Monday, July 27, 2009

Our Trip from Lusaka to Mbala, Zambia

On July 18th at 5:30 in the morning we started our drive from Lusaka to Mbala. Our temporary vehicle is a Ford Everest. All four kids sat on one bench seat. The back doors just went shut. They get too much bigger and we will not be able to do that again. The back was packed to the ceiling. Plus we were hauling a small trailer which had in it six suitcases and the kids 4 backpacks. Josh and Amy Bowman and their children made the trip with us. Their trailer held two of our suitcases inside of it and two where strapped to the top.

We saw many new and interesting things along the way:

A “Lay By” is like an American Rest Stop on a highway, except there are no bathrooms or vending machines. Sometimes they are marked with a sign and sometimes not. They do have tall elephant grass in which to squat. We have decided that the elephant grass in way cleaner than a restroom and smells much better.

There are many police checks along the way. For the most part we were waved on. Some police checks have gates across the road. The guard just came out and opened the gate for us.

Speed Bumps – they are most anywhere in Lusaka and I know of one here in Mbala. They are not marked well. The paint has long since faded.

Rumble Strips? I am not sure what to call these things. There were signs for them, although I’m not sure there were signs for them all of the time. Some towns do have what I would call rumble strips as you come into town to slow you down. These other rumble strips are like huge speed bumps only there was 10 of them in a row!

Driving at night is dangerous. We use to fuss about the paint or lack of it on the highways around Louisville. Louisville’s painted lines look good now! Driving at night is nerve racking. Even Steve said his heart was pounding. We were following someone so that made it a little easier. At one point Josh got his vehicle totally off of the road. He had followed a car off of the road. We couldn’t see what was happening, but decided we better follow him off of the road too. Here a semi-truck was passing another semi. So the semi was in our lane, and he was flying. More heart pounding was happening after that.

Some roadside etiquette: At first we just thought this guy wanted to turn. Then we decided he didn’t know where he wanted to turn. Now we know it was his road etiquette. When driving down the road and someone is trying to pass you, put on your left turn signal to tell them that it is safe to pass. Put on your right turn signal to indicate it is NOT safe to pass. Also, and we noticed this at night, put on your right turn signal when someone is coming toward you to give them a point of reference. Also, you should use your horn a lot. This is not rude. It tells the person walking or the bike on the side of the road that you are coming.

We passed 24 Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall signs and 4 Seventh Day Adventist signs on the way up.

Pot holes: I will do another post on just pot holes when we go back to Lusaka in August. The farther north one goes on the Great North Road the less great it becomes. If you see black skid marks on the road – slowdown now – potholes. If you see brown dirt marks up ahead – slow down – pot holes. If you see dirt on both sides of the road instead of grass – slow down – major pot holes – pot holes so bad that the side of the road is better!?!?!

At one potty break on the side of the road eight little children sat watching us the whole time. They hardly moved. Us white people must be interesting to watch.

At one point of the drive we were listening to Point Of Grace. There is one song that Heather Payne sings that we love. She has a wonderful voice. Lane made the comment, “She lets her voice go!” Yes, we had to agree. I wish I could sign like that.

Dad, at one point we thought you might like to have your front porch at one of the major pothole places just to watch the traffic. We changed our minds though, as the dust would be awful.

God bless,
Rita for the Schwarz’s
In Mbala, Zambia

Friday, July 17, 2009

It is Cold here in Africa!

If is winter time here. I think is got to about 72 degrees today. It gets down into the 50's at night. This flower looks like the ones you plant at Christmas in the house.


This morning I went to the grocery store shopping. Heather went with me and we used two carts. I don't have enough to last us until we are back in Lusaka, but we won't stave. There is food in Mbala and we can drive to Kasama to get some, it will just be more expensive and less of a selection. There is already less of a selection here in Lusaka compared to the States.

This afternoon was spent packing. Packing suitcases and better packing the grocery bags. Then it was off to pack the trailers that we will be hauling behind the vehicles. Our vehicle is full. The kids, all four of them, will be sitting on a bench seat made for three. It might be a very long ride.

We will pull out, hopefully, by 5:00 AM in the morning and drive to Kasama. We will be staying with a Journeymen there. We will drive the final two hours to Mbala on Sunday.

Please pray for safe travel. This will be a long drive on Saturday. We have only done short little trips here around town. This morning as I was leaving my parking space at the store I was on the wrong side of the road. At least it was in the parking lot. Plus that middle mirror is suppose to be on my right, instead it is on the left. I have hit the door a few times trying to shift. It is very odd using the mirrors, they don't seem right and it feels like you can't see all that you could see if the steering wheel was on the other side of the car.

Keep Praying,

New Things We Are Learning

When I am wearing jeans, pants, slacks, whatever you want to call them, I say I am wearing pants. Here in Africa that is wrong. They do wear pants here, but pants refers to your underwear. So I am learning to call my jeans - trouser.

That lovely little napkin you put under your fork - it is called a serviette. If you ask where napkins are in a store they would point you to the feminine hygiene products.

Then there are all those line we waited in to get our drivers license last Friday. There were lines to wait in on Tuesday getting our residence cards. Lines are called ques.

Little tidbits to learn.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Africa - Day 4

What a day Friday was. We set out to get our Zambian drivers license. Some missionaries say you really don't need them, your US drivers license works. It sounds like mostly it is used when you are driving in other countries.

First we waiting in line until it was our turn. Blake went in with Kenny (another new missionary) when "next" was called. Blake took in with him our photo copies of our US drivers license and our international drivers license. He came out with four applications to fill out. We filled them out and went right up to window twelve. It had no line. The girl informed us the system was down. We continues to wait. She continues to do everything but work. Finally, she asked to see our papers. We didn't have the form indicating we had a physical from a Doctor. Blake informs her that we didn't need one. We didn't need one because we have US drivers license. That trumps the physical. The guy Blake saw first looked at the papers and told us we had everything we needed. This girl wouldn't budge. She shut down and walked away. We went to her supervisor, who by this time was receiving a text message from her. He said the same thing and offered to get us forms, which he did. Blake then went back to the first guy he saw to get the application form and told him his problem. Blake was not going to give up and go home.

The first guy knew who was working window 12. He went to her and told her she needs to enter our paper work. She refused. He told her that it is her job to do it and then told Blake to stand there until she does. She did it. She really didn't want to work that day. Blake thought she might leave for lunch early and not even come back that afternoon. She still would have been paid. That is just how it is here.

After window 12, we stood in line to get our picture taken. After standing in line for awhile we realized the 5 or so guys standing at the back wall were going in the door where the camera didn't work and crossing over to get their picture taken. What is funny is they spaced it out so that is wouldn't be two obvious. The funny part, they could have stood in line and got in in about the same amount of time as it took them. You are not allowed to smile when you get your picture taken. I had to take off my earrings. Also, over the door was a sign: remove your wig and false hair!!!

After pictures we got in another line to pay. Then we left the building and drove down town to another building, but we remember we needed to back to the Baptist Mission office and get something photo copied so that the mission would have a copy of what we have done so far. So then back down town to get a stamp that we don't need to take the driving test because we have US drivers license. We first stand in line at the wrong building. They send us across the street to another building room 8. We cross over and find a man in a nice bright yellow jacket (police emblem on back) and ask for directions. He takes us to the room.

Here we are told yes we do need to take the driving part of the test. Blake questions this, because new missionaries came in just last week and didn't take it. They reassured us that yes we do need to take it, but it is a short test, very short test. The man that showed us to the room came back and took our paper work, stapled it together with a new paper on top, and then preceded to put a stamp on every paper. Basically, we passed before we even took the test.

So back out to the land rover we went. I was a little worried. I haven't even drove such a vehicle before. Steve started out. He drove us down a few roads and turns. Then Kenny drove only on one straight stretch of road, no turns. Leslie was next. She had the same stretch of road, but I was sure he was going to fail her. After every ones turn he said congratulations you passed. I got out of the back of the vehicle and hadn't heard him say it yet. Plus, he told her to turn the vehicle off and the others didn't have to do that. I was a little worried. I climbed in to find she did pass, but that her husband better give her some practice time to get better.

Side note this is a shame society. So my turn. Thank you so much Daddy! You did a great job teaching me how to drive. Even though I haven't driven stick shift vehicle on a regular basis for over 10 years I haven't lost the touch. I did fine, even driving on the left side of the road and shifting with my left hand. And I didn't turn the windshield wipers on trying to turn my turning signal on. I have done that every time I have driven here, but not during my driving test!
Back to the side note, the guy kept praising me and my abilities to shame Leslie. I felt so bad for her.

The most nerve racking part was I had to drive back to his office, where traffic is thick and so are the people who walk just on the side of the road. After this we went out for lunch. The men went back to the first office in the afternoon to stand in line again and pay again. Not sure why we had to pay as many times as we did. Basically, it was a good day to learn a lot about the culture here in Zambia.


Africa - Day 3

The morning was spent getting work permits. I (Rita) didn't have to leave here to do it. The men went. We met with Mary and learned about the paper work we will need to do to get reimbursed for things and what is reimbursable.

Lunch was with another missionary family. Hamburgers again but it was good. We got to pick there brains and ask lots of questions.

Steve spent the afternoon helping to load a trailer African style of furniture and such for our house in Mbala. We have a house to live in in Mbala, but in a few months we will have to move again. It looks like we will be moving into another house in 4 months. I found out why we had to move. I thought something was wrong with the house, maybe it wasn't up to standards, maybe it was too small. The answer: it is too big. It is 3100 square feet!!! I have never lived in a house that big. The mission board only allowss houses to be 1600 square feet for missionaries to live in.

We had Chinese take out for dinner and played Phase 10.


Africa - Day 2

On Wednesday, Steve followed Blake with our SUV (Ford :( Everest ) to the mechanic. The plan was to get work permits, but that didn't happen. Blake took Steve around town to various shops. We both now have sell phones and our computer has something to stick in the side of it giving us email.

A warning to you all: don't send us any pictures. We will have the email settings set to NOT receive pictures. Life is soooo much slower over here. When we are in Lusaka, we will change the settings. So if you want to email pictures, tell us first and we will send you an email as to when you can.

Now it is Saturday as I am writing this and I have no idea what I did on Wed. I think I did some laundry. I'm sure I spent time with Dawnya. For dinner we grilled hamburgers!!! Yum


I just remembered, Dawnya took me to the closest grocery store to the mission house and we went up and down the isles.

Africa - Day 1

We landed in Lusaka, Zambia at 7:30 in the morning. Several missionary families were there to greet us. Another family arrived on the field with us. These missionary families helped us gather up around 24 suitcases between the two of our families. We loaded up the vehicles and drove to the Baptist Mission.

We spent the first part of the morning visiting. The second part of the morning was spent getting cleaned up and organized. The Baptist Mission is a compound with an office building that has storage underneath it. It has an apartment type building with two stories. Then there are several one story building. So there are several places to stay here. We are in "Kudu". It has two bedrooms, one bath, and a common room. The common room has a kitchen area, table, a little two seater couch, and a cot that Heather is on. So we organized suitcases, so that the ones we don't need can be sitting up right giving us a little bit more room.

At lunch we had a pizza party with the Kimbrough's. I don't know where they got it but it is two for the price of one on Tuesdays. Then Blake took us out driving. He took us to the Seminary and then Steve drove around. I, sleep deprived as I was, also drove around. Blake is good, he makes us think about things. We were wondering about certain buttons in the SUV. We have 4-wheel drive, so after jumping out to the lock the hubs (so we would know how to do it), we realized we didn't have to. So this button had three initials on it. Blake wouldn't tell us what it was for. I finally guessed it was the real window defrost. Blake gave me a high five, like I finally came up with the right answer. I'm pretty gullible with a sleep deprived mind. The button is for the 4-wheel drive. As you can tell from this paragraph I still don't know much about 4-wheel drive.

We had pot-luck for supper in the quest house dinning room with all the missionary's that were in the area. Then we sleep walked to bed.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Flying to Africa

Thanks so much to Uncle Dale and Aunt Marion who went with us to the airport and then drove our van back to my Dad's house. Thank you also to Uncle Eby who drove my Dad's truck to and from the airport. He also knew some back way to go. We all of a sudden popped out of the country and into the city of Philly.

We arrived at the airport kind of early, but we never have flown with our whole family before. We checked in and then got some dinner. Our plane took off at 9:05 headed to London. Heather didn't like the take off. During the flight she was fine. Then landing had her with the bag over her mouth.

We landed in London at 9 in the morning their time. We had a 10 hour lay over. Heather spent around 8 of that in the bathroom over the toilet. At 2pm I became more concerned. She needed to stop this so that she could get on the next plane. There was a pharmacy in the airport. I decided maybe she has a nervous stomach like I did as a teenager. I wanted Mylox, but settled on Milk of Magnesia. She kept it down and went to sleep. I then gave her Dramamen for the next flight.

We boarded the plane on time, but because of weather during the day they were behind. We sat for 1 1/2 hours at the gate. Taking off late some how didn't effect our landing. I believe that we landed on time. I could be wrong though. Heather did some very heavy breathing during take off and landing and did fine.

We were met in customs by a fellow missionary. She had paper work to show them. We still had to pay for tourist visa's, but only the adults. They helped us round up all of the luggage and drove us to the Baptist Mission.

In Africa,