This place has been quiet lately. Mostly because our life has been quiet. Andy is taking an intensive language course, and we never see him. Ever. This season has meant the kids and I don't do as much or go many places other than school and errands. But it has been a time for learning and studying.
The kids have mixed feelings about school. They are the first caucasian children ever to go, and the system is so different from what they are used to. All of them are in grades at least one or two above their traditional grade level. Classes are less structured and fluid. Elisha is harassed for money and picked on by the kids. And all the kids don't like being laughed at all the time (the Zambian way to express pleasure when you try to speak in Bemba is to laugh at you; they mean well, but when a class repeatedly laughs at you, it's hard). But they have made friends and gotten to run around and enjoy the chance to experience a classroom in Africa. The few hours a week have been good although the season of going to school is coming to an end.
The afternoons are quiet here. We have very busy mornings that start so early that the kids like to rest for a bit before supper. Supper is a process since most days I am dealing with no water or no power...or both. They like to color and listen to books on cd (we've finished "The Chronicles of Narnia" and are on to "The Hobbit"). Most of my evenings are busy with cooking, washing dishes and clothes (see those school uniforms? They get filthy every day. And all of it, even the socks, have to be hand washed, hung to dry, and then ironed).
But we still love Zambia! We love the people, the culture, the beauty of the country. All of it. But it is hard to see the hurting, the sick, the confused. As much as Zambia is a "Christian country", faith is an inch deep and a mile wide. We see and hear a great deal of false teaching and false Gospel. Poverty and illness are not simple problems with simple solutions. We can't change the educational paradigm to provide adequate, competitive education necessary for Global economic expansion so desperately needed to give this country a growing economy that effects all the population. Climate change and weather systems that have produced drought the past few years result in smaller, less nutritious crops, that result in poor health for children and adults, leading to school absense and sick days, then decreased income and reduced ability to buy the more expensive, less available food. HIV stigma and superstition has resulted in nearly a quarter of the population in urban areas being HIV positive, and most of them women who then pass the disease on to children, resulting in a sick, disadvantaged generation. The global attitude toward HIV and AIDs makes our job harder as so many who have the disease here are innocent of immoraltiy or illicit behavior, but nobody wants to help.
It's hard. For our family, all the changes and adjustments are difficult. (Not bad. Just challenging. Worth every bit it costs us, but still hard.) And it's hard to see needs all around us and not know how to help for long-term restoration. But we are so thankful to be here. To be a part of helping this strong, resilient nation. To see our brothers and sisters in Christ fight daily to be a light to those around them. To work. To help. To be His hands and feet in a place so achingly beautiful.
Please pray. Pray we have wisdom. That we follow God's plan before us. That we endure. That we bring Him glory!