Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sophie's Journal:Bicycle Ambulances

"Sophie, come on! We're going to be late!," my mom yelled. I really don't know why she yells if she has a sore throat, but I guess you need your lungs when you're a mother!

We were going to this place where my mom was taking pictures of how caregivers help their clients get to the hospital if they were sick or even pregnant (and ready to deliver their baby!).

One of the most common methods of transportation - the wheelbarrow.

RAPIDS Caregivers are volunteer men and women who are trained and equipped by RAPIDS (the USAID funded program my mom is working for) who help people affected by HIV/AIDS in their communities. They help take care of them by using a caregiver kit and giving them medicine, cleaning them, and even providing transport!

For pregnant women, you have to push the bike and have someone to help support the patient so he/she doesn't fall off.

When we got there, they set up for the pictures then told a little bit about how they transport their clients to the hospital. They said they either use a wheelbarrow, a bicycle, or their own back!

My mom was taking the pictures because she neede to show why caregivers need bicycle ambulances: metal structures attached to the bicycle seat post. They are long enough that patients can lay down and there is a canopy to cover them from the sun or rain (and give them privacy) and is good for things like carrying a baby or in this case a sick patient to the hospital faster!

As my mom was taking photos of how they get their clients to the hospital, I was taking this all in from start to finish! We are very fortunate to have cars when most Zambians, and many people around the world, are lucky to have a bike or wheelbarrow. We can get to places faster with a car than a wheelbarrow. One of the caregivers told us that one client was almost too late for the hospital and almost gave birth to twins on the side of the road!!!

But most Zambians don't even have ANY transport! My dad told me that once he gave a ride to a kid my age (12). The boy said he had to walk 4 miles to school and back 4 miles home! Yes, you sure would get your exercise, but you'd be tired once you were at school! Bottom line of this entry is that we are very fortunate to have a car, bike, or even both! But don't take your
car or bike because you might end up with a wheel barrow instead!

Editor/Miyon's note: First of all, in the interest of accuracy in reporting, I don't think I "yelled" at Sophie; I probably expressed some urgency, but "yelling"???!!...ok, there, now it's off my chest!

Secondly, it was great having Sophie along with me on this venture. I wasn't sure how much she was absorbing, but I can see that she got it!

In Zambia, transporting people and getting places is mostly done by walking. People walk everywhere (and there aren't any sidewalks!). There are very few cars, bikes, or motorcycles (there are more in Lusaka, but very few in the rural areas). Those are all too expensive for a country where 75% of the people live on less than $1 a day.

So they walk. The Caregivers said that walking and holding up a patient was the most common way to get people to the clinic. Because the Caregivers are known in their communities, people come to them at all hours of the day or night and ask them to help with transportation. One lady mentioned that as a woman she has diffculty hoisting people up onto the bike rack especially if there is no one there to help. Often the patient and the bike fall over!

Everyday things that we take for granted are struggles here.

Yet it's a blessing when Sophie - and now you - can better understand issues that the face the poor. And, it's a blessing that organizations like World Vision and committed Caregivers are working to care for the vulnerable in their communites.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sophie Gets A New Do and The First Day of School

Sophie got her hair cut (long layers - for those of you who know hair lingo) and she loves it!

The kids had their first day of school on August 12 and both seem to like their teachers. Sophie only has 14 kids in her class and Peter has 18. We've heard that their teachers are really good so we'll be curious to see how well they perform this year.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sophie's Journal Entry

Sophie wanted to take a stab at writing in the family blog about her last days of school; enjoy!

Just when i was settling into a comfy chair and getting a good read in New Moon, "Riiing.....the phone went off. "I'll get it", i said like always when the phone rang.

"Hello this is Sophie!" Hey Sophie its Angela!" she said in a sad but happy voice. "whats up", i asked wondering why she was calling me. "listen, i hope you will be sad but.. I'm moving..."WHAT?!" She went on, "yeah i know, i can't believe it either but my dad got a job in Maryland and we are all moving there this summer!"....then there is just a silence...i mean, what am i supposed to say after that?" I finally have enough air to say my "I'm sorry" and "I will see you at school".

When i put down the phone i went straight to my room. i had to sit down. Really, i didn't know how to react to that phone call or what to say. i was just stunned; like i got hit by a block! Confused, sad, angry, stunned, worried! But, everybody felt it at the international school. Friends would be leaving because their parent's contracts would be up and i just had to except the fact that this is how you live overseas.

Almost half my class was leaving and moving around the world; places like Cambodia, America, Scotland, South Africa, and other countries. When it got down to the last day of school, everyone was crying! They had been with many of the people that were leaving for a long time over the years. Even though i only came to Zambia the last school year, i felt myself shedding a few tears.

Everybody was just so close to everyone else that we all had a hard a hard time saying goodbye. This past school year, everybody went through a lot; parties, sleepovers, and even school! Our class was kinda like a play; we all had parts in the school year and even though there might be empty spots, 'the play must go on'. This concept i experienced at school was how you lived overseas and i just had to get used to a different way of living!

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Wow, we had such a fantastic time in Zanzibar...an island off the coast of Tanzania, often called the Spice Island. This trip was a Christmas present for the kids in lieu of a wii...in hindsight it would have been cheaper to buy them the wii, but the memories they'll have will last them a lifetime!

We flew from Lusaka to Nairobi (via Lilongwe, Malawi) on a flight that left Lusaka at midnight - and got into Zanzibar at 10am. We were tired when we arrived, but the kids did great on less than 4 hours of sleep!
We stayed at a great little place with 6 bungalows - the one below faced out to the sea, ours was two rooms away from this one.

Our first morning we went for a walk and saw lots of people walking back and forth from the shore to boats in the ocean. They would go to a boat (not sure if they were assigned to certain boats, or just picked the one that had fish), but they would load up their five gallon buckets with kapenta (small fish) that the fishermen had caught that night. The full buckets probably weighed about 30 pounds and the people were walking very quickly. We learned that they got paid 500 schillings per load, so clearly they were motivated to get in as many loads as possible. They would dump their loads in a pile on a plastic sheet and the fish would get cooked in boiling water, then laid out in the sun to dry.

Fantastic, beautiful doors are abundant in Stonetown. This particular door is an Indian made door because it has the pointy brass knobs on it which were put in to keep the elephants from breaking down the door! Of course, if you saw how narrow the streets are in Stonetown, there is no way an elephant would have enough room to charge! John liked the pointy things so much, he decided to buy one and will put it up on our door in Tacoma...to keep all those pesky stray elephants wandering down 27th St. from charging our door!

This is a pretty typical store front - lots of knick knacks and baubles!

Peter was on a mission to buy some tennis shoes so we stopped at each and every shop; but in the end, ended up with nothing. I've never seen so many shoes wrapped in plastic!

The Stonetown market sells vegetables, fish, meat and of course, spices...here's the butcher cutting some meat for a customer.

Hmmm, guess what animal this was?!

We enjoyed our time in Zanzibar with Todd, Teresa and Kent Silver. Here we are at the end of our spice tour - where we were amazed at what spices looked like in their natural state, we couldn't identify most of the spice plants other than vanilla bean!

At the end of our spice tour, we went to the ocean for a swim in this warm, beautifully green ocean.

One day we went out snorkeling...As you can see Peter is ready to jump in, but the rest of us were a bit more cautious since it was cold out and quite windy. But, we saw some amazing fish and coral (unfortunately the coral is being depleted at quite a fast rate).

Our major mode of transport was via a dala dala - a truck with two benches in the back. It was fun to ride with the locals and it only cost us 1,000 schillings (about 75 cents) to ride into town (vs 5,000 schillings for a taxi).

The Silvers left us to go on a safari in Tanzania, so we opted to head to the east coast of the island to a small village called Paje. We found white sand beaches where the sand was super fine - and the ocean was a beautiful jade green. The tide went out quite a ways, then came in right up to the bulkhead of our bungalows.

High tide. John and Peter are waiting for the tide to go out so they can do some beach combing. The shells on the beach are fantastic!

This guy had just caught these octopus and I think he sold them to the owner (a Japanese lady) of our bungalows since I noticed octopus on the menu for the two nights we were there.

Every day ladies were in the water gathering seaweed. Here, they're dragging big bags full of seaweed that they lay in the sun to dry.

It was a tough life having to recline on these chairs with this view, but we suffered through it!

There are so many other picture we took that I didn't include here...if you're feeling ambitious, you can see them here: http://picasaweb.google.com/miyonkautz/JulyZanzibar?authkey=Gv1sRgCMmv4e-WjYj5qQE#. (The first few photos are of the Silvers trip to a World Vision project where they got to see some of the work being done by our Zambian staff.)

Nairobi, Kenya

At the tail end of our trip, we went to Nairobi for three days to visit our friends the Simpsons (Sharon is a good friend of mine at World Vision US) and the Leists - who were just finishing up their one year stint with International Justice Mission.

With the Leist family

It's not often you're in a major city and see cattle crossing the road, walk through a gas station and keep walking.

We went to a giraffe farm where John wanted to see how long a giraffe's tongue really is - so he forced this guy to work for his pellet of food.
This was gross - but Peter put the pellet in his mouth and the giraffe licked it out! YUCK!

We had a fantastic time - and will always remember our time with friends and the new experiences we shared as a family!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fishing on the Lower Zambezi

In early July we went for a short weekend trip to visit another Zambian highlight: the lower Zambezi River where tiger fishing reigns supreme! Tiger fish have lots of sharp teeth and apparently are a good fighting fish! We wouldn't know because we didn't catch a single fish! Our boat driver said that it was too cold so the fish were deep in the water...

The most exciting moment was when Peter reeled in his line - and we found that half of his little fish bait had been chewed off...Still great time to be on the river...

Peter fishing from the front of our little boat

Our boat driver/guide took us to his lucky fishing places,
but we still got nothin!

Sophie spent her time reading - while the rest of us fished.

John was really hoping to catch the BIG one...

Since we didn't have any luck fishing, we were happy to see the elephants
coming for water on the banks of the river

Bathing beauties!

Most places along the Zambezi have crocodiles - and the place where we stayed was no exception. The managers dog got too close to the river and his rear leg was chewed by a croc but he was able to move around pretty well on his three legs!