Monday, March 12, 2018

7 Sleeps...

Yesterday was our last Sunday Service in the bush. Not forever, Lord Willing, but for a long while. 
The people were so sweet, and at the end of service called us to the front and each group sent a representative to express their hearts, and honor us. Big Tree, Chikoka, the Youth, Mapungu Village - where they had to walk over 6 HOURS to attend, Muliliwa Village - they walked over 2 hours! Plus several men from other churches who have been attending Dan’s Men’s Bible Study on Tuesday’s for more than the last year. 

We were admonished to tell all of our stateside friends and family that we are Zambian now, and Must Please Come Back! 

We were told of their heartfelt gratitude as through the teachings their ears, which were once closed, are now open and their hearts have received the Gospel. Such sweet and hopeful testimonies from people who in this life, by my American standard, have so very little. 
They gave us gifts. 

Hand carved and decorated Cooking spoons, a hand carved mortar and pestle, bowls, 15 lbs of cracked corn and a huge bag of peanuts. 

A Goat. 
Savannah named him. He is safe forever now! 
3 Chickens. 

2 pigeons. 

Sounds like a new song: the “12 days Of Zambia”! We were so humbled. 

And it was a little crazy too! We cannot possible eat all they gave us in one week! We certainly cannot bring most of it home with us. 
The money, shown in the picture is worth $1.15.  For them, that would pay to grind over 80 pounds of corn at the hammer mill, enough to feed their family for a few weeks! What a sacrifice! Especially knowing most don’t have any income coming in for a few months- Wow! what generosity! 

And as I woke this morning, the Lord spoke to my heart as only He does. 
While I was tempted to think, “they shouldn’t give us these things, we have enough! If they only knew....!” I kept thinking They Need this all so much more!! 

But... Jesus says “give and it shall be given”. They gave... as we taught them to give! 
I don’t want to sound callous or ungrateful- simply make the point. 

I don’t need cooking spoons! Or $1.15. I certainly don’t need a goat! These sweet, generous people truly sacrificed of what so very little they have, to honor us and show us their love for us. While it has little physical value, the spiritual and emotional and eternal value is huge! 

They GET IT! What more could we hope than to see a physical demonstration of doing what they’ve been taught to do!!? 

And how does God see my giving? Is it like this at all? My little life and the things I think are so valuable, and he says “Give” knowing it is a sacrifice to me. Knowing He doesn’t need it! Knowing I Need to Give! 

He sees my heart. Is it pure in my sacrifice? Is it even a sacrifice!?? I'm tempted to look at all the things I've given UP, but truly, what have I given? 
Im praying we finish this term well. I'm looking forward to being home and seeing my children. Enjoying some American treats and comforts. 

But there will be a difference in my mind. Im wondering if my heart will never fully be At Home while home. I've read so many Cross Culture blogs and books. Ex-Pats telling of their stories how they don't feel like they truly belong to their passport country, and I've thought, "That will never be me!" While I don't know for sure yet, but I'm feeling like I need to mentally and emotional prepare myself that maybe this time... it will be me.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Every Other Year Blogger...

Hesitation to even write this today washed over me as I looked at the page, and didn't like what looked back.

I want to change the back ground.

That signature still?? What?!

But blogging is like exercise. Forget that you haven't done it in weeks... Months.


But TODAY is a new day. START (again!) TODAY!

And today of all days is a crazy place to start because seriously. I am transitioning back to the states in 13 days. It wouldn't be absurd to have the countdown in hours at this point, its THAT CLOSE!

But today is the day to start. Again.

This is the FIRST  MOVE in our entire married life that didn't involve packing up everything we own, and deciding what comes with us directly to whatever temporary place we will live, what goes into storage somewhere; a barn, a rental space, my moms garage. And what just gets pitched.


We were married in October, 1989.

Our first home was in the city of Rochester, and Dan moved in the month of our wedding, and I moved in after. Good Christian girl.

We sold that house in October, 1999. Exactly 10 years later. We lost our shirts on that sale. Housing in the City of Rochester consistently plummeted after we bought in 1989, and reached bottom in... yes... 1999.

So with over $14,000 debt, we moved into my parents basement.

One bedroom, not-even-a-kitchen, basement apartment.

Four Children. Ages 7, 5, 3, and 1. INSANE.

And a lot of our stuff went to a barn in Hilton. and a lot went to the garage. And even more went to the trash.

After 16 months, which was supposed to be 6 months, and felt like 12 years, we moved into (what we would think) was our "Forever Fixer-Upper Dream Home".

Dream Street!
Dream Layout!
Dream Town!
Dream Potential!

And IT WAS!!

Until it wasn't.

Enter a one time missions trip. Enter God. Enter Original Dreams emptied out into boxes and dumpsters and storage units, and New Dreams being planted as tiny seeds in *slightly unready* soil.

The bulk of this blog til this point has been the "fill in the gap" until 2013. But to the original point of this post, if there was a point...

We sold the Dream House. With now 5 children. Ages 14, 12, 10, 8 and 3.

From June 2006 until June 2007 we moved FIVE TIMES.

1. Farmhouse in Hilton to live with dear friends.
2. Basement apartment to live under dear friends.
3. City house renting from a former boss, that we nearly burned down. Another story for another day.
4. Back to the farmhouse, but setup in our pop-up camper.
5. Into a rental back in our Dream Town. Just a few miles away from Dream House.

Needless to say, all our "stuff" was never with us during this time! Our kids box of "MUST HAVE'S" was whittled from a large toter, to a medium packing box, to a shoe box. And not one of those Big-
Man's Workboot Boxes". A Child's Shoe box.

So many Traveling Pictures! 

After Christmas, 2010, we came to the conclusion that renting a house for nearly $1,000/month that
we were barely living in because of deputation, really made no sense. So... January 2011, in one of the Coldest Times I Can Remember, we once again divvied up everything into "Keep-Store-Pitch" and moved out of that house.

Offices in Unusual Places

We traveled quite extensively for deputation and lived in a camper part time, and when we weren't traveling, we went back to my parents basement apartment.
The Boys Part of the Living room

Again with four kids. Ages 15, 13, 11, and 6.

Our oldest lived on campus in College. She hasn't lived with us since she was 17. Even typing that brings tears to my eyes, because THAT certainly wasn't on my list of dreams.

From there, we transitioned back and forth from camper to the apartment, camper to the apartment. Until Finally, in March, 2013, we moved to Zambia!
NYC 10 Year Anniversary of 9/11

The Apartment during the Pitch/Pack/Purge 
When we first arrived in Zambia, we lived in a two bedroom cottage on the property of our missionary partners. We lived there for 2 months, with three children. Ages 17, 15 and 10. So much stuff in trunks with us, and most everything else in a shipping container traveling over the Ocean Blue. 
We then got our own place to rent in Zambia, and lived there for 19 months. We then came stateside for our daughters wedding, and packed up that entire house, knowing we DIDNT want to continue renting from that Landlord. Again... another post. Someday. Maybe!

All our goods were once again divvied. Take to US-Storage Unit-Pitch/Giveaway.

While in the states for the wedding, we first lived with our three oldest children who THANKFULLY had a wonderful house that was loaned to them by an Extremely Generous Family. We were there from January until July, 2015.

We had originally planned to return to Zambia in July, because the wedding was in April. But our next two children made plans for their weddings as well!!

So... Back to the hunt for a place to Live, and a precious girl LITERALLY moved out of her house and went back to live with her parents, and let us live in her home until October, 2015. What A GIFT!!

We returned to Zambia in October, 2015, and lived in another missionaries home until mid-December, 2015.

In December, the house that our missionary partners were leaving, (remember the cottage we lived in before? YEs, THAT place!)  and we moved into that place... but the MAIN house this time!


Here I am... 13 days from Leaving on a Jetplane to go stateside, and I am marveling that this is the FIRST TIME I will travel, and have all my "Stuff" still in one place, with plans to return to it! I have a strange sense of surreal about it all. Not having to pitch, parcel, pack, and plan every little detail is leaving me a tad bit perplexed.

Did anyone count all those moves? I lost track somewhere around the 5-times-in-one-year part.

Alas, we are sort of in the precipice of another.

After typing all of this, there are s many emotions tied to each of these memories. Some of them are still kind of raw and a bit tender. Truly Following God is an adventure, and I would highly Recommend EVERYONE do it! But that doesn't mean it is easy. And it certainly isn't without challenges, pain and some really difficult times. But It is all Worth it!

And Maybe I can blog the next stage of this journey of my life!
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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"Rosey Day Fund"

Would you like to be a part? If you would like to sponsor one kit for $30, or any other amount to help grow the fund, you can do so by clicking this PayPal link! 100% goes to purchasing and distributing the kits! 

Go ahead. Google it. Bing away. DuckDuckGo. Whatever way you choose to search the internet, you will find articles.

“Articles? On What?”

Well, Thank you for asking!!

I am talking about the delicate subject of that monthly occurrence every girl experiences, and how difficult it is for those living in abject poverty deal with it. It is gritty, and an absolute shame the measures these young girls resort to because of lack of money, lack of education, and plenty of bad advice from similarly desperate girls.

They daily live with the worry of, “Will I start today?” Because nutrition is so bad, oftentimes their period is anything but regular. Alas, it does come and all too often she isn’t prepared for it. Not because she is negligent, or isn’t thinking of it! It’s because when there is a choice to buy food or pads, often the former wins out.

So, what is a girl to do?

She can stay homebound for those days.

She can just quit school. Many know girls who have done just that. Or... are that girl.

Girls in these poverty and below-poverty level countries still manage their monthly flow the way it was done in Biblical days. Folded up pieces of cloth. Crude. Unreliable. Un-secure. Insufficient. Embarrassing.

The other solution? Have something to be prepared for “that time”.

But that costs money.

Money she doesn’t have.

She needs money.

Some will do what girls have done for centuries. That age old profession that, sadly, is still one of the most guaranteed ways to generate income. The horrible truth is, especially in these cultures, the meager benefit of trading their bodies for money often comes with huge consequences.



If only it stopped there.

They are at risk of HIV/Aids and any other sexually transmitted disease. Over 50% of this current generation has HIV/Aids, and the numbers aren’t shrinking. Their entire lives are now compromised because of desperation to properly manage those 5 days per month.

The least of the “sad” consequences is a pregnancy, but that brings with it a whole other host of difficulties to deal with! She can barely take care of herself, how will she manage a baby now? Girls as young as 14 become mothers. Most of them will never attend school again.

Hiv/Aids is on the rise again with this younger generation.

Pregnancy in young, barely teenage girls is commonplace.

The practice of witch doctors and other traditional beliefs are continuing to thrive.

How can this be the 21st century and things like this are still common problems with elusive solutions for MILLIONS OF GIRLS??

Well… here is one solution, and YOU CAN HELP!!!

When I was a girl, me and my friends had a code phrase for “that time".

"Want to go swimming?
"We’re going to the beach, want to come?”
"Hey! Lets go shopping for new clothes!”
Or the DREADED Swimming Class for PhysEd. ugh!!

We would say, “Aunt Rosey is visiting,” and a chorus of sympathetic “oohs!!” and nodding heads would be the response. All further questions would not be necessary! That is what prompted me to name this project “The Rosey Day Fund”.

The “Rosey Day Fund” raises money to purchase silicone menstruation cups and reusable cloth pads.

Each $30.00 kit will include:
1: silicone menstrual cup with carry bag
5: washable, reuseable, cotton pads
1: privacy drying bag
1: waterproof carry bag.

Each kit will potentially last for 2-3 years.

Not weeks, not months…. YEARS!!!

Thirty dollars could help keep a girl in school.

Thirty dollars could help keep a girl from contracting a sexually transmitting disease.

Thirty dollars could help her keep her dignity.

Her self respect.

Her life.

The cups are sourced from the states from  Anderson Global Trading LLC, a small company run by Christians from their home.

The cloth pads are made locally by Zambian women via . They are 100% cotton with a waterproof  protection layer.

Both are completely washable and reusable and can last up to three years!

I am committed to personally ordering the products, and overseeing the distribution of each one. Each kit will be accompanied with a gospel presentation and literature in English and ChiChewa. For what shall it profit a man (or girl!) if he shall gain the whole world (health!) and lose their own soul?

Each kit costs $30, but any amount will help!! 100% goes towards supplies and distributing them in Zambia.


Some Helpful Links:

Amazon link to view the silicone cups )

Website and FB page for Project Luangwa

If you had to choose a toilet like this… would you even be able to go???

Articles about girls and the days “Aunt Rosey” visits… (Badly written statistics- they should clarify they are talking of the entire primary school years, not per year)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Colors of Zambia

Chitenge:  2 meters of fabric. Used for anything you can imagine!

I think it is one of the things that makes this land so unique. All of the color in the clothing is certainly a visual treat! It is such a contrast to all the red dirt.
Women use this for everything! From a baby carrier to clothing. BabyBjorn is not needed here! They will be used to wrap bundles of food or other purchases and then hauled to wherever they need to go. They are wrapped up as round pads and put on their heads as a balancing aid for hauling 20 liter jugs of water on their heads. They are used as blankets, head coverings, and also as ground coverings when they need to sit on the dirt.
Regardless of age the Chitenge is a staple necessity. Usually it is worn over a traditional skirt for the purpose of keeping it clean. Most people wash everything by hand, and they try to preserve the cleanliness of clothing as much as possible!
Everyone wears them! They are often used to unify the look of a group. It is a relatively easy way to have everyone look coordinated.
This picture is of the graduates from the Literacy Class of Big Tree Baptist. We made the men shirts of the matching fabric, and the women just wrap and tuck the ends into a makeshift waistband. Somehow it manages to stay! 
Matching the chitenge with with other items of clothing is completely unnecessary. I often think they try to be as clashing as possible!
 Some, however, are gifted in the skill of fabricating them into amazing dresses! This one takes several meters of fabric, and this girl made this herself! She attends the Chipata deaf church and my friend showed me this... I love it! They use the fabric to make bags and other totes as well.
Over trousers, jeans, other skirts. Layers... Layers...  Layers! 
 Colors! Colors! Colors!
 This little guy is just too cute not to put his face here! Little Dikson! 
 You can literally buy them anywhere. They are sold on the street, in shops, and people walking all over town with them slung over their arms. From 7 kwacha to as high as 70 kwacha and more! The difference is in the material itseld. Waxed, cotton, polyester, rayon. You name it, it is made into a chitenge!
These are a few of the shirts we gave to our visitors for Father's Day. The whole group will be all decked out tomorrow in Zambian chitenge attire and hopefully I will get a group shot of them all! 
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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

To Market, To Market to buy a Fat....

 One of the most beautiful sights here is the open market. They call it Saturday market, but it is open every day except Sunday. Carrots are In Season!! These are HuGe!
Naomi is one of my Saturday Bible Study girls... you can see her by the umbrella. She sells potatoes and onions.
 There are always mommas and their babies. This little one is Violet. Mom is Mavis. I know.
MAvis is a chunk! She is 7 months old and I am sure already getting some n'shima in her daily diet! Notice the cooking pot on her right. It is lunch cooked right nearby. N'shima is ground maize (hard, white corn) made into a thick, hot-as-lava meal. They eat it every day. Every. Day.
And here is James with Esther. I get my cucumbers from her. "2 kwacha one" for the big ones, "1 kwacha one" for the small. That means they are 15c or 30c each. You can see behind her it is a full service market. Shoes are also available!
Here are the Three Musketeers under "their tree". They each have their "staked out" space to sell their things, and it is quite the community of people. They help watch each other's table, cook lunch together, and I am sure know everything about each other. Or nothing at all!! I often marvel when I meet someone new and ask someone I know what the other's name is, and they have no clue!
Those bundles of grass are brooms. They use these to sweep everything from the inside of their houses to the dirt around their yards. It really does make it look nice! There is a swish-swoosh pattern made that is quite pretty. When all you have is red dirt, anything that you can do to make it look better is worth doing! Backbreaking though. These are about 1.5 feet long. No handles. Just stooping.
This is Agness. She is someone I have come to rely on! She knows English very well, and has helped me so much. Someday I would love to have Bible studies with these ladies, and I would need a translator. Maybe Agness? Praying! I showed her this picture on my phone, and she said I was too close because she looks fat. I told her she looks American! She had a good laugh with that one.
Every Day. 

All Day. 

This is her view. She looks out onto the street watching people come and go, and sells onions and potatoes. Right next to dozens of others selling onions and potatoes. Somehow she makes a living.  I love market days. I have grown to really love these ladies. 

The Burning has begun...

Living 15 degrees south of the equator basically means we have two seasons. Hot and wet, and hot and dry. Zambia is technically in the tropics zone, but the only thing I have experienced that would attest to that are the massive and insanely ugly bugs.

We had rain until the end of March, and since then we have had only one rainy-ish day, on Mother's day. Being a to-the-core Rochestarian, it felt like home and I thanked God for my gift from him!

But no real rain for the last two months makes things around here dry. Really dry. If you live in the southern United States this is nothing new to you. But for this Yankee I may never get used to this sight.
Driving here at night is one of the most nerve wracking experiences I have ever had the pleasure to endure. And I have taught five children to tie their shoes. And read. And drive. This easily tops them all. 

People are walking everywhere. There aren't street lights. Most vehicles have lights, and some actually turn them on. There aren't shoulders on the road. There are 8 to ten inch drop-offs on the edge of the road where the asphalt meets the dirt. 

Which is about 5 inches from the tall elephant grasses that cover every acre of undeveloped land here. Those grasses are dry. Really, Really dry. And the sun is hot. And snakes like tall grass and hot sun. And a lot of other things like tall grass and hot sun, but most of them aren't things people like to hang out with. 
So... They burn the fields. Usually the only evidence I experience of this happening is the regular smell of smoke in the air. I feel like I live in a state park where everyone is cooking over an open flame. All the time. Every day. And they use plastic Wegmans bags to light the fire. 

But every once in a while I get to see it happening. There is a sudden panic that comes over me when driving at night and I see flames climbing into the dark sky. 

Shortly after we moved here I remember looking up at the huge mountain behind our house and seeing the whole side of the mountain in flames. It looked like rivers of fire flowing down the sides. It was beautiful. And a little scary! 

This picture is a little girl about 10 years old just walking along the edge of the burning field. 
I get that they "know what they are doing". It tends to be like a big party with people walking right along the edge of the flames. Sometimes they even have a small shovel. I suppose that will be a help should the flames get out of control? I've been to bonfires and believe me, this is way hotter than any bonfire! 
She was kind of doing a little dance and watching the flames eat the grass. Seeing the orange blaze into the black sky. 
She would stop and watch the grasses disappear, I am sure quite intensely feeling the heat of the inferno. Standing way too close in this mothers opinion! 
But this is life. This happens every year about this time. And it will continue until sometime in November when the rains begin again and nourish the parched land and the dead and burned grasses are resurrected. 

But until then.... 

No rains... fires will blaze. 
And they know what they're doing right?? Until an electrical pole gets in the path of the fire and whoosh! Up the pole it climbs! 
To say they do things a little differently around here is an understatement. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Harvest!

About three months ago at Shoprite we discovered seed packets for American Sweet corn and thought, "Why not?" 

They have corn here... well Maize. 

A hard, white corn that is really only good for grinding into a mealie-meal that must be cooked into a porridge or other thick meal called n'shima. That doesn't prevent the Zambians from roasting it with the husks on and eating it like we would... but it tastes something like wax. 

No insult intended. Just true. 
We (I say we loosely. Although I did buy the seed packet!) began small not knowing exactly what it would taste like. The package looked like what we know as sweet corn, but we have NEVER seen it growing here, and have only seen it intermittently sold at the grocery store in the frozen section at 4 kwacha for one ear. That is like .60c each. And they are tiny. About half the size of what we Upstate NY'ers are used to.
Corn, and Bananas past that, and Sugar Cane in the distance. 
So Farmer Micah and Benson, our yard man, tilled up a 4x8 foot area and planted a few rows.

And waited.

And weeded.

And watered.

And waited some more...
Until TODAY!! Micah took two tester ears off the stalk and we boiled them up. They sure looked like American style sweet corn! But how would they taste??
 Well, 4 minutes later.......
 YUM!!!! AMAZING! Better than ever! Well, maybe 19 months without any fresh sweet corn may have have jaded our opinion, but it was amazing!!
 Victoria was skeptical. Only 4 minutes to cook?? Could that be right? The corn here has to be roasted for 30 minutes or boiled for ever before it is edible. Wax Maize tends to take much longer to cook.
 All it took was one taste! She is a believer! A little butter and salt and "Hello Deliciousness!! Where have you been all my life?" We may be wrecking the Zambian staple diet, one national at a time!
Needless to say we are planting some more! Maybe our whole plot will be seeded before too long! We harvested 24 beautiful ears of corn. We also harvested 7 itty bitty ears that we shucked boiled and ate within 5 minutes!

There are some times I find myself a teeny bit thankful I have only two children living with me. Not that I wouldn't love to be sharing these with all of my kids, but hey, they aren't here so I will take 6 instead of three! 

Love this African Sun for growing! 
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