Saturday, August 20, 2011

Last Days in Africa

Last Days in Africa...


Heather’s alarm went off at 5:20 a.m. I snoozed in bed until she told me that we had only 5 more minutes before we had to leave and then I reluctantly rolled out of bed.

It was early and cold, and my bed was warm, not to mention one of the most comfortable beds I have slept in for quite some time.

After getting dressed and finding out where the bus was, we boarded. The team slowly but surely trickled in, and we started off for the airport in Lusaka. The two teams with us all week were headed home, including several who had been there for 2 weeks, a group of 3 who had arrived a week before, and 2 who had spent the summer in Zambia.

About 15 minutes into the journey, our bus driver, Joseph, pulled to the side of the road. Bus trouble.

It didn’t take long for a few team members to fantasize about being left in Africa for a couple of more days until the next flight would be leaving. However, fortunately we were able to flag down a couple of other vans to load our luggage and our bodies into.

We were carrying another African in the front seat of our van, but he hopped out halfway through and since I was sitting backwards on the ground in the back, I took his seat in the front.

It was then that I fell in love with the front seat. For starters, I quite enjoy the unique situation of being seated on the left rather than the right as a passenger. Secondly, at this particular point in the day, it was early morning and the sun was rising in front of me. In a slightly drowsy mood, I dozed as the sunlight streamed in and warmed my face. Third, I really like being able to see right out the windshield in front of me, as it offers a great view of Zambia culture like an Imax show. Why did I not discover this sooner?

We were soon at the airport, so we hopped out of the vehicles and took any luggage in sight, quickly stepping into line and allowing the necessary team members to come claim their luggage. We said our good-byes to them, and when we were confident that they would, indeed, make their flight, we wondered outside and waited for Joseph to come pick us up. Unfortunately, he was 40 minutes away.

I worked on a Word Jumble in the pleasant morning air, and we chatted and made plans for the day. I was delighted when David suggested going out to breakfast and then shopping.

Joseph finally arrived, and he took us to Mint Café. It was a cute little café set in a shopping mall, with green chairs, tables, and menus and over-sized silverware decorating the walls. Their selection was awesome! I ordered a waffle with caramel sauce and cinnamon sugar… it was amazing… similar to eating an elephant ear for breakfast. I also added a mocha-nutella-hazelnut blended coffee drink. Dream come true! Up until this point, I wasn’t sure that Africa had very many sweets or desserts. It was cause for concern. Worries vanished!

David ordered a hearty breakfast, Heather a mushroom-egg omelet, Whitney had an avocado-egg omelet + a Twix crepe, and Kailey had mint tea and some delicious-looking toast with veggies and meat on top.

We then went in and out of a few other shops. Before doing so, we met up with a guy in the parking lot to buy some Zambian soccer jerseys. I broke down and bought one for myself and for my brother after seeing how cool they were. I wore mine for the rest of the day.

David took us to another mall that was better for shopping, and we all purchased some fun things at a craft store, and bought some soccer balls for the LS kids at a Walmart-type store.

Around noon, we grabbed lunch at another AMAZING café. In the words of Heather, “It smells like heaven in here.”

We all ordered a sandwich, and then once seated we had the opportunity to select from various delicious smoothies, coffees, teas, and shakes. Heather and David both ordered a white-chocolate freezola. Oh my word. It came as a frosty white concoction, and it tasted similar to drinking a frozen marshmallow. It was very good!

Luke met back up with us at this point, and we hopped in the van that Josep had been driving us around in. We traded it our for the huge bus we had originally started out in, and all 6 of us rode back in it to Kitwe!

The journey was long. I started out in the front again, my new favorite spot. I eventually made my way back… most of the others had stretched out across 3-4 seats to take a nap. I did the same, then headed up for some more front-seat action. We stopped a few different times for bathroom breaks, and bought a bunch of oranges. They tasted SO good and refreshing. I peeled and ate 2 oranges and shared some with Joseph. Cookies also helped sustain us all as we talked about many things on the way back.

We didn’t arrive back to Lifesong until around 7 pm. We were dropped off back to our little house to take showers. The water heater wasn’t turned on, so I experienced my first freezing cold shower. Doable, but not enjoyable.

The boys had planned on coming back in about 30 minutes so we could eat dinner and watch a movie. Heather was busy making eggs and potatoes. Whitney had just stepped out of her shower, and everything went black.

“This is not happening!” I heard her shout.

It was. Power outage. It was completely dark, but fortunately I had just opened up my laptop to download some pictures, so I used it as a light for Whitney. Kailey had a laptop, and Heather dug out her Farm ‘n Fleet flashlight. We set it up in the kitchen and sat on the couches for about an hour. Whitney went and got her pillow, and laid on the kitchen table for awhile!

We had a little pow-wow there. Almost an hour and a half went by before the boys finally showed up. The first thing David did was give us a cell phone. Thank goodness! We were wondering how to communicate with them.

David and I broke down and ate some cereal. It was 9pm and with no dinner or electricity, dinner had been put on hold.

Right after my 2nd bowl of cereal, we decided to put the movie Tangled on. Luke had just gone on a hunt for some matches and had no luck, but brought in a little brown puppy from outside. I was mildly disgusted until I sat down on the couch and it fell asleep in my lap… and then it was so cute, I couldn’t not like it. It kept stretching on me and growling in its sleep. Aw.

Suddenly, the room lit up. It had been about an hour and a half without lights, so we were thankful for electricity! Heather hopped up and finished making dinner as we enjoyed our movie.

It was a long day, but a fun one… we finished it off relaxing and everyone crashed afterwards.


We were up and ready for church by 8am, when David picked us up. We attended United Church of Zambia, the same place we went last year.

As always, I love the African singing and praise. They move and dance with such joy. The lesson was weaved with the phrase, “Your days are numbered, so live them wisely.” The pastor read from Ecclesiastes 3 (one of my favorites!), Daniel, and Ephesians (about walking carefully). It was a good reminder to live responsibly and live intentionally… I sometimes forget that my days are numbered, and it is only God who knows how much time I have. I must make every day count and not waste a minute or this precious time—it’s truly a gift.

The service was only about 2 hours long, and we left a little early since they were going right into communion.

After church, Heather, Kailey, Whit, David, Luke, and Shane (he is going to be moving down here in September with his wife and kids to help run the school) all drove to Nsobe Game Park, which is about an hour away. Upon arrival, we sat outside in the BEAUTIFUL weather and ate lunch.

It is situated on a grass knoll by a huge lake. The trees shaded us, the sky was blue, and the weather was perfect. It was so relaxing and enjoyable. Most of us ordered chicken burgers. After lunch, we walked over to the snakes and were even able to check out the deadliest snake in Africa. Yikes! We also held a baby crocodile and saw some birds, bunnies, and owls.

At 3pm, we left for our game drive. It was so relaxing and pleasant. I was reminded again and again by the sights and smells of Fall. I know this is their winter, but it’s crazy to me that I will be returning home to a humid summer in Central IL!

We saw deer-like animals everywhere, monkeys, and zebra… no giraffes. L We did get to revisit the wonderful huts tucked away in the woods… we all agreed that it would be absolutely amazing to stay in one of them. They are open to the beautiful African air, all of them have beds and a bathroom and seating with beautiful furniture and the option of massages, spa services, etc.

After our game drive, it was almost 4pm so we headed back to Kitwe. It was almost 6pm by the time we arrived back and traded out a vehicle, so we decided to eat at Mona Lisa’s for dinner. It was amazing!

We ran into Bob Walker and his family of TEN kids, as well as Rachel, their tutor. They had decided to go out to eat on this very night, too, to celebrate all the kids passing their grades and moving onto the next. It was fun seeing their adorable kids again. They are all so friendly and cute.

We ordered pizza and cokes, and enjoyed a relaxing evening eating dinner. The pizza was amazing!

After dinner, David drove us girls back to Plot 1 for a relaxing rest of the evening.


Monday was our last full day in Zambia. We got ready in the morning and walked to the school. Upon arrival, I helped David with a video project while the other girls finished up a work project.

We video-interviewed Lucy (the principal), several teachers, and older kids. The goal is to put this footage on the Lifesong website. It was so neat being able to hear everyone talk and give their perspective on LS School and all the work God has done and continues to do in Zambia.

After this, we grabbed a light lunch and everyone walked to the compound. Lucy and Albertina came with us. We took a couple of the kids with us so they could show us their homes. The compound is about a 10-15 minute walk from the school.

We stopped by Veronica’s home but no one was home, so we moved onto Alan’s home. In seeing the compound for the second time, it was a little less daunting and a little more eye-opening. We saw tons of children (who don’t attend school) running around, toddlers without clothes or unattended walking by, ladies carrying food and very few men.

We were invited into Alan’s home and sat down on the floor and talked with him awhile. We found out he doesn’t have a blanket to sleep with at night, so we gave him one. On the way home, David talked to him and found out that his uncle (as a double orphan, he has no parents) comes home drunk frequently. He may have the opportunity to live on the LS grounds with an African couple there, which would be awesome.

When we returned to LS, we ate a snack of crackers & cheese and yogurt, then went outside and read books to the girls. They absolutely loved it! We started on dinner.

After this, Luke and David took us to the strawberry farm which is about a mile away from the school. There are other vegetables grown there but mostly it is rows and rows of strawberries.

We had the chance to walk up and down the rows, pick strawberries for dinner, and pop a few in our mouths. They were delicious! Some of the boys from the school were there and had fun helping us. It was about 4pm in the afternoon. The sun was getting low in the sky and warmed us all as we enjoyed this beautiful place! We were also able to tour Shane’s home, which is situated on that land. He was there working on it and getting it ready for his family to move in sometime in September.

When we returned to David & Luke’s, we finished up dinner, which was an inventive concoction of chicken, tomato sauce, potatoes, carrots and onions over rice. And, of course, fresh strawberries. It was really good!

After dinner, we made popcorn over the stove, then decided to have a late-night snack of crepes with strawberries, honey, and Nutella. They were delicious. Heather gave Luke a haircut, and we all sat around and relaxed, discussing what we would take home from this trip.

It was a special last day. Tuesday was our very last day in Zambia, and David took us by the Curio Market on the way to Ndola. We bought some fun things and headed to the airport. David ate lunch with us there, then we said our good-byes.


This Africa trip was such a breath of fresh air in my life. I enjoyed renewing friendships I created on my first trip, and was encouraged by how God is working at Lifesong School in Zambia. Satan is still alive and well in some situations, but God overcomes! Furthermore, it instilled in my heart a desire to continue to travel to other countries and cultures and capture their stories.

Love you all!


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