On Sunday's the kids practice their dancing, singing, and drumming. I was getting my things organized and suddenly heard their beautiful voices and wandered outside to listen. When I walked outside all I could see was fire everywhere. As Americans, we might have panicked at this point. Everyone was sitting around as if nothing was wrong. I asked George about the fire and what in the heck was going on. Apparently there had been several sightings of snakes in the bush or the cornfields behind the house. When this happens they burn down the fields to eliminate the homes for the snakes. The fire burned all the way to the neighbor's farm. I asked George if the neighbor would be mad about the fire and without hesitation he said, "yes, but what can we do?" I don't know...maybe not burn the whole field down. There are snakes all over the place here. The kids don't like to take any shortcuts to school because they are afraid of the snakes.
This pic doesn't do the fire justice but it gives you an idea. These two women Catherine and Fagness are making bags out of corn stalk. There amazing. I'll be bringing one of these bags home with me.
After the burning of the field and the performance practice we baked a cake. It was so fun to watch some of these kids that have never had cake before partake of the goodness. They were all amazed that I could bake. They kept saying, "Auntie Heather, you can bake!" As if they were surprised by it. Little did they know all I did was pour a mix in some oil and eggs and stick it in the oven.
Monday and Tuesday were spent with the regular studies. I decided to go with the kids to school on Wednesday to get an idea of what goes on there. I had been a few times last year but was hoping things had changed a bit. I was wrong.
Here's a little excerpt from my journal yesterday, "Right now I am sitting in a grade 5 class with almost 100 kids. There aren't usually this many kids but the teachers have all gone to town to pick up something. Bridget showed up to no teacher at 10 and then knocked off at 12. Moses is walking around like a stranded puppy because he has no teacher. This is day 2 for him without a teacher. He looks so lost. I don't evern want to think about what he's been through since his parents passed. I don't want to think about what he went through before they passed. I worry about the older kids. It's almost as if they have to become somewhat hardened to combat with the evil that is constantly in front of them. The first chapter of the grade 4 book on social development was on AIDS. The whole first chapter out of five dedicated to AIDS - how it's contracted, how to prevent it. It spoke of teenage pregancy, sex, how babies are made. Did you know Zambia has a law that you can't have sex before you are sixteen? What???? A law has been passed listing the age at which sex is legal. As LDS people we have a "law" stating not to date until we are sixteen. I just can't think about the power the adversary has here. Grade 4! I don't even want to look at what's in the grade 3 book." The school's here are crazy!
I want to mention a brief experience that I had with Kennedy (he's six and just deluctible) the other night. It was as if all barriers were stripped between us. It was as if there was no differences between the color of our skin, the language we speak, our ages, the backgrounds we've come from. It was as if our souls connected and we understood each other. I know it sounds crazy but it was beautiful.
Kennedy is the boy on the right. This is a picture of us playing UNO, our Sunday afternoon activity.
I love these kids. They are amazing. I pray every day that I might have the capacity to love them the way they need to be loved. They go without so many things but what they need the most is love. We all need that. God can and will supply us with the love we need to share with everyone we come in contact with. It's called charity and we've been promised that as we pray for it, charity will come. My prayer this week is to have a greater amount of charity so that I might give these children the love that they are so desperately seeking.
Here's a picture of us roasting marshmallows. Marshmallows???? What are those? It's so much fun to share these crazy American traditions. I've got to teach these kids how to smile when someone is taking a picture. I rarely see them without smiles.
Here's a few pictures of our walk home from school yesterday. Raymond bought us some sugar cane. Sure is good stuff. Hard to break the skin off but once you do it the inside is amazing. No wonder these people are always sucking on sugar cane.
And this is how an American carries water in Zambia. Thank goodness for bottled water.
Last story...the morning jog. Four of the boys joined me for my run this morning. I never know who's going to join me but I'm always happy to have the company. They keep me safe. This morning was unique. We ran the usually route passing the usually people along the way. There are a lot of kids that walk to school in the mornings that we pass. This morning we were running and a couple of the school children joined us in their uniforms. We passed a few more kids and they joined us as well. We passed more and soon the running pack had grown to about 15 kids. It was so funny to me. In all, there were twenty of us, 15 in uniform on the morning jog. I couldn't wipe the smile from my face.
I love this place!!!