Sunday, February 24, 2008

Questions Answered..

Wow! I guess I'm surprised by all the interest, support, and questions about the Zambian Orphanage! I shouldn't be, but I am! So let me answer some of your questions as best I can at this point!

We plan to call it the New Day Orphanage, from Isaiah 43:19: "Behold, I will do something NEW, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert."

We plan to be in the Southern Province of Zambia, because we feel strongly that God has called us to the Tonga people group. We especially like a location out in the bush called Mapanza, but we'll see where God leads us. The plan is to move there and first secure a tract of land. Sounds easier than it is! We can go through a chief, but there's the possibility that when he dies and a new man becomes chief, he can take our land. We can go through the government and buy the land, but that can offend the chief, so it will be tricky!

We plan to build all of our facilities. A dormitory, a cafeteria/auditorium/church, housing for Zambian staff, lodge-type housing for volunteers, and housing for us with a large attached guest room.

Things you can start collecting: We are projecting the orphanage being up and running (as far as school) in January of 2011. That is so far away it makes me sad! I hope we can do it sooner, but I know how time/building projects run in Zambia. It took 3 months to build our small hut! But there are still things you can start collecting! Crayons, glue, scissors, construction paper, toothbrushes, old books your kids don't read anymore... *Idea* You could just ziploc up some of your kids crayons and explain to them that they are for some orphans in Zambia...if 25 people did that, each orphan would have his own "set" of crayons...which you don't realize how SPECIAL that is..(I've got a great crayon blog that will soon follow..I promise!!!)

And, finally, I have no updates on Baby Lily, but I will try to find something out this week. Thanks for praying!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Zambia Orphanage Update

I know some of my blog friends have been wondering where we are in plans for the Zambian Orphanage! Things are still moving along, but very slowly. We have contacted a lawyer who will set us up as a non-profit organization and file all the paperwork we need so that people can give us tax-exempt donations. This process can take up to 6 months, so we realized that we really needed to get started on it! Once we are set up as a non-profit, we will set up a website and our plans will move along rather quickly.

On a personal level, many of you know I am the queen of lists. I already have very detailed lists of what we are selling, what we are crating, donations of things for the orphanage, things we are buying, homeschool curriculum for my kids (who are currently 2 and 1.. :) So I am busy working on it, but it's all still a ways away--tentative moving date to Zambia is still January 2009!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Prayer Request

Yesterday, our neighbor came over and asked us to pray for a little girl they know. Lily is 15 months old, and while staying at a babysitter last week, she choked on some macaroni and cheese. They cleared her airway and began CPR, but there was some macaroni aspirated into her lungs, and she was without oxygen for some time. The doctors are saying there is brain damage but they are unsure as to the extent. We don't know much about the situation, but we do know that our God is a God of miracles, and He can heal this baby girl completely if it is His will! Please pray for the Johnson family, for baby Lily, and for the babysitter as well!


Monday, February 18, 2008


So I was tagged by my blog friend Charity (2 weeks ago--oops!) to list 5 weird things about me. I could list way more than that, but here's my 5.

1) I am completely obsessed with calendars and the passage of time. I have calendars all over my house, and I can't wait until the last evening of the month, when I change them all. Sometimes I try to make it to the actual 1st of the month before changing them, but I can't. I have a wooden day calendar in my kitchen, and the first thing I do each morning is change it. When we go on vacation, the last thing I do before I leave is change my wooden calendar to the day we get back, so that when I get home I will see it on the right day. I also have calendars in my head. I can tell you what day March 27 of this year is on, etc. (Yes, I am VERY OCD)

2) I work in our garage doing construction with Blu (we build theater doors and windows for high schools in Texas), and I am a pro at operating a planer, miter saw, and radial arm saw. I know that's just weird!

3) I hate brushing my teeth. It's the worst part of the morning. It's just so time-consuming and such a pain overall! Whenever I finish each morning (and YES I do it every morning), I smile at myself in the mirror with relief that I made it another day...

4) I'm deathly afraid of hippos. See previous post. Is that weird?

5) I've been told this is weird, though I find it quite normal and it keeps me sane. Every week, I take a different cookbook and plan out the week in meals. I then go to the store once a week to buy what I need for that week's meals. I rarely cook the same thing twice--my husband never knows what we'll be eating. I LOVE crock pot meals, because I really hate to cook! But yeah, the planning out of the meals by the week, people think I'm crazy for that!

Ok, not sure who's been tagged and who hasn't, but I tag Rachel, CeCe, and Tama (since she hasn't blogged in forever!) So come on girls, let's hear your 5 weird things!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Have I mentioned that I am deathly afraid of hippos?? I mean, terrified. The thought of being anywhere near water in Zambia terrifies me because of hippos. We were on a safari once that was a 1/2 day river safari and 1/2 day land safari. The land part was awesome...we saw lions and elephants WAY up close, and even had a mom elephant stomp at us and get ready to charge because we got close to her baby! Too fun! The river, however...

For those of you who don't know, hippos can travel 40 mph underwater. We are on the river in a tiny little boat (holds about 15 people) and we see tons of hippos in the distance.

Here's a picture of one of the boats. (That's my sis and bro-in-law on the left!

Our river guide thinks it will be fun to get close to the hippos. This one hippo kept looking at us (I'm serious!!!), and then it started making hippo noises at us. (dogs bark, cats meow..I have no idea what hippos do, but it was doing it!) Suddenly, it went underwater, and reemerged a moment later closer to us. It was swimming towards us underwater! It kept getting closer and we all start to say "Shouldn't we leave??" Our river guide tries to start the boat, but we were STUCK. The engine would not start!! The hippo kept disappearing, and I was sure the next thing we would feel would be the overturning of the boat as the hippo flipped us and tore our flesh apart! It was AWFUL! I couldn't get off that boat fast enough!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Joy of Being Fat

Many of you who have been to Africa know that to Africans, Americans are very fat people. And that's ok! They view being "fat" as being healthy--you obviously have plenty to eat and are well taken care of! I met so many thin girls with sculpted muscles who wanted so badly to be fat!

One lady in particular, Celia, LOVED to point out to me EACH AND EVERY time she saw me how fat I was getting. It would never fail...I would walk into the village and she would put her hands as far apart as they could go and exclaim "Oh Darbi! You are getting so fat!! Your hips are this big!" She, of course, thought she was giving me the biggest compliment, but I quickly began to dread visiting this church and hearing about how fat I was getting!!

Celia and her husband, Pastor Robinson

Another "fat" story--soon after moving to Zambia, I hired a woman to make me a chitengi dress (fancy African dress for special occasions). They are very form fitting and the women look beautiful in them! When my dress was finished, I was shocked to see a HUGE elastic waistband with a long drawstring. They are meant to be tight and zip up, but mine had weird elastic and was all bunchy around my hips. I must have looked confused, because the seamstress smiled real big and exclaimed "We made it so that you can wear it when you get fat!!" Gee, thanks...

Monday, February 4, 2008


I have always told myself that I want to live my life with no regrets, but sometimes that's not possible. I have many regrets about our time in Zambia, but one in particular stands out in my mind.

We had just moved to the "bush" and of course we were the talk of the town. We couldn't communicate very well yet, and people would walk by, stop, and just stare and talk among themselves. It was a very odd feeling that I hated!! I used to mumble to Blu, "I wish they would just stop staring at me!!"

One day, a few ladies walked across our "property" with huge baskets on their head. They greeted me and we exchanged the small talk that I knew in the language. Then, they told me that they were going to the river for the day to fish! They invited me along. In a moment of panic, I told them no. Thoughts ran through my head--what if they just laugh at me all day? What if a Zambian man gets me? What if they don't bring me back here and I get lost? What if there are hippos in the river? (I seriously thought this..I am TERRIFIED of hippos!)

So, the ladies kept walking, and I remained in my kitchen hut, sitting alone, wondering what purpose God had in bringing me to the bush. My "purpose" had just walked by. If I could do it all over again, I hope and pray that I would have invited myself along before they could even ask. I would jump up, grab a bottle of water and my chitengi (long skirt wrap) and yell at Blu to come look for me if I wasn't back by dark.

Maybe one day God will give me another chance.. :)