How do I sum up the last month in less than 1000 words?
I'm no saint but I feel like Paul when he wanted to list the faith-capades of the early church and Bible characters. Time will fail me to speak of all that happened recently.
You'll have to forgive my lack of photos--I just plain forgot to take pictures most days this month. I'll have some to share as I do catch-up posts over the next few weeks.
The last time we spoke I had just arrived home from the States and found 2 new babies and a pig. Just your average African homecoming.
A few days later as team of six ladies arrived from the U.S. to volunteer with us for nearly a month. The house filled with excitement, enthusiasm and estrogen. It was great!
The main goal of these women who ranged in age from 15 to 50+ was to help with the children and work alongside the nannies. They did a wonderful job of playing with and teaching the kids while learning about the local culture and getting to know the women who work with the kids every day.
Nights were filled with laughter and hijinks as games and pranks were played. Our teenagers loved every minute of fun and camaraderie--something they don't get much of out here in the bush. One of the highlights was learning to ballroom dance. They learned the waltz and a jig (and a few others) and had a blast!
Since we also had two other volunteers--Meg (who you've met here) and Zeger (from Belgium) we had a grand total of 13 people at the dinner table each evening. Yes, we managed to all squeeze around one table. It was great!
One of the big blessings with having so many volunteers was that Jessie was hardly put down for a minute. Jessie was a very sick little girl. I'll have to write more about her another day soon because her story is so involved.
Gail (the team leader) brought some amazing equipment for baking bread. We ate loaf after loaf of lovely homemade bread made from whole wheat grains in just a matter of a couple hours. We've ordered solar ovens which will be arriving next week. I'll be documenting this whole process very soon.
Meghan has been teaching the kids for the past two months and they are learning so much! Johnny can read a few books, they are all making progress in their phonics and they are excited and happy to be learning.
Tom worked long and hard all month constructing new projects and maintaining old ones. Not too many exotic animals came in. One exciting one was a monitor lizard. Tom had his snake-wrangler gauntlet gloves on and while he held the lizard on our porch, he asked me to get pictures. As I stood about 2.5-3 feet away, trembling with fright, and trying to get good pictures, that darn monitor lizard swung its tail around and I felt it brush my skirt. If I had been a couple inches closer that would have really hurt! The things we do for love.
At the end of the team's time here (Meghan and Zeger are both staying longer), I took them down to Lusaka to help them navigate the bus ride, the Sunday Market, and then the airport. Sixteen-month-old Jack accompanied us because he has had some unexplained stomach issues. I'll have to dedicate a whole post to that journey and the outcome of his medical tests.
Then, the last weekend of this month was Mutomboko. This was our quietest year by far with only 3 overnight guests and another for dinner.--We've had up to 50 guests some years. We still did the pit roast pork and will have that to eat for days to come.
Many of the kids are old enough now to really enjoy the excitement that comes with Mutomboko--watching the procession and cheering for the Chief. They might be old enough next year to finally attend the main ceremony event. --We'll see.
Coming up in the next couple weeks: Meghan and Zeger leave this Friday. We will be very sorry to see them go. Then Saturday I join them in Lusaka to prepare for the arrival of our next team of volunteers coming out from West Texas. They'll be here for just over a week and then we will have no idea what to do with ourselves when we have no guests and volunteers around. It's going to be a real change for the little kids as well--all 'summer' (winter for us) they have had tons of attention and play time.