Today was another incredible day here in Lusaka! The sun is up early, so most of us are up and at 'em pretty at the break of dawn.
We left for Hope's Home around 9 a.m. and were all greeted by 8 precious familiar faces, all who took flying leaps into our arms. Today was a big work day at the orphanage...lots to work on and get accomplished! The boys got to work outside digging trenches and mixing cement for stepping stones out to the garden.
The garden is beautiful and in full bloom. Jeffrey is the gardner at the home, and also serves as a father-figure to the kids. He is incredible with them, being so patient to teach them how to plant seeds, care for them and watch as they grow.
We were so blessed to have a generous family from back home donate a water well for the home. We were connected to the city water lines for while, but it was very unreliable and was shut off most of the day- kind of a nightmare when you have 8 kids to bathe and do laundry & dishes for. The water well is big and beautiful, pumping a bountiful amount of clean water into the home.
The boys worked hard- some of them piling into the back of a truck to buy cement curbs. The girls stayed in side organizing clothes, & helped the kids try on uniforms (thanks to a sweet school in Brentwood, TN for donating enough uniforms to clothe Lusaka! Hah!). We also hung pictures on the walls and filled the library with books and games. Each child has a bulletin board with their name on it, and pictures of their sponsors, that they truly all know by name. Every child saves letters from their sponsors like they are precious treasures. What an impact you all are making!
Shawn and Clayton took to the dirt road in front of Hope's Home to play catch, and get their daily workout in. Peter stood in amazement to see these 2 hurl a baseball back and forth. He even joined them while they worked out with their arm bands on the front porch. Of course, Hope wanted to play catch too!
The home was bustling and full of life as we all worked hard to organize donations and spend individual time pouring into each child. The kids are acclimating to this new life incredibly! We have to remind ourselves that only 2 weeks ago, their lives looked dramatically different. The truly act like a family of brothers and sisters.
After lunch, we hopped back in the bus and headed to Matero compound- where Destiny School is located. Our big blue bus is a dead giveaway to the community that Americans have arrived & we are here to play! We had at least 50 kids chasing our bus down the road, and probably another 50 at the school gates waiting for our arrival. Word travels quickly around here. We stepped off the bus into a sea of big smiles, giggles, and children launching into our arms. There is no such thing as a stranger here, and it is wonderful!
Buseko Market is only a short 10 minute walk from the school, so we were going to take turns being led by the Zambian staff over there. Buseko is a dark and dreary place to see. It is eye-opening and often difficult to take in. People make homes out of tarps, and sleep 10 to a tent. We visited our dear friends there, who graciously opened up their home for us to see. The rainy season makes it especially difficult, since it is near impossible for them to keep dry. The adults often times sleep standing up to let the children lay on the mattress that is soaked on the floor. The hope they have in the Lord is what keeps their spirits alive. It's such a testament to how wrong we often have it- it's never about the things we have, or the comforts of a home- it's about the promise of salvation offered to us daily. They get that. Even in the dirt, floods, and darkness of Buseko- there is a light that shines from their tent that only comes from the Lord.
We meet as a team each night to eat, pray together, and talk through the day. It is important we allow each other to process all we are experiencing. We end each night with a rousing game of Mafia, or Nertz, or Empire... Where all our competitive natures come to an ultimate peak. It's seriously ridiculous- serve during the day, and compete to the death at night!
Thank you all for your prayers, and keeping up with us. Everyone is healthy and doing unbelievably well. They have fully jumped into this, and committed themselves to making a difference in these kids' lives- something that will be life changing... and our ultimate prayer- country changing.