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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Never Presume to Assume

Even after all this time of living here in Zambia, I still get caught up by what people may not have been exposed to and therefore never learned.

Several days ago Joseph landed wrong on his leg while jumping on the trampoline. The nannies brought him to me immediately and I couldn't see anything amiss, but his knee seemed tender so I gave him some Arnica and then had them wait and see.

Later that afternoon they brought him to me again and said he'd been crying a lot. He really didn't want his leg messed with so I wrapped his knee in an ACE bandage and gave the nannies a ziploc bag of ice instructing them to wrap it in a cloth diaper and apply to his knee. I also gave him some Ibuprofen and planned to dose him every 8 hours to combat the swelling and pain.

A couple hours later I checked on Joseph while they sat in the dining room watching an Einstein Baby video. I was puzzled when I found a wet, cloth diaper tied around his knee on top of the ACE bandage. "Where is the plastic bag", I asked. It was sitting in the sink--empty--all the ice had been emptied into the cloth diaper and tied around this knee where it slowly melted.

I was tempted to be annoyed, but I realized they had never dealt with ice packs before. How would they know how to best use it?

A couple days later as I closed everything up for the night, I gave the bottle of Ibuprofen to the night nanny and gave her careful instructions on when to give Joseph his next dose. I even had her repeat them back to me to be extra sure.

I had forgotten something important though.....

The next morning when I opened the door for the morning shift, I stopped by the nursery to check on Joseph, and to collect the bottle of Ibuprofen. I don't like to leave medicines down in the nursery where a child could get ahold of them, or they could be given out indiscriminately, or perhaps go missing.

When I picked up the bottle the cap looked odd. I realized that the outside plastic cap had been popped off and was sitting askew while the child-safety mechanism was still on the bottle. It hit me instantly. I had never taught the nanny how to open a child-safe bottle before.

Medicines here are mostly dispensed in ordinary bottles, or tiny plastic bags. No child-proofing here.

Now that I knew my mistake I wondered if Joseph had even been given his medicine as I was told? Had the nanny wrestled with the bottle and given up when the top part of the cap 'broke off'?

I carried the bottle up to the house and Tom and I both tried to figure out if she might have been able to pop the lid off. We tried with all our might to get the lid off and failed. I decided to just wait and see how Joseph did so I didn't overdose him.

The following night I left the bottle down in the nursery again. This time I took time to teach the nanny how to open the bottle. I handed it to her and asked her to open it. She twisted and turned and eventually pulled the lid completely off--liquid flying across the room--but she'd gotten it off. I was shocked! Tom and I had tried with 'all our might' and yet failed. How had this nanny done it? The conclusion we drew was that we are afraid of breaking it. We will take it to a certain point and then hold back because we don't want to spill, damage or destroy the bottle. 

Also, Zambian women have really strong hands.

I did eventually teach her how to open the bottle properly though it took time. "Push and turn at the same time". She would push down. Let go. Then turn. Over and over and over. 

While we see it as a simple, mechanical device, it is mysterious to our staff members and so they can't 'see' how it works. It's just a lack of exposure.

It's not about smarts, it's about experience. I, for instance, have no idea how to plant, harvest, process, and prepare cassava. I could learn, but it would take me a while. 

It's a good thing I am here for the long haul. I have a lot of teaching and learning to do.


P.S. Joseph is doing just fine now. He is using his leg again without any problems. 


Exactly Three Years Ago: Where I Live (some things have changed, but it's close)
Exactly Two Years Ago: The Faces of Kazembe Orphanage

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Rainy Day Activities

This afternoon was rainy. It would be the perfect day to sip hot chai while reading a good book.*



However, when you have 28 children, lounging around is not in the plans.

I walked around the property and took a peek at all the activities going on.



On the front porch I found Tom and some of the older children embroiled in a Star Trek simulation.



In the dining room half the toddlers were busy sorting colored pasta. I have two different tri-color pastas so they can end up with three or six piles.



In the library the rest of the older children had scattered out our animal picture/fact cards. I've had these cards since my oldest children were toddlers. One night, when I was hugely pregnant with baby number four, I organized all the cards perfectly before finally going to bed at 11 PM. At 1 AM I woke up to the sound of childish giggles and found my 3 year old twins happily throwing the flash cards all over their bedroom. I was so upset I went into labor. True story.



Moving along through the orphanage I saw the babies in the playroom with Jane. A new nanny, we have been quite impressed with how well she is doing. Here she is pretending to make a phone call with Leah.



In the next section of the playroom was the rest of the toddler group playing with Duplos. Michael was doing more throwing than building, but he'll learn.



In the final playroom section I found the preschool group stringing pony beads on shoelaces. Later they wore (for a short time) the necklaces and bracelets they made.


Heading back up to my house I discovered a tag-along. Peter decided he wanted to hang out with me, so while I worked on the computer (and watched Junior MasterChef Australia) he colored and chatted away.

What do you like to do on a rainy day?

*Also, what are you reading right now? I'm currently reading Call the Midwife--Farewell to the East End (book 3) and Call the Midwife (the companion book to seasons one and two) and The Shining (a spooky read for October), and In Search of Lucy.


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Remember that you can get a jump start on your Christmas shopping by visiting our Ebay shop. Aside from crossing items off your list, you'll know you are helping us all here at Kazembe Orphanage!


Exactly One Year Ago: Their First Shakedown
Exactly Two Years Ago: The Tablecloth Looked Delicious
Exactly Three Years Ago: Your Questions Answered 
Exactly Four Years Ago: Munda Wanga



Almost Like Empty Nesters

I couldn't post Friday or yesterday (so many power cuts), so you get two posts today.

This week we had a few goodbyes.



First, on Wednesday we saw Troy off to camp. This is a first for him. It was quite an experience going over the packing list and making sure we had everything on it.

A very nice missionary family in Lusaka offered to host him before and after the camp since his bus gets in at such an odd hour. He arrived in Lusaka at 3 in the morning and then sat on the bus until daylight so he could catch a taxi to our friends' house. 
It's quite a leap of faith to send your teenage son across the country. We had to give him special instructions since we have been waiting for our new visa book for a year. It's been approved, but we haven't got the actual book. This means that according to our passports we have no visa. We just prayed no one would cause trouble for Troy in the middle of the night. He was fine. 




Our next goodbye was to Brent and Sarah who are traveling back to the States for the Holidays and to do some fundraising for support so they can, God willing, come back next year to teach again. We will definitely miss their hard work with the children. 

The kids will miss them as well. Poor little Nathan and Denny had big tears rolling down their faces as Brent and Sarah rode out the gate down to the bus.

We're hoping to welcome a new teacher very soon to fill in the gap. Please pray for this.




For the first time in a long time, Tom and I have been 'alone'. It's been a very interesting experience. With only the two of us for dinner  I had a chance to cook gourmet. I'm addicted to MasterChef Australia (even the Junior version) and have wanted to try some of the tricks and now I could. Above that is Beef Roast with a Soy Sauce and Onion reduction served with a Cauliflower & Carrot puree and sliced tomatoes with Basil Vinaigrette. Tom's plate also has homemade whole wheat bread.

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Looking for a chance to get a jump on your Christmas shopping?

We have the perfect place!

Visit Grandma's Home Store and buy African items from right here in Zambia that will benefit Kazembe Orphanage.





Our coffee mugs and calendars are available for a short time only. The calendar goes all the way through May of next year, so it works with the school year.

There are also hobo bags (AKA book bags)--very popular wiith high school students, and all sorts of interesting knick knacks.




Exactly Three Years Ago: A Little of This and That

Exactly One Year Ago: Baby Updates

Monday, October 14, 2013

Another Birthday!

Our first ever newborn is most definitely not a baby anymore. She is officially a school-age child and has grown up so fast.

You can read her story here: Moriah Memory


Happy Fifth Birthday, Moriah!


We just got word that there is a two-week old baby, in the village, who just lost its mother to HIV. We haven't yet heard from the family, but we hope that if they do need our help that they come sooner rather than later. Pray for the baby either way.


Exactly Two Years Ago: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? (Naomi just turned two! Where does the time go??)
Exactly Three Years Ago: African Travel Truths
Exactly Four Years Ago: Pardon Me This Moment (another baby post--'tis the season)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Birthday Boys

We've entered the birthday season here at Kazembe Orphanage.

We had 4 birthdays in August, and one in September.

Because of all we had going on we just now got around to having a birthday party for those five boys, Joseph (2), Peter (4), Denny (4), Johnny (8), and Elias (9).

Here are a couple of the pictures:



Peter is always ready to smile for the camera!

And speaking of mugging for the camera:


Tom kept photobombing during the party.

In the pictures the frosting looks lovely, fluffy and yellow. But, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I was super pressed for time and ended up baking the cake just an hour or two before the party. There wasn't time for it to cool down in order to have buttercream frosting. I quickly whipped up a batch of cooked custard and spread that over the cake. It was warm and yummy. 

Tom even said, "Hey! I think this is better than my birthday cake!" Which means I shouldn't have spent so many hours carefully crafting his. ha ha.

This month we have nine birthdays. November has two. For those keeping track, that is 16 birthdays in four months. The other 12 are spread over the remaining 8 months.

I teased the nannies that the reason for this is that 9 months ago it was rainy season and planting was all done. People got bored.

Somehow they weren't amused.....

I chuckled anyway. 'Cause I'm mature that way.



Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Weekend in Pictures

My Saturday was off to a flying start when I was awakened (I rest extra long on Saturday mornings) to the news that Jack had been hit in the head by a swing and had a large cut. Sure enough it was over an inch long and quite deep.
After bandaging his head with gauze to protect from the dusty road, I sent him off to the clinic with a nanny and that was that.



However, four hours Jack and his nanny returned with a fresh bandage, but no stitches. "They didn't have the supplies they needed", she said. But! They did send him home with antibiotics. Of course! I was so angry I was shaking and had to lie down. I made a phone call, tracked down a doctor (making sure he had anesthetics and suture materials) and took Jack and nanny back down.

I was told that we had to bring our own gloves. And then when we got there we were told we had to provide our own razor blades so his head could be shaved a bit. Fridah ran to the market for some blades and we were ready.

I'm just grateful we didn't have to come up with needle and thread--it's happened before!



Jack did amazingly well as three stitches were quickly put in. I let him play on the tablet and the colorful shapes helped to distract him. He did push the doctor's hand away after the first two stitches, saying he was all done.

I'm sure it won't surprise you that I had to ask for the third stitch. There was a gaping hole at the bottom of the wound but the doctor was putting everything away as if he were done. When I asked if he was only going to do two stitches, he said yes, but seeing the look on my face quickly amended to: "I can do another if you like!" Ummm, yes, please.

He was also released from the clinic without any bandaging at all (see the first picture), so I'm taking care of the wound myself.



The next morning as I walked around checking on things, I noticed a mama goat suffering and crying. I first thought she had broken her leg as she seemed to be struggling to stand, but then I noticed something that changed my mind.
A few minutes later, this little guy (or gal) dropped out.

I know understand why some people turn a little green around the topic of childbirth. I'll deal with open wounds and childbirth in humans any day of the week. I am decidedly not cut out to be a veterinarian!




Tom was invited to lead communion, or The Lord's Supper for one of the village churches today. At eight this morning he asked me to bake the communion bread. And, by the way, it needs to be done by 10. I had a recipe saved from the last time he led this type of service so I pulled it out and multiplied by four in order to have enough for up to 150 people. That is about 5 pounds worth of flour there! It weighed a ton as I kneaded it by hand. My biceps are sore!



The finished product all ready to go.



There were about 80 people in attendance. It was a very good service and they were thankful for Tom's help. Brent and Sarah accompanied him so they could see how this church operates.



Meanwhile, Troy and I led Children's Church. I pulled all the kids into action by having them come to the front and be different characters from the Bible. I would then ask the rest of the kids about this person. We're going through the Jesus Storybook Bible for the second time and are up to Joseph, so we only used characters leading up to that.
Above we have Abraham, Sarah and baby Isaac. (forgive the blurriness, it was hard to hold a wriggling baby)


Here you can see Jacob and his two wives. I'm glad the kids didn't remember that one of the wives was supposed to be ugly and call out this fact. That would have been awkward.

I was surprised by how much the kids enjoyed this little review. They love pretending and seeing the peers pretend as well.


In the midst of all this I baked three loaves of bread in the sun ovens and also made some banana bread. It's been a busy, busy weekend.

How is your weekend shaping up?

(Almost) Exactly One Year Ago: Signs of Summer (weird that this year we have rain already)
(Almost) Exactly Two Years Ago: Joy in the Morning
Exactly Three Years Ago: Physician, Heal Thyself

Friday, October 4, 2013

Flashback Friday-- People Still Do That??

Earlier this year I traveled to Kansas to visit a small town and do some speaking at a few different venues. This town is one of my favorite stops on my fundraising tours. I won't mention the name for a reason which will become obvious later.

I had to fly into a city nearby on a teeny-tiny plane. I surprised myself by not freaking out and though I was extremely nervous--I could see the pilots and wondered why they kept referring to their manuals (Don't they have this down by now?!?)--I survived. Whew!

My sweet friend and her daughter picked me up from the itty-bitty airport and we drove to the next town. On the way she told me that the arrangements for my lodging had changed a bit as my hosts (wonderful farmers that had hosted me the previous year as well, and become friends) had to attend a sudden funeral and would therefore not be at home after the first night.

Hospitable people that they were, they offered their home up still. They said I was free to stay there for the three nights I'd be in town. Even their pickup truck was available should I need it. Like I said, wonderful people!

The surprise for me came when they showed me around and did not leave house keys for me. Apparently the doors remain unlocked all the time! Say what?? 

I'm all for small town innocence and love the idea that everyone is looking after one another, but after all these years in Africa where we have gates, and walls, and padlocks, it's a little daunting.

Since I was staying in the basement guestroom, I asked if it would be alright if I locked the doors at night. They chuckled, but said that was fine.

I loved the wide open spaces that evening as I rested in the living room with wrap around windows that showed off the Kansas sky at its finest. 

However, when bedtime came, I walked around and locked each and every door. 

The next morning I woke up so well-rested, it was a delightful feeling. 

When I got upstairs I noticed that the driveway was empty. There had been a pickup parked there. Where had it gone?? My hosts had told me that they leave the keys in it cause, "if someone wants badly enough to steal it, at least they don't have to break in". 
Now the truck was missing! My first day alone at their house and I'd allowed their truck to be stolen!

I did not look forward to explaining this to my friend who was coming over to collect me for that day's speaking engagements. 
 
As I got things together for my breakfast I heard the garage door handle rattling. I hurried over to open it and found the farm hired hand looking at the door with a bewildered look on his face. "The door was locked", he muttered as he handed me that day's mail. I apologized for my silly insecurities. "Oh, by the way", he mentioned in passing, "it looked like a storm so we moved the truck". Oh thank heavens!! I didn't lose it!

I'm so glad that small towns like that still exist in the world. It's just a little too stressful for me.


Exactly One Year Ago: The Joys of Teaching & Knowledge


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