We are ready for our last leg! We’ve said good-bye to some group members in Amsterdam, and some more in Detroit… see you soon!
We had another great day of showing and telling about our schools. We began the day at the International School of Lusaka with Joy and Natalie sharing their experiences. The resource differences between the international school and the schools visited yesterday were striking and provided fodder for good conversation. The deputy head of the primary grades also spent a good amount of time describing the school as well as the process and opportunities for teaching internationally. Some of us may be returning!
We moved on to Chikumbuso, and received a small peek at the activities of Heesong’s and Lauren’s classrooms. In addition to the school, we also toured the associated women’s projects and found some beautiful handmade gifts. The story of Chikumbuso is one of hope, and the women’s stories inspired us all.
After lunch we visited the classrooms and clinic at Faith Christian Academy. Lindsey, Paige C., Jenna, and Abby hosted us and introduced us to their work spaces. Many sponsors of the children at the school were also present so we also were able to watch their program and visit the students’ homes with them.
We spent our dinner time sharing our heartbreaking and breath-taking experiences of this interim. We are truly blessed to have such incredible times together and look forward to sharing stories and pictures. We look forward to seeing how God will use these experiences in building God’s kingdom.
Right now we are sitting in the airport waiting to board the plane. Several of us balked at leaving and some even took “lost” reservations as a sign that we should stay. But we’ve made it through immigration and security and are ready to head home.
Our hearts are full with good memories and rich good-byes, with promises to maintain our new relationships, and prayers for God’s continued presence with our brothers and sisters here in Zambia.
See you soon!
Today, we started our journey at 8 am. It was nice to sleep in and get some time to rejuvenate after hustling and bustling to complete our case studies and prepare our final presentations. Today’s itinerary consisted of three stops: Free Baptist, True Gospel, and Helen DeVos schools. On our way to these schools today, we got a taste of the compounds as we traveled the bumpy, dusty roads. It was hard to not make spectacles of ourselves as we drove through the compound, with local children waving and chasing after the two vans of mazungus. When we arrived at True Gospel, Jack and Daniel were basically mobbed as they got out of the. You could see how much their students loved them; they were basically celebrities there. We got a chance to experience songs that the students prepared for us and truly see the blessings of the school even through the struggle for space.
After True Gospel, we headed to Free Baptist, with the dust swirling around us as we exited the vans. Some of us were surprised when we entered the school to see a make-shift school consisting of four classes in different corners of a church in church pews with added tables. In spite of few resources, the students and teachers eagerly shared their class spaces and work with us. When we talked with the head teacher of the school he spoke of how at one time he taught grades 1-6 by himself for 6 years. This was just another reminder of how hard-working, passionate, and loving teachers are for their students in Zambia. They will do whatever they can to educate the next generation, even if that means that they will only get $40 a month. That kind of dedication is unheard of in the United States, and a lesson we can all learn from.
I truly hope to someday be able to push aside economic worries and serve those who need my help without worrying about myself and how I will fare, just like the teachers in Zambia. When we see pain, struggling, and need, others see reality and possibility. I used to be completely heartbroken when I saw things like what we saw in the compounds today, but now I see hope and motivation. To close the time at Free Baptist, a decent amount of our group of mazungus were put to tears as students, teachers, and the members of our group gathered in a circle to sing There’s No One Like Jesus, a worship song that unified us across culture and race.
As much as I want to rush in and fix all the problems, I now realize that a North American rushing in isn’t always the best scenario. In fact, although I came to teach the Zambian children, I instead learned from them. We need to continue to encourage the teachers and elders of Zambia as they daily equip their students.
Our last stop was Helen DeVos Christian High School. The school reminded me a lot of Faith Christian Academy (Family Legacy) in the way that there were larger facilities and more visible resources. I know the entire group had an absolute blast singing and dancing at the assembly at Helen DeVos. The strong student leaders planned and led the assembly, incorporating singing groups, a dramatized poem, and a short devotional. And how gutsy of Paige S. was to stand in front of the entire student body and sing impromptu!
After visiting the schools today, we had our second to last dinner at the House of Moses made by the amazing staff and spent our last few hours with the babies. Today was an incredible day and I can’t wait for what lies ahead of us tomorrow. It will be bittersweet to go and leave the place we have all made ties to, but it will be nice to head home.
Post by Paige C.
It was sad to say goodbye to Livingstone after an adventure-filled weekend. A fast-paced week working in the schools led to a weekend of much-needed rest and rejuvenation. We were very spoiled with nice accommodations, hot showers, dinners out on the town, and late nights playing games. Through sharing embarrassing stories, playing “Would you rather,” and Telephone Pictionary, our group has bonded together.
We had mixed feelings as we said goodbye to our dear friend Allison today. We were sad to leave her in Livingstone but excited for her to begin the next chapter of her summer. Allison will be remaining in the Livingstone area until the end of July working with an organization teaching literacy and sharing the good news in villages. We will be praying for her as she embarks on this new journey.
As for us, we had another 7-hour bus ride back to the House of Moses! We spent our time journaling, catching up on sleep, snacking, and playing games. We were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery as we drove through the towns, villages, and landscape of Zambia.
We have a lot of work ahead of us tonight as we prepare for our presentations and final projects tomorrow. We are looking forward to sharing our experiences and stories with one another. It’s hard to believe our time together is coming to a close but we are looking forward to applying what we have learned to our lives back home.
Peace and Blessings,
Lindsey and Natalie
As we near the end of our trip, We’re ending the journey with a bang! After a fantastic day going on a safari in Chobe National Park, we spent today exploring Victoria Falls. Known in native language as Mosi-oa Tunya (The Smoke that Thunders), Victoria Falls is twice as tall and wide as Niagara Falls. It is regarded as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. After our experiences today, I don’t think any of us would disagree with that title. While Victoria Falls is truly indescribable, I hope that this blog post will do it some justice.
Our excitement was building as we saw the mist coming from the falls from miles away. Many of us found that the highlight of the day was the first time we saw the falls. A vibrant rainbow confronted us as we gazed in awe of the immensity of the waterfall. We took some time for pictures but the day was just getting started.
The next couple hours were spent hiking around the area to take in a variety of viewpoints of the falls. One of the trails that we hiked on was called “Boiling Pot.” The trail led us downhill through a jungle of beautiful vegetation (and plenty of baboons!). At the end of the trail, we took time to relax as we stared down the gorge that the Zambezi River runs through. Another short trail that we walked on was called “The Best Photographic Views.” While we saw some incredible views, the massive amount of mist coming from the falls hindered our sight of most of the waterfall.
Better “Kodak” moments presented themselves during my favorite part of the day. We rented raincoats and crocs from a vendor to attempt to keep dry during our next adventure. While these things did their best, drenched clothing was seemingly inevitable as we walked along a path that allowed us to see the falls face-to-face. The mist poured down on us at some points of the journey while other parts of the path allowed us to see the falls clearly and take great pictures. As I write this, I am finding it more and more difficult to try to do it justice. The falls were undoubtedly one of the coolest things I have seen in my life. Their immensity and beauty were absolutely breathtaking.
We left the park and ventured over to the bridge that links Zambia and Zimbabwe. The bridge stands 128 meters over the Zambezi River with Victoria Falls upstream. I have to say, some of you parents have very daring children! Some people chose to take a zipline from one side of the gorge to the other. Other people decided to do the “swing” which involves stepping off the bridge’s platform and swinging through the gorge below. The other daredevils bungee jumped, plummeting head first towards the rushing waters below. Don’t worry, no medical bills await as everyone stayed safe.
The night ended with a lovely dinner outside at Café Zambezi. While everyone is sad that the trip is coming to an end, I am sure that I speak for everyone in saying that we have had a fantastic experience and are excited to tell everyone about the trip when we return.
Written Jack G.
Today, our group made its way to Botswana’s Chobe National Park to take part on a safari! After an hour drive from Livingstone and numerous passport checks, we reached our destination. As children who grew up watching The Lion King and The Jungle Book, we were beyond excited!
The first part of our safari consisted of exploring the wildlife on the Chobe River. For this endeavor, we boarded a two story boat that consisted of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and much more! However, these luxuries paled in comparison to the journey that lay ahead of us. Within minutes of takeoff, our group spotted a crocodile on an outer rim of the river (there are no alligators in the Chobe River). Then, within minutes of this occurrence, our group spotted a group of kudus (deer-like animals) meandering around for food on the shore. However, the coolest part of this trek was seeing a pod of hippos lying on an island of mud in the middle of the river. This sight was incredible and made the girls on our trip squeal with joy as if they just saw Justin Bieber perform live. After three hours, the first part of the safari was finished and we were off to find what Chobe National Park had in store for us on land.
After a great lunch on shore and boarding two jeeps, our group was more than excited to see more wildlife! Chobe National Park consists of approximately 90,000 elephants as well as an assortment of other exotic animals. Although this part of the safari was a little shorter than the first part, we saw many more animals. We saw more elephants today than we had in our entire lives. We saw baboons jumping out of trees and birds swiftly flying through the bright sky. Finally, we saw beautiful giraffes (most people’s favorite animal of the day) walking through the park in families as our group tried to take as many pictures as possible.
As a whole, this day was a blast! Numerous members of our group commented that they felt they were dreaming because of how incredible the sights we saw were. Hopefully, the pictures posted in this blog will give you a small taste of what we experienced today!
Hey Mom, Dad, Grandmas and Grandpas, and Uncle Rick! Thanks so much for your prayers! I am having a great time!
Today was full of travel! We started the day out with a wonderful french toast breakfast, made by the ladies at House of Moses. Then we were in the vans heading to the bus station to catch our bus for Livingstone at 7:15 a.m. We waited for a while in the vans for our bus to arrive and then loaded up! The bus was similar to any American charter bus and we all got to sit together in the first 5 rows.
Most of the bus ride was through rural Zambia and it was absolutely beautiful to look out at God’s creation. We passed many villages, goats, cows, trees, and mountains. It was especially cool to see so many Zambian people in the villages and along the roads going about their lives. Abby and I had a conversation about how immensely different our lives are compared to the people of the villages we passed- but now that we have become more familiar with the Zambian culture, we realize that there are still many similarities between us even though our lives appear to be so different.
The ride was very bumpy! But I think we all managed to get a few hours of sleep of much needed sleep. There were a few times that we would suddenly come to a stop, and look up and there would be cows crossing the road in front of us! The bus had one stop that most of us got off at to use the restrooms (toilets as Zambians say) and had to pay 2 Kwacha to use the well cared for facilities. Then we were on own way again. After about 7 hours on the bus, we arrived in Livingstone about 4:00 p.m. (in Livingstone they use 12-hour time!). There were men from The Chanters Lodge waiting to pick us and we drove about 3 minutes and we here! The Chanters Lodge is a quaint British hotel and restaurant in Livingstone. After arriving, the whole group walked to the small town near by and got some snacks and mostly chocolate- then walked about 20 minutes back. We had dinner at the hotel, buffet style, which everyone thoroughly enjoyed! Now people are playing games and hanging out for the night!
We are all extremely excited about the next few days- to see amazing parts of the world we have never seen before, to have some quality time together as a group, and to slow down a little from our busy week in the schools. We are all so thankful for this opportunity and appreciate everyone’s prayers for our safety during our time here.
Tomorrow we are off at 7:00 a.m. to go to Chobe National Park on our safari!!!!
and — Hi Momma!! Love, Alex Dhaenens