Monday, November 21, 2011

Taken a Trip

Today the kids had some catching up to do in school and then it is no more school for the week.  Thanksgiving, Yea!  Which means our last supply trip for the year and this one is to Lusaka.

When we first came to Zambia, I made the kids do school the day before we left on a trip and the day after we came back, but not anymore.  Back then we were behind in school, now we are a little ahead.  Plus, I am not super woman.

I also learned don’t wait until the day before to do everything that you need to do before the trip.  Last time I (Rita) went to Lusaka the electric decided to stay off most of the day.  There are not McDonald’s drive thru to visit.  We have to take our food.  Now, there are restaurants, but why make a 12 hour drive any longer than necessary.

So today was a busy day.  I made two loaves of bread and the bread machine did two more for me.  Also, 24 rolls for sandwiches on the road.  Cappuccino Muffins for breakfast on the road.  Once in Lusaka we can buy food, but for our family of six it gets expensive.  Steve is already seeing dollar signs.  Plus, I just don’t like the bread here.  So I take bread along.  Some of the bread will go into the freezer once there for the trip back. 

I did manage two loads of laundry today.  I’m praying for at least one more load tomorrow.  This morning after my alarm went off, Steve came in to tell me we have absolutely no water in any tank.  We have a mystery on our hands for over a week now.  We are not sure where it is going to.  I spent most of the day in water saving mode.  At 9PM everything is full to the top and the pump is turned off.  We shall see what it looks like in the morning.

Steve was off to Kasama to pay the workers there and to have the 40,000 K (I think) check up on the car.  He can do a lot of things himself, but this was a much bigger list than he wanted to do.  Plus he had to pay road tax on the trailer and the retirement money for the workers.  He was going to go to Shop Rite (groceries), but he called at 7 to say they are just finishing the vehicle!!!   This was all to make our trip to Lusaka less hectic.


Does your curiosity ever get the best of you?  Does it get you in trouble?  When I was little it did.  Growing up helps.  Sometimes curiosity can be a good thing.

In our back yard are three cement pads with heavy meddle lids in the middle of them.  I (Rita) knew they had to do with our septic.  What women wants to look under lids that have to do with the septic?  My thoughts exactly! 

Then I got to thinking, if my Dad came to visit he would have looked under them in the first day.  He is notorious for that.  He has checked out every place we have lived.  Take for example the mission house we lived in before we left for over seas.  There are two meddle grates in that yard.  Dad put the hose down them and turn on the water and then went in search of where the water drained out, and we paid for our water there.  He never did find it!  That is my Dad!  I love him for it!

Septic 1 comp.

So, one day last week I was walking around the yard checking things out.  I decided to brave the lid and see if I could lift it.  I could and I was grossed out.  I put it back in place quickly.  The more I thought about it though the more I realized that this is why our toilet gets backed up.  There have been times in the last 2 plus years that our toilet has been off limits for going #2.  Toilet plungers do not, I say do not work on these Zambian toilets.  So it gets very frustrating.

Septic 2 comp.

A week later I was out in the yard again.  We have a gardener who takes care of the garden, but doesn’t pick any veggies.  So I try to meander around it and see what I need to take care of.  Steve came out and together we investigated our septic system.  The above two pictures are of the same cement box in our yard.  We got a bucket of water and the hose and cleaned it out before I took a picture.  You can thank me later. Smile  The week before, after my first thought, I had a second thought.  They should have built if differently, than it wouldn’t get so backed up.  There are four gutters draining into one gutter that goes into a pipe down to the next cement box.  The top gutter it our toilet.  The other gutters were clean.  The tub, sinks, and shower help keep the stuff moving.  Both toilet gutters should be at the bottom or to the left in the picture and the sinks and showers to the top or right.  That way our toilet wouldn’t get backed up in here.  OK, enough of that stinky subject.

Septic 3 Comp.

This is the next box that the pipe from the above box runs into.  This box is for the kitchen sink.  It was just about as gross as the last one.  Steve is cleaning out the first box.  The sinks and showers all drain out of a pipe (no kidding) into a cement box right outside of the house where the sink or tub it.  We have three of these, one outside each bathroom and then this one outside the kitchen.  This one was filled with mud.  It didn’t make sense at the time, but the more I thought about it, I remembered the ants.  The ants filled this box with mud, there is no other explanation. Then a drain and pipe lead from the box Steve is cleaning out in the box to the left of him.

This box drains into a very deep septic tank.  We took the broken meddle lid off of it.  Steve put a long meddle rod and and it didn’t touch the bottom.  So we thought we will just change the lids around.  Can you believe it ever lid is a different size!?!?!  The lids do cover the other holes but not properly and you can tell, it smells out back.  So tomorrow it is off to get the septic lid welded.  We were not so concerned about it as it was broken back in January.  Now, knowing of our bottomless pit and that the kids ride their bikes over that lid, we are getting the lid fix.

There is one more box in our yard that we still are not sure about.  Our guess at the moment is maybe we do have bore hole.  That is a well for you folks back in the good ol’ US of A.

Better subjects to come later!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Ministry Happenings

We had a Zambian mission team come help us out from Kasama.   On Thursday, September 30th, Steve drove to Kasama for supplies for us and brought back six leaders from the churches in Kasama.  Two more arrive by bus on Friday and one via a truck late on Friday night.  Two women stayed in Heather’s room and the men camped in tents in our yard.  We hired two Zambian women to do all the cooking.

Late Thursday they went prayer walking in Maround.  Friday and Saturday they walked around Maround, talking and witnessing to people.  Both evenings we showed the Jesus Film in the Mambwe language.  Then after that, one of the guys preached.

On Sunday morning we had a church service in the community center.  It was wonderful to come together and worship.  The team did a wonderful job.

We have been meeting every Sunday since then.  Sometimes it is disappointing at how few come.  Steve and Wigan are visiting them during the week. 

A side note: Wigan in in Lusaka for medical reasons.  So one of the guys from Kasama came up last weekend and this weekend to help us out. 

Our children came down with colds and so this is the first weekend I have missed and stayed home with three sick children.  Steve came home to say what a good worship service it was and that four new men were there.  Poor Steve, the ones that come are mostly women, even in his Saturday Bible study.  So it is quite exciting to have four new men show up.

Please pray for Wigan as he is going to have to stay in Lusaka longer than expected.  They cannot find out what is wrong.  Also, we will be traveling to Lusaka for supplies and to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Pray for safe travel.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I need to apologize for not doing a better job keeping this blog updated.  I go to other peoples blog and then fuss about the fact that they haven’t updated lately, yet I am guilty of the same thing. So here goes:  I’m sorry.

Life has been going on at a very fast pace.  I have never been a fan of fast pace.  I like to take things slowly.  We started our school year early anticipating breaks and trips.

This past week was really hectic.  Steve actually suggested we take the week off from school, but I couldn’t bring myself to do such a thing.  We will have a week off at Thanksgiving.  I just couldn’t do two weeks off in one month.

I have been very blessed to have workers.  One worker keeps our house clean the other worker keeps the yard clean and takes care of the garden.  They had finished grade 12 but never passed the tests.  So this year they have been going to school in the afternoons and evenings.  This past week was test week.  When one worker is sick or wants a day off it is no problem.  If I don’t have school to teach then it isn’t a problem for both of them to be gone.  Both of them off made for a very long week.

I did think ahead a little.  Last Saturday I made six loaves of bread, so that I wouldn’t have to do it during the week.  If I have bread to make then the school day starts too late.  I also put a chart on the board, listing all the things in the house that needed to be done.  The kids were a great help in getting the house clean.  We already have the garden divided up for watering it.  After the first day I just made a new rule: only one child is aloud to be outside watering at a time.  The rest needed to be in school.  Too much playing around was happening on the first day. 

The workers have one more test tomorrow morning.  Thinking ahead again, we cleaned on Saturday.  We usually don’t do any cleaning on the weekend.  So by doing it on Saturday, we don’t have to do it on Monday. 

Then the Lord blessed us this morning with a lot of rain.  So we don’t have to go water the garden tomorrow morning.  Now if I can just get Lane a little motivated to finish last weeks school work, we should be able to start this week off fresh and new with nothing extra to do.

Our house worker does want the month of January off.  So if you remember: pray for us.  It is going to be a long month.  At least our yard worker will still be here.  I do have him help in the house too. 


Saturday, October 1, 2011

It is too early for rain.

Here in Zambia the rainy season starts around their Independence Day which is October 24th.  Sometime near the end of September you might have a little spit of a rain.  It will cloud up and smell like rain, but it doesn’t even get the ground wet.

Sorry I don’t know the exact date, but not too long ago in September while we were at friends we had that spit of rain.  Oh, did it smell good!  They live about 10k’s from us.  As we went home we drove into more rain.  At our house it was pouring down rain just like in the rainy season.  The kids were excited.  Lane and Seth just walked around the yard enjoying the rain and getting wet.  I don’t know how much it rained, but it was enough that we didn’t need to water the garden at all the next day.

Since then it has rained 2 more times.  Earlier this week it rained.  I was thinking good, now that is out of the system, it will be dry this weekend.  We have a mission team here from Kasama helping us.  They are sleeping in tents outside.  Well, it decided to rain again yesterday and get everything wet.  Today the sun is shining and drying everything out.

I am told when it rains this early, than it is going to be hotter when it is not raining!  If that makes sense!  I’m living here in Mbala because yes God called us here, but also it is cooler here than it is in the rest of the country.   So we shall see what the future holds rain and heat wise.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

More pictures from Isanga Bay

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This picture is taken from the dock!

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Tobias jumping off the dock.  You have to jump out far so as not to land on rocks.

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A while ago I posted a little ditty about Lane and Olivia.  I promised to post a picture.  I’m not sure I ever did.  So here it is.  This is on the ramp up from the boat dock.

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Another view: our vehicle in their little parking lot.  Actually, there is many more places to park.

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Grapefruit, oranges, and lemons grow here.

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Fish caught that morning in the lake.

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Road Cleaning crew!  Home we go.

God bless, Rita

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Adventure–part 2

I didn’t tell you in the last post that when I got to the creek, I really wanted to turn around and go back home. But after 2 hours and 15 minutes of driving I was tired and had a headache.  Seven loud children in one vehicle does that to your head.  Plus the lodge was closer.  Then there was three year old Luke who asked questioningly, “Auntie Rita can drive to the lodge?”  Of course I couldn’t let him down. 

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So we arrived at a beautiful green Isanga Bay.  They water the grass.  Maybe you noticed in the last post how brown everything is.  Two months of no rain turns things brown quick.

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Lane, Seth and I stayed in this rondavel.  Tobias and Heather said in with the Schaefer’s in the above house.

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This lovely porch overlooks the lake.  This is were we took our meals.

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From the above porch you can walk down some stairs and then down to the lake.  This is where Lynn and I went swimming.  The next day a croc was seen swimming here.  Usually there are no crocs here, but someone was keeping them and they got away!

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This is the beach side.  You can kayak, snorkel, and lots more.

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Isn’t that the most beautiful beach you have ever seen?

More later. Rita

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I Went on an Adventure!

OK, for those of you who don’t know me, I am not very adventurous.  I don’t do zip lines, bungee jumps, or roller coasters.  I don’t like to ride in the car when the road in not level.  I definitely don’t like to do very short and steep hills into and then out of a creek!!!!!!!

We never drive to Isanga Bay because the road was so so very bad.  The wear and tear on your vehicle isn’t even worth it.  Last November (I’m guessing) the chief drove up to the Isanga Bay Lodge to say the road is fixed.  Last Christmas Schaefer’s did drive the road, but one bridge was out.  Lynn was quite glad that I (Rita) didn’t come.  She is right I probably wouldn’t have made it.  She had walked across and then couldn’t even watch Grant as he drove across.

At the end of May, the manager of the Lodge called Lynn to tell here three land cruisers with trailers are parked here.  They made it on the road.  Well, if they can make it with trailers, than surely we can go with out a trailer.  So plans were made to visit the Schaefer’s while they were taking care of the Lodge.  In the mean time Steve decided he is just too busy to go.  He has two classes to prepare for for the August Bible School in Kasama.  One is on a subject he hasn’t taught before and so he has reading to do.  So that means I, Rita will be doing the driving!!  I did the driving and survived.  I actually think it was better for me because I was driving and in control. 

Tobias and Joel rode their bikes on that Thursday.  I drove our vehicle on Friday with Heather, Lane, Seth, Hope, Charlie, Olivia, and Luke.  Plus our bags and the supplies that Grant had gotten for the lodge when he was in Kasama on Thursday.  We had stuff tied down on top and the inside was full.  So here are a few pictures of our trip.

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While driving you felt like you were on top of the world.  Mbala is at 5300 feet.  I wish I knew how high we were at this point.

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Still up on top of the world.  Lake Tanganyika is in view.  Since it is the dry season it is hazy, mainly because of fires burning and dust.

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The plank bridge that is no longer there.

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Creek that we had to drive through.  The sides are over 6 feet tall.

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Picture from down in the creek.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Well, when I got home and saw the pictures, my thoughts were – “That don’t look so bad.”  So if you want to see how bad it really looks, you need to come visit us and we will take a little drive.   Come after the next rainy season and it will be worse.  It took us 2 1/2 hours to drive 49 K.  More pictures coming in the next blog, as our internet can’t handle lots of pictures.

God bless, Rita for the gang.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Long Bike Ride

Back in the Beginning of June our friends the Schaefer’s were asked to run the Isanga Bay Lodge while the managers went on holiday.  Joel came up with this plan to bike to the Lodge with Tobias.

This mother was not too excited about this idea.  Then Tobias kept getting sick about every five days.  So the trip was put off one week.  Grant came back from the lodge with all the kids on a Tuesday giving Lynn some free time all to herself.  On Wednesday Joel stayed over night with us, so that they could get an early start in the morning.

They left our house in Mbala at 7:30 AM with lots of water and chlorine, just in case they ran out of water.  They biked 49K to Isanga Bay in 4 hours and 7 minutes.  They did admit to walking up a few hills.

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Bike to Bay 2 comp.

These two pictures are of them ready to go.  They made it safely with no problems.   Way to go guys!! 

God bless, Rita

Saturday, July 2, 2011

May/June Newsletter-Page 3


Football anyone?

When I (Steve) head out to one of the local  schools  every  Saturday for Bible study, there is no shortage of kids. They
see my Land Cruiser coming and appear like early morning mushrooms. Early on, these kids were quite disruptive
during Bible study. If I let them in the room, they were constantly moving and talking. If I kept them outside, they stood at the windows heckling and knocking. What to do? We tried to have
a Bible teaching time with the kids but this only kept their attention for 30 minutes or so. It was a good start but

we needed something more. That something more turned out to be the Schwarz boys and a football (soccer ball). Seth and Tobias have been coming to Bible study and when they are there the distractions are few. As the word gets out what we are doing, more kids show up. Please pray that we have wisdom in how to best handle the growing crowd of children. If they are
going to come, they should be learning something about God. If they only play a game, we are failing. But if they learn about the love of Christ and seeds of the gospel are planted, who knows what they will be one day!


School Is Out!!! School is Out!!!

About the middle of May we finally finished our school year. May is a good time to finish, but by then we all are about sick of school and ready for a change. I save all of their quiz and test papers for the proof I need that I actually did homeschool my
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children.  So what do you do with all of the other papers they did during the year? We decided a burning party would be fun. We sat around our burn pit and wadded up the papers. This took quit a bit of time. Then the kids had fun lighting the pit.

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How about that!

Recently, while speaking the gospel to a husband and wife, a
drunk man stumbled into the yard and came to me. In a slurred voice the asked for money. I learned long ago not to carry money with me on evangelistic outings so I can respond honestly to men like this. I simply told him in his own language, “I do not have any
money”. To my surprise he accepted this answer and staggered away. We all had a grin on our faces and I continued sharing with the couple. About 30 minutes later the drunk man returned and gave me the shock of my life. He came up and kneeled in front of me, reached into his pocket, and gave me 500 kwacha (about 10 cents). He then rose and disappeared between the houses.  I  looked with surprise at my evangelism partner and he had
the strangest look on his face.  “What?”, I asked. He said, “Well
you told the poor drunk man that you didn’t have any money. He
must have felt sorry for you and wanted to help.” What I meant
was that I didn’t have any money with me not that I was destitute.
I suppose I need to choose my words more carefully especially
when talking to the intoxicated.  At this point there was nothing
else to do but proclaim the money as a gift and give it to the family we were visiting. Maybe the day will come when we meet this man again while he is sober and tell him about the One who is worth more than all the money in the world...Jesus Christ.



OK, This all of the Newsletter that Steve wrote.

God bless, Rita

May/June Newsletter–Page 2

Kalambo Falls Hike

One of our favorite places near our home is Kalambo Falls. We
have driven there many times to gaze at the beauty of God’s creation. Recently we had an opportunity to experience the falls in a new way. A visitor from America came to see the sights of

Zambia and we agreed to show him our little slice of the country. The Schwarz men thought that it would be fun to hike up to the
falls instead of driving. After a boat ride on Lake Tanganyika to
a village on the shore, we began the two hour ascent to the falls. As we neared the top of the first major hill, a glance back
revealed the stunning view of the village and lake. After navigating more rigorous terrain, we were rewarded with an absolutely beautiful view of Kalambo Falls.

The only downside to the day was that we didn’t bring enough water with us. At the falls we were so thirsty that we decided to drink a little not so pure mountain water. The following days
brought some stomach and intestinal unrest but we will survive.
Will we ever do this hike again?

I hope so...but next time we’ll carry a portable water filter.

Even though their legs are considerably shorter, Lane and Seth hiked without problem or complaint. Way to go guys!!

Our guest, Matthew, and the Kalambo Falls Park Ranger, Abraham


Persevere: Be Steadfast and Immovable

The last few months of ministry has definitely had its highs and lows. The Maround Compound of Mbala is proving to be a challenging place to witness. The enormous ‘village’ is a melting pot of people from near and far. Apathy and false security abound. Most people are polite and accommodating but response to the gospel had been limited. When I think about the weeks, months and years ahead, the word PERSEVERE runs through my mind. This is not a short term endeavor and God is faithful!


“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your
toil is not in vain in the Lord.”   1 Corinthians 15:58

Thursday, June 30, 2011

May/June Newsletter–Page 1

A Visit to Luwingu

In the beginning of May, my team leader and I paid a visit to the Northern Province town of Luwingu. For nearly 8 years Luwingu was home to the Bowman family.  Last June this family said good-bye to their friends and fellow believers in Luwingu in response to
the Lord’s calling to serve in another part of the world. 

So, after nearly a year how is the work of the Lord progressing in Luwingu?  Well, there is a lot of good to report.  Even though this visit was impromptu, representatives from at least seven churches gathered in Luwingu to greet and meet with us. For an entire morning we met together in planning for the future, singing songs, and teaching of God’s Word. The churches are committing
to send representatives to the Baptist Fellowship Annual meeting in Lusaka this August. This is no small commitment because the cost is substantial. The Luwingu Association has also committed
to leadership meetings every two weeks to stay connected and continue in growth. Bible schools also continue to meet three
times a year. 

While there was much to be encouraged about in Luwingu, there are also some challenges that need prayer. One need is for
evangelistic outreach among the churches. They are so occupied with daily living and maintaining current church membership
that they have not been able to expand the  gospel work to those
around them. Pray that they will be led by the  Holy Spirit to be passionately evangelistic.

Another challenge has come from outside. Some of the churches are facing pressures from other denominations to change
affiliation. Offers of material compensation often  accompany this wooing.  Please pray that church leaders have the wisdom to
discern the truth and remain steadfast in the will of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We will press on together for the glory of  God!


Seventh Day Adventist Wedding

May 29th brought another new cultural experience for Steve. An
invitation came to attend a wedding at a local seventh Day Adventist Church. Since Saturday is the day of worship for
SDA’s, the wedding was held on Sunday. Other than the day, the rest of  the ceremony seemed to be in step with other weddings we have experienced in Zambia. Perhaps this one had a bit more
Western flavor because the families were fairly affluent. When the time came for the wedding message, we were a bit surprised at the title: “How To Avoid Divorce”. This really made us aware that divorce is as significant a problem in Zambia as it is in the rest of the world. Here is the advice the SDA pastor passed on to the couple: 1. Commit for a lifetime not an experiment.  2 . Show love for each other in word and deed; in public and at home  even  though it is not our culture to do so. 3. Communicate—listen
first then speak. 4. Put your spouse’s needs before your own.
5. Pray together.

Overall, this is not bad advice that has good biblical backing. We pray that the words will be heeded and that this marriage was
truly founded on the Rock of Christ Jesus. Only then will it stand the test of time.


Prayer requests

  • As evangelism in Maround continues, people seem to
    be more closed and less willing to talk. The enemy does not like what we are doing. Pray that the Holy Spirit will open closed ears
    and mouths for the glory of God.
  • Pray for the churches in Kasama and Luwingu to stand firm under challenges from within and from outside.  These believers will be a big part of our ministry in Mbala in the months ahead.
  • Please lift up Rita and the kids as they prepare to kick off a new school year bit by bit as our new curriculum arrives. The break has been good!


Praises to our God and King

  • Praise the Lord for 18 years of marriage Steve and Rita
    celebrated on June 26th.
  • We are thanking God for healed bodies after a wave
    of gastrointestinal unrest swept though the family in
  • Spiritual renewal comes in many forms and sometimes
    in unexpected ways. Steve has been experiencing some
    refreshing times with God recently...just when he needed it most. Isn’t that just like our on-time God?

Page two is coming.  I can not just copy and paste the wonderful layout that Steve used.  I copy and paste, but then I have to go through it to line it up right. 

God bless, Steve (he writes the newsletter) and Rita (I put it here for those who can’t open it for some unknown reason.  If you want to get a copy of the Newsletter via email, please email us at:

Visitor from America-part 6

He even swam across the river at the top of the falls to set his feet in Tanzania.

My guys at the falls.

Our crew with Matthew.

And with Henry.  He keeps our house nice and clean.

Thank you Matthew for sharing all your pictures with us.

Visitor from America-Part 4

Saturday Bible Study, these kids all show up to play.

He took a great picture of good friends of ours.

He also got a good picture of our language helpers and their family. 

Visitor from America-part 5

On Sunday the guys went to Isanga Bay on Lake Tanganyika.  It is a little slice of paradise.

On Monday they hiked to Kalambo Falls.  A boat took them from the Isanga Bay to a village below the falls.

The village is in the middle of the picture right at the lake.

Hiking in gives you a better view of the whole falls at once.  When we drive to it we are right at the top of it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Visitor from America – part 3

He took a picture of this cool dude.

He checked out the baby broiler chicks.  They will be in our freezer soon!  Yum!

This is where our children play every Friday afternoon.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Visitor from America – part 2

I had to break my post in to parts in order to post it.  Too many pictures.  So the driving tour for our friend continues.

Lake Chila:  All of Mbala’s water comes from here.

A trip to the Moto Moto Museum, which Mbala is famous for.

He say cows being milked at our friend’s house.

He milked a cow for the first time in his life.