Friday, February 15, 2013

Children of Zion Mission School Tour Dec. 2012

We were only back a week from our furlough in the states and we packed again to journey with the school children from Zion for their end of year tour.  This is the first Zion school tour.  The Zion school has really changed and continues to grow.  Now, almost half of the children attending the school are coming in from town.  Before, no children that did not live at Zion were attending.  This is a huge praise as this is a Christian school and the children pray and memorize scripture and learn and practice the character traits of Christ.  This is one way to reach more children and families for Christ and we are so thankful for God’s Blessings over this school and this place!!  The doors continue to open! 

Sooo, we start taking children and bags and food and… out of the village about 4:45am.  Since the road is bad the bus driver would not come into the village so we had a parade going back and forth with our vehicles to get everyone and everything out.  We waited and waited at the end of the road and there was no bus.  So we go to government garage to see what was up.  The driver was still in his village so someone went to get him.  The Quantum (what I was driving) had the brakes fail, so I leave it a government garage and call the repair man to come the next day to get it.  Eventually we all load and get on the road by about 9.  Just a few hours off the target of leaving:)  TIA (this is Africa!)

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Well, there was a concern.  We were supposed to have a 65 seat bus with storage under.  BUT, we got a 44 seat bus with NO underneath storage!!!  Oppppssss!!  Good thing you learn quickly in Africa that you sit very close to the person next to you where ever you go.  So, we had 3 children per seat in many cases and the luggage was everywhere!!!  It reminded me of my old school bus that I used to ride and you all know that I am old!  Well, it will be an interesting week:)  Let’s go!!!

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First stop – Papa Falls.  We really started late so we must keep going or we will not even arrive at the camp for night one.  So, we were in the bus all day into the night.  We did stop once to eat and several times to use the “bush toilet” :)  We stopped in for the night and next day in Etosha National park and it was very nice. Not like the “nice” you are probably used to but it was camping, so it was nice. There, some stayed in bungalows and some camped in tents since there was not lodging for all.  We knew that ahead of time and packed tents for the big boys:)   Below you can see lunch by the bus, camping in Etosha and devotions in the morning (every morning!). 

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Well, those of us that cook (not sure we signed up for that but it is part of serving), did not get much sleep.  Late nights, early mornings, on the go all day.  So for the first morning, we have french toast.  The children enjoyed it but by the time we were finished we really could not eat a bite!  We are not really used to cooking for 60 but after a week, I think we got it down (but will not admit that out loud!). Then, off for a game drive, yea!!  The children were up and looking, looking.  We saw many different animals so it was really great for them!!!  Giraffe, kudu, impala, zebra, elephants, ostrich, buffalo, and more!

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After lunch we headed back to the bus for a short ride to the reptile park (mostly snakes but there was a crock).  Now, we really don’t have to go to a snake park to see snakes but it was ok to see them behind glass instead of falling from trees in front of you as you walk on the road of your property. 

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Well, maybe we can get a bit more sleep tonight since we had a day of minimal travel and are lodging at the same place!  Next morning, up early, breakfast, devotions and back on the bus. 

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We filled up the tank a lot and stopped to shop for food a lot and stopped in the bush especially after one night of drinking water that did not agree with many! 

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Bound for Swakopmund – the Coast!!!   The lunch stop was great.  We bought cooked corn from a local guy and bought meat pies from the grocery store and mixed up a powered sports drink with fresh water!  Big hit. 

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Something that was amazing to me as we drove into Swakopmund (which is a big place compared to Katima. The children sitting behind us in the bus said “look!!! there are red and yellow and green lights!!!” Well, there are NO traffic lights in Katima so if you have never left, you would never see a traffic light.

We stayed in a youth hostel.  Well, it was not as nice as the camping site but it was a place to lay our heads.  In every place that we stayed we did not have hot (or even warm) water but this place had the coldest water!! VERY COLD!!!!

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A nice thing about this place was that they would cook for us!  YEAH for a break from the kitchen.  The first night we arrived a bit late but we had beef and rice and carrots.  It was good.  Later, when we were packing things in the freezer and fridge, we found a head and feet of a cow.  So, I guess the beef was fresh :) ALWAYS PRAY!!!  Bless the food, whatever it might be. 

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Next day, off to Sand Dune #7 – the highest in the world!!!  YAHOOO…  Let’s hike.  The children doubted if us old people could make it but we DID!!  AWESOME and BEAUTIFUL!!! 

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Mostly, I think it was fun going down.  Some rolled, some slid, some walked.  No matter how, we were covered with sand!  Going up was like walking up a down escalator (1 step up and 2 back as the sand slid down) and going down was like walking down a down escalator. 

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After climbing, we went to lunch by the ocean and then the Aquarium.  After the Aquarium, walking the beach and jumping the waves.  Wet!!! ???  Yes!!!!


Now, there was a bit of “down time” for the adults and play time for the children this evening:)  Tomorrow we go to Walvis Bay Harbor which is one of the busiest in Africa South of the equator.  It is the entry and exit port of a major transport and trade corridor for Southern and Central Africa.  We had an outside tour but the inside was closed for us that day. 


Next, Cape Cross Seal Reserve (Seals – thousands of Seals!!!), the coast with thousands of flamingos and the salt mines!!!  YEP, it looks like snow but it is salt!! 

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Tomorrow, early departure to start our return trip.  Back across the beautiful desert with sand, sand everywhere.  Taking along many memories.


On the way back we had more opportunities for game drives and the beauty of the earth! 

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We stayed at Okatjikona Educational Center where we camped and hiked up into the red rocks where we could see for a long distance.  The older ones helped the younger ones to make the journey to the end. 

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We also spent some unplanned time at the Government Garage because our bus was not working the way it needed to in order to get us back to Katima.  Well, might as well make the best of it and have some fun!

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Another stop was at the meteorite.  Love the sign!!

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Back on the road and homeward bound.  Sometimes it amazes me how children can sleep anywhere and in any position. 

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We were all very thankful for this opportunity… Opportunity for learning and for growing together and to worship Christ together as a big family.  God was good to keep us safe and healthy.  His world is awesome and it is awesome that these children had opportunities that they might not otherwise have.  One comment hit it home:  “WOW, look at the lights that turn red and yellow and green”.  It Katima we do not have any traffic lights so some have not seem a traffic light before.  We see the river every day but some have never seen the ocean.  Just a couple examples of how God ministered to the children and to us.