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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Don't Try This At Home

Two years ago my kids decided to make a Jack O Lantern pinata for our Halloween party. They worked really hard scrounging up enough newspapers (the national newspaper is really thin) and mixing up a flour/water mix to make a papier mache sphere. They used a balloon as the base. 

Once the pinata was dry they filled it up with candy and sealed it shut with more papier mache. Our only problem was we couldn't find any spray paint. Out here in the bush we don't have WalMarts, Michaels or Hobby Lobbys to dash to when we find we need a craft material.
Finally, a friend in the capital city bought some spray paint and put it in a box on a bus and we got the paint in the nick of time.

The kids gleefully sprayed the pinata and added the Jack O Lantern's face. 
Halloween night came around and they had a blast bashing the heck out of the shiny, grinning pumpkin. Finally, it broke open and all the candy came pouring out onto the ground. They dashed around gathering up handfuls of candy and then we all sat in the living room to devour the loot and that is when we realized our dreadful mistake. 

When we filled the pinata with candy before spray painting it, we had no idea that the paint fumes would go through and infuse every last piece of candy with a horrible chemical taste. 


Major FAIL!

It sure was pretty though! 

Happy Halloween, Everyone!
or Happy Fall Festival (if that's your thing)
or Happy Sitting at Home with Your Curtains Drawn (I'm not judging....)

Exactly one year ago: What is Missing?    

This post has been created as an entry for a camera contest on SITS. A wonderful community of blogging support and tips.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Favorite Halloween Memory

When we made the decision in 1998 to become missionaries to Africa we felt sure the process would go quickly. For this reason, in October 1999 we were sure that this would be our last Halloween ever! (Insert ominous music here)


Tom has always been very creative and given the fact that we had six children at our disposal he decided to do a Wizard of Oz theme. All the costumes were adapted or created by Tom from thrift store acquisitions. He did a fantastic job as you can see.


Tom made T.J's Tinman costume from scratch. The only problem with it was he forgot to create joints. Every time T.J lost his balance while out trick or treating, he fell headfirst and couldn't get back up again. I think this ranks as one of his worst memories.


I was particularly happy with the Scarecrow costume. It turned out so well just from scraps of old clothes.


Not everyone was thrilled with the costuming process. Troy (2 and a half at this time) was very unhappy and absolutely refused to wear the headdress for his Cowardly Lion costume. 


We paid a lot of attention to the little details such as hair braiding. I was determined to create the exact same hairstyle as the original Dorothy.


We didn't want to have a bad character so Jessica was Glenda the Good Witch.


Dorothy (Jennifer) with her TinMan (T.J) and Scarecrow (Timothy) and a Munchkin Ballerina (Jasmine).

While we went on to have two more Halloweens in the U.S before moving to Africa and we haven't let living in the African bush stop us from having a costume party every October, I'm so glad we have the memories of Halloween, 1999.

This post is written as an entry for a Camera contest on SITS (Secret is in the Sauce) a fantastic community with great blogging tips.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fab Friday Foto XXV

Here is a little blast from the (not so distant) past. This photo was taken two years or so ago when I ditched my responsibilities and went to hang out with some Peace Corps and other volunteers for the weekend. We cooked my world-famous macaroni and cheese over that little brazier and then ate by candlelight when the electricity went out. I had such a good time and my Rapunzel was pacified for a little while.

Coming tomorrow--Another blast from the past.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Your Questions Answered--#3

Today I'm answering more of your questions. You can find Volume One here, and Volume Two here. 
 
Susie B
How close is your house to the local village and how many people are in the village?

Main road leading to 'town'
This is the road I walk on each day, but I walk the opposite direction.
 
We live just outside the main part of the village. I'm taking this photo from the side of our property and the ladies walking there on the road are headed down to the village center. This is also known as the boma. For years we thought that boma was a local language word but came to find out it is actually BOMA (British Overland Management Area) but it has now been adopted into the local vernacular. It is probably about 1/2 a mile to the main part of the village where the 'shops' are. It takes about 15-20 minutes since the road is very sandy.

When we first moved out here the information we received was that this village is the largest in southern Africa with a population of 20,000 people. Our friend from the rural health center says that their catchment area contains 30,000 people. So, it is around 20-30,000 people. A lot in other words. This is one of the reason I feel overwhelmed at times. With this many people there is always a need for something. We could work 24 hours a day every day and never run out of something to do.
The nice thing about living up on our hill is that we are a bit removed from the main village life. You can see in the picture above that all around us there are huts, but things are pretty quiet. On Saturday and Sunday nights the noise of drinking and loud music filter up to us on the wind but we don't receive the full brunt of it. And that, my friends is a very good thing.

Thank you so much for all the great questions I've been receiving. Your questions are very precious to me and I enjoy answering them. Please continue to leave new questions in the comments or send me an email at amymorrowinafricaATgmailDOTcom. Of course change to AT and DOT to symbols. ;)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Quick link up

Yesterday I read a post that said so much that I wish I could articulate. Please read it.
 Livesay (Haiti) Weblog

Also, if you haven't had a chance to read yesterday's post, please go back and read it. I would love to have you join me on this project.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Comments Regurgitated #2

Basic Human Rights
 
After posting about Johnny's theft of cassava last week, I received an interesting comment that I thought would bear answering here. This came from a lovely Belgian family that has visited us twice during their travels around Zambia. Their teenage son even spent 3 weeks volunteering with us in August.
Your post about [Johnny's] behavior was the subject of a very long and to us interesting discussion in our family. 
First off all, we -the parents- have read the thread with a smile on the face. Indeed I think every parent or educator has to deal with that type of questions sooner or later. We of course remember Johnny as a very clever little guy with a lot of potential. I can’t deny that there’s a lot of sympathy for him at our [house]. In the discussion we had it even was stated that the way he acted was [proof] of his intelligence. Of course: basically the behavior indeed is not acceptable and should be discouraged, as you off course did and described. 
Strangely enough, our table discussion with our kids [quickly] turned into a discussion about property, where even words as “communism” fell. 
Without the slightest intention to moralize or whatever I just want to give you the main idea, one never knows it inspires. 
Of course our kids considered the theft of the cassava as ‘not good’ but immediately they reacted with two ideas: 

First: in most (European?) family houses there is some place (a shelf, a place in the fridge, …) where kids can find and (are allowed to) grab some small snacks for ‘little hungers’ (healthy: fruit or yoghurt, less healthy: a biscuit or a small sweet). They wondered if the kids in the orphanage have such a place or have that possibility. 
As far as snacks go, the kids have two snacks a day between meals and Johnny had eaten not long before this incident. The meals schedule is: 7:15 breakfast, 9:30 fruit and juice snack, 12:00 main meal, 3:15 cookies and milk snack, 6:00 supper. Bed time is 7:30.
I was raised in a big family, and then raised a large family  myself and now have an even larger family and for us, a free-for-all style for snacking has never really worked. A child that snacks at any time while still possibly getting healthy options may not eat at the next meal properly and may then be hungry a short time later creating a vicious cycle.
The other concern is cost of food. When cooking for a large family food has to be carefully budgeted and portioned out. Hope this answers the question.--If not, let me know.

Second: (and I remember this was the topic of a discussion at your house) our kids stated that although the orphans are certainly cared for with the greatest love and attention, since they live in a community they have no private territory or belongings and thus never can get notion of it (learn about it). It was even funny to us to hear our kids plead for the idea that each child has the right of having some own personal belongings and a place to put (hide) them (our 13 years old daughter even claimed it was a “basic human right”).
This is a good point. And something we've been very concerned about. We want to make this our project for Christmas--to give every child over the age of 3 years their own box with lid that they can decorate and make their very own. We're hoping to be able to give them each their own little toys to place in here. Because this culture can have different views of property (you have no idea how much has been stolen by our staff....) we'll have to pay close attention to make sure the nannies are helping to protect this 'right' for the kids and teaching all of them good stewardship.
If you are interested in helping this coming Christmas please let me know. We would love to gather small toys (essentially stocking stuffers) that are appropriate for 3-5 year olds so we can give them their own little toy boxes. Toy cars, action figures, little dolls, small books, all those kinds of things that would give the kids something to call their own.


Often, people write and ask what they could send in a small care package so I will be adding a page to this blog with a running list of ideas of what people can send for the kids, for us, (for me--LOL) and this list will stay updated. I'll also have sending instructions on there.


November 7th is Orphan Sunday when churches around the world will highlight the needs of children everywhere. For ideas for your Sunday School group, church or community you can click here

I am so grateful for all of you who read and comment each day. It fills me with joy and I love being able to share my world with you. 

May God bless and keep you in your own personal adventures!

 


Monday, October 25, 2010

A New Experience for the Kids

This past week the kids had the opportunity to learn all about a special exotic animal. A fisherman brought us a baby crocodile that had gotten tangled up in his fishing nets.


The kids gathered around for our special guest keeping a safe distance. The crocodile was tied to the water bucket and couldn't really go anywhere.


Tom explained really well all the features of the crocodile. Doesn't he look like a real crocodile hunter?


The kids were very attentive and learned all about what crocodiles eat, why the look the way they do, and where crocodiles live.

Look at those dangerous teeth. We all stayed well away.


Even the dogs wanted to get in on the lesson. I didn't capture it on camera but Buzz, our part-Lab, came running up to explore and got a little too close. The crocodile whipped around suddenly and poor Buzz was so startled he flew sideways with all four paws leaving the ground at once. We all laughed 'till we nearly cried.

Two days later, ZAWA (Zambia Wildlife Association) officers came to pick up and relocate the baby croc. Another successful rescue!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sundays in My City--A Walk on the Wild Side

Join me on my morning walk.


That's the corner of my house that you can see on the right of the photo.
The brick pillars are the gate that I usually come through.


This is quite a hill to warm up on. It's also a little scary for me on the way back because it wasn't graded before and last year I slipped on loose gravel and fell, breaking my coccyx in the process.


At the crest of the first hill. Yet another hill to climb. Whew!


My first landmark. When my teenage daughters lived here 2 years ago, they would drag me out of the house to go walking and this is as far as I would get. Walking to this termite mound would take 15 minutes. Today I did it in 12.


Usually I walk about 30 minutes earlier in the day.
I love the way the morning sun looks at this time of day.


Here is my second landmark. When I first started walk/running, I took Tom's GPS toy gadget very important navigation tool, and it told me this was 2.5 km from the house. It was mistaken. It was only 2.2. Bummer!


Here is my new turnaround point. 2.5 km. (1.55 miles), baby!


I'm nearly home! Just have to get down that treacherous hill.


Home again. 5 K (3.1 mi.) done!
It took me 56 minutes today because of all the photos. 
Normally it's around 50-52 minutes but eventually I hope to get that time to 30 minutes.

And....guess what guys and gals......I've lost 7 pounds now! Yeah!!


Unknown Mami
Click on the button above to visit more families around the world.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Where I Live

Rainy season is nearly upon us and boy, am I glad. All our grass is dry and crispy--so much so that it hurts to walk barefoot on it. But, we've had our first couple sprinkles and very soon everything will turn green and beautiful again.



I wanted to give you a little tour of our home. The outside at least.


This is closer up to the C-shaped building and the courtyard.
1. Staff lunch room
2. Clinic
3. Library
4. Older kids' (3-5 years) bedroom
On the side of this wing is where our playground is located.
6. Playroom (and future school room)
7. Nursery (newborn to 3 years)
8. Staff rooms--we have 2 designated for live-in nannies
9. More bedrooms--seven total for volunteers and my 3 kids. Plus one craft room
Your eyes do not deceive you--I forgot #5


The view looking the other direction with the C-shaped building at our back.
1. Our satellite link to YOU!

2. My house and office.
Those green tanks above our house hold 10,000 Liters of water.
We pump the water all the way from the playground up to these tanks.
3. Kanono's cage with rabbit and guinea pig cages attached.
Behind this is the vegetable garden.

4. The snake cage with our Landcruiser parked under a canopy.
If you walk up the hill between the monkey cage and rabbit habitat, you'd pass our banana plantation and eventually reach the poultry house. I'll write about our chickens and ducks soon.

5. The dining room, kitchen, pantry and washroom.

I hope you've enjoyed this little tour. I'll be sure to post more pictures later in the year so you can see the transformation after the rains. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Rapunzel

Photo taken at the beginning of 2000

I married and had children early (with no regrets, I should add) but every once in a while there is the young woman inside of me who retired early instead of dying a natural death and being laid peacefully to rest.

Mostly she's content up in her little tower but every once in a while she demands to be heard and wants to let her hair down. 
 
Then I find myself enjoying lyrics by Muse or Kanye West and feeling a bit rebellious and wondering what it would be like to run away from home and live in New York City or Seattle. 

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious

Total rebellious teenage angst. And I like it!

Then I realize that it's just past 9 PM and I'm ready to go to sleep. Forget Rapunzel and her little tower. I'm headed for bed. I'm officially old!

This is a new feature I'm adding to the blog.  I'm calling it Randomness from Amy's Brain. My mind can be a scary place, but feel free to look around.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Your Questions Answered--#2

For the first volume of questions and answers click here.

Countess Laurie had several questions. They made me stop and think. Way to go, Laurie!

1) What is your favorite time of year in Zambia?
I'd have to say April or May. This is because the rains are wrapping up, the days are getting cooler, and everything is green and gorgeous. Kinda like a combination of spring and fall. Fall is my favorite U.S season and this has the same kind of feel to it and yet things are green instead of turning brown. This is also before everyone starts burning their fields so the air is fresh.

2) Considering that you are kind of rustic sometimes out there, if you could bring one thing to Zambia, what would it be?
Deciding on just one thing is really, really hard. We moved over here with nearly everything we owned and made it all fit in 16 suitcases and 15 pieces of hand luggage. One of the few things that I brought with me was a 2 quart ice cream container with all the little handmade ornaments my kids had made to date. I threw a string or two of beads in there and miraculously they fit. I also had an envelope with Christmas cards we'd received over the years. This made us feel much more at home in Africa.

Another one thing would be a Kindle now that they've been invented. One small device with tons and tons of books? Absolute heaven! I don't yet own one but a girl can dream!

But, I would have to say that one of my most useful things is my headlamp. It has saved me over and over again. I not only use it during  power failures and long bus rides but also at night when Tom asks, "Are you gonna turn that light off??", I turn off the bedside lamp and burrow under the covers with my book and headlamp--exactly as if I'm ten years old.

I posed this question to my kids and Tom and without hesitation they all answered--A knife! 

Of course Tom also said that the one thing he would bring to Africa is money since that disappears here at an alarming rate. 


3) Not counting the Bible, what is your favorite book and why do you love it so?
Still trying to nail me down to just one thing, Laurie? I don't think it can be done! The first book that popped into my mind with this question was The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. I read that book when we first moved to Africa (found it in a dusty bookstore) and I'd never read anything by Nicholas Sparks before. I absolutely fell in love with it (and him.....) and read it eight times in the next few years. Not owning a Kindle and being short on reading material may have had something to do with that. But, truly I loved the story and the devotion the married couple had to each other. The sequel The Wedding is equally amazing.

I can't leave well enough alone. A few other Top Ten (or Hundred) picks:
Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Shack by William P. Young


Just a side note: if you've ever seen the movie for any of the books listed above and didn't care for them--give the books a chance anyway. Thanks!

What I'm reading right now is The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson. It's mostly a memoir of being a small child in the fifties. Mom and Dad, I think you'd have so much fun reading this. I wasn't even a twinkle in my daddy's eye in this decade but I've had a silly grin on my face nearly the entire time. Check it out. *

Okay, I could go on all day. So I will stop.
Wait, just one more. If you could be any Disney princess, who would you pick and why?

Right away, my mind went to Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I'm not sure she is even counted as a princess but she married a prince so I say she counts. 
Now for my reasons: I guess one big reason is because she didn't wait around for a prince to come save her but took action and control of her own life. Reason number two, she left home and family to go to a strange place to save a life. And, lastly but best of all, she loved books. Remember that incredible library? Oh, my goodness! Even better than a Kindle!!!
  
This has been so much fun! I'll be back next week with another person's questions. Remember, you can jump in at any time by leaving your questions in the comments on this post or emailing me at amymorrowinafricaATgmailDOTcom. 
 


* A little note--I used Amazon to link with all those books but only because it was convenient. I am not an affiliate.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Little of This and That

First of all, let me assure everyone that we are still fine and safe. There still hasn't been any resolution to our situation but the rumblings and grumblings have settled down. The sad thing is how this has affected our ability to help the community:

1. The three carpenters who were hired to build the little log cabin are out of jobs due to the work being halted at Mofwe Lagoon. They were counting on the money in order to get their fields planted before rainy season.

2. A youth empowerment group came by to ask if Tom could direct and film a drama they are doing. Because they are portraying a traditional leader as the villain in their little play, Tom asked them to speak with the chief first. We do not want to be blamed for the script. They haven't done this yet so their production is on hold.

3. A local farmer applied for a micro-loan a few weeks ago but yesterday Tom had to inform him that all micro-loans are on hold for the present time because of the instability we're feeling.

That's over a dozen people whose lives have been affected by this confusion. We're hoping to get this across to the government officials we'll be meeting with in the next few days and weeks.

**********
My weight loss goals are on track so far. Having pledged to lose 17 pounds in 17 weeks I am at 6 pounds lost in 3 weeks. Not too shabby. I did not lose anything during our trip to Lusaka but at least I held onto my loss which is nearly as good, in my books.

**********
While down in Lusaka I squeezed in a visit to the doctor. Blood (and other samples) were taken and I now know that I am the proud owner of my very own ulcer. I wonder where that could have come from? I mean, I live an idyllic life with not a care in the world, right? So, guess what the doctor suggested I eat? Potatoes! Bread! and Pasta! What in the world?!? 
This reminds me of when I lost 30 pounds doing Atkins (which was amazing!) and I loved eating low-carb and it suited me. Then I moved to Africa and 8 months later was diagnosed with Hepatitis A. Guess what the eating regime is for recovery from that? ONLY starch and sugar. No protein or fats whatsoever! Sigh.....
I'm trying to be extra careful with my portions so that I can continue to make progress on my goals. Exercise is definitely going to be a big part of the program also.
**********
Sunday marked the beginning of the new season. And that season is.......Scorpion season. My least favorite time of the year. Six weeks of stumbling across Imperial scorpions all over our property. Their appearance corresponds with the beginning of rainy season and the time when the air fills with bugs of all types and sizes. Even though I know the scorpions have a purpose in the environment I still hate them a lot!

**********
Baby Peter is starting to test his boundaries. He wanted to play with Jasmine's Game Boy and cried big fat tears demanding it. We firmly told him he could have it when he'd stopped crying. Those tears dried up fast. This tells me he understands real well what is expected of him and he is going to need discipline soon. The 'naughty mat' will be ready and waiting for him.

**********
That's all for today. Check back tomorrow for answers to some of your burning questions. 

Rant of the day: Blogger, please publish on time!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Normal Kid or Criminal in the Making?

As I left the playground the other day I saw Johnny (4 years old) at the corner of the residential building. I knew that he had just gone to the bathroom and he looked to be heading back to play with the other kids. He was using his t-shirt to wipe his mouth that was covered with white crumbs. I was in the middle of reminding him that his shirt was not a napkin when the penny dropped and I wondered why there were crumbs on his mouth. I noticed he was chewing something also. 

When I asked him what he was eating, he pulled a small piece of roasted cassava from his waistband. Since we haven't served cassava I wondered where it had come from. He said he had found it on the ground and pointed to the ground right next to him. I knew immediately that he was lying and insisted he tell me the truth. He then said he had found it on the floor of the bathroom. I had him show me exactly where. He pointed it out. Since it was such a small piece of cassava I thought it was entirely possible that one of the nannies had dropped something in there. I lectured him on eating things off the ground and then let him go.


I then walked with him back to the playground and asked the nannies if it was possible that they had dropped cassava in the bathroom. They said no, but that they had left a few pieces behind in the little unfinished room where they do their cooking on a little brazier. 


I knew then that Johnny had lied (again!) to me because where I found him initially was right next to that room. I called Johnny over, and took him to the staff kitchen. After first denying it twice, he eventually confessed to taking the cassava from the room. I started telling him how naughty it was to steal and lie to me and as I explained everything I reminded him how he had hid the cassava inside his waistband when lo and behold I discovered that it was full of even more cassava. He had been smart enough to only produce a small amount in his first confession so that he could keep the mother lode.


After an explanation of his wrongdoings I asked him to apologize to me for lying and then to the nannies from whom he'd stolen the food. By the time he was finished apologizing to everyone one by one, he was sobbing--whether from true remorse or because his stash had been discovered, I'll never know. I do know that it made an impression on him.


Johnny is one of our brightest and smartest kids and it shows by him being one of the first to try such a big crime.


Tom remembers stealing a toy at about 5 years old and hatching a plan to hide it in the bushes so he could 'find' it on a walk with his mom that evening. I guess that sinful nature and 'normal' kid behavior is truly universal.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Our 'Overcoming' Muscles are Being Strengthened

We have had a challenging few days-- we have been struggling with a serious situation. It was made more difficult by the fact that Tom and I had popped down to Lusaka for two days of business which means four days away from home with travel figured in.


First a little background: For the last couple months Tom has been working on improving things at the lagoon where we have our boat. His idea is to put up a little log cabin for overnight guests and tourists to rent. It will be very rustic and quaint but peaceful and authentic.


This week we finally got all the wood and carpenters out to the site to start working. Then, Thursday, our gardener (and all around worker) called to say that the sub-chief had said we had to pack everything up and the workers needed to leave because if they didn't, the villagers were going to kill them. 


This was very very scary for us because the lagoon is only twenty minutes from our house. We had no idea what the real situation was and if the threatened violence would spill over to our house and orphanage. Thankfully we had a friend who lives nearby who came over and spent the night to look after everything since we were over 600 miles away. 


The next morning we made about a hundred phone calls (no exaggeration) and found out even more details. Apparently, about a week or two ago, the fish in the lagoon began dying and nine people died over a four day period. 
Living in rural Africa means that we live among and work with people for whom superstitions, traditions and witchcraft are a regular part of life. When a situation happens and people don't understand or have the answers for it, blame is put onto any target. We've seen this firsthand before when Tom documented a village 'witchhunt'. 
Now, because the deaths of people and fish could not be explained, Tom has been blamed because of his relationship with the local sub-chief.


The situation is fairly calm now. Some of our many, many phone calls were made to various contacts and friends and eventually government officials. We requested help in investigating the deaths--surely there is a reasonable explanation and perhaps a reason for concern--some type of poison added to the lagoon is a logical guess. We have also asked that the government assist us in mediating the situation since the local culture can be difficult to navigate.


We still really need prayer for the situation to calm completely and that we can reopen the lines of communication with local leaders.
Today, for church, we read from Revelation about being overcomers. We will conquer and we will overcome by the Grace of God. We're in it to Win! Thanks for praying and helping us finish this race.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

African Travel Truths

Truth#1 The time the bus arrives at your station is in direct relation to how quickly you walked down a sandy road carrying your luggage. If you walk fast it will be one hour late.

Truth #2 Losing 6 pounds will not make the narrow bus seats any larger or more comfortable.

Truth #3 No matter how many times you do it, peeing in a  grassy field with 50 other people and no bushes to hide behind, is no less awkward

Truth # 4 Knowing snakes fear you more than you fear them brings no comfort when you're walking through a field in the dark and the grass rustles.

Truth # 5 Zambian pop music blasting through the bus speakers at midnight is not improved by the lady next to you singing along in a falsetto voice.

Truth # 6 You will always be in your heaviest sleep when immigration boards the bus or you reach your destination.

Truth # 7 Even though you tell yourself that the hotel mosquito net is there to protect you from dangerous disease carrying mosquitoes it will still be claustrophobic.

Truth # 8 The moment your head hits the pillow after a 16 hour bus ride is when blog ideas will pop into your head. 

Truth #9 Your son and husband are guaranteed to moan and groan if you turn on your mini-laptop to jot down the above ideas so you can sleep in peace.

What are the traveling truths you've discovered?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sundays in My City

 After writing about our plans for the children's education on Thursday, we received some surprise guests and it completely proved what I had been saying.

We've made some new friends! --A lovely family from Belgium who are traveling around southern Africa for a whole year. They were referred to us by another Belgian family and they popped in unexpectedly on Thursday afternoon. They have 2 little boys (10 and 7 years old) and our foster children have so enjoyed having them with us.

Johnny (4 years) has especially enjoyed having new playmates. He has been wrestling with them on the trampoline, kicking the soccer ball around or sitting quietly and drawing with Seppe (10 years) for nearly an hour. It's a joy to see!


Unknown Mami

Now, get out and tour the world along with Unknown Mami and her band of merry women.


P.S I was able to update this post about our upcoming trip to the States. It has photos now thanks to the help I received from Housewife Eclectic. If you've been struggling with Blogger and adding photos, go read this post. It will help. In the meantime, go look at the photos I added.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Your Questions Answered!

Since asking for your input last week, I'm so happy to have so many great questions already submitted.

Your questions are very important to me and will be answered in the order in which they were received. Thank you for playing!

CardiffScott wrote: Will your kids at the orphanage go to out to school in the community or will you do school in house when the time comes?

We already teach the kids a lot using Montessori and other preschool educational tools and so we will be continuing to teach them at 'home'. Sadly, there are no good schools in our area. The only schools in our area are poorly run government schools. The schools don't have good books, the classes are over crowded, the English being spoken is poor, the teachers have very little training--I could go on and on. It breaks my heart not to be able to do more for the schools.
  I often say that if I were cloned into 5 or 10 people I would still stay busy with all the passions I have for helping Zambia. There are the schools, the needs of the antenatal (prenatal) women, the needs of the new mothers, the youth who have no direction, the local clinic which is not worthy of the name. But, God has given me these 16 (and counting) children and our staff and I have to keep my eyes on my primary tasks.

Sorry, I got carried away! Back to the question:

The goal is that we will be setting up a Christian school within the orphanage using a variety of teaching styles and books. The main curriculum we're planning to use is ACE--School of Tomorrow which uses a PACE system so each child can be studying at a different level and a teacher or two can supervise a whole room of children at different grade levels. 
I also want to supplement this with several labs such as a science room, an art room, one on one spelling and reading practice and hands on mathematics activities as well as educational games on the computer.  And, of course, oodles and oodles of books!

I'm a firm believer in the fact that each child is unique and learns in a different way. Keeping our school small and simple will enable us to give the kids the best possible education. Our vision for the children in our care is that they are going to grow up to be the future leaders of Zambia. We are going to do everything in our power to give them the tools for success.

Now, the question that many will ask is what we will do about socialization. I'm not so worried about that because we are going to have so many children growing up together as well as visitors from all over the world that they are going to be well used to interacting with people from every walk of life. Already, visitors comment on how well adjusted the kids are. We have volunteers coming through, others stopping by for a tour and the kids just walk up and say hello. There is no fear or timidity.

In the future, when our kids are a bit older and we're more settled and well-staffed, I'd love to do a community Sunday School where we could invite each church in the area to bring a selected number of children on a Sunday (or Saturday) morning for Bible stories, songs and activities. This will allow the children in our care to reach out and give back to others.

 I hope this answers your question, CardiffScott. 

I look forward to even more questions. Leave them here in comments or email me at amymorrowinafricaATgmailDOTcom.
 



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