Monday, January 26, 2009

Peter Turns 10 Years Old!

Peter and John celebrate their birthdays (Jan 24 and Jan 21 respectively) with homemade carrot cake. There is NO cream cheese available here for the frosting...thankfully, a friend came to the rescue with a frozen box! Tasted yummy!

Peter turned 10 on January 24th...where did the time go to? I know people have always said, "cherish these years because it will be gone all too soon" and now I know what they're talking about!!!

Peter had two buddies here for a sleepover (two others were invited but couldn't come). Johannes is half Norwegian and half Zimbabwean. He spends his winters and summers in Norway and speaks fluent Norwegian...but has lived in Africa all his life. Peter's other friend, Hessel, is Dutch by origin, but was born, and has only lived, in Zambia. His parents run a huge rose farm here and supply the grocery stores and even export their roses.

The boys - and John - played our created version of broom ball - using a "sweeper" or broom made out of grasses tied together at the top with a bike innertube. The ball is a whiffle ball - and the goalies use the more traditional push brooms (not sure why, but that's how the game developed).

Peter continues to be a GREAT kid - engaging and entertaining. May his entry into double digits be filled with lots of new exciting adventures and a deepening love for God.

Mountain Biking!

We took a family biking trip - outside "the city"and, it doesn't take long to get out in the country!

We were quite the sight - or at least I'm imagining we were by the number--and longevity--of stares we got! I guess they don't see many mzungus (foreigners) and to see FOUR of us, all peddling along with our helmets on must have been quite an unusual sight. People just stared and stared...if I would have turned around, I'm sure they would have been staring!

We had a great ride - on a dirt path that is normally reserved for walkers (no cars), then the path switched to a rocky, muddy, slick path going downhill, across a small creek, and through some tall grass (now that it's the rainy season, everything has grown A LOT!)... I was sure we were lost, but stumbled upon two kids with their bamboo poles going fishing. They confirmed that we were headed in the right direction...

Now we need to find new biking paths. With so many paths cutting across fields created by walkers and bikers, we shouldn't have any problems. We just have to find places where we won't be such spectacles!! :-)

What we do in our spare time!!!

Sophie and I decided to do a little mud facial (thanks to Lori Bekker's New Zealand mud) felt GREAT, but was it life changing? Did I get rid of all my wrinkles? Are pimples banished forever? No, of course not...but Sophie and I had a fun time doing it!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Used to be different – now it seems normal…

Just like buying fruit at the Farmer's Market!

When we arrived in Zambia, we were aware of so many things that were new and different, now they’ve become part of our everyday life and we hardly notice them!

Here’s what we’ve gotten used to:
1. 95% of the time we get in on the right side of the car to drive. The other 5% of the time, we just act like we meant to get in on the passenger side.

2. Seeing women walking on the street wearing orange housecoats with brooms slung over their shoulders and an orange cone on their heads no longer concerns us (they’re ladies hired to sweep the streets).

3. When we’re walking, we automatically step well off the road when we hear a car coming knowing the cars won’t move over an inch (even if there’s room on the road).

4. We know our way around our neighborhood

5. Peter has mastered the art of Zambian English – even if I say the same words, I don’t say them with the right intonation/accent – and people can’t understand me!

6. It’s now second nature to brush our teeth with bottled water and only drink bottled water (although it still kills me to have to pay for water in a restaurant).

7. We rinse our fruit and veggies in a bleach water solution before eating.

8. We mostly remember to turn on the “geezer” -- the hot water heaters that heat our shower water, kitchen water, etc.—otherwise, we’re stuck with cold water.

9. Sleeping under a mosquito net.

10. Love having Virginia (our housekeeper) – every day (ok not EVERY day – just Monday – Friday and half day on Saturday) our house is cleaned, dishes washed, clothing laundered and ironed – it’s such a stress reliever!

11. We’ve resigned ourselves to no recycling – although we do what we can, when we can.

12. We’ve gotten used to being called “Madame” and “Sir” by Virginia – not sure if she even knows our name!

13. We are grateful that English is the primary language - and that this is a predominantly Christian country.
14. Geckos running around our living room walls, bugs crawling on the floor are no longer huge gross- outs.

We continue to be amazed at:
1. The things people carry on their bikes: huge 50 pound bags of charcoal – not just one bag, but FIVE bags!, sofas, lumber, chickens – and our first sighting of a live goat tied on the back rack! (I’m pretty sure he knew his destiny).

2. How hard working the women are – everywhere you go, they are the ones out in the fields working, caring for children, working at the markets, etc.

3. Stop signs and stop lights don’t mean anything to some people – they just plow through the intersection.

4. The weather – sunny days, huge rain storms, thunder like we’ve never heard before…

5. How inefficient the service is – you have to pay all your bills in person, the internet is spotty (at best) and always very slow, you’ll wait forever in grocery store lines with no effort by the cashier to move faster, etc

6. How friendly people are – Zambians have great senses of humor!

7. Massage house calls: we just heard about a masseuse, Precious, who comes to the house... Peter decided to have a quick 10 minute rub down - and LOVED it!

We continue to be concerned for:
1. Poverty: nearly 73% of the Zambian people live on less than $1 a day with little access to a better life. For instance, there are two (always packed) malls in Lusaka, but only 2% of the people in Lusaka actually shop there.

2. AIDS: now that people are living longer with ARV (anti-retro viral) medicine, they are no longer struggling to survive because of their illness – now they need jobs to help them survive.

3. Education: many children in rural communities have very little access to education and so many teachers have died of AIDS...

4. Water: safe drinking water and access to water is still a huge concern for many people around the country. Water provides healthier lives and helps grow food...

Please continue to pray for the people of Zambia and the work that is being done here to support and care for them.