Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Look What Happens When I Go Away for a Few Days

I went away for ten days and next thing I knew....two new girls had moved into my house. 

That's not as weird as it sounds. Trust me.

The Friday I arrived in Manhattan Timmy told me via Facebook chat that there was a new baby at the orphanage. Gladys was very sick with malaria and needed two separate treatments to kick it. I was (and am) so thankful for Meghan our volunteer who was a tremendous help in taking care of Gladys and worked with the clinic officer to make sure that Gladys got her injections on time and was fed regularly to help her build up her strength.

On Monday, I checked in again via Skype and Tom told me there was a new baby. I informed him that I had received that news from Timmy already, but this was a new new baby he was talking about. A one-week old baby born to a mom with AIDS had been brought to the orphanage on Monday after her mom died.

Gladys is feeling much better, and though her picture doesn't reflect it, she is a very happy little girl. I'll write more about her soon.

Jessie is only two weeks old and is not doing as well. Since her mom, as far as we know, died of AIDS, Jessie's immune system is compromised. She is suffering from thrush and fungal rashes and also has a very poor appetite. She also spits up nearly every feeding. Please pray for her to get an appetite and to begin to hold her food down better. If any of you have ideas for babies with reflux please feel free to share them. Thanks.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sundays in My City--Back on the Horse.....

.......or is it pig?

I arrived back home at the orphanage, Friday morning,and found big changes. Seeing as I had only been away for 10 days to attend my brother's memorial--I was out of the country only 7 days--I was a little surprised. There were two new babies in residence! I'll tell you all about them later.

When I got off that nineteen-hour bus ride the house was empty and quiet. The kids and babies were all going about their daily routines but my portion of the house was deserted because it was shopping day. I unpacked in the peace and quiet and rested a bit. I enjoyed the break from the hustle and bustle that had filled my days recently.

When Tom finally pulled up (extra late) at 7:30 PM he had another new resident for our orphanage. This one didn't need to be wrapped in diapers and blankets but it sure needed a bath.

Meet Pig--name to be decided in the near future.

With all the veggie scraps and leftover plate scrapings and other food waste that we have on such a large property, we really need a pig to help keep up with that.

After a thorough scrubbing from head to hoof, we discovered that Pig wasn't quite as cute as Wilbur but we decided, "That'll do, Pig. That'll do".

We tried composting but it wasn't turning into fertilizer fast enough. With a pig we get instant fertilizer and the garbage disappears. Win Win!

If this photo weren't cropped so effectively, you'd see some of that 'fertilizer' which Pig left behind for us.
Then of course in the far off, very distant future, this pig will serve an even greater good when she lands on the table instead of eating the scraps from it. Circle of life, people, circle of life.

Unknown Mami

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sundays in My City--Special Delivery

Most of you know that my husband keeps snakes as a hobby. Most you probably don't like to think about it much. Some of you may have wondered what we feed the snakes. Many of you probably don't really care. But, for those who are even mildly interested here is the scoop:

 The cutie in the middle is Julian. He is thirteen years old. He told me he catches the rats for the snakes by putting food inside discarded, empty formula cans. He sits there until a rat runs in and then pops the lid on. Sounds like tedious work that takes patience.
We pay them $.10 for each rat. The kids get some spending money, the farmers have less rats in their fields, the snakes are well fed and thus less tempted to hunt. Everyone's happy!

I haven't been able to write much this week. After taking care of the logistics for my brother in Lusaka, I traveled back to Kazembe with Tom (it's so nice to have him back) and will be leaving for New York for my brother's memorial on Tuesday. Well, I'll be leaving here on Tuesday on the overnight bus (which starts at noon) and after a day in Lusaka will fly out on Thursday. I have a four hour flight and a nineteen hour flight. All this on top of a 17 hour bus ride a day before. Yikes!

In the meantime, Meghan (our latest volunteer) has been writing about her adventures here at the orphanage. Check 'em out. They're great!

Unknown Mami

Exactly One Year Ago: One of Those Days

Sunday, June 5, 2011

God is Near To Those With Broken Hearts

Sunday, last week, was a difficult day as we buried Nicholas and came to grips with his death. I wanted nothing more than to curl up and sleep for days….but life goes on. I taught my regular Bible class that afternoon and felt God’s blessing on my spirit.

Monday morning we held our church service since we had missed out on that the previous morning. The pastor on the video we watched was speaking about ‘establishing your heart’. He spoke about meditating on Gods’ Word, and one of the verses he read was Psalm 112:7-8: (She) is not afraid of bad news; (her) heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. (Her) heart is steady, (she) will not be afraid...."

It was exactly what I needed to hear. My heart was refreshed. I had peace. Even though I was still sad, I was comforted. I had no idea this was only a temporary reprieve.

Tuesday morning I woke up with the Bible verse running through my mind: “We do not grieve as those without hope” from 1Thessalonians 4:13. I thought this had to do with Nicholas’ death. Little did I know.....

All through my morning workout and my regular routine of starting work for the day, the verse just wouldn’t leave my mind: We do not grieve as those without hope.

Around 10 AM that morning I received a call from the American Embassy. This is not unusual. As area wardens we help with issues regarding Americans in Zambia.

This phone call, however, would change my life forever.

I knew my world was about to be forever different when the voice on the phone said, “Do you know a Brant C.?” As I answered that, yes, he was my brother, my heart fell to the tips of my toes and I held on to these words: She is not afraid of bad news....her heart is firm....we do not grieve as those without hope.

Even so, I was not prepared for the next words spoken by the embassy staff member. He told me that my brother had been hiking near Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia and when some baboons got aggressive, something went wrong and he fell to his death in the gorge!

My brother had been backpacking around the world--traveling through South America, India and Nepal before flying to South Africa and heading north through Zimbabwe and into Zambia. His next stop would have been to come and see me and spend a month with us.

Now, instead of traveling down to Lusaka to meet up with both my brother (who I’ve hardly seen in the last ten years) and my husband coming home from the U.S, I was now traveling to take charge of my brother’s body and sort out all the details that come with a tragic accident like this.
Because the embassy could not get ahold of either of my parents, it fell to me to call them both and break the news that their 34 year old son had died. I don’t know that anything else I do in my life will compare in difficulty.

As I write this, five days after being notified, I still haven’t come to grips with it all. 

I will say that I have seen God’s hand moving so completely. We do not grieve as those without hope. This does not mean we do not grieve, because believe you me, I am grieving!! But, I have hope. I know that God has a plan. I know that He loves me. I know that He is caring for each of my family members and will never ever leave us alone. 

I’ll write more about this in the next few days. I would have shared with you the adventure of my brother spending a month with me. Now I’ll share with you the adventure that was his life. Look for that soon. My brother was an amazing human being and I can’t wait for you all to meet him.

Please keep my entire family in your prayers. We are scattered around the world and it will take us time to gather together for a memorial service. Please pray especially for my mom and dad, my three sisters and youngest brother, and Brant’s girlfriend.

Unknown Mami

I am linking this post up with both UnknownMami and FreshMommy. I hope they both forgive me. I've made friends on both blogs and want to make sure everyone hears the news. Thank you.
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