Tuesday, March 2, 2010

First Day at Children of Zion Village

We finished our journey on Monday from Johannesburg to Zambia. Ray and Becca picked us up at the airport and drove us about 3 hours to the Children of Zion Village. Mostly it was a straight path with paved roads until we get about 3 miles from the home and it turns in to a bumpy, rather muddy drive.
We were greeted by many of our kids. They are shy but I can already tell that it will not be for long. Ray (the interim director who has been here with his wife for 6 months and is leaving when we leave in 2 weeks) gave us a tour of the facility. It is really a beautiful property. There is the big children’s home with a girl’s dorm at one end and boys at the other and a big main room and kitchen in the middle. There is a school with classrooms and divided study area because the curriculum is self study so because the kids are at different levels, they can go at their own pace. There is an east house where some of the volunteers stay, a work shop, a sand soccer field, the missionary house and a transition house that is not quite finished (and I think that I might be forgetting a thing or 2).

They no longer have horses or goats so I am not ducking out of milking goats but there are no goats to milk- honest!! They now have a cow and are looking to buy more cows because cows fit into the culture better and they are more useful. There is also a beautiful garden and we had fresh corn from it tonight for dinner. It was really tasty.

We are very thankful for Ray and Debi and the 6 months they have spent here. They have really done a great job and we know that God has blessed this ministry because of their commitment and love. We also have some new friends, David and Margret. They are from Australia and will be the house parents for the transition home for the older kids, once it is complete. Margret has taken me into town and shown me some of the very important things that I will need to know. For example, when you go to the bank, you have to wait outside the door until a light turns green. Then you go into a Q and wait until the light turns green again. Then you get the rest of the way into the bank. It is the same way coming out. I would have stood out there pulling the door thinking the place was closed if I would have not known that. We went to the post office, the telecom place where we have to buy minutes for the computer, the pharmacy and a couple of supermarkets. The town is rather small but I think it will have everything that we need.
To the left is a picture of the main square in Katima Malilo.
Travis and Ray went back into the bush to get wood posts for one of the staff. She is going to work on building a new mud hut which starts with the men pounding in the wood posts. Then the ladies do the mud bricks. The ladies get the “sawdust” from the termite hills (which are 7 and 8 feet high here) to finish the outside. This helps to “weather proof” it. Maybe I will have an opportunity to help with this. It is only the ladies that can do the mud wall, not the men. It is part of the culture that we will continue to learn for some time to come. My understanding is that they have to replace the house about every 5 years because the termites eat the wood posts.

The view of the river from our house and back yard. Beautiful, peaceful, just spectacular!!! See below!

When times get tough I think that looking out back or walking out back and looking and listening to what God has placed around us will be the calm that will keep us knowing that we are here because God has called us to give up the world that we know now and GO and Make Disciples as we go. This is with our new family here as well as with the people that we meet in the community and on the bumpy road to town. They walk 6 miles just to get to town to buy the food that they need for that day. How can we not be thankful for what we have? We are rich because we have the love of Christ in our hearts but it is not to keep in our heart, it is to share with the world and each person that we meet.
To the left is a picture of the road to Children of Zion Village durning the rainy, flood season.
The river continues to rise and currently we do not have a safe place to evacuate the kids if the need should come. Please pray for us to secure a place but also that the river would go down so that we will not need to use it.