Here is the latest report from my niece, Meagan Hawley, and her work with orphaned and abandoned babies at the Namwianga Mission in Africa. If you are interested, Meagan also has a blog at http://www.zambianhavenonearth.blogspot.com/ which she updates frequently!
December 13, 2012
Merry Christmas from our neck of the woods! It’s been quite a busy month around here, and things are getting even busier as we head into the holiday weeks!
We’ve only had one new arrival since last time I wrote you, a little boy named Lushomo who is a few weeks old now. It’s been a nice break and given us time to focus more on two of our sickest, Jeremy and Chilala. These two have been sickly since they came and never really thrived, but this last week they really went downhill. They are definitely not out of the woods, but God has blessed them with increased strength and a stable stretch, and we are all grateful. Fortune, the house parent in their house, is the most grateful of all I think! She works a full time job during the day as a nurse, and then if a baby needs something in the night like an IV, she administers that, too. So, she worked double duty on the nights where we needed them to have another drip put in. This has been the scene around here lately:
Most days are just the same, though, days spent filled with appointments and play and feeding and trying to impress upon these little lives the love of Christ any way we can. Sometimes that looks like fighting for them to stay alive and sometimes it means rocking them a little longer when they’re obviously in need of closeness that day.
This Thanksgiving was definitely one to be remembered! My friends Kelsey and Katie arrived the Monday before Thanksgiving, and they brought with them some treats for that special day! I have never had turkey in Zambia, so when I saw one a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving in a local village, I had to have it! I talked to the owner of the turkey, he agreed to let me buy it, and that was set. About 7 p.m. on Wednesday night, Patrick, my night watchman, arrived with the turkey, still alive, on the back of his bicycle! The rest of the night was a pretty gruesome scene, including doing some things I never thought myself capable of. Thanksgiving Day was a day of rest, which was much needed and so nice. We played games and started our cooking, but just as we put the turkey in to start cooking, the power went out. So, for the first time in my life, I had grilled turkey for Thanksgiving. Everything else was cooked outside over an open fire as well, so we didn’t exactly eat on time that night. But everything was great, and I was with good friends, and I had so much to be thankful for that day. I started Tonga lessons last month, so every weekday morning from 7:30 until about 9:30, I’m in the trenches of language study. My language teacher, Ba Halale, is very patient with my question-asking self. I was an English major, so language really fascinates me. Unfortunately for her, I seek to know how and why everything works the way it does, and that isn’t always possible to explain easily in a language in its “literate infancy”. So, we press on, and every day gets easier. Most days I write three words on my hand that she has chosen for me to master that day at the orphanage. Last week, I came in and found one of the aunties had written three English words she wanted to master on her hand! It was hilarious, and so much fun. They love to check out which words I’m supposed to be using that day, and it’s been a great bonding experience for us. Our plan is for me to spend a couple of weeks in a nearby village soon to completely immerse myself in the language and test out my newest vocabulary. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes!
The next few weeks should be exciting. On December 21st, we’ve planned a Christmas party for all of our babies who have gone back to the village since I came in 2006. That, my friends, is 146 children, plus their caretakers, which means if they all come (which they won’t, I’m sure), we’re looking at a party for about 300 people. What was I thinking?? Well, I wasn’t. I was too giddy over the thought of seeing all those little faces from years past! It will be a great time to see them, make sure they are all doing well, and remind them just how much God loves them. The menu is rice, chicken, greens, and cake, and I don’t even want to think about how many hours we’ll have to spend cooking it all. But it will all be worth it! Plus, it’s too late to turn back now—they announced it on Namwianga radio! A few days later, on Christmas day, we’re having a Christmas meal at the orphanage for the babies and aunties. That meal will only be for about 100, so it should be a piece of cake.
In this month that has been focused on being thankful, I’ve been especially mindful of the blessing I have in you all. Thank you for caring for me and supporting me so well. I am blessed and so very grateful.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org