I've been here for a month and a half already (is that it?) and things are going quite well. A lot of my time has been spent getting settled in and sorted out. Lots of paperwork, finding my way around and getting a routine going. I have to say that the transition, although slower than anticipated, has gone quite smoothly and I am very happy in my new environment and am making new friends (although, of course, there is no replacement for all you lovely folk back home!).
Other than working out logistics, I've been making trips down to the village about three times a week. There hasn't been too much to do until the container arrives so I try to manage my fuel costs by visiting just a few times a week.
I've engaged Misheck Ngambi, a local Zambian, to help me organize things on the ground and cover for me once I'm back home. We've been cleaning up one of the Give Hope houses to use as a temporary office and have done some minor repairs. He's also organizing a crew of volunteers to prepare the ground and build the foundation for the container. And while we wait, I've started training Misheck on basic computer skills so that he can manage the inventory of stuff once it arrives. Misheck has lived in the village for about three years now, and really has a heart to give people opportunities. He also likes working with youth and is an awesomely talented singer (Zambian "American" Idol, top 30--no joke!). I'm really excited to work with him.
|Misheck (in red) with his family
We've had a few community meetings this week. One with the teachers at the Give Hope/Luyando Community School, one with the Parent-Teacher's Association and another today with the general community. I can't tell you how encouraging this was! The community leaders and I want to be as transparent as possible about what's in the container and what it will be used for. We hope that this will reduce theft, bickering and gossip. We also hope that this will help with community engagement. We had lots of good questions from people today--how they could get involved, who was responsible for what, how we would make the projects sustainable, general suggestions and support. We found tailors, bricklayers and musicians in our midst (who can teach others as we move forward). We got several volunteers signed up to help with preparations, building the foundation and security for both the school and the container. Did I mention how happy I was?
|Community meeting in Give Hope school (a good point was brought up by one of the men--where are the men? Next time.)
We will start the construction Monday and hopefully have the foundation ready in just a few days. The rain is coming here so everything needs to be done urgently. We don't have an exact day for the delivery of the container but it will be very soon. Please keep the delivery process and customs clearance in your prayers so that it all goes smoothly (we still have a few bumps that are not smoothed out).
Thanks to Give Hope for making all this possible. Please continue to pray and send me you're wonderfully supportive emails and comments--they mean a lot. If you would like to assist with financial support, please click the Donate tab at the top of the page. Also, follow this blog by signing up and get all the latest stories...
Here are a few other pictures for your enjoyment.
|Kids around Ndola. Love their cars and their poses.
|Caterpillar. Before they were fried. Yes, I ate one. Does not taste like chicken. Doesn't really taste like much...but they're pretty ugly. lol