Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dude, Where's My Car?

When we had our fun, family outing in Lusaka before flying out, we decided to rent a car from some missionaries so we wouldn't have to deal with a taxi. The night before our big day, Tom and I picked up the car and then drove to a grocery store for a few items. We were only in the store for a few minutes, but when we came out we realized we had no idea which car was ours.

We had rented a Toyota Corolla which is the most popular car in Lusaka since it can be gotten quite cheaply from Japan and is frequently used for taxis.

To further add to our difficulty in locating the car, it was a gray color--probably one of the most popular color choices as well. 

We were well and truly stuck. Since we'd just picked up the car we hadn't put any items in it yet--no sweaters thrown in the back seat, or identifying pieces of trash. We did know which row we'd parked in, which was a relief--but we walked up and down it before deciding to try the key on the most promising looking gray Toyota Corolla. Thankfully it was the right one!


The next day we parked in the very small parking area of the lodge, next to a blue car, and headed inside for our day's activities. After our game drive Tom and Troy took off to see what else could be done. Because: Family. Fun. Day!

I sat down, with Jasmine, in one of the sitting rooms to take care of checking in online for our flight the next day. When we'd done that we started looking for Troy and Tom. I glanced down into the parking lot and saw the door to our car (or what I thought was our car) standing open. I thought perhaps Tom had decided to rest (though it seemed odd) and so Jasmine and I went down there. We couldn't see anyone though as we neared the car, so we made the appropriate scary movie sounds, and approached with caution.

The car was empty. It was weird. Why was the door open? We still weren't 100% it was our car, but it had the newspaper in it that Tom had bought on the way in that morning.

Not sure what to think I simply popped the trunk--stowed my laptop case in there--and locked everything up. Only after slamming the door shut did I worry a bit that perhaps Tom didn't have the key and that I'd just locked us all out of the car.

When we eventually met up with Tom and Troy, Tom was horrified that the door had been open. He insisted he had shut and locked all the doors. Now I began to truly worry. What if I'd just stuck my computer into someone else's car? 

We sent Jasmine down to unlock the car and check on our things. She reported back that the car wasn't there anymore because there was no car with a newspaper in it, and the only gray car had an unlocked front door (remember I had locked all the doors).

I. Freaked!

Hurrying just as quickly as I could, I rushed to the parking lot. There was our car. Still sitting there next to the blue car. With a newspaper which had fallen to the floor. And, yes, an unlocked front door (I guess I didn't lock it properly). 


Thankfully, all our things were still safe in the trunk. 

Next time I rent a car, I'm memorizing the license plate--or taking a picture of it.

Yesterday I said this was Dude Where's My Car--edition two. I thought I'd already titled a blog post with this name--turns out I'd simply named a bug that

Exactly Two Years Ago: Nathan's Story
Exactly Three Years Ago: Sunday's in My City--London!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Family Day to Remember

Each time one (or two) of our kids leave us and head off into the horizon, away from us, to meet their destinies (sorry....feeling melancholy for a moment--ok, I'm done!), we try to make memories and create something that will lessen the feeling of loss.

For Jasmine we chose to visit a lodge just outside Lusaka that has a game drive to see animals, as well as horseback riding, a cheese factory, fishing, and more. While a bit pricey, it would give us a full day of fun.

The game drive wasn't as chock full of animals as it could have been because of the high grass--it's the end of rainy season in Zambia--but we still had a good time.

Our first stop was at the lion's enclosure. The lions have 20 acres of land to roam 'free' on. We weren't sure if they'd be near the viewing area, but we were rewarded with an upclose look at them.

This lion caught a look at a baby in our group and growled and roared, and yet behaved very much a large cat. It was fascinating.

Sadly, poor Jasmine didn't get to see much of the lions because as she stood near the fence taking pictures she was attacked by wildlife of a much smaller size.

Mposhi Ants!! They are wicked little fire ants that bite really hard.

You can read more about them here in the words of David Livingstone.

They ended up crawling all the way up Jasmine's back. She quickly ducked into a feed shed and removed her jeans. I took them outside and shook them off--having to pinch off the ants that held on with their incredible jaws--but even after this Jasmine kept finding them crawling up her legs. We think they may have been inside the folds of her socks.

After this we rode around for a couple hours looking for animals. As I said before, they were hard to spot. In the meantime we stayed entertained with a dragonfly

and a moth. Both insects landed on Troy and Jasmine's legs and stayed still until we'd gotten some good shots and then they flew away.--almost as if they'd posed.

Eventually we managed to see a waterbuck

some zebras and a wildebeest (not pictured--google it--they are so unusual)

a giraffe

a few ostriches

and some elephants.

Each and every time we came upon an animal, Troy and Tom jumped from the vehicle with their video cameras and tripods to capture footage. They're hoping to put together a collection of short clips to use as stock footage. 

I understood it. But, it drove me crazy. I have a short attention span. Once I've seen the animal, I'm done. Unless it's entertaining me in some way, I have no interest in watching a giraffe chew its cud. 

After many minutes of looking at the giraffe, I pulled out my Kindle for which Tom then teased me mercilessly.

These elephants are semi-tame. They have a handler and the baby was born at this game park. However, they are not pets. I first saw the baby when he was 1 year old. He's now 5 years old.

Which African animal would you most like to see?

Tomorrow: Dude, Where's My Car--episode two

Exactly Two Years Ago: Uno Attack --man, do I miss that kid!
(Almost) Exactly Two Years Ago: I Like a You! --more and more each year!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happy News

 Just after I posted the blog yesterday with the important prayer needs, Tom sent this photo:

I desperately needed to see that precious face. 

This morning I spoke to Tom and he said all the children are doing better. They should be able to go home tomorrow. Peter still had a fever this morning, but the malaria medicines should kick in properly soon. He was already up and running around and asking Tom if he could go home. Thank God!!

Exactly Two Years Ago: God is Bigger than the Boogey Man
Exactly Three Years Ago: Prayer Updates

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Urgent Prayers Needed

I was all set to tell you about our fun family day in Lusaka. 

However, some things have come up that need more attention.

Friday Naomi was admitted to the clinic because she had a bad case of malaria and was not responding to the medicine so she needed to be switched to IV quinine. This has now been switched again to quinine tablets. Quinine can have serious side effects and so she needs prayer for full recovery and protection from the medicine. She's hanging in there, but is still quite sick.

Then Friday night at around 2 AM (9 AM in Zambia) I got a call from Tom that told me that five children had serious vomiting and diarrhea.He was on his way with all of them to the clinic to check if they too had malaria or just a stomach virus.

The word this morning was that they've all been admitted to the clinic. Only one of them had malaria, but all were kept at the clinic. This is mainly to protect the other children at the orphanage. If this is indeed a stomach virus, it will be good to keep those germs away from the rest of the kids.

Peter is the one with malaria. His fever was quite high this morning (evening in Zambia) and was being treated with malaria medicines and Tylenol. I encouraged them to wipe him down with cool cloths.

I wish more than ever that a transporter exists. It's hard to be here on this side of the Atlantic while so many of my babies are sick.

Tom and Sarah are doing a great job along with the nannies to care for all the kids. This is Tom's least favorite part of running the orphanage. Normally I do the medical side of things (not that I like it--but I can do it) and so I'm incredibly proud of how well Tom is handling it all. Sarah has been wonderful (and Brent too, I'm sure) in keeping an eye on all the kids and what needs to be done while caring for Samuel as well.

In order to combat this virus, Tom and the staff have overhauled the orphanage--cleaning and purifying the water tanks, scrubbing down the nursery, kitchen and pantry, and setting up disinfection centers. We're not sure that there is a specific point of contamination--most likely it's simply a wicked virus--but we're taking no chances.

Unfortunately, the clinic is not a very good set up for the kids. They are all in a dingy, dirty back room which has a hole in the ceiling complete with bats (and accompanying guano) and mosquitoes. Tom brought in bedding for all the beds, plastic to tack onto the ceiling, and completely cleaned it up.

He's also hired on a couple part time nannies so that two nannies can be with the children at the clinic all the time. He has also contracted a restaurant to deliver meals to the nannies 3 times a day. He meanwhile drives down with food for the kids three times a day.

It is quite a challenging situation. I wish I could be there to help. Please lend your prayers to mine that all the kids will recover fully and that no one else will be stricken with his virus or malaria. Pray for strength for all the caregivers. Pray also for protection for the children from side effects from the medicines and protection from other germs and bacteria present at the clinic.

Thank you! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

As the World Turns

I seem to remember my mom singing a line or two from a song  called Stop the World--I Wanna Get Off. Sometimes I feel this way. 

Not that I want to leave the earth--just slow down the rotations a bit. Do you feel this way too?

Time is flying by. 

So much has transpired since I last checked in with all of you here on my corner of the interwebs.

Two major events have happened in the last few weeks:

1. We have a new baby! Head over to our Facebook page to meet him!

2. Jasmine has flown the coop. She has taken a big step on the journey of her life. She is leaving my nest.  Any cliches I'm missing?

 Jasmine will turn 18 in September and is ready to get started on college. Of course there are many things to do between now and then--ID, job applications, placement tests, etc. etc.

Saying goodbye was hard for Jasmine. She has been in Africa since she was 6 years old. It is truly her home.

Our munchkins: Peter, Moriah, Denny and Nathan

She spent time hanging out with the kids and letting them know how much she loved them.

Henry took her leaving very hard. He has a sensitive soul, and he has been with us since he was 5 months old. Jasmine has been his big sister for 5 years. As we were leaving he sobbed his little heart out--which broke all of ours in two.

Jasmine with Catherine (L) and Majory (R)--nannies who have been with us for years

The orphanage will be very different without Jasmine helping with so many of the day to day details.

The biggest kids and Dorcas, Brenda and Peter saying goodbye to Jasmine

We do know though that she is on to bigger and better things. I can't wait to see what God has in store for her!

Before leaving Zambia, our family took a day to relax in Lusaka and build some more memories. More about that tomorrow. And then Jasmine and I flew out to a very exotic location on our way to Houston. More about that soon.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Looking for the Headless Horseman

I opened the door to our house at 6 AM the other day and got a big surprise.

It was if I had been plucked up and set down on a moor in England.

Or perhaps set on a hill in San Francisco.

This is so unusual that I just had to grab some shots.

I felt sure Tom would never believe me otherwise.

Sure enough he didn't.

Until he saw the pictures.

I guess the weather elements were just perfect for producing fog.

Aside from the spooky element, it was kinda beautiful.

(Almost) Exactly One Year Ago: In Everything Give Thanks --so relevant today (history does repeat itself)
Exactly Two Years Ago: Sundays in My City--Village Church

Monday, March 4, 2013

What Do You Take On A Journey?

In 15 days Jasmine and I will land in Texas.

In 10 days we'll be getting started on our five day trip to Belgium.

In nine days we fly out of Zambia.

Our whole family will leave in five days for Lusaka.

In 2 days Tom and I will be doing our regular Mansa shopping trip and then the very next day getting on the bus for Lusaka.

But, I'm not freaking out at all!

Just kidding.

I'm totally freaking out!

Just kidding.

I'm mainly freaking out on the inside.

Just kidding.

Sometimes it totally spills over to the outside.

I have most of the clothes I'm taking piled on a trunk. That's nearly all that I own. I have to pack clothes that can cover end-of-winter in Europe and then work for beginning of summer in Texas.

I'll need professional clothes for my speaking engagements, travel clothes for travel (obviously), and casual clothes for down times. 

Looking at what I have shows some gaps in my wardrobe. I'll be looking for some staples while in the U.S. I'll probably be asking for your help in best places to shop later.

I'm so excited to be able to wear winter clothes again. And dresses. And heels. So. Excited!

I'm packing my jewelry in a cigar box for the trip. I've taped my earrings to the lid. I probably won't leave them like this for the while two months, but this should work for the two weeks of travel.

Jasmine and I will be sharing one suitcase, plus a couple carry on items for our time in Belgium and London. It shouldn't be too tricky.

 Now, hit me with your best packing tip!

Exactly Two Years Ago: Fab Friday Foto--wacky shop name

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