Saturday, July 26, 2008

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

So, Malawi.

I'm feeling a picture's post, because I'm a fan of pictures. :]
Lunch break for the kids in the Adziwa school.

The Malawian men show the Americans how it's done.

The children loved Magic Markers.

Leike carries his brother's school books.

One thing that I've learned about myself in these past few weeks since Africa, youth camp, and being a teen leader at kid's camp is that I'm much more laid back than I was at the beginning of the summer. I've always been laid back, but now more so than ever. I'm very "Hakuna matta," these days. And I quite enjoy it.

Last night, my mom and I were spending some quality time together at Wal Mart. Typical girls. :] We jumped on the notebooks for 5 cents, and loaded up with them to send over with the next Malawi team. While we were checking out, the lady in line behind us was getting quite huffy. I really wanted to turn around and say, "Excuse me, but these 40 notebooks are for children in Africa. What are YOU doing with your life?"

But I didn't. That wouldn't have been very Chrisitan-ly.

We (the fam) are leaving tomorrow for a cruise to Mexico! We are porting in Cozymel and Calica. I'm quite excited. Especially about snorkeling and parasailing.

Hasta luego!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

An Update

---We inturrupt this Malawian Program for an update of life stateside!---

So these past few weeks have been busy busy busy. After I got home from Africa, I was home a week. Then I went to youth camp at Horn's Creek, where we got to do fun things like....
...get really gross in "New Orleans-Smelling Mud." And....
...get blobbed, and....
'8os Night it up! Camp was pretty much a blast, of course. The Junior Girls also had a running scoreboard of how many flies were killed in our cabin. We were up and over 120. It was disgusting but so entertaining at the same time. Girls. :]

My dearest friend/sister/and blogger Neens is in K. right now. I miss her SO much, not being able to talk to her/text everyday is not cool. But I know that the Lord is doing BIG BIG BIG things through her and to her, and I'm SO proud of that young lady. I cannot wait until she comes back!

A portion of the Junior Boys made breakfast for a few of the girls last week. Yes. They made breakfast. It was very entertaining to watch. And delicious to eat, don't get me wrong.

Here, the boys are cracking the eggs for french toast. They did a fantastic job!

So I leave town again on Sunday for KIDS CAMP. I am pumped beyond belief, this is always a highlight of my summer. A week with the grade schoolers, I couldn't be more excited. Expect many pictures and lots of funny stories.

Justin Nozuka = absolutelypositivelyamazing. Check him out.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

VBS, Malawian Style- Day 1

So after school, we were walked back to the offices by about 500 kids. No joke. We quickly learned that the English way of holding hands (one child per hand) didn't apply here. In Malawi, we were rockstars. We were rock stars with one child per FINGER. Which made for a very interesting step-shuffle-giggle-shuffle routine. The kids loved having an "adzungu" hand to hold, of course. :]

We got back to the Adziwa offices, and chowed down on a lunch of sandwiches (or "sundwiches" as the Malawians called them). Each day the team had a choice of peanut butter or jelly, but not peanut butter AND jelly. The boys caught on quickly, and peeled their sandwiches apart then smacked them back together with a buddy, so they made two PB&J sandwiches. Way to go, boys! The peanut butter in Malawi was HEAVENLY and made from scratch. We were so spoiled.

After lunch, we then prepared for our first Vacation Bible School. Thandi prepared her lesson, which was out of Luke, and the girls worked on theirs. Emily, Heather, and I were doing our lesson first. Heather told the story of the woman touching Jesus's cloak, I told the story of Zacchaeus, and Emily told about Jesus loving the little children. The overarching theme for our lesson was that Jesus loves everyone. Thandi translated, and the kids followed us very well! We played Simon Says, and learned that there is a smiliar game in Malawi! The kids responded and interacted at a surprising level, they were almost hungry for English words. After our lesson and game, we dove into making picture frames. We were armed with popsicle sticks, foam stickers, and lots and lots of glue (in the stick form, we weren't crazy! Liquid glue = nightmare.). Emily was in charge of taking Polaroids of the kids. She taught them how to shake their picture to make it turn up. Once they realized that the picture revealed their faces, the kids lit up like a Christmas tree. They would then show if off to all their friends, and then reluctantly let me glue it into a frame. But once they saw it in a frame, their smiles got even bigger. If that's possible.

Some of the boys finished early, they were sitting next to me and got a lot of help on their projects. We went outside to play football (soccer). We had 10 balls stored away for moments like these, that we would give them at the end of our two weeks. The boys had SO much fun with the soccer balls, and quickly split off into teams without any help from the authority figures. It was incredible. I would have played, but Aefe, a young girl that had been close at our heels all day, pulled me aside and we practiced our English letters and numbers. She was absolutely precious, and pretty soon, we had a crowd in our pseudo school lesson. I was totally in my element, and could have spent all day drawing in the dirt with these precious children.

Eventually, we walked back to the offices to clean up. The Adziwa kids all hung outside while we finished cleaning. They would dig through the trash that we had piled up to find the empty Polariod boxes. I saw one girl with her frame in her box, to keep it safe. My heart broke, once again. I am so blessed.

We finished cleaning up, and decided to go out and bond with these precious children. We taught them the Macarena with English numbers, the Chicken Dance, the Conga Line, and the sprinkler. We had a ball- and I think they did too. Tionke, a 10 year old boy, could bustamove. His favorite was the Macarena, and he added his own moves. All the kids loved the "Heeeeey, Macarena!" part. I tear up just thinking about it. If the children needed to get our attention, they would start humming the Chicken Dance until we all turned around. I miss those moments.

As we were leaving, Taylor pointed out the absolutely GORGEOUS first sunset. We all stood there in wonder. We had never seen anything like it. Yay Daddy! What an artist You are!

We said our goodbyes, blew kisses, and gave out hugs. As we went back to Kumbali, we all laughed about the day. How great God is!

Once we got back to Kumbali, the Shower Extravaganza began. Since the girls were all wary of showering in the African darkness alone, we all donned our swimsuits and jumped into the showers in pairs. Our showers weren't really showers... just scoop-n-dumps. We filled our big blue buckets up with as much hot water as we wanted, then drug them over to the cold water spout. We then buddied up, and carried them to the shower stalls, which were made out of straw. They had slits in the bottom of them, which were rock. We had rock shelves that our lanterns and shampoo sat on, and no roofs. I miss having roof-less showers, the stars were breathtaking.

Showering in the dark with long hair was quite difficult. So frequently, we needed to solicit the help of our shower buddy. The joys of friendship are limitless. Sing-a-long showers haven't been born yet... that's day 7. You just wait. :]

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Day 1.

It's quite fitting that I'm blogging about day one in the schools on the one month anniversary of this very day. I miss Adziwa and Kauma village with every fiber of my being. I'm so ready to go back.

We all woke up to an extremely cold morning. Who knew that Africa was cold? We all had sweats on for breakfast. We were that cold. The boys woke up for early showers (hey, at least they are showering!) and then we all met for breakfast. We had toast, porridge, and baked beans. Yes, baked beans. For breakfast. It turned out that we had to wait about 30 minutes for breakfast to be finished, which we totally didn't mind. We were used to "Africa Time," which basically means that it will get here when it gets here. Be patient. No worries. I am still on Africa Time, and it drives those around me nuts. But I find a specific serenity in it.

As we enjoyed our breakfast, and talked about the night sounds we heard, including the bird outside of Hut One's window, Kyle came around the tables saying, "Okay guys, funny story!" And we all knew that this story was not going to be funny. Kyle then launched in to telling us about how in Malawi, they don't observe a time switch like the surrounding countries do. So instead of the time being 8 hours behind American time, the correct time was 7 hours behind American time. So the little man that gets our shower water warm? We woke him up. And he was apologizing for not having our water ready. No wonder the breakfast guys weren't ready, we were wrong! Looking back on it, the story is quite funny. But we all were thinking about that extra hour of sleep we could have had. Oh well. :]

After breakfast, we gathered up our materials that we would need for the day, and headed out. I was on school duty all day, including Vacation Bible School that afternoon. I could NOT be more excited. We drove through the villages again, and people of all shapes, ages, and sizes would come running out of nowhere, just to wave at a passing bus of Americans. Many asked for money, but the younger kids all yelled happily and waved their little arms off. We felt like rockstars.

We arrived in Adziwa, were shown around, and began working. The construction team split off to go begin working and meet all the men that worked on the house. We started our walk up to the schools, being led by Thandi. She was possibly the most patient and loving woman that I have ever met. We first went to the elementary school, and looked around a bit there. The children, of course, went crazy. Many of them had never seen a white person, and they all wanted to shake our hands. It was precious. We were TOTALLY a distraction, but I could tell that the kids were eating it up.

On our way to the "middle school" (grades are different, the team called it the middle school), we noticed many of the children that were fleeing from something. Connee, one of the leaders that went with us, quickly asked if we were in danger. Thandi and the headmaster from the school system told us that we should not have fear, they would take care of us if something came up. Then they explained that the Chichewa tribe was having a funeral procession- the chief's son had died. The Chichewa tribe is a native tribe, so therefore they do not practice Christian-based funerals. The tribe had beasts that would run around town, and capture people. We had nothing to fear though, because it was a time of mourning, and the young men would not capture anyone. The children, however were terrified. The men running around would wear masks and carry machetes, which were menacing to the little guys. If captured, a prisioner would have to return to the graveyard with the "beasts" and be initiated. It was quite alarming, but really interesting to see. We were not allowed to make eye contact, wave, or take pictures of the Chichewa people for our safety. The Lord totally had His hand upon us!

We then ventured to the middle and high schools, and I was shown just how much I am so blessed. The Lord has given me a desk, a notebook, and textbooks. He has given my teachers erasers, and my friends school materials also. How blessed I am!

After we saw each school, Thandi instructed us to split into pairs, one pair per school. Emily and I went to the elementary school, and were able to teach a class of 3 and 4 year olds. They were absolutely precious.

When it was time for lunch, the teacher that Emily and I were helping instructed us to come outside and sit on a bench she had pulled out for us. She then told us that she was going to get us some lunch-the same lunch that the students in the school were eating. As she walked away, Emily and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes. Here was this precious lady offering up all she had to her visitors. What a beautiful picture. She then came back and with a distressed look on her face, told us that they were out of porridge. Emily and I tried our best to explain that we had our own lunch back in Adziwa. The woman was obviously relieved, and then invited us inside to hear the children sing. I was so humbled and amazed at the hospitality of this woman who had nothing. How cool is Daddy!

The children singing. It brought tears to my eyes, WHAT a picture of Heaven!

I'm going to stop there, this is the longest post ever. I'll pick up tomorrow with the rest of day one!