Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fair trade

Yesterday, the kids and I joined Blu in Mapanza for a day of construction. Blu loves us being out there. Call me high maintenance, but I must admit that I prefer walls, fans, and indoor plumbing :) It was a good day though! Several women showed up so I got to meet and talk with them. We are having a women's conference with a team from Arkansas in May, so we got to make plans for that and give the women a job clearing some land for us to sit on. I noticed that one of the women, Cecilia, had on a pretty chitengi. I also was using one to tie Cason to my back, so I asked her if she wanted to trade. The women all burst into laughter and she quickly exchanged chitengis with me :) She was concerned about it being dirty, but I have to admit that when I got home, I took a big whiff of the smell in. Here's my confession: I love the smell of African women. A mixture of smoke from firewood, sweat, and just good ole' African dirt. *sigh* A great smell. Of course, I did wash the chitengi. Why? Because my husband doesn't necessarily love the smell of African women. ;)

The slab is ready to be poured!

We drove home into a rainstorm--it was beautiful!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Today's Top Ten

Things my kids know that they wouldn't know if they lived in America...

1) The inner workings of electricity and power outages
2) The difference between river sand and pit sand
3) How to pump water from a borehole
4) How to tie baby dolls on their backs to carry them around
5) How to look for snakes with every step they take
6) How to greet people in an African language
7) How to treasure a package of fruit snacks from America
8) How fun it is to check the mail and get letters (thanks BB&Joanna, Mrs. Telly, Mrs. Dianna and Mrs. Ann!!!!)
9) How fun it is to sleep under a mosquito net every night
10) How to expertly poop or pee in the grass anywhere in the bush


Our kids love checking the mail, and they love getting mail!! This past week was a great week for them, as they got letters from BB & Joanna, Mrs. Telly, Mrs. Dianna, and Mrs. Ann!! Here they are holding up their Easter cards from Mrs. Dianna and Mrs. Ann. :)

Last of Camp Choma

Well, after 2 weeks with my sister and her family, they are gone! It was a great time. The kids played well together and there wasn't much fighting, especially for spending that long together!
Uncle Blu's pancakes on the last morning of Camp Choma!

We ended Camp Choma with a trip to the "Choma Country Club." Here, the kids enjoyed a trampoline, swings, seesaw, monkey bars, and a delicious meal!

And of course, we had to get some more cousins pics Sunday morning before church!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


A couple of things about the ladies meeting today!

1) Dawni and I tried to sing a song for the ladies and we failed miserably! We tried to sing a family favorite, Lord of All, and we both got the giggles, and then Blu came in to take a picture of us and we just burst out laughing! Dad would be so ashamed!! We tried another one and did better :)

2) When the women arrived, they sang a song and told me to please go change into my purple shirt. LOL

3) I loved how they constantly referred to Dawni as "my elder sister." :)

A Welcome Party


Last Sunday at church, the women told me they would like to come to my house to visit me and welcome me to Choma. We agreed on a meeting time of Saturday at 10am. I made two loaves of cinnamon bread and a big jug of koolaid and waited for my visitors! At 10:15am they call to let us know they are at the gate, and as I go to open the door I can hear LOTS of women. Sixteen in all!! So they come into our living room, which I had cleaned meticulously and had fresh flowers in a coffee cup on the table. We pull in every chair in the house and they all sit and look at me. I ask them if it's ok if I bring the snacks and they quickly tell me to sit down. :)

So they had this whole program planned out. First, we sang two praise choruses and then prayed. Then, two women stood up and gave short devotionals. Then they sang again and told me I could serve them now. We sang while we ate, and then we all had choir practice. It ended with me saying a few words to them and then they wanted Blu to come in and talk to them. (This was all in Tonga). Blu accidentally said something about his "wives" but he quickly corrected it to "wife." The women still caught it and thought it was hilarious :)

I love these women!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

More Camp Choma

ABC Thursday found the kids a little bit tired of Camp Choma :) But they hung in there and had a good time! Seven year old Isabel was the teacher and the kids enjoyed singing abc songs, reading books, and putting together puzzles.

The best part of the day was when Blu came home from the bush and Dawni and I hightailed it outta there for 2 hours of retail therapy in the big city of Choma. :)

Fun Friday concluded our week of Camp Choma. We baked a cake that I am a bit embarrassed to put on my blog, as most of you know that I am an avid cake decorator! However, this project was very last-minute, and the icing recipe kinda fell apart on it, so it is what it is.. :) Behold, the Zambia Cake!!

It shows the country of Zambia, along with a piece of candy showing where Isoka is and one showing where Choma is, and then a cut up fruit-rollup showing the road that goes between the cousins house. It tasted better than it looked. Trust me.

After 2 more hours of retail therapy in the Choma Market for Dawni and I, we gathered up all seven kids and headed to D.L. Lodge, the only lodge in town with a swimming pool. True, the water was green and probably had never seen any chemicals, but the kids had a blast and it was a great end to a fun week together!

Our other two kids were always a bit apprehensive of water, but not Cason!! He was fearless and wanted to be put down. He laughed and screamed with joy the entire time!

Dawni and sweet AJ

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Progress in Mapanza

Blu has been camping out at Mapanza all week (he couldn't handle Camp Choma!) so we got to see all the progress they are making on the orphanage land.

I have to be honest and say my favorite part to see was the paved road going from Choma to Mapanza!! The Chinese government is working on the road and they are actually making progress!! Tractors and surveyors were out there, and most of the road had been grated. It makes me think it's actually going to happen, and probably pretty quickly!

The biggest thing they are doing on the land is clearing land where the electrical poles will go. It looks great! Blu has bought the poles but is having trouble getting them out of the bush where they were cut due to rains. Hopefully we can get that done this weekend and then get creosote on them and get them in the ground!

Another thing they have done is make a 12 foot wide road going to the land from the main road. This is for the sole purpose of getting our 40 foot container to the land when it gets here next month!

Building concrete blocks for the workers' house

Crushed stones ready for foundations

Footings are done!

One of the septics

Our family on the land where our house will be!

Camp Choma

My sister knows from experience that seven kids + two adults + seven days = total chaos unless we have some kind of plan underway! So this week at our house, we are having CAMP CHOMA!

We began with "Measurement Monday."

We read a couple of counting books, and the kids got to make their own mud pies using their measurements outside. They were very creative, using rocks as eggs for their masterpieces!

We then made real cookies inside and watched an episode of Special Agent Oso where they measured ingredients to make pancakes.

Then we had "Nature Tuesday." We played games outside where the kids brought us different items from nature. They had a nature picnic outside, and we even took a nature walk to get ice cream cones!

Isabel enjoyed writing in her nature journal about our cat.

We continued with "Water Wednesday." This was a busy day! We watched Finding Nemo, and then got swimsuits on and played in the water outside.

We enjoyed goldfish snacks and Finding Nemo fruit snacks (thanks to Mama Dee for treats from the States!) We then took a field trip out to Mapanza, to the land where the orphanage will be built.

We walked down to see the river, and the kids loved pumping water from our borehole.

We ended the day with the movie Nim's Island.

So far, Camp Choma is more like Choma Zoo, but the kids are having a blast!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Family Fun!

We spent the last week in Isoka, Zambia!! It was a LONG drive...15 hours!! We split it up staying at a nice inn halfway, but still a long ways from home!! Northern Zambia had gorgeous mountains (and huge potholes in the roads!) We enjoyed getting to visit with our sweet nieces and nephews and experience Blake and Dawni's amazing gourmet food! Now, they are back at our house for a week, so it's more family fun! :) I have taken TONS of pictures, so here's just a few.
We have enjoyed working out together!

The seven grandkids from oldest to youngest :)

All smiling!

Dawni gave me a pedicure, and she made me this gorgeous skirt!

Isaac and Caedmon

Caedmon helped gather eggs from their 33 chickens!

Cason and AJ