Tuesday, April 27, 2010

There wasn't much to blog about on Saturday. I spent most of my day at the Flight House fooling around, killing time. The Baileys took me out for a fancy restaurant called "Raphsodys". The food was pretty good and decently prices (in Canadian terms). After lunch I had them drop me off at a different shopping centre to try and get the rest of the things on my shopping list. I caught another taxi home, this time i was able to direct him how to get there. (i was so proud of myself ;) ).

Sunday morning came and i had a bit of a problem. I had forgotten when i was packing that i'd be there for a SUnday. i was so excited at the prospect of wearing pants in Lusaka that i forgot to pack any skirts! This was a problem. I also didn't have my Bible (as it was too heavy) which meant no headcovering and no letter of commendation. I was saved however, by another missionary who provided everything i had forgotten except the letter, which wasn't a problem. I went to the first english church service i have been to in a very long time!I was kind of disappointed tho' b/c although i loved that the singing was in english, they also sang like the english speakers... which quite frankly is kind of sad. However it was a nice service none the less. After church we went to Arcades (the nice shopping centre) grabbed some lunch at Zamchic (like KFC) and then went out to enjoy the Sunday market. It was awesome! there were vendors from all over selling their arts and crafts! I can't even remember everything that was there. the best part was i got to barter for it! i didn't barter too much because everything was quite cheap (in canadian funds) already and they were having a bad selling day b/c the weather wasn't so great. I spent way more then i intended to but loved every minute of it! When i was laden down with bags i found a taxi and went back to the flight house.
some very cool stuff that i wanted to get, but decided was a little too big

some beautiful handmade cars - again i sadly didn't get any

I was invited out for supper with 2 girls who had been working at Kalene Hospital for the past 3 months. I had only met them a few time before and didn't know them that well but went with them anyways. We had so much fun, a girls night out of laughing and joking. After a fabulous supper (again at Rapsody's) we went for a walk to walk off all the food. we found the grocery store was open so we wandered around it for awhile before buying some junk food and drinks. we went back to our taxi (he waited the whole time for us) and drove back to the flight house where we hung out a little more. It was great meeting and making new friends! I'm kinda sad though because they've both gone back to their home countries now (canada and new zealand) and who knows if we'll see each other again but it was fun while it lasted. :)

Lydia and her seafood platter

Jo eating "death by chocolate"

the bill

Monday i woke up early to catch a ride to the airport to pick up Crystal. i wasn't even sure if she had caught her flights, but i prayed that she'd be there... and she was! it was so exciting to see her! the poor girl was totally exhausted but we took her back to the flight house and see revived a bit after a shower and some breakfast. after killing a bit of time at the flight house and the airport we finally got on the bigger of the 2 cesnas and were on our way. We made a shop in Zambezi to pick up 2 other Sakeji staff members and made it back home by 5ish. The flight wasn't so bad (for me) Crystal didn't enjoy it quite so much as she wasn't feeling too well. Now i'm safe and sound back at Sakeji. i'm just waiting for Crystal and Lina to get up so we can plan our day. yes, for once i'm the first one up! it's quite shocking really!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Another long day...

For some strange reason my body decided that 4:30am was a perfectly acceptable time to wake up... what??! Then my brain kicked into high gear and all chances of returning to sleep went out the window. I hate mornings that start like this! At least I did have a reason for getting up early today. My flight to Lusaka was coming in at 7am. The 3.5 hr. flight was thankfully uneventful, i wasn't sure how it would be as it's been a very long time since i've been in a cessna and never one this small before but thankfully i had no problems with air sickness or anything.

Mr. Bruce Poidevin (the pilot)was nice enough to drop me off at the Immigration office but couldn't stick around as he had other errands to run. Of course, wouldn't you know it, the office was closed for lunch and being Zambia they were closed from 12:30 to 2:30 (nice lunch break eh?!!). I looked around and realized that standing around in the little back alley was pretty much asking for trouble so i decided to head next door to the 5-star hotel. I had very little for breakfast and no lunch at this point so i tho't i'd check out their restaurant. When i walked in i realized i might be a little over my price range but it was too late to back out, they had spotted me! I thought to myself, "well, i haven't had a restaurant meal in at least 3 months, surely i can splurge a little". i asked how much the buffet was and was told K129,000 (US$28)....hmmm, not going for the buffet. I checked out the menu and found things weren't so badly priced. my biggest problem now was choosing what to order! Eventually i got the leek and muchroom quiche and a side of fries. What an amazing choice! The quiche was 3 little tarts, instead of regular pastry it was more like a yorkshire pudding. YUM!! served with it was this amazing little salad made of sliced and diced tomatoes, green peppers, onions and egg topped with a italian-like dressing. the fries were also amazing (partly cuz i haven't had my fav. food forever!). i was so stuffed i couldn't finish it all, but felt the place was a little to fancy to ask for a 'doggy bag'. i finished it all off with a cappuccino, which was kind of funny b/c i actually asked for 'a cup of tea', however the coffee was a nice treat. :) the whole thing ended up being a little more then i had tho't (they had weird 'taxes' added on) but for under $17 i thought it was an amazing meal!
by the time i was finished it was nearly time for the immigration place to be open again, so i waddled back over. after signing in i waited for 30 mins while the immigration 'officer' shuffled random files around on his desk. when he was finally ready to do some work there were 10 others in line with me. he slowly found everyones file except mine! he looked several times and then sent me out to the registration desk to look at 'the book'. i won't even try and describe that process as it beyond words!! finally i was able to find what i thought might be my name it said 'sheck allsa' and the file numbers was S0083 (i was told mine was S0085). i went back to the man and asked him to find that file. he did without a problem and it was me. they had issued the permit to "Ailsa Jean Sheach" completely missing my first name (thanks Mom and Dad for giving me too many names :P ). I was getting ready to freak out at them for screwing it up but he said 'oh, that's ok, no problem" grabbed my permit and added and "E." AFTER the Ailsa Jean.... whatever i give up. i took the permit, got my passport stamped and not officially allowed to work in Zambia until Feb 2012. it only took 4 months and then 2 hours today, but now i'm legally in the country :P

after this very trying experience i then had to catch a taxi and make my way around town to do some shopping. the Lord is good and found me an honest cabby (imagine!!) who took me to the shopping centre, waited 2 hrs for me to shop and then took me back to the flight house and only charged me K100,000 (about US$20). although i've heard that you can get it cheaper, i've also heard of others paying way more. so i'm quite thankful.

one day down, 2 1/2 to go!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Presidential Promises

So today was an interesting and very LOOOOOONG day! The President of Zambia (whose name i have completely forgotten) was expected to arrive in Ikelenge today at 11:15am. The whole place was in a dither, people travelled from quite a ways a way to come here him speak. the reason he was coming is because Chief Ikelenge went all the way to Lusaka to complain about the roads (among other things). We arrived in Ikelenge around 10:30 as we had a load of chairs (for the important people in his entourage). then we sat and waited and waited and waited. it was a VERY hot day! at 12:45 we headed back to the car as we were about to pass out from heat exhaustion and our legs were tired of standing in the same place. they had a few forms of entertainment but there were so many people crowding in that we couldn't see most of it. around 1:10 we finally heard a helicopter and hurried back to get a spot in the crowd. we were disappointed to find out it was simply soldiers who had come to secure the area. the president finally made an appearance sometime after 2pm, way beyond the time we might call 'fashionably late'. by that time i was just plain annoyed! i was hot, tired and hungry! (not a good combination). we stayed for most of his speech, but soon got tired of it and went in search of something cold to drink. however, we did hear him say that he is going to send graters to 'fix' the roads (he OBVIOUSLY hasn't SEEN the condition of the roads or he'd know it was WAY past the point of grating) anyhow, he also declared Ikelenge a 'Boma' which basically means that they'll be (eventually) getting more money from the government, as well as "better schools, better nursing, bigger police station, more military presence" etc. we're a little scepticle as to when this is all going to take place, but at least he's acknowledging the North West Province now. :)

for those of you who know Pete Fisher you may be as shocked as i was to hear that his wardrobe does contain something other then khaki shirts and short shorts! we heard that Pete was to give a speech and we sort of had a bet going about what he was going to wear. i have to admit i lost. i tho't he'd be in his usual garb, however he was wearing a a shirt like a Zambian flag and ..... LONG pants! unfortunatly i didn't get a picture of this as proof, however i do have a pic of him in his shirt.

so, after standing in the sun for about 5 hours, we returned home to wonder... was it all worth it?

Monday, April 19, 2010

bumpity bump bump

Yesterday was a good day. The Ronalds, Lina and myself went out to an assembly i haven't been to yet in a little village which i think is called Sachibandu (or something like that). when we arrived there i realized i had been to this little church with my parents when we were out here before. although it is a small group their singing is truly amazing! with the exception of the hard wooden benches and lack of leg room (even for my short legs, poor lina!) i really enjoyed my time there. after the service we bumped and bounced our way back home over the 'amazing' roads. after a delicious but hurried lunch at the Ronalds we packed ourselves back into the land cruiser and headed out again. this time we were headed to Kalene for the joint prayer meeting. Kalene is in the same direction as the village we had been in that morning, so we saw some of the same people along the roadway as we bounced on by. we haven't been able to get out to Kalene this term because the roads were so bad. they have dried up alot but were still quite slick in spots. i'm glad i wasn't driving! we arrived a little late but so had others so really we were just in time. it was nice to meet all the Kalene folk as they are all new to me with the exception of Alice Turner. we actually didn't go into kalene mission station but rather were at the CMML Flight Services, where the Poidevins and Loudons live. This is also new since i was here last, and quite impressive! they have built a guest resort out behind their houses which is truly amazing! Lina and i decided we might have to stay there some weekend as a getaway once the term starts up again. :) the prayer meeting was nice with lots of people to share and sing with. it's so nice to be able to sing the hymns in english once in awhile. :) our trip home took a little longer as Mr. Ronald had to navigate the horrible potholes and crevesis in the dark but we made it back safely even if we had a bit of whiplash ;) lina and i finished out the day by watching the old "around the world in 80 days" movie. i used to love that movie as a kid, this time i found it dragged a little and was un-nessecarily long! however it was still enjoyable. earlier this week we went into a time warp and watched an old vhs (which i believe my grandma taped for my family 13 yrs ago) of Seaquest dsv. it was truly funny to watch as i haven't seen or heard anything about it since i was here last. my parents, chris and i used to watch it every sunday night after the disney movie. for those who have never heard of it, it was a star treck-like show only it took place under water in a ship called 'seaquest'. lina did a little research after we watched it and found out it was supposed to take place in 2018 (i think) which is quite funny now, as that's not too far off. if you want to check it out, i think you can download some episodes off the internet or at least see some clips on you-tube.

before i close this off, i have a prayer request to add. i'm sure many of you have now heard of the volcano that is erupting on Iceland, this is causing all flights to be grounded/cancelled which is affecting a lot of people including me. although i am not flying to or from Europe i was planning on flying to Lusaka on wednesday, however the person who is paying for the majority of the flight is supposed to be flying in from canada tomorrow. at the present time his flight has been cancelled, which means that my flight to lusaka has also been cancelled, unless i charter the plane. At US$1200 i told them i had to pass on that. however, it might come down to that as i need to be in lusaka by friday to pick up my work permit. please pray that things sort themselves out soon! also my friend Crystal is supposed to be flying in from Canada to meet me on Monday. i'm not sure if her flights have been cancelled yet as they're not saying that far in advance, but things don't look good at the moment. :(

Friday, April 16, 2010

just a quick one...

just a quick note.
if you are interested in another perspective of life here, my housemate's blog is http://littleschoolinthebush.blogspot.com

also to amend a previous post: Lina has driven stick more often then i indicated, i was mistaken on what i heard her say.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

monday monday

yesterday was definatley a monday!

the day started off in the usual way, me trying to sleep in and the workmen determined that i won't by driving the noisy deisel 'tipper' back and forth by my window and dumping loads of bricks. when i finally decided that i wasn't sleeping anyways and i should get up i found Lina scrubbing the floors and dishes, trying to get rid of the damp stinky smell that has taken over our house since it was flooded. she did a good job though, the smell is no longer there. :) i went down to my classroom and worked a little more, rearranging furniture etc only to find a 'nest' of 'whiteants' (aka termites)...oh goody. it was a good thing i moved the bookcases b/c they were just starting to build and so were fairly easy to get rid of once i obtained some pif paf. after lunch Lina and i decided to take a little break and drive into "town" and get some cokes. being 'good' missionaries we went around the station asking anyone if they needed anything and so we were given a list of errands to run as well. after a quick trip to the orphanage we were on our way. i was a little leary of Lina driving as this was her first time driving right-hand drive and only her 2nd time driving stick shift, add to that the 'amazing' zambian roads and i figured we were in for an adventure ;). lina did a very good job though, with the exception of forgetting to take the hand break off a few times, things ran smoothly. we were disappointed to find there was no coke to be found in Ikelenge. there was also no mail at the post office, two big let downs. we were able to do all our other errands though. on our way back home we stopped at the clinic and picked up a lady and her baby who wanted a ride back to the farm (which was on our way). Lina was getting a little more confident with her driving and was driving a little faster then on the way in. all of the sudden she hit a rather large pot hole which jarred the truck and put us into the ditch! it happened so quickly there wasn't much time to recover the truck and keep it on the road. i should mention that at this particular part of the road it is really just like a narrow laneway with ditches on either side of it. when i jumped out and inspected the problem i realized it wasn't that bad. the two left tires were off the road, but that was it. we asked the lady to get out of the back (just in case) and then lina got back into to drive while i tried to push. we were able to move the truck but the middle of the road was a huge hump that the right tires couldn't seem to get over, which would get us out of the ditch. a few times i thought the truck was going to topple into the ditch on top of me, but thankfully that didn't happen. just as we were about to give up and call back to the school for help and man happened along on his bicycle. he stopped, checked out the situation, looked at us and said "we push, then chechiwahi (it is well)". he turned to the small crowd of people that had gathered around (non of whom had offered to help) and told them to come and assist us. with about 5 or 6 of us pushing we were able to get the truck out of the ditch in no time. after thanking everyone (which takes some time with all the 'mwani mwani's') we were ready to be on our way. much to our surprise the lady with the baby jumped back into the truck and a young teenager also jumped in. man. they must have been desperate to get to the farm! anyhow, the rest of our little drive was pretty uneventful. but when we got home we found they had had some trouble of their own. Mr. Poidevin, who has been taking down several unsafe gum trees in the area was taking down just one more before he left. As usual they dug up the roots, attached a cable to the top of the tree and to his truck. then he started to reverse his truck and the tree started to fall exactly where he had planned it to go. however, there was a smaller tree in its path, which he had assumed would just get knocked over, this is not what happened. instead the large gum tree hit the smaller tree, bounced off and landed in the middle of the library! well, not quite in hte middle. it took out a huge corner of the library walls and roof. thankfully no one was hurt! there were no books destroyed, but a lot have some repairs needed or are covered in dust. i couldn't believe it that the tree somehow missed the large window yet smashed the couch located underneath the window! it missed the tv/vcr/dvd player and really there was no damage that can't be replaced. Unfortunately this caused another building project to be needed. It seems like just when we get ahead of things, something else falls apart. The cottage will have to remain how it is until we get the library built up again. hopefully this will be done soon or the next big rain we have will ruin all the books! what a day! as i said, it must have been a monday!
today has gone much better! i was actually able to sleep in because all the workmen were at the library cleaning up the mess! :) then Helen from the orphanage brought 5 of the older children (4 & 5 yr olds) to come and visit us. they are SO cute! we gave them all juice and cookies to which they said, "thank you mama!" with the biggest grins! they entertained us for awhile just horsing around and playing with the dog. just before they left they sang "jesus loves me" it was so adorable. i got some of it on video and will try and see if i can get it onto the blog. if not, then i'll try and put it on facebook tomorrow. 5 of our staff leave tomorrow, leaving all the bandwidth to be split between just 4 of us :D yay! so i'll probably be on facebook a lot more for those who are interested.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The rains came down and the floods went up...

Last night we had a small flood of our own in 'Valley View'. Last night after visiting with some of the other staff, Lina and i ran home through the rain, not knowing how bad of a storm we were actually having. This morning we awoke to find the kitchen and bathroom flooded as well as some puddles in the hall and livingroom. Apparently we got 3 inches of rain last night!the water must have come down the roadway like a river, judging by the debris left behind. it took a side course down our walkway and pooled on our front step. this is the what usually happens and there is always a puddle at our front door after a rain. however this time the water was such that it went under our door and into our kitchen. it filled our "sewer" which backed up the toilet and resulted in a flooded bathroom. not very nice to wake up to. i also woke up to an upset stomach, again. so today has not been a very good day. the Ronalds got a call this morning to tell them that the 'Cottage' was floating away. They went out to investigate and sure enough the river had risen so much that the outer walls of the cottage had indeed floated away. all that is left is the inner walls and miraculously, the roof. we are turning into a chota (hut with no walls) of sorts until it can be rebuilt or replaced. the cottage has been there for a long time (i was told nearly 40 years) so it is a sad day. as lina and i were whining as we mopped up the kitchen i suddenly thought of my friends in the villages. i hope they were able to escape most of the flooding. unlike our houses, their houses are not built to last a long time. where we are able to fortify ours with cement, theirs are made with bricks made out of clay (as was the cottage). to put things further into perspective, i decided to study Genesis 6-9. so even though the thunderclouds are rolling over head, and we're sure to have another huge storm tonight, i know that "this too shall pass". At least i HAD a house to mop out this morning! :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

And so ends the term....

part one: (written Apr 6th)
The days the children have been counting down to have finally arrived. End of term is here! Yesterday was the last official day of school. Today the first 2 groups of children left by plane at 7am as the rest of us were sitting down for breakfast. Thankfully the weather was nice and clear and everyone arrived at their destinations safely. the second wave of students left this afternoon and the planes are just arriving back after safe flights. Praise the Lord. Tomorrow morning the remaining students (except 2) will be flying out either at 7am, 8am or noon. The last flights will be on Thursday morning. We are praying for good weather for flying as well as safe flights for all. I seriously can't believe that my time here is nearly 1/2 done! How did that happen? It's hard to believe but now that the report cards are all printed out and the children are leaving it's starting to sink in.
this past week i've been fighting off a bug, which finally caught up with me yesterday. After spending all afternoon and evening in bed and having nothing to eat all day i awoke quite famished at 3am. i was a little afraid to eat as i hadn't been able to keep anything down yesterday, but the medicine seems to have worked as i was able to handle lunch and afternoon tea. so i guess i'm on the mend. :) I'm still feeling a little light headed and weak but i'm sure i'll be much better tomorrow after a good supper and a full nights sleep!
i am really looking forward to the next month. time to relax, visit with friends ( i even have a friend coming from Canada to visit me!), get caught up on sleep and plan for the next term. Yes, i know this term just ended, but i'm hoping to have next term somewhat planned out before i fully relax and take a vacation. the rest of this week and next i'll be spending time re-arranging my classroom, doing bulletin boards etc. of course i'll also be sleeping in and swimming in the afternoon, can't work TOO much ;) to those of you whom i owe a letter/email, i plan to get onto that this week as well, starting tonight.
to end on a happy note, my work permit has been found! funny thing is i didn't know it was lost. we thought i just hadn't been processed yet. a friend of the school went into the immigration office in Lusaka to find out why mine was taking so long and found out that it has been finished since February only they forgot to record that it was done in the book! (TIA!!) so when i go in they will ask me if it's been writen in the book, to which i have to reply "yes" even though it's still not there, because if i say 'no' they won't even bother to look for it. can you tell this is a government operation??
well, that is it for now, the supper bell is about to ring and i don't want to miss another meal!

pt 2: (written Apr 7)

So this morning was not as beautiful and sunny as yesterday. in fact it was quite the opposite, gloomy, overcast and raining. this caused the flights with the students to be delayed several hours. in fact at one point we weren't sure if they were going to get any flights out at all today. however, the technology is an amazing thing and after watching the weather radars for a bit the pilots determined that if they could get past the rain clouds hovering over Sakeji, there were clear skies the rest of the way. so out they went and they brought the nice clear, sunny weather back with them! :) all 4 flights have now left (the last one not that long ago) so we have a handful of students left waiting for their morning flights. the Lord is so good! I am feeling 99% better which is great! fully restored and ready for a break :) at the teacher's meeting this morning it became apparent that this next term is going to be a tiring one! we're losing 3 teachers and only getting 1 coming in. this makes it much harder for scheduling, getting times off etc. as i worked on my schedule today i realized i may lose my afternoon off entirely. :( such a sad thought. this is not set in stone yet so i'm not going to mourn the loss just now. i'm still praying for a miracle! those afternoons off can sometimes be the difference between a good or bad week. when you work at a boarding school it really is a "full" time job!
well, i must go make sure my casserole is ready for the potluck supper tonight. tootles!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools Fun

I'm not sure why but somehow i managed to escape most of the practical jokes this morning.For those who don't live or work with children you may not have remembered it was April Fools Day, but somehow the children always seem to remember. Maybe this is because it's the one day a year they're allowed to "misbehave" and sort of get away with it! Many of the teachers ended up with toads, lizards, caterpillers and all kinds of other creepy crawlies in their desks, given to them as gifts or actually put right ont them. thankfully, being the grade one/two teacher my students have not yet learned these wonderful "jokes". :) the Zambian men in the kitchen also have a sense of humour we discovered this morning when we went into the dining room. the headmaster's chair had been replaced with a stool, many of the utensils were mixed up and they hid the tea and coffee and put milk and juice in it's place (that almost started a riot. ;) !) once we found the tea and coffee and checked to make sure it was indeed tea and coffee things settled down a little. the best joke however was on the students. one of my students finished her water and asked if she could go up for more so i let her. when she got up to the front she asked the cook to help her as she couldn't reach the water jug. the cook said "would you like some juice instead" of course that was greated with a "yes please!". really quickly the other students noticed that someone was getting juice and soon all were gulping down the water and asking permission to go for juice. we all had a great laugh when they got back to their seats, took big mouthfuls and discovered it wasn't juice at all! but rather water with food colouring in it! their expressions were priceless! it was made all the better because some of the greedier ones had taken a full glass and they had to finish it all before they were allowed to be excused.
lina and i decided to play a joke on our students by switching classes. her students were with another teacher for first period so she was able to sneak down to my classroom and hide in the back room (we have a backdoor). after the first period was done i had the grade twos line up as they were heading to their next class which was to be taught by another teacher (as usual) as they were leaving i declared. "i'm tired of teaching today! i'm leaving!" and i walked out the door and off towards lina's class. my poor grade ones didn't know what to do! i heard them saying things like "what do we do, the teacher is gone?" then i heard them all scream as lina came bursting in through the back door. she told me later that she just acted like everything was normal and began to teach the class. the kids still not sure what to do, went along with it. :) when i came back for the next period they said, "don't worry Miss Sheach, Miss Burkin taught us math today." i had to laugh! while lina took my class i went up and sat in her classroom waiting for the grade 5/6's to come back from spelling. they slowly meandered in some of their reactions were quite comical as they showed their surprise to see me there. they had to do a math exam so they were hoping to get out of it b/c their teacher wasn't there. i was quite strict with them (partly b/c it was an exam) which they didn't appreciate at all. they asked if Miss Burklin was sick to which i replied, "I think she's sick of you guys." (aren't i nice). By the time Lina and I switched back they were quite grateful that SHE was their teacher and not me. Maybe they'll behave a little better for her from now on ;) Hopefully that's all the practical joking that will go on today. As the saying goes, "it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye." i find practical joking can often get this way, it always gets taken a little tooo far and someone gets hurt. so if you are planning on playing a joke on someone today, please remember to keep it light and all in good fun. :)

5 more days till the kids start flying out! (no joke!) :D

ps. not as much rain lately. took a walk on the airstrip 2 nights ago and it was dried out pretty well. Praise the Lord. we hope this holds until the flights are all done!