Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Weekend of Anniversaries

This past Thursday marked my third blog anniversary. You can read my first blog post here. This was my mention of the anniversary  two years ago

Friday and Saturday we played host to those attending the Mutomboko celebration for the sixth year in a row. We had 27 Peace Corps volunteers show up to camp. Combined with two tourists and our six volunteers, that made for a large crowd!

It was also our sixth year to pit roast a pig. Sixth year to worry and agonize! It turned out great! as always. Why do I worry so??

You can read the original, (and very) detailed posts of what Mutomboko is like here, here and here.

I'll try to share photos of the celebrations, events and adventures which took place this year later on. I have to track them down on multiple cameras since I was kinda trapped in the kitchen supervising and cooking.

Here is a list of what we cooked up for dinner alone:

one 22 kg. (48 lb.) roasted pig
2 gallons of BBQ sauce--slow cooked in our solar ovens
about 5 gallons of coleslaw
5 pounds of Spanish rice
lentil curry for our vegetarian guests

I also kept cold drinks at the ready for our 35+ visitors and mixed up a batch of dough for P.W's cinnamon rolls. Needless to say, taking pictures was not at the top of my list. 

I did manage to squeeze in a few rounds of cards (Nerts!) and some lively conversation though. So much fun!

This Sunday was also our 23rd anniversary of being married! Twenty-three years sounded like such a long time when we first got married. Now, it seems like a blink of an eye. We're looking forward to the next 50 years.

This photo was taken on our vacation in May. We were staying at a friend's cabin in Ruidoso, NM. Such a beautiful town!!

All in all it was a wonderful weekend. How was yours??

P.S. I know it's already Tuesday, but I collapsed Sunday evening and barely moved at all on Monday. Can you blame me?

Exactly One Year Ago: Well, Hello There!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wild Animals and Teenagers

No, those items are not mutually exclusive, but for the purpose of this post they are two different things.

Tom loves hats. He would wear a different hat for every occasion if he could. He even loves metaphorical hats in that he hates being tied down to just one role or responsibility. He is constantly on the go pursuing something new.

(It makes him a wonderful missionary--'tis true--and I love him for it.)

Now, when his metaphorical hat requires the use of a hat to be carried out, let's just say Tom is one happy guy.

His latest venture has been to join up with the Zambian Wildlife Association (ZAWA) to help protect the Zambian animals. It also gives him more opportunity to educate the public, which he is passionate about. It also gives him a really, really good reason to keep snakes, dang it!

In his latest blog post Tom wrote about his latest adventure in helping ZAWA host an educational booth at Mansa's annual Agriculture and Livestock Show. You can read all about it here. Be sure to note the new hat......

And now on to the teenager portion of this blog:

My youngest son, Troy has joined the prestigious ranks of bloggers. I didn't even know he was going to start a blog until it popped up on my Facebook news feed. I was pretty impressed (if I do say so myself).

You can read his first post here at African Designed Life. He has already written a second post too. Please pop in and show him a little love. 

Exactly Two Years Ago: I Thought I'd Seen Everything! 

Monday, July 23, 2012


Yesterday as all the children gathered in the dining room in preparation for Children's Church, Tom noticed Johnny and Peter in the corner, huddled together, looking at something.

As he drew closer he saw that they were playing with Jasmine's new iPod touch. It had been left on the table and now sticky little fingers had found it.

Looking more closely, Tom saw something very funny: Johnny was using Peter's fingers to move things around on the screen. 

Having seen enough, Tom said in his best and most gruff voice, "What's going on here?" 

Johnny jumped back and said, "I never touched it! My fingers never touched it!"

That kid has a future. I just don't know in what exactly........

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Back Stories

Are you ready for another installment of Randomness from Amy's brain?

Whenever I watch a particularly unique or captivating commercial or advertisement, aside from crying (usually), laughing (often) or getting caught up in whatever item is being peddled, I wonder and am amazed by the idea of the ad.

Who thought it up? What made them think of it? Did they have a random idea one day that led to that entire campaign? Was it a group of people in a room brainstorming? What set off the thought process that led to the chain of events that produced this touching/amusing/captivating ad?

I love the creative process. It might be part of being a woman and enjoying the tangle of yarn that is my brain. One random thought leads to another to another to finally deciding to make cupcakes for dinner. Viva la feminine mind!

And so, after I watched the following video, I immediately wanted to know who came up with this idea? what were they thinking? and hooray for them!

And then I wanted a Coke Zero*. Good thing I have one chilling in the fridge right now.

*This is not a paid advertisement. Coca Cola is doing fine on their own. However, should Coca Cola like to show some appreciation to a long time fan, I would not turn down a lifetime supply. Just sayin'.


On a semi-related note: last week I posted a video my son made and that he had loaded on Facebook. Unfortunately, due to privacy issues not all of you could view it. I will be working to fix that as soon as I can. And, my son would like you to know that he is 14 years old, not 13. Where have the years gone??

Exactly Two Years Ago (yesterday):   Vacation Days Two and Three

Friday, July 13, 2012

We Are Young

 Today I want to share a music video put together by my 13 year old son. While the lyrics are not the ones I would have chosen for a children's video (although I do love the song myself), he did a nice job. I'm very proud of his editing skills. He hopes to make a career of this and he's off to a good start. 

You can see more of his work here.

But on to the video. Aren't the kids adorable?? I'm so glad to be home with them.

What song would you suggest Troy use for his next video?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Set the World on Fire

June, July and August are our dry seasons. The rains have stopped completely and all the green grass, bushes and trees slowly turn brown. 

One reason the trees are so brown is because of the dust that blows through the air and settles on the leaves. 

The grass begins to die and the fields are lying fallow after the harvest. Nothing will be planted until October or November.

One reason the trees are so brown is because of the dust that blows through the air and settles on the leaves. 

As farmers look ahead to the planting season they prepare their fields. One way they do this is by burning. While this is common practice in the U.S for grasslands because it kills off weeds, promotes growth of the right kind of grass, here it just seems like something that's been done for years and so it continues on. 

It's true that it probably kills off weeds, but it also turns to top soil very powdery and ashy. 

Plus, between the dust in the air and the ashes it's really hard to breathe during these months.

When we first moved to Africa and burning season began I would panic as huge fires  broke out were intentionally set in the fields right next to our house. I would search through my evac plans in my head, make sure I knew where all our passports were, and think about what could be packed quickly. 

Then nothing would happen. Nothing ever happened. And so, ten years on I usually just sigh and mutter about the state of my lungs, but I don't panic anymore.

Not usually that is. Last night the fire was a little too real. 

The committee for the big annual traditional ceremony thought (in their infinite wisdom) that starting a fire in the field surrounding the arena yesterday afternoon was a good idea.

By 9 PM the fire was raging and threatening our fence line. Tom filled buckets and passed them to Zeger who wet the grass on the outside of the fence hoping to keep the fire back. 

Normally we have a fire break dug around our property but we'd heard rumors the committee wasn't going to burn this year. We heard wrong apparently.

Thankfully, the fire eventually burned out and we could rest easier. My lungs complained all night, but at least our grass roofs are all still intact.

Photos for this post generously provided by Zeger. And the field that was burning in the photos was our own. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my sweet sister, Ruth!

Exactly Two Years Ago: Sundays in My City--Playtime

Monday, July 9, 2012

Spidey Powers

It's no secret that our house is a geeky one. And now that our house has grown to include many new little ones has given my husband and boys a whole new group to 'convert' to their geeky ways.

So far all the kids have watched all six Star Wars movies. We have playing cards with the Star Wars characters on them and the kids will point out Chewbacca and Mace Windoo in their little, lispy voices.

Troy has given the kids Jedi lessons and fashioned light sabers for them. Lessons in when one can use

Other Super Hero movies have been watched and rewatched also: SpiderMan (Numbers One and Two) and Green Lantern to name a few. 

SpiderMan is definitely a favorite among the boys. 

This led to a very interesting (and nearly disastrous) event one morning shortly before I returned from the States.

As Troy passed by our courtyard he noticed the children all grouped around something. He decided to investigate what was going on.

In the very center of the kids was Johnny. There on his outstretched hand was a small spider. When Troy asked what he was doing, Johnny explained he was trying to get Spider Powers. 

Troy explained that it was just a movie and besides, the spider in the movie was a special spider and Johnny's was just an ordinary one. "Yes," Johnny said, "that's why I was looking for an evil one!"

Oh, dear!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Too Many Words

Internet was just restored Wednesday evening after being broken for nearly 3 weeks. Thursday morning I had to set off to Mansa for our two day shopping/errand running adventure, so today, Saturday is my first chance to really catch up on all that I'd like to do or desperately need to do on the interwebs.

I arrived back in Zambia June 9. I dropped my suitcases and trunks off at a friend's house and immediately jumped back into life in Africa as I frantically ran around shopping and completely business errands before shops and offices closed for the weekend. There was no time to give in to jet-lag. The following morning I boarded a bus and headed home. My stomach rebelled a bit at all the travel, which made for a slightly more- uncomfortable-than-usual trip, but mercifully I was able to sleep most of the time. 

Arriving back at the orphanage on Monday morning to the sights of my 2 lovely teenagers, my 23 African children, 7 volunteers (some new and some familiar), as well as our staff members was wonderful and overwhelming.

We also had some guests visiting so I tried to hold it together and not fall apart. I thought about how nice it was in the 'olden days when crossing an entire ocean and continent took 3 months--not 3 days. Not that I'm complaining exactly but the speed of travel these days can make you feel a bit dizzy. It's surreal.

The internet was already causing problems when I returned and then quit for good just a few days later. 

If I were a truly dedicated blogger I would have been writing daily and saving it all for the day internet worked again, but sadly I found other things to do--things like catching up on 4 months of payroll slips and taxes and bills and receipts. It looked like the beginning of April for a few days last month as I sat on our couch holding my computer with Excel loaded up, surrounded in crumpled slips of papers and receipts trying to decipher and account for the expenses of Kazembe Orphanage from March to June, while watching mindless television.

Now that I've been away from my blogging platform for longer than I'd like to remember it will take some time to get back into the swing of things. 

I'm looking forward to it though. So much happened over the last few months. So much continues to happen. Just because I stopped writing it down doesn't mean the adventures stopped. To the contrary!

While I begin to pen (or type) my stories again, I will leave you with a couple links. 

Sarah is one of our volunteers (she's also my cousin) and she has been diligently writing down her experiences. Enjoy them here!

Meg is a familiar name to readers of this blog. She has written a few posts here. Her post called The Smoke that Thunders will make you go, "Huh??" That was an adventure!!

Until next time, may God bless and keep you on your own adventures!


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