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!