Sunday, November 7, 2010

We are back to the states! We are sitting in the Washington DC airport waiting for one more plane ride home - awesome. Thanks again for all the support and prayers. We have been reminiscing alot about our time there and all have been deeply moved by the Zambian people, their spirit, their giving, their God-centered lives. We had an amazing trip, did more work than ever, saw more people in that clinic than ever, did more teaching. Samfya continues to grow, much related to the work we are doing from Willow and Bright Hopes through their local churches with SCCP (Samfya Community Care Providers). Above is a picture of 3-4 children we ran into who had congenital defects which we will be looking into to see if we can get support to bring them to a high tech hospital in Lusaka, the capital, Cure International, to see if they can be repaired. Pray hard we can achieve this. We all need to take some time to rest, bath, and recup from jet lag, then get back into the swing of things. I will post follow-up soon and we will be starting to gather people for next year's team, which likely will be in August. Blessings from Mike, Becky, Val, and Kirsten

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hard to believe our time here is coming to an end already. We start back home today for the long flight. Here is a pic of our team with the Samfya Community Care Providers - such great people working for God's glory to help their community through their churches. It really is quite remarkable what has been happening here in Samfya in such a short time - really only 3-4 years. Things have improved greatly on how the local church is stepping up to try to resurrect this community. We will miss our friends. Pray for our safe return home to our families, pray for the continued health and well-being of the people of Samfya, Zambia! Lesa omepale (God Bless)

Here is another family we visited on hut calls. The woman in the middle just gave birth 2 wks ago via C section to her 7th child. Her and her husband are both surviving with HIV but unfortunately their house fell down to they are living in this small makeshift mud hut, along with one granddaughter, and her sister with her baby. Dad tries to fish to earn a living but brings in little. Rainy season is coming also and this hut has a pretty good chance of falling down too. Though SCCP is trying to help, please pray for their safety and health.

This cute little guy is Prosper. We saw him at his home Thursday on hut calls. He is 6 and an orphan living with his grandma. He has HIV but is doing well; in fact they had to chase him down at the beach to bring him home to see us. Unfortunately both his ears were badly infected so everytime we made him laugh he winced in pain. Though the economy seems to have picked up in Samfya, health issues are still very bad. Teen-agers and young adults still have a very lax attitude about sex even though awareness is up, and they fear even getting tested because of the stigma that could bring, but one out of every 7-8 of them will be HIV positive. There is still a long way to go but we had a great meeting with the pastors and church leaders of the NGO we work with. It taught them more about HIV and encouraged them to lead their community to raise awareness, decrease stigma, step out and even get tested themselves, reduce misconceptions about HIV - one pastor thought a person with HIV is when the ends of their hairs start turning white - boy I'm in trouble then! They spent an hour asking great questions, like is HIV a curse from God - we encouraged them to treat the disease different from behaviors, not to judge because not everyone who got HIV got it from sinful behavior, and to care for them as Jesus cared for the sick. Pray that they use this information to change their communities.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bats for halloween

Over the weekend we did get a break and visited a game park a few hours a way. So while you all were trick and treating, we were off seeing REAL bats. This picture is just a little taste of what we really saw -= all those dots in the sky are huge tan-colored fruit bats and in October-November of each year they migrate to this park by the millions. They filled the skies with this eerie screeching, like the flying monkey scene from Wizard of Oz. We climbed up into the trees and would see thousands all clustered together on a single branch, branches breaking because of the weight, like ugly foxes with wings. This is the largest mammal migration in the world and a once in a lifetime sight - quite amazing. The park also had various antelope and we did get to seen a herd of elephant running off through the woods, though too fast to catch on film. The crunching of the trees as they ran through this in a cloud of dust was spectacular. Happy halloween!

Eye glasses

We have handed out over a hundred glasses in the first few days, including this one in the yellow. He is the local DC, District Commissioner - equivalent to a governor in the states. Here with his permanent guard in the fancy hat, we all stopped while he visited our clinic to see what we were doing and to thank us, all while politicking alittle on the way out. Kirsten and Val have done great and picked up how to fit the right lens for everyone, and here Estrida is picking out the best fit out of the hundreds I brought all donated from you all - THANKS. We will be figuring out how to keep this process going sending more glasses out there regularly - the need is huge.

Working hard

Hi friends - sorry have not been able to blog recently - poor electricity and working hard. We arrived safely in Samfya last week and have been busy, busy, busy. Two of us do hut calls and two of us work in the clinic from 8:30 til 5. In the clinic we have seen more people for health issues and more for eye glasses than any other team I have seen. This morning two of us saw about 60 locals including this woman with her daughter and granddaughter - this little one had a fever of 104 with malaria. There has been an outbreak of measles here, combined with the heat - in the 90s everyday, the end of dry season meaning crops are low, hot, dry, dust all over, and lots of bush fires creating a situation where every0ne is sick. God is giving us strength to work hard, encouraged by the good people here. Half way through though we already are running out of glasses. Local health care is also falling down - the local clinic has not had a shipment of medicines for 3 months. Continue to pray with us, for us, for the Zambians.