Saturday, January 16, 2010


To get started on the Back to School Project, we had to measure all the kids for their uniforms and shoes.

Above, workers fertilize by hand the crops at the Hope Center. The Hope Center is only about 6 months young, but it will hopefully be self sustaining some day.

Below, kids get lunch after Bible Study every Monday through Saturday. On the menu in this pic: Nshima (the staple food of Zambia), beans, and a spinach like vegetable that we don't have here in the U.S.

Before giving all the kids their school supplies and uniforms, I labled each back pack, then filled it with their specific supllies based on which school they go to and what grade they're in. Two days before school started, I presented each child with their bag, supplies, uniforms, and shoes after lunch.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Back to School

I can’t wait to post some pictures (sorry, I can’t until I’m back in America)…today I gave out the school uniforms and supplies to the children of the Hope Center. There were lots of smiles, as you can imagine they were really excited. They each received a backpack with notebooks, pencils, and so on, plus their school uniform inside. They also each got a pair of school shoes and tennis shoes for P.E. class. We’re also covering their school fees for the year. For them to get all of these things is a really big deal.

It’s crazy how it’s a relatively inexpensive project for us that makes a world of difference to them. Just think about the comfort it brings them to not have to worry about if they’ll be able to attend school, or if they’ll fit in with the other kids. It really was a great feeling to see this whole thing play out. Again, their smiles say it all.

I’ve loved getting to spend some time with some of the kids and getting to know them better. I really do love them, and I love to make them laugh and smile. I was thinking back on my short time here...there have been a lot of difficulties and frustration in the whole process, which is to be expected. But just a few minutes hanging out with the kids easily outweighs any of the challenges or disappointments. I’ll miss them.

When I get back to the states I’ll post some photos and more info. I don’t know if I’m ready for the cold weather again!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Hope and in color

Well, I only have about four full days left (sorry I haven’t posted more, things have been hectic and internet has been difficult), and I think everything will come together for our Back to School program before I leave. It was quite the complicated process, but I think I got everything figured out, and hopefully it’ll be easier next time since now it’ been done once before. I’m really excited about presenting all the kids with there new school stuff. I’ll take lots of pictures for you.

It’s been really amazing to see and be a part of the Hope Center. It’s weird how I was here for 3 months before with all the building and planning and so on…and the whole time the Hope Center was just this idea. Now it’s become a reality. I’ve absolutely loved hanging out with the kids; they come every day to do a Bible study and get a healthy lunch. They’re so fun and cute and hilarious.

During my second day here, several of the adults who have taken these orphans in to their homes gathered together to express their gratitude. One by one they thanked me for what the Hope Center is doing. They all went on listing their different reasons, it was a really cool sight. I wish you all could have been here to hear what they were saying…after all, the thanks goes to all you Brooksiders who made it happen.

That same day, as the kids were lining up to get their lunch, Navice (the local pastor behind the Hope Center idea) looked at me and said, “Don’t they all look so much healthier than when you were here last?” He was right. Not only do they look healthier as far as nutrition goes, they seem happier and more full of life. Some of you may remember me sharing when I got back last time about a girl named Zita. I never once got Zita to smile, and she was living in a terrible situation. When I first saw her this time around, I hardly recognized her when she looked up at me with this huge smile on her face! It actually kind of stunned me…and I had the thought, “Well that alone is worth everything we've done here.”


10 ways you know you’re turning into a Zambian…

…you’re really, really excited that you got jelly on your trip to Lusaka since there isn’t any in Serenje (this was a major menu expansion for me)…you call 5 o’clock 17 hours…you try to smooth talk at police check points in hopes of getting through with no hassle (i.e. “did I mention I’m helping orphans”)…the flat tire you got comes as no surprise, neither does the fact that the spare was stolen…you eat Nshima every day…you wish your skin was darker, much darker…you’re extremely excited for the return of running water to your home, who cares if its not hot…you buy cassava (a root) off the side of the highway for an afternoon snack…in public, you only say very nice things about Obama…and last, you don’t question if cockroaches are living with you, but how many…