Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Hey, friends! It's Friday night, and trying to catch up a bit on the Blog.
This week here has been really a roller-coaster for me. Alot of really good things have happened, and some tough ones.
First, the good stuff:
<> well, the Zambian gov't officials renewed my Visa for another 30 days. Took 3 trips to the office, but pretty smooth otherwise.
<> A great deal of head-way has been made in the launching of the HIV/AIDS education and prevention initiative. The hygiene-sanitation team and I are looking hard at the 'what to build and then take out' curriculum, lessons, handouts, visual aids... gathering alot of what is 'already been developed' (which has been no small task) for Zambia or similar settings. We have a big pow-wow working meeting this coming Monday (the crew said they love my meetings, because we start out with tea and buscuits... but they let me know that this meeting, the milk MUST be warmed for the tea: cold milk for tea makes for a bad cup...)
<>Monday, I had a great meeting with the Dean of the private Nursing School here in Ndola, the Copperbelt Nursing Polytechnic. They have 100 registered nurse students, and just had their first class write the national exams (did well!). The Dean is a very wonderful women of faith, and belongs to many of the Christian nursing groups I am a part of. We talked 'nursing shop' for awhile, especially related to student nurses and their development. I felt my visit was quite an encouragement to her. My heart is deeply moved to be an advocate of this school into the future. I've been invited to 'guest lecture' at the school in the future, and I will be visiting again B4 I leave Zambia in a few weeks.
<>Wednesday, I spent the better part of the day at the 'Arthur Davidson Childrens Hospital' in Ndola. It is one of two such hospitals in Zambia, focusing on children. Initially, it was supposed to be a short meeting with a coordinator of the HIV/AIDS programs for infants and children here. Well... after I was asked to meet with the 'head sister' (also called the Matron of the hospital), she and I became fast friends. She just finished her Masters in Nursing in Zambia, and is beginning some vital work in maternal-child health, also for a PhD... and I was asked to play a role in her area of study, since it will be part of the HIV/AIDS work being set up. Then, the room filled with some major nurse-leaders of child health in Ndola, including the Chief Nurse for the HIV/AIDS family clinic, the Dean of the Ndola School of Nursing, and a nurse from UNICEF. We were instantly friends, and began talking 'nursing'... and was that stellar! You see, Nursing is my Tribe, and everyone in the room were all deeply committed to our Lord, our patients/clients, our up-and-coming students and our Profession. For me, it was a Holy Moment to exchange and share with such committed and passionate leaders of child health here in Ndola! Needless to say, email addresses were exchanged, and it looks like "I'm in" as a prt of this wonderful community for some time to come... I was also able to share at length with the Matron, and once again share great encouragement to a weary colleague.
<>Well, that fellowship led to an unprecidented tour of the entire hospital, even rounding on some patients there. I saw the Children's Hospital like few people would ever see it. May I say that, with such strapped resources and few bits of equipment, my healthcare colleagues are doing a super-human (well, since the Presence of God was so evident there to me, a super-natural ) work of compassion and care!
So now the hard part...
<>What I saw in the hospital are children in the most heart-breaking health conditions I have ever seen. Words cannot express the sheer number of malnourished, bodies-broken conditions. I prayed furiously as we went from ward to ward. I did not take my camera out of my sachel, because I did not want to seem like some kind of photo-journalist voyeur. Rather, touching them and praying for them and talking to their mothers was the order of the day, and Jesus was in the Hospital!
<>Once again, the sheer heroism of the nurses and care staff in that setting is something I will never forget.
<>In the Family clinic (out-patient), as my new friend was showing me the clinic, she was taken aside by a woman who was obviously 8-10 weeks pregnant. The woman remembered my nurse-friend as her caregiver last week, and wanted her to tell her what the paper said about her HIV test. So my friend, the woman and her 4-year old son and I went into a private counseling room, and she found out she is HIV positive. The stoic look on her face told me this is no surprise. My friend began to tell her about the next step, and the 'Prevent Mother-To-Child-Transmission' treatments she would need to begin, to reduce the chance of HIV transmission to her baby-in-the-womb. As for my part, this was a first in Zambia (informing a client of HIV positivity), and it hit me like a brick. This is part of the trian wreck God is sending me into. This is human pain at the most fundamental level. The words of Bishop Desmond Tutu stood out to me right there, "These are the faces of children and families living in a world of HIV AIDS... we are one world, and these children are our children... let us wage this holy war together, and for the sake of our children, we will win." Amen!
<>This week, I got hit with a gastro-intestinal 'bug'... travelers "D" is pretty famous here for hitting people like a truck on the Interstate... I was only down for a day, and I thank God for Cipro and Oral Rehydration salts... as of this writing, I am on the mend.
OK, that's been the week. Spare time in the evenings has been working out a 'Ndoal HIV Resource Guide' from our survey, surfing the Internet for resources, and pulling together the Grant proposal for the HIV program.
<>for the nurses and doctors caring for the children of the Ndola hospital, and for the children there... and their moms...
<>for clarity and guidance in the next bit for the HIV/AIDS programs for the Seeds of Hope work here
<>for God to continue to build positive relationships with the nursing structures here
<>for physical healing of the 'GI bug', and protection from re-lapse, and continued grace to keep up on the 'malaria prevention' stuff that is so time-consuming...
A side note: so many of you have been praying for Halleigh, the 4-yr old daughter of the leadership family here... well, her malaria seems to be cleared up (her blood test was negative today for parasites), and she is improving... God is good!
As noted above, there really were not any pictures from this past week... stay tuned for next week!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
LAST (six, no??)
OK, it's been a busy week.
I am on-track to have the basic framework of an HIV AIDS Educationa and Prevention (HAEP)Program drafted for Seeds of Hope by my departure in a few short weeks. No small thing, and something I am proud of.
This has been really, really hard. I have been in Zambia for just over a month, and my Bemba is limited to thanks, greetings and so-longs. It has been very difficult to 'push' a quick-learn ramp-up to the level of working a Participatory Development approach with the Zambian team for the HAEP.
Participatory Development is something most in the West are not familiar with. The 'total quality management' process is the closest thing. Rather than walk in with a plan and program that people must impliment, we start around a table with a blank paper, and build it together from there.
Tough to do on short time-lines.
The real compliment came Friday. Two of the Zambians kind-of cornered me, "you and your wife need to move here and work with us... please!!!"
OK, Prayer requests:
<> Halleigh, the 4-yr old daughter of the family I'm staying with has been running fevers and diagnosed (pos smear) for malaria and a significant skin fungal infection. She is incredibly miserable right now: PLEASE pray for healing and comfort.
<> Favor with the gov't officials I will be meeting with this week, and for the healthcare team in finding a good base of materials to use in the HAEP program.
<> I'm over the 1 month point of being here, and yes, some home-sick moments
<> Favor at the Zambian Visa office this week (I have to renew)
<>For continued strength and health for my body. So far, just a few bumps. Pray that I don't 'weary in well-doing': gooping up with DEET twice a day gets old. (the part I hate is to take a good sponge-bath, feel clean for 45 seconds, then goop up with DEET...)
<> Pray for Lori and our families... lots going on while I'm here...
thanks for hanging
To the LEFT: Bumping and riding the gulleys of Ndola, going out to another site-visit of an HIV/AIDS resource location.
The roads to most of these locations are nothing but deep-rutted dirt roads that are so bumpy, you cannot drink from your water bottle without getting a refreshing shower!!
Below: Here I'm standing with a community leader, a HIV / AIDS home-based care volunteer (proudly showing her completion certificate in HBC from the Catholic Dioceses)... their community of 400 people, is a bit remote, has 10 HIV clients under the volunteer's care, and is filled with youth that know little about HIV... "please come, please come and work here!" they asked.
23 Aug FOUR
Above is a picture from the Jesus Film outreach last weekend... this is the church worship group singing praises to the LORD before the film... yeah, terrible picture, but you get the idea of the dust and deseil fumes and 450+ people and joyful sounds all together!
(Follow-up: the pastor told me that yes, the drunk came to church the next morning!)
More to come!
BLOG TWO: Challenges
Thought you should see these for yourself...
BELOW: Fire! Fire! Yes, this is the normal evening sight, as people burn their fields, especially before the rainy season. Yes, they burn out. Yes, the smoke is choking.
(Oh, yeah, they force the snakes out... saw 4 this week, pretty long...)
TO THE RIGHT: This group in Mushili dug out a city pipe and broke in so they can get access to water... and, of course it means drinking water sometimes comes mixed with puddle water... I didn't shoot the person washing her clothes to the side of the puddle...
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
delay due to security issues.
This day, Saturday, began with puzzling all the sewing supplies back under the bunkbed and into the little cubbie in some sort of organized fashion. Marking all the boxes is a must so that I can find things when I return for the next week of classes.
Then preparations begin for the next week's ministry times. More on that next time.
Saturday evening was filled with CELEBRATION! One of the students from my sewing class is getting married at the church today. Silvia and her husband have been legally married for over a decade and have two lovely daughters, who are also my sewing students. The church is pulling together for the fiesta, some have gifted different parts of the wedding, shoes, food, sodas, flowers etc. making it a community wide celebration. One of my favorite parts of the ceremony is when two of the attendants drap a lasso around the new husband and wife symbolizing them being bound to each other and now joined as one in God's eyes. The reception is set up outside the church where we enjoy a dinner of beef, rice, beans, and tortillas. Soon the sun sets and some of the guys rig up a few light so the fiesta can continue with worship music and games for the kids.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
And the Southern Cross glimmers bright, like a beacon in the night...
So there we were last night (Saturday), in the middle of a large Zambian community called Kabushi (spelling correct) in the outskirts of Ndola, it's 8pm, pitch dark... no street lights, only the occasional house light on (oh, let's not talk about the local bars, which are nothing but a light bulb hanging over a yard, plus lots of beer and drunks)... above our heads, the Southern Cross constellation shimmering and shining like a beacon to the heavens, calling, calling... here we are, an eclectic team of 30 from a US church, SHIP staff, Adams (the Zambian Vineyard pastor) and his congregants... here is the team of 30 crunched in by another 450 people from Kabushi, all straining to see the JESUS FILM as it's showing on the portable screen in the pitch dark...
This copy of the Jesus Film is in the language of Bemba, the regional dialect, and probably one of the few films that are actually IN Bemba around here...
The crowd is totally locked into the movie... laughing joyfully at the miracle of the loaves and fishes... booing (rather loudly) at Judas and his betrayal... gasping (painfully) at the crucifixion, as each hammer-blow falls on the nails of the hands of our Lord...
So, at the end, there's a short message/invitation to those there, and over 60 people indicate they want to follow Jesus. A time of talking, counseling and prayer opens up...
It's apparant that at some point a half hour ago (like when Jesus is cronfronting the money-changers in the Temple in the film...) I'm pretty sure that the local bars emptied out to watch the film, because I am surrounded by the strong odor of beer-on-the-breath, and a couple of swaying drunks, all wanting to talk to me about the film...
... and this one guy (swaying like his mates) is totally engaged... "This is in Bemba! Where will you be showing it tomorrow! Thank you!"... he bowed and prayed with the Pastor... we talked and prayed together... "I want to go to Church tomorrow! Where will I go??"... I intro'd him to pastor Adams... they talk about the Vineyard church service tomorrow in the neighborhood...
My new brother and I continued to talk, as the Southern Cross seems to me to be twinkling just a bit brighter... maybe that's where the Angels of Heaven are rejoicing at the wonderful rescue of another...
Thanks to everyone praying for this mission work and trip here in Zambia.
'Till next time, your brother
(ps, pics to follow in a few days...)
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Hey, friends and prayer warriors! This non-pic post will bring you up-to-date, and answer the burning question: how did a low-life like me get to meet the Zambian Ambassador???
Sunday, we arrived in Lusaka after FIVE hours of grueling roads between the Capital and Ndola... only a 2-lane highway... and Kirk (the SHIP Intl Director) was blasted into high-level meetings with:
<> execs from a private Christian University in Ndola with it's board in Orange Co, CA
<> the President of Cal Poly U, one of the largest agriculture Universities in the USA, and the Dean of the College of Agriculture (Agri)
<> the Zambian government
all for the purpose of comoing to formal agreements to put agri development projects in Zambia for the training of new farmers in new and improved farming techniques. These were to be high-level meetings Sun nite-Wed morning. Hence, the Ambassador, who was a part of making this all a reality (she's a Cal Poly grad) met us Sunday as we came into Lusaka, was a part of the meetings, and saw us off as we left for Ndola on Wednesday. Madame Ambassador is a huge champion of those who are struggling, and we had some encouraging talks about how Zambians could be helped.
SO... while Kirk was off with the officials, I went to meet the Seeds of Hope team in Lusaka, and go out with them to the villages. That meant out to a latrine dedication (with an hour-long hygiene lesson before-hand), then the Cholera-hit Mazyopa, so desparate for improved water that is protected from transmitting that horrible and fatal disease in the coming rainy season. I was grateful to always be ready to hold impromptu sessions regarding Oral Rehydration, the 'drink of life' that would literally save lives in a Cholera outbreak. There were also some 'strategy' meetings on how to get more bio-sand filters into that community... I think I stirred some ideas, and the leaders are looking at some strategies...
Secondly, while in Lusaka, it was my 'task' to do some initial contact-research on the opening of an HIV-AIDS arm of health education and prevention for SHIP. Prior to my arrival in Zambia, I did extensive research on effective programs in this area for Zambia, and had beenin contact with the faith-based program called CHRESO, based in Lusaka. I walked a couple of Km out to their campus, hoping to get a few minutes with some nurse and possibly a tour. Little did I know that GOD does meetings in Lusaka that day... I walked into the compound and ran right into the main director of the program, Esther Reutter, a nurse and a 27-yr carreer missionary to Zambia. She and her husband have a gospel TV ministry that literally touches millions in Zambia every week. She insisted that she wanted to talk to me upon meeting... that turned into a 90-minute tour of the CHRESO, and an extensive background-briefing on HIV-AIDS programs in Zambia... and a huge willingness to help SHIP (and me!) in launching such a venture. CHRESO is the real deal, seeing 100 clients a day, less than a 2% drop-out, and distributing anti-retroviral (ARV) medications to 8000 (!) clients. There are 8000 people alive because of the love of Jesus and the ministry of CHRESO. I really fell that Esther has become a friend, and a wonderful consultant to what it seems my time in Zambia will be taken with.
The next day (Tues), God took another meeting with myself, Esther, Kirk and Evans (the Lusaka SHIP director) about the possibility of launching an HIV-AIDS work in Ndola in cooperation with CHRESO. There was such a sense of GOD doing something that you could cut it with a knife and take a chunk away. As the meeting progressed, my notebook was filled with process and 'do this-look at this-find this out-meet this person in Ndola' notes... guess God puts out a plan, and even gives details!!!
We returned to Ndola on Wed rejoicing in all the great things that GOD seems to be doing... and now the work really ramps up for me!!
SO, dear friends... please pray as the next few days are working out process and plans to do a complete assessment of the HIV-AIDS works that are here in Ndola (rule #1: don't re-invent the wheel or push over something that's already there and doing a good job). My short meeting today with the SHIP health care team was really positive... almost "about time" (but they wouldn't say it)...
Like a previous post... Ex 3... God hears the cries of suffering... and sends us as His answer!!
OK, other things... got my hand-washing of clothes done today... Lori and I discovered and set up Skype and got to talk to each other for over an hour (yahoooooo!) via the computer for free... great devotions today (how could one have all those God-meetings and not have a shimmering time with Him and His Word..??)
BTW, the NEXT DAY, after blogging about my sinus attack, it resolved. God answered the petitions of the Saints! Thanks and PTL!
Hope y'all like the pics.
Prayer requests: continued wisdom on how to proceed with the community assessment regarding HIV-AIDS work in Ndola, safety on the roads, continued health protection.
There is a chance of returning to Lusaka this weekend to pick up the vehicle that broke down on us there (front suspension and CV joint tore to shreds... the roads here are really, really, REALLY bad, worst I've ever seen in country)...
Thanks for standing with us here in Zambia.
To the Right: While in Lusaka (the capital), I had the honor of meeting the Zambian Ambassador to the United States, Madame Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika. She is a devoted champion of the people of Zambia, especially those who are struggling. Pictured are the Ambassador, myself, Kirk Schauer (Intl Dir of Seeds of Hope) and Evans, the Lusaka SHIP director.
To the Right: I am visiting a community-built and run school in the isolated community of Mazyopa, just outside Lusaka. This photo is the school director proudly showing me his newly-opened school library in a mud-block hut. This community school has 200 pupils in a village of 2000. Mazyopa was hard-hit with Cholera last year, with 80 cases and 1 death. In my short time with him, we reviewed the Oral Rehydration recipe for saving lives if that horrid disease returns. Sees of Hope is working hard to provide safe water to this village.
Below: the children... the ones who get hit hard when water-borne disease hits... a reminder of WHY we are doing this...
Hey, friends! Some pics..
To the Right: With the Lusaka hygiene-sanitation team in the compound of Camunga to dedicate a newly-built latrine for this community...
Below: Smiles, smiles with the Seeds of Hope hygiene-sanitation team after the week-long training.. this is a life-saving group of friends!!
Below: A vibrant African/Zambian sunset... the colors are from the horrible air quality due to the rampant burning of the Bush... does look nice, though...
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Blog from July 30th, 2009.
Delay in posting due to security issues.
It's day four on the week long sewing course, well day five if you include last Sunday when we spent hours setting up and getting organized. A majority of my "regular" adult students aren't able to attend this week as they are busy working in the fields harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers. I get tired just thinking about how early they need to arise. The alarm goes off at about 4am for most of them as they need to walk to where the farm bus picks them up to take them to the fields so work can start at dawn, about 5:30 this time of year. Still a couple of the "regulars" manage to come by for a few evening classes during the week.
Most of my students this month are preteens and teenagers who are on summer vacation from school. We're making backpacks and zippered pencil cases just in time for the new year. The above photo shows Citlalic, age 12, working on her backpack. Still, there hasn't been a lack of students with 7 for the morning class and 8 different students for the evening. And they keep me hopping with "Lorena, ayudame", Lori help me. Three new students have joined in this week. I encourage my students to invite family and friends so that they have an opportunity to rub shoulders with Christians in a low key atmosphere.
One of the girl's brothers joined in today after I asked if he was interested in learning to sew. His first project was a scrunchie for his sister' long hair, my traditional beginning project. Then he progressed to a satchel for his books. Wish all of my students caught on as fast as he did. His advantage was that he already knew how to drive a vehicle, a real plus for learning to use the sewing machine's foot pedal. Most of my beginning students are used to hearing, "Manejas como una taxista", you drive like a taxis driver. This is a common phrase referring to those that drive toooooo fast. It usually gets everyone giggling as they reminisce about their first times at the sewing machine.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
The health-care classess with the community promoters wrapped on Friday. What a blast! These guys are so excited to go back to their communities... Mapalo, Mekenzie, Twapia, all surrounding Ndola... they want to go save lives and change things!! The greatest kick is that most of them know Jesus, and truely believe they have been called by GOD to save the lives of their neighbors (literally!) We had a stellar prayer wrap-up, giving our efforts and joyful hearts to God to work for the health of those who are suffering...
... and what can I say? This is the real deal here in Zambia, and all health care work is really life-saving. Infant mortality unlike any place in the Americas. So many children never see their fifth birthday... so many people chronically sick and suffering... and here we are, doing something about it... not a bad day's work!
Plans for my work in developing some new health care aspects are coming along, and the relationships with the SHIP hygiene and sanitation education team are coming together nicely. The whole area of safe water and sanitation with a (new) HIV-AIDS prevention is coming into focus here... please pray for this 'new beginning'.
Early tomorrow, I will be traveling with a small group 3 hours south to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia until Wednesday. Seeds of Hope has another location there, and I will be meeting with their health team while the others are involved in some high-level meetings with governmental people. I am also planning to site-visit a couple of faith-based HIV-AIDS works there. There is also a possible meeting with the World Health Organization office there, and some odd thing about tea with the Ambassadors or something... we'll see...
FYI, not sure if I will have internet in Lusaka... If I do, I'll blog... if not, don't be too mad, y'all!!
So today was get some groceries, hand-wash the socks (they take forever to dry), and pack for the Lusaka gig...
the director Kirk has been fighting some GI stuff, so healing for him (yes, he needs to be in Lusaka on Monday morning bight and smiling),
the drill is still stuck in the Twapia site, pray it 'gets delivered into freedom',
pray for my time in Lusaka and for solid connections and relationship.
The sinus problems are significantly decreased, and I believe the prayers that went up meant GOD touched me!! Thanks be to the Lord!
I hear Lori is back from San Vicente, and she will have some great stories to tell... so stay tuned to the Blog, she'll be adding to it soon (for security purposes, she didn't blog until her return from Baja...)
Pics to come later this week
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Aug 3 here are some pics from the last week... forgive me as I am still learning how to put pics up on the Blog...
A pic with the principal and some students at a school where SHIP has build a (nice) pit latrine, a bore-hole well and will start Hygiene training in the classroom... this school sits in the middle of over 6000 people who need safe water...
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Hello! Had internet access and wanted to shoot out a quick message.
I'm wrapping the 7th day of this journey (well, two of them were flying here) and it's been verrrrry interesting.
I've spent two full days out in the villages surrounding Ndola, doing some community health assessment with the SOHIP hygiene/sanitation team. This has meant going way out and being surrounded by 200 people who have only shallow, contaminated water as a drinking source, and terrible health problems, sometimes resulting in babies dying. The hygiene and sanitation initiative comes alongside the well drilling or well repair work, to make sure that the people have good hygiene practices when the good water is supplied, significantly reducing their death and disease from bad water.
I've also been involved in a couple of the 'international development agency' stuff: my friend Kirk, the SOHIP director has had me sit in on a couple of data presentations and planning meetings to get better acquainted with the broader organization. That's the two-sided coin: being able to drill these wells and provide health care for the poor requires a great deal of funding, and the proper management of that is an important part.
Tomorrow (Sunday) is church, and it will probably consume the whole day. I'm told the worship group is waiting to meet me... Pastor Francis just come over to insure me he wants me to got out with him to his church, the Mapalo Vineyard... Mapalo is an area of 60,000 people outside Ndola, half of which do not have safe drinking water...
Monday is a Zambian national holiday (Farmer's Day), so not sure what that may bring.
I hit the jackpot with my timing for being here in-country with regards to next week. Tues thru Fri is a 4-day training seminar-meeting with the entire SOHIP hygiene -sanitation team, plus a number of leaders from the village Health committess, all coming together for training and strategic meetings. This will give me the opportunity to see and hear the full training curriculum used, as well as build relationships with all the key people in the area of health development for many villages.
So, not sure when I will get to Blog-post next week... by then, I should have some of my pictures on the Blog as well.
My new friends have decided I need to do the 'rapid Zambian' emersion... they are making me speak Bemba to people (natotela= thank you, mulishani=hello, bwino=good/nice/reply, etc), and I have had to learn how Nshema is cooked and eaten... lets just say that no utensils are involved... and I will never be able to eat a banana the same way!!
Funny story... we went way out to a school right along the Zambian/Congo DR border, and as the hygiene team were meeting with the principal, the entire school let out for recess... all 120 students... and they decided that I was the 'white giant' and a 20-minute game of trying to avoid me tagging them ensued... the place was off the hook, everybody laughing and moving about... a couple of bold kids came close enough and got tagged, all with smiles and laughter... the principal was standing there, watching and laughing loudly... afterword, when the kids were all called back into class, she told me that I may be the first white persom most of these village children have seen... and what good fun !!
Prayer requests: continued connection with the Zambian team, understanding of the complete and complex health program already in place, relationship with the community leaders, better skills at speaking Bemba and eating Nshema (well, all things Zambian) and patience with all the anti-malarial stuff (meds, bednets, my new fragrance Ode de DEET 24/7)
In devotions this past week, Matt 11 really stood out to me where Jesus said "come and learn of Me"... I'm trusting He's got all this stuff covered, and He's letting me learn from Him...
I'm finding myself praying for more than a few people with alcoholism in the villages. My Zambian friends estimate that a third to half of the adult males drink heavily here. Pray the scourge of alcoholism is broken in the Spirit realm over Zambia, and those men are released into the freedom of being filled with the Holy Spirit!!