There is so much about our lives that has changed in the last two weeks. There are new challenges and great benefits that have come with our shift to a different ministry. Our living situation has changed dramatically. I was used to living in an apartment with electricity, my own bathroom, and a separate room for Sunda. We are now living in a safari tent...enough said. Admittedly, this tent is the "Taj Mahal" of tents. We even have a little light rigged up for when the generator is on. So, we just flip a switch and we have light (a HUGE convenience when you're used to using candles). The bathrooms are about a stone's throw away, but they also boast lights, flushing toilets, and (usually) hot water. So, really it's not that bad at all.
The kitchen is communal, and we switch off cooking dinner for the 17-20 of us every night. We eat porridge for breakfast, nshima for lunch, and an "American" meal for dinner. We cook from gas stoves in the dusk until the generator is turned on and the kitchen is flooded with light from flourescent light bulbs.
The best part is that the main center is an open plan building with a thatch roof. Every night we eat dinner on the porch overlooking the Victoria Falls Gorge. The sunset is stunning, and the water roars and churns below us. It is such amazing beauty that I have to remind myself never to take it for granted. I am eating dinner just yards away from one of the natural wonders of the world. I am also rescuing my two-year old from going too close to one of the natural wonders of the world, but that is another story.
There are four other children here besides Sunda. Two of which are boys her age. They alternately play nicely together and throw fits at each other. But she's learning how to play with kids her age and older, and how to get along with people all the time.
It's quiet here now. But this week 15 more people will arrive at the base for the beginning of AMT (Advanced Missions Training). Jake and I are participating in this training, and are anxiously awaiting it. Our first week will be spent in "village immersion." In other words, Jake and I will get to go stay in a tent in the villages we were spending time in anyway. I think we're already pretty well immersed, but it will be neat to get the experience of being immersed with 15 others who aren't!
During that time, Jake and I will be performing double duty. Even though we're going through the AMT, we will also be scoping out the villages that we'll be doing a lot of ministry in when AMT is finished. Our first project involves making a shortlist of the villages that need special assistance and implementing the plan that we're working on with the project directors and managers. There's a really cool strategy in the works for empowering Zambians and raising the standard of living in places that have been previously ignored by aid organizations. We feel strongly that the heart of the project is in the right place with the right people working on it. So, we're excited to see what comes of it, and we'll keep you updated!
For those of you who were wondering, Sunda is really adjusting to her "auntie" (the nanny) very well. In fact, a few nights ago she woke up in the middle of the night and yelled for Jacob, "Daddy, Daddy, DADDY!" When that didn't work, she yelled for me, "Mama, MAMA, MUMMY!!!" When I also didn't move (a new plan that Jake came up with that avoids her coming into bed with us all the time and actually allows her to go back to sleep and sleep well) she got REALLY mad and yelled, "AUNTTIIEEEEEE!!!" So, we figure they're pretty tight if Sunda is resorting to begging her to come and get her out of bed in the middle of the night. (By the way, the nanny's name is Fridah and she does not stay with us, she lives in her own home in the village about a 40 minute walk away, she walks to work every morning and walks home every night.)
Well, there's the best update I can manage for now. There's so much that you become numb to after you've been here for awhile. We killed a cobra last night, but you're tired of those stories, aren't you? We haven't had running water in 4 days because of a broken generator, but you don't really want to hear about taking bucket baths, do you? Oh well...you know what they say...This Is Africa!