First, I am going to fill you in on some things going on during all of the food drops.
~When a white girl shows up in the compound and starts delivering gifts and food, Zambian's come out of the woodwork! Children create small mobs and follow you around. They are so sweet and curious, they think it is so interesting to have a white person roaming around their neighborhood. Tiny toddlers just learning to walk, kids that forget to put pants on, teenagers hanging with friends, they all come out and look at what is going on. Lots of bare little feet walking through dirt, mud and trash watching and giggling the entire time. Women washing clothes in the ally or cooking dinner on the front step all look to see what you are up to, they smile, wave and stare, then go about what they were previously doing.
~They don't have phones, but they have voices and feet and they spread the word! As soon as I show up in the compound, children start telling other children, they spread the word like wild fire and before I know it, I have kids from all over swarming around. It is amazing to me how quickly they all show up and how children will recognize me from camp!
~The photos of this trip are taken by Brandon, a staff member at Family Legacy, seeing this trip from his perspective in the photos, and actually being there has greatly impacted this experience for me.
First up: KennedyKennedy is one of the MR and I's sponsored children. He is small, but has a large personality, he is quiet, but can make himself heard, he is so sweet, and I just adore him! I will be posting blogs about each of the boys in a week, so read all about him in a blog to come! For last years info look here.
When we show up, Kennedy is not home. In Zambia, children start roaming the compound as soon as they learn to walk, or have a sibling caring them. So, to find Kennedy, we asked three small children to go find him and bring him home.
Sure enough, within 5 minutes, Kennedy is home and looking a little shocked to see me in his house! I had told him I would be by to see him one last time on Saturday, maybe he didn't believe me or understand me, bc he looked so surprised that his "white person" was standing in the main room (which is the dining room, kitchen, living room, and all the children's bedroom).
She was standing up when I told her all of this and when I finished she fell to the ground on her side and started clapping, then rolled to the other side and clapped, then she stood up and hugged me and said thank you. I wasn't quite sure what had just happened, and no one explained this behavior to me immediately, but I eventually found out that this is an expression of extreme gratitude. Whew, I thought she had fainted and I was pretty sure 911 was not an option! With that, we prayed with Kennedy and his Aunt then left them with all of the blessing and headed to the next home.
Second stop: Chola and Francis
Chola (Rueben) (in the green shirt) and Francis (I love my life shirt) are brothers. MR and I sponsor Chola and MR's cousin sponsors Francis. As we drove to their house, we saw their Grandmother working at her vegetable stand in the market, we asked her to come home for a bit to visit with us. She joined us and the boys were waiting when we arrived. I had told Chola on Friday, that I would be by on Saturday, I saw Francis on Thursday and told him the same, so they knew not to go too far! We unloaded all of the food and gifts inside. Chola had worn one flip flop to camp all week, so I asked an American camper if he would sell me his shoes at the end of the week (he had another pair to wear home), he GAVE me his shoes and I quickly tied them on Chola's precious feet. Oddly, he took them off and put them away, maybe I am crazy and he likes being barefoot, OR my fear is, they are Nike and someone might hurt him for them. I don't know, I have to believe that God is going to watch over Chola and his new blue tennis and that Chola will wear them to keep warm and protect his feet!
Blessings: Francis and Chola both got pillows and blankets (made by my mom with love and care), backpacks filled with school supplies, soccer balls, toys, deodorant, soap, crayons, and clothes. They were so happy, they just kept taking things out and looking at them. Grandmother seemed equally happy to have all the blessings for the boys.
I then showed Grandmother all of the food blessings, she did exactly what Kennedy's Aunt did and fell to the floor, clapped, rolled over and clapped some more! It was about 30 minutes after this episode that someone filled me in on what was going on. I had figured at that point it must be an act of appreciate, but wasn't totally sure! After that, there were big hugs and lots of love!
Francis' twin brother came in, he had about 30 rubber bracelets on his arms, I asked him about them and he gave me two... this is mind blowing to me,
I am giving them gifts, they are not supposed to be giving me things! I acted like they were made of gold and was very thankful for his generosity!
At the end of our visit, we all joined hands in a circle and Fanny prayed in their native language. While we are in the house, random children are coming in to see what is going on, so we have collect an addition dozen or so kids in a small space, which could create total chaos with activity and talking and generally kids being kids, but not here, everyone is calm, cool and collected.
As we grabbed hands with our children, Grandmother and the rest of the family to pray, the "add on" children press their sweet hands together in front of their beautiful faces and pray with us. I don't realize this is going on until the end when the "Amen" is much louder and coming from farther than our immediate circle. It made my heart melt, and luckily, I have a picture of them praying behind us.
Stop number 3:RodrickSo Rodrick is sponsored by my lifelong friend Kim. This is one of the "shifted" sponsorships, but I am feeling confident that Rodrick will go to school and this is going to be a good match! Kim had sent gifts with me for her original sponsor child Rabbi, and luckily, the two boys are similar in size and build, so the sweatshirt she sent was perfect for Rodrick! She sent him a warm blanket and a fluffy pillow, coloring books and school supplies in a really cool orange backpack. Rodrick also got a soccer ball, a lot of toys, pencils, colors, stickers and lots of other neat stuff. Kim sent a photo of herself which he loved, he stared at it when I told him who she was and that she wanted to send him to school.
Kim provided a food drop for Rodrick's family, his mother was so thankful. This was by far the smallest house we visited, and after we had the three bags of food, crate of eggs, 50 lb bag of mealie meal, there was not a lot of space for us!
I talked to Rodrick's mother about him going to school, she agreed that he would attend Lifeway, and was so thankful to be able to have a child attending school.
We prayed with the family and then said our goodbyes. As I left, there was a long hug with Rodrick telling him that I was so excited to have found a sponsor for him so quickly and that he would be attending school soon. This was a blessing that no one was expecting that day, so this was very heavy on my heart and I wanted Rodrick to be appreciative and excited about his new opportunity, and he is, and that makes makes my heart smile!
Number 5: TauraiI didn't have this little stinker at camp, so this is the first time I am seeing this kid in one year.
Taurai's sponsor is my cousin Bunny (and her family), and it is a perfect match. Taurai reminds me of Bunny and I's grandfather, Elmo. He (Taurai and Elmo) are characters, always making people laugh, enjoy the company of others and generally happy people. They both love a good story that makes you laugh at the end (in the middle and hopefully at the start as well). So needless to say, when Bunny agreed to sponsor one of my children, this was an obvious pair in my eyes. That being said, I would never in a million years think that I could find anymore similarities to our family in this pair, BUT, I did! Taurai lives with his grandmother, she is exactly like our grandmother, Winkie! No joke folks, she is the Zambian Winkie! Crazy, right?
Taurai was running and leaping into my arms full of gifts and blessings before we actually got to his house! It was awesome, we were so excited to see each other! After we pulled out all of his clothes, shoes, blanket, toys, books, ball, colors, pencils etc, he put on his new sunglasses and started putting on a Taurai show. This kid could make anyone smile, he just has that knack, and I love that so much about him. I showed Grandma all of the food blessings that Bunny had provided them, she was thankful, and in that Grandma way, she hugged me and said thank you multiple times, I felt like I should thank her for Taurai, for loving him and taking such good care of him and letting us be a part of life... it's a grandma thing... We prayed together and then it was time to go.
When we went outside there were lots of little ones waiting to see what was going on. I got to sit down on the front steps and hang out with Taurai, I was telling stories of him from camp in 2012, the way he would slap his knee, laugh from his belly then point and wink at me at the end of his story.
I could have stayed there for the rest of the day catching up with him.
Sorry this is taking so long, but there are so many things I want to share about these blessing times! Stay tuned for the wrap up of these stories!!!!
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