Kabwe & the trip to Mufilira

Ok boys and girls, in yesterday's installment we were in Kabwe, Zambia. Today we will move on to Mufilira. But first I need to tell you that in Kabwe we did some work on the Grace Ministries building. We did painting and stenciling and some of the men worked on computers for the missionaries. This building in Kabwe is going to be a book store, classroom, computer center. Really great plans for the place and close to being done. Also, should tell you about our hotel. We stayed in a hotel while we were in Kabwe. The hotel has no a/c and no elevators, but it does have a pool. (The kids swam even though the water was about 60 degrees...this is every pool in Africa apparently). So, our second floor rooms were up 4 flights of stairs! Each family got 2 rooms. Each room had 2 twin beds. The boys slept together and the girls slept together. The "shower" was a bath tub with a shower attachment. No shower curtain or doors. It made for interesting bathing and remember you can NOT drink the water even accidentally.

On Tuesday, Aug. 3 (I think), we got up early, ate breakfast at our hotel and loaded up the bus to go to Mufilira. Mufilira is 4-5 hrs by bus north from Kabwe. We drove for an hour or so and stopped in a town called Kapiri Mopshi where some of the men helped put a roof on a new home and the rest of us got to go out street evangelizing. Talk about scary and doing something that is TOTALLY NOT my thing. We got split up in groups and my group actually got to go out into the bush. That was cool!!! We walked into several villages. Each village is 3 or 4 homes and a work kind of building. We got to see the train (one of the villages was the train station--if no one told you you'd never know). The train looked like something from 1890, had humans and animals on it and smelled! If the train tracks weren't scary enough, the train was. Anyway, the evangelizing went well. I ended up doing a lot of the talking. The Lord is funny that way. What are you most scared of? OK, that's what I am going to have you do. I ended up kind of enjoying it 'cause I realized that Africans love stories, so I just told the story of Jesus. One of the most interesting people I talked to was an old man who was wearing a sling shot on his head. The handle hung down the side of his neck. Greg, Kyle and Caolinn were all with different groups of people. Kyle's group got to go into a 3rd world market area. (We all went into one the day before and I'll tell that story later).

After we finished that we had lunch where the house was that some of the men were working on. Then we had a short church service in their unfinished church. After that we were back on the road again. We stopped a few hours later to dedicate a piece of ground our church had helped to buy. This ground belongs to the ALARM organization and they will be building a Bible institute there. That was in Ndola. Then finally we reached Mufilira. We were staying in the Grace Ministries Guest houses there. At that particular place they have a church, orphan care center and guest houses. The guest houses are small rooms. Each room had a set of bunk beds and one single twin bed in it. Two rooms had their own baths and the rest shared baths (so two rooms would share a bathroom). They were small, but clean and felt safe. The rooms all face out to a little courtyard and there was a deck behind the rooms that just overlooks some of Mufilira. We ate all our meals out on the deck. The guest house thing is quite popular in Africa. Many of the bigger city homes actually have guest houses on their property. Our showers worked there and we were happy for that even if occasionally some of us got shocked. And sometimes the water was a trickle or cold, but mostly warm or hot and they were showers. There were no mirrors in the bathroom (I thought that was kind of nice...I never knew how bad I looked). However, one day we went into town to the Shop Rite to get water and the kids were hysterical. They found all the junk food and the mirrors that were for sale. You would have thought they'd never seen a mirror before. They lined up and took a look at themselves! Very funny.

Now, back tracking a little... After we had visited the orphan care center in Kabwe, Dan asked the females if they wanted to buy chitenges. These are the wrap around pieces of cloth that the Zambian women wear. We all said yes. So, he said we should go to a real market. He stopped the bus and we got out and walked down this alley type path that opened up into a market place. It is every 3rd world picture you have ever seen. Running sewage (?), SMELL, meat for sale (leg of antelope (?) with hair and blood intact, fish, clothes, etc. Flies and people everywhere. Very upsetting to some stomachs and totally fascinating to some others of us. I felt like that something every American should experience. That was real and those people live it every day. They don't go back to a sort of safe and ok hotel or finally get on a flight to a nice home. They stay and live in poverty and squalor day in and day out. Despite that they were pretty friendly.

I also have to tell you that everywhere you go in Zambia you shake hands. We shook more hands in a day there than we have in a lifetime here. It's polite, but it's part of their culture and their connectedness with each other. Also, for some of the orphans they just wanted to touch our skin and see if it was real. When we drove to the orphan care center, the kids saw us and ran to keep up with the bus. When we got off the bus, they surrounded us and each person that came off the bus had to shake the hand of each person waiting. And we are not talking about 2 or 3 people, we are talking a hundred or more.

The Zambian people are beautiful; we'd been there a few days when Greg said to me, "I just saw my first ugly Zambian". It's true, they are really nice looking and with these big, gorgeous, white toothed smiles. Many of the people we met are as beautiful inside as out. And so accepting and soooo grateful for the little we did for them.

Ok, well that's today's installment. Tomorrow I will tell you all about the day camp and conference. Greg is trying to put some pics on a website and so when that is done we will give you the address.

by the way, those of you who prayed for us, those prayers were definitely at work. Caolinn had no fear while we were flying. She was awesome with it!!! Kyle may have been hard to get up some mornings, but he was never a grump and he was always a pleasant participant in all that was going on. No one got any intestinal stuff. The team, including the kids, got along unbelievably well. We spent all but about 8 hrs with each other every day for 18 days and even on the bus ride home from JFK the adults were STILL chatting up a storm with each other. There were very few moments of tension and those were handled fine. I think that was a beautiful testimony to God's work in our lives and also your prayers.

Really, I'm done now.