Friday, April 4, 2014

Language School- last day :(

Well, folks, it's all over (this time around anyway!) and I'm home! 

I presented Ba Mwiinga with his cake and a flash drive containing all 40 pages of my typed notes! 

He loved the cake and was excited to go home and share it with his family. (I guess he loved the flash drive, too, but he asked for it, so it wasn't a surprise!) We did some final review and clarification in the morning, I took my final exam, and then we were off. Now it's time to try out all that I've learned in the real world! 

I drove straight to the hospital to check on Chabilo. When I first arrived, she really didn't look good. I was able to talk to the doctor, and he assured me that compared to how she was looking, she looks incredible today. Maybe I'm glad I wasn't here! 
When I went back tonight to check on her, she looked so, so much better. She was bright and alert, although still having a little trouble breathing. 

The doctor said it will be at least Monday before he thinks about discharging her. The paediatric ward was jam packed full of kids and their mamas, and they were all giddy when they didn't hear me speak a word of English! 

And as for all of the other little ones and aunties, they've surprised me with all sorts of new tricks. Can't wait to show some to you soon. 

I'm so looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight, bat free! I'm thankful to all of you who've followed along on the journey!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Language School- Day 19 and prayers for Chabilo

I'm totally distracted tonight because I just found out that Chabilo, one of our sweet baby girls, is admitted in the hospital with pneumonia and trouble breathing. I feel so incredibly helpless here, and can't wait to get there tomorrow and see how she really is. I've been so grateful that everyone has stayed totally healthy while I've been gone, so at least she waited until the night before I came home to get sick! That only leaves one night to wish I were there and not here! Please pray for healing for our sweet baby girl. 

In other sad news, I read something crazy tonight in one of my stories from a school text book that I practice reading in. Since I've lived here, I've heard so many things people do to try to cure themselves of HIV. I've always been disturbed by it, and we've had a lot of classes dispelling many of those myths. But today, in a 4th grade school book, I read this article:
One of the main myths spread all over Africa is that If you have sex with a child, it will cleanse you of your HIV. This story is warning kids that men and women both may try to give them sweets or money to bribe them, and then the children could get sick and die. It breaks my heart that those words have to be in a textbook, and that children have to be warned of horrors like this. It's just so hard to wrap my mind around realities like this in the world, eventhough I see and hear about them daily. It makes me want to pour every bit of love I have into the kids in our lives and preach to them how much worth they have. Despite how sad it is that this article even exists in a child's book, one neat thing about it is that the last line of the story says, "God loves all these children." Two things you wouldn't find in our school books at home on one page! 

I have such mixed emotions about leaving here tomorrow. I'm thrilled to get back home,especially now that Chabilo is admitted, but I'll definitely miss Ba Mwiinga, all the time to learn, and the simplicity of living here. I'm just beyond grateful I've been given this opportunity. 

One more day of classes and a final exam and I'm on my way! Thanks for your love and prayers!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Language School- Day 18

Today was as relaxing a day as we've had. We read a lot of stories and dissected them for their varying verb tenses, adjectives and adverbs, clauses, demonstratives, etc. It was fun for this oddball who loves sentence diagramming and all that jazz. :)

I loved when Ba Mwiinga said this today:
English is a smart language, but Tonga is a rich one.

He was trying to nail down some pesky prepositions (Tonga doesn't have them, or rather they are infixed within verbs so it doesn't seem like it has them), and he was attempting to explain why. We didn't really come up with anything, but it was an interesting thing to think about nonetheless. 

We also were going over some sentences in a book I've studied before. This was one of the sentences:
We were specifically looking at how the noun and adjective have to agree with the verb, but it struck me again how much you learn about a culture through learning their language. Imagine if we in America grew up reading in books that it's good to have big bodies! Such a different mindset to view your body as a tool that needs to be strong and fit for your work, and you're actually pitied when you're too thin. I digress, but I continue to love learning more and more about this unique culture.

Two more days-- ahhhh!  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Language School- Day 17 and a dead bat

Ahhh, well one bat down, a hundred to go. I told one of the groundsmen about the one just hanging out right in my living space and refusing to leave, and he came right in and attacked that thing while I screamed and hid my eyes.  It was horrible and hilarious all at the same time. So, I still hear bats all around but can't currently see any, so life is good! 

As for school, I'm starting to get sad that it's almost over. I mean, that feeling will pass I know :). It's just so nice to have had this time to give this my full attention and to learn from someone so wise. 

Today we revised many things that desperately needed it and practiced lots of different potential conversations with new tenses and vocabulary. Ba Mwiinga just kept shaking his head and saying, "I'm just proud of you." 

Today he was reading some passages out of one of his books, and he kept cracking himself up! It was making me laugh so hard, even though I had no idea what he was laughing about because I couldn't understand the passage! It's just so great to be around someone who is so happy and positive all the time. I want to be that type of person. 

Three more days... the end is in sight!
          My long-gone roommate 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Language school- Day 16 and Lusaka

We had such a great weekend in Lusaka. People are always surprised when I tell them I went to a movie or something like that here in Zambia, so I thought I'd show you a little bit about what the capital city is like. It is 5 hours away from Namwianga, and a world away experientially. 

In the seven years since I first moved to Zambia, it has changed like crazy. The mall that is there still makes me drop my jaw sometimes. It's just wild because it's right next to such extreme levels of poverty. Here's a little picture tour of the journey to Lusaka...
Leaving language school and headed to the tarmac.

 Lusaka is way hillier than the land around Namwianga. 
No trip to Lusaka is complete without a stop at "Kafue Corner". This is where I've made friends through the years who sell all sorts of beautiful baskets and are famous for their apples and bananas. Every inch of your windows is smashed full of vendors wanting you to choose their fruit. 
When you make it to Lusaka, they have robots (traffic lights), but most intersections still use roundabouts. 
I saw this golf club for the first time!
This is our favorite roadside market. 
People are all over the roads selling all sorts of things. The things I've bought on the side of the road over the years include, but are not limited to, bottled water, fruit, scrabble set, phone charger, beach towel, soccer jersey, posters, jumper cables, a movie, a lamp, sunglasses, talktime, and I'm drawing a blank for anything else. It's actually a really fun, convenient way to shop. 
And my all time favorite place in Lusaka is the chitenge house. Chitenges are the brightly colored wraps used for dress or for carrying babies, and this market in town has about six shops in a row with so many selections. I squeal everytime I go in. This trip I got to pick out 50 different ones for each of the aunties for their birthdays this year (don't tell!), so it was so much fun choosing from all the beautiful patterns. 
And then on the other side of town, there's the mall with the movie theatre and kettle corn and slushies, and everytime I walk up I utter the phrase, "We've reached the land of milk and honey." It's crazy, and you feel almost like you're back in America. You're quickly reminded that you're not, but still. 
A skyscraper made of cement. 

Then it's back to the bush and reality where things are worlds apart. I am always so excited to get to Lusaka, but even more ready to leave it and get home. It's stressful, fast paced, busy, and commercial. Just so different from everyday life here. 

I bought a cake at a bakery there to present Ba Mwiinga on our last day this coming Friday. That's the customary gift at a graduation, so I thought it fitting. I had them write "#1 Teacher Ba Mwiinga Ndalumba!" on it, but when I went to pick it up the next day it read "I Feacher" for some reason :). They easily fixed it, and we were on our way!

Today was a great day of trying to soak up all the last bits of wisdom he has to share with me this week. He brought me one of his books today as a gift, hoping one day I'll be able to understand it! 

I'm off to bed, but if you're someone who has been praying for me, I'd love prayers for the bat situation in my little guest house. One of the ceiling boards is down (not fixable in the next week) and the bats that I hear all night are starting to come down and freak me out. Like they stand in the path between me and the bathroom, and I just can't handle it. Benadryl's not even cutting it to keep me from thinking they're going to swoop down and get me in the night. I have my door barricaded so they shouldn't be able to get in while I sleep, but it doesn't stop me from hearing them all night! So some prayers for them to keep their distance and allow me some peace of mind the next few days would be wonderful! I appreciate you all! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Language school- Day 15

The test went great!

And now I'm in Lusaka having some girl time with Cintia! It is so nice to get out of Tongaland (that's actually what Tonga-speaking places are called, not just a nick name I've given this place :)!) and rest my weary brain a bit. I'll be refreshed and ready for my last week of classes!

I hope your weekends are restful and relaxing as well!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Language school- Day 14

As is sometimes the case, success is followed by more challenges! Today was just one of those days where the task seemed totally daunting, and I felt completely incapable. 

Ba Mwiinga is getting to the point where he thinks I know way more than I know (being taught something doesn't mean you know it, unfortunately!), and I'm just overwhelmed with the pace right now. I have to keep reminding myself that learning a language takes time, and that I'm in the middle of an ongoing process. It definitely won't be over next Friday when I head home, and it won't even be over in another two or three years. It's encouraging to think back to how much I  spoke two years ago, and it's even more exciting to think about where I hope I'll be after another two years. It's an ongoing journey, and one I'm so glad I'm taking, hard as it is at times. 

Tomorrow is my third exam, so I'm studying like crazy tonight! Thanks for all your love and prayers!