Posts Tagged Zambia

Zambia #12 "Livingstone, I presume?"

Livingstone, I presume?

Howdy,
we made it back safely. I don’t have anytime to write much more than a few lines before I run off to bed. Just wanted to show you a video shot of Victoria Falls.

I will send a story and some pictures tomorrow night or so.
Victoria Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. It is formed as the entire Zambezi River drops into a narrow gorge. This video is of Tamara watching the water fall.

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One more quick video.

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Zambia #11 "Marburg is a city in what country?"

Marburg is a city in what country?

Howdy guys,

When England gave up on the idea of keeping Zambia under its thumb, they kinda were not nice and took back allot of its infrastructure, resources and technology as they left. This has caused the Zambian government to, even still, limit their exposure to most Western nations. One of the ways that this has affected us is that after 30 days of being in the country, we were asked to leave by the Government. The Brothers here were ready for the expiration of our visa and applied in our behalf for a 60 day visa extension. We were asked for our passports, a hand written request and explanation of what we were doing in Zambia, new photos and other assorted paperwork. Then a committee at one of the government offices assembled and discussed whether Tamara and I should stay in their country. As long as we were “training” and not “working” we could stay…..along with $200 per person visa application fee. Then a few weeks later we had to dress up and go to the government office so they could see us and sign papers and stuff. When we got there they had lost our passports and paperwork and so asked us to return later in the day. As I walked out of the office on ripped up carpets, passing office furniture that was original to the building 65 years ago, looking at hot wired electric lights … I see the computer/file department where our passports might or might not be. The entire immigration department for Zambia has one digital clock and stacks of papers sitting on desks, the floor and on shelf’s. There is not one computer in the whole building. Later that day they did find our paper work and after the Brother from the Legal department of Bethel paid the visa application fee, we received our Visa to remain in Zambia until Feb 18th. At that time we absolutely have to leave Zambia for one year.

The reason that I told you that is that we were waiting for some friends here to go through the same process successfully (they can and have said “no” and deport you) so we could go on a vacation to Victoria falls. They finally got their visas and we are set to leave tomorrow (Friday).

Our trip will consist of driving to Livingstone and checking into a campground there for 3 nights. We will go on a boat safari in the Zambezi river, a visit and explore around Victoria Falls one of the largest falls in the world.

Also we will cross the Botswana border and visit the Chobe National Park to do some Safari fun. The trip was almost canceled because an Angolan trader died at Livingstone with Ebola like symptoms. ( I was not going to say anything about this but it is in the news and don’t want you to think we are oblivious about it) but it was confirmed by UN health officials that it was not Ebola or Ebola like virus….so…the trip is still on. We leave at 6 am tomorrow to return on Monday night, we are very excited.

Last weekend we took local buses to a Croc farm outside the city. We traveled there with another couple to see the animals that they “farm” there. They make belts, shoes, jackets and hamburgers out of Nile Crocs that they grow there.

These are only 5 years old, the age that they like to farm them at. They did have one that was over 65 years old that looked like a small truck, wow he was big. The trip to the croc farm was an experience in its self as we rode a total of 8 buses crammed packed with the local Zambia people. Here is a snap of Tamara and our friend Corrina ( a Scottish sister here with her plastering husband, Mike) on the bus. And yes I had a Croc burger…tasted like fishy chicken….not recommended.

Don’t they look like sisters?

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Zambia

I don’t want to gross you guys out since the food here is really very good but here is a picture of some of the typical local food.

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The center white stuff is nshima the staple of almost every meal. It is made out of corn and tastes like air but feels like play-dough.

On a sad note a Bethelite friend in our Congregation got sick on Monday and died today of probably Malaria. He was only 24. His non-believing family traveled to the Branch to apologize for him dieing. Not much to say about that.

We are in good health and surrounded by great people, so don’t worry about us. After all you guys in the States have Mad Cow!

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Zambia #10 "pass the flashlight….I got a talk"

“pass the flashlight….I got a talk”

Howdy Guys,

We have had a good week, been busy. On Sunday in service I got another Study. This one seemed to be really struggling to get past the things that he was taught in Church but have no backing from the Bible. We could have studied all day but the rain clouds were coming in and we still had a few miles to walk back to the Branch. He promised to meet me at the Kingdom Hall on this up coming Sunday. I really wish I could have giving him a Require Bro. but the Branch have been out of them ( and Bibles) for many months now. When a shipment comes in they are quickly snapped up. So I could not give him mine. I got mine from a new IV from the States. I really wish I could find a Bible to give this Study but with so many interested ones it is hard to ship enough up from South Africa where everything is printed.

The year end numbers just came out and Zambia has a ratio of one witness to 93 people in the country. The current President of the country campaigned saying he was a JW, which he is not. His wife is studding though. One encouraging number is that during the last Memorial of Jesus’ death, 1 person out of every 17 in the country attended.

Tamara was a last minute householder for a talk on Thursday, the funny thing was that there was no electricity so she had to use a small flashlight and a candle.

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During a question and answer part the Brother giving the talk just had to change it into a talk form. Was really neat to listen to 175 African Brothers and Sisters sing the Kingdom songs with no music. It felt like the roof would lift off with the effort they put into their singing. I even got some audio of them singing!
Many around us are getting Malaria with most recovering in a week or two. I really hope that we can avoid it but our temporary housing is not bug tight to say the least. The Branch has a extremely good medical center and all Bethelites are covered under a medical thing that will pay for anything needed medically, ambulance to the best hospital in Lusaka, Helicopter to S. Africa, ect….I didn’t know that the Branch provided that, makes me feel much happier, considering we cant afford basic health insurance back home!

So, just what are Tamara and I doing here in Zambia? The large 4 story building is made up of hand produced blocks. The blocks are very rough and the walls are not very straight. That’s where we come in. With a level we set wood strips in the wall with built up plaster. Then we fill in the wall with plaster deep enough to fill in the low parts but deep enough to cover the high blocks. We try to make the plaster as even as possible as the walls will be painted. After the walls have dried a bit we take a wood trowel and rub it on the wall to level any small bumps in the plaster. Then we take a long metal trowel and slick the wall until it is so smooth that is as flat as a mirror. Believe it or not…it can be done. The hard part is there are many rocks and bugs in the sand used to it takes a bit of work. We have just finished the third floor of the building and have moved up to the fourth. Tamara and I have been working mostly on the outside of the building but during the many thunder and rain storms we move inside with the interior crew.

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We really enjoy working with the local Brother and Sisters (yes there are a few Sisters on the Plastering crew other than Tamara) Most of the Brothers are in their mid to high twenties and have been on this project from the beginning. They are very humble, ready to laugh and willing to work. Here is a picture of two Brothers we work with. David never has anything other than a smile on his face and Levie has to be one of the humblest Brothers I have ever met. He is a overseer of the inside plaster crew. We have Levie over to our room often and each week we have study projects that we work on and talk about during our work. Last week it was whether fish and insects are souls, this week it is whether those baptized by John the Baptist had to be re-baptized as Christians.

Zambia

Tamara is having a few Chitangas made. That is the local dress things that the sisters wear to meetings. We went to town and bought the material for 6000-12,000 Kwacha and took it to a seamstress. We will try to pick them up this coming weekend. Here is a snap of what they look like.

Zambia

We sure do miss our congregation, family and friends. We find we look over our pictures from home and that makes us feel better.

We love you guys!

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Zambia #8 "Puff Adder fun"

Puff Adder fun

Today we had a special lunch to listen to the experiences of some of the Brothers that work in a new department. This department was set up in November of 1998 for the purpose of building Kingdom Halls in Sub-Sahara Africa. They have been hard at work to say the least. As an example of the speed at which they have worked….in 1999 there were 36 acceptable Kingdom Halls in Zambia, but then the Society formed a Kingdom Hall construction desk. Working with the local branch, the team, which includes Joe Leopold from Oregon, has built over 1000 new kingdom halls, just in Zambia. With an average cost of $25,000 each including the land. (Joe will leave his assignment in Feb to return home to the US.) If I remember right there was a Kingdom Ministry insert a handful of months back that showed pictures of some of the Kingdom Halls that had been build by this team. I wish I had it with me.

The next day we get to spend a bit of time with one of the Brothers that worked on one of the build teams. He said that the process for getting a Kingdom Hall built was quite extensive. He would meet with the Elders of the Hall and go over their records. Look at the territory and the growth in that area. If it was decided that a Hall was needed he would give them a list of things that they need to do first. This list would include so many tons of sand, so many tons of gravel 10mm in diameter, so many tons of gravel 5mm in diameter and the list goes on. After the local brothers had all of that assembled he would come back and check on it. If it was the right stuff he would give them a block mold. This was because the Brothers would have to make their own blocks for which to build the Kingdom Hall out of. One thing before I go to far…the local Brothers usually had to “make” the gravel and sometimes sand. How do you make 10mm and 5 mm (millimeter) gravel? You take a big rock and hit it with a hammer till you have a bunch of smaller rocks, then you sort them. After the local Brothers had produced enough blocks, this Brother (Dean) would come with a crew of 4-6 and with the help of the local Congregation they would build the Hall and install a steel roof, make wood benches and an out house. Every time, he said, when they were done with the three to four days construction the Kingdom Hall was the nicest building in the village.

In talking to him more about his experiences we found out that he lived out of a tent for 18 months, worked on sites that were infested with deadly scorpions, Black Mambas (that are very territorial. Not only that they can stand up 6 ft and “run” at 20mph, which they do if they see any large animal or human within their territory. He even had one chase his car. He said he looked over and the snake was looking in the window at him…all the while the car was moving…) and other unfriendly creatures.

The funny thing is, I had been around Dean for a while now and we had never talked about this. I sure do admire the self sacrificing spirit of Jehovah’s people. Goes to show that I should take very opportunity to get to know the Brothers and Sisters that I am around.

I was talking to a local commuter Bethelite about his life and such. He gets up at 4am to catch a bus to catch a bus to catch a Bethel bus to meet for Morning worship at 6;45 am. Then works all day and then travels home the same way. (By the way, all the buses are on strike for a week or so….makes for a long day for him) Then he has many parts to prepare for his Meetings and 13 Bible studies…”only 8 go to the meeting though”, he said. He just wishes he could do more.

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I was walking with some Brothers out in the back of the Bethel property during lunch and we saw a large snake. As we approached we found a Puff Adder about 4 ft in length. That is not big but the diameter was about the same as my arm. I got some cool video of it moving. There is no anti venom to this kind of snake (in the country) they just have amputate what ever it bites. You would think that they would kill it, but they don’t because it is not aggressive. They only kill the Black Mambas and the Spitting Cobras.

Here is a picture of the Puff Adder. He sure could move fast when he wanted too!

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The photo below is of a spitting cobra that has made his way into the work area. This Brother had minimal fear with snakes to say the least.

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On Sunday we had 268 at our Kingdom Hall, but the Hall was designed to hold only around 200. Most Halls have 175%- 250% attendance. Tamara is sitting on the left side, 4 rows up. I had to get up part way through and stand in the back with a bunch of other Brothers. The heat was a bit much for me that day. The reason the picture is funny shaped is because it is actually 4 pictures that I “stitched” together to make one.

Zambia

Last week we traveled to a art village kinda thing, here is a picture of it. They make lots of wood carvings out of Ebony and other really hard wood. I got to see a Ebony tree that was chopped into pieces, the wood was as hard as stone.

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Well, hope all is as good as can be there. We are really starting to get settled into the schedule and we are just inundated with wonderful people to visit and work with. Just this week I was able to visit with a Brother that had to escape Rwanda, a Circuit Overseer that risked prison and death to care for the Congregations in the Congo, for 17 years. (While the work was banned) and a younger Brother that fled from Malawi with his family during the horrible attacks of the 1970’s.

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Zambia #7 "Crackle and Pop"

Crackle and Pop

Hey Guys,
We cant believe we have been here for a month already. In quite a few ways we are just starting to get used to the Bethel life.

It sure does keep us busy. Then when you get a day off you cant wait to go do something. Then you get back late and hit the bed, then……

Lately we have been having a few power outages, so how they are usually timed during the meeting.
The study that I have with a young man has not shown up for a while but I just study with who ever is at the tree we were to meet at. Kinda strange how easy you can start a study here. One of our D-Block IV’s started 3 in under 40 minutes.

Well the famous “Rains” have finally come to our area of Zambia. The weather will be sunny and within a few minutes a extremely strong wind will come up from a random direction and thunder and lighting then huge rain falls for 2-5 hours. Then after the rain is done the heat starts up again. Kinda strange. We have had a few of our plaster walls wash off. Soon we might have to move inside the building to plaster inside for a while. Here is a picture of some lighting I caught.

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Here is a picture of most of the crew working on the building. Tamara and I are in the center far back.

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Here is half of the Plaster crew. We have grown quite close to those that we work with. From left to right the names are….
David (super Dave) Martin, Tamara, Prudence, Cephus.

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Sorry I don’t have more to write right now

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