Monday, May 31, 2010

Visit from the Headman

Mapanza is "governed" by Chief Mapanza. Every area in Zambia has a chief. The chief then appoints a "headman" over a certain area of land. There could be dozens of headmen in one chiefdom. (By the way, Zambia is a democracy--there is a president, but in the rural areas everyone knows that things are still run by a chief.)

So the way we got land was Blu went to the chief, explained what we wanted to do, and he said he would give us land. He then asked if any of his headmen were interested in having the white people come to their land and bring development. The headman where our land is volunteered, so he then went to all of his people and asked if anyone wanted to donate some of their land to this "project." The headman then appointed a "chairman" to oversee the building project, so he hires workers for us and takes care of payment. Sounds complicated, huh!

Anyway, today Blu was in Mapanza and he received a visit from the headman. We have a barbed wire fence around our 40 acres of land, but he wanted "beacons" placed at the four corners. (Rebar in a bucket of cement). Not sure why exactly, but he insisted that we do it now. He then informed Blu that he needed to pay his taxes. "What tax?" asked Blu. Apparently, the chief ordered that everyone that has land in this headman's area should pay the headman a tax of 8,000 kwacha so that he could buy a bicycle. If Blu did not pay, he would be taken before the chief and punished. So Blu willingly handed over the 8,000 kwacha ($1.58) and the headman went away a happy man :) Times like this remind us that we are NOT in America!

(Kelly Jo--to answer your question, there is no mortar in between the bricks. They are hydraform interlocking bricks so they don't need mortar. We lay the first line down with mortar and then level it as we go. Then when we get to the top of the door frames and window we pour a "ring beam.")

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Building Update

Ok, ok...while most of you (with the exception of 4 grandparents) will agree that my kids are terribly cute, you'd rather see pictures of what we're doing out at the land :) Here are some updates for you.
Caedmon enjoyed being the center of attention with the kids! (relax..the building pictures are coming!)

Playing chase

Watching the guys work on electrical poles

Cute random boys in the bush

I try...but I cannot keep my kids clean out there. Mapanza is known for its red dirt, and it just gets all over everything!

Cambree's dirt face

Baby Cason's dirt plus some chocolate face

The front of our house--up to the ring beam! (yeah...impressive that I know what a ring beam is, huh?!)

The crew working on the kids' rooms

Milton comes down from the pole while Masckel watches. This impresses me. These "bush guys" spent 5 weeks with Blu's dad and are now climbing poles and tying in conductor. Wow.

These are Blu's "Bamacembele Bangu." (literally translates "my old women.") They come every day looking for work, and Blu can't tell them no. Whether he needs something or not, he finds something for them to do :)

A view of our room and the kids' rooms with door frames in

They started plastering the workers' house today, so that when our next team comes the women can paint the inside!

Random girl in the bush fascinated with the camera

This is Blu's idea for a storage building. Maize sacks filled with dirt are the walls. This is a picture of the Zambian guys telling Blu this will never work and Blu explaining that it will. Personally, I'm gonna go with the Zambians on this one, but time (and pictures) will tell.. ;)

It was a rough trip to the bush for me, and it was for only about 24 hours!! It was dirty...I got there and it's like I was covered with dirt!! Man I have really realized that I am way more girly than I thought. I was feeling rebellious too. After a psycho rooster woke me up at 5am, and the women showed up to get water at 6am, I decided to rebel and wear shorts all day! That's right--I wore basketball shorts down to my knees! AND...I didn't brush my teeth. Ha. I showed them. ;)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fun in the capitol

Whenever we go to Lusaka, we always eat at Mike's Kitchen, an American style restaurant with a play area for kids with trampolines and a woman that watches them play. Here are the kids enjoying their special treat, Orange Fanta, and Baby Cason swiping Daddy's hamburger. Cason is a big boy--he has passed up Cambree on weight already!

Things are crazy around here! We have visitors coming next Tuesday, Caedmon's 5th Birthday Party on Wednesday, a volunteer team of 13 arriving next Sunday, and then I am cooking for 4 men on the team who are staying an extra seven days! I love the busyness though--I've made 6 main courses, 4 breakfasts, 5 desserts, and a birthday cake in the last two days, and tonight we are making the pinata!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's in a Name?

In the USA, I'm known as Darbi. Dibs, Darbs, Darbi doo, Darbi Doll, Dawbi doodle, Mama--those are all names I answer to.

In Zambia, I have one name and one name only--Meesees Bru. Nobody even realizes that I have a first name, or that my last name is Tidwell. I am just Meesees Bru. And that's fine by me.

Blu has had some interesting situations with his name. When he is not being mistaken as John Cena, he is called Meester Bru. The funniest story is when one of his workers in Mapanza came up to him and said "Bru!! I am your namesake!!" Blu asked him his name, and he responded, "Bruno!! Almost like Bru! We have the same name!" Everytime he sees Blu now he yells "Namesake!" in Tonga.

The other day in the capitol city, I called in an order for pizza that Blu was going to pick up, so I put it in his name. When he got there and they asked him who the pizza was for, he said for Blu. The man looked at him and said, "Sorry. We only have one for Bruso. Not for Blu."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Michael W. Smith Concert

My oh my...where to start...

We decided when we heard that Michael W. Smith was coming to Zambia that we were going, regardless. To experience the chance to attend an "American" worship service was just something that we needed and were going to do!

When driving up to the concert venue (an outdoor soccer stadium) was when I had my first thought of "This might be more of a "Zambian" experience than American..."

Imagine going to a large high school football playoff game (5,000 people) and there is one field for parking with no parking attendants. You park wherever, however...with no concern for how the person next to you is parked. Mass chaos.

We walk up to the stadium and there are thousands of people standing outside, with lines in the shape of figure eights all over. We get in two different lines and ask people "What is this line for?" They all respond with "We don't know." We finally figure out that VIP tickets (oh yeah--$20 each!) get to enter through a back gate, so we head that way.

Let me back up. The concert was supposed to be from 2-8, with a couple of local artists opening for Michael W. Smith. We arrived at 3, and no music was playing.

Ok so we enter the stadium and notice that all of the stands are completely packed. The VIP people are making a line that will go out onto the football field. So the VIP ticketholders get to sit in the grass on the field, while the $10 ticket holders are comfortable in the stands. The Zambians around us were NOT happy and it was funny.

So they let us onto the field after much complaining, and we are seated in the grass directly behind a white chalk line. There are ushers blocking the one usher every 2 feet to keep people back. So we sit and wait....and wait...and wait... Around 4pm, someone announces that they are almost done with soundchecks and the local artists will take the stage soon. At this, the crowd starts booing. They don't want to hear local artists. At this point, I start to get nervous. Ever heard of mob mentality?? I mean, thousands of Zambians, getting impatient, about 3 policemen (with no guns) in the stadium, and a few ushers (women) to keep people back. Kinda nerve-rattling!!

At one point, we noticed people screaming and clapping. We look over to see what the commotion was, and we see that people are cheering because an Indian man wearing traditional religious dress (Muslim or Hindu I'm not sure) was attending the concert. Bizarre..the cheering I mean..

Ok, so the emcees come out at 5:15pm and say we are almost ready to start (over 3 hours late!!) They first ask everyone to stand up and sing the Zambian National Anthem, and everyone starts yelling and booing!!! It was insane!!! The man emcee states "Actually we've been told that it is the law that we do this." So people reluctantly get up and sing. Talk about something that would NEVER happen in America!!!

After the singing of the anthem, we sit down but people have crowded our space and are practically seated on top of us. The two Zambian women beside us were SO upset. But Zambians are so funny--they won't directly confront each other but they'll indirectly talk about each other loud. It was just funny because Americans would be like "MOVE! I was there!"

At 6pm, Michael W. Smith takes the stage. It was pretty amazing. The Zambians there knew every one of his worship songs. They don't know the old school stuff, like Friends, but they know Above all Powers and all the praise and worship songs. The highlight of the concert for me was the song Draw Me Close. Whenever we would sing this song in the States, I would just long for Zambia and our close friends because this was their favorite song. So to sing it in an open field surrounded by Zambians with Mulenga singing beside me was pretty spectacular.

So all this time, we were still supposed to be behind this white line. It was working fairly well when all of a sudden, chaos breaks loose and a throng of people rush the front. Mulenga takes off and yells Come on guys!! We're American, where you stay behind a line if someone tells you to stay behind a line, so we slowly walked forward. We were pushed from behind and it was not pleasant. When the pushing was over, my 5'2 self (and nose) was right at the level of the armpits of about 6 guys around me. I gave Blu a look and we moved to the back of the field and enjoyed the rest of the concert from there. So much for VIP... :)

To see the Zambians (even an old man) jumping, dancing, singing, and praising God made the "Zambian" experience worth every second. I believe it was truly a glimpse of heaven....with better toilet facilities of course.

So all in all, the concert supposed to last from 2-8 lasted from 6pm until 7:15pm, with an additional 45 minutes to get out of the chaotic parking lot. What a day! :)

Ok, this cracked us up...This is one of the ushers wearing her shirt...her shirt which they misspelled Michael on... :)

Me and Mulenga-he had SUCH a good time!

Us :)

Our seats before the rushing of the stage

Friday, May 21, 2010


If we lived in the USA, our kids would most likely be attending public school. However, there are no options in Zambia other than homeschooling.

This past year, we started Caedmon in a K-4 (Kindergarten for 4 year olds) curriculum using Abeka. We are finishing up our year and it has gone great! Caedmon can read one vowel words, write his name, write all of his letters, knows all of his letter sounds, and can count to 100. We are already looking forward to him starting Kindergarten in August, using the literature/history based Sonlight curriculum!
Caedmon reads one of his books

Cambree stays busy coloring a princess, although this year she did learn her numbers up to 15, and she knows the sounds of all of her letters!

Conversations with Daddy

(at night, both kids in bed, Blu tucking them in)

Caedmon: But Daddy I get scared in the night. I hear a loud sound that goes BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, and I think it might be an elephant coming into the house!

Daddy: It's not an elephant Caedmon. Do you want to know what it really is? You know how when you get cold, your body gets all tense? Well, the boards on the roof get cold, and they get all tense so then they pop and go BOOM, BOOM, BOOM.

Caedmon: Oh. Or it could be an elephant.

Daddy: No, it couldn't. An elephant wouldn't fit through the door.

Cambree: Daddy. It could turn sideways.

Caedmon: Yeah, and then it would scrape its leg. Right Daddy?

Daddy: Good night.....

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


It was another mail day today for the kids! Thanks Mrs. Dinanna for the book and stickers!
Caedmon can't wait to see what's inside!

He's in the middle of saying "WOW..."

The sure way to Cambree's heart--Barney :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bye Paw!

After 6 weeks here in Zambia, we put Paw on a plane back to the USA today. :(

Friday, May 14, 2010

Arkansas (plus 2 Texans) Team

Imagine 15 Arkansans, 2 Texans, 3 Zambian interpreters, 4 Zimbabwe staffers, 4 American missionaries, 2 preschoolers, and 1 toddler spending 6 days in Mapanza, Zambia. :) Enjoy the pics!

Our big teams use an organization called ACTS based in Zimbabwe. ACTS takes care of all food, transportation, and lodging for our teams--a task we simply could not handle on our own!
The team camped out in 2 man tents for the week.

This is the ACTS vehicle, the Blue Beast. The team rode on top, and all equipment is on the bottom. It's a massive vehicle but it made it out to the bush! (It took 9 hours....)

Blu spends most of his time driving his truck all over the land, transporting riversand or bricks. Here he is so excited to actually get to work on our house!

Brian works on the second line of our house

Cason loves being dirty in the bush! His face, actually, is not dirty but is instead scraped up from taking a fall on our slab!

Emanuel lays the first line on our house!

Greg and Ryan spent most of the week building roof trusses

The kids "helping" Lala (fellow missionary Laurie who came with Wes to help out for a couple of days) cook supper

The hydraform machine puts out about 800 bricks per day

Wes gave the women a hard time for not doing "manual labor." Jill assured him she could haul bricks with the men, and she spent the next day doing just that!

The women at the meeting loved the craft where they got their pictures taken. Zambian women never want to smile, so Jill made all sorts of funny sounds to get them to smile and laugh!

10 year old Joy loved playing with our kids and the Zambian kids in the dirt

Caedmon and Cambree help fan the fire to get supper going

The ladies on the team discuss the next day's women's meeting

Lines of hydraform bricks ready to be transported to our house to build walls

Mary and Cindy working hard cleaning and scraping brick

Mary and Debbie clapping and singing during the conference

Mary working harder than her husband Bruce :)

Mike and Brian setting the interior walls

It cracked me up to see Mike and Bruce stop to chase a butterfly to take its picture! They got a great picture, I have to admit, but it was still pretty funny!

Mike and Friday building walls

Architect Mike shows the Zambians where the wall should go

An old woman at the women's conference enjoyed looking at her photo!

Paw's Crew--the 5 guys he has worked with for the last 6 weeks

Paw up on a pole

Power lines at sunset

Rob explains to Emanuel how to keep the lines level using the string as his guide

Scott finishing the roof! They got the roof completely done on the worker's house!

The slab ready to be poured on our house--this got done just hours before the team arrived! We were cutting it close!

Steve, Matt, and Brian unloading brick onto our slab

Steve, Mike, and Matt scraping and dusting bricks to get ready to put walls up

Susan singing with the women at the conference

The transformer is up!

The women gathered at the conference on the second day

The team was amazing. It is so humbling to think about the fact that 17 people from America would take 2 weeks vacation, spend almost $3000, and leave their families behind to come and help us build New Day Orphanage. We got so much work accomplished and many seeds were planted for future ministry. Our kids LOVED the team (especially the two grandpas--Bruce and Mike!) and it enabled me to be out in the bush for a week and feel like I am apart of what is happening as well. THANK YOU so much to Grace Point Church -- we'll see you on furlough in November 2011!