Saturday, October 22, 2016

After a two day journey driving from Samfya to Lusaka, the capital, to begin our trek back home, we met up with Shadrick at one of the new malls in Lusaka.  Shadrick Puta is a young man from Samfya with the dream of being a clinical officer (like a physician's assistant in the states) to help the people in the rural village.  He was one of the kids supported through high school from his church, the Assembly of God, from SCCP and is forever thankful for the opportunity.  Though both of his parents are alive, they are both elderly, father 70, mother 65, and he is the youngest of 9.  4 of his siblings past away, likely of HIV, and that is why he was designated as vulnerable by his Church for this support.  He did well in high school and always liked science.  He knew from God that he was to learn how to help his people with healthcare, but had little ways to figure out how.  He was accepted into school for clinical officer but had no money to go.  He spent 3 years living with his brother selling CDs on the street to try to save up to go to school for healthcare, praying that this will get him through it.  He only had enough savings for the first semester, out of total of 6 semesters over 3 years.  He was able to spend his 6 week clinical time though in Samfya working along side Dr. Lushiku, the doctor we had worked with over the years at Samya Hospital.  Through his church and Dr. Lushiku, he connected with Carmen who thought of our Africa Hope Mission scholarship program.  With references from Dr. Lushiku and his pastor, along with verbal recommendations from leaders from SCCP we  agreed to support him for the rest of his schooling.  God has put it on his heart to work back in the rural areas of Samfya and he is dedicated to learning as much as he can.  So far he is doing very well in school, getting As and Bs at Kafue Institute, living there on his own at this private school about a 12 hour drive from his home in Samfya, where his parents are very proud.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

This is Hudson's Church he helped to found a few years back.  They call him "Papa Hudson" here.  It is what they call "Open Brethren."  Open to singing and clapping and not so many rules like the women all need to wear head covering.  We met in Hudaga's new pre-school.  There is a call for much celebration in this community, God is good...all the time!

All in all, Samfya has come a long way from when we first starting coming.  The town has brand new paved roads with curbs and drainage ditches.  Economy is growing, more shops appear all the time.  There is are new town markets.  Most churches in town are doing well and SCCP has pretty much put itself out of business for the town and is now working out in more rural villages with partner churches.  The new hospital is up and running, even the old run down stage 2 clinic is looking a little better and is mainly for out patient care.  Trainees for health are coming through the hospital regularly, more higher paid employees are here too.  More cars are on the road, HIV stigma has been relieved in most areas, there is another brand new gas station.  There even is a brand new very big luxurious lodge almost completed on the shores of the lake up the road.  Ten years has made a huge difference here, it is hard to recognize the old Samfya.  Challenges remain but God has been good so far.  Now the needs are more in the rural villages, which are not so far away!

Charles of Kaishe demonstrated his model farming techniques to us.  Here he is in front of his compost heap - taking green and dried grass mixing with water and animal manure, turning regularly until he gets a nice mulch.  With this infertile land, they have discovered if they dig 6 inch holes about 2 feet apart in their field, filling each with this compost it will lead to better crops.  It takes more work for the first two years but once established, re-using the same holes over time, work and yield greatly improves and is much better for the environment than what they presently do which is to burn the fields about this time of year right before seeding time which needs to occur before mid November when rainy season begins. 

Carmen and I got to sit down with some local Church leaders at their farm in Kaishe.  These leaders are attending the Extension Discipleship training program from the Samfya Bible College.  They appear to be growing in faith with this program, are encouraged that it can help build some Church responsibility to both lead others to faith in Christ and to help support their community.  Charles is here in red strips helping us communicate with Frances and Emmanuel.  They identified care of widows and orphans along with little knowledge of the gospels as two major challenges in their community. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

This is Wathabu Simfukwe on the left with Cephas on the right.  Wathabu is the new principal of the Samfya Bible College who helped create their new extension program with the hope of training and empowering the rural churches on discipleship, worship, and community work.  It is with their hope and vision that we are trying to improve the outlook of Kaishe.  With Bright Hope World and Africa Hope Mission, 30 church leaders and members from 6 churches in Kaishe are undertaking a 2 year discipleship extension training program from the Bible College in the hope of being able to work together on better community efforts to improve this village.

Monday October 17 we spent the day out in Kaishe village, a very poor community of about 5000 about 100km from the center of Samfya.  This community has been struggling a long time and we are trying to figure out how to help.  We did visit a pre-school today and above is a picture of the students with the teacher.  This seems to be the only thing running in the Kaishe Orphan Association at present because of lack of funding.  In the past they had done job training skills for orphans and were working on a farm project.

Cephas (pronounced Ki fas), the tall one in black, is surrounded by his family in his village home of Kaishe.  He is one of the few motivated young men who is trying to improve himself so he can come back and help this very poor community.  He is the eldest of 7 kids but his home includes many others, his aunts' and uncles' families who remain in this same community are considered within his family.  In fact when we meet him he introduced us to 3 mothers and 3 fathers!  He did identify his biological mother, here in the yellow shirt near the middle, but her sisters were also his mother.  His father's brothers are also considered his father, and many times the eldest of these brothers has more influence over the kids in the village than their own father, which has its pluses and minuses.  He was motivated by the leaders in his Brethren Christian Church to improve himself and he spent a year after graduating from his local high school in the Samfya Bible College and then was able to get support for his first year at the Theological University in Ndola.  This is a three year program but he could not get support for his remaining years until he got connected to Africa Hope Mission.  With recommendations from his church and the Bible College, Africa Hope MIssion is sponsoring his remaining time at the university, with the goal of having him come back and work with the Bible College in rural villages like Kaishe.  Hopefully he will be a valuable asset to help this community come out of extreme poverty, with God's blessing.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Today we spent the day working with the Samuchinwe massage and physical therapy group to empower them to be better at their work.  We have worked with Gabriel and Ireen for the last 7 years with physical therapists, occupational therapists, and massage therapist from the states to teach them in helping with all the aches and pains of living in Zambia.  Here they are working in a patient's home who had a stroke.  They are doing very well with how they apply their trade, just need some encouragement in getting their business going, working with the local government healthcare especially with the ability to go out to patients' homes. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Hudaga pre-school is almost 100% finished, a few little glitches though but we were able to work through them with Hudson.  He has to build 3 proper toilets instead of the pit toilets he currently has and needs to get a city water line with a water tank.  This should all be ready for next term which starts in January.  We focused the rest of the time on helping him develop a plan to get the income generating programs going for the next phase, which will be grade 1 through 4 which will be out on his farm 10km away.  Hudson has been quite enthusiastic on these programs.  He has an incubator where he will be able to take freshly laid chicken eggs and either sell the 1 day old chicks to others to raise which will save him on feed, or raise them himself for meat.  Either way should work, especially since he has the only incubator in the whole province.  Also on the farm, his fish ponds are going though he continually is learning how to make them bigger, realizing he will need to build more ponds to seperate the sizes of fish.  His best program seems to be the piggery, where he has raised 6 pigs up so far, selling 2 of them at about 80 kgs in weight.  He has quite a system in place to shovel out the pig poop into channels under the door and down into a pit where he will use this for fertilizer and his fish ponds.  He is also growing the maize, soy, and sunflower seed along with sugar cane used to make the pig slop.  He is looking to raise ducks, fruit and greens, all to generate income and also to feed the orphans. Here we have a face only a mother pig could love!

We had a nice visit with Ida and Royd, who we saw last year and who graduated from Hudson's pre-school when it started out in the living room of his home 3 years ago.  They are now some of the best students in 3rd grade at the local government school.  The hut behind them is where they live with their aunt and 3 other kids.  It has to be wall to wall people on the floor at night and looks like the roof is about ready to cave in.  Rainy season will be starting soon....  Look how big their smiles are though!

And here is Ester and Lisa, two orphans who are sisters and go to Hudaga.  Ester is 6 and Lisa is 5.  They were both really good and saying their ABCs.  They also love to sing, and sang for us a song called "I am the Blessing of God" in Bemba.  Ester loves things that are red, Lisa is a purple girl.  They have fun at school playing ball and singing with the other kids.  Their smiles were infectious as soon as they got over their shyness.
Hudson has been doing this a long time and has a knack for picking out the most vulnerable orphans in town to help.  The ability to bring them into his school and feed them truly is a blessing. 
This is Moses with his uncle, who is now his guardian.  This past rainy season a microburst came through their village and blew the roof off their house so his whole family has been struggling.  Moses was a little shy seeing us Muzungas but was able to relax a little after a while.  They do have part of the roof back up and trying to get back on their feet.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Today we had a nice visit with Terrence and his mother Jennifer.
Terrence is one of the new pre-school students at Hudaga.  He is one of the many vulnerable kids in the town of Samfya.  His father is not around, Jennifer is ill herself and has been living in a "group home" outside the hospital for 17 years now.  She struggles to raise her two smallest kids, Terrence and a younger girl who is 6.  Jennifer is 49 years old, has had 10 kids, 5 have passed away.  Her younger girl got sponsored by one of the hospital workers to get into first grade; Terrence has not been able to get to school.  Hudson took him into Hudaga for pre-school to get him started and says he is very enthusiastic to learn.  Terrence's favorite subject is math, likes to play soccer, and his favorite color is black!  He has an enthusiastic smile and an outgoing energy.  His mother is also very happy her son is now getting an education.   His goal is to become a doctor!  Please shower them with prayers!

Today we visited Hudaga.  The pre-school seen above with Hudson is done, just some final touch-ups.  They had to re-do the toilets to accomodate the 15 students they had so they had to temporarily suspend classes but hope to restart in January for the first of three terms.  They go 3 months thoughout the year with 1 month breaks in between terms.   It is a beautiful place complete with a kitchen for feeding the kids lunch, offices and a room for a teacher to sleep.  His goal is to have daycare for babies 3-4 years old, middle years of 4-5, then pre-schoolers 5-6, max allowed is 25 per year.  Mary was able to bring crayons, games, and other things for the kids.  We spent the day finalizing financing especially how to create income generating projects for self-sustaining this project.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Back in Samfya for 2016!  Nala and Lily are growing up.  We are back staying with Mark and Carmen who are raising their two girls up Zambian.  They are both on a Zambian swim club and doing well.  Look out Zambian Olympic team!  We got in last night, October 10th, Mary came with, an occupational therapist who now is on Africa Hope Mission's board.  It has been a while since I have been here, almost 15 months, which is the longest stretch since I started coming in 2006.  Things keep on improving in the main town of Samfya.  There are new lodges in town and a thriving economy now.  Most foundations have been properly "put out of business" here, which is good.  Now the goal is to help the surrounding villages who are struggling.  Our goal this trip is to visit the programs we are supporting along with the kids we are supporting for college.  First will be Hudaga - the school for orphans being built by Hudson.  We fully funded this project already, the pre-school is opened and we will see how far he is on his grade school.  Then we will visit Kaishe, where we are working with Bright Hope New Zealand to try to foster some growth there.  We have funded a leadership discipleship training program for Church and community leaders, mainly to get them working on the same page in a Christ-centered way to help their flock.   We will also be looking at potential property for a future hospice/clinic, exploring how to work with local health care in the community.  So far we have been welcomed back in Samfya, though it is very hot, in the 90's, dusty, and smokey.  Please pray for our safety on our journeys and help for us to see with God's eyes, hear with God's ears, and feel with God's heart as we try to figure out how Africa Hope Mission can help the most here.