Thursday, October 29, 2009


From Curtis:

Thank you to everyone who donated the money to purchase some musical instruments for the kids. I have finally found all the instruments I wanted, and am now ready to start teaching some music classes. I was able to find: 1 large marimba, 1 small marimba, 1 large double sided drum, 1 finger piano, and of course 1 guitar.

Here is a picture of some of the girls learning how to use these instruments.

In the front in the pink shirt is Rebecca, holding the guitar is Agness M., playing the drum is Irene, and playing the big Marimba is Wendy.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

October 24th marks Independence Day for Zambia (45 years). On Friday the school that is our closest neighbor invited us to have a joint celebration. Both our kids and their kids worked really hard to put together some performances which included songs, dances, poems, and skits. It was a great day of celebration, and all the kids had a lot of fun.

Above: a mix of kids from our school as well as the Centre. They are dancing a Traditional Dance.

This was one of the skits (or sketches as they call it) about when the Europeans came to Zambia to take slaves. With his back to you (no shirt) was one of the day students acting as a Chief. Talking to him in the white shirt is Jospeh, next to him in the blue shirt is Samuel, next to him in the pink shirt is Longo - a day student, next to her in the red shirt Shelly, next to her in the peach shirt is Skalela - a day student, behind her in the red is Pamela.

This was one of the last was called "Talking Viruses". This was about HIV/AIDS. left to right - Kelvin, Winford, Frank. I maintain they just did this skit so they could run around in their underwear! They painted their bodies with ash to look like viruses. Pretty creative!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Tribute to my Grandma

On Sunday morning my Dad called me to tell me my Grandma (my Mom’s Mom) had died. My Grandma was 82 and healthy as can be. She died of an apparent heart attack, but seemed to die very peacefully.

I wasn’t able to go back to Minnesota for the funeral, and didn’t write anything for her funeral, so I thought I would make a little eulogy here instead.

Well, let me start with the picture. This is the last picture I took with Grandma before I came here. She and the rest of my family came to a “sending service” our church did for us on our last Sunday in Minnesota (end of March). After church (an evening service) we all went for ice cream. Left to right: Curtis, me, my Grandma, and my Uncle Rob.

My little sister Becky spoke at the funeral, and I am copying part of what she said as a starting point: My other sister, Katie, is living in Africa right now. After studying abroad in Kenya, she returned home, got married and then moved to Zambia. She and her husband Curtis work with the nonprofit Africa Hope to run an orphanage. Grandma couldn’t have been more proud of Katie and Curtis.

Grandma spent her whole life in the Lutheran church, and mission work was important to her. She watched the newspaper for articles about Africa, and worked with librarians to read Katie and Curtis’s online blog.

Before moving to Zambia, Katie had a nanny position in the Twin Cities. Katie loved bringing the baby over to spend time with Grandma. Grandma adored the baby, and loved giving Katie advice, and telling stories about her own kids at that age. Once again, the feeling was mutual. When Katie left for Zambia, she said one of the things she was going to miss most were her weekly visits with Grandma.”

I loved my almost weekly visits with my Grandma. Some weeks I would take the baby over, and more often I would go over to her house on one of my days off. I would take my Grandma out for lunch, let her cook for me, or take her back to my house and cook for her. We had a lot of fun! As soon as I got the Blog all set up, I brought our laptop over to her house to show her what the Blog looked like, and how to find it. She promised she would read it, and I know she did. She even tried to post a comment once, but got stuck. Even though she wasn't as technologically savy as most of her grandkids, she tried to stay connected in a way that was accessible to us. She did not like using computers or the internet, but she was willing to try so she could read about our life here.

My other grandparents all died when I was young or before I was born. My Grandma really stepped up to her role as our (my sisters and my) only Grandparent. My Grandma always made us feel loved and treasured. I will miss her greatly!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sara and Sam's Visit!

Sara (Curtis' cousin) and her husband Sam came to visit us. We had so much fun!
They brought a TON of donations with them - a HUGE THANK YOU to all the people who donated school supplies and other things - everyone really appreciates it! Sara did a lot of fund-raising before they came - everyone was very happy with the results - so thank you!

These first two pictures are all the donations Sara and Sam brought: pens, pencils, candy, markers, crayons, soccer balls, footballs, hacky sacks and a lot more. Next is Sara and Sam distributing a bag to each of the kids at the school - there are over 200 kids and all got a bag of educational goodies (and a few pieces of candy!)

Sara is also a very good dancer, so she taught the kids some American style dancing - they loved it! For those of us with two left feet we cheered from the benches and took pictures :)

Sara and Sam on the river Safari with an elephant posing behind them - we were so close to them.

And of course, no trip to Zambia would be complete without seeing Victoria Falls! This was also a first for Curtis and I, and it really was amazing! We saw the falls (of course) and went on a Safari (in Botswana) and that was amazing! The safari was a full day thing, started with a 3 hour river safari and then a 3 hour game drive, with a buffet lunch in between. We also went to a drumming circle and learned to play Djembe drums.

Sara and Sam - THANK YOU for an amazing trip - we had a blast with you!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thank you!

A huge thank you to my Mom, as well as the wonderful people of Hope Lutheran in Sunburg, MN...they mailed us t-shirts from their Vacation Bible School. We made the t-shirts a prize for the kids - each term we have them do memory verses, any of the kids that do more than 10 verses in a term (3 months) get a prize. During second term between the 48 kids that live at the Centre, they have 718 memory verses - wow! The winner of the whole contest had 50! The kids got to choose their prize - some picked t-shirts (they went the fastest) others Chitangas (traditional cloth for skirts), some New Testament Bibles, and much more!

In the picture left to right: Kelvin, Joseph, Frank, Floyd, Samuel