- Nerd Stuff
- North America
- South America
Posts Tagged Zambia
Our first International Volunteer assignment was to Zambia in 2003. We had made many friends, enjoyed our time and allowed our minds and hearts to be affected by the experience. The 3 months in the Zambia Branch and the 5 weeks afterward exploring Africa (Malawi, Tanzania, Botswana and South Africa) helped us to focus our lives to what we really wanted to do.
You can read about some of our experiences HERE
I recently received some links to some other young couples and their time working at the Zambia Bethel.
Here are the links for you to enjoy.
End of our Assignment
I cant believe that we are going to start the final week of our assignment. The 3 months have just flown by. We are so happy that Jehovah has allowed us to come here and be two of the hundreds of volunteers that came to assist in this volunteer project. There is still a few weeks left of plastering. Then the Electricians and Plumbers will be set loose inside the building. The Painters have already started painting parts of the outside and inside. I can honestly tell you that I could not have worked this hard, if it were in exchange for money.
Since we have arrived, we have made so many good friends and even a few great friends.
Even though we came here to do Plastering and got to go on Safari and tent camp, we found 98% of our joy in the Service work, Meetings and in visiting with the local Brothers. We were privileged spend much time in Service, visit a few different Congregations, conduct Bible studies with a few, to give a few meeting parts each, give morning worship comments and be a part of the Monday family Watchtower study panel. We visited with Brothers and Sisters from Sweden, Norway, England, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Zimbabwe, Malawian, Zambia, Kenya, South Africa and many other countries. We were able to listen to and visit with Missionaries, District Overseers and just normal Brothers and Sisters give their experiences of working in banned countries like; Zaire and Congo (Bro. & Sis Sharp are mentioned in this years Yearbook); Malawi during the ghastly persecution of the Brothers; life in Refugee camps; being arrested by governments for being a Witness; kidnapped by rebels and threatened with execution; Brothers escape from Malawi, Rwanda and Congo, setting up and attending some of the 65 annual District conventions in Zambia, also the Kingdom Hall construction teams and so many other experiences… I wish I could remember them all but it is like a large meal that in the morning you wonder how you ate so much.
The need for the Kingdom that Jesus prayed to his Father for, in Luke 11:2, is so so needed. Living in the States you see the need for an end to sickness, death, violence and sin yet being here and seeing young people die to malaria, tuberculosis and of course AIDS, the need seems so much more desperate. In a few weeks I will turn 34 in a country with an average life span of 36. The horrible part is that it is only getting worse. If you ask the Zambian government about the Aids outbreak they report it is at 25% HIV infection rate of the population. Think of that…. 25% of an entire country has an incurable deadly disease. The Governments of Africa lie about the infection rate because they don’t want to scare the World and have countries and investors pull out…. if you ask the Doctors here (which I did) or even the World Health Organization (WHO is a part of the UN) the rate of HIV infection for Zambia it is 65% and Zambia is not even the highest country in Africa in infection rate either.
I wont even touch the political instability and wars that affect half of the countries in Africa, the civil wars that are quietly fought or rebel factions that terrorize whole parts of this side of the world. When you pray, please keep in mind the local Brothers and Sisters in Africa. They struggle with things that you and I cant even comprehend, yet do it with more Joy, Love and Peace than I thought humanly possible.
The Truth has taken hold in Africa and is growing at an amazing rate, every Brother and Sister I have talked with has had 3 or more Bible studies…without exception. In many areas the only proper buildings not made of mud and straw are Kingdom Halls. At police checkpoints we are asked for Bibles and Watchtowers. You fill your back pack up with literature to go in service and within an hour you are out. The Brothers have a hard time getting enough literature up here to Zambia. I can’t tell you how many times I have had great conversations or return visits in service and when asked for a Bible, Require brochure or other literature unable to fill their need. It breaks my heart.
As I wrap up this email I could send you a picture of the project before we got here and now or some pictures of some African animals or maybe some of the beautiful country side but looking back that’s not the reason we are here. Let me show you why Jehovah allowed us to come;
We leave on Feb 10 from our assignment here in Zambia. We would love to spend more time here but the government will not allow us to stay in the country any longer. Our flight home leaves from Jo-berg, South Africa on the 18th of March, so in the mean time we will travel to Tanzania to do some hiking around Kilimanjaro then take the bus (as we don’t have enough money to fly) down to South Africa. We have been accepted to visit and stay at every Branch on the way south. We will keep this Branch informed of our movements, just to be on the safe side. We will be traveling with small backpacks and will probably not have access to email but if we get an opportunity, we will drop you guys a line.
Tamara and I feel so privileged to have been asked to come and give a small part of our time and effort here in Africa. The assistance and support that our Friends and Family have provided has not only made this possible but proved to me that Jesus’ words are true in John 13:34-35
I am giving YOU a new commandment, that YOU love one another; just as I have loved YOU, that YOU also love one another. 35 By this all will know that YOU are my disciples, if YOU have love among yourselves.
Thanks for letting Tamara and I share our experiences with you.
thanks so much for your emails, since we don’t have a TV or radio, we find relaxation in reading your emails. They are very valuable to us.
We took half a day off last Friday and traveled with 2 other couples to a camp ground 4 hours away in the Lower Zambezi area. The Zambezi is the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. It was fun driving through the country on such rough roads and even partly on muddy dirt roads, good thing we had a 4X4.
Just before we arrived we had to cross a small river but there was no bridge, only a hand driven pontoon boat. Two men crank a wheel and pull the ferry back and forth across the river all year long.
They let me crank the wheel a bit to see how hard it was.
It took quite a while, so a Brother and I started fishing. Some local kids make a living catching fish here and selling them to the women that come down to the river to get water and wash their cloths. Here is a quick snap of the fish most people eat in the area. And yes, that water jug is totally full of water. The women here have an ability to carry anything and everything on their heads for long distances.
When we arrived at the camp ground we were the only people there, not surprising. At this campground there is some chalets, a pool, a bar over looking the river and a kitchen that you can use. The kitchen was very primitive but had a stove, fridge and some rat proof storage. We could not afford the chalets but had brought some backpack tents that we set up on the grass by the river. Not too close to the river mind you, because we are right next to a National Game Reserve and of course there are tons of crocs in every river in Africa. As we set up our tents we could look out and see Elephants across the river and and hear Hippos in the river. Of course, our air mattress we had borrowed had a hole in it and the tent leaked when it rained like a “big dog” in the middle of the night, but that’s part of the fun…right? Here is a picture of our tent and a few very large Elephants in the back ground. You might not be able to see him as I had make the picture smaller so I could mail it, his is just above the tent. The Elephants are on an Island that the river creates. Many animals swim out to the Island because on people are on it.
At night it was quite hard to get to sleep as the Hippos were quite close. Hippos become very active at night and even leave the water to eat grass and parts of some trees. We were up a river bank a bit but still they were playing and fighting quite loud. Their 2 ton size and 5 ton noises were a touch frightening while your laying under a sheet in your underwear.
During the day we had planed to take a canoe or boat around the river but were too exhausted to do much of anything.
Tamara spent most of her time with the other Girls swimming and laying around the small swimming pool being watched by large (3-6 feet) Monitor lizards.
I personally used my time much more frugally; Fishing.
The last night we were there I woke up at 4 AM, wondering why I was awake. A couple of hippos were arguing or something a hundred feet away down the bank so I thought that was it. But then I heard something that made my blood run cold! Off in the distance a extremely powerful roar followed by a even louder bark of some sort. All the crickets and even the hippos stopped their talking. Again I heard the roar but closer this time. It was a lion on the Island. He had swam out there from the other side of the river and was looking for something to eat… or mate with. I woke Tamara up and she started to ask “What’s up?” when the lion roared again even closer. I felt the Nylon tent and wondered how long it would protect me from something that weights 500 pounds, is 8 feet long and can travel 36 feet in one leap. I think the crickets and hippos were thinking the same thing as they took off. The lion was across the river on the island, he roared for an hour until another lion roared far off in the distance, then he took off in that direction. Not that I got out of the tent ( is was scared to move ) but you could hear where he was each time he roared, which was about once every 90 seconds or so. It was scary but I would not have wished it away for the world.
In the morning we packed up our tents (found a deadly scorpion in my blankets right by my feet) and headed back to Bethel. It was a nice trip and we really needed to get away for a few days to rest up.
I know I have sent many sunsets but I have to send you another one that we watch from the camp ground….
Tamara and I are on the panel for the Family Watchtower study and we are making a big push on the building to get the outside done before the big big rain starts up, so our last two weeks will be even busier.
Talk to you guys later
Sunset on the Zambezi
Wow, are you guys having some cold weather! Here it is 80-90 with rain every other day or so.
I just wanted to tell you about our trip to Victoria Falls. The Falls are over 5600ft in length and the drop is over 400ft. The roar is so loud that you can barely talk over it. The interesting thing is that the rain water has not reached the falls yet, soon there will be 10 times the water rushing over the drop. The local inhabitants’ name for the falls, Mosi-oa-Tunya, means “Smoke that thunders”. The reason they call it that is that from miles off you can see a plume of water rise up from the falls and the roar from the falls can make you wonder where the train is. David Livingstone (the famous explorer, discovered the falls in 1855.
Here are few snaps we took.
I have tons of other pictures but you gotta invite us over, when we get home, to see them.
They had a presentation at lunch one day by one of the many translators here at the Zambia Branch. He was explaining about what Zambia Branch does with all the money that is given them by the voluntary donations of all Jehovah’s Witnesses all over the world. All the Branches in each country is supported 100% by voluntary donations. Zambia Branch spends $30,000 a month to function. Which is amazing if you ask me to feed and house 250 Brothers and Sisters. There are only 6-7 ( I forgot) Branches that print, so what do all the others do? They are designed around translating literature into the many languages of that particular area. For example, the Watchtower is printed in 147 languages and that is enough to cover 99.97% of the people on earth. Which is a great step in fulfilling Jesus’ words at Matt 24:14…
And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.
But what about the others that cant understand those relatively few languages? For that reason they print Bibles and/or Bible based publications in 436 languages, with 19 more being added in 2003. With all these new languages it requires a translators, proof readers, computer support and a number of other support personnel. Also the Branches work as distribution points for the country they are in.
I must say that I am impressed with the focus that is emphasized here on using the resources we have to the best possible means. Scrap metal, plastic, paper and even water is collected and reused in a number of different ways. It is on the minds of all that work here that we are supported by your and the other 6 million Witnesses donations. Please be assured that your contributions are being used wisely in our effort to reach everyone on the earth with the good news of Jehovah’s Kingdom.
Until next time…
Packy your Trunks
Howdy yet again,
We got up early on Friday and started the 6 hour drive to Livingstone, which is by the border of Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. The roads we much nicer than I would have thought but there were many semi-truck wrecks that we passed. The area we drove through was mostly flat with large rounded hills, the trees were small and sparse but the grass was becoming much more green with the recent rains. On Saturday we traveled across the Botswana border and hired a safari company to take us out in the Chobe National Park. We rode on a small boat for the morning and in a jeep in the afternoon. With the recent rains most of the animals like Leopards, Lions, Wildebeests and Buffalo have moved south into Greener pastures so we didn’t get to see any of those animals. Chobe is called the Elephants playground, there are over 30,000 Elephants in the park. Here are a few of the animals we did see that day….
The Hippos are the best but they would try to attack the boat every time we got anywhere near them. I still don’t believe how aggressive the Hippos were.
These two Giraffes were fighting over something, I got some good video of the fight. We saw many more animals but these were the most exciting ones. We did have a run in with an Elephant that didn’t like us, we had to reverse away at high speed. Usually the animals ignored the truck or boat that we were in.
Our congregation here has the Circuit Overseer visit this week, it was very up building. Also on Friday we got a package of goodies from my Parents. They sent it from Hawaii…literally half way around the world! That was a great treat to be sure. Well this is my once a month work Saturday and lunch is almost up. So I will run.
Next email will be about Victoria Falls…..
Thanks for listening to me ramble on.