Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Schwarz Family

While your day is only partial over, ours is winding down.  The kids are already reading books in bed.  Steve and I are listening to a little country music.  We have had a lazy, but good day.  The game Risk was played thanks to my sister’s in-laws.  Seth played chess with his daddy.  A puzzle was started.  Turkey was enjoyed.  Steve and I enjoyed stuffing – our kids don’t like it.

Thank you to all of you who gave to the Lottie Moon Offering.  That offering is was makes it possible for us to missionaries here in Zambia. 

Family 12-19-2010

Love from Zambia and God Bless!  Rita for the Schwarzs

Electricity Woes Part III

The electric came on Monday afternoon.  We are thinking maybe everything is fixed now.  Think again.  On Wednesday afternoon the electric went off again.  Steve has a friend at the electric company, so he called him to ask what is going on and when can we expect electric.  The transformer blew and it will be a few days before it is fixed!  They usually keep a spare in the area – I’m thinking one spare for the Northern Province – but, it had been used and not replaced.  He admitting to poor planning.

We Americans think – transformer blew, need a new one, put it on the truck tonight, it will arrive in the morning and install – right!?!?!  Not so.  The transformer had to be shipped from Ndola.  I don’t know when it arrived, but the electric didn’t come on until Sunday at 3PM.

Life changes when there is no electricity.  We went into survival mode.  Steve got the generator going every morning.  Our generator is only a 11 amps.  So first he plugged in the coffee pot.  Then when that was don’t the milk pasteurizer was plugged in.  Then he came and got me so that I could enjoy at least one cup of hot coffee.  Although, I think he turned the gas camp stove on twice in the day to heat coffee back up in a kettle.  After that then the fridge and freezer were plugged in.  We ran the generator most of the morning.  Steve also plugged in the computer and tried to get some work done in the kitchen.  He was trying to finish up preparing for teaching a Bible school class in Kasama the following week.

Generators are noisy.  So in the afternoons we enjoyed the quiet!  Then sometime between 4 and 6 again we would turn it on and plug in the fridge and freezer again.  We would also plug in the TV and watch a show before we turned it off and hopped into bed.

We have a two burner gas camp stove that we cooked on.  We also headed water on it to wash dishes and take bathes.  Although I do know we forgot about it and our worker washed dishes with cold water.  Steve did spend probably 4  to 6 hours trying to make it work right – the stove that is.  Gas doesn’t flow through it properly.

I was planning Heathers birthday party for Friday night.  She turned 13!!  The party was to be at our house, but with no electric how am I to make pizza and cake.  Our friends gladly helped us out.  They were the ones invited to the party and their girls were staying overnight at our house.  She has a outdoor brick pizza oven.  It takes charcoal.  So she made the cake in the pizza oven in the morning and then in the evening I brought over the pizzas and we partied at their house.  Then we took the girls to our house.

There is so much that Steve does when the electric is out.  He even helps or does most of the cooking.  All this time we were without electricity, it was cloudy, raining, and we were having thunderstorms.  So cooking on the porch wasn’t exactly  pleasant, especially when the wind was blowing the rain onto the porch.

Sunday afternoon Steve is packing up to leave for Kasama and showing me how to do everything.  How to start and stop the generator.  What to plug in where.  He even showed me how to unwire the pump from the electric supply and wire it to the generator so that I would pump water up into the tank.

I told him not to worry, that we would survive with him gone.  He said he wanted us to more than survive!  He is sweet.  I told him, “If this was a class that I was taking.  I would pass the test, maybe not with flying colors, but that I would pass and he was not to worry about us.

He left at 2 PM and the electric came on at 3 PM.  For the most part it stayed on for the whole week he was gone. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Electricity Woes Part II

So the electric came on Thursday morning and I was happy.  Four days later it went again.  Sunday morning is left us and didn’t come back until Monday afternoon.  So we got some experience living for about 30 hours with out electric. 

The four days with electricity were interesting.  On that Saturday it took me all day practically to do one load of laundry!!!  The electricity was so low most of the day that the contractor wouldn’t stay in.  So every time I thought about it I went by and pushed it in to see if there was enough power to keep it in so that I could turn on my washing machine again and then later the dryer.

That same evening I was trying to use the blender to make applesauce.  It wouldn’t go around fast enough.  Steve thought: Oh! there is something wrong with that.  I’m thinking, I haven’t done anything to make this not work.  I think it is the electric. 

We are suppose to have 220 volts coming through the electric lines into our house.  If we have 190 we think that is good.  At the time I was doing the applesauce we were only getting 75 volts.  The thing is, all these gadgets we have to stabilize the electric should have cut off the fridge and freezer like it had been doing to my washing machine and dryer all day.  So to save everything we just turned off the main to the house. Then we wait 15 minutes to 1/2 hour and turn it on and see if the voltage is high enough to run things.

Electricity Woes Part I

Some families go into the mission field knowing they will not have electricity and so they prepare for such a life.  We have one family in our mission in Zambia that lives without electricity.  We had friends in orientation that were going to a place without electricity.   We on the other hand knew we would have electricity.  We did know it wouldn’t be great and it wouldn’t be always there, but that we would have it.

The Monday after Thanksgiving, while we were still in Lusaka, we got a call.  The electricity is off and they are not sure when it is coming back on.  We figure, no big deal, we are not even there.  We drove back to Mbala on that Wednesday.  The electricity was still off.  In Kasama we filled one of our jerry cans with petrol/gasoline. 

When we got home, Steve pulled the vehicle right up to the front door to unload it.  He took off to the back to get the generator up and running.  The kids and I unloaded the vehicle and trailer.  We unpacked and climbed into bed exhausted from our drive.  We had left Lusaka at 4 AM.  We stopped in Kasama to take care of a few things there, so didn’t get home until about 6 PM.

Steve got up twice in the night to fill up the generator.  At 4 AM the electric came on.  Whoo hoo!!!!  We really didn’t have to put up with that electrical outage as we were not here to deal with it.  We didn’t lose anything in the Fridge or Freeze because no one was opening and shutting the doors all day.  I was thinking, Yes!  didn’t have to deal with that one.  I think the Lord thought I needed to deal with an electrical outage as you will see in Part 2.

The reason for this three and a half day outage was due to some guys stealing bolts and or cables or both, holding up a tower.  Stories are conflicting.  Anyways, the tower fell over taking another tower with it.  One of the guys was caught and sitting jail.  I heard that others were caught, but this of course is not confirmed.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Putsy Fly

Warning:  Do not read this or look at the pictures if you don’t like gross things.  Gross or not, this is what we have to deal with here.


About a week ago I noticed our one dog, Buddy, had a wet spot on him where he had been licking himself.  I noticed a hole in the spot and thought our other dog, Vern, finally bit him good.  The more I thought about it though, that didn’t make sense.  There would be more teeth marks.  I finally remembered to tell my husband this past Thursday morning.  He meets with two other guys for prayer.  The one guy has been here for 12 years and has lots of experience with this. 

So after prayer time they went to work.  You have to let the thing grow for 4 or 5 days so that it gets big enough to get it out.  So on a person this can be very annoying.  Then you put Vaseline over the opening.  At this stage the maggot breaths air and so it starts to go crazy wiggling to the hole to come out.  Then all you have to do is gently push it out.

Putsy Fly I This is a picture of the whole.

Putsy Fly II

This is the maggot.  Steve enlarged it so that you can all see it.

This is why we don’t hang clothes on wash lines.  The fly lays its eggs in your wet clothing.  You put on the clothes and the egg hatches and crawls inside your skin.  It is itchy.  You have to try and endure this for 4 to 5 days without scratching it!

You can hang clothes on the wash line.  You then need to use a hot iron on everything.  Or you can put them into the dryer on hot heat for 10 minutes.  Or you can not wear them for 4 to 5 days.  If it doesn’t have a body to crawl into it will die.  Our family doesn’t have enough clothes to let them sit around waiting for bugs to die.  I also don’t trust the dryer for 10 minutes and I refuse to iron all of our clothes.  So nothing goes on the wash line at our house.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Language Study Officially is Over

And now the witnessing for Christ begins.  You can pray that Steve will be able to meet with area leaders of the Maround Compound here in Mbala.  He has met with the police so that they know what he will be doing.  Now he needs to meet with the leaders so that they also know.  He has tried twice already to meet with leaders and didn’t find them home.  These things take time especially when the person doesn’t have a phone.  On Monday morning another appointment has been set up.  This time an adult (wife) agreed that her husband would be there.  The other times they found no one home or they told the children when they would come back.

You can also be praying that as he witnesses he would find people who are open to hearing and accepting of what they hear.  Pray that many would come to know Christ as their personal Savior.

OK, our year of language study is officially over but we will still be studying language.  Steve will still be meeting with his language helper and I will be too.  I, Rita, had a lot going against me for learning a language in one year.  The number one thing is I was 40 years old.  On the front of one of our lesson books is a nice little list of how long it will take you to learn ciBemba.

20 years old        7 months     at least     1050 hours

25 years old        9 months     at least     1350 hours

30 years old     12 months     at least     1800 hours

35 years old     16 months     at least     2400 hours

40 years old     21 months     at least     3200 hours

The next thing going against me for learning a language is I have four beautiful children and I home school them.  Here where we live there is no other choice but to home school them and I want to home school them.

Then there is cooking.  Here in Mbala, Zambia if you want to eat anything for the most part you have to cook it.   So, I will be continuing my study of the ciBemba language for some time to come yet.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Our family didn’t own Crocs until we came to Africa.  I, Rita, didn’t really like how they looked.  My children wore socks and shoes to go outside.  I did invest in a pair of sandals for each child every spring.  Then comes Africa and the dirt and then the mud. 

When I was in South Africa last fall, I bought Steve and I our first pair of Crocs.  They are comfortable and now we live in them.  My mother-in-law mailed us some knock off brand for the kids.

Crocs comp3When we come in the house we park our Crocs on a rug at the back door.  Take a close look and see all the dirt!

Crocs comp1

Crocs comp2

Here is a picture of my indoor ones freshly scrubbed.  I love the feeling of clean Crocs!  The thing is in one day they are dirty!! Yes, I have two pair – one for inside and one for outside.  My feet don’t tolerate going barefoot any more.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

We have a new MacGyver

OK, this story starts way back in the States before we even went to orientation.  We went to Sears to buy a refrigerator to put into the crates that we were shipping to Africa.  Our sales lady told us to wait and come back on a certain Sunday night as they were having a special sale and it would save us money.  My concern was would we get it on time.  She checked and didn’t see any reason why we wouldn’t.  So that Sunday night came and we drove down to the Sears in Greenville, SC and ordered our fridge.  One problem, all the refrigerators sitting in the warehouse had ice makers in them.  We wouldn’t be needing  an ice maker in Africa.  Yes, one would be nice but how do you hook an ice maker up in Africa with filtered water.  A fridge without an ice maker could have  be shipped to us but it would have been after we had packed up the crates.  So we paid the extra money for a fridge with an ice maker and shipped it to Africa.

About two weeks ago my friends husband – now he IS a MacGyver- tells us you really should have that thing working.  Just put a bucket of filtered water on top of the fridge and run a hose down.  So at the beginning of last week while this friend and Steve were in Lusaka, Steve got a plastic siphon hose.  It was a great fit, but no water was getting into the ice maker.  So after Steve put this all together and it is not working, he decides to consult the owners manual.  It needs 30 psi.  So as Steve does when something doesn’t work he thinks on it for awhile.  That night while trying to go to sleep he came up with the idea of using a garden sprayer.  So he got a new one and hooked it up.  Now our ice maker makes ice.  Steve fills it up with filtered water and once or twice a day he pumps the pump to add the pressure.

Ice maker comp1.

Ice maker comp2.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Princess Zanzibar

Back in July I introduced you to our new cat Panther.  Well, another cat has been added to our family.  This one came to us at 6 weeks old.  So it missed its warm mother.  It would just meow pitifully at us.  And so we would pick it up and put it in our laps and that is where it spend most of its first days with us.
It spent the first few days without a name.  My friend had spent a short vacation on the Island of Zanzibar.  Lane suggested that name.  Since she is a girl Princess has been added and now just shortened to Princess.
Princess comp1. She takes a lot of her naps on Heather.
Princess comp4 When Heather has to get up and move around, this is how she rides around the house.
Princess comp3 Tobias and Heather take turns keeping her and in this picture it was Tobias’ turn.  His DVD player is a warm place to nap.
Princess comp2
Here she is getting into trouble.  She smelled lunch on the table and before she was caught actually ate part of Steve’s sandwich.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Our Lane turned 11!

On October 1st Lane turned 11.  The party started at home with presents from us at lunch time.

Lane 11 bday comp1

One of his presents was a pocket knife that he got last week when he went with his Dad and Uncle Grant to Lusaka.

Lane 11 bday comp2 He has already cut himself on the drive home!  Then the festivities moved to the Schaefer Farm.  His birthday fell on a Friday this year and we often go over to have tea time on Friday afternoons.

Lane 11 bday comp4A treasure hunt was planned by Auntie Lynn.  And they are off.  They had 12 different clues to fine.

Lane 11 bday comp5  Here they are digging up 1/2 of the map and clue  to find the other half.  Can you tell by the picture that we are in the dry season?

Lane 11 bday comp6 OK, they are off to pester a worker named Sam for the rest of the map.  He kept them busy for about 1/2 an hour.  He was told not to give it up too easily.  He took that job seriously!

Lane 11 bday comp7 We have the map and the digging is on.

Lane 11 bday comp8

Lane 11bday comp9

A treasure chest if found with candy and popcorn for to nights movie!!

Lane 11th birthdayOf course we had birthday cake.  Then Daddy and Mommy went home all by themselves.  Thank you Lynn!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Back in March our friends the Schaeffer's came back home from South Africa.  When they passed through Lusaka they picked up a kitten.  Seth has been wanting a cat and so he found out how much one cost and started saving his money.

For the past month he has had a dilemma.  He really wants a cat, but he also liked seeing his money add up.  In the end the cat didn’t cost as much as we thought it would.  We got it at a vet who saves them.  It had its shot and has been fixed.  So the cost of the cat is for that and food.

So this past Wednesday while in Lusaka we picked up a three month old kitten.  Seth thought on it for awhile and finally announced that his name was Panther.

A cat carrier cost way too much and so a collar and leash were bought.  It spent the first hour of our trip home all over the vehicle and meowing loudly.  Then it curled up to sleep with Seth and then later on with Lane.

panther comp

When we got home on Saturday we found a mess in the pantry.  A week before we left Steve saw a mouse in the kitchen.  Well, for the last two weeks while we were gone, it has made a big mess.  Mouse dirt and popcorn seeds are everywhere on the shelves.  It has been chewing on a plastic container with cornmeal in it.  So there is bits of white plastic all over. On the back of the pantry door at the top is nailed a board with nails in it to hang things – broom, mop, dust mop.  Also us there is a plastic grocery sack full of more grocery sacks.  This mouse managed to jump off of a shelf on to this.  The broom and several sacks were on the floor!  So we are washing every thing before we use it.  What fun, washing dishes before and after you eat. 

So this cat has work to do.  It had better be a good mouser.  I guess you could say it is spoiled too.  What cat has permission to walk all over your pantry shelves.  Tonight I am even opening the cupboard doors.  This mouse lives under them.  We cannot see where they are hooked to the walls.  So if he doesn’t catch something soon, we are going to put some muscle to them and see if we can’t move them. 

Eureka Farm Campground

This campground is very close to Lusaka.  The nice thing about it is the wild animals it has – zebra, buffalo, giraffe, monkeys, impala, and other deer like animals.

We stayed here Sunday and Monday nights.  It is nice for the animals and a cheaper place to camp.  But it is busy and noisy.  It is a favorite place for the overland tours.  They travel on a truck that looks like a semi.  It is bus like at the top and they store everything underneath.  It is a camping tour.

On both nights the first truck to pull in had a smaller group and there for seemed to be a quieter group.  On both nights the second truck to pull in was a large group.  In about 10 minutes about 20 4 man tents were put up around the truck.  On the second night a third truck pulled in.  It put tents up right next to ours.  It was a low budget tour and drinking was what they did the most of.  The first two trucks pulled out by 6 AM.  That third bus stayed up until 1:30 AM and didn’t pull out until 8 AM.

On the second night Seth was sick again and he and I spent the night in the truck.  I got to see impala and something bigger eating grass pretty close to our tent.  This place keeps a guard and after a bit he came waving a feed sack to get them out.  Also got to see the second trucks whole tour group get out and push the truck to start it!  That took a little muscle power.

Eureka Buffalo Comp Buffalo, we got a little too close and had to convince the kids to keep walking kind of fast and away!

Eureka Farm Giraffe Comp

Giraffe, he was just outside the gate where we camped.

Eureka Farm Zebra Comp

Zebra, Heather walked up to these to take the pic.

Eureka Farm Don't know Comp

You will have to zoom in to see this guy.  I don’t know what he is.

The rest of the week was spent in Lusaka at the Baptist Mission Guest House.  We went to the Tuesday Market and got lots of veggies.  I spent Saturday afternoon here in Mbala getting them ready for the freezer.  A family on our team flew in Wednesday evening.  Steve did a lot of shopping that morning.  Thursday morning we visited the grocery store.  We made it out of there with only two carts, but still spent more than planned.  Friday we drove to Kasama and stayed with another member of our team who is done and leaving us this week.  Saturday – the rest of the way home.  Yea!


Friday was spent as a very lazy day.  Steve and I just sat in camping chairs reading.  Camping chairs are not good for your back, especially that much time spent in one.  The kids played and went swimming.  It is winter here, but on the river it is warmer.  I wouldn’t say warm enough to swim, but then I’m not a kid.  Their lips were blue.  Saturday we did go on about a 4 km hike before we spent the rest of the day reading.

Sunday we packed it all up.  Since we were so close to Kariba Dam, we drove down to see it.  I saw it in 1985, but we couldn’t take any pictures.  Now you can take pictures!

Kariba Dam Comp Kariba Dam with its five gates.

Kariba Dam Comp 3 Zambezi River after the dam.  Zambia is on the left and Zimbabwe is on the right.

Kariba Dam Comp 4

A look at the Zambian side.  You can see the road we drove down to the dam on.

Kariba Dam Comp 5

A picture of Kariba Lake.

After this we drove back to Lusaka to stay at a camp grounds there.

Almost forgot, Seth got sick on Saturday night.  Unzipping my tent to get out, then zip it back up, then unzipping his tent and so on is just too much work.  So Seth slept on the back seat of our vehicle and I tried to sleep in the front.  At one point I looked out the window and saw a hippo slowly walking across the campground.  I had to ask Seth if he was awake.  He was and so I told him to sit up an look.  Sometimes you get to see wonderful things when you are sick!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Boating / Drifting on the Great Zambezi River

On Tuesday night we went to sleep on our tents to much noise on the river – hippos.  I, Rita, thought they were just fussing at each other, via for their positions .  Steve on the other hand is convinced it is mating calls.  Whatever!  Steve and I already saw a little crocodile while walking around the camp grounds.  The kids and we were warned about crocs and poisonous snakes.  There is a three legged dog here to prove they are dangerous.

On Wednesday we woke up to a beautiful few – the river, the sun rising, and a pod of hippos out in the river.  We rented a boat with a driver and went slowly down the river.  At times the engine was turned off and we just drifted, once in a while turning it back on to fix how we were drifting.  We saw two little crocs and then a bigger one.  Then we got pretty close to the fourth croc.  He must have been sleeping.  He suddenly flipped into the river.  Steve managed to record this.

croc comp

We got pretty close to several pods of hippos.  One pod was up on land and so we got to see up close what they looked like and not just a bunch of backs sticking out of the water.  That pod had little babies!!

Hippos comp

Our driver was  looking for elephants.  We went past several places that they usually are.  Then we found five male elephants!  We just sat and  watched them for awhile.  We also saw a variety of birds.  Then we held onto our hats and speed back to camp.

elephant comp


After avoiding the city for six months, we took two days to drive to Lusaka.  The first day we just enjoyed the drive.  Instead of speeding up and slowing down for pot holes we just took it slower.  I, Rita, spent the day crocheting.  It was pleasant and my nerves were still in tack.

We stayed over night at Forest Inn.  Other members on our team have stayed there and recommended it.  It was nice to not be rushed and to just relax.

On Sunday we drove the remaining three hours to Lusaka.  We unhooked the trailer and then went to lunch.  I didn’t realize I was really missing anything or hungry, but the chips (french fries) were really good.  We then went to the Sunday Market at Arcades and spent some money on crafts.

On Monday a family on our team left Zambia for their furlough in the states.  We went to the airport with them, Steve helped them with their many suitcases and we waved goodbye until we could no longer see them.  Then we also drove their vehicle back to the Guest House and handed in the keys for them.  The rest of the day and on Tuesday we did some shopping.

On Wednesday we headed for Zambezi Breezes to camp right on the Zambezi River.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Skinning a Puff Adder

Back in May after Tobias’ birthday party he went to the Schaeffer's house to stay over night.  When they had gotten home from our house one of their workers showed them a puff adder he had killed near the pig pens.

<Digimax S500 / Kenox S500 / Digimax Cyber 530>Here is Tobias holding the dead puff adder.

<Digimax S500 / Kenox S500 / Digimax Cyber 530>

Here are the three boys skinning the snake with their pocket knives.

<Digimax S500 / Kenox S500 / Digimax Cyber 530>

Don’t you wish you could help?

<Digimax S500 / Kenox S500 / Digimax Cyber 530>

Curing  the snake skin.  They divided it three ways.  Yes, I have a snake skin somewhere in this house.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

More Water Problems

About three weeks ago now in the middle of the night I heard water running.  I went and checked, it sounded like it was next to the bathtub.  Since I couldn’t find anything leaking inside I went back to bed.  Steve also heard the water running.  In the morning our guard told us the pump had been running all night.  Our reservoir was almost empty.

Council water resevoir compOur water reservoir.

We looked high and low looking for the leak.  We called in a plumber.  He said the grass looks too green and the dirt is damp here along the house.  So we started digging up the yard.

Finding the leak Comp.Digging up the yard, following the pipes, looking for a leak!

Leak found comp.   

The leak is found!  A 5 inch hole – rusted through the pipe!

We called our LC (Logistics Coordinator) to get permission to spend the money to fix the pipe.  You couldn’t even see light through the pipes they are so clogged up.  So we replaced some piping.

Water Problems Comp 1. New piping going from the reservoir to the house.

Fixed pipe comp.

The new pipe hooked up to the old one going into the house.


Since then we have had the plumber back two more times to fix more leaks.  When you put in new pipe the water pressure is so much stronger that new leaks appear.  Also it works loose some of the stuff clogging the pipes only to clog up the pipe altogether.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Our Oldest Turns 14!!!

On May 8th, Tobias turned 14 years old.  He had two missionary friends stay overnight with him on Friday.  They set up the tent in the yard and carried all their stuff out.  While watching a movie in the house, it poured down rain.  One corner of the tent got soaked.  It happened to be Tobias’ corner.  So they set up our other tent in Heather’s room.  She was off at the Schaeffer’s house.  They had all girls and we had all boys at our house.

We had hamburgers, macaroni salad, his usually chocolate cake with peanut butter icing and homemade ice cream.  I think he could tell you which year he did not have this cake. 

comp Tobias 14th cake

Singing Happy Birthday!

comp homemade icecream

Everyone took turns making the ice cream.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Waterfalls near Isoka

After we drove on the roads I showed you in the last post, we parked in the middle of no where and started walking.

hiking to waterfall comp Steve has Abigail on his shoulders and is holding Isabel’s hand. 

top of falls compThis is the top of the falls.

bottom of falls comp 

Bottom of the falls.

seth falls comp


Lane falls compLane

mill comp

Mill to grind maize using the waterfall instead of electric, except it needs some parts to make it work. 

climbing around the falls comp

Steve, Tobias, and Blake climbing around the falls.

falls blake comp

Blake on the pipe that brings the water into the mill.  Tobias climbing around the rocks.