Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Culturally Bad Day

I will not explain how the day was culturally bad, it just was. Sometimes things just get on your nerves, like little children constantly knocking on your gate and looking over your wall. Sometimes you wish they would all go away and give you come privacy.

Steve was having a bad day and so decided to use his hands to do some work. We have a carpenter making frames for our windows, so that we can have screens. This will be a blessing, as the Bowman’s house at Christmas was so much cooler than ours. Between 5 and 6 PM we close up all windows and doors as we do not have screens to keep the mosquitoes out. Sometimes we are fine and sometimes we feel like we are going to suffocate. Some of the windows have poorly designed old screens with hole on them. So Steve took them down and hauled them outside. Then, while standing on a chair he decided to get into the porch ceiling and get the bee nest out. The bees were gone, but we don’t want them back. The following pictures are of dead bees (we had been sticking the spraying wand in their hole and killing them) and their combs.

This is what fell when we took a ceiling panel down.

This is looking up into the ceiling.

Christmas 2009

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go. Oh! We didn’t do that this year. We went: Across northern Zambia and through the mud to the Bowman’s house we went!!! The Bowmans are the team leaders of the Northern Evangelist Team, which is our team. We had a great time with their family. They have cows and one just had a calf a few days earlier. So we went to see it.

We were trying to get it back into its pen. Instead of chasing it and trying to
herd it back in, Steve just decided to pick it up.

While there Amy took this picture of us. Consider it our 2009 Christmas photo that would have been in our Christmas cards that we usually send every year. Sorry, but you are not getting one this year. Our newsletter, blog, and facebook are where you will find updates on our lives.

God knew what he was doing when he shut doors to Kaputa and Isoka and opened the door to Mbala for us. I hate driving, especially long trips. From Kasama to Mbala is a 1 ½ hour drive on a tarmac (blacktop) road. To get to the Bowman’s house we drove to Kasama. From Kasama we went west to Luwingu. The road from Kasama to Luwingu is about the same distance from Kasama to Mbala, but it takes about three hours to drive it. It is dirt and mud. The following are some pictures of that road. Tobias got carsick. He was not a happy camper that day. On the drive back I gave Heather and Tobias Dramamine. About an hour into the trip I gave them some more; they were not looking or feeling good.

Nice Tarmac Road can be found near Luwingu and Kasama

Side road while they are making the road new

They are just grading this side road.  We couldn't decide where we should drive.  We did eventually drive over to the middle of the road. 

Here they have pushed back the trees getting ready to build the new road.

This is just the normal Luwingu Road not under construction yet.

There were many water holes to go around.

Then it started raining. 

We will not be complaining about the Great North Road after this trip.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Now we are finally up to date

These last few post have been about the past.  So this one will bring us up to the present.

One week ago Tobias was at the Schaffer's over night.  The big boys decided to go for a bike ride.  On the way back and only a little way from the house, they decided to stop and drink the water out of the water ditch they have.  Filtered water was not that far away.

The very next day Tobais had diarrhea.  He was sick to his stomach.  Often I would just see him lying in bed hugging the bucket.  Basically, we were told to let things run its course.  So we didn't do any reading up on it until Tuesday morning.  We have this lovely flow chart to figure out what he had.  In the end we decided he had Giardia and started him on Flagyl.  He was on it for 5 days.  It helped him to feel better, but the diarrhea is lingering on.  So yesterday morning (Monday) I went back and read up on it again.  I found out it can last for 7 to 14 days and may need a second treatment of medicine.  So we have started the second round of meds.  Hopefully in a week he will be doing much better, I pray.

Keep him in your prayers.

Prayer Retreat

On Monday, November 23rd, after seeing the Doctor, we drove to our Prayer Retreat. It was at the Protea Safari Lodge. It was a very nice place as the pictures will indicate. It was wonderful to relax and just worship God and pray. We were there until Wed.

The rainy season was just starting.  So most everything was still brown.  Thanks to Protea for watering, this place was beautifully green.

This was the path to our room.  The sidewalks lead up to a door that has two hotel rooms or for us we used three rooms.  Heather and Tobias stayed down a room from us.

This place is only about 40 minutes from Lusaka.  It is fenced in and there are animals to go and see.  So we went on a animal drive to see them.


I just call this a beautiful animal.  I don't know my African animals very well.

They did have a lion family in two cages.

The animals on Wed. came right up to the dining room.  This is a flower bed in front of the dining room.  Seth is standing on the floor of the dining room.  One of the worker brought bread out to feed the animals.  This baby was eating out of his hands.


At 40/40 they gave us a bottle of water and told us to drink 4 of theses a day. Well, at our home stay I think we should have drunk 6 or more of them. It was a very hot weekend. They hottest Steve and I have experienced since being here. We spent most of our time outside. Heather and I (Rita) got urinary track infections. Luckily for us Seth was already on an antibiotic for his cold. So we took his medicine too and just got more on Monday morning from the nurse.

I, Rita, had been having diarrhea since being at the Lake in early September. Side note: I just found out last week that they don't filter their water. So every night at dinner I was drinking unfiltered lake water that we were swimming in. Yuck! So that explains my diarrhea. But after our home stay, the antibiotic must have wiped out the good bacteria along with the bad. By Thursday I felt like I had the flu. Then I started running a fever. It acted like malaria. I would have a fever and then it would be normal. I would be freezing and then sweating. We took a malaria test on Friday night, but it said I was fine. After talking to other missionaries I started on the malaria medicine anyways.

On Saturday afternoon we decided to go to the Doctor. He took a malaria test too, still fine. He asked that I come back on Sunday morning when the lab was opened. On Sunday we were back. The lab took blood and a urine sample. I saw a second Dr. Nothing looked out of normal. Then the diarrhea was mentioned. It had drastically changed on Sat. night. The Dr. wanted to know why I didn't say something to the Doc. on Saturday. Well, I have been having this for over two months and everything I read didn't indicate that anything was wrong. So be come back Monday morning with a stool sample.

I had dysentery. I started the medicine and we drove off to prayer retreat. Dysentery can really wipe a person out. I really didn’t feel like I could stand or do much walking. My legs felt like they would give out on me at any moment.

So now I am better and starting to feel like my old self again. Thank you Lord.

40 / 40 at Ibus Gardens

On Monday morning, November 16th, our ride picked us up from the village at 6:30 AM.  The bus, which was air conditioned this time, was leaving the Bush Camp at 8 AM.  We drove back to Lusaka and then about 1 hour north on the Great North Road to Ibus Gardens.  Here we had a three bedroom house with air condition to live in.  We debriefed here.  Tues., Wed., and Thurs. mornings we studied Pilot, which is a way of learning the language.  Steve has used it all this week and is loving it.  I will also be using it starting in January.

Steve and I came away from this a little down in the dumps.  They really stressed that the wife also needs to learn the language.  I know I need to learn it, but how do I fit it into my schedule.  Do we just stop teaching our children school for six months?  They are already behind according to school in the states.  I don't want to do that.  We need help.  We do have our name in at  So we began to pray about this.

Last week Steve's language helper wanted to know if we have some work for his youngest brother who has come to live with him.  His name is Moses.  He has finished high school and does speak English, although not as well as I would like.  I have trained him this week.  On Friday, I wrote out a schedule for him and he did 4 hours of school mostly all by himself.  God is Good

Friday, December 11, 2009

40/40 Village Stay

On November 13th, we packed up our stuff and went to stay with a family in a village.

 We stayed with the Blackwell family. 

Lots of children and adults came to see these white people.

This is the little two room house we lived in for the weekend.

On the left was the outhouse, the right is where you can wash up. 
The door in the middle can be moved to cover either opening. 
Little baby goats like to stick there heads in and drink from your wash water.

This is Lane and Seth in front of their pole barn.
They keep the baby calves in here at night.

Lane and the oxen and ox cart.
They just came back from the well.
They go to the well everyday, but they only fill up this drum three times a week.

This is their kitchen.  It has one door and three very small windows that are only about a foot square.  They cook over a fire on the floor in the very middle of the kitchen.  Dishes are stored on one side and two plows are on the other side of the kitchen.  The kitchen doubles as a chicken coop.  The chickens come inside at night and sleep in the kitchen!  The chickens, I quess, come in and go off to the left side every night.  I also quess that they cannot see very well like us when we come inside into a dark room.  I was sitting on a very low stool just inside the door on the left.  Something bumped into my leg.  The second time it happened I looked down and saw that a chicken was running into me.  The third time the chicken ultered her course and walked right across my feet to get to where she wanted to sleep for the night.

The kids and I helped to shell ground nuts (peanuts) everyday we were there.  On Sunday the wife built the fire up very high in the kitchen and roasted them.  Here we are getting the red skins off of the nut.  We did this by rolling them between our two hands.

Sunday evening we helped to make peanut butter. 

This takes lots of arm muscles.  Zambian women are very strong.  They make nshema everyday and I didn't last very long trying to help.

They wash the dishes outside.  Did you know rubbing dirt on the bottom of the pots gets the black off of it from the fire?  The animals (dogs and chickens) are waiting for left over rice and nshema.  That is all they get to eat.  They have to find their own food.  The chickens do get maze when the lady of the house wants to catch one to eat it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Second Part of 40/40 - Small Town / Villages

After, I don’t know how many days, our stay in Lusaka came to an end. On a Tuesday morning we boarded a bus that was suppose to be air conditioned. We traveled east to Petauke for what was to be a 6 hour trip turned into an 8 hour trip. We learned to say “This is Africa.” Meaning things are not always going to be the way you think they should be or planned on them being.

Here we lived in tents. The kids had one end and we had the other. It poured rain and we stayed dry.

We had to pump our own water to take a shower. If you wanted it heated you put it on the camp fire, but the teapot needed to come back clean at the end of our stay. So the kids had chores. Two of them had to pump our teapots and two buckets full of water before breakfast which was at 7 AM. The water sat in the sun all day getting warm. I didn’t want to scrub a black teapot from the fire. Then it rained. That was the coldest shower I ever took. I folded and heated water for two days. Then it got warm again. We learned that it is pretty much daylight at 5 AM here. So the kids were up and ready to go by 6 am. Lesson: can’t get your kids up in the morning? Move to Africa and live in a tent!!

The men’s shower

The bucket with the shower attachment on it.

We were all given a teapot, bucket, choo bucket (bathroom in the middle of the night), and a tub to do laundry in. Our family was supplied with two each. This picture is of us moving in. We paid local ladies to wash our laundry by hand.

The first few days we took a flat bed truck into town and did our daily assignments there. We actually found a witch doctor and got to talk to him. I prayed most of the time (with my eyes wide open) while the others asked the questions. On that Sunday each family went to a different denomination / cult church.

The next few days we walked to local villages for our assignments or were dropped off in the van.

On a Friday morning after 9 days and nights of camping we packed it all up and headed to our home stays in the villages. That is the next blog.