Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On the bus


On the bus to Ndola to catch our homeward flight.  Lively looking group??  job well done now to relax..

Saturday, January 26, 2013

45 hours in Transit

I have no idea how everyone managed to look so perky in this picture! A tired but happy and successful team!  We were 45 hours in transit from the time we left our guest house in Zambia until we arrived home in KC.  We flew from Ndola, Zambia to Johannesburg, South Africa (where Cherry left us to fly to Denver) to Frankfurt, Germany to Chicago.  Everything went flawlessly until we reached the U.S.  Chicago was ecstatic over their first inch of snow for the season so they had every snowplow in the city happily blowing and plowing snow at the airport.  Quite a sight!   The first indication something was amiss occurred when we got to baggage claim and found two suitcases missing  which still haven't shown up.  The second occurred when we got to the departure gate and were told the aircraft was being checked for mechanical issues.  After innumerable updates announcing "about 10 minutes more" they finally brought in another aircraft and at last we were on our way to K.C.  The home-base welcoming crowd was engulfed in hugs as soon as we could make our way out of the arrival lounge.   Great ending to a great trip!

--
Sherri Kirkpatrick, PhD, RN, FAAN
President & Executive Director
1401 West Truman Road
Independence, MO 64050
816 423 4731

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Streeetccch

All lined up in front of the door to their  classroom, the fifth grade class went through an impressive set of exercises.  When they finshed I expected the head teacher to give the word for them to enter the  class room.  Instead she sent them on a quick trash pickup exercise.  After fast dashinq around the school yard they finally  reassembled and quietly filed into their room hopefully refreshed and ready to learn.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Babies

There were lots of babies at church today.  Josh was one of the lucky ones that got to hold one.

Ribbon cutting #2

Ribbon cutting ceremonies are beginning to be our new norm.  What fun!  The dignitaries turned out, the ribbon was cut, songs were sung and speeches given today (that's Jac in the picture) at the Kasompe Community School of Peace. The highlight of the event, however, was a speech read in perfect English by one of our newly promoted 5th graders. What a joy  to see the proof of the school's success.  There is still  considerable work to be done such as the drop ceiling but the structure is up.  Tomorrow we start a 3 day program in the classrooms.  We are missing Stu, Michelle and Shandra who left a couple of days ago but we are trying to carry on the programs they started.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Happy/Sad Travelers

We may look happy in this photo but we were all feeling really sad. We had just packed up and were preparing to say goodby to our friends at Castle Lodge in Ndola. Today was the day to "shift" to Chingola/Kasompe. We loaded our mini-bus for a 3 hour ride to Chingola with a stop in Kitwe for lunch We are now safely settled into our new home at the Lumpongo Lodge in Chingola waiting for dinner to be prepared. You needn't feel sorry for us! This is a very nice new lodge that belongs to one of our friends with most of the amenities of home. Tomorrow we will tour the new classrooms at Kasompe and prepare for the ribbon cutthing in the afternoon. We're off on the third and final chapter of our adventure.... Then we'll be homeward bound with many stories to share.

--
Sherri Kirkpatrick, PhD, RN, FAAN
President & Executive Director
1401 West Truman Road
Independence, MO 64050
816 423 4731

Friday, January 18, 2013

Why do we love Zamtan?

Sitting around the table tonight processing today's visit we asked ourselves why does everyone love Zamtan?  It's hard to put your finger on it but polite, enthusiastic, adorable kids could be a big part of the answer!  The Kafwa are also amazing.  They took us home visiting today to meet some of their clients.  We had just gotten started when it started pouring rain.  Our Kafwa hostess hastily ushered us to her mud brick home where we spent the next 30 minutes cozily enjoying the sound of rain pounding on the tin roof of a house the size of a walk in closet.  And loving every minute of it!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Happy days are here again


The water only runs 3 days a week at the school and with all of the construction our holding tank ran dry.  That meant we could not serve porridge lunches since large pots of water are needed.  But today the water was on and lunch was served. Many of the spoons we purchased last year have disappeared  but being the little survivors they are the kids did not miss a beat. They picked a fresh leaf from the mango tree and used it to scoop porridge from their bowls.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sakako

In Zambia when you say the magic  word 'sakako' (Bemba for smile) you usually get just what you ask for.  But not with this little charmer.  I asked her 3 times and 3 times she rewarded me with a poker face accompanied by a deep throated chuckle.

Little teeth people

The kids in the picture are  "teeth" being  brushed by Hilary.  None of the children had ever visited a dentist.  Having Dr. Waite come to the classroom and teach fun lessons with his wife, Michelle, was really special.  Tomorrow they are going to plant moringa seeds in paper cups and learn how to grow food that makes teeth healthy. We are having a great time with the children in the classroom!  The teachers are doing an impressive job and are excited to have the new ideas introduced by our team.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Building Happy & Strong Communities

The Kafwa Center was initiated today with its very first activity -- a workshop on Building Happy & Strong Communities.  Adapting the motto, Gross National Happiness, used by the country of Bhutan to guide country decisions, our workshop today focused on identifying factors and programs that would make our communities the happiest and strongest.  Great discussions!  Suggestions ranged from more educational opportunities to football (soccer) fields, to additional income generating activities such as sewing and bead making.  Kafwa from all three schools attended the event.  They are soooo proud of the new Kafwa Center and the endless array of opportunities it opens up for the community of Chipulukusu.  One of the first things we affirmed in our opening remarks was that the Kafwa Center does not belong to the school, the Kafwa Center does not belong to the church, the Kafwa Center belongs to the Kafwa to use for their many community volunteer activities.  They've already made arrangements for the government health clinic to hold the Under-five well baby clinics in their building.  These clinics, which they assist with, are currently held under a tree since no facilities have been available.  They are very proud to be in a position to invite the government to their beautiful new facility. 

--
Sherri Kirkpatrick, PhD, RN, FAAN
President & Executive Director
1401 West Truman Road
Independence, MO 64050
816 423 4731

Kafwa Center Ribbon Cutting

What a day! Name your favorite superlative and we experienced it!!! The Kafwa Center was officially opened amidst great pomp and circumstance. When we arrived before church to take a peek, the Center was swarming with people. A man was painting the outside of the building with a long-handled roller, a Kafwa was on her hands and knees rubbing red polish on the floor, the contractor was applying cement to the bottom of the veranda columns, a group was stringing toilet paper streamers from pillar to pillar on the veranda, others were blowing up balloons -- in other words it looked like pure chaos. After church was over and we all filed down to the Center for the ribbon cutting, everything was orderly and the entire place had been transformed. Benches had been brought in, pictures hung on the walls, and a beautiful display of wooden handcrafts from a local artist were attractively arranged on tables along with the paper beads the Kafwa make. As soon as the Kafwa cut the ribbon, the uulation and traditional sounds of joy erupted as the Kafwa rushed into the room. Speeches were made, choruses sung, and many smiles of happiness exchanged as the formal celebration ensued inside the Center. It bears repeating again, WHAT A DAY!!
 
I've tried to attach a picture -- I hope you can open it!!


--
Sherri Kirkpatrick, PhD, RN, FAAN
President & Executive Director
1401 West Truman Road
Independence, MO 64050

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Gertrude's story

We met an amazing woman at Chikumbuso on our tour!  Her story, which deeply touched all of us, forms the beginning point for a large complex of women's projects, schools, libraries, and other development projects.  Be sure to ask one of our team members to tell you the whole story when they get home.  We also had a terrific visit at Room to Read.  The Country Director, Samantha Chuula arranged for her staff to provide us with an overview of their library projects in Zambia.  They are testing innovative programs to improve reading skills with the Zambian children.  A huge challenge!  The lack of decoding and phonics makes it extremely difficult for the children to ever learn to read -- they are many reading grades below level. They are testing the theory that adding a second language too soon messes up the learning process.

Today we had an enjoyable but long bus ride from Lusaka to Ndola.  The best part of the whole trip was seeing our HealthEd Connect Zambian Representative, Gershom, waiting to greet us! 

Again we have terrific pictures but can't get them loaded.  BIG BUMMER!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Lusaka

I hope you have a vivid imagination and can "see" what I'm describing.  Jac has great pictures but so far technology has prevented us downloading to show you.  Great day in Lusaka the capital city of Zambia.  We visited a widow and children's program called Chikumbuso this morning.  What an inspiration.  This is one of our networking partners that has inspired us.  Lots more new ideas for our programs.  Then we headed to Blue Moon for lunch with our good friend Dana that has introduced us to so many people.  The special ome she brought for us to meet today was her 3-year old daughter Thea.  Yesterday we met with one of her friends, Maxine,who is a vivacious and cutting-edge dentist.  For this country of 12 million people there are a total of 70 dentists!
Tomorrow we're off to Ndola by bus.  There's a big soccer match tomorrow in Ndola and we got the last seats on the bus.
Everyone is healthy and happy.  Great group! The big frustration to everyone is the Internet challenge -- very sporadic and undependable.


--
Sherri Kirkpatrick, PhD, RN, FAAN
President & Executive Director
1401 West Truman Road
Independence, MO 64050
816 423 4731

Monday, January 7, 2013

Jac the Lion tamer


Jac the lion tamer

Don't be alarmed...we always send Jac in first to be sure the lions are in a good mood before the rest of us go in.  Actually those are baby lions and there's no mother lion in sight.  The orphan baby lions are cared for at the Lion Park in Jo'burg.  This is our second day in route trying to stay awake for our next flight to Livingstone.  What a fun way to kill time!!

London

Doesn't the group look amazing after an all night flight?  This is on the way into London on the tube --- they didn't look so lively on the way back!  Jetlag set in..  (Charles and Jac didn't make the cut for the photo but we'll try to catch them later.)  It was a cold day in London doing a quick walking tour around Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, etc.  Fortunately, no rain!! We are now back in the Heathrow lounge and getting ready to bolt for the gate to catch our flight to South Africa. 
Next stop... Africa!
--
Sherri Kirkpatrick, PhD, RN, FAAN
President & Executive Director
1401 West Truman Road
Independence, MO 64050
816 423 4731

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Made connection!

We are all safely on board our flight to London.  Plenty of white knuckles already.  We only had a 50 minute connect time scheduled and left KC 15 minutes late.  Our new mantra "may the jetstream be with you" saved us.  We actually arrived on time.  They were already loading when we got to the gate however..  But Josh and Max did not have boarding cards.  The flight was oversold.  But we got preference and all are aboard.  They just announced the turn off electronic.....

The group!

Kansas city airport obligatory group picture.  What a good looking crew. We're off to Dulles airport hoping to arrive in time to catch our flight to London.

We're Off!!

The friendly skies of South African Airways
We're off!!  Departing from Kansas City at 5:40 p.m., we are scheduled to make an hour stop at Washington Dulles and then arrive in London at 10:15 a.m.  We'll then hop a tube into the city and enjoy the sights of London while trying to stay awake and work on jet lag before boarding the plane for South Africa.  After spending two nights in super comfortable airplane seats :-) we'll arrive at 10:30 a.m. ready to stretch our legs and feel solid ground again.  Even though we spend time waiting in airports for connecting flights, we will be in transit about 34 hours from KC to Jo'burg.   If all goes as planned, we'll have time for a quick stop at the Lion Park in Jo'burg to pet the baby lions before catching our next flight to Livingstone, Zambia.  It takes a l-o-o-o-o-o-n-g time to get to Zambia!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Count Down...

The final countdown to lift off has begun!   On January 6, suitcases will be crammed shut, last minute errands run, and the trek to the airport begun.  An enthusiastic team of fourteen will be geared up to focus on specific programs once we hit Zambia:  mentoring the teachers, empowering the Income Generating Programs, and laying the foundation for a sustainable oral health program.  We're excited or as one of our team members said, "experiencing pre-game jitters."   We have invested in a new smart phone that is suppose to provide international service so we can send blogs.  We've heard that before so we'll believe it when it actually connects and begins transmitting.  But maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to keep you up-to-date while we're on site.  We haven't given up hope...