Chikumbuso Christmas 

What a FANTASTIC day! The Chikumbuso Christmas party was an experience that I won’t soon forget. The kids had a blast. They sang, they danced, put on a play, and were so thankful for the gift of friendship, unconditional love, and people just caring. Deliso made some new friends and tried his best to show them some dance moves. 
Thanks to the people who sent money so we could help make their holiday better with gifts of food and clothes. The kids were grateful for the items of rice, oil, and sugar. The mayor even came out to give support with a donation of food and blankets.
I was given a chitenge (a piece of cloth) along with all the widows, mothers and teachers. 
I also got a sunburn that day. Just want to rub that in for all of you freezing right now. I guess this is what I get for not buttoning the top button on my shirt. Sorry Jason I still haven’t learned. 
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Chikumbuso Christmas 

Gifts from the States 

Its always a nice surprise to get a box from home. Today when I went to pick up the mail Julie had sent a package. When I opened it up there were Christmas cards, a few gifts, some candy and even some Fiber one bars. Thanks Julie!

I loved the cards from the kiddos, even Claire sent one. How sweet.

We hung them up on the tree so we can enjoy them before we head to Cape Town for the holidays. Our tree is not your normal tree even by Zambian standards but I couldn’t resist. Its a baobab tree and I just love them so I figured why not.

 

Gifts from the States 

Melissa’s update

It has been a few weeks now since the fire and a rebuild is underway.
What I have heard from talking with people is that the store was under-insured due to the drop in the value of the local currency–perhaps insured at 1/3rd the value of goods.

Within a few days of the fire, the owners shifted employees to their other stores or to help with the clean up and the rebuild. What a class act to not just layoff everyone right before the holidays.

The building is gutted, the roof has been removed, and all the burnt merchandise was hauled away at, what I am sure was, a great expense. 

Melissa’s update

Bat Migration

The Friday after thanksgiving we were up and on the road by 5 am so we could get to Kasanka National park for the  bat migration. I love a good road trip and the ten hour drive North hasn’t let me down yet. The time seems to go by quickly.

On this trip we went with Ty, Francis and TianTian. We got to camp, set up and we were off to the first bat sighting of the trip. right before sunset the bats start to wake up and spread there wings. We go to the look out tower that has been built in the trees looking just over the forest. On a good day I wouldn’t want to climb up the 15 meter  ladder made of cut branches with 10  people but what the hell, its safe right? Once on top my first sight of the bats was amazing and they were barely any in comparison till 45 minutes later. There are around ten to twelve million bats and they have been migrating to this area for hundreds of years. It is a dense rain forest that provides them protection from predators when they are sleeping during the day. It was quite the sight to see them all waking up and heading out to feed. The fact that they do not run into each other is amazing.

The next morning we are up at 4 am heading to another area to watch the bats come in from feeding. This was my favorite part, minus the 345 wake up time. It sure looks like a lot more bats when they are coming in! The sky was just covered as the sun rose. What an amazing site.We even had a hippo visit us right behind the camp site.

Bat Migration

A drive around Ng’ombe compound

 

I have had some people ask me what the compounds are like. Here is 12 minutes of video total (No sound) and shows a small glimpse into the living conditions of most people in the capital of Zambia.

This is Ng’ombe compound where Chikumbuso is located. On Todays trip to the business section of Ng’ombe, Gertrud and I did a little Christmas shopping for the 500+ kids, widows and grandmas that Chikumbuso sponsors. Thanks to Julie, Ann and Dennis for sending some money to help make all of these peoples Christmas a little bit better. The dollar goes A LOT further here than in the states. When possible I try to shop within the community and support the small businesses.

Christmas is different here. You don’t hear kids saying I want this or I need that, what they want is some food for the family, shoes and warm cloths. They will be so grateful for anything that is received. Today we bought 500Kg (1100 lbs.) of rice and some solar powered lights. Before we are done everyone will take home rice, a bag of sugar, a bag of salt, and a bottle of cooking oil. Some get the solar lights others get clothes, shoes, umbrellas and school supplies

 

 

 

A drive around Ng’ombe compound