Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Our Christmas Card is done!

Merry Xmas 2010 Christmas 5x7 folded card
Shop Shutterfly.com for elegant Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

What an experience! Living out in the bush made it much harder to do this card because of our uncertain internet but it is done!
Making a card with Shutterfly was actually really nice. They had so many choices of design it was easy to find one that looked like a Christmas card but didn't cover up those precious little faces. I also didn't want to pick one that looked too Christmassy if you know what I mean--icicles and snowflakes don't really mesh with our African setting for the photo.

Taking the picture was probably the hardest part. We had a volunteer with us who took lovely photos and he took hundreds (maybe scores or dozens) of photos while I jumped around like a looney trying to get the kids to look in the same direction (poor Jack didn't get the memo) and stay in the right place. What a job! I'm pretty happy with how the photo turned out considering it has 17 children in it.

Shutterfly has the option to mail out your cards directly but that would mean I'd have to enter all the addresses and I wasn't that organized this year. I'm having them sent to my address in the U.S and my college kids (thank God for school break!) will be addressing and mailing them out.
I love getting Christmas cards in the mail. If you send me one, I will send you a uniquely African card. It won't be a Christmas card but it will be something you might even want to put in a small frame.  Here's my address: P.O Box 750007, Kazembe, Luapula, Zambia (no zip code needed)

How far have you gotten on your Christmas cards

Exactly One Year Ago: Village Entertainment

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Have No Words

And yet I'll probably write anyway. It's the only way to get through things sometimes. 

I had such hope for Sara. She had been well cared for by her family. I could tell by the sweet clothes that she was dressed in and the real diaper (not a scrap of cloth) wrapped around her carefully powdered bottom. She did have a fever and a cough but I was confident we could clear it up. Even being told it was pneumonia didn't dampen my hopes. We had good antibiotics. Oxygen was standing by which made me feel much better.
But then she failed to get better after the first round of meds. Then we found out she had HIV. We've had so few good results in children with HIV. I admit my faith took a hit the day we got the test result. But still, we were on top of it. Sara was covered by two antibiotics, not too mention covered with prayers from all over the world....

I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me that people everywhere are in our corner, bringing us before God's throne in prayer.

When Sara took a turn for the worse and I could see it, one of the things I thought right away was how I hated that we might disappoint all those who had been praying. "What if this discourages their faith", I thought. And in a still, small voice, God patiently reminded me that He was big enough to take care of His own reputation.

Every time we've lost a child it has been difficult in its own way. This loss was hard because we did everything right.--Not that we made mistakes with the others but now we have such a well set up clinic. But all the medicines, equipment and round the clock care didn't make a difference. I had such hope for Sara's recovery. But I guess if all it took was good drugs and medical equipment then no one in the first world would ever die. 

God has a time and place for everything and everyone. It kills me to not know His plans. I love to be in control and it is incredibly hard to give it all over to God. If only I could wrest control and make things work by sheer desire and effort. But then who would get the glory? Only God is worthy of honor and praise and I have to believe that with all my heart. 

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.

Thank you for your wonderful words of love and encouragement these last two days. I've been so blessed. I will be writing more about our work with the children and Sara's story in particular on Wednesday, World AIDS Day. Please join me then.

Exactly One Year Ago: Queenie (Meet one of our children)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Heart Just Broke a Little More

Baby Sara lost her fight with pneumonia this afternoon. For the past couple days we felt she was not responding well to the antibiotics but there didn't seem to be much else we could do. We did use our oxygen machine (she hated that!), and also pulled out every natural remedy we could find. 

Today, around noon, she took a turn for the worse and really began to struggle to breathe. When I saw how she didn't even fight the oxygen anymore, my heart sank. Our sweet volunteer, Summer, took turns with me holding Sara and loving on her. Summer was holding her as she took her last breath.

I have so many words right now swirling around in my brain. I'm going to go to bed (is it wrong that I'm looking forward to sleeping through the night?) and I'll write more tomorrow.

Thank you for continuing to pray and I will see you tomorrow. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to know that you are on the other side of my computer screen. I love you all!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

You Know You're In Africa When.....

Wednesday night there was a big rain and we were inundated with flying bugs. It was nearly impossible to do a normal evening activity like eat dinner or watch TV because bugs kept landing on us and crawling all over and getting tangled in our hair. Yuck!

While we were watching a program on TV, our volunteer got a phone call from the night nanny saying there was a snake down in the corridor. Tom and Timmy ran to get it carrying the snake handlers with them. A short time later they came back with the snake. It was a stilleto! A very poisonous and sneaky snake. There is no anti-venom for this snake and to make it worse, it can bite backward as well as forward. That is how it earned a spot on my 'Things That Have Bit Tom' list on the sidebar last year. Tom was holding it the 'right' way and the snake's fang pointed backward and pierced Tom's finger. Thankfully, it was a dry (no venom) bite.
This time, Tom was very careful in handling it and secured it inside a jar for scientific purposes.

Later that night he told me how he had scared some neighborhood children who were hanging out on our front porch collecting bugs. They were talking loudly and waking the babies up and didn't move along even when asked nicely by our staff. So, Tom crept up to the door, threw it open and yelled loudly. The kids screeched, screamed and ran in all directions leaving their shoes behind in their haste. Tom scooped up the shoes and hid them in the house to teach the kids a lesson.

That night it seemed like the entire village was surrounding our property. Because our security lights are bright and along the fence line it is the perfect place to find bugs. All night long people were laughing, chattering and shouting as they gathered the bounty that lay on the ground. See, these bugs are flying termites. They come out after a big rain, swarm around in the evening and then lose their wings and spend the next two days or so crawling around on the ground. 
No amount of shouting would make them (the people) go away. I even turned off the lights to see if they'd get discouraged and go home. No such luck. I was up most of that night with Sara and our poor dog was going crazy wanting to get out and chase everyone. 
What a night!

When I opened the door in the morning to admit the staff, they were so excited and eager to collect the bugs that lay all over the ground. I had to insist that they still do their regular jobs and that the kids could do the bug collecting as a game and then the termites could be divided fairly among all the staff members.

Later that day they fried up the termites for lunch. Wanna see?

 I really don't think you could pay me to eat those. Well, I guess it would depend on how much....

I hope this picture hasn't taken away your appetite. I know many of you have a fridge full of leftovers from your Thanksgiving feast. If seeing these bugs has caused you to never want to eat again, feel free to box up the food you have left and send it to the starving missionaries children in Africa.

We're eating our Thanksgiving dinner in about 3 hours. Can't wait!

Exactly One Year Ago: Fab Friday Foto

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I would have liked to have done a nice post listing all I'm thankful for but we have a lot going on right now. Please continue to pray for Sara and have a wonderful weekend all of you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Life is Like a Rollercoaster

Did I ever mention I'm not a fan of thrill rides? It's true. The very rare times I've ever been to an amusement park and been forced to ride a coaster, I've been so sure of my imminent demise that I confessed all my sins: past, present and future. Not what I think of as fun.

But, life here is exactly like a rollercoaster--a series of ups and downs, twists and turns. I never know what is coming around the bend. 

Today the 'take my breath away' dip is that Sara has once again been diagnosed with pneumonia. Whether the first medical officer missed some when he declared her lungs clear or if she has just succumbed to the virus again is unclear. We also had her tested for HIV and the rapid test (tests for antibodies) showed a positive result. What this means is that Sara's mother was definitely HIV positive. We also did a Dry Blood Test but the results for that will take weeks. We are handling getting the test down to Lusaka ourselves. Otherwise we would have to wait 3 months for results.

For now, Sara is back on injections--4 times a day this time, and also another oral antibiotic. The poor baby is breathing so rapidly and is very miserable. I've been holding her on my chest as much as possible so she feels loved and cared for. 

We're grateful that she is continuing to eat and gain weight. That will surely help her to fight off the infection. I just don't know how much more her poor little body can take. She has been fighting so hard for the past 3 weeks as well as long before we ever took her.

Pray for her to recover completely. Pray for God's will in her little life. Pray for me too, please. I really, really want to have a good result. I won't say that I couldn't stand it if she died because if that were the case God wouldn't ask it of me.....but I really would struggle if she lost hers.

Life is like a rollercoaster and I'm hoping desperately for an upward climb. For now, I'm going to have to buckle in tight and trust the architect of the ride.

Exactly One Year Ago: An Adventure of the Highest Order

P.S. We'll be celebrating our Thanksgiving on Saturday again this year. We just have so much going on and still have to buy the groceries. We've invited two other couples over so that will be nice.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday's This and That

I have exciting news! I have now lost 10 pounds! I'll pause for a second while you take in this earthshattering news. OK, so it's not that exciting but it is progress AND I'm one pound ahead of schedule. Tom and I have been competing and we are exactly at the same point in the race. Normally I don't think it's a good idea for men and women to compete in the weight loss arena because of the difference in metabolism and muscle mass, blah blah blah. But, right now it's working for us and I'm happy. 
This may change in a week or two and if so, I'll be back to say how right I was, but for now, YAY!

I got back on the figurative horse and went for a walk this morning. This was my first time out on that road since the unfortunate event. Saturday was my day off, Sunday I did yoga instead and Monday I was SORE from the yoga. 

As I walked, every single twig got a good look from me and I was careful to pay attention the whole time. I did have a funny experience today while walking: When I started my walk, there was a woman about 100 yards ahead of me on the road walking in the same direction. Because I was walking more quickly than she was I caught up with her eventually. I said good morning and she asked me where I was going. (At least that is what it sounded like--my Bemba is nowhere near fluent). I told her I was walking "up there and then back" and said I was "exercising". Exercising is a fairly novel concept here but she nodded her head in recognition and I kept on walking. 
As I walked briskly I could feel her just behind me. I was surprised because she had been walking much slower previously. Then I realized that she was trotting every so often in order to keep up with me. I felt bad that she was trying to keep up and wasn't sure what the protocol was. If I slowed down, I wouldn't meet my goals, and even if I decided to do that, we couldn't really converse. It was kinda awkward. 
I eventually settled on on the path of least resistance and that was to pretend I had no idea she was there. I stared straight ahead and kept walking. She stayed pretty much the same distance behind me--about 4-5 feet--by walking and then running with her flip-flops making a slapping noise each time.
Thankfully it was less than ten minutes to my turn around point and as I passed her I said "Mwende Bweno" (Go Well) and she smiled and walked on as if we hadn't been having a weird race of sorts.

Today I shaved 2 minutes off my usual time for completing 3.1 miles. I'm very happy! and I didn't see any snakes so all in all, an excellent day!

Exactly One Year Ago: How I Lost NaBloPoMo Last Year--Long post but interesting.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Carbohydrate Heaven

This weekend our gas reserves were really low so I decided to try out English Muffins so I wouldn't have to use the oven.

I got this recipe from a missionary friend years ago. She actually gave it to us as part of a bribe. She wanted Tom's Chili recipe and so she sent over a chocolate cake and a recipe for English Muffins. It worked! Tom finally gave up his secret recipe with the condition that she also keep it a secret.
For over four years this piece of paper has sat in my recipes folder. It has been there so long that the corner is missing from it with part of the instructions. Ooops.

I was really pleased with how they turned out. The process was a bit long. The dough had to rise for one and a half hours and then rest 15 minutes and then rise again for 45 minutes. In order to serve these for brunch I really had to hustle in the morning.

It was completely worth it though. I've been dreaming of English Muffins for years and I finally made them. I think they can be made in the oven or on a skillet or griddle. I'm still dreaming of owning a cast iron griddle because it will make my life so much easier.

My families feedback was mixed. Tom absolutely loved them! He raved about how it was just like store bought and brought back good memories. My kids were disappointed because in their words: "When we wake up on Sunday morning we want to know that our mom has made us something sweet for breakfast." I asked them if it would have been better if I had prepared eggs and bacon also and they said yes. I'm thinking I may be spoiling them.....what do you think?

Anyway, here is the recipe:
English Muffins

Makes 18 muffins
Heat in a saucepan until very warm:
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup margerine
In large mixer bowl, combine:
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt 
1 pkg. dry yeast (@ 1 Tbsp.)
1 1/2 cups flour
Optional: 1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon and 1/2 cup of raisins

With mixer at low speed, gradually beat liquid into dry ingredients. Increase speed and beat 2 minutes.
Beat in:
1 egg
1 cup flour
With spoon, add:
2 cups flour, or enough to make a stiff dough
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead just until well mixed, about 2 minutes.
Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased large bowl, turning once.
Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled--about 1 1/2 hours. 
Punch down.
Turn onto lightly floured surface; cover with bowl and let dough rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, place cornmeal in a pie plate.
Roll dough about 3/8" thick. Cut dough into 3" circles; reroll scraps to make 18 circles in all.
Dip both sides of circle in cornmeal.
Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled--about 45 minutes.
Brush large skillet with salad oil and heat. When medium hot, put in 6 muffins. Cook for about 10 minutes on each side or until dark brown. Adjust the heat so they can cook long enough without burning.

I love the look of bread dough--so squishy!
I also finished the Sourdough bread yesterday. By the late afternoon we figured out we had enough gas to run the oven for an hour to bake bread. I was a little disappointed because I was hoping for sour sourdough bread but this bread still came out really nice. It was very light.

This was the smallest of three loaves. The others were a traditional shape.
I haven't decided it I want to do this again because it seems like a lot of time invested in 3 loaves of bread but I may have messed up the instructions also so if I make it again, I'll let you know.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sundays in My City--It's Raining and Pouring

This was the scene from my front porch yesterday. After months with no rain (normal dry season) I'm so excited and happy to finally see rain. I grew up in areas with monsoons and there is something about rain that makes me really happy. I'm sure part of that is because I've mostly lived in areas where it rains and pours and then the sun comes out and you're not really housebound and the sky does brighten up between storms.

We live on a hillside so water comes rushing down the hill and has taken down one or two of our walls from time to time. Now, Tom makes sure the drainage ditches are dug  and cleared well before the rains start. Even so, I'm always amazed how quickly the rivers of water disappear after a storm like this one.

Before moving to Africa I loved thunderstorms.--The bigger the better. My friend (who spent time in Pakistan and gets my love of the subcontinent) also enjoys storms. We would call each other when it started to rain and storm, "It's raining!" "I know! I just heard a huge clap of thunder!" 

Now, since moving to Africa, I sing a different tune. If power gets knocked out by a storm it will be hours if not days before it's restored. Now when there is a storm, we have to turn off all our electronic devices because we've lost some expensive equipment from lightning strikes.
It sucks being a grown up at times.

Still, even knowing that a simple thunderstorm could bring a small disaster with it, I enjoy watching the rain fall. The smell of rain on the wind, the freshness that follows a storm. It's wonderful to me.

What about you? Are you a fan of rain or does rain in your neck of the woods mean gray skies and dreary weather?

Unknown Mami

This post is submitted as part of Unknown Mami's Sunday World Tour. Go take a peek.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Less Than 40 days to Go!

It's that time of year again. Time to plan the Thanksgiving menu but at the same time, Christmas is creeping 'round the corner and we have to start thinking about decorations, and cards, and gifts. 
I'm fighting off my family at this point because they want to decorate NOW! I personally think that the evening of Thanksgiving is plenty early. 

One of the challenges with living overseas is that when we buy and mail Christmas cards we have to allow extra time for the cards to reach their destination. Since there isn't a good selection of cards out in our corner of the bush, mailing cards requires that much more forethought. 

Thankfully, this year I've discovered Shutterfly! I may be the last one in the world to discover their wonderful service but that wouldn't be anything new. JohnnyComeLately is a good name for me.

I like that you can order a card that benefits charity. Heifer International is a good one that provides farm animals to needy families. This card is cute--although too small for 17 children.

I'm leaning toward cards like this one that provide a large photo space. We're gonna need it!

I'm loving this one. I haven't decided if I want to do a sepia tone on the photo or leave it colorful. What would you do if you were photographing 17 kids at one time?

Shutterfly even has calendars. The neat thing is that they make them with 18 months as well. That means I could fit all the kids on there. Last year when we made a calendar we doubled the kids up on one or two months. Now we have even more kids!

This is the picture we took last year and sent out online placing just a Christmas frame around it. I'm excited that this year we'll get to send an actual card to those who have helped to make this home for children possible.

In exchange for writing this post I will receive 50 free cards from Shutterfly. This promotion is open to any and all bloggers.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Life Flashed

Today I nearly died when I stepped on a snake.

Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic but I didn't stick around to see if the snake was dangerous enough to kill me.

I've been walking this same exact route for 2 years now and have skittered and jumped my way over twigs many many times--every single time thinking it was a snake. 

This time there was a bright green snake in the middle of the sandy road and I stepped right on it!

Who does that?

I blame my staff. I got a call that they were fighting about procedures at the orphanage. I was distracted for that small moment and bam!

The health department came out to spray for mosquitoes (against them, really) since we are at the beginning of the rainy season.

My nannies and manager were confused about the procedures involved with the spraying of the rooms where the kids sleep and got into a shouting match. Nice.

After arriving back home and sorting them out--kinda--I went inside to share my snake story with one of our volunteers. One thing led to another and we were comparing bug stories and I then brought up a cockroach story where German cockroaches were involved. As the words left my mouth I remembered that this volunteer is German. Awkward!
I did some research and found out that there is an American cockroach as well. I never knew that. I also found out that in Germany they call the cockroaches Russian cockroaches. 
OK, that's enough talk about bugs. I'm officially creeped out now.

That's been my day so far. How is your Friday going?

Exactly One Year Ago (Yesterday): A Hot Potato Tip For You (ha ha)

In other news: I reached the 100 followers mark! "I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!" Thanks, guys for making my day!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Page in My Life

No, I haven't made any big changes or life altering decisions. I've merely added a new page to this blog. It was sorely needed. All this time I haven't had a page describing me and who I am. Now it is there and I feel nervous. Like I just stepped onto a catwalk in my underclothing. Would you do a big favor for me and click on that tab that says About Me and let me know what you think?
You can also click on this link. About Me

Did I say enough? What should I add or take away? Please, be brutally honest. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It Wasn't Me!

First of all, let me preface this story by saying I'm not a fan of stealing. I think I made that very clear when covering our first 'child criminal' story
Having said that, so many many times in the adventure that is my life, if I don't laugh I'll cry--and I'd much rather laugh.

Now, on with the story:

We have a new lady working in the kitchen. Her responsibilities are to wash dishes (no dishwasher in these parts), keep the kitchen clean, prepare food for the kids and staff, and just do what needs to be done.

A few weeks ago we had bought Halloween candy and it was stored in our large pantry. All the bags of variety candy should have been closed but the monkey had gotten into the pantry and ripped one of the bags open.
The next day, Tom mentioned to me that he thought the kitchen lady might have been snitching some candy because he had walked into the pantry while she was tidying up and she jumped in fright and her hands crinkled as if concealing candy wrappers. She was cleaning a shelf on the other side of the pantry from where the candy was stored and there was nothing around that could have made that sound.
There wasn't an opportunity to talk with her that day and then I forgot about it. That is until two days later when I returned with the weekly shopping (including more candy) and saw the opened bag of candy in the pantry. There was obviously more missing than just one piece which the monkey made off with and so I casually asked the kitchen lady if she had perhaps taken a piece or two. 

Her response was classic:
"No, I didn't take any. In fact, that day that Mr. Morrow came into the pantry I was cleaning the other shelf."

Note that I had said nothing at all about Tom.
I didn't laugh right then but afterward Tom and I had a really good chuckle. Stealing is not only universal but so is trying (however ineffectually) to cover it up.

Sadly, there was nothing I could do right then. This lady seems to have a deception problem since she's been involved in a couple other incidents but we're trying to have faith that she will learn and gain some maturity.

Related Reading: I Thought I'd Seen Everything 
(The woman in this link is a different one from the story above. We just seem to attract crazy kitchen women.....)

Exactly One Year Ago: Mayflies and....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Drama, Drama, Drama

I missed out on posting yesterday because we had no power all day. The day before it was on and off. Publishing Sunday's post and linking it up to the blog carnival and then leaving a comment on that website took hours and three separate times because the power kept going out.
So, I've officiallly lost out on NaBloPoMo again this year. I lost last year for the very same reason. I could have pre-published scheduled posts but Blogger has been so unpredictable this past month or two--sometimes not publishing on time or other times publishing all my scheduled posts at once (with correct dates attached no less) so I was hesitant to use that feature. The way I look at it, Google owes me a prize.

Friday evening we had a bunch of drama with our staff over missing money, privacy invasion, borrowed (without asking) items, accusations flying everywhere, tears flowing, etc. 
Because we've been incredibly short staffed with people taking vacation or sick days having this little drama, with one lady threatening to quit, caused me no end of grief. And, sadly, one of the prominent thoughts in my mind was how it was going to affect my day off. I try to have Saturday as my day off where I can pull away and get a bit of a break.
  Sure enough, I was pulled out of bed in the morning for a meeting. I know this is one of the drawbacks of being an administrator but it is still hard.

There isn't really a funny side to theft but I have a story to tell you that still makes me chuckle. I'll share that tomorrow.

On the good news side: Sara has been declared pneumonia free. We're still keeping her on an antibiotic temporarily for a couple weeks to keep her safe from infection.

Exactly One Year Ago: Miscellaneous Musings

Exactly One Year Ago (Yesterday): Chola 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sundays in My City--Kickball

This week my big kids taught my little kids how to play kickball.

I'm grateful we have a large property with plenty of room for the kids to run around.

We used chairs as bases so the kids could get the concept of stopping at each base.

Theresa (4 years) did very well. She played the game with a huge grin on her face.

Just a tiny kick. Better run, Theresa!

Safe on her chair!

Some of the kids got very comfortable and like all beginning players tended to get distracted when on the bases. This is Chola.

Here is Queenie with a big kick.

And she's off!

Troy crouching into position--trying to get an out.

And it's back to pitching

Aside from a few tears and frustrations, the kids picked up on the game quite well. They got plenty of exercise and are learning important team playing lessons as well as getting coordinated. I'm really proud of my big kids for organizing this game.

Join me as I travel the world blog-style via Unknown Mami's Sundays in My City Carnival.

Unknown Mami

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Think God Loves Me

A couple weeks ago I discovered a new website: Kitchen Belleicious. I've really been enjoying looking over her recipes and trying new things.

A recipe I was most excited to find was one for Sourdough bread. I love, love, love Sourdough bread!!! Now, that I think about it it's probably not a good idea for me to have in the house. Hmmm....

Anyway, I was so happy to find this new recipe and was eager to try it out. 

One problem......it needed instant mashed potato flakes. Oh, dear. There are none of those to be found in my little grocery store. I determined to try the more expensive stores on our next trip to Lusaka.

This week we got some guests. We all have mutual friends in Lusaka and those Lusaka friends sent up a box of assorted groceries for us that they had collected from a store in Lusaka. The store distributes soon to expire goods to orphanages. 

I'm sure you can guess what was in that box.

You got it!

Instant Mashed Potatoes!!!

I don't know if it will work the same as flakes but I'm gonna try it. I will let you know....

So, this is my science experiment. I started it Thursday night and left it out overnight and now it has to stay in the fridge for 3 days and then be fed, left out for 12 hours, back in the fridge to sleep for 3 days, get fed again and then have playtime on the counter for 12 hours. 
Why on earth I thought I could handle feeding yet another thing on schedule I have no idea.

I very well might be mad.

But at least I know I'm loved!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fab Friday Foto(s) XXVI

Baby Sara in the arms of our volunteer, Ester. It is wonderful to have extra hands to give Sara the cuddles she needs.
Please continue to pray for Sara as her lungs are still very congested and her breathing rate is elevated. Thankfully, she is eating fairly well (though not quite as much as she should) and sleeping well.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Paradox

We're gonna take a break from Africa and Orphans for a side trip into Amy's Brain. Hang on!

Last  week one of my friends posted this quote on her Facebook status:

"Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart." - Erma Bombeck

I liked the sound of that. Life is too short too count calories, isn't it?

 But then, later that very day I happened upon Speed on TV. I saw this movie years ago but since I have the memory of a sieve I thought I'd watch again for a few minutes. I don't want to give anything away in case you haven't watched it yet, but in the very beginning of the movie a rescue took place. It involved people being pulled out of a small area. I thought how embarrassing it would be for me if I were in a situation where I had to be rescued but I was so heavy or out of shape that it was impossible. 

 I read an article some time last year about how our health goals should have more to do with getting healthy than being a perfect size. The author challenged everyone to think about whether they'd be able to rescue a child from a burning building or run far enough to get out of dangerous situation.

I think I fall somewhere in the middle of these two. I definitely want to be healthier so I can be around a long time and that I am fit enough to look after myself, but I don't want to obsess over calorie watching and miss out on the fun that can be had in life.

 So, what do you think? What is your take on this paradox?  

Exactly One Year Ago:
Extending the Table (in reading over this again I've realized I promised to share some of my favorite recipes and haven't kept my word. No promises this time but I'll try to do better in this area.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Excitement All Over the Web

I'm so excited! I have done a guest post for the very first time ever! Mimi over at Screaming Mimi invited me to write about our orphanage and also our Christmas Project. I wrote about when we first received Johnny who has actually spurred this whole thing on. I think you'll enjoy reading it. Head on over. I'll be here when you get back.

We have some volunteers helping us over these next few weeks. One of the projects I have them working on is inventorying our library and getting it up online. We're using Library Thing as our base for it. What I like about this website is it is incredibly easy to add books and then others can peek in and look at what we have in our library and what we might still need. Our library name is KazembeOrphanage.
Wanna know a secret? I'm a little jealous that these volunteers get to spend all day inputting data and handling books. One of my dream jobs would have been to be a librarian. I'm really glad it's getting done now though.

Sherry over at Semicolon is holding a book drive for us and has a list of books on her blog that she thinks we could use in our library. I'm excited just reading the titles. She has Amazon links for each book so people can purchase a book and then have the book sent to her. The money she receives from the affiliate program helps her to pay for shipping the books to us in Africa. Go check it out!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

San Diego Has Nothing On Us

It seems like every time I turn around there's a new creature at our home. If it's not a crocodile, it's a vervet monkey or a new snake or a pangolin

And now, we have an African Striped Weasel living in our washroom. 

Its coloring is like a skunk. It does give off a skunk like odor at times as well--though not quite as bad, thank goodness.

Weasels are nocturnal and solitary animals. This weasel sleeps away most of the day in a bird cage in the washroom. Tom hopes to soon build a habitat for him (or her?) with a tunnel that we can uncover and view through glass while the little guy (gal?) sleeps.

It looks cute enough. All stripy and furry. It's pretty small as well. Not much over a foot in length.

But don't let it fool you. This weasel is actually pretty vicious. Tom feeds him rats and it is a terrible thing to watch him tear apart and devour the rodent.

 I wonder how long it will be before this animal joins the infamous list of 'Things That Have Bitten Tom' over there on my sidebar.

Exactly One Year Ago: Blinded By The Dark


Monday, November 8, 2010

Missionary Monday

Many people have asked for an update to the prayer request we wrote about a couple weeks ago. As it stands now, not much has changed but things are quiet. We did completely close down our boat project and removed the wood for the new house, the pier and the fencing. The only thing remaining there is the boat and we will be collecting that later this week. 
Tom has, understandably, been pretty depressed about the whole situation. He had poured his heart and soul into developing this tourist attraction and felt (we still do feel) that it would be good for the entire community.

We're hoping to start up the boat project in another place at some time.

We hired a manager on a trial basis and one of his first responsibilities is helping us to reopen communication with the chief. We're hoping he can help to bridge the cultural divide we seem to be facing. Michael (our new manager) is also helping with much of the day to day coordinating with staff and visitors to free Tom and I up for other projects, admin work and our many responsibilities. Please pray that he works out and that we are able to increase our budget to cover his salary. 

I wrote about the new baby we took in on Sunday. Sara is still struggling healthwise. The clinical officer here in the village believes she has developed pneumonia despite frequent applications of Baby Vicks, peppermint oil and taking Amoxycillin. We've now started her on daily injections of a much stronger antibiotic. Please pray that she recovers fully.
In the good news category: Sara gained 300 grams (10 ounces) this week!

I'm so excited about the good response we're getting for our Every Child Needs Their Own Space Christmas project. We're looking forward to presenting the kids with their very own toy boxes so they feel like they are special and unique.
If you are interested in getting on board with this fun project, click the link and then go shopping. We recommend getting the packages in the mail by mid-November as it takes 4-6 weeks for packages to reach our little village.
My mother-in-law brought up a good point. Make sure your boxes weigh less than 4 pounds. It can be cheaper to send two lighter packages rather than one heavy one.
You can also send a donation designated for this project so we can buy the plastic toy boxes here. 
Thank you all for your help with all our projects. We couldn't look after these little ones without you.

Exactly one year ago: Book review of The Noticer

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sundays in My City--The Edition Where I Confuse Myself

Today I'm linking up with Unknown Mami's Sundays in My City. This is normally supposed to have pictures of things going on in my part of the world, but I have no pictures. It's been that kind of day....
Also, I linked up to Elizabeth Esther's Saturday Evening Blog Post today. I shared my African Travel Truths post. Why did I link up to a Saturday Blog party on Sunday. I have no earthly idea. I'm upside down and inside out today.

Yesterday morning as Tom and I were slowly waking (oh, do I love Saturdays) his stomach growled loudly. After I giggled he explained that the reason he was so hungry was because he had dreamed of standing in a long line at the doughnut shop in the mall but by the time he got to the counter they were all out and were only selling meat. He was so disappointed in his dream and of course in real life too.

So, being the wonderful wife that I am (ha ha), I whipped up a batch of homemade doughnuts for breakfast today.
I set the dough to rise, did my 3 mile walk and then came back and fried and glazed the little suckers. 
I could have a picture of the doughnuts but I did that last year and this year I was too distracted.

In related news: I gained back 1.5 pounds this week. I was all set to blame my cycle but Tom had the exact same gain. Weird!
This is where I could have a nice picture of my shrinking belly but sadly neither the picture nor the shrinking belly exists.

This morning as I dropped Sara off at the nursery so I could simultaneously go for my walk and make doughnuts, she began fussing for her bottle. While the nanny prepared the bottle I asked Johnny to rock Sara's chair and sing to her. He did and sang so sweetly the alphabet song and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
This is where I would have a picture inserted of a sweet little child rocking a bitty baby, but the only picture taken was captured and stored in my heart.

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Christmas Comes But Once A Year

Just a quick reminder: Tomorrow is Orphan Sunday. What part will you play in making the world a better place for children. 

I was so excited to get such a positive response when I wrote about what we are going to try to do for the kids for this Christmas. 

For all of you who would like to participate in our Every Child Needs Their Own Space campaign (that was a mouthful....we need a better name) I am posting details below. I'll also be putting up a page this week with ongoing care package needs and ideas along with shipping information.

For the boxes we're looking for items that the kids can play with in their bedrooms for quiet play. Things like action figures, plastic animals, paper dolls (I think they make vinyl ones now...), I Spy books (or similar books that have lots of detailed pictures), toy cars, etc etc.
We have 6 girls and 5 boys who will be receiving these boxes. They are between 3-5 years old.
Things like playdoh, paint sets or other art items would be great to receive but not for this box project. These boxes should be filled with things the kids can pull out and put back easily with no big mess.

Our address here in the village is P.O Box 750007, Kazembe, Luapula, Zambia. (there is no zip code)

We have found that small packages (shoebox or similar) are the easiest to come through. Also, writing a scripture somewhere on the outside of the package helps keep people honest. :)
The plastic, individual plastic boxes themselves will be purchased here in Zambia so if you would rather just donate toward that you can click on the donate button up there in the right-hand corner. Mention in the memo section that you are donating toward the Christmas project.

Thank you so much for taking time to consider helping with this project. We look forward to a really happy Christmas this year!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fab Friday Foto XXVI

My wonderful husband and his not-so-wonderful hobby.  He found this snake in our pantry! I'm so glad it wasn't me that found it. Thankfully, this snake was not poisonous. It is just a run-of-the-mill rat snake. Of course this meant that it was set free in our garden to help keep down the rat population. We may meet again.

Never a dull moment here. Wait till I tell you next week what creature now lives with us. It's crazy!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Your Questions Answered--#4

It's time again for Ask Amy. If you missed the previous Q&As you can find the links below.

Mimi wrote:
I'd love to know more about your orphans & how they come to you. 
 Nearly all of our children have been brought to us at our door. Families who have lost a loved one will bring the newly orphaned child to us. Our intake age limit is 2 years because children below the age of 2 are the most vulnerable. Not getting the right food or care can negatively impact their life permanently.
Setting the age at 2 years and below keeps us from being overwhelmed with all the children who are orphaned in this community. There are hundreds if not thousands of orphans in our area--1 million total in Zambia. That's 10% of the population.

We take in children who are either single or double orphans. This means they have lost either one or both of their parents. Generally, if the child still has a mother, we won't need to take in that  child because the mother can still breastfeed or look after the baby. For those who only have a father, the likelihood of that baby dying is much higher. Also, most men will remarry very quickly after their wife dies (they often already have a mistress standing by) and the new wife usually doesn't want to take on the responsibility of a little baby.

For individual stories of our children and how they came to be with us, you can click on the following link. I've arranged them in order of arrival to our home. I hope to finish this list one day with a post for each child.

Do they get adopted out to locals, or people from other countries, or both. 
 Our vision for the children we look after is that they will grow up with us and eventually go off to college. We are investing in their future and the future of Zambia. There are so many orphans here that local adoption is not so common. If someone has a job and makes a decent living (many times even if they don't and aren't) they will be looking after several of their orphaned relatives and so would not seek out other orphans.
As far as international adoption, it is not very easy to do in Zambia and also, as I stated above, we want to raise children who will grow up and make a real difference right here in their home country.

That is not to say that if someone came to visit the orphanage and had a real connection with one of the children that had no parents at all, we wouldn't consider adoption as an option. We can't say what God's plan might be for each of these children and we are open to all possibilities.

Are most of the HIV infected?
 As of now, only one of our children is HIV positive. We recently tested all of them and were pleasantly surprised to have so many HIV negative children. From their medical histories, the parents' deaths, and the state that some of them came in, we expected much higher positive results. But, God is very very good. 

How many of them do you usually have? 
Because we don't send away any of our children the number just continues to increase. Sadly we have lost some children to illness--they are often brought to us in a really sad state and nothing we can do makes a difference. 
From the time we opened in October 2007 to today November 2010 we have grown to look after seventeen children. If we take in around 5 children per year, we will be looking after 100 children when the first are ready to head off to college. Scary thought! 

Mimi, I hope that answered your questions. 

If anyone else has questions about life in Zambia, our work here, or anything else really, don't hesitate to ask your questions here in comments or send me an email at amymorrowinafricaATgmailDOTcom (replacing the capital letters with symbols).
Exactly one year ago: Wacky Wednesday
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