Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Ants Go Marching 2 x 2...

well actually here they go marching thousand by thousands! It's the ant season! i now walk with my eyes constantly looking down to prevent stepping on a line of army or 'fire' ants. these are not the friendly little ants we have back home but will quickly swarm all over you and at some silent signal bite all at once and it burns!
i have tried to take some pictures of these ants, they really are fascinating to watch (from a safe distance) but the pics don't really do juststice to the amazingness (yes i know that's not a real word) of how they work together. There are small ants that look just like our red ants at home and they travel back and forth carrying stuff.
the larger ants (at least 5 times the size) hold onto each other and form tunnels of protection for the smaller ants to go through. they also build of walls of dirt. although we have had the workmen torching them with gasoline and fire, they just come back. thankfully they have not invaded any houses yet.

the other wonderful creature that visited our school happened yesterday at afternoon tea. i missed most of the excitement as i was busy with some students but a gabon viper (look this one up online) was spotted not far from the boys dorm. thankfully some quick acting teachers were able to get the kids away and beat it to death without anyone getting harmed. this is
the 3rd snake that has been killed on station since i arrived. we don't see snakes that often usually, which is a good thing because most of them are pretty dangerous.

so other then the creepy crawlies, things have been going well. we've now been through a full week of schedules (as classes started on a wednesday) so the kids are beginning to figure out their routines and i'm beginning to remember the schedule. it's still a bit of a challenge to get the grade ones and twos to remember to be quiet and raise their hands etc, but it's
slowly sinking in. yesterday i had a great day with them and i thought 'hurray! they've finally got it!' and then today happened and i felt like i was starting at the beginning again. so... chovu chovu (slowly slowly) we begin again.

my biggest concern right now is for Some of my students who went to zambian nursery school know their ABC's but have no (or very little)
letter recognition. i am trying to start back at the beginning with them but they are getting frustrated because they think they know it and i'm getting frustrated because they don't and don't seem to want to learn! does anyone have any good ideas/tips for teaching letter recognition? also if there are any kindergarden teachers out there that have little rhymes or songs
to help with learning phonics and language rules(short vowels, long vowels to begin with) i would be forever grateful if you'd share! because our school starts at grade one i don't have any preschool/kindergarden curriculm available to me. also with limited internet usage and downloading it makes it hard to search online. so if you have stuff and are willing to share it
please send it to my email thanks a bunch!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lost and Found

"I've got a smile on my face and i've got 4 walls around me;
got the sun in the sky, all the water surrounds me..."

Praise the Lord the children and their parents all arrived safetly yesterday, despite the pouring rain! Thank you for your prayers. The parents left this morning before after breakfast and the day began.
It was an absolutely beautiful day weather wise. The clouds disappeared just as classes began and the sun was out in full force. My morning was spent introducing my new students to the many rules and boundries and trying to remember names!
My students are all so cute but i struggle with the Zambian names! I have 8 grade one students and 8 grade two students. After lunch today we went down to the pool for free swim time. It was the perfect day to be in the pool.
What i didn't remember was that i had signed myself up for 'river duty' on wednesdays. This means that after swimming the students go to the very large play area by the river to have free play for a few hours.
I also didn't know that I'd be the only one supervising all 60 students! it's quite the job especially when the area is surrounded by the river on 2 sides and the swimming pool on the 3rd. Of course, as it was my first day, i managed to 'lose'
on the they students. what i didn't know was that the little (grade 1) boy decided he was tired and tried to walk back to the school by himself. after awhile he thought he was lost and starting bawling until one of the teachers found and 'rescued'
him. so when we lined up to leave i came up one short in the count. after double checking and then going through the roll call it was discovered that Lushomo was missing. I had no idea what to do! they hadn't given me instructions on what to do if
you lose a child (i don't know if anyone has done it before). Lina had come down to keep me company and so she started looking everywhere he might be hiding etc. in the mean time i knew i had to get the other children safely home. after much panic and prayer
i was told that Lushomo was safely in the dorm and my heart was able to start beating again. aside that scare we had a great time today. i must admit that `m a little too pink as i didn't wear sunscreen, but its not that bad. Tomorrow starts the beginning of the
actual teaching so that should be interesting.

in other news I, the non-dog person, got a dog. well, technically she's still a puppy and she belongs to my housemate Lina but i'm helping to raise and train her for the time i'm here. so... if anyone has any great tips/ideas how to to train a puppy/dog we'd be greatful for you input!
Ceili (pronounced Kay-lee) is a cross between a doberman and a rotweiller so she'll be a rather Large dog when she is fully grown. Lina and i were orinigally considering getting a kitten as we're both cat people but had decided to wait until we were settled in fully etc. however it was generally
decided that it would be best if we got a large dog instead as the only dogs on this side of the station are small weiner dogs who don't make very good guard dogs. Lina and i discussed it and decided this would be ok. Lina likes dogs, and i don't mind puppies so much. So yesterday 2 little puppies
had their first (and most likely last) airplane ride. The Ronalds also got a puppy from the same litter for the other side of the station. She has been very good so far and the only messes we've had to clean up were this morning as she couldn't make it through the night without a 'bathroom break'.
hopefully we won't be having too many more mornings with little 'surprises'.

well that's all for now. i need to be a good teacher and make sure i've got tomorrow's stuff all planned out.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


For those of you who were worried about what I would be eating while overhere, this blog is for you. Yesterday Lina and I decided to cook our own meals. Up until this point we have only had to fend for ourselves for breakfast and the lunches and suppers we have been invited to share with the married couples.
as our cupboards were stocked full when we arrived and we had purchased a few items in lusaka we figured we were all set. first we went down to the garden to see if there were any fresh vegetables ready. we discovered the garden is overflowing with peppers, eggplant, carrots, onions and beans. after choosing a basketful of veggies we went back to our little kitchen to raid the cupboards.
we made up the following basic recipe:

Lina and Beth's Losu Casserole
1/2 cup rice
1 1/2 handfulls of green beans, snapped
3 small carrots, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1 can mushrooms
1 can mushroom soup
1 can ham
chopped spring onion to taste
dash of garlic powder
2 dashes italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook rice
2. while rice is cooking boil carrots and beans until slightly tender
3. mix together mushoom soup, mushrooms, onion, red pepper and seasonings.
4. chop up ham and add to mixture.
5. when rice and veggies are cooked, drain and add to mixture.
6. put everything into a casserole dish and place in (approx 350 F) oven for about 10 mins until warmed throughout.
Will serve about 4.

We weren't sure how it would taste but it turned out quite good. infact we will probably prepare it again sometime.
some of the other "exotic" foods i have sampled here includes....spaghetti, hot dogs, pancakes, potatoes and roast beef, ham and cheese sandwiches. :)
not all of the food i will eat will be this 'normal' but most of what i will be eating will be prepared by canadians (or zambians following north american recipes) so i'm not all that worried. although i am a picky eater i am trying my best to sample everything placed before me. i have discovered, to my amazement, that there are certain types of mangoes that i like. unfortunately they don't grow at Sakeji, but we brought a few up with us from Garneton to enjoy.
i am really looking forward to when pineapple is in season. the pineapples here are the best in the world!

before i sign off i just want to add a few quick prayer items.
1) please pray for the students and their parents arriving on tuesday. there has been a lot of rain lately and the road to sakeji is a MESS! we barely got through with 4-wheel drive on the landrover and many of hte parents driving will be in small 'town' cars such as corollas etc.
2) please also pray for the students who will be coming for the first time. this will be the hardest term for them as they adjust to being away from their families for 3 months.

thanks again for all your prayers! feel free to try our recipe and comment leave a comment on how it turned out! or any comments are welcome on any of my postings.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Settling Into Sakeji

Sorry I haven't updated for a few days, but I wasn't able to at first and then i was busy getting settled in. I've arrived safely at Sakeji, here's what I have been doing the last few days:

On Wednesday morning after breakfast the Ronalds (see missionary handbook), Lina and myself piled into the Ronald’s Landrover. A trailor was attached to haul all of our luggage. We had a few more stops in Lusaka before we actually headed out. After having trouble with ATM’s not excepting my bankcard, I was thankfully able to find one that would just before we left the city. We had to make several stops along the way in different ‘towns’ to pick up and drop off various things for the school. We had a couple of adventures with backing up in small spaces with the trailer but never got into too much trouble. I was surprised that the roads weren’t all that bad, but then we were driving through the larger cities and towns. We only drove about 4 hours on the first day, ending in Garneton, where we spent the night at another guest house. I took a bunch of pictures of all the flowers and trees that are in bloom. As it’s the rainy season everything here is SO full of life and vibrant colours!

After a bath and good nights sleep we were ready to hit the road again. Unfortunately the Ronald’s youngest daughter was up sick all night so we left later then we had originally planned. Thankfully Naomi wasn’t sick the rest of the trip. The second day we had a much longer trip, it took us about 8 hrs. We hadn’t been driving too long when we got a flat tire. Being a good missionary, Mark Ronald was prepared for this and had 3 spares with him. It was perfect timing for lunch, so while he changed the tire, the rest of us ate and stretched out legs. Just as he finished up it started to rain so we jumped back in the truck and were off. About 2/3s of the way through the trip the paved road ends and the fun begins! After spending the last 2 years working for a Drainage Engineering firm, I was seeing the roads through ‘new eyes’. The road was so bad at one point that we weren’t sure we would make it through even with the 4-wheel drive! I tried to take pictures and videos but I’m not sure that it would show just how bad it actually was. The Lord was watching over us though and we made it ‘home’ to Sakeji by 8:30pm without getting stuck.

Lina and I were dropped off at our house and we started unpacking right away. We were so excited to finally have arrived. I’ve taken a few pics of what the house look like when we arrived, but will take some more once we have fully settled in. At 10:30pm we finally realized that we were starving so stopped for a ‘cuppa’ and some fresh homemade bread w/ p.b. After sitting we realized that our energy had subsided and it was time to call it a night.

I think the jet lag has finally worn off as I was actually able to sleep straight through the night for the first time. When I woke up I felt very rested but soon discovered that I am allergic to my house. L Actually, I’m pretty much allergic to most of the buildings over here as there is a lot of must/mould b/c of the rain. I am so glad I remembered to pack my allergy meds and hope that my supply doesn’t run out before the containers arrive. I’m praying that my body will get adapt to it, so I don’t have to keep taking the medication. I don’t remember it being this bad when I was here before, but as that was so long ago, I could have just forgotten.

I spent the day wandering the station and reminiscing (and trying to figure out what all the new buildings were) and then checking out my classroom. I started setting up my classroom, which I hope to finish today (Friday) once I am through catching up on emails etc. I think I shocked some of the Zambian workmen when they walked past and saw me standing on the desk trying to reach the top of a bulletin board, they seemed a little unsure as to what to do about it.

Well, I have gone on and on so I think I will close off for now and continue to catch up later. Thanks for all the prayers and I hope to hear from some of you soon!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Zambian Shopping

Today we went shopping in Lusaka (the capital of Zambia) it's surprisingly like shopping at home. The hardest thing to get used to is their money! It was quite a shock when Lina and I ordered a large pizza and 2 cans of pop and the total came to k60,000! As the exchange rate is about k4600 to the US$1 so it really cost about $12. Shopping with the kwatcha is like shopping with monopoly money, it's easy to forget that's it's real money. Apart from picking up essentials for our house, it was fun to just look around the shops and chuckle at some of the products and their logos.

I guess I should explain who Lina is as her name will probably pop up from time to time. Lina is from Texas, USA. She is also just starting at Sakeji, although she was here a few years ago for a term. She will probably be teaching music (as that is her specialty) and maybe some middle grades. We will be living together in the Valleyview House (pics to follow, once i arrive). We've spent the last few days sharing a room together here at the guest house in Lusaka and are slowly getting to know one another. I think the arrangement should work out well.

I think that's about all for now. I find the heat can really take a lot out of ya so I'm going for a quick lie-down. I'm still not totally over the jet lag as I wake up about 3am every night and can't seem to fall asleep again till around 5:30. It's pretty frustrating but I'm hoping that will get better soon.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Finally here!

Hello from Zambia!
I arrived today in Lusaka safe and sound. The flight wasn't much fun, but I'm just thankfully that we all arrived safely and our luggage did as well. I am LOVING the nice warm weather, especially after the damp cold of London and the miserable weather I left behind in Canada.

I will be at the missionary guest house until tueday as the family I am travelling with has some business to do here in Lusaka. This will give me some time to catch up on some sleep etc.

I will try to write a longer message later with more details, but am too tired to think.