Hello from Musele, Zambia everyone!
Today was absolutely incredible!!! I wish I could paint a picture with words to let you see things you wouldnt believe... things that will change your life, as they are ours...
We left Lusaka on a small charter plane yesterday and several hours later arrived in Solwezi, Zambia. We landed in what looked like a field with just enough runway to land, and the airport was no more than a 2 or 3 room building.. very simple, very unmodernized. There we were greeted by several of the local World Vision staff members with roses and big smiles, and grateful hearts for our journey...
Solwezi airport (all of it)
After a great lunch in Solwezi, they took us in 3 vehicles (Land Rover types) to the Mumbezhi Holt Family Guest House... A small cement block building with 4 bedrooms, a living area with dining table, a small kitchen, and 2 bathrooms. There is no running water or electricity here at the Royal Guest House, but they provide water to fill the toilet for flushing and a hot bucket of water every morning for spit bathing. Every day from about 6:30pm till 10pm they have a generator that runs so we are able to recharge our cameras, phones, etc... Oh, and there is hardly any cell service anywhere here, you have to buy a SIM card to get connected and it runs out so fast, youre lucky to say Hi and Bye before the time expires.. lol. We were expecting much worse conditions, and although primitive, we are safe and definately learning to appreciate our spoiled lifestyles. Its alot like camping out here.. bugspray, flashlights, and the brightest, most beautiful starry sky Ive ever seen!
After getting a good nights sleep, we woke up early today to visit the children in Musele. There are about 5000 in the sponsorship program here, and the village is spread out for miles and miles! At every home we visited, we were greeted by women singing welcome songs, and by the children, barefoot and smiling, waving to us like theyd been waiting for a lifetime to meet us! The first child we visited was one of my little girls... Sella. There were 100s of children following us as we walked to her hut. When we arrived, she was standing in front of all the others, waiting to meet me.. her sponsor from America. Her little dirty face was so beautiful.. and she shyly stuck out her hand to meet me. I was so happy to finally meet her. We sat down in a circle and the women again sang songs to welcome us and say God Bless you! Then I went into Sellas hut with her and her family. She has 4 brothers and sisters... and you wouldnt believe the size of the hut they all sleep in... honestly, its not as big as the bathroom in my house with mud walls and a straw roof... Sella showed me where she sleeps. It was just a place on the dirt floor. No bed, not even a mat.. just the earth.. It broke my heart! How could we ever complain about anything!!! I gave her the gifts I had brought... 2 outfits, a slinky, a few blow up balls, some pencils, paper, a bracelet, some polly pockets, and a few other little toys. She loved it all. Then they asked us to sit down outside and Sellas family presented me with gifts... a chicken (yes, a real live chicken!!), some wooden spoons, some pumpkins and some sweet potatoes. I couldn't believe that as little as they had to give, they still gave me all these things. They as well as the other families are so grateful for their sponsors.. This program really is giving them hope and life!!!
After saying goodbye, we travelled a short distance to meet some of the other children, inlcuding Jesse's boy and Ben's boy Nelson. When we arrived at Nelsons home, the women were again singing to welcome us.. and Nelson was in the center, with a cover over his head.. like a surprise who was waiting to be unveiled! Ben lifted the cover from his head and met the little boy that his family has been talking about and writing to for almost 2 years now. Nelson, like some of the others, was also very very shy but he was glad to meet Ben and his family and again presented him with similar gifts, including another live chicken! So very very sweet, so very happy that we came!
After meeting several more of the children in our sponsorship program, we went to see the new hospital clinic that World Visions sponsorship program has built... they are so excited to have this clinic which will be primarily to help HIV/ AIDS patients and also is a maternity ward for mothers who otherwise would have to deliver at home. There were several dozen caregivers there who were so gracious to us and answered alot of questions about the programs. We even got to meet one of their clients, a lady with 5 children who is frail and suffering from TB. She told us how much the WV Caregivers have blessed and helped her and was grateful for all WV has done for her. It was overwhelming to feel like such a help to them all.
After a great long first day in the village, we retired back to the guesthouse where supper was waiting: Sorta fried chicken, sweet potatoes, collared greens, shima (like grit patties) and other local vegetables. Then we had some delicious watermelon and pineapple for dessert. We had to be really careful not to eat anything that wasnt boiled or that they had made with their water... we had to drink only bottled water, even to brush our teeth... because its easy to get sick from what we are not used to. The food was delicious..and the women who cooked prepared it with much love.
Time for bed now.. a twin size bed, 3 in each room, with a treated mosquito net hanging over each and a few spiders (apparently harmless) beaming at us from the top of the walls. Oh, and I shouldnt forget the shrill sounds of the bats coming from the rooftop. Sweet dreams! LOL
More soon... Sonya and the Mazungos (their word for white people) LOL!!