Greetings and love from Katima Mulilo, Africa!!
We have had a busy few days here and it has been very hot (90-100 degrees with a cool 80 in the house at night) and dusty/sandy. At the end of the day, I have a scalp of sand because of the way it blows everywhere. Sometimes I think I have a tan where by sandal straps come but, no, it is dirt!
Let me also tell you that the spiders here are really BIG! One was under my towel this morning. Guess he was keeping warm since it went down to 80 degrees.
We have been many places in town and continue to learn the processes and meet people/make connections and build relationships. We have paid the taxes (both income taxes and SS taxes). We must do this each month and you must pay in cash and with the exact change. Only one person at the window can take the money so if he is not there, you must come back or wait.
We have been to the hospital to pick up the children's meds. People are lined everywhere. In Africa you move from line to line (and sometimes back again) and it is called a que.
We have been to the grocery store. Yep, there are a couple of things that we miss but are not craving (yet). We also went to the market. We went to the phone store to buy time and we went to the telecom store to try to get a new modem but we have not yet been able to connect to the right person. We will try again tomorrow. Once we get the modem we will hopefully have better communication back to the states and will maybe even be able to send some pictures. Right now that is not an option as the connection is really slow and it costs us per minute to be on line. We do have some great pictures so I can't wait to ask Stacey to post them on the photo gallery so you can enjoy them as well. Lots of cute children!!!
We have been to the vocational school where some of the children are attending and learning a particular vocation.
We spent a couple of days taking the village elders to a rather faraway place to attend a meeting. The first time we left about 8am and were back about 1pm. Today we left at 6am and got back at 1:50pm. We were at the Mafwe Royal Establishment where they have like a court trial. Today we waited all morning while they had a meeting to be invited in. Once you are invited in you must be in the proper dress: Men in long pants and shirt, women in the traditional shatangi (skirt) and blouse and head cover. Prior to entry to the building you kneel and clap. Then they clap back and you enter. The clapping show respect and you do this when you meet someone. There is a particular hand shake then you clap twice. We then entered and sat on a bench. We did not understand the language so I cannot tell you everything that was going on. The first man that was on trial was there because he wanted a cattle catch on his property. That took about 30 min total. When it is your turn the representative goes to the middle of the floor and sits with his legs straight out in front. He first kneels and claps. There is lots of talking and clapping. We spent all of this time there to find out that the person/persons involved were not there because the letter for the meeting date just went out yesterday so they did not know to show. Well that does mean that they will have to go back, and we are the transportation (which is really the only reason we were there). On the way out we all had to kneel and clap then it was repeated outside.
While there and waiting I was trying to figure out how to use my time. You know in the states we would be feeling like we were wasting so much time. So, at first we Americans were sitting in the van and the rest were sitting outside on the ground. The men were in one place and the ladies in another. So, I went to sit with the ladies. I quickly found out they did not speak English and I did not speak Lozi. So, I just sat there. Then I saw all these small twigs around on the ground in the sand. So, I started making crosses. At first I could not find the right kind of stick to rap around the cross to hold it together because it kept breaking. I almost gave up but then I thought, what else are you going to do? Just stick with it. So, then I determined how to make it work. After I finished 2 I gave them to the ladies next to me. We ended up sticking 4 in the sand before we left. Might be a unique way to witness but it was all I could do at the time. Hopefully in some way it started the building of a relationship that will grow in love and partnership.
We have not spent as much time as we would like with the children but we have to take advantage of Dave while he is here to show us around and introduce us to important contacts. We will hopefully have more time with the children this weekend. I do know that we are taking the girls to a soccer match Saturday afternoon and we have the church service on Sunday morning.
Love and prayers to you back in the states!!! We are so blessed with your love, support, prayers and encouragement. Our prayers are with you!