Monday, September 16, 2013

Cooking in Zambia

I’m uploading some newsletters to the blog for those who don’t get them.

While on stateside we were asked how cooking is different in Zambia than in America. This person doesn’t like using the internet and so instead of addressing this on the blog, I will attempt to write it in the newsletter. Steve does the newsletter and it is usually full. I’m going to just write my own version of the newsletter and try to send it two weeks after his. So maybe you will hear from us more often.

Cream of Mushroom soup is what I’m going to talk about this time. Delicious Chicken and Tuna Noodle Casserole are two recipes we love. I double the recipes for our family of six, so that means I need two cans of cream of mushroom soup.

We can buy condensed cream of mushroom soup in Lusaka which is 13 hours away. But when I open the can the stuff just runs out. In America is it a thick lump and stays in the shape of the can. I then wonder if this is going to change my recipe.

If I use two cans a week, with 52 weeks, in a year that is 104 cans a year. That adds up. We only go to Lusaka 3 or 4 times a year. That is a lot of cans to stock up on .

In America you have garbage pick up and recycling. Here in Zambia I have this lovely pit in which to throw all of my garbage. We use to need a ladder to get down into the pit and light it, not any more. It is a little scary at how fast it is filling up. I do buy things in cans, but cream of mushroom soup it not one of them.

Trash burn pit

So when I make Delicious Chicken or Tuna Noodle Casserole I have to add a step and first make cream of mushroom soup. Following is the recipe.

Condensed Soup Substitute

3 Tbsp. butter or margarine

3 Tbsp. flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup milk

Melt butter in heavy saucepan. Blend in flour and salt, cooking and stirring until bubbly: Using wire whisk to prevent lumps, stir in milk a little at a time. ( like a white sauce) Cook just until smooth and thickened. Makes slightly over 1 cup and is approximately the same amount as one 10 oz. can.

Using this recipe you can add 1/4 cup chopped mushrooms and 1 Tbsp. finely chipped onion into the melted butter before adding the flour and you have cream of mushroom soup. You can also make cheese soup, tomato soup, celery soup, onion soup, and chicken soup. I actually make cream of nothing soup. I don’t even add the mushrooms although we do have those over here. I just don’t bother buying them in the store or in the bush. You can buy huge ones along the side of the road here in Zambia.

I leave you with “The Jumper” a braver soul than I am.

The Jumper

This is off the end of a boat into Lake Kariba!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Kalwa Farm


We now break our trips to Lusaka into two days.  We stop at this lovely farm.  The house was built in the 1920’s.  We use the wood stove to heat up our supper that we bring in the cooler.  It is a perfect stopping point and doesn’t cost us an arm or a leg.


Fire for hot water.


Tobias stays in this room.


Heather stays in this room.


Lane, Seth, Steve, and I stay in this room.  The nice thing is these three rooms share one entrance.  Great for families.


The back entrance.


At the back facing away from the house.

Road Trip

The Adair’s are team members of ours, but we have never been to their house.  So we decided to take some vacation time and go and see them.

We left to visit them on a Monday morning in June.  It ended up being a 10 hour drive from our place.  Only about one hour was on a paved road.  That was on our end of the trip.  The rest of the way was all dirt roads.  On the way to Lusaka, I read or crochet, but not on this trip.  Those two pass times were impossible.

There is a road close to us that is a much more direct route to Kaputa.  But there is no bridge across a pretty good sized river.  So we went south towards Kasama,  Then drove mostly west and a little south, before we could go straight north.  But then you bump into a lake that we have to drive east and then north to get around it.  Then we again drove west to their place. 

This lake we had to go around has a lot of swamp around it.  Twice we drove on a road right through the swamp.  I was quit impressed with the elevated road.



When you are driving through the swamp it feels like the water goes on forever.  We also were wondering what  happens when you come across a vehicle going in the opposite direction.  The road was only one lane wide with hardly any places at all to pass.

We had a wonderful time visiting with them and their three little children.  Steve got to go out with James to his Bible studies.  One place James goes to, it is faster to ride a bike there than to drive the vehicle because the road is so bad.

I have always loved my cement block wall around my house for many reasons.  After being at their house I have added a new reason to my list.  It keeps the fires out of my yard.

One night I heard a new noise and asked, “That isn’t rain is it?”  Nope.  About a block away a lot was burning.  It turned out to be one of their church plants.  We walked to the Bible study the next afternoon.  The insaka was gone.  It was like it was never there.  They build them with wood and grass.

The next night we are sitting in the living room and again I hear the same noise.  This time the fire was in the lot right behind them.


Thankfully, James had the foresight to train his yard workers to dig a fire break around his fence on the outside as soon as the dry season begins.  What looked big and bad came to a little patch of dirt and that was then end of it.

I didn’t get any pictures of the children playing.  I’m not sure why I can’t remember to do that.  On Friday morning we drove home. 

God bless,




Saturday, July 20, 2013

Electrical Problems

When we got back to our house in Mbala after stateside our yard worker informed us that the gate lights do not work.  He had taken the light bulbs out and checked them in another light socket and found that they work.  So we were not getting any electric at the gate.  We put this on our mental check list of things to do.  At some point we would get to it and fix it.

Well, a few Saturdays later Steve was up early, in the shower getting ready to go to a funeral for the day when all the lights went out.  Now this shouldn’t have happened.  We have our lights wired that when the electric goes the battery automatically takes over.  We don’t have to do anything.  In fact, we hardly know it has happened. 

Steve goes out to the electrical box and something is buzzing.  He ends up turning off the outside lights and then all seams to be working fine.  He also unwired the battery.  We don’t want to ruin that fine equipment.  He then is off to a funeral and ends up being gone until dark.

Now, you have to know that I call Steve – Johnny on the spot.  If something needs fixing he usually is fixing it right away and will not stop to eat until it is finished.  One time just in the past month or two he comes out of the kids toilet room and asks, “How long has the toilet flushing knob been broken?”  It had only broke that week.  But I want him to come home and sit down to supper with us, so we can have a meal as a family.  I knew if I told him right away, he would fix it and we would be eating alone.  Then of course it just slips my mind and I forget to tell him.  So knowing all that it was very hard for him not to fix this on that Saturday.

So on Sunday afternoon he starts digging up the wires starting at our gate, as we have no idea where on earth it comes into the house.  At one point I went out to check on him and noticed which way he was coming to the house.  It dawned on me where he was going to end up.  There was this pipe above the ground that I have noticed before, but didn’t know what it was for.  Sure enough it was the buried electric for the gate, just not so buried beside the house.

Steve started messing with things.  Turning this off or unwiring that and then turning  the outside lights on to see if they still buzzed.  Then we couldn’t get any lights to come on.  The goal then became to just get the inside lights to work for the evening.

Monday morning we put our yard worker on the job of digging up the rest of the electrical wire between the gate and the house.  Steve got on our ladder and started checking out all the sockets and wiring on our outdoor lights.  We had a light switch outside that the bugs kept getting into and shorting it out.  He was thinking maybe this happened to one of the lights somewhere.  He cleaned them all our and tightened them up so that maybe the bugs will stay out of them.

In the end the problem was in the wire going to the gate.  Where it bent to go up the side of the house was worn away causing a short.

A missionary kind of needs to be a jack of all trades.  Steve wore his electrical hat for three days trying to fine the problem and then fixing it.


I’m not sure if you can see this well enough, but this was the wire. It basically just crumbled!  Thankful that my husband has a little know how in the electrical department.

God bless, Rita

ACM–Annual Cluster Meeting

Usually, once a year our cluster gets together for a meeting.  A short-term mission team from a church in  the states comes to help us out.  They bring enough workers to take care of our children and do VBS with them.  

We start each day out worship God in song in English.  This is a wonderful blessing to us missionaries.  Our Sunday services are in another language.  As missionaries we know and expect the Sunday service to be in another language, but after a while this gets tiring.  You just want to worship God in English if that is your mother tongue!  In the three meetings we have been at the pastor has picked one of the short books in the New Testament and preached through it.

After an hour church service we launch into the meeting agenda. The cluster leader speaks to us as well as sub-cluster leaders.  The teams each give a report about what they are doing and what is happening in their area.  This is wonderful to see what other missionaries are doing.

We also have a late afternoon worship service before supper.  This time our country leaders preached instead of the pastor on the team.  This was wonderful! 

We are very thankful for the Lottie Moon Offering that makes these meetings possible.  It gives us, the missionaries a time of renewal.  We then head back to our posts, spiritually fed, more on-fire for God, with new ideas as how maybe we can do things better.


Tobias and Lane hanging out with other MK’s at meal time.


Seth relaxing and visiting at meal time with MK’s.


Heather on the boat.  We went on a sunset cruise one evening on the Lake!


Seth pestered the Captain until he got to pilot the boat!  He decided it wasn’t that much fun.  When you turn the wheel the boat didn’t turn very fast.  But the boat was a two story boat with roof, it wasn’t made to turn on a dime.

IMG_0436 A view from the boat back at the bottom end of the resort. 

God bless, Rita

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cleaning Up Six Months Worth of Dirt

While Steve spent the week days in Kasama, the kids and I cleaned up six months worth of dirt.  While cleaning I did relive the whole accident, I worried, and then I prayed – giving it over to God.  He knows best what is going on and what it is we need.  Only He can give us the peace we need.


Termite Dirt – they were busy little fellows.

We swept the floors everyday.   We washed the walls.  We swept the floors again.  We wet mopped the floors.  I put wax on the floors and the kids took turns polishing the floors.  We unrolled the carpets and vacuumed them.  Then we put them back in place. 

Everything was for the most part packed up and in Heather’s room.  I have never seen termite activity in that room, so that is where we had put our stuff. 

We moved the furniture back into place.  I put the recliners on the porch and let Lane and Seth just beat them until the dust didn’t fly as much as it did when they started beating them.  Then we unpacked boxes.

We did all this in one week, as we needed to get right back into the swing  of school.  We had already taken enough time off.

That second week I had our yard worker come inside and help.  He washed the screens, bars, and windows.  He also finished waxing floors for us.  Our arms were just plumb worn out!  There is only so much polishing of floors our American arms can take.


The kitchen sink drain didn’t work very well.  Here is why – the termites had filled up the drain box with mud!!!  I put Tobias on that job.  He had a bit of digging to do and hauling of mud away.

Now all seems to be back to normal.  We did a lot of spraying for the termites and now the dry season is here.  So they have gone away and have given us a break.

A Much Needed Update!

I’m sorry for not update here lately.  Last time I did it was to get you caught up on our stateside.  In January we came back to Zambia.  Our trip from Lusaka to Mbala turned out to not be a good one.  I really didn’t want to write about what happened and so I have been ignoring the blog. 

On that trip, on the last leg  between Kasama and Mbala we had an accident.  We were not speeding.  I just wanted to state that up front.  We were loaded down, as we just came back from the states (18 suitcases).  Here in Africa people are always walking all over the roads.  We were in the middle of the road, already slowing down, passing people walking on our side of the road.  A lady with a baby on her back, pushing a bicycle walked out onto the road.  She never looked to see if anyone was coming.  Steve got on the brakes and the horn.  He got back onto our side of the road, as she had entered the other side of the road. 

When he beeped the horn, a little boy beside her took off running the whole way across the road.  She grabbed at him, as we saw him jerk back, but she didn’t get a good hold.  We slammed the brakes and swerved off of the road.  Thank the Lord no one was on that part of the road!  The boy hit his head on the side of our bull bar.

Steve got out to check on the situation.  We in the car started moving all the stuff we could from the middle seat to the back.  We took the boy, lady and the man that picked up the boy to the local clinic and then to the hospital in Kasama. 

We then went to the police to report the incident.  We took the policeman to the hospital to see the boy.  The police let us drive the rest of the way home, but told Steve he had to report back tomorrow morning at 8AM.  The Uncle stayed with the boy.  We dropped the lady off at the accident site.  The police gave Steve chalk to mark his skid marks in case it rained that night and washed them away. 

When we pulled up to our gate we got a call from the Uncle telling us the boy had died.  The first part was emotional enough.  Now a whole new set of emotions came over us.  It took a lot of praying for us to fall asleep that night.  Many phone calls were made and people were praying for us all over the world through our organization.  We thank you for all those prayers.  We know that is what kept us going.

On Tuesday morning Steve was in Kasama at the police station by 8 AM.  Our team leader, Blake,  left his home at 2AM to arrive in Kasama by 8AM to be with Steve.  The police went out to the accident site and spoke to witnesses of the accident.  They confiscated the vehicle and trailer.  Blake brought Steve back home that night.

On Wednesday they again were in Kasama by 8AM.  Blake stayed with Steve until about noon.  He had to get back home, as he had family members from the states visiting and they needed to get to Lusaka to catch their flight home.  Our company has member care people stationed around the world.  Our member care couple flew to Lusaka on Tuesday.  They tried to fly to Kasama on Wednesday, but the weather did cooperate for them.  The police gave Steve our vehicle back and so he drove back home himself.

On Thursday, Steve again was in Kasama.  Member care didn’t fly in until the afternoon.  They spent the morning waiting for the fog to lift in Lusaka.  Steve was able to meet the plane.  They dropped the pilot off at Thorn Tree Lodge and then Steve drove Don and Jane (member care couple) along with our leader over Zambia up to our place in Mbala.  It was nice to be able to speak with them.  They were able to tell us what we might expect emotion wise in the future.

On Friday, back to Kasama.  Steve took our guests to the airport and they flew home.  The police said they would call when they knew anything.  The case went to an attorney and he would decide if it needed to go to court.

One day the next week Steve went to Kasama to pay the workers at the house our mission owns there.  He also had to pay their retirement money to the NAPSA office there.  He stopped at the police station but found out nothing new.

I think we waited three or four weeks before the policeman called and asked Steve to be in Kasama on a certain day.  Not sure what day of the week it was any more.  I do know he gave us a few days notice.  Steve asked if he should bring his lawyer- you can.  He also asked if he should cancel his afternoon appointments – yes.

Steve went to Kasama the day before.  Arrangements for lodging needed to be made for the lawyer and pilot.  Also, he wanted to make sure he was there on time.  Anything could happen on the way there and being late would not look good.

They charged Steve with: causing death by dangerous driving.  A Police Bond or Recognizance letter was filed out and Steve and Blake signed it.  Basically, if Steve doesn’t appear when and where he is asked to appear, He and Blake will be fined.  Then they let him go home.

He appeared before the Magistrate in Kasama in April, May, and June.  These court dates were just to prove that Steve was still here while they waited on papers from the High Court stating they would hear the case.  In June those papers came.  So he doesn’t have to appear before the Magistrate anymore, as the case is out of his hands and in the High Courts hands. 

We were told Steve would be called when there is a date to appear before the High Court.  They only meet in Kasama every other month.  We have been in touch with our lawyer and the prosecutor, but no date has been set yet.  Please keep us and this case in your prayers. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Brotherly Love

Brotherly Love

At 5:00 PM here at our house in Zambia the sun is headed down.  It shines right into the dinning room window and into Heather’s eyes.  As of right now we have no drapes to close on this window.  So Tobias stood up to eat his supper so that his upper body would block the sun for his sister.  A fine example of brotherly love!

Saturday, January 19, 2013


These pictures were taken on Sunday after Thanksgiving but have all the people in them that were at Thanksgiving dinner.  This is Sunday dinner at my sister Greta’s house after baby Sammy’s Dedication!


The boys in the kitchen drinking sugary soda.  Thanks Uncle Marc for all the sugar!!!


Steve all by himself in the family room catching up on some football.  After three years of not watching it and the mission house TV didn’t get reception, so he was making up for it when we were in PA.


On this table was an apple cake that Marc’s mom made.  It was sooo good and tasted just like the apple cake my mom use to make.  I think Dad and I enjoyed two pieces of it.


The rest of us at the Dinning room.  Grandma Washington is holding baby Sammy in this picture.




Our children were praying they would see snow while we were in the US.  They got their prayers answered.


This is the van that my Daddy bought for us to drive while we were in the states.  Thanks Dad!


This is a different snow than the above two pictures.  Heather’s shoes where soaked.  We were at a friends house.  They let us borrow hat, mittens, and snow pants.  Then we used the dryer to dry their clothes. 


There is a little hill in their front yard that they went sledding down.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Thanks so some friends of ours we got to enjoy their timeshare in Gatlinburg.  We just spent the time relaxing and enjoying the pool.  We did drive the craft loop and buy a few things.  They came for the weekend.  We hiked, played games, and just had fun catching up with each other.


A family picture in the woods.  Thanks Tonia!


Instantly friends.  All our kids bonded instantly.  By the end of the first night they were asking for sleepovers. 


A Night View!


This is a view we have at night from the side porch of our church’s mission house in Moore, South Carolina!  There is a cemetery between the church and the house.  This picture doesn’t do it justice.

Charleston, South Carolina

Steve signed up to run a marathon on Kiawah Island which is about 20 minutes south of Charleston.  We had the wonderful pleasure of staying in my sister’s father-in-law’s house where he grew up right in Charleston.

We spent Friday at Patriot Point.  The kids loved it.


On the web site I knew there were 6 different tours on the USS Yorktown.  There is another ship and a submarine to see also, but it didn’t say anything about touring them.  So it was very exciting to go down into a submarine.  I don’t think I will be joining the navy to work on a sub! 


This is a live Oak called the “Angel Tree.” 



Here is Steve in front of the map of the race.  It is a small island and so in many places you come to the end of the road and turn around and run back.  He did finish the race in under 4 hours which was his goal.

Heather’s Birthday

Heather has been planning what she wanted to do for her birthday for months!  She wanted steak at a restaurant and a store bought cake with that butter icing.  She did decide that Daddy make steak the best!


She wanted orange flowers with yellow middles and pink icing.  I didn’t get it alright.  I remembered the pink, with orange and yellow flowers.  In the end I thought this sunflower would work wonderfully!


Cousin Time

After the Thanksgiving dinner, Greta’s two oldest, Isaiah and Lena, stayed with us at Grandpa’s house for some cousin time.  They stayed until Sunday.

It turned out to be a very cold and windy weekend.  We did go to Lapp’s farm.  There we got to pet the calves, dogs, and cats.  Then we washed our hands and bought milk and homemade ice cream to take home with us.  I thought it would be a little more enjoyable to eat the ice cream in a warm house.

We also went to the Imurgut Pretzels Factory in town.  I might be spelling that wrong.  It is PA Dutch I think.  Anyways, it means “them are good.” 


In the back you they show you how them make the pretzels and let you try to make one.


Not everyone was too impressed, but it was interesting.


  Then it was off to the playground.  I sat in the car.  After 10 minutes I decided it was too cold for this.  If you look closely, Tobias has a face mask on.



This is a true bed hog or a major snuggle bunny! Heather is about to fall off of the bed!  After seeing this I decided I need to quit fussing at my husband for hogging the bed.


We spent the week of Thanksgiving and the week after up in PA with my Dad.  I hadn’t cooked a Thanksgiving dinner in over three years.  So I cooked it at my Dad’s house. 

There were 17 of us, one being a baby and so he doesn’t count food wise.  My whole family was there and my sister’s husbands whole family was there.  After being shy and quiet the kids soon all warmed up to each other and had lots of fun. 

I took pictures of the table all set, but forgot to take pictures of people after they arrived.  Which is sad!  We could have had a family picture and they could have had a family picture and we didn’t have to hire or find someone to snap the picture.  Maybe next time we are home we will remember to do it then.

Friday, January 11, 2013


The week of Thanksgiving we did some walking thru cemeteries here in Lancaster county with my Dad.  We found the graves of all his grandfathers that were in this country.


When I was studying my genealogy, I fell in love with the name Tobias, which is a name of one of my great grandfather’s.


Here is Tobias at the grave of his name sake.

Liberty University and Harrisonburg, VA

On the Friday before Thanksgiving we went to visit Liberty University.  They call it “Friendly Fridays.”  It included breakfast, lunch, a tour, and information about the University.

Being a family of 6, we would need two hotel rooms for two nights!  Steve didn’t like the price and so I started thinking about how we can do this and not stay in a hotel.  We have friends in Harrisonburg, VA and they were kind enough to keep 6 extra people in their house.

We stayed with them Thursday and Friday nights.  We drove to Lynchburg, VA to visit Liberty University Friday morning and drove back to Harrisonburg in the afternoon.


This pooch slept on Heather’s bed all night on Thursday night.  Or I probably should say Heather slept in his bed.  I thought I would take a picture of him there on Friday night.  He didn’t want his picture taken and went down into the basement to sleep with Seth all night.  Seth was in love.  He misses our cat that usually spends her night in Seth’s bed.


On Saturday morning we went out to their little farm where they were butchering turkeys.  We soon left to drive up to PA to stay with my Dad for the week.  This is what I found my boys doing!



We had fun getting to know a lady in our church named Gayle.  She and her family love horses.  She helps out another family with their horses.  One evening she took us along to see the horses and then she took us out to Subway!  Thanks Gayle.  We had lots of fun!!