Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Kelsey in action!

Kelsey demonstrating how to fold a paper fan

Kelsey modeling new t-shirt and showing her
amazing new activity notebook
Kelsey Welch, a Social Worker and HealthEd Connect advocate, made her 3rd trip to Zambia this month.  It was a delight to see her in action.  After months of preparation, she managed to pull one trick after another out of her bag -- including 40 beautiful new bright blue t-shirts for the Child Support Specialists (CSS) and Kafwa.  The purpose of Kelsey's trip this year was to evaluate the CSS orphan support programs and introduce new activities for the CSS to use.  She was 100% successful on all counts!!

Kelsey interviewed a number of the children who attend the support groups and shared their stories.  Thanks to Kelsey, we will be able to introduce you to several children who told her their stories.  Watch for these stories in the days ahead.

P.S.  Kelsey is getting married in August and managed to somehow give this trip her full attention in the amidst all of the wedding preparations! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

THE Library!!

The  books arrived today for the new library.  The teachers were so engrossed in reading the books themselves we didn't think we would ever get the library closed.  What a big day for Cbipululusu!!  The very first library in the whole community.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Home team

It is so nice to have a team covering the homefront when you travel.  We received an email from our 10-year-old granddaughter, Kali, today saying she had been to our house to water plants and play with the monkeys "because they were getting restless."  I have no idea how one knows when old-fashioned sock monkeys are getting restless but she seems to have figured it out!  Kali also sent 8 of her small stuffed animals for us to give to the Kafwa to use in activities with the orphans.  Thanks Kali!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Think Cheerios!

Hey, everybody, help us spread the word!  We are looking for Cheerios fans.  If you eat Cheerios, or know someone else who does, please save the free little book tucked inside.  I believe there are a total of six different books all on an educational theme such as the environment.  The books are small, weigh very little, and would be easy for us to transport to our kids in Africa.  One possible hitch.... it looks like it is mostly the "flavored" aka "sugared" cheerios, which I am not advocating, that have the books.  But there are some specially marked packages of the original cheerios that have the books too if you look.  These would be great for the new little library.  Or even better, if we collected LOTS we could give each of the kids a book of their own to keep. I hope you can help us out!

local transportation

I hesitate to send this picture of Matt on the local bus today since it simply does not do justice to the layers of grim, broken seats, and over crowding.  Matt is actually sitting on a dropdown jumpseat that has a totally lose cushion with very little stuffing left and a frame so bent they stuck an old plastic water jug underneath to prop it up.  To top it all off the guy that collected our money nudged him over and shared the seat!  We were late leaving the bus station because they had trouble wedging the box of tomatoes onto the lap of the lady in front of him.  The real joy came when our bus with no springs hit the deep potholes in the road on our way to Kasompe.

   Our friend Catherine finally arrived in Chingola today after a multi-day bus ride from South Africa which included a long delay getting across the border, another delay after her bus hit a donkey  in the middle of the night and had to wait for a substitute bus and yet another long delay when the replacement bus had a flat tire.
Oh the joys of travel in Africa....

Sunday, June 16, 2013


We attended  church today at Chiwempala where another school is emerging.  We were delighted to find that Jenny Chibwe, former HealthEd Connect board member, and her husband, Bunda, were also visiting from the US.   Bunda translated for us.  At one point in the service when the choir was singing, Jenny rang out with a particularly loud and long traditional  African uulation.  Bunda smiled and said "That's Jenny in full strength -- no translation needed."

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mary's memorial

A lovely  graveside service was held June 14 in memory of Gershom's wife who passed away one year ago.  Mary was one of our most loyal and longest serving Kafwa.  She had 7 children of her own plus a heart big enough to engulf  every neglected child she ever met. 

Everyone wore black to the service which lasted almost 2 hours in the hot noontime Zambian sun. Mary's frail elderly mother who was among the 50 or 60  who attended the service has now buried the last of her 9 children. At the end  Gershom took off his black suit jacket and replaced it with a white one.  Everyone then gathered close to the grave and the white cloth covering  the grave was removed revealing the new tombstone. A touching tribute to a lovely lady.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Geneolgist in training

Amazing memory!  We stopped to chat with these little boys when the one on the right who said his name was Jack, looked at Matt Waite and said "You are
Mateo, Josh's brother.  Max's cousin. "   What???  He was exactly right.  Josh and Max were here in January but it has been 18 months since Mateo was here.  How did he put that geneology  chart together???

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Kansas City Rotary Club13 was well represented  by Jan Armstrong and Karen and Terry Haren at the Ndola Rotary Club meeting today.  It was fun to introduce our African Rotarian friends to our Kansas City Rotarian friends.  The Ndola Rotary club partnered with the Blue Springs Rotary Club last year and provided 40 desks and benches for our school.  We are so appreciative of their help and hope to have more Rotary partnerships in the future.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Oh the Run!

Jeff and 3 very special people in his life!
Our supporters are on the run!  Jeff Manuel, HealthEd Connect board member, is training for a half marathon to benefit our kids.  You can follow his blog at jeffreydmanuel.wordpress.com. Please support Jeff in his run by logging onto www.healthedconnect.org and clicking on the Donate button.  The drop-down menu gives the option of designating your gift to "Jeff's Run for Healthy Kids."  Jeff is a palliative care physician in Denver and has recently been assisting in designing a support program for the Kafwa health workers in Zambia who provide home based care for AIDS patients.  The Kafwa volunteers are instinctively providing many of the critical elements of palliative care but will greatly benefit from the suggestions and expertise Jeff offers.  Jeff served as a World Service Corps volunteer in Malawi and returned a few years later to fulfill a course requirement for his medical degree. 

How about that!

It was so much fun to see this sign greet us on the end of the school building at Chipulukusu when we arrived today.  Some enterprising young painter offered to do the sign for a reasonable price.  Great job on the HealthEd Connect logo!  Only problem....the next classrooms will be added to this wall and totally cover the sign.  Bummer!! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Matt getting religious

Fortunately we were able to rescue Matt from WestMinster Abby in London and proceed to Zambia.   We enjoyed the 4 hours racing around London and hopping on and off the tube.  The biggest advantage, however, was getting the physical exercise so we could sleep on the 12 hour flight to Johannesburg.

So you more fully appreciate the picture added to this blog, let me explain.  We figure it has taken about 4 hours of actual time plus 6 hours of stewing to make it work.  Jac took the picture, downloaded it to his computer and photoshopped it.  Then came the BIG challenge... getting it to my ipad.  To make that work he had to create a Picasa album and download his pictures there.  THAT took over an hour for 18 pictures because the Internet is so slow.  Then Sherri, techno nerd she's not, painstakingly by trial and error figured out the abbreviated iPad system for Blogger.  I know that was way more than you cared to hear about the process but we thought we had earned whining rights!

A Nursing Success

Several years ago the HealthEd Connect PNA nursing scholarship was awarded to Prissy Daniel for her undergraduate program. Prissy successfully completed that program and went on to enroll in graduate work.  We received an email from her father, Prince Daniel, this week that Prissy recently successfully completed her Masters degree in Nursing and has been posted to a job in Ajmeer, Rajasthan state, India as a Education officer in one of the Non Government organizations (NGO).   Prissy originally pursued nursing because she wanted to make a meaningful difference in the world.  Now she has that opportunity.  We wish her all the best!

We are so proud of Prissy!  Another highly educated nurse for a country that needs her.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Jac routed us through Livingston since it was several hundred dollars cheaper than flying straight to Lusaka.  We stayed again at the Jollyboys Backpacker hostel.  Even though we were within 20 minutes of Victoria Falls, we did not visit it this time.  Instead we took a day trip to Chobe in Botswana.  What a day!  We crossed on the ferry and took a smaller boat up the Zambezi river where we saw huge herds of elephants --- at least 150.  So fascinating to watch the family dynamics.
We are now off to Lusaka where we will meet up with Gershom and visit Bookworld and Dr. Dhally Menda.  Then off to the schools!

Monday, June 3, 2013


Graceland announced as Spirit Award honoree
The ENACTUS (formerly SIFE) team made us super proud again this year!  They won at Regionals and  advanced to Nationals in Kansas City.  Even though they didn't sweep the National competition, they made us soooo proud!  They presented a clever video on the opening night of competition and were honored for their efforts by being named among the top three for the Spirit award.  

The presentation team was again awesome!  It is always a mystery as to how they can memorize the script and have it exactly match the video on the screen.  A significant portion of their presentation focused on the HealthEd Connect Zambian projects they've championed.  The judges seemed especially interested in the Moringa tree project because of the high nutritional value of the tree.  Personally, we thought they should have gone to the World Competition and won!  Congratulations, team, on advancing to Nationals.  We are so proud of you!

In route

The Zambia team of 3 (Matt, Sherri, and Jac) made it to London! Since we have an 8 hour lay over before our flight leaves for Jo'burg, we took the tube in to London and quickly saw as many sites as possible. Walked miles! Hopefully the workout will bode well for a good night's sleep on the 14 hour flight tonight. More later.
Sent from my iPad