast that lasted from about 8:30 till 1:30. There was fruit at Jill's, hot crossed buns at my place, and then sausages and eggs at Bethany's. That afternoon we watched a Jeeves and Wooster as my most estimable brother sent me the series on DVD, and then we dispersed to get some things ready for Christmas dinner at the Ronalds. I made our family's famous 'green stuff,' and even though it was chicken and not turkey, it was a wonderful meal spent in wonderful company. We played some Dutch Blitz afterwards--no injuries thankfully!--and then tried out my new Mile Borne game. My family called me at about 10:45 my time and I talked with them till just after 1. I was interrupted during my chat with my dad by a line of ants moving across my dinning room floor. Now, on Christmas Eve I came home from the carol sing at Ronalds to find my house completely surrounded by ants, and a line of ants coming from my spare bedroom, down the hall, and into the dinning room. I sprayed the ants inside, and then called Pam for advice. Apparently cornmeal is a good ant deterrent--they won't cross a line of it, so I sprinkled the places where I most expected invasion. So, when I saw them again on Christmas night, I was annoyed to find out that they were launching their assault on the front door. I sprayed those ants and sprinkled some more cornmeal, and then was able to resume my interrupted conversation. I guess it brought back some memories for my dad of fighting ants at Mukingi.

Last night after checking to make sure there were no ants in the house, I heard a noise that sounded like someone was trying to break into my sewing room. I went to check it out and found that it wasn't the window, but a little chest of drawers that was being attacked. A mouse! I went to retrieve a trap from the kitchen and fish the poison out from under the stove, and I found that the mousetrap under there had sprung with a little furry thief in it, so I got at least one. I heard the other trap go off last night, but when I checked it it was empty. Oh well, maybe he snacked on some of the poison! I'll just sent the trap again tonight and hope for the best. Of all the nerve, chewing on my drawers!

Well, I had better go--I need to get a few things done around the house this morning. I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas, and that you were blessed as you remembered our Savior who humbled Himself to be born in a manger.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mexican Food, Mosquito patrol, and Felting

Well, this week has been busy in many ways! Here are some highlights:

* I FINALLY was able to order my laptop so it is now happily on its way to Texas PTL! It's amazing how much we rely on technology now--even in the bush!

* We three single ladies have been enjoying Mexican food this week--it's such a welcome break from our normal fare...and the beans and eggplant that are currently coming out our ears from our two gardens. I made our families beloved enchilada recipe tonight--yum! Tomorrow--fondue!

* Today of all days the health department's mosquito patrol decided to come and spray the dorm. This involved removing all the posters and things from the wall. They originally insisted on doing all the houses, but we firmly said NO to that plan. No apparently any mosquito that lands on the walls will be toast. This is all in an effort to get a handle on Malaria. I wonder if they were being paid triple or something to work Christmas week...

* I spent an epic hour and then some in the girls dorm storeroom working on felting my two hot pads and three snowmen. Let's just say that next time I'll start with a big pot of hot water or wait till second term when the solar hot water will be hotter. The felting process involved lots of kettlefulls of water on my part, and some reading of poetry in between resetting the machine. Always an adventure, felting...

So, all in all, it's been a good, though busy Christmas Adam. May all of you have a wonderful Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear Mouse who is currently eating everything in my kitchen,

I am warning you that things are about to get very ugly between you and me. I have thus far tried traps and shouting at you while you brazenly gnaw away, just out of reach, in full daylight. If you force my hand, I can and will resort to poison even though I know you will drag your dying body to the spot where I will get to enjoy the smell for the longest period of time. If you had restrained yourself to eating plastic bags and such we might have been able to co-exist. However, your ill planned opening move of eating a hole in the bottom of two of my silicone baking cups and then eating a hole in my bag of walnuts made this very quickly personal, and you have only escalated your terrorism from there. I know it is wet outside, but there are other places than my kitchen where you could take up your abode. I'm giving you one more night to either get out or remove yourself from the picture. Remember, it was YOU who declared war!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Well, after a few days of suspense it looks like my laptop is either a) mostly dead or b) totally dead. So, I guess I'll be spending some evenings laptop shopping... It's funny how much you rely on technology, and then when it goes out on you, BIG proglems!

Other than electronics drama things are pretty quiet out here in the bush. After the week of rain, laundry is actually getting dry and we are being reminded that the sky is blue. I went to the butchery at Nchilla today to get some meat--sausages and pork chops for the term break. I felt so grown up--I've never bought pork chops before!

Ceili got 'fixed' today--Pam's dad is a vet and he brought the stuff out to take care of several of the dogs over here and one at Kalene. She seems to be recovering well, though she can't understand why she's hurting. Poor thing!

Well, it's late and I'd better run. Happy holidays all of you!
Well, after a few days of suspense it looks like my laptop is either a) mostly dead or b) totally dead. So, I guess I'll be spending some evenings laptop shopping... It's funny how much you rely on technology, and then when it goes out on you, BIG proglems!

Other than electronics drama things are pretty quiet out here in the bush. After the week of rain, laundry is actually getting dry and we are being reminded that the sky is blue. I went to the butchery at Nchilla today to get some meat--sausages and pork chops for the term break. I felt so grown up--I've never bought pork chops before!

Ceili got 'fixed' today--Pam's dad is a vet and he brought the stuff out to take care of several of the dogs over here and one at Kalene. She seems to be recovering well, though she can't understand why she's hurting. Poor thing!

Well, it's late and I'd better run. Happy holidays all of you!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

December Update

Dear Friends and Family,

Praise the Lord for all His goodness! Third term is successfully finished, the program, “Let the Bells Ring, Let the Angels Sing!” was a great success, and thought it was very busy, we had some great conversations with parents and our other visitors. I found a lot of the parent interviews a little bitter-sweet as I’m going to miss my seven 6th graders next year as they are moving up into Phil’s classroom, but I’m sure the incoming 5th graders will keep me so busy I won’t have much time to lament the kids getting older!

This past week has been a busy one at Sakeji as we decided to hold a work week to take care of a lot of big projects that we don’t have time to attend to during the term. I helped straighten out the library and the school photo albums. In the afternoons the classroom teachers sat down to map out our curriculum so it was more unified and to make things easier for us as we plan our terms, and then in the evenings we meet for a time of fellowship and ministry. One thing we did that I particularly enjoyed was spending two evenings looking at the names of God. It was so good to be reminded of all the things that God is and what He has done for His people.

This term break I intend to stay on station and enjoy a quiet Christmas with Jill and Bethany. Most of the other staff members are going to be traveling for some part of the holidays, so it will be up to us three ladies to keep things going and hold down the fort. I’m looking forward to this special, quiet time though—Jill and I have lots of projects planned and I think we are all looking forward to cooking up some Christmas goodies!

I have a lot of reading to do to prepare for this next term of school, but now that I’ve taught through the curriculum once, I have a much better idea of what needs to happen in each term! They say your first year of teaching is the hardest, and after that you have some experience to make things easier. I would say that I do have a lot more experience than I did last January, but I’m looking forward to gaining even more wisdom on how to best teach my precious students!

November brought us another full time staff family—Doug and Maryanne Hanna. Doug is our computer person, and Maryanne is taking on some of the office duties. Both of them will be involved with the children as well, taking various supervisory and teaching roles. Their daughter, Ellie, seems to be fitting in well already and looks forward to starting third grade next month. In January Beth Sheach is going to be returning to take the 1st and 2nd grade class, and Mark and Janette are going to be team teaching 3rd and 4th grade with support from all of us. I will still be the homeroom teacher for the 5th and 6th graders, and Phil will have the 7th and 8th grade class. We are still doing a lot of praying and planning for Sakeji in the future as well as praying for more teachers. Ideally we would like to have a teacher for each grade, but we know that the Lords raises up the right people at the right time for His work, and are doing our best to be faithful in the work He has called us to.

Thank you all so much for all your letters, e-mails, and prayers over this year. This has been one of the craziest, but best years of my life, and I look forward to future years of serving the Lord in this wonderful place. I am reminded over and over again that when you are where the Lord wants you to be, you will find abundant blessings and joy. What a privilege to take a small part in His work, and to be serving Him in the beautiful country of Zambia.

May you all have a very, merry Christmas, and a blessed new year.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November Update

Dear Friends and Family,

Only three more weeks of term to go, and what a lot has to happen in those three weeks! It’s a little overwhelming when I think of rehearsals for the Christmas program, finishing up my planned lessons, finals week, report cards, and all the extra things that happen at the close of a school year. It’s a good thing I serve the Lord, the giver of strength to the weary!
The rainy season is now officially started, and we are looking forward to the weather cooling off a bit more. After just a few weeks the grass and leaves are springing to life and once again Sakeji is becoming a very green spot. With all the rain there are also changes in the amount of insect life out and about as well as snakes. Flying ants, or ‘tuswa’ have been out in full force, we are once again keeping an eye out for army ant columns as we walk, and all kinds of other interesting bug have made their appearance as the rains flush them out. There have been more snake sightings this term as well—praise the Lord for His protection of the staff and children! I had a near encounter with a big snake down at the dam a few weeks ago and had a small, bright green snake on my porch a few days later. Fortunately for us the 60 students make so much noise and commotion that generally snakes don’t venture into the main part of the station, which is a very good thing as there are so many small children who don’t pay much attention to their surroundings.
The grade 7 exams were successfully written the last week of October, so now the students can relax a bit and focus on finishing out the term well. Of course they are also anxiously awaiting their exam results! Not only do we have the national exam to administer, but this is also a busy time of year for us because we are interviewing new students and their families. We are also going to be making decisions about students who might need to be held back a year. Your prayers for wisdom for us are greatly appreciated. We have recently been remembering as a staff the promise in James, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously...” This term break we will also be looking at our curriculum, considering resources to purchase, and planning for the future. There are a lot of exciting dreams and plans for Sakeji in the next few years, and we want to make sure that we proceed to the glory of the Lord and in His will.
Since term ends on December 1, we are having to fit in all the Christmas things this month, so Jill and I will be making Christmas cookies with the senior girls tomorrow to serve to the parents at the end of term show, and rehearsals are in full swing for the end of term program featuring songs about bells and angels. We are going to be starting our school advent calendar next week, and I have been reading an advent story to the children in prayers. I’m excited about my first Sakeji Christmas and all the little ways we’ll celebrate with the kids before they go home. We would appreciate your prayers for all of us, students and staff, to finish this term out strong, and that the program will be a blessing to the parents.
Thanks again for all your prayers and support—I am so thankful for the wonderful circle of family and friends the Lord has blessed me with. How wonderful to know that I am loved and prayed for. May we be found faithful in what He has called us to,

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Still alive!

Well, my mother thinks I should update my blog, so here goes!

I’ve been very, very busy these last few weeks—keeping up with my 17 students, planning and rehearsing for the end of term program, trying to keep my house clean enough that I can work at the table, and all the million and one other things that go into working at a boarding school are keeping me pretty occupied!

There are only three more weeks of term, and Monday and Tuesday of this week is our second half term, so we will all be getting a welcome change of pace/break. Independence Day, October 24th was a lot of fun—the bonfire was a hit even though it was raining pretty hard. The kids enthusiastically ran around it in the mud anyway, and then enjoyed hot chocolate and donuts in the main sitting room before going to bed.

I’ll try and write more later—I need to get a few more things done before heading back to my house. Sorry it’s been so long—I’ll try to be more faithful in updating.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I'm waiting for my body termperatures to sort themselves out after joinging the "Polar Bear Club" for the second morning in a row. Let's just say that even though this is Africa, the water approaches glacial temperatures, and jumping into what you know is cold water when you can see your breath floating gently in the chill morning air is not only hard, but once you get in a go mostly numb, exhilerating. Oh, the joys of half term!

Friday, October 8, 2010


Well, Photobucked cooperated today, so here are some pictures of my house and the 'stuff bomb' that hit it.

First of all, this is what my house looks like from the outside.
That is the kichen door, and to the right is the bathroom window. Further right (and just out of the picture) is my bedroom window. That little door in between the bathroom and my room is a tinny little storage area. I love my porch--that's where Ceili spends the days and where I go to breath and peer through the trees at the valley in the evenings.

When I came back to my house last Tuesday, I found this in the kitchen:
12 boxes from some assemblies in Canada, and this was outside the house:
My two crates!

I emptied the crates that evening in case of rain, and after piling that stuff all over the house I attacked the boxes as well so I would have boxes to sort stuff in. This is what my house looked like later that night:
It seemed like there was stuff everywhere! I've got it mostly put away now--finding places for things takes almost as much energy as putting things in that place after getting them out!

Two days later, G. Hanna came up from Chit with this for me:
7 of my 10 boxes of stuff. It was so nice to get my own things--things that I had been saving for when I had my own house and now were delightfully falling into place and making Valley View even more my home.

Today is the first day of half term, and I'm enjoying the chance to get caught up on some stuff! I think a nap is in order this afternoon...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My crates arrived today! Tonight is going to be busy... Pictures later!

Friday, September 24, 2010


We had our first rain on Tuesday night--it was so wonderful! Things have been so hot, so dry, and so brown that we have all been longing for the relief a storm would bring. When the first thunderclap came overhead during supper, all the kids cheered! Ah, nothing like the sound of rain on a tin roof, or the smell of it falling on African soil. Praise the Lord for His goodness!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lusaka Trip

Whew—am I glad to be home! The trip to Lusaka and back had its moments, but was also very busy as there was so much school and personal business to attend to. Some of the highlights of the trip include:
• Being proposed to twice—once by a kid in Lusaka and once by a street vendor in Kitwe
• Getting to meet the Towse clan at the Flight House—what an amazing family!
• Getting to meet all the other missionaries who came through the Flight House—now the entries in the Missionary Prayer Handbook are more than just a face.
• Getting to shop at the two malls—Manda Hill and Arcades. The two main grocery stores are Shoprite (think a mostly food Wal-Mart) and Spar (think Kroger/Brookshires). I also got to browse two book stores, visit an internet cafe, and found an ironing board and toaster at Game (think Target).
• Visiting Munda Wanga, a small Zoo/Botanical Garden on the outskirts of Lusaka. Though it looks a little shaggy and run down, it was fun to see the animals and to reflect on how you could never get that close to a cheetah in an American zoo!
• Surviving Lusaka traffic and street vendors—it’s a jungle out there! All major intersections and round-a-bouts have 1-5 people dashing in and out of the lines of cars shoving their merchandise at your windows. Most of the vendors are selling talk time for cell phones, but depending on the part of the city you can buy lamps and shades, steering wheel covers, car cell phone chargers, belts, pants, nasty fake fur dashboard covers, pirated movies, umbrellas, sunglasses, produce, car mats and maps. I got a k50,000 talk time card (mostly you can only get k5,000’s up here as that is all most people can afford to buy at one time) and a car charger for my cell phone as those sorts of things don’t normally make it up to this neck of the bush!
• Attempting to get my Zambian drivers license, and after not having time to take the road test in Lusaka, attempting to pass the drivers test in Kitwe. There was a T shaped area marked off with cones, and you had to drive up and to the left and then back out, and then drive up and to the right. One of the driving instructors did it in my truck, but when I did it I managed to knock over a cone and run over another one before I was stopped. I tried to get the Road Traffic people to let me take it again that day, but when it became clear that I wasn’t going to be given than chance, I tried to back out of the test area, had to pull through again to go around the building, and ran over another cone (not on purpose!) on my way out. So, I have 6 months before my paperwork (which cost about $24) expires and I have to start all over again, so I guess there is the possibility of a trip to the Copper Belt in December. Ick. Oh well, at least I have a good story about how I failed!
• Getting to play with the 51 broiler day-old chicks that we bought in Kitwe and brought up with us on Wednesday. When they are really young like that they are so cute! The chicks were in a small box on Mrs. Ronald’s lap in my truck the whole way up from Chingola to Sakeji, and the whole way up they were protesting their treatment and life in general. When I finally got to bed Wednesday night after 10, I could STILL hear chicks in my head. Hard to believe that those cute balls of yellow fluff will be on the table in a little over a month...
• Running into some good friends unexpectedly in Lusaka and getting to catch up a little.
• Enjoying the heavenly curry that Auntie Anita made for me when I visited her one afternoon.
• The gas station food while we were traveling—no Twinkies and dried out hot dogs here in Zambia! You can get amazing somosas and meat pies to munch as you travel.

All in all it was an amazing trip, and while it’s a lot of fun to get to go shopping and find things like Vanilla, nuts and icing sugar, I am very glad to be back home in the bush. Give me sandy roads, cicadas singing, and my little houses any day!

Friday, August 27, 2010


Well, I now have my health certificate (I'm still cracking up over being asked, "Can you hear?" Umm....) but I'll have to try again for my liscense on Monday. I got most of my grocery shopping done, but I have a few odds and ends to finish tomorrow. Still looking for a rolling pin! I had two carts full of groceries which is a new experience for me (as in shopping for myself), but as this is my main grocery run for probably a year, I HAVE to stock up. I was suprised by what I found and what wasn't on the shelves--it's amazing what comes gets imported and what dosen't. Tomorrow is going to be less frantic as most of the errands are run, and we're going to be taking Bethany to the airport to catch her flight up to Sakeji. Also, Jill and the two short termers are flying in and then up to Sakeji, so we'll get to see them! I've really missed Jill and can't wait to have her back! Well, I need to go sort the groceries all over my bed so I can get to sleep tonight! We're going to be in Lusaka for the weekend--sounds like it's going to continue to be a hopping place around here!

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Today was a crazy day of shopping, and it's nice to be back at the Flight House and catching my breath. The first thing this morning was going with the Ronald's to pick up Bethany from the ariport, dropping her off at the Flight House to recover, and then heading out to work on our list of many arrends. I tried to get my driver's liscense today, but we found out that I needed a basic certificate of health which basically certifies that I'm alive, have all four limbs, am not falling down drunk or stoned, and can see and hear. In other words, I'm not a zombie! So, I think tomorrow we're going to try and find a place to get someone to certify that I'm alive so I can do the rest.

My big accomplishments today are not being squished by a dump truck, finding a toaster and ironing board, and knitting quite a bit on my sock. Most of the shopping today was more supplies for the school and for various projects, but I did get to pop into an amazing Indian fabric store. To bad there aren't any balls in the bush!

Right now it looks like we'll go ahead and spend the weekend in Lusaka, and drive back up to Kitwe on Monday.

And, as a bonus, a picture of why I love Zambia so much. This view is on the path that goes from just bellow my house to the air strip.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Not currently in the bush...

Well, the Ronald family and I rolled safely into Lusaka this afternoon with little hassle at road blocks, and no car problems. I decided to leave my truck in Kitwe and ride down with the Ronald’s as there didn’t seem to be a compelling enough reason to drive two vehicles down, and because I’m still a little leery of driving in Lusaka. I will hopefully be starting the process to get my Zambian drivers license in the next day or so as well as finishing up the shopping that I started today. The trip down from Sakeji went really well—the road between Ikelenge and Mwunilung is much better generally after the grader rolled over it, but still could use a lot of work. Driving in the sand was interesting—good thing I have some experience with that! The worst part of the paved road was actually the bit between Chingola and Solwezi—dreadful! It’s so different driving here—being on the left, on the constant watch for potholes and people, the police checks that don’t seem to accomplish much. Driving through the Copper Belt towns I found myself very, very grateful for living out in the bush.

I got to visit some dear family friends briefly in Kitwe, and Auntie Anita sent a delicious curry home with me along with some yummy chapattis. I LOVE Indian food—it was a nice change after my cooking! Hopefully I’ll get to see them again on my way back through.

Tomorrow—more shopping and errand running. Getting ‘out’ to the capital is a big deal, so there is a lot of accomplish!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rambling thoughts of a smoke filled mind

I apparently made one pot of nshima too many for the dog, since the spoon broke yesterday evening while dishing out Ceili’s supper. I feel bad, but its not like the spoon was in any way new when I inherited it!

Yesterday was really windy and cool—so cool in fact that I lit a fire for the first time in over a month. Part of it was that I just wanted a fire, and part of it was because it was chilly. I’m trying to figure out my literature plans for next term—I have some ideas, but its just a matter of finding the things I have the materials for as well as getting ideas that work.

My doggie life continues—the little dogs make life interesting, and the big one is by turns a sweet puppy and an elephant when her sister comes over to play. Wish I had that much energy...

More sorting yesterday morning—getting ride of all the music I don’t ever intend to use either for myself of my students that’s taking up a corner of my big cupboard. I need to pack up the pattern pieces I’m done with as well and figure out where to put the text books I’m going through so the house doesn’t look like a crafting, planning teacher lives here. Oh wait, one does!

I went on a baking spree the other day and made up a whole pumpkins worth of puree. I’m still trying to get used to the look of Zambian pumpkins. When looking at the pile of gourds on the table, Jimmy, one of our kitchen workers, pointed to the only thing I would have called a pumpkin and said “That one looks like a squash. The rest are pumpkins.” Coulda fooled me! Not that it really makes that much difference in the long run, but I thought it was worth asking! I think I’m going to make a pie or some more pumpkin bread...haven’t decided which yet, and I might make some of my mom’s famous pumpkin soup. After all, its fall/spring in Zambia, and what better thing to eat in the fall than pumpkin!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It’s a doggie, dog life...

At least down here at Valley View! I’m dog sitting two dachshunds for some staff members on holiday, and have been spending large parts of the day opening doors for said dogs, being followed by said dogs, and occasionally attacked by very excited said dogs when I return after an absence of more than two hours. Here is a picture of them looking all cute and innocent on my couch—don’t be taken in by their big brown eyes! These two are trouble with a capital T...


The darker one on the left is Barbara, and the lighter one on the right is Princess. After my big, clumsy puppy, these dogs seem so tiny in comparison! They do make nice lap warmers in the evenings though!

I’m enjoying my term break very much so far. Sleeping in, reading, sewing, knitting, cross stitching, cleaning my house—all those things that I don’t get to do much of during the term. I’m clearing out my cupboards so that when the container stuff arrives I’ll have somewhere to put them! Its a little weird to live in a house where more than half the stuff isn’t mine... I’ve enjoyed cooking for myself as well. Right now we’re getting lots of eggs every day, so I’ve been enjoying hard boiled eggs and eggs on toast quite a lot. I’ve found that I can cook eggs in my electric kettle—its saves propane and makes use of energy already being expended. Of course, when the eggs crack I can’t really use that water to make tea, but no system is perfect!

The weather is starting to change—it looks like fall around her as all the leaves are coming down. I’m kind of looking forward to the rains starting again, even though that will mean mud everywhere and that I’ll have to keep track of my umbrella again!

Yesterday all of us on station (the Sakeji staff and Brass Tacks team) headed out to the cottage for a cookout. The cottage is still just a chimney and roof propped up on stilts (yes, I forgot to take a picture—sorry!), but we are hoping to possibly rebuild it before too long. It was so nice to enjoy the river, the good food, the good company, and getting to watch the stars come out. When we got back to the station I discovered that my house key had fallen out of my bag, but praise the Lord it was just under my seat in the Ronald’s car. God is so good about looking out for the little details in life!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Term break, here we come!

Well, the kids are all safely home, the school is still standing, and the staff are able to relax a bit!

Our end of term program, “We Like Sheep” ended up going really well. I think the kids had fun, the parents enjoyed it, and the message was a good reminder to everyone. I did parent interviews Wednesday afternoon and was encouraged by the support I got from them. Its nice to know that they aren’t mad at me for their kids marks! It was also nice to meet my student’s parents and see some of the traits that they share. So much was explained!

Here are a few pictures—I know its been a long while, but in my defense a) I haven’t taken that many pictures this term, and b) photobucket ueses up a lot of bandwidth.

This is my 5th grade class-

And this is my 6th.

I’m not sure where the strange picture faces came from—most of those scowling girls have an almost perpetual smile from ear to ear. Kids!

This is a picture of Ceili that I really like—isn’t she a beauty?

I'm looking forward to these weeks of perparing, relaxing and getting things done around the house. I hope all you are enjoying your summer, and that you are getting some rest too!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sorry its been so long--somehow in the whirl of book reports, math, end of term program prep, and daily life, I've not gotten a blog update up in much longer than I meant to. Beth and I spent the weekend at the Kalenge Garden Get-A-Way, and arrived back just after 7 this morning. It was nice to get away from the kids, get off station, and play with Ceili. I managed to get a fair bit of marking done as well as taking a few naps! This week is exam week for the seniors, so one of my projects this afternoon is to get some exams written. I can't believe there is only a week and a half left of school!

Here is my June newsletter--I think a few of you somehow didn't make it onto my newletter list:


Dear Friends and Family,
I was thinking today about all the things that we do in Africa that are being done all over the world, but just a little differently. For instance, driving. When I go back to the States, I’m going to have some serious readjusting to do as out here when I drive, I practically never use my mirrors because first of all there is no traffic to speak of, and secondly I’m using all my concentration to hit the least amount of potholes. They say you can tell a drunk driver in Zambia because he’s driving straight! Also, hitch-hiking is a standard practice out here in the bush, but instead of sticking out a thumb, hopeful passengers make a dribbling motion with their hand that is either rewarded by the driver pulling over, or rejected by the driver holding out their empty hand palm up. Also, how many swimming times at a school start with a careful walk around the perimeter of the pool to check for snakes?
Its hard to believe that there are just three more weeks in the term, but ready or not, here it comes! Tim and Mary McDougall who came up to help us for the first five weeks of term have returned to Canada, and so things have gotten a little busier around here. However, the Lord has been faithful to provide new strength and energy each day. The Sakeji board meeting took place on June 24, and it was a great time of visiting, encouraging one another, and of course discussing the many things going on at Sakeji. One big project that has been undertaken this year is building the foundations for our new dinning hall. Brass Tacks teams will be coming out during the summer to assist us with this project, so we are currently digging the footings and dismantling all the things that are in the way of the new slab.
My toe seems to be healing up quite nicely after the nail was removed last month—praise the Lord! The new nail is just starting to be visible, so hopefully this time all the inflammation will be gone and my toe woes are over. I’m so thankful for my good health this term—there have been lots of coughs and colds making their way around the dorms, and so far the only staff member to be sick was Mr. Ronald. What started as a virus became malaria, and then some sort of infection that left him very weak, and then rather stiff and sore from the violent chills. Luckily he fell sick on his weekend off and half-term so even though he was in and out of bed for about a week and a half, it didn’t end up disrupting things around here that badly. We are so thankful that he is almost completely recovered now—praise the Lord!
Preparations for the end of term program are in full swing now. Beth is working on the drama side of things, and I’m teaching the kids all the songs. Extra solo practices are held a few days a week, and I’m sneaking more song practice into my Tuesday singing assembly. As Beth will be flying down to Lusaka the morning of the show, we are trying to get it pulled together as soon as possible so that I can manage with the help of a few assistant directors. I don’t know how Jill does it—I can’t imagine doing this by myself! I’m starting to get really excited though about the show and the great message it carries. Truly, no matter what we do our Shepherd loves us and wants us to be a part of His flock.
Thank you so much for all your prayers and loving support. I count myself very blessed to have such wonderful people in my life, and to know that I belong to the world-wide body of Christ. May we be found faithful wherever we are,


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

This past week was the Sakeji board meeting, and even though we see relatively little of the board (as they are closeted in the admin pretty much the whole time), we greatly enjoyed the time we did get to spend with them. I was teaching all day and then holding solo practices after prep, so I was pretty wiped out by the time the staff fellowship/meeting took place that evening. We got updates on CMML’s status as a charitable organization from Mr. Grove that had as all in stitches as he brilliantly narrated his struggles with the Zambian government offices, some wonderful words of encouragement from Mr. Hanna, and Mr. Young read us the story of Gideon with some more words of encouragement for all of us “mighty men of valor.” While I know that I am doing this for the Lord, and that I am laying up treasure in heaven and adding to my starry crown and all, but it is nice to know that our labors are appreciated by our fellow laborers as well. Our board is made of good ol’ fashioned missionaries who are a joy to talk to—they come from all over the world, have a wealth of experience to share, and quite the senses of humor as well! So, a good time was had by all, lots of business was discussed, and the board went home until next term.

Beth and I came home on Thursday to find several men enthusiastically digging up our backyard. Turns out we are getting a new septic system, and Mr. Poidevin had taken the guys over to plan and discuss earlier that day, and they had decided to go ahead and get started! Our water is making some interesting noise, but we are able to use our plumbing so life continues as usual at Valley View. We have been using our fireplace recently—its about 2.5 feet square, and built with a slant at the back wall. When there is a lot of smoke (such as when the bigger wood is thinking about catching properly), this slanted back effectively and neatly funnels most of the smoke out into the room, much to our disgust. This minor inconvenience aside, it has been such a treat to enjoy the sight, smell, sound, and warmth of a fire on the chilly nights. Cement floors get quite cold when you have no heating!

Friday, June 11, 2010

This Wednesday was the Sakeji birthday party, and in a moment of lunacy Beth and I agreed to MC it. The theme was Veggie Tales, so we have been making veggie art, singing veggie songs, watching veggie movies, and generally doing as many veggie things as we could think of. Beth and I made a backdrop that looks like a counter, and designed some clever costumes that made use of red fabric, a green mosquito net, and two mosquito net hoop. We told the kids that their skits had to be one of the “I wills” for creativity, the current character quality we’re emphasizing, and we set up the show to be as like a Veggie Tales episode as we could. There were skits, silly songs, some veggie karaoke, and the teachers got up and sang the very popular, “Teachers who don’t do anything.”

After the party, Beth and I had girls dorm, so there was much tucking in of children, checking to make sure teeth were brushed, and then even some singing of songs to rooms that had settled down and were quiet. It was nice to be involved in a different aspect of the boarding school—I do a lot of getting on kids cases as a teacher/supervisor/activity coordinator—tucking into bed was a welcome break from hounding people about homework or marking papers!

This coming Monday and Tuesday is half term, so the kids will be getting a break from school, the staff will have a little time off, and I will hopefully get fully caught up on my marking. Birthday party took up a lot of my time, so I’ve fallen a little behind where I want to be.

The weather is lovely this time of year—cool (and even cold!) in the mornings and evenings with nice warm afternoons. The skies are clear blue except when they are smudged with smoke, and there a gentle breeze blows most of the day. I don’t know if I can ever go back for a Texas summer again!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Well, I’ve been 24 for a whole week now. Its been a good week on the whole—very busy, but a good week. I gave a math test, have been working on birthday party (Beth and I are nuts and volunteered to plan birthday party) and also on the end of term program. Of course in between papers are marked, cleanup is supervised, I make nshima for my dog, and all the little things of life go marching on. My birthday was a school day so I was busy pretty much the whole day, but I got a lot of cards, kind words, and even a phone call from my family, so it was a wonderful day. This is my weekend off, so I’ll have some time to breath and relax a little. Its kind of cool—this was my 4th birthday in Africa, and it ranks among my best birthdays ever. I hope to celebrate many more out here!

I can’t believe its June already—half the term is almost gone! I need to start planning a science unit... I think that will be a weekend project. Right in there with painting the backdrop for birthday party and getting all my marking done...

I found out on Friday this week that my great-Grandpa Baker finally passed into glory on June 3. While I have been praying for the past two weeks that the Lord would take him quickly as he was really suffering, at the same time its hard to deal with the fact that he’s gone. In a way I’m lucky because when I said goodbye to him in December the day I flew to Zambia, I knew I was saying goodbye for the last time.

This weekend I have been writing down memories of Grandpa and thinking about his life a lot, and one of the things that really stuck out to me was that he was a praying man. He prayed for everyone in his family by name every day, and when his children were little, he prayed that they would all be missionaries. Because of that prayer, all four of his children did spend time as overseas missionaries, and they have all been active in the Lord’s service for their whole lives. Because of that prayer, my mom grew up as a missionary kid, and then later went to the mission field herself with her own family. And because of that prayer, I grew up with the desire to be a missionary and now have the great privilege of serving the Lord in Zambia. The prayers of a righteous man truly availith much!

Note on Monday: I’ve been writing this update off and on for a few days now, and I have another entry I’m working on about what I did this Sunday, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

According to my mom its high time I updated, so here goes.

Basically, life is crazy. Yesterday (Monday) was my afternoon off, and I didn’t spend any of it ‘off’ at my house—I had to many other things to do.

This weekend was my first weekend off, and I spent Saturday afternoon waiting to and then getting my toe nail pulled off. I’ve had an ongoing infection and ingrown nail problem for the past two years, so I’m really hoping that this will set it all right again. I’m keeping a dressing on the toe during the day as the dust is really bad (and really germy!) right now, but I’m letting the toe breath at night. I’ve been very fortunate to have little to no pain through the whole thing. It’s a good thing really as I have far to much to do to spend lots of time with my foot up!

School is in full swing now, and I’m managing to stay one stroke ahead of the sharks. Classes are going well for the most part—there is a book report due this Friday that apparently makes me the meanest teacher ever—who on earth would be so cruel as to require them to read a book and write a report in two weeks? Shocking! Just wait till the next one... My students are delving into ancient Egypt, the mysteries of dividing with and by decimals are being plumbed, they have learned about Kennings, and auditions have been mostly held for the end of term program. We discussed the flute last week in music—this week its the clarinet (also known as the ‘squeakaphone’ by non-clarinet players). My class is doing a literature unit called “Friendship Road” this term, and most of the time the kids are in small groups reading novels, but once or twice a week we gather as a class to read the book “Simon” by Rosemary Sutcliff. I wasn’t sure how the kids would respond to it, but they are getting really hooked. They beg to read that instead of their books. I think some of it may be they don’t like reading aloud in their group and some of it may be they like hearing me read (that is of course the less probable/more flattering for me conclusion!), but I’m tickled that they are so into it. Its one of my all time favorite books, and I’m hoping to lure them into reading other Rosemary Sutcliff books through it.

In big news on the station, our library is put back together again! As we repaired it, we have been brainstorming about some improvements to make to it while we’re at it. The biggest change so far is we added a bulletin board by the door so we can post book reports, book lists, photocopies of book covers as recommendations, and have a “if you enjoyed this, you’ll probably enjoy this” section. I’ve been trying to come up with as many ideas as possible to hook my class on reading—the 7th and 8th grade girls go around with their noses in books all the time, but my kids would much rather play football (soccer) or do other things than read. Book reports are part of my grand strategy to make book worms of them all. We shall see! That’s also why I read at least a book aloud to my kids each term. There is something magic about listening to someone else read that I will never grow out of. That reminds me, I think we have a book worm cut out in the paper store. I’ll have to go look for that...

Well, I have math books that aren’t marking themselves no matter how hard I squint, so I had better end this off. I’m enjoying the cool evening—next month I want to have a few fires in my little fire place. The only downside that I have found for dry season so far is all the dust. However, its a small price to pay for the lovely weather!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Whew—its been a crazy few days! Staff meetings, getting my room ready, tying up loose ends, cleaning my house, and a grand shindig before school kicks off on Wednesday. The children start arriving today (Tuesday), so there are flurries of last minute preparations as we see to all those little things that keep a boarding school of 60 children running smoothly.

Last week I took a quick trip to Solwezi with Beth and her friend Crystal. The highlights of the trip were learning some new card games, staying in a fun hotel, and getting to visit Shop Rite (like a small, basic Wal-Mart). We flew back to the school (about an hours flight) and then had a few more days with Crystal before she left on Sunday. Saturday was the day of the get together at the Fergusons and the day Beth, Crystal and I went on a game drive through Nchila Game Park. We saw some Zebra, Puku, Wildabeast and lots of Sable. It was so much fun to see the beautiful animal, enjoy the setting sun and the wild beauty of this area. Nothing like being home in Africa!

I’m trying a new arrangement in my room that I think will work out well. It makes the room feel more open and it gives the kids a bit more room. I’m starting to get excited about getting back in the trenches once again! As much fun as vacation is, I missed ‘work.’

Saturday, May 1, 2010

You can tell the drunk drivers in Zambia because

...they drive strait.

I've been kind of silent because Beth's friend Crystal is visiting us from Canada, and I've been sick for the last week. I think I'm starting to see the downhill slope and being totally recovered, but I opted out of the bike adventure today so as not to push it too far.

On Wednesday I drove us over to Kalenge, and let me tell you, it was a white knuckle experience! The road right below Ikelnge is the worst part, and I was worried about a) getting stuck, b) tearing the bottom of the truck out or c) tipping the truck over. Going downhill isn't that bad--you just keep it in low gear, ride the brake, and let the truck carefully go down straddling the deep channels and not going into the bush on either side. I felt like a drunk driver because I was weaving all over the road, but there was no other way down. Going up hills is scary because you can't see the gaping holes as well from that angle, so you have to make lightning decisions about which is the best way to go.

I must admite I was praying pretty hard and had a death grip on the steering wheel. It is so easy to hit a bump, get a little air time and loose your wheels. We arrived safely at Kalenge after about an hours drive, and then we had a picnic lunch before visiting Alice T. briefly to find out how to get a hold of a tailor we had heard about. After dropping off some cloth to be made into bags for Beth and Crystal, we headed to the Kalenge market. They get most of their stuff from Congo, so we were hoping to find a better chetengi selection. There weren't that many shops open, but we were able to find plenty of chetengi for our various purposes, and then we went ahead and turned home as we didn't want to be trying to get back in the dark or in low light. I was more worried about getting back as there were more uphills to deal with, but once again the Lord's hand was with us and we made it back safely and in one piece.

Yesterday we stayed around the station except when we got a call from the Ronalds that there was mail, could we go pick it up. Of course! So we piled in the truck again, and bumped our way into Ikelenge. I had four packages and several letters, Beth had two packages and some letters, and there was a whole bunch of stuff for the missionaries in the Congo that we recieve mail for. Good thing too since they came down yesterday to pick up their mail and go shopping!

Today two more of our staff memebers are arriving back, so we're going to have a big dinner down at Margie's. I'm excited to see them back, but that means the school term is about to kick off again! I feel more ready than last term about some things, but others I still feel like there is so much to do. I guess I should go look in my classroom today--it was supposed to be cleaned and the floor waxed. Its been such a good break, but I'm kind of looking forward to getting some structur back!

Monday, April 26, 2010


Well, I had one of those “Welcome to Africa” moments last night. I had been watching a Gaither Vocal Band DVD with the Ronald’s in the main sitting room. I was knitting until I got such a big tangle that I decided I couldn’t deal with it in the low light. When the video was over and I was picking up my backpack when there was a sudden sharp pain on my left thumb. I was wondering what bug could have got me (I was thinking, “There was a wasp in here?”) or if perhaps it might be something bigger, so I looked down. Sure enough, there was a scorpion about the size of the one I killed in my house a few weeks ago. Mrs. Ronald put some ice on it and gave me some suggestions of things to take that would help with the pain. If you’ve ever wondered how it feels to be stung by a scorpion, let me tell you, DON’T DO IT. I don’t think I got its whole load, or because it was smaller it didn’t have as much venom, but to quote Beth, OWIE! I would have to say that in the scale of bits I’ve gotten, its worse than a wasp sting, but not as bad as a fuzzy caterpillar! Luckily when I came home there was still some ice in my defrosting fridge, so I was able to put that on until the ibuprofen kicked in.

Speaking of the fridge—URGH! Because the power goes out frequently out here, most of the fridges have serious ice problems. Ours was getting to the point where we had only about half of the top shelf for our use because of the ice. Well, yesterday I took all the had-to-be-refrigerateables down to another house, unplugged the fridge, and waited. I unplugged it at about 1:30, and when I got home with my scorpion sting at 9:30ish, there was still quite a bit of ice in the fridge. I chipped it out, and left the fridge to air out overnight. I wanted to get it up and running again before Beth arrived back home with her friend Crystal.

Today I’ve been cleaning house, doing laundry, and trying to be ready for Beth and Crystal’s arrival. My thumb feels much better today—its rather tingly and if I bump it it hurts, but not its not near as bad as it was last night. The moral of the story? Stay away from scorpions! I’m hoping the fridge will be cold enough to put stuff back in it soon. Thinking of which, I need to go get some more milk. In this tea drinking household, it disappears quite quickly!

Friday, April 23, 2010


First--proof that I was within 30 or so feet of President Banda-


Furthermore, pictoral evidence that Pete F. DOES own something other than khakis. To bad you can't see the long pants...


A very cute baby who was in front of me-


Just one of the many heavily laden trees arround me--one got knocked totally down there were so many people in/on it!


Here are some pictures from last weekend at Kalenge
First, the new Orchard Garden Get-a-Way


Just for you Daddy--one of the beautiful doors on the units. Sorry, Photobucked turned it on its side...


A CHLORINATED POOL. Will wonders never cease... Apparently it has a heater too!


A few random pictures from other times. First, in case any of you wondered, here is what P.O. Box 20, Ikelenge looks like.


And lastly, here is my class hard at work on one of the last days of school this term. I just noticed that one of the 5th graders has her hand up. This is a very true to life pictures of my class!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

With a rattledy bang like a thousand tin cans...

So started a book about an old school bus that I remember from my childhood, and so we went down the road today into Ikelenge to see the President. We took 32 folding chairs in with us for the President's entourage, and they made talking (and almost thinking!) impossible. We dropped off the chairs, found a spot in the shade, and started to wait. Origionally President Banda was supposed to arrive at 11, so we got there about 10:20ish. Well, as 11 rolled by, and then 12, we treked back the the car to get off our feet and rest a bit. About 1:00 the first helicopter flew over with a load of important people, and then maybe 1:30ish another helicopter flew in. Beth and I stood in the huge crowd in the sweltering heat and considered if this was realy worth it. Finally at about 2:30, President Banda made his apprerance. He spoke in English which was then loosly translated into Lunda. The main points of his rather long speach were
a) The roads would need to be fixed because this is an international road (into Angola) and
b) because Ikelenge has now been officially named a boma (which basically means it will get more government money, a bigger police staion, military presence, better healthcare, and 'many of the things you are asking for will come as a matter of course.')
c) He (President Banda) values the people of NWP, and says that there is great wealth under our feet. We are the new copper belt! (????)
d) He is very sensitive to the fact that becames of the votes of NWP, he gained office.

In other words, a lot of cheap talk which may or may not have results. The biggest thing is getting the road fixed. Apparently, there is also talk of a railway between Angola and Zambia going down into the Copper Belt as well as a pineapple factory in Ikelenge. The next few decades should be very interesting!

We finally arrived home about 3:30--about 5 hours of our lives were spent on the president. I'm glad I got to finally see him, but waiting in the crowd was not a lot of fun. I was amazed at how little security there was, and how close the people could get. Only in Africa... The President's lack of punctuality is also an "only in Africa" thing. It kind of explains a lot about what goes on (or lack thereof) here!

Well, I think I'm going to go and finish up the skirt I'm making as well as wipping up some matching head scarves. Oh, speaking of chetengi, I saw more President Banta ones than I've ever seen before! They must have come over yesterday with the helicopter load of people who 'secured' the area. I was also surprised to see quite a few Obama shirts and even an Obama chetengi. Interesting...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Driving is an adventure over here...

Yesterday I went into Ikelenge to check the mail (there was some!), buy a chetengi for a skirt I want to make, and then headed over to a a ladies bible study. They cut the grass on the side of the road which makes it harder to see the edges, but I managed to jounce through the holes and arrive in one piece. You can't take you eyes off the road for a second! 'This kind of driving wakes a gal up...'

I enjoyed the bible study at Joyce's a lot. We sang some songs, prayed, and then dove into 2 Timothy chapter 1. I was caught rather off guard when I found that I was expected to be the 'speaker' but hopefully some of my poor jumbled thoughts made it through! Joyce translated for me, so I was able to follow along with what they were saying as well as hearing my words in Lunda. It was good to get off the station, see other people, and hear Lunda. I hope to keep going during the break and when I'm able during the term as well.

I went around another way on the way back, and to my relief I made it back safely. I had an interesting conversation with Mr. Ronald on my return about what to do if I hit anything or anyone, and then headed back to the house. I went over to Vickies and made more food for her dog (I'm looking after Barney, Miss Hoyte's old dog for her) and then a late supper with Beth. All in all, a lovely day.

Beth and I are going to be working on our office/guest room today. Beth's friend Crystal is coming from Canada next week to visit for two weeks, so we have some work to do! Hopefully the big lizard and flatie that hang out there will vacate...

I also plan to work on that skirt and making a bag to lug my church stuff around with. My other bag is getting rather dirty and besides, it would be fun to have a chetengi bag.

Yesterday was really hot, but the mornings and evenings are starting to cool off. Hurry up dry season!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Another view...

To get another take on what's going on out here, check out my housemate, Beth's, blog:

She says not to take anything she write seriously, but I'v enjoyed reading her perspectives. It looks like a storm is blowing in, so I had better go turn off the internet. Things you don't have to worry about in the states...

Very domestic

Yesterday Beth and I sorted through every cabinet in the kitchen except the two we origionally planned to go through and put away all the food that the Poidevins had given us as they were packing up. We did a lot of baking--since we had the oven on and were using propane anyway, we went ahead and made a pumpkin pie, I made some more yogurt, and we baked some cookies to decorate with the Ronald's kids.

I'm having trouble getting pictures uploaded, but here is a picture of the kids working on their cookies.

Its so quiet on the station right now--its just Beth, the Ronalds and me. I'm almost starting to miss the sound of happy children...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Well, its been an interesting few days!

The station seems so quiet without the kids! I’ve been enjoying sleeping in, helping Beth in her classroom (she’s completely rearranging it and redoing her library), working in my classroom, reading, looking at stuff for next term, started working on my schedual for next term, and various other projects. Its so wonderful to not have to be up first thing in the morning, to have the freedom to laze around a bit as well as sorting out things so that next term they’ll be better.

Saturday night Beth and I tried out a sourdough donut recipe that was both very good and has the added bonus of using easily obtainable ingredients. After our little cooking adventure, the single ladies gathered again to watch the next few installments of “Cramford,” a wonderful mini-series that is very Jane Austinesc as well as quite funny. It was pouring rain all evening and as Beth and I had once again planned ahead and NOT brought our umbrellas, we waited for a lull in the storm to dash home. I was a little concerned as Ceili wasn’t waiting at the house for us, and I didn’t know where she was. I was going to let her in the house, but seeing as I couldn’t find her, I went ahead and locked up as normal and went to bed.

Sunday morning I woke up about an hour earlier than I wanted to and realized that nature was calling. When I went out of my room into the hallway, I realized that there was a big puddle. I looked at the ceiling and didn’t see any obvious leak, but that dosen’t necessarily mean anything. I went in the bathroom and found several puddles and that the bath mats were soaked through. A trip further down the hall and into the kitchen revealed that the kitchen had quite a bit of water in it too. It was apparent that the water had also gone into the dinning room, but dried up during the night. I opened the kitchen door and found a lot of dirt right outside it as well as a very happy Ceili. Because of where our house is, all the water washes down the road in front of the shop and down our upper path creating a waterfall off our step into the cleverly positioned soak away lid. The water that doesn’t hit the upper path continues down the road, floods the lower path and the porch. During the night we got almost 3.5 inches of rain, so there must have been a raging river coming down the road, then down our pathway, overwhelmed our soakaway system as well as backing up the two drains, so the water came in under the kitchen door while the toiler overflowed. All that to say that we had several gallons of water in our house. Beth and I sopped it up with towels, wringing them into our blue bin and trying to get most of the water from under our cabinets and stove. We pulled the bottom drawer of the stove out to help it air out, and discovered three pans we didn’t know we owned. No wonder we couldn’t close that drawer very easily...

While we were in the middle of mopping up, Mrs. Ronald came over and told us that they were hurrying out to the cottage, as it was flooded. Since they weren’t going to be able to give us a lift anymore, we finished soaking up the water and ate some breakfast. Then I went to church with Margie, Bethany and Michelle while Beth stayed home as she wasn’t feeling well. When I got back I found out that the cottage was not merely flooded, but mostly washed away! Only one exterior wall is left and a few doorframes and interior walls were holding the roof up. Most of the furniture and dishes had floated downriver—the furniture was recovered but most of the dishes are gone. We figure the cottage is about 40 years old, and it was made with sun baked bricks instead of fired. The river had risen more than I think anyone here had ever seen—we’re just thankful that most of the villages aren’t right on the river and we haven’t heard of anyone loosing their house. So, Mr. Ronald got some poles cut and put them up so the roof wouldn’t fall down, so the cottage is basically a chotta now. We saw the pictures last night when we gathered for evening fellowship. We’re debating whether or not to tell Miss Hoyte—its not like she can do anything about it and as far as I know we plan to rebuild it. Its been a very valuable spot for students, staff and visitors.

Today, I mopped most of the floors in the house and swept off the porch so that we wouldn’t track as much dirt in. I helped Beth move a lot of things in her classroom, and we discovered White Ants just starting under one of her bookcases. Better now than later! After lunch, Beth and I took Jill’s truck first to Hillwood to see if my camera charger would work for Helen and then to see if the butchery was open and then into Ikelegne to check the mail, get talk time, and drop some boxes off at the bookstore. On the way back, we gave a ride to a lady and her toddler from in front of the clinic. They were going to the farm as well and since we were heading back that way to try again to get a bag of meal for the Ronalds, we put them in the back and went our merry way. Now, this is the first time I’ve ever driven a left hand drive, and the first time that I’ve driven this truck (its a stick but I know how to drive that), and the first time that I’ve driven on these narrow, potholey roads. About halfway back I got a little too far over on the left and started slipping into the ditch, Beth grabbed for the steering wheel to help correct, hit the windshield wipers, and in the ensuing chaos I slipped the left side of the truck over the edge of the road and into the muddy ditch. Great, my first time out, and we were stuck.

We opened the back of the truck to let the lady out, and then we set about getting out. Beth pushed from the back while I drove, but the back wheels had nothing to grab onto after moving a bit just spun. We bent down the grass to see if we could make some more traction as well as see where we were going, and Beth tried pushing from the side to get me over the hump in the middle of the road on the right side. We were attracting quite the crowd by now, and I was afraid that we were just going to slip deeper into the ditch, tip over, or squish Beth. We were about to call the Ronalds, when a man on a bike came down the road and took charge. With him, Beth, and several of the ladies who were standing around gawking pushing I was able to get the truck over the hump in the middle of the road and out of the ditch. Whew! Then, to my amazement, the lady with the toddler got BACK IN the car as well as teenage guy who was apparently going that way as well. I wouldn’t have gotten back in with me! Well, from there it was an uneventful trip to the turn off where I let my passengers out, then to the butchery where we bought some sausage with lemon (can’t wait to try them...) and managed to get a 25 kg bag of meal for the Ronalds.

We made it back home as it was starting to sprinkle, dropped off the meal and asked Caleb where his parents were. Turns out that they were taking down another tree this afternoon, and it had bounced off the smaller tree beside it (instead of smashing it as expected) and up onto the corner of upper school! The senior section of the library is destroyed—the ceiling is caved in and the walls smashed out. I think the books are alright—the books that were on the now missing wall were thrown out of the drizzling rain into the intermediate section and the rest of the nearby shelves and piano were tarped off. The men were busily carting off rubbish and getting ready to trap off the corner while Mr. and Mrs. Ronald organized things. I’m just so thankful that it didn’t happen during term, that no one was hurt, and that the books aren’t damaged. It’s a good thing Brass Tacks is coming out this summer—we have quite the repair job in front of us.

Despite all these incidents, God has been with us. Our whole house didn’t flood, and the only damaged thing was my bag of meal that was behind the door. I’m drying out the wet stuff in the oven, but most of it was fine. The whole house does smell like corn now... No one was hurt when the cottage washed away, and most of the things in it were recovered. When I went off the road I didn’t kill the car or myself or my passengers, and we were able to get out without having to call the Ronalds. (Which is a good thing as they were rather busy at the library at the time!) When the tree went over, it only took out a corner of the building and didn’t fall down the middle or even onto Room 1 which Michelle has just been paining. Again, no injuries, and very little damage. While life has been a little more interesting than we might like, the Lord’s saving hand has been upon us and this school and the people around us. Truly, the Lord has been good to us. Praise His name!

Friday, April 9, 2010

And so starts term break...

Yesterday was a wonderful day. Jill, Vickie, and the last of the children made it safely out, the storm held off till the evening, and Beth and I got to sleep in. We puttered around in the morning—I was catching up on letters and then we went for a walk to the garden behind the dinning hall. We got a few supplies out of the kitchen, and then returned home. In the afternoon almost all of us still on the station went swimming, and then after draining the pool we headed back up to our respective houses for supper. The single girls gathered to watch a movie, and though we had to stop once because of the lighting, we had a wonderful evening.

After going for the walk, I took care of the enormous ticks that Ceili had managed to pick up. I had been told to dab alcohol on their heads as that makes them faint and thus easier to pull out. It took Beth holding Ceili and dabbing alcohol and me pulling ticks, but we got them all off and squished. Gross! The other excitement yesterday was I killed a scorpion in our house. While Beth and I were eating supper, she saw something on the floor and said, “That almost looks like a scorpion!” I looked over and saw that it WAS a scorpion. I grabbed a shoe Beth’s mom sent over in one of her container boxes, and smacked it. Luckily it was only a little one and it didn’t sting either of us as we both go barefoot around the house.

I’m going to try my hand at making yogurt during the break. Beth doesn’t really care for it, but I really enjoy it, plus, it is made with easily obtainable ingredients. After I finish this up I’m going to go get some started from the kitchen.

Today I sorted through some books Bethany gave me to put in my classroom library, and I’ve continued to work on my sadly neglected correspondence. Hopefully there are enough stamps left!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools Day at Sakeji

Today was full of little, unexpected happenings in honor of April Fool’s day. The kids were shocked when I told them that growing up we weren’t allowed to do anything to my brother who’s birthday falls on this strangely appropriate day. I was on tables last night, so I let the kids set them a little crazy. They had great fun putting marmite in strange places, hiding things in the tins, and switching the small serving spoons and butter knife with the teachers things.

This morning at breakfast the kitchen guys put the teachers tea and coffee at the other end of the dinning room, and at the front where they normally were, there were two pitchers of red ‘juice.’ The kids all gulped down their cup of water and were clamoring for seconds, so we let them go up and find out for themselves that they were enjoying glasses of water with red food coloring! The kids greed made it all the more funny—they were so eager to get some of the ‘better stuff.’

My 5th and 6th grade boys left me a gift on my desk—a note saying, “Thanks Miss Burklin for being such a good teacher.—from Fr 5 & 6 boys” and a tin making suspicious scrabbling noises. I shook the tin and held it out the window before opening it, and out jumped a few cricuts. I looked in and saw a really big, ugly caterpillar in there to. Its so nice to be loved!

As much fun as all those other pranks were, I think the best April fool’s prank was the one Beth and I pulled. My kids had a spelling exam first period, so right before second period I went down to lower school, went in the middle room and through to the long rooms across the back, and waited behind the door of Beth’s classroom. She finished Scripture, got her 2nd graders out the door for spelling, and then told her first graders, “I’m just going to leave! Bye!” and walked out. I waited for a few seconds to make sure she was out the door and to enjoy the kids, “There’s no teacher! We don’t have a teacher!” before bursting out of the back door and starting math class as if nothing had happened. Meanwhile Beth was going up to upper school to take my students for a math exam. It was a lot of fun for us, and it made our kids appreciate their respective teachers a bit more.

Well, I had better run—grades are due on Saturday and they aren’t putting themselves in the computer. Happy Easter all!

Monday, March 29, 2010

And so exam week starts...

This weekend was once again my weekend off, so I was able to go into Ikelenge for church. It was nice this time as Skyton (a local teacher) was able to translate for Mr. Ronald, so not only did I get to enjoy the singing, but I was able to understand the message as well! On the way home we met Jimmy (one of the kitchen staff) on his moterbike heading towards the clinic with a teenage boy who had cut the top of his foot quite deeply with an axe. Mrs. Ronald bandaged it up (as all he had on it was a filthy rag) and sent them on their way. Hopefully they found someone at the clinic who could stitch it as the road to Kalenge would have been very bad.
After lunch I took a nap, and then started to work on writing exams. I have 3 out of 5 written up now—I just need to do the two math exams. Evening fellowship was at the Fergusons, and we finished watching our video series. Beth and I sat in the back of Ronald’s land cruiser—there is a real skill to ridding on these bumpy roads! You have to brace yourself enough to not fly into the people around you, and at the same time you have to be relaxed enough that you don’t wake up sore the next day.
On Friday Beth and I walked to the Hillwood orphanage to drop off some little dresses for the kids. I put on sunscreen because I was wearing a tank top (it was a very hot day), but on my right shoulder I apparently missed a few spots as you could actually see my finger marks around the sunburn. We took Ceili with us, and while it was a long, hot walk, it was a nice change of pace and some good exercise.
Mr. Wideman is flying to Kalenge today—the air strip has dried off enough for us to use it again. Its starting to be cooler in the mornings, warm up during the day, and then cool off again at night. This is the first time I remember feeling the seasons change in Zambia, and its exciting. Its hard to believe I’ve been here three months now—in some ways it feels like just yesterday I was at work, and sometimes it seems like I’ve been out here forever.
Well, I had better run—lots to catch up on! Report cards are due by Saturday, and I want to get a head start. Have a wonderful week everyone, and a very happy Easter.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yesterday in music, two of the fourth grade boys were talking and being disruptive as they sat next to each other in the back row. So, I strolled over, looked at them, and said, “You two aren’t going to be a problem are you? You won’t be talking to each other anymore and I won’t have to move you?” Julius was like, “No.” So I said, “So if I look over here and see you two talking again, you’ll know you need to switch places with someone else so you won’t be tempted any more?” I was assured by both Julius and Ngonga that they wouldn’t be a problem—I wouldn’t have to split them up. So, I went on with my lesson and forgot about that particular discipline issue. I looked over a little later and saw that Ngonga had moved to the front row. I was a little surprised, but as he was being quiet and the 3rd and 4th graders are a rowdy bunch, I shrugged it off. After supper I was crashing a bit at the house before staff meeting when I remembered what I had threatened to do. Apparently I had looked over that way at some point and someone had felt guilty! How often does your discipline get carried out even when you forget about it?

Please pray for our road situation—there are starting to be food shortages in Ikelenge because the trucks can’t get up with supplies. We are going to be flying most if not all of the kids out—we’re praying that the airstrip doesn’t get too soggy in the next week and a half. There was money designated to fix the roads, but so far no sign of it. The roads are so bad at this point that we are talking about just making another road as this one is so horrible.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The container goods got through! Despoite the Sakeji canyon, the men were able to get the goods up from Mwunilung yesterday. The trucks were loaded and leaving about 1:30pm, and they arrived about about 11pm and 2am. We are so thankful to have the supplies that that the tractors with their heavy loads were able to get past the terrible mud holes and washouts. More later!

Monday, March 15, 2010

What happens when teachers go on a field trip or

What teachers do when the kids aren't around!


Well, the second half term is over, and there remain just four more weeks to buckle down and finish up the term. Whew—what a ride!

This half term was a lot of fun—I enjoyed myself a lot. On Friday, Beth and I took the silver and gold (two highest levels of swimming) tubing down the river. It had been quite high earlier in the week due to heavy rain, but it had gone down by Friday morning unfortunately. There were a lot of palm trees down which we quickly learned to avoid as they have spinny leaves, and I gashed my foot on the bridge pilings. However, a good time was had by all and no one drowned. After tubing I played with the juniors and red seals in the pool while the gold and silver went down the Flying Fox (a zip line). Beth and I both climbed the anthill, looked down, and decided that we are both chickens. After a wonderful lunch of hamburgers down at the river, I went up to the house to feed Ceili before coming down to supervise the afternoon swim. It started raining, but fortunately cleared up before tea.

On Saturday I worked on things in my classroom, and then Beth and I went up to the dorm and worked on sewing up skirts with the chetengi we bought last weekend. Yes, there are pictures, but they’re on Beth’s camera so I’ll have to wait and get those. I brought up one of the ancient Singers from the hall where Mrs. P senior was working on them, and found to my dismay that it has a life of its own! It wouldn’t stop running! I unplugged it (at the machine end), and every time we tried to plug it back in, it would take off again! Now I know why my mom hates Singers...

Sunday was a wonderful day. The Ronalds, Beth, Jill, Bethany, Mr. and Mrs. P. senior, and Blesson went into Ikelenge for church. After church we went on a field trip to the Grand Canyon. What? you’re asking? The Grand Canyon isn’t in Zambia! However, we now have our very own Sakeji Grand Canyon right in the middle of the road about half an hour from here. When I say the road is impassible, this is what I mean.


You can see where they tried to put logs down to hold the mud, but its just washed out.


The Canyon was over 6 feet deep in some spots! A land cruiser might be able to just squeeze past, but a big lorry, no way. We are hoping to get a lorry up here this week with container goods and stuff from town (like flour!). There is another way round, but it sounds like that one is impassible as well. This presents a real problem for end of term—we’re discussing options and praying right now. Should be interesting!

After coming back from the Grand Canyon, we drove past the game park on our way home. To my surprise, we actually saw a lot of game! Puku, two Zebras, and a few Sables!

After a wonderful lunch complete with Sakeji ice cream and fudge, Jill, Beth and I went tubing again. Jill had never been, so we decided to fix that! There was an exciting bit where Jill and Beth almost drowned—the current slams you into this tree and it knocked Beth off her tube, and when Jill got off to help she got slammed under and against the tree as well. Luckily they are both good swimmers and were able to get away from the tree and back on their tubes. It didn’t help that we were all laughing hysterically at the time as well—we were having too much fun and it was such a ridiculous situation! We got out at the dam though because a storm was blowing up. Jill then came over for supper, and we had a lovely time before heading over for the Sunday evening gathering.

Today we’re back in class, and I have the afternoon ‘off’ to work on sorting out the next four weeks. I also have some bulletin board stuff to do... Photobucket is being difficult, so I’ll have to put up more pictures later. Happy Ides of March!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Well, Photobucket cooperated today, so here are a few glimpses of life at Sakeji. Of course, it all revolves around the children!



Times on the playground as well as the classroom-

Participating in their favorite sport--football (we had to retrieve a ballf rom the tree this morning...apparently one of my students had quite the kick!)-

And in the breaks from normal routine like birthday party and half term.

These precious children are why we do what we do--how we thank you for your support and prayers.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My box came!

Well, its been a little while!

The big news is that the package my mom sent me with things like my DVD’s, my camera cord, and many of the things that were in my second box that didn’t make it out with me, arrived safely yesterday! It was so much fun to unpack it—almost like Christmas! I also got a letter each from Lucy, Jasper, and our dear friend Elder Fern. Now I just need to reorganize my house a little...

Things continue to be quite busy around here—the midpoint of our term was last week, so there have been a lot of exams, and I’ve switched from my Mexico social studies unit to a weather/earth study science unit. The kids are getting all excited about the second half term next week, and I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

This Monday was my afternoon off, and it was a particularly fun one. I went with Jill into Ikelenge to buy some salt and some chetengi (African cloth) to make a skirt. After a brief visit to the market, I went with Jill to a lady’s Bible study. It was so wonderful to sing and read the scriptures with those dear ladies—I even got asked to read a verse in Lunda! Apparently I did a halfway decent job—I guess they got the gist! I bought a Lunda bible yesterday to aid in my language learning efforts. Hopefully during term break Beth and I can really get some good work in—I want so much to be able to communicate with the Zambians in their own words! After the Bible study, Jill and I went to supper at the Fergusons, a family nearby. As always, their home was a quiet oasis of peace and refreshment, and Mrs. Ferguson made a heavenly curry. My mom grew up with both Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson, so it’s nice to extend the friendship another generation.

My puppy is growing and growing—its hard to believe how big Ceili is already!
All the other dogs on the station are little daschounds, so Ceili and her sister Sasha are going to seem like giants! Margie’s little dog, Princess, is really the only one of the older station dogs who will play with Ceili. When Ceili bowls her over Princess balls up, rolls back to her feet and lets Ceili have it! Its nice and relaxing to take a walk down the airstrip with the dogs and other people on the station in the evenings—its a good time to talk and unwind as well as stretching our legs out.

Well, I need to get offline, and photobucket isn't loading any more pictures. Urgh! Hopefully in the next few days... Have a great weekend all, and thanks so much for your prayers and letters!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dear Friends,

I don't think I've mentioned it before, but shortly after arriving in Zambia I found out that my Opa, my dad's dad had stomach cancer and was going to have surgery on February 24 to remove his stomach. Well, I got an e-mail from my mom yesterday and the news was not good.

Please pray for me and my family in these next few weeks--they found out that my grandfather's cancer is much more serious than the tests and scans indicated, and that he might not have much longer to live. This is devastating news at the best of times, but as I am halfway across the world from my family right now I'm feeling very helpless and distraught. Please pray for us as we cope with the news, and as we make hard decisions about what to do next. Please pray for my grandparents as they make arrangements and deal with the news themselves. We know the Lord is in control, and if He calls him home we will rejoice that he is at least face to face with his beloved savior even as we grieve his parting.

"In my distress I cried to the Lord, and He heard me...I will lift my eyes up to the hills--from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth...Behold He would keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Five girls and two men in a Land cruiser, to say nothing of three dogs.

Five girls and two men in a Land cruiser, to say nothing of three dogs.

Last weekend was my weekend off, so a bunch of us headed to the cottage on Saturday afternoon. Beth, Bethany, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald, Jill, Mr. Wideman and I all piled in the Ronald’s bright green land cruiser with the Ronald’s puppy Sasha, Bethany’s dog Teddy, and my puppy Ceili and headed out at about 2 in the afternoon. One of the missionaries who was out here for most of her life, Miss Hoyte, was given a piece of land on the Zambezi river where she built a cottage for use as a get-away for missionaries, family visiting their kids at Sakeji, a place to take the kids for half term, and for weekend trips. Right in front of the cottage there is a small waterfall (about 2 feet tall), a nice shallow spot with smooth rock and sand, and a nice wide bend of the river to swim in. I had been out there a few times when I was here before—I celebrated my 20th birthday at the cottage as well as half term.
Upon arrival, we found that Ceili had thrown up on the seat in the back of Ronald’s car. I rinsed the quilt off in the river, and tied her to a tree while we got the chairs out of the cottage, changed into swimming gear, and jumped in the river. It was so cool and refreshing! I know a lot of you are thinking, Crocodiles! Germs! However, this part of the river is safe and as the water is swift flowing, its quite safe. We had a lot of fun swimming and sitting under the waterfall (back massage!) before heading out dripping and hungry for tea. We had all brought something to share, and after enjoying the treats, we settled down to read, knit, and chat. The puppies rough-housed when they weren’t tied up—Ceili managed to knock Sasha into the river at one point!
After packing up, closing up the cottage and loading everyone back up, we headed back to Sakeji. This time Ceili threw up about 5-10 minutes before we arrived back at the station—apparently she had found something to eat out there. I was not amused! Mr. Ronald was gracious and helped me clean it up. I think Ceili will stay behind next time unless I bike over!
Today we went to a tinny little assembly out down the Mwunilunga road. I had been there once before with Poidevins, and it looked much the same. The roof was so low that I had to duck to avoid the rafters. There is now a big ant hill on the men’s side—we were a little surprised that they had allowed it to get so big! The seats were really low so my knees were sore by the end, but it was a nice service and I enjoyed hearing Mr. Ronald’s message and meeting the people. I love the singing—though we were only a few, the little church was filled with the sound of praises to the Lord. We enjoyed Sunday lunch when we got back (complete with ice cream and fudge!) and now I’m relaxing and catching up on marking and correspondence. These down times are so needed and enjoyed—as much as I love the kids, being on call essentially all week takes it out of you!
Its hard to believe a third of the term has gong by already, and hard to believe that I don’t have to go home at the end of term! I’m looking forward to dry season—its been quite hot these last few days. I was amazed to hear that it snowed back home—Beth laughed at the ‘snow’ in Texas! Ah well, I wouldn’t trade my sunny skies, tawny-green grass, and cold river water for anything.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

With a hey, ho the wind and the rain...

And the rain it raineth every day! -Twelfth Night

Well, it was a rather damp half term, but a good time was had by all, and no one was too seriously injured, so all in all, this first half term was a success. Yesterday Beth and I offered roller skating in the hall as an activity for the juniors (because a lot of the fun extra activities at half term are seniors only). This turned into a little bigger of a deal than we had anticipated. Getting that many small children into roller skates, into the hall, getting knee pads on the 1st and 2nd graders, and then helping kids pick themselves up off the floor for an hour was rather very loud, and rather stressful. However, the kids on the whole had a great attitude about falling on the cement floor, and seemed to enjoy themselves very much. My arms and shoulders are a bit sore from being hung on and suddenly grabbed, but I’m glad we did it.

Lunch was at the river again, and then Beth and I walked up to get changed and relax a little before swimming at 2. I took the silver and gold seals (the two highest levels in swimming lessons) tubing down the Sakeji river—what an adventure! Margie Young went with us, and we had a lot of fun. I fell off my tube twice—once when I was smacked into a tree, and once when I got stuck on a rapid. The bottom of the river is VERY rocky and I wished I had water shoes! I arrived at the end in one piece though bellow the swimming pool, and hope the river is high enough to do that again next half term! It started raining when we were almost all the way down though, so the kids had to shelter in the changing huts for a little. The rain let up though, and Beth Vickie and I continued our supervision until 4. After supper half term is officially over, but we finished watching Up! that evening. The kids enjoyed the movie, and the staff got a kick out of the keen observations on human nature and kids. I told the kids I should get one of those talking collars for Ceili!

School is back to normal today with us staring the Aztecs in social studies, watching part of “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” with the 5th graders, and math and computers later this afternoon. I didn’t get near as much marking done during half term as I had planned, but I have time today and I think I needed the break. Thanks for all your prayers and letters/e-mails—they mean the world!

With a hey, ho the wind and the rain...

And the rain it raineth every day! -Twelfth Night

Well, it was a rather damp half term, but a good time was had by all, and no one was too seriously injured, so all in all, this first half term was a success. Yesterday Beth and I offered roller skating in the hall as an activity for the juniors (because a lot of the fun extra activities at half term are seniors only). This turned into a little bigger of a deal than we had anticipated. Getting that many small children into roller skates, into the hall, getting knee pads on the 1st and 2nd graders, and then helping kids pick themselves up off the floor for an hour was rather very loud, and rather stressful. However, the kids on the whole had a great attitude about falling on the cement floor, and seemed to enjoy themselves very much. My arms and shoulders are a bit sore from being hung on and suddenly grabbed, but I’m glad we did it.

Lunch was at the river again, and then Beth and I walked up to get changed and relax a little before swimming at 2. I took the silver and gold seals (the two highest levels in swimming lessons) tubing down the Sakeji river—what an adventure! Margie Young went with us, and we had a lot of fun. I fell off my tube twice—once when I was smacked into a tree, and once when I got stuck on a rapid. The bottom of the river is VERY rocky and I wished I had water shoes! I arrived at the end in one piece though bellow the swimming pool, and hope the river is high enough to do that again next half term! It started raining when we were almost all the way down though, so the kids had to shelter in the changing huts for a little. The rain let up though, and Beth Vickie and I continued our supervision until 4. After supper half term is officially over, but we finished watching Up! that evening. The kids enjoyed the movie, and the staff got a kick out of the keen observations on human nature and kids. I told the kids I should get one of those talking collars for Ceili!

School is back to normal today with us staring the Aztecs in social studies, watching part of “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” with the 5th graders, and math and computers later this afternoon. I didn’t get near as much marking done during half term as I had planned, but I have time today and I think I needed the break. Thanks for all your prayers and letters/e-mails—they mean the world!