Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back to School!

This seems to be the busiest time of the year. Zambian schools operate with the calendar year rather than the way American schools do. So, December marked the end of the school year, and now January the start of a new year! This means all the 7th graders who took their exams back in November, are now in Secondary (they all passed) School. This is a new school for them. To prepare for this Curtis and I needed to buy each of them a uniform (public schools all have mandatory uniforms), school supplies, and so much more to prepare. We spent a all morning at the Zambia version of Wal-Mart or Target, now let me explain: This place is called city market, it is the cheapest place to shop in all of Lusaka, but you have to negotiate HARD for the prices, and you don't get carts like at Wal-Mart or Target. City Market is a little of everything, including open-meat market, uniforms, clothes, shoes, food stalls, dried food, basically everything you can imagine, but not the best place for white shoppers (good targets for mobbings). But thankfully, Curtis and I made it in and out of there, in about 4 hours with (hopefully) all the supplies our new secondaries will need!
This is a picture of Esther trying to figure out how to tie her tie :) Their uniforms consist of A navy blue skirt or trousers for boys, light blue shirts, navy blue ties, and then a navy blue sweater on top. The girls then wear long white stockings, and the boys gray stockings. They kids were all so proud of their new uniforms.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2009 Highlights

Around New Years is a good time to remember all the events from the past year. This past year has been full of so many new experiences for Curtis and I!

Some of the highlights were visiting with both of our families before we came here. We took a few weeks to make sure we got to see everyone we wanted before we came. I think tha

t is the hardest part of being here is missing the ones we love the most!

With my family (Katie's) we just took a vacation together and relaxed and hung out...

With Curtis' family we spent a few days in Denver visiting his friends and his brother Cole, wife Kadee and their daughter Cameron.

(Curtis and Cameron taking a nap together - so sweet!)

After we left Denver we went to Grand Junction and spent some time with Curtis' parents Ed and Bobbi...Grand Junction.

(Curtis, Bobbi and Ed - enjoying the beauty of Grand Junction)

When we came to Zambia in late April we were given a truly warm welcome – including signing, dancing, and even a special sign. That is a day I am sure neither of us will forget in a long time.

Since we have been here we have enjoyed watching the kids grow more comfortable with us, play, and really become like a family here.

We have enjoyed developing special relationships with the kids!

Curtis and Namakau

Lydia, Bertha, Precious, Mary, Catherine playing in the sand.

We also enjoyed Curtis’ cousin Sara and her husband Sam come and spend some time at Upeme, and then a wonderful trip to Victoria Falls and a safari.

In some ways it is so hard to believe we have been here for 8 months, and other ways it seems like we have been here for years! This has been a really wonderful past year for us, and we are wishing everyone a happy 2010!

All of us at Upeme!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lions Club Donations

Yesterday, we had some visitors from the Lions Club come out to see us again (some of you may remember a few months ago they donate A TON of stuff). They brought with them quite a bit of donations which included fresh fish, clothes, all kinds of snacks and drinks for an opening school celebration, sugar, salt, cooking oil, bath soap, and laundry soap, and much more. About twelve members from the Lions Club came out to present all of this stuff to Upeme. It is really great for the kids, the staff, and everyone to see that there are people in Lusaka who remember we are out here and think about us. The kids sang a few thank you songs, and just before the Lions Club members were getting ready to leave sang a goodbye song. We are very thankful for the Lions Club to be coming out here to bring their donations. They told us this time when they were out, that we are "their project" meaning we might be able to start expeecting donations from them! Very exciting!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Upeme Christmas!

I have been out of the loop for awhile, and I am so sorry! I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and has fun plans for New Years! Some of you may have heard I (Katie) had to go to South Africa to have a surgery, so I have been away from the internet for awhile…but I am back, the surgery went very well. I was taken care of very well, and am now recovering! Here is what has been happening:
A very wonderful woman who lives not too far from us here at Upeme and who also happens to be a pediatric doctor, comes to the orphanage once a month to check up on all the kids. She brings medicines and whatever else we might need. Her name is Dr. Carolyn Bolton (she is also the one who arranged everything in South Africa for my surgery - really amazing!) Most the time she comes with some gifts as well, usually from her garden. This time she came out to have a little Christmas celebration with the kids. She brought some of her family and friends to join in the festivities. Together they all brought presents, snacks, and a lot of fun.
Here is a picture of Dr. Bolton with Gift, Pamela and Boyd (all grade 5)

When we first got here, there was a dog named Scooby. She was a good dog but unfortunately belonged to somebody else. Well, Scooby has recently gone back to live with her family, and we decided we needed a dog to help give us some security and to teach the kids a little responsibility. We found an animal shelter in Lusaka and went to visit. We had originally decided on one dog, but after visiting the animal shelter we couldn’t decide on one so we picked out two. A few days later after we had brought some kids into town with us for church, we surprised them by taking them to the animal shelter to see if the two we had picked out would be good around kids. They were very gentle little puppies and it seemed like a good match. So now we have two new members here at Upeme.
The bigger one is a boy and is named Spot, the smaller one is a girl and is named Tango. They are really good dogs!

And finally Christmas Day: We wanted all the kids who weren’t able to go be with any family during the Christmas holiday to have really special Christmas Day with us at Upeme. (Christmas was also my first day back with the kids after my surgery.) First thing in the morning we got out the Christmas tree and decorations, also made some of our own decorations and put them on the tree. Also, when Dr. Bolton was here she brought us some food to make a special Christmas day lunch. This consisted of very nice chicken, potatoes, rice, cabbage, and lots of treats. The kids were so excited they started singing and dancing when we told them what they were having for lunch. After lunch we opened presents (Curtis did all the Christmas shopping and did a wonderful job), which everybody enjoys doing, and watched a movie on the projector. After it got dark we all went out to the soccer field and lit off a few fireworks (they were just little, but the kids were impressed nonetheless).
Here is a picture of Grain putting his newly decorated ornament on the Christmas tree. And this is a picture of (left to right) Boyd, Nelson, Gift (twin to Grain) and Maybin opening their presents.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Our Vacation

So many people have asked us what we are doing for Christmas, we are staying in Zambia...we made a commitment a long time ago that we would spend Christmas with whatever kids were at Upeme for the Holiday. So we decided to celebrate Christmas ourselves a little early - Curtis and I took 4 nights away to celebrate Christmas and refresh ourselves for the next year, it was wonderful and just what we needed :) We pampered ourselves, went swimming, exchanged Christmas presents, and opened some from our families. Thank you! {I bet some of you are wishing you could enjoy Christmas in swimsuits!}

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The easiest way to give $$$$ to Africa Hope!

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

What if Africa Hope earned a donation every time you searched the Internet? Or how about if a percentage of every purchase you made online went to support our cause? Well, now it can! is a new Yahoo-powered search engine that donates half its advertising revenue, about a penny per search, to the charities its users designate. Use it just as you would any search engine, get quality search results from Yahoo, and watch the donations add up! Curtis and I are doing our part - every time we are at a cybercafe (the only way we can use the Internet) we change the homepage to - just click on the banner at the top or bottom of this post and start searching...but that's not all... is a new online shopping mall which donates up to 30 percent of each purchase to your favorite cause! Hundreds of great stores including Amazon, Target, Gap, Best Buy, ebay, Macy's and Barnes & Noble have teamed up with GoodShop and every time you place an order, you'll be supporting your favorite cause. Plus, has lots of valuable coupons to save you money.

And if you download the GoodSearch – Africa Hope toolbar, our cause will earn money every time you shop and search online - even if you forget to go to GoodShop or GoodSearch first! Add the Africa Hope toolbar at

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

3rd Term Celebration

The end of the third term also marks the end of the school year here in Zambia. The kids that have passed will begin the next grade beginning in January. This is also cause for a lot of celebration. Education is unimaginably important to this community as well as most of Africa, as it is not something guaranteed to their children. Large school fees, and lack of access to schools (not within walking distance) stop a lot of children from receiving the education we in America just expect. When a child is able to receive an education, it is something to be highly respected, and something to be celebrated. At the celebration for the end of the school year, parents and guardians came to support and congratulate their children for everything they have accomplished.

I enjoy photography (as I am sure you have guessed) but capturing candid people shots, is not my specialty - at this celebration though I got two really good shots of extremely proud parents and children!

Here is a picture with Wendy (1st grade) and her mother, Josephine, after it was announced that Wendy was #1 of all the first graders. Wendy is very smart, and this was expected, but none-the-less, she was very happy!

Here is a picture of Rebecca (1st grade) and her father, Julius, after it was announced that Rebecca was #2 out of all the first graders this term. Last term she was "most improved" so to get all the way to number 2 this term was a huge feat! He ran from the crowd of parents to pick his daughter up and give her a big hug. Rebecca stays at the centre as her father is unable to take care of her without a mother. Julius is the best father at coming to meetings and doing anything he can to help out at the centre. When he comes he has to ride is bike over 7km!