Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sun - 9/25

Chris and Norma finally arrived at Brad and Ruth’s a little after 2pm on Saturday. Hurray, hurray!!! was the shout all around. ...okay, it was mostly just me, but everyone was happy they made it :>) They had Pumba with them, their American Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Their other dog, Mafuta, who I LOVE, had stayed at Morning Star for the 2 weeks they were gone because she doesn’t do cars. “Futi” is a rescue dog who is very nervous about things and was obviously abused before she was rescued. Mafuta - which means “big” in Ndebele - is anything but. She’s very low to the ground and long and rather sausage-shaped (her back legs are all rabbity-hind feet), but she’s got the face of Murray from “Mad About You” which is probably part of why I love her so much. (Black-lined bashful eyes and a long nose and half-floppy/half-perky ears.) That and I just want to love on her because she’s so sweet and shy and nervous.  She doesn’t follow us inside the way Pumba does, just stays outside or goes to her bed in another room, doesn’t ride in cars, doesn’t jump up or want to be in your lap or allow you to pick her up. She’s a very sweet dog, Corgi and something, and when she’s happy, she’s got that little dog JOY that reminds me of Midget (who I miss an extra lot lately - it was strange to be taking off on such a big trip and not have her following me around while I packed and then not having to say goodbye to her before I leave. sad). It definitely helps to have such a nice dog around. Pumba’s alright but he's not really my type. He does crack me up, tho, because much like Joel's cat Shadowfax, he loves to roll in dirt and then wanders around covered in dirt and grass and hay (his coat is pitch black, so no camo, haha). 
Anyway! We got to Morning Star last night and unloaded the (packed!) car. We’d left a big steamer trunk at R & B’s to fit my suitcases in the back of the truck. C & N had brought back 2 big steamer trunks that had been stored elsewhere for the last 3 years; today we discovered that the one which stayed in the trunk had some of their camping gear inside. I know that feeling of not really being sure what’s in a box, just knowing it’s not vital to your existence or you would’ve had it with you all this time. I’m pretty tired of moving myself, but I have no clue when I’ll have my own place again - hopefully sometime in 2012. 
We had a simple dinner of sandwiches and crisps. It’s been a very cold weekend for here this time of year and because it was cloudy yesterday, the solar panels hadn’t heated the water enough to take showers. Norma built a fire so we could take showers in her little bathroom, and it was steamy boiling hot water - for a few minutes and then got colder pretty quickly. The bathroom in question is new since I was here last, and quite nice overall but the showerhead is at least 7 feet in the air AND I was trying to keep my hair dry last night so some serious contortionism was required to get clean and stay warm at the same time. (I felt like a midget and it reminded me of when the Little Couple talked about how hard it is for them to take showers in a normal shower - running between drops! ahh!). Tonight was a little easier, because Norm stoked the fire right before I got in, but still, the temp dropped pretty fast once it went down and the last thing you want when it’s this chilly and you’re basically camping is to be wet and COLD. 
Thing about Morning Star is that it’s got a lot of buildings, all thatched roof, and some are more secure and air-tight than others, but there’s no heating in any of them. So right now, in my “cabin” (hut), there is only a slight draft, but it’s quite cold and I’m sitting here under several blankets, wearing about 3 layers. 
The best improvements since we were here before are the addition of solar battery powered lights in almost all the rooms (so you’re mostly dealing with dimmish blueish LED light but it’s electric light gosh-darn-it! absolutely magical :>) and the addition of a new bathroom on the girls’ “dorm” where GG and I stayed last time (two showers and a toilet and sink) and C & N’s bathroom, with toilet/shower/sink and room left over for storage of any number of things. Funniest thing about the showers is that they’re all made of big rough stone, so your feet get a bit of a scrub, and if you lean down to fetch the soap without thinking, your bum will get pumiced as well! :>P  TIA, man, and I love it. 
Today I was woken at 545, having not slept all that well to begin with, by the maniacal chattering of the birds. The birds here, even in the city, are insanely talkative and LOUD. In the dim light, I half-staggered to the loo and back, put in my ear plugs and on my sleep mask, and willed myself back to sleep for a few hours. (Side note on birds: the other day, I heard a rooster crowing at 330pm, and he was answered by an owl. There are some confused birdies, folks.)
My sleeping habits are already hiLARious altered from what they are in the States. I have rarely gotten to bed/sleep before 2am basically this entire year. If I have to get up early for something specific, I have managed an earlier bedtime some of the time, but as soon as the commitment is over, it’s back to the latest nights. In the 2 weeks before I flew out, it was more like 3 or even 4 before I could manage sleep. I was just too keyed up and stressed and there was a TON to do. But I’ll tell ya, not having electricity can really make you ready for bed earlier better than anything else. Last night, we had dinner and then Norma was getting me set up to get a shower (fire-building etc), and I was yawning a lot and thinking, “please let it at least be close to ten so I can go to bed soon”, looked at my watch - ....815. OY. I was completely pooped and ready for bed by 9, but I made myself stay up and read til 10 so I had a better shot at staying asleep. I ended up having a bunch of weird dreams throughout the night and not even knowing what to do with myself when I woke up. 
Today was a quiet day at MS. Denis and his daughter Kayla and their friend came by for a while around 10 (Kayla is WAY taller than 2 years ago and very slim, built like Denis, inc. wicked cheekbones; she is losing teeth and remains unshy; she’s about 7). Denis has multiple businesses but one is a lodge just about a mile away called Shumba Shaba, which is really incredible. The cabins are built into the mountainside and have an amazing view. He’s a friend of Ryan K, and was our guide when we went to Vic Falls last time, and drove us around/facilitated our visit in many ways before. Good man. 
C & N and I spent much of the day unpacking and getting ourselves sorted, which was good. N and I made lunch and eventually the sun came out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky - hurray! - and it got much warmer and nicer, so N and I went for a “walk” (Death Hike, more like - Emmy and Rach know what I mean) with the dogs. It was hilarious - she kept veering around and circling back on where we’d been and taking me up and down crazily steep boulder faces, and then thru tangles of thorns and vines and roots, etc. I was not entirely prepared, haha. Should’ve worn an older shirt :>P But it was beautiful, of course, and got to see a couple of great vistas and things, and got a good workout. The dog joy was in full force, since neither of them have gotten much running around time lately. Always makes me happy to see a dog happy. (I’m such a sap :>) 
Managed to get online for a few minutes after dinner, but N’s comp battery doesn’t last long and the internet connection comes and goes like crazy, very unreliable, so I was only able to read some of my emails and shoot off a few lines to the parents and RK. 
All is well, tho. May get to visit a few schools this week. I think we will visit 2 schools once the Ems are here, so I need to pick the second one (already planning to revisit the school - Sigiti - which GG and I worked in before). That way we can spend 3-4 days in each school. In between, we’re planning a trip to Vic Falls, the Boma (World’s Best Restaurant), and Botswana for a safari day - exciting stuff all around! Starting to make a list with Norma of what the Ems can bring (so far, dice and flash cards). Tomorrow (Monday) working on sorting supplies and planning and getting ready for various activities the rest of the week. 


Sat 9/24

It is Saturday at nearly 2pm, and Chris & Norma should arrive any minute! They finally got thru the border from Zambia this morning. 
Meanwhile, I’ve been with Brad & Ruth, who have been very nice. Yesterday was an odd day for me, but overall a good one. We spent the morning at TCZ (Theological College of Zimbabwe). There was a service for an hour but mostly all 3 of us were on the computer. Ruth had an interview or two to do with people, as well. It was nice to be online and be able to post blogs and shoot off a few emails and drop the occasional wall post, but it was also frustrating because there is a 6 hr time difference and everyone at home in the US was in bed. (Curses.) I don’t know when I’ll be online again, either. But it was still nice. I even got to watch the season premiere of Castle! Granted, it was pretty terrible (bad writing, lame plot, overused themes, extra-terrible acting on the part of Beckett), but it still let me feel a bit connected to my own culture for 45 minutes. Don’t know if I’ll get to do anything like that again or not. 
I read the plot summary for the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy and I really think I give up on the show. It’s been a guilty pleasure for a few years now, but the second half of last season was pretty awful, and they are making extremely blatant choices to promote abortion on the show now; I just can’t stomach it any more. The producer is downright evangelical about abortion at this point - it’s shown up on Grey’s a good bit, but Private Practice (same producer, spin-off series) is LOADED with it. It makes me ill. So I think I’m done. It’s a bummer. But it’s just a show, and there are better uses of my time. (just needed to get that off my chest! :>) 
Back to yesterday! After a very warm morning in a little office with 3 computers going (sweaty!), we came back and had tuna sandwiches for lunch at the house and then Ruth & Brad went off to some kind of junk sale, where they bought steel for building out at Ebenezer and very luckily, a desk! They’ve been slowly accumulating furniture in their (enormous) rental house here, and I know they’ve been looking for a desk, so that’s exciting. I stayed home and read a book, cover to cover, until about 7pm! It was nice, tho, to just lay around and rest and get totally caught up in the story. I did skim a bit, but not too much. It was just silly Brit Chic Lit but I liked it alright. Good escapism reading. 
The electricity at R & B’s is very unpredictable (at least when you’ve just arrived! they know the system). It’s always on on Wednesdays, I believe, but after that, it’ll go on and off for half days at a time. We had none on Thursday evening until about 930 (Settlers of Cattan by candlelight!), then we had it yesterday evening thru now, but it’s supposed to go off again tonight and turn on again tomorrow evening. I  have no idea what Monday and Tuesdays are like. I guess it’s a lot of “well, we had it this morning, so we won’t have it tonight” and vice versa. It’s strange, too, because I know the whole city isn’t like that, but I guess there are areas that have it off and on and then others just have it?
I was talking to a man at TCZ this morning and he asked me what America is like. I said, “Big. And fast.” He laughed (he laughed a lot of things, very cheery guy :>) and we talked about what’s different here. I said we have electricity all the time - yes, even in rural areas, we’re very wired there. And ‘tis true. 
It’s a little shocking how much I want to check my phone for texts or just get online and check my email. I am remembering now how hard it was in England not to have a phone (the pay phone system was a mess at my school); I did end up getting one there within maybe 2 weeks because I just couldn’t stand to be so totally disconnected. I didn’t have a computer at the beginning of the semester, either,  and there are far fewer computer labs on non-American campuses. I am thinking about trying to get a phone here, but I’ll talk to Chris & Norma - and Ryan next week - and see if that would be reasonable or silly. There are rental phone plans, so it’s a thought. It would be really great to have a phone while I’m in Italy, too. I am FINALLY beginning to see advantages to smart phones, like having the internet at your fingertips at all times (which truly is useful when you are traveling) and having an international SIM card option so you can make calls from overseas. 
I got quite lonely yesterday after being online while everyone at home was asleep. I kept hoping that my dad would wake up wicked early so I could call him on Skype. Alas, it was not to be. It’s been okay to be w/ total strangers for this first bit but I am certainly ready to see Chris and Norma and be at Morning Star, and I know it will be delightful to see the Kings next week, and even more Ryan and Ellen. To see Africa through Ryan’s eyes... That’s what I would like. 5 more days or so and I’ll be traveling with Forgotten Voices, travels many years in the making for me. I am very excited, to put it mildly. 
For dinner yesterday, Brad made salad and grilled squash and chicken kiev - all delicious - and we sat around in the living room eating with plates in laps and watching a BBC show called “Gavin & Stacey” that they love. It was quite funny and VERY British.
They’re here! They’re here!!! Off I go! :>D 


Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday - 9/23

Still no sign of Chris & Norma. They're having trouble with Interpol and getting their car back across the border, so we may not see them til Tuesday! Brad & Ruth are very nice and hopefully won't get sick of their unexpected guest by then :>P I said before I left that I was going to trust that any detour I took on this trip would be God's way of getting me where He wanted me to go, so I guess I'm supposed to be with Ruth & Brad for a bit! It is nice to be with people close to my age and I am predisposed to like them because they are British, I'm not going to lie. So that's all good.

Eyes haven't hurt yet today, except the faintest bit when I first got up. Praise God! Hoping it stays that way. Nose is a bit drippy, but I'm pretty sure that's a good thing at this point.

Sitting in the Theological College of Zimbabwe while Ruth & Brad get work done. Finally online for the first time since I got literally 3 minutes to check my email on Wed morning at the airport in Jo-burg.

Things are good. It's hot here but has still been getting quite cool at night. If I ignore the possibility of bugs (or any other crazy things like monkeys) that might sneak in my window at night with no screen, I can have a lovely breeze while I sleep (which makes for better sleeping :>).

Should probably keep sorting thru emails.

Love to all,
-the one in Zim

ps - the time difference is making me crazy - I could be on skype with someone but it's after 3am at home, so no one is on. alas...

Thurs 9/22 - Day 2!

Woke up shortly after 6am today and before I had even taken off my black-out sleep mask, I was slammed by excruciating pain in my eyes. I don’t know what to do about it. It hit me hard off and on all day. I don’t want to just throw back Aleve/Ibuprofen every day but nothing else seems to be helping. I’m drinking a lot of water and taking Benadryl at night so the Benadryl doesn’t knock me out in the day. I suspect I need a mega-decongestant OTC from home, tho, or even antibiotics, but I need to talk to the parents about whether I should take the antibiotics I have here or if they will/should send something else through Ryan next week. I have never had pain in my eyes like this except when I’ve had the absolute worst 2 or 3 migraines of my life, and this is still worse. Trying to massage around my sinuses a lot when it hits me and that helps a little, wearing my glasses inside and my sunglasses outside, but as I said, even in total dark it can hit me so hard I want to cry. It’s weird and disconcerting (and extremely painful) and I’m trying to trust God and not dream up brain tumors. Nothing much I can do for now. Strange that it started right before I left and has just been getting worse since Monday.
Aside from that, things are quite good. It’s Thursday night as I write this and Chris & Norma still haven’t gotten back from Zambia (where they had to go to start taking care of their complicated passport/visa issues that I still don’t know the full story on). Went out to Ebenezer Christian Agriculture Center in the Matopos today with Brad & Ruth and met lots of lovely people, and even “taught” 2 hilarious 7 year old boys for an hour with Ruth while most of the other adults around the place had a big meeting. 
Brad is a builder and has drawn up plans for new volunteer housing for Ebenezer, and Ruth is helping some people there with their English so they can pass certain exams. Ebenezer is an agricultural school, as you might have guessed, but they also do Bible classes and use Foundations for Farming (formerly Farming God’s Way) as their base. People have to be single and do various interviews/applications to get in, and they take in a new class every 6 months, but the full program is 2 years, I believe. It’s very hard work - up at daylight, work in the fields until lunch at 1pm (always sudza [like grits] and cabbage), then have class in the afternoon - so they lose about a third of the people from each class pretty quickly, apparently. Of course, the rewards of doing something that are enormous for people because they can take what they’ve learned back to their communities and teach them, and it has the potential to spread like crazy. Foundations for Farming is a really fascinating way to farm (look it up! :>) and yields far more than traditional methods do. 
It was nice to be out in the Matopos again, gazing at the insane rock formations and enjoying the patches of moon rock. The roads are bad after awhile, made worse by Brad’s crazy driving. He flies along and we lift off the seats on occasion. Reminds me of Nate’s driving. But TIA, man. This is Africa. So I bounce along and try not to squeak when jostled particularly hard. (I know Nicole’s got in worse in Uganda!) 
Spent the first hour or so at Ebenezer chatting with a lady named Laura, who is 6 or 7 months pregnant and had us for tea. Met a few other people and then went and did school with the boys, who were very nice. It always cracks me up how kids are kids no matter where you go. There was the louder, bursting-with-personality Kiwa who had to comment on things and put on a show and rarely stopped talking, and then there was Nyasha, who was quieter with us, and didn’t much try to get a word in edgewise (very sweet, tho, I think). Lunch was sudza and cabbage, no utensils. That took a minute or two to get thru my head, because we always had utensils wherever we went the last time we were here. Hurray hand sanitizer! Sudza is pretty boring stuff, but the cabbage was good and you kind of scoop them up together and that’s that. 
We got back to the house in Bulawayo around 4pm, having left at 8 and not had electricity here after 7am, and I laid down to rest and fell into a dead sleep from 430-6! Still recovering from the trip, I guess, and the eye aches and the heat probably don’t help. It is dry here (thank the Lord - I don’t think I could love Zim the way I do if it was humid!) but very hot. I think today was a little cooler than yesterday and there was a nice breeze up in the mountains and it’s quite cool now (11pm). No screens, of course, since TIA, so you have to choose between heat and no bugs or cool breeze/windows open/potential for bugs. I haven’t had trouble with the bugs so far, tho, for which I am thankful. Brad doesn’t like to use the “air con” in the car because it uses gas, which is incredibly expensive diesel, so it was quite a hot ride there and back again for the most part. 
Had a lovely stir-fry dinner with Brad and Ruth and their friend Rod, who lives around the corner and also works with Ebenezer but is in marketing. He’s from Swaziland, but grew up in South Africa, and now he’s here. It’s funny to hear his super strong S. African accent, because he seriously looks like the CA surfer dude type, and if he could do the accent, he could pass for American easily (the Paul Walker sort, except Rod is quite smart and cheeky and fun).  It was a really nice dinner and then we sat around playing Settlers of Cattan, which Rod and I had to learn and which is the most complicated game ever. I think I would do better if I could play again, but I did not end up with the fewest points. So I got that goin’ for me. 
Chris & Norma wrote today that they were supposed to be crossing into Zim today, but wouldn’t be back til tomorrow (Friday) because of something to do with obtaining a car. Nothing is easy or predictable here, and all the best laid plans seem to go awry. I think I’ve said “TIA, man.” in my head dozens of times already and I’ve only been on the continent for 3 days. 
Funny side note: I’d forgotten how very hard it is for me to maintain my own (BORING) American accent when I’m around people who sound different (more fun!!!) than I do, like Brits and S. Africans and Zimbabweans. I can already hear their speech patterns coming out of my mouth, and it’s all I can do not to just speak like someone else all day long. I had forgotten this about living about England but of course now it’s coming back to me, and I am fighting it but it hardly seems worth it when it would be so much more fun to practice my accents. What an actress I am sometimes :>) I’ve been writing this whole thing in a British accent in my head, can you tell? ;>) 
To bed, to bed. Thanks for prayer. Missing my phone/the internet/being connected. 

So Far... (travel & first day in Zim)

-unbeknownst to me, my luggage got checked all the way thru to Bulawayo from DC. I found this out after waiting for said luggage at the carousel in Jo-burg for about half an hour. A pain in that I didn’t have the things with me in J-burg that I thought I would, but my backpack had everything I really needed, and it was nice that I wasn’t lugging 100 extra pounds around the airport last night and this morning. 
-SO very ready not to be lugging backpack (30 lbs?). Definitely could’ve packed one or two fewer books for the flight over. It’s funny but I always forget how much THAT much extra weight will affect me, particularly in making my knees sore from carrying extra weight. I feel like I’m at the end of Biggest Loser and I’m putting the weight back on (thankfully, I have never weighed 30 lbs more than I do now, but you get the picture). 
-the flight was okay. could’ve been worse. I think I slept more this time - 6 hours at least, I believe. Watching “Something Borrowed” and “Unknown” as well as episodes of “Mike & Molly” and “Episodes” (which I’d never seen and which was delightfully British). 
-the plane was wicked loud because I was sitting right behind the wing.
-South African Airways treats you better than Delta. Last time, we flew SAA and they fed us at least 3 times, gave out socks/sleep masks/toothbrush & paste to everyone, etc. Delta gave us a late dinner, never turned the lights out of one side of the plane, and then delivered a snack while most of the people were asleep. No sleep mask = major bummer. I hadn’t packed one because I assumed we’d get one and the one I use at home has bean things in it and weighs a ton. (Bought a new light-weight one in Jo-burg before flying to Bulawayo; it is excellent.)
-Bed in B&B in Jo-burg was too hard. Went to bed with half a dose of sleeping pill at 1030pm and woke up w/o truly falling back to sleep at like 545am. So that was a bit of a bummer. Feeling okay, not great - but travel usually makes me feel crummy. 
-had a weirdo get in my face in a gift shop awhile ago. Moved so he was blocking my way and then said, “Can I get past?” and I said, “Can I get past?” and then he didn’t move so I went around him which took some doing (giant backpack and small aisles and all) and muttered, “What is your problem?” and he yelled after me, “Go away, ugly woman!” Not my favorite moment so far - it wasn’t even 9am :>P 
  • I feel crummy after I fly. This sucks, because I always loved to fly when I was younger. Alas, it is what it is. Hoping to feel better soon. I think the reason I feel so bad right now is that I may have a sinus infection, which would be why I keep getting headaches/sinus aches/eye aches. Not quite sure what to do about that, hoping it will pass. Decongestants in the meantime.
  • Picked up at the Bulawayo airport by a very nice British couple in their late 20s/early 30s named Brad and Ruth, who work for a Baptist mission organization here and have a big house where I have a room with a comfy bed for the next night or two (hurray comfy bed! hurray Brits!). Chris & Norma had to leave the country for a few days to get a visa thing taken care of, and will be back Thurs or Fri to fetch me (supposedly). 
  • Taught Brad & Ruth to play Fast Scrabble. Despite struggling to keep the weight of my suitcases down, I couldn’t bring myself to leave the tiles at home when there is so little entertainment here that you don’t make yourself (v. limited internet, no Tv, etc). The tiles are lightweight, and they enjoyed learning to game, so all’s well on that count. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Why Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe has been hit hard by HIV/AIDS, harder than most of the rest of the world. The crisis has not been helped by the corrupt leadership of the country and the resulting economy. The inflation got so out of control a few years ago that the government was forced to give up on the Zimbabwean currency altogether, and switch to the South African Rand and the US Dollar.

1 out of every 4 children in Zimbabwe is an orphan. There are an estimated 100,000 child-headed households. The average life expectancy is between 45 and 50. Less than 4% of the population is over 65.   


   1. Zimbabwe was home to 1.3 million AIDS orphans in 2006. It is more like 2 million now.
   2. 86% of orphans live with their grandparents.
   3. The median age in Zimbabwe has dropped to 19 years old.
   4. Zimbabwe currently has an 80%+ unemployment rate.
   5. In Zimbabwe, 33% of pregnant women are HIV positive.

Can you imagine?

The good news is that there are people in the world who want those statistics to turn around. Some of those people are the good folks at Forgotten Voices International (see link on right). FVI's whole mission is to demonstrate the love of Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical and spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities.

I love FVI. It is the cause of my life and heart. By focusing on local churches in Zimbabwe and Zambia, they are able to support programs that have already been started by locals who know their own community's needs. 

A few more facts for you. Through projects supported by Forgotten Voices, you can: 

-fund a child's primary school fees for an entire academic year for an average of $15
-pay for the training of a pastor (in project management, community-building, and other important leadership skills) for an average of $50
-help bring about a farm that will feed ten people for a year for approximately $30

I first fell in love with Zimbabwe in college, shortly after a group of men from my church went to Zim on a trip to see what they could do about the AIDS crisis. A dream was born on that trip and that dream has become Forgotten Voices. I have had the honor and privilege of watching this organization grow since its beginning; though my life has been so chaotic I haven't gotten as involved as I'd like to be, I have been caught from the start in my desire to love and serve the people of Zimbabwe. 

I will try to post more about the beginnings of FVI and why exactly the stories those men brought back to PA cut me to the quick. But for now, know that Zim has been on my heart for nearly 7 years. I longed to visit and see everything for myself (to no avail) for 5 years that felt like forever, and finally, in the fall of 2009, a door was opened for me to go to Zim - with my parents of all people! They had never shown a particular interest in Zim, but by the time we came back to the States, they were in love with it, too, and can't wait to go back.  

While we were there in '09, my mom and I stayed at Morning Star Farm in the Matobo Hills, outside Bulawayo for about 5 days. We met Chris & Norma Ferguson, who run Morning Star, and immediately knew that they were kindred spirits. Mom and I were able to go into an elementary school that week and tell Bible stories and sing with the kids and do some really great, fun arts & crafts with them. 

I had a vision during that week at Morning Star that I should come back later with a team, hopefully many times, and teach theatre and art. To encourage the arts in this community out in the middle of nowhere and give them access to things they might not otherwise experience. And that 2 year old dream is finally coming true. "Hurray!" is hardly enough. 

The Fergusons have a Green Island Vision - that Morning Star will be a stream in the desert in their community and that growth will spring up as they try to educate, encourage, and come alongside the people of the Matopos, who have truly been devastated by AIDS and the horrendous economy. 

I will be staying with the Fergusons and trying to help them in any way I can as I continue to build relationships with everyone at Morning Star and with the teachers and principals of the local schools. I'll be in Zim from late Sept-early Nov. I will also be doing a little traveling around Zim (and hopefully Zambia! pray that I can figure out a way to make it happen!) with Forgotten Voices, which is a dream come true in many ways and a very exciting, humbling opportunity.

Thank you for your time, prayers, and love. 

Peace, friends.
-Abbie G.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why start this project?

When I was in Zimbabwe in the fall of 2009, staying at Morning Star Farm, I was able to go into a few schools with my mom and the missionaries we were staying with and tell some Bible stories and sing with the kids and teachers, and do a few craft projects.

Those craft projects were life-changing. As I sat in a little classroom with twice as many students as we'd expected, frantically trying to create more supplies for them, the principal and 2 teachers sat down to help as well. I noticed that only a few children were able to complete the project without assistance from an adult (kids in Zimbabwe don't get to do art projects every day like American kids do, and what they were working on was a little complicated).

The principal leaned over to me after awhile. "This little boy next to me, everyone thinks he is slow, because all he does in class is draw zeros. All the teachers, everyone thinks he is not smart. But look, he did that whole thing by himself!"

For me, in many ways, the value of that entire trip is wrapped up in the fact that one little boy in Sigiti Primary School proved himself worthy, by making a butterfly kite all by himself. He is smart, just not the way other people were expecting him to be.

And that's what art does. It opens doors. It sheds light on potential that might otherwise have been ignored. It gives people new ways to see and hear and do and live.

Which is why I'm going back.

I'll actually be in Africa for at least 6 weeks this fall, mostly staying at Morning Star with Chris & Norma Ferguson as they seek to make their "Green Island Vision" a reality. More on that elsewhere. But at the end of my stay, I will be joined by a few friends, and we will go into the schools and do theatre & art and hopefully share in some light as we love on these kids in Jesus' name.

If you are interested in donating to our cause or to Morning Star, contact me. And above all, pray for us. Thank you, friends.