Saturday, February 27, 2010


One of my co-workers lost her mother this past week and I went with the staff to the funeral service. Her mother had been ill for quite some time - in and out of the hospital, and my workmate was the one who had been doing most of the caretaking. Two weeks prior to her mother's death, her brother unexpectedly passed away and she had to travel to another part of the country for his within two weeks, she lost both her brother and her mother.

We waited about an hour and a half for the service to start (sitting in the car in the parking lot). I was told that the queue could be quite long to pick up bodies from the morgue, then because the family was doing the work themselves, they had to prepare the body...

As we were waiting there were many mini buses (taxis) dropping people off on an ongoing basis. Cars and trucks with 20 more more people sitting in the back also dropped people off.

I thought they were all there for the mother's service, but then a truck drove up with people crying loudly. The last man to get out of the truck was carrying a small white coffin, that was only about 2 feet long, an infant. Once they arrived, people went to view the body, then they picked up the coffin and went to the burial site.

At about the same time, the family arrived with the mother's coffin. Many people were crying - and some of them fell to the ground (one guy even fell into a mud puddle). We didn't go in to view the body, it seemed like an intimate occasion reserved for family...but just as we were leaving another truckload of people arrived, this time it was another infant coffin that was being carried in.

Within 20 minutes three coffins had arrived, two infants and one old lady - with more people coming in with coffins as we were leaving.

Death. It's happens every day. But since we've been in Zambia, it seems like we see it more. Maybe because the main cemetery is on the road to the kids' school or maybe because there's just more death. Truckloads of people sitting in the back of a truck along with a casket and funeral service cars (for those with more money!) are every day sightings. It's not uncommon to hear from a staff person about the death of a relative.

And, I can only imagine what it must have been like at the height of the AIDS crisis. Death and funerals would have been every day occurrences and often, there would be multiple funerals to attend in a day.

The Zambian people are strong. Life and death are intertwined. It's still painful and heart wrenching.

Peter's Birthday Party

Peter had some of his classmates over for a party and sleepover. Sophie and her two friends, Ava and Tino, helped organize the games - they had a great time!

The great thing about an international school is, of course, the international flavor! The kids are from all over the world, they all have different accents, these kids are incredibly polite (!) and, the universal trait of boys - they love to play!!

Peter's friends include, from left: Rueben - Zambian, Jamie - South African, Johannes - half Norwegian, half Zimbabwean; Jurgen - South African; Kaisei - Japanese.

The classic: Musical Chairs!

Pool Games

Sophie helping Jurgen and Peter with a clue for Scavenger Hunt!
As an aside, Peter is now the class president and Jurgen is his vice-president!

Everyone's a winner!!