Update: Burning power lines, Rats, Ants, Goodbyes, and Other Events

I can’t believe it has been over a month since my last post!

My life has been a rollercoaster this past month, accounting for my absence.

I’m in the process of finishing my final year of high-school (finally!!) which is definitely taking up a majority of my time. Obviously it needs to be done, but it’s hard to be home so much when my heart would much prefer being at Wiphan.

I also had my 18th birthday at the beginning of the month which we celebrated low-key as a family. That is, until I was surprised a few days later with a “babysitting job” that was actually a party for me with many of the ladies from our church! It was such a lovely evening with my mom and all those sweet, thoughtful ladies.

Recently I did spend a great deal of time at Wiphan enjoying last days with the most recent hospitality class, class 12, (click HERE and see mid-section of the page if you’re unsure what this means) before they left for their 3 months of attachments (internships).

Click HERE for a video of singing in class

It’s always hard for me to say goodbye to these students. I spend months bonding relationships with them only to see them leave. Yet what an exciting thing it is too! These men and women have gone through extensive training in catering and hotel and their passion for the Lord by the end is so intense. Their pure joy and excitement for beginning their work is so evident!

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My sweet best friends from hospitality class 12; all dressed up to celebrate their last day of class! Miss them so much.

Their last days are always filled with lovely music (you can see a clip above), dancing, laughter, and joyful fellowship as we prepare to part ways…

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My first sleepover with Emily!

It’s certainly a bittersweet time for everyone. =)  As of right now, they’ve been gone for a couple weeks. Prayers for them and their time interning would be appreciated!

I had the joy of hosting my first sleepover since being in Zambia a few weeks ago with one of my dear friends, Emily. She’s actually a member of the hospitality class 12. I would certainly describe her as a kindred spirit!

Other recent Wiphan events include a leadership trip to a nearby game park. I wasn’t able to attend this, but my parents said all the leaders had a relaxed and fun-filled time with a great deal of laughter!

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Wiphan Nkwazi vs. Wiphan Westbourne football (soccer) match! Photo Creds: Mom

There was also recently a “sports day” held at Wiphan. Wiphan schools have recently developed sports teams and set aside a day for the teams from all three schools to gather together and interact with each other while participating in tournament style sports events. The girls’ teams played netball (somewhat similar to basketball) and the boys played football (aka soccer). I also wasn’t able to attend this event, but mom informed me it was another lovely day!

Lastly, four of the Wiphan leaders, along with my dad, recently attended a leadership conference in the capital city of Lusaka. When they returned, everyone seemed in agreement that their time was productive and one of great growth.

Among our family and life at home, we have recently been dealing with a rat issue in our house which all began in MY closet! UGH! For multiple nights in a row, I could hear the rats scurrying in an overhead cabinet above my main closet. My wonderful dad and brothers took great care of me through this. lol They even used paracord to tie the doors shut.

After a few nights, the rats were no longer in my closet, but one evening my brothers managed to kill one in our homeschool/sitting room!! My dad and I were each gone at the time and I heard quite the story when I came home! The room itself looked as if a tornado had swept through it and the boys shared how the rat jumped off the curtains five feet in the air and how, in the end, Cameron (8) had killed it with a badminton racket.
A few days later, my dad killed a second one in the pantry. Yuck. Yuck. YUCK!
Thankfully since then we haven’t had any more issues with them inside the house.

In the last few days, we’ve acquired an issue with red, killer ants. I’m honestly not sure of their official name, but they travel in large groups killing anything in their path. I read a comment from a friend recently who shared how they took down a full size pig and devoured the whole thing! Needless to say, these ants are not to be trifled with.
A couple mornings ago, before 6am, my brother walked into our kitchen only to discover piles of ants as well as trails of ants all over the floor attacking different roaches and other bugs they’d found. They were even in our sink and had covered the entire drain so that we couldn’t even see it! When the ants were cleared away, a half-dead lizard crawled out of the drain.
I hadn’t slept well at all that night and so didn’t get up in time for all of the action. However, later in the afternoon another trail had found their way into the kitchen and pantry. There were only around 100 that time as opposed to the thousands in the morning.
Since taking care of those two incidents, we haven’t had any more invasions. I hope it stays that way! While it’s nice that they eat all the bugs, I rather not be afraid to step on the floor….haha

We’ve also been having quite an ordeal with electricity lately. We’ve been dealing with the extreme annoyance of inconsistency, but recently when had a scary incident with power.
The electricity had come on two hours earlier than scheduled which isn’t a common occurrence. My parents were gone at the time and most of us were working on our schoolwork when Alex (14) comes to inform me that the power was at low voltage. I didn’t think he was correct considering the washing machine was running fine (which isn’t normal when voltage is low), but he proved right when we heard my dad’s battery backup beeping at an odd frequency and inconsistency- indicating fluctuating voltage.
Fluctuating voltage is dangerous considering it could mean a power surge in which case every appliance hooked to an outlet could blow up!
Alex and I were in the middle of discussing whether or not to turn off power to the house when we suddenly heard a powerful “!KABOOM!” from outside accompanied by seconds of loud firework-like noises: sparkling, crackling, sizzling, etc.
As soon as the KABOOM hit, chaos erupted in our house for the next seconds. It’s quite humorous now, but at the time, it was anything but funny! Alex’s eyes became wide in concern and he ran off to my dad’s office. I instantly ran to the breaker box and started switching everything off shouting at Alex asking if everything was okay. My younger brothers were screaming wondering what was happening and Ba Zenia (she works at our house) was screaming fearfully in Bemba as she ran out the front door. Ba Steve was outside shouting and staring behind the house.
As soon as I switched off all the breakers, everyone congregated outside to ask Ba Steve what had happened. He informed us a spark had ignited on the power pole to the right of our wall and sent a flaming, sizzling, spark down the entire power line all the way to the next pole on our neighbors property. As we were looking at the electric lines, the spark reignited where it had ended and started spewing sparks for a few more seconds.
I called my dad at this point to inform him of the situation and he arrived home just a few minutes later only to casually inform us the grass was on fire…literally he said it like it happened all the time.
Ba Zenia and I were shocked for a moment until he explained that Ba Steve was already taking care of it. haha!
Anyway, praise the Lord we’d switched the breakers in time because who knows what could have blown up! Power came on at normal voltage after only an hour or so (which was surprisingly soon!). We’ve thankfully had no such issues since.

It has been quite an adventurous and eventful month for us here. Between all the different programs with Wiphan, conferences, rodent issues, ant infestations, and electricity surges, I’d say this month has been quite memorable!
I pray some of these recent issues are behind us, but then again, they do make life interesting. 😉
I hope to be more consistent with writing from now on instead of having to play “catch up” on a whole month’s worth of activities in one post. Haha!

Thank you all for reading.
God bless!

We’re Back in Zambia!

Our family has been back in Zambia for 2 weeks now. I apologize for not posting an update quicker. Life and jet-lag have gotten in the way. 😉

Jet-lag hit us pretty hard this time around. It took us all a full week or more to get to where we weren’t lying awake in bed until 3am and then sleeping through alarms until very late in the morning.

Thankfully we are over that horrible side-effect of traveling and have been able to been able to be at Wiphan and interact with the team currently here from the U.S..

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Wiphan Mapalo students

It’s been wonderful to be back at Wiphan and reunite with all the people we hold so dear there. ❤

Seeing Mike and Cornelius (the two young boys I’ve bonded so closely with) was such a special moment for me!! Cornelius came around a corner and was so surprised to see me he actually stopped in his tracks and just stared at me with a big smile for a few seconds before running to give me the biggest, longest hug ever and telling me he missed me multiple times…

I missed you too Cornelius..!!

Cornelius then ran off hollering, “MIKE! MIKE! Megan alaisa!! Megan alaisa” (Megan has come! Megan has com) 

Mike showed up moments later, jumped in my arms, and didn’t part from me the rest of the day. Ohmyheart!! ❤ Can I just adopt these two sweet boys??

I’ve also been able to reunite with hospitality students as well as meet a new class. It’s been so exciting to see old friends and meet new friends!

Along with being back at Wiphan, there is a team here from the U.S. including 4 people ages 15-19. I’ve had a blast hanging out with them since they’ve been here; playing cards, watching them perform skits, and hearing their testimonies. They’re definitely a fun team!

We did have a rather sad moment as some of our dearest missionary friends moved back to the U.S. this week. Seeing them off at the airport was definitely a negative highlight of our week. But we know God has a plan for their lives! We just miss them terribly here…

The last few weeks in Zambia have been exciting and full of becoming re-acclimated to the culture…and to speaking Bemba again.

Look forward to more adventures to share soon!!

In Need of Prayer

I’m someone who loves people deeply; and I deeply feel the hurts of those I love…

I have many, many weaknesses and more short-comings than faults. One gift God has given me though is compassion.

When someone is hurting, especially when it’s someone I love and care a lot about, I feel their pain immensely and want to do everything in my power to fix their problems…

Sometimes I can “fix the problem”, but oftentimes it’s out of my control.

One of the children at Wiphan I’m incredibly close to and love like my own brother was not himself today. He’s generally the “life of the party” kind of 12 year old boy. He’s the popular kid and the leader of the crowd. He always smiles, always laughs, and likes to tease people in fun.

Today he acted like the outcast no one loved. He never smiled. He wasn’t laughing and being his cool, good-natured self. He stood off from everyone else, even his best friend. He didn’t sing with us in class…he didn’t even stand up with everyone else. He sat silently.

Everything was all wrong and backward.

I actually pulled him aside and asked if he was okay and a few other questions. He looked like he was about to cry after a couple of my questions, but he did his best to hide whatever it is underneath.

It’s not common for kids to come forward with issues in this culture. They are often made to fear speaking out and treated as if they don’t have a voice. So the fact that this boy I love so much didn’t tell me what is wrong didn’t surprise me.

I didn’t want to pressure him. I did everything I could to let him know I was there and he was free to speak and could trust me…but he still remained silent on the issue.

This boy doesn’t like me to hug him. I give most of the kids hugs, but I think it’s a matter of “coolness” and he just doesn’t really let me hug him (which is fine, I get that), but today was different.

We finished talking and got up from where we were sitting. I went to give him a hug, which I planned to be rather quick so as not to make him uncomfortable; however, he held onto me so tightly and for so long it just reconfirmed my suspicions of something being wrong.

As he hugged me I told him how much he was loved. I told him I was here for him whenever he needed me and he was free to be open with me about anything going on.

He just looked up at me with his sad, far off eyes and went back into the classroom.

Mom and I left Wiphan a short time later and as mom was talking to someone through the window before we pulled away, he stood at a distance and stared at me for a long time. I waved and smiled at him. He never just looked at me for a while. I did my best with my demeanor to make him feel at ease if he wanted to talk to me…I couldn’t quite read his expression for certain and I didn’t want to push him if he didn’t want to talk.

Finally, he gave a half-smile and went on his way.

imagesI can speculate about what’s wrong. I have certain suspicions after our conversation, but even if I’m right, the situation is outside of my control.

All I can do for him at this point is pray, Pray, PRAY and let him know I’m here, I love him, and he can trust me. Ultimately though, it’s in God’s hands and it’s up to the Lord to work this out because there is nothing else I can do but call on Him!

I was just talking to my mom about all of this a little bit ago and she said exactly what I was thinking. Prayer is powerful! Even when problems I face are things I can fix, I should call on the Lord. I’m not always good at this. I often try to take things into my own hands.

But the truth is, I need the Lord! I always have and always will need Him. As life goes on, I’m seeing my desperate need of Him more and more…in every situation.

I’ve sent out a handful of prayer requests to different friends for this sweet boy. So if you’re reading this, would you please pray for him as well?? My heart aches for this marvelous boy! I’ve cried more than once today wishing I could physically do something, but knowing I can’t.

argadgI’ve always come back to prayer. It’s powerful I promise you! God hears our prayers; and when people from all over are praying, God hears those prayers too!

I post this to ask you to pray for this boy…my wonderful and dear friend! I also encourage you to exercise prayer in your own life for your own “situations” whether you feel like they’re already in your control or not. I’m still learning to lean on Christ more and more…but what I do know is the more I lean on Him, the closer I grow to Him, and the more at peace I am in life.

Prayer is powerful…this situation is out of our control…my friend needs prayer! Will you join me?

 

The Way to My Heart

There are lots of things that make my heart smile and could be labeled as “ways to my heart”. Examples would be a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks maybe, ice cream (specifically the most chocolate loaded thing you can find…just make sure there are sprinkles on whatever it is. That’s a MUST.), a handwritten letter or drawn picture, or a hug.

A couple other ways, and probably the biggest ways, to my heart are through music, smiles, and laughter.

Whenever I discover my future husband someone can tell him these things for me! ;D

   If someone can make me laugh and smile…if someone is comfortable enough to tease me, I can tease them back, and we can laugh about it, they’ve found their way into my heart.

If someone loves music as much as I do and we can pass the time singing, dancing, and playing instruments, they’ve found the way to my heart; and chances are we’ll laugh and smile throughout. 😉

 

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Students writing letters to their sponsors!

Yesterday was one of those days where my heart was completely engaged and “all in” at Wiphan.

The day started with making copies for mom while she prepared letters for the students to write to their sponsors. I helped out some with their letter writing explaining this word or that…

After a while, we ate lunch and I got out my guitar at someone’s request. We tinkered around a bit and it ended in about 10 different kids taking turns “playing the guitar”. Then I sat in the office and played guitar with Richard, an employee, for a while.

After this, I joined the hospitality class for their time of singing.

 

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Hospitality class 12

 

 

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My dear friend Emily and a new friend Henry!

Before we went into class, I visited with some of the students; learning more about them…their names, about their families, etc. (they’re a new class). I told them a funny story about one of my nicknames which opened up a time of sharing funny stories about names. We ended up laughing together for a number of minutes!!

 

After going into class, we all stood in a U shape around the classroom. I stood next to my good friend Emily, and Madam Getrude (the teacher) stood in front to lead all of us in song.

We sang and danced for at least 30 minutes! During this time, we had the biggest laugh of the day! Two of the guys in the class were dancing in such a hilarious fashion that even Emily was unable to contain her laughter and was holding onto me for support so she didn’t fall down. Madam Getrude was also laughing and later tried to imitate their dance moves in an attempt to tease them. Haha…

Madam decided to tease me next in front of the whole class. She was speaking in Bemba and I couldn’t quite understand everything, but Emily was translating for me. Everyone was laughing and it was embarrassing, but ultimately just very funny. I love Madam Getrude so much!! She’s found her way into my heart in every respect. ^_^

 

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Mom preparing chibwabwa (pumpkin leaves) for lunch with Mamma Monica and Tabu.

I left the classroom shortly after music time and went outside to find my mom teaching different staff members what a back massage was and proceeding to show them how it’s done. She began massaging Mamma Monica, the 70(ish) year old cook, who then proceeded to point out the specific places she wanted mom to massage her. Haha!

 

I found a few of the kids I enjoy spending time with: Mike, Evaristo, Davis, Cornelius, Cathrine, Cecilia, and others and we had a fun time together!

Mike and Evaristo showed off their head-standing skills and of course they all wanted me to take “one picture”…which of course turned into far more than one. ;D I love these sweet kids!! 10 year old Mike just made my day when he hugged me and said “I love you so much Megan!”.  ❤

I found myself back in the office playing my guitar shortly after this. Pastor Aaron (one of our dearest friends) came into the office as well, grabbed his guitar, and decided we should be a duo.

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Dueling guitars with Pastor Aaron! XD

Mamma Monica, Mom, Richard, and Mary (another employee) joined us and the 6 of us played, sang, and danced to a number of different Bemba songs. From where I was sitting I could see out the window and saw we had attracted a small crowd of people and a few students who were listening to us and singing along from a distance. What a special and unforgettable moment this was!!! ❤ And thanks to my sweet mom, most of it is documented on video. XD

Yesterday was one of those days where when I would take a moment to reflect, all I could think was “God you are indeed an AWESOME God!” I’m beyond grateful to Him for bringing me to Zambia!

I laughed and smiled so much!! I spent a great deal of time singing, playing guitar, and dancing…Nothing could’ve made the day better! ❤

 

 

Captured Memories

Here are some snapshots from the last few days!! It’s been such a full week, but I thought I would rather share many photos with you that speak a thousand words apiece than write a few words of my own. 😉

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God put a gorgeous double-rainbow in the sky yesterday!! (the second one is faint)

Funny Face Wiphan

After taking the photo in the lower-left corner where Dad and Mary are making funny faces, Mom had the idea to do a “Funny Face Day” at Wiphan. Everyone who came into the office was asked to put on their best funny face! Photo Credits: Mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had fun with these sweet friends at Wiphan Nkwazi the other day before their classes began. We chased each other all over the place and if I managed to catch them, they received a hug before being set free. 😉 haha! The two boys in the photo on the right are Davis (left) and Francis.

Bright and Noris. Two boys with adorable little faces and personalities! =)

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If someone were to be nominated the “King of Cuteness” I think little Abraham would win for sure! ❤ This is probably one of my favorite pictures…

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Cleopatra, Davison, and Luke all passed their grade 9 exams and are now moving on to grade 10!! So excited for them!! In the photo on the right, Davison is exhibiting his artistic skills in one of Wiphan’s classrooms during break time. =)

Jump rope game thing

I enjoyed spending time with all these girls today! I’m not sure the name of the game, but it’s a common game here that’s a more difficult and specific version of jump-rope! haha..I’m not very good at it, but I had fun anyway. 😉 As I was about to leave, I went to put my shoes back on, but before I could Elizabeth (one of the girls) grabbed my shoes and it turned into a second game of “see how long we can keep Megan’s shoes from her” LOL!! We had so much fun! XD

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Pastor Aaron swinging on the tire swing when he came to visit our house! XD haha! Photo Cred: Mom

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Mom just LOVES the ladies at the jewelry stand!! And here she’s working on collecting an order of necklaces. Isn’t she so pretty in this picture?? XD

Left Photo: Some awesome friends at Mapalo who helped me with my Bemba today…and who I helped with English! XD Seen here are Blessing, Paul, Paul #2 (hehe), Nelson, Benedict, and I unfortunately do not know the other boy. =P

Right Photo: Class at Wiphan Mapalo! XD Photo Cred: Mom

Meet my Hospitality Friends

I’ve shared a few times about my friends from Wiphan who are a part of the hospitality class. On Sunday, these very special and dear friends of mine graduated from their class after one year’s worth of hard work. With that being said, I thought it would be nice to pay a tribute to them share a bit about each one of my close friends. They mean so much to me! I hope you enjoy reading about these lovely people! They’re pretty special. ;D

                       BeatricePublication Beatrice

If you want to hear a powerful voice, just listen to Beatrice sing! Her voice completely amazes me. When I have the opportunity to sing with my friends, quite often Beatrice is the one leading us as we sing worship songs to our Savior. Her passion when she sings completely overwhelms my heart. Another thing about Beatrice I love is how she never seeks attention or the spotlight. Maybe she does have the best singing voice in the class, but she doesn’t sing to seek glory. She’s genuine. She talks to everyone and is friends with all; but she doesn’t try to be someone she isn’t or attempt to make sure all recognize her. One of my favorite memories with Beatrice would be the time 5 of us girls were putting on our makeup together and she went around and showed some of the other girls what certain products were for and helped apply them. She always does her makeup very elegantly and the day 5 of us girls acted very girly putting on makeup under her supervision was definitely a fun memory! She’s moving away sometime this week or next. I’ll miss dear Beatrice greatly, but I’m so happy God has provided her with a job and I’m grateful for the time we got to spend together as friends.

                              Richard

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Richard is a character. He’s barely over 5 feet tall and doesn’t mind being teased about it. He also loves to be “DJ” and contrary to Beatrice, LOVES being the center of attention. He’ll dance in front of an audience of many without a care in world. He’s a rather entertaining and hilarious dancer! He and Alex (my 13 year old brother) have a pretty close bond and enjoy spending time together. My brothers also discovered Richard’s incredible fear of chameleons. In fact, one of my favorite memories with Richard would be the time we threw a toy dinosaur at him, shouted, “Chameleon!! Watch out Richard!!” and he screamed like a little girl and fell out of his chair!! My other favorite memory of Richard would be the day I played Uptown Funk (which he had never heard) and he unknowingly started dancing exactly like Bruno Mars and I couldn’t help but laugh!! To make it even better, the outfit he was wearing was incredibly similar to Bruno’s in the video. So he not only danced like but also looked like Bruno Mars and he didn’t even know who that was!! I appreciate how Richard is comfortable in his own skin and though he likes being center stage, doesn’t really care what others think but just enjoys being himself: the entertainer. I’m definitely going to miss his ever-present desire to entertain and make others smile!

                          Publication Justina  Justina

This girl has a beautiful meek and quiet spirit. She’s generally a reserved person who will talk some, but it takes a while to bring her out of her shell. She’s a person of few words making the things she does say extra meaningful. However, ask her to dance and you’re in for a surprise or invite her to pray and her passionate praying can’t help but touch your heart! It took a while for me to get to know Justina, but once I did we bonded closely. She’s still that meek and quiet girl I knew from the start, but once she started opening up about her life and after we hugged and cried together for a long time on a sad day a sweet bond formed. We generally enjoy spending time together alone, so we don’t spend a lot of time together every time we see each other. I would say our friendship is one of a mutual understanding. We are there for each other whenever needed. It’s wonderful to have a friend like her who I can confidently say would hold me while I cried if I ever needed it. I appreciate Justina so much!!

                            WinfordPublication Winford

Need a goofy selfie partner?? Or someone to do goofy poses?? Winford’s got ya covered. I have more pictures of him making silly faces than I do of him smiling or making serious faces. He never ceases to make me laugh even though I don’t think he necessarily intends to be funny. I actually have a video (he didn’t know I was taking) of him making faces at his reflection in our car window when he thought no one was around. He’s always full of energy and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him sad or down even if he does walk 2 hours one way to school. His philosophy was that it was good exercise. My favorite memory with Winford would definitely be when dad and I explained the word “dude” to him. We laughed and laughed!! I greatly admire Winford’s constant joy and I’m thankful for his friendship. He is moving away this week as well and I will miss him; but like Beatrice he has a job and I’m happy for him.

                             EvansPublication Evans

Evans is a very quiet person. I’ve known Evans since day one, but he’s so quiet I regrettably don’t know him as well as the others. When he does talk, it’s usually to ask me questions about the U.S. or English or my life in the U.S.. So while he may not open up a lot, he’s very inquisitive about other’s lives which shows his selfless personality. He was also the first person I ever showed how to “swing your partner” after he asked how I danced in “America”. One of my favorite memories of Evans would probably be the time he made a comment to one of my friends when she hit a note REALLY off key while singing. I know that sounds like a silly “favorite memory” but Evans is SO quiet and SO reserved I never expected him to say anything and the fact he was the ONLY person to say anything about the off-key note struck me as really funny. What stands out to me about Evans, which I hinted at above, is his selfless and caring heart. He never brags about himself or even talks about himself at all, but always asks about others and intently listens to every word said. His example has definitely encouraged me to talk less and listen more. 😉

                                  HellenPublication Hellen

Hellen has welcomed me as a friend from day one. Her sweet smile and loving hugs are always there when I see her. She, like Winford, always wears a smile and seems to be full of genuine joy every time I see her. Hellen has a sweet baby daughter named Janet who I can say is also a part of the hospitality class. =) Janet comes to class every day wrapped on Hellen’s back and is loved by all the other students who take turns holding her. Hellen takes her role as mother very seriously and is always quick to put Janet’s needs before her own. Despite her being the only woman in the class to bring a child, she doesn’t feel shy or embarrassed but joyfully works hard to gain an education while still being a mother. Hellen loves to play with my hair and has braided it for me multiple times. She also loves to test my Bemba by speaking to me in only Bemba and seeing how well I respond. Even when I fail she smiles broadly and encourages me. She’s always been so welcoming of me and that’s meant a lot! The things I love about Hellen are her diligence and hard-working effort to get an education and provide for herself and Janet while being a mother, and also her welcoming spirit. I’m going to miss her smiles and hugs!

                            CharlesPublication Charles2

Charles has such a sweet personality! He’s soft-spoken and also speaks incredibly slow (making his Bemba easier for me to understand), but enjoys a good conversation. Charles is also very protective. Twice he’s shown himself to have that protective instinct when I’ve been around and I truly appreciate that about him. It shows me he’s trustworthy and someone I can depend on should I ever need help. Cameron (my 7 year old brother) and Charles have a very close bond. Cameron refers to Charles as his best friend and asked me numerous times about when Charles would be home while the students were away doing internships. Charles returns this affection and would frequently ask me how Cameron was doing. He also likes to ask questions about the U.S. and about English words he doesn’t understand. To give you an example, he once asked me what “Yankee” and “expendable” meant. I had to think about both of those for a minute!! My favorite memories with Charles would probably be our countless conversations. He was always one of the first students to show up to class, so we had a lot of time to visit over the months. Character wise, what stands out to me about Charles is his trustworthiness and his sweet spirit. He just has that personality that we can’t help but love because it’s so genuine and kind. I’m so thankful for his friendship!

                               FrancisPublication Francis

If I were to describe Francis in one sentence I would say this: He has a passion for sharing God’s word with the world. I can hardly hear a sentence from his mouth without him saying something about God and how wonderful He is. When all these friends came over to our house for a fun get-together, Francis was the one who pulled me aside and asked if perhaps we could do a short Bible study before we took them back home. Francis then led a short Bible study with an audience of 9 other young adults and my family. Francis and I’s relationship is one of a lot of teasing. We actually didn’t become close friends until more recently, but since then we always enjoy laughing together and I enjoy teasing him about a certain someone. 😉 Along with teasing each other, we also spend a lot of time talking about what God is doing in each other’s lives. A couple weeks ago, he and I visited for probably 30 minutes while he shared what he felt God calling him to do with his life. He always tells me that I and my dad have been an “inspiration” in his life. Well, I think that is a pretty sufficient word to describe his impact on my life as well. His life has been an inspiration to me and I’m grateful for his friendship!

                           GasperPublication Gasper 2

Gasper is also one of my very best friends in Zambia. His love for and dedication to God have greatly inspired and encouraged me. We’ve had so many discussions in which he’s shared difficult things he’s gone through and how God helped him stay strong and the things he shared are things I admit would be hard for me to face. I also appreciate his willingness to be my friend on the hard days and good days and his words of encouragement from Scripture he forever offers me. God has given Gasper the gift of encouragement. Many of my best memories with Gasper are times when he’s deeply cared on the hard days, helped lift my spirits, and point me back to Christ; and the times we’ve prayed together on bad AND good days. As for his personality, he’s an incredibly social and outgoing person who greatly enjoys the company of others. He loves to smile and is always laughing and making others laugh! He’s loved by everyone in the hospitality class and seems to be recognized as the “class leader” along with the “class clown”; though I think he shares that latter role with Richard. 😉 Gasper’s friendship has been an incredible blessing to me and I’m so grateful for him in my life!

                              BrendaPublication Brenda

Brenda definitely stands out as one of my best friends here in Zambia! The first day I ever went to Wiphan, she and Winford met me outside and invited…practically pulled…me into their classroom. Brenda introduced me as “my friend Megan” and took me around the room to meet everyone else. Without her initiating my welcome into the class I might never have gotten to know all these wonderful people you’re seeing in these photos and I may never have found best friends. She’s one of the most outgoing girls I’ve met here in Zambia. She forever wears a stunning smile on her face and loves making silly faces in the camera. She has such an inclusive spirit and never meets a stranger. We’ve had such wonderful times together; from silly, meaningless, goofy selfie-taking to talking about the serious things in life. It’s hard for me to choose a most memorable moment with Brenda because there are so many! A time she greatly impacted me would be the time she walked 1 hour and 30 minutes to Wiphan just to see me when she was sick. I felt AWFUL but she told me she wanted to come. That’s when I knew how much she REALLY cared about me and our friendship. I’m beyond grateful to have a best friend like Brenda in my life! Without her, my adjustment to living in Zambia would’ve been much harder…

                        Everyone Else Publication Bonse Fye

This collage is one containing pictures of all my other friends in the class who I have enjoyed spending time with over the past year. To name a few: Hellen (there are 2), Pamela, Charity, Foster, Stanley, Edward, Miriam, Diana, Memory, Shadreck, Esther, and Cleopatra. All these friends, while I may not have known them as well, mean so much to me also and I dearly love them all!!

 

 

 

Margaret

I remember going to Wiphan for the first time and meeting so many new people. That day is still etched vividly in my memory. One person who stood out to me that day, and forever since, was a girl named Margaret.

I couldn’t help but notice her: the young teen whose shining eyes and smile instantly warmed my heart…who walked with a visible limp…whose leg was swollen to 3 times its natural size…yet was smiling so big!

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Margaret playing dodge-ball with friends

Margaret had a rare, but not unheard of disease known as Elephantiasis. Here is an online definition of the disease: Elephantiasis refers to a parasitic infection that causes extreme swelling in the arms and legs. The disease is caused by the filarial worm, which is transmitted from human to human via the female mosquito when it takes a blood meal. The parasite grows into an adult worm that lives in the lymphatic system of humans.*

Despite her disability, Margaret was always at school and always wore a smile. She laughed with her friends and participated in most of their activities. She possessed joy even in her struggle and pain!

She didn’t complain.

She didn’t even show signs of a desire to complain!

She simply dealt with it all and continued living her life.

Last July (2015), my family, a team of around 7 ladies from the U.S., and a few fellow workers at Wiphan went to visit Margaret’s home. Her home was very small and dark, but she and her family welcomed us all.

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July 2015

Towards the end of the year, I noticed Margaret hadn’t been at school in over a week. I approached Pastor Aaron about it and asked him if he knew where she was. He told me he did not, but was going to go to her home the next day and check on her.

I was at Wiphan the next day when he wheeled his bike inside the gate. He began telling me how Margaret had been sick for over a week and had gone to the hospital, but had come home without receiving any attention or medication. The sickness was presumed to be malaria; though I’m not sure that’s all it was.

Pastor Aaron shared he had tried to get Margaret onto his bike with him to bring her to Wiphan and see Nurse Becky, but she wasn’t even able to sit on the bike seat.

Nurse Becky later made a house call. I’m not certain of the outcome, but after asking Pastor Aaron later on I know she did improve from the condition she was in.

The school year in Zambia ends around the first of December and starts up again around the first of January (there are other breaks throughout the year). School finished shortly after the incident I just shared so I didn’t see Margaret for quite some time.

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Me with Margaret my second time at Wiphan (March 2015)

Having completed grade seven (which is a big accomplishment!!) in 2015, Margaret moved into secondary school at the beginning of January through Wiphan’s Inshila program (click here if you’re not sure what that is).

Before the new school year began, there was an Inshila meeting which Margaret attended. She looked so incredibly different I didn’t recognize her at first…Her face had gained much weight and her chin was swollen. The lower half of her face was probably double its normal size.

I wasn’t entirely sure it was her at first! She was wearing a long dress so I couldn’t see her leg to be sure. I whispered to mom who was next to me asking if it was Margaret. We were both taken aback when we realized it actually was her! Her features were so much different and though she still smiled faintly, I could tell she wasn’t feeling well.

I greeted her as she left and asked her how she was doing. Her smile returned a little more as she said, “I am fine.” But she still wasn’t the same girl I’d known before.

This was the last time I saw Margaret…

I learned earlier last week from my parents that her condition was progressively worsening. Then today, we the received news she had passed away.

If had had to pick the two most prominent attributes I saw in Margaret they would be joy and perseverance.

She never lost that smile and she never gave up or let her disability control her life; and those two things about her really impacted me and brightened my spirits when I saw or thought about her.

Margaret will be missed; but that sweet heart and spirit will always be remembered by myself and so many others!! As someone else put it, “Sweet Margaret has been one of Wiphan’s most treasured students”.

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Margaret with her sponsor, April. ❤

 

*www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Elephantiasis.aspx