Monday, January 27, 2014

Coming home

We couldn't believe  snow was still creating havoc 3 weeks later when we flew into Wash DC.  But we had a great trip in spite of weather challenges and are now home with endless tales to tell!!


It took 3 days, lots of nail biting, and many cancelled flights for us to finally get launched to Zambia.  This was the view out the window as we taxied down the runway.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

National anthem

The children sang the Zambian National anthem with gusto as Mr.
Milimo, the head teacher, raised the Zambian flag for the first time.

Flag raising

Big day in Chipulukusu!  We are now a REAL school with 7 grades and a flag pole proudly flying the HealthEd Connect and Zambia flags.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

School Board Meeting

A School Board meeting African style.  Fortunately Cherry and Michael, HealthEd Connect Board members, were on hand to help sort out the complex and difficult challenges shared.  This would make an incredible hard-to-believe reality series!

While walking into Chingola this morning, Sherri kept noticing a menacing man in a red shirt getting closer and closer behind her. Just as she was about to swing her backpack around to her front to protect it, she realized the man in the red shirt was me. She still swung her pack around just in case. (Michael Lewis) 

Friday, January 17, 2014

After being reminded in Kasompe that "only boys play football (soccer)," it was truly a joyful moment to watch Graceland University's women's soccer star, Becca Ferguson, show the Kasompe boys a thing or two (or ten) about how football is really played. I don't think it was lost on a single one of the 150 or so boys AND GIRLS who were watching that a women was dominating the football field. (Karl Bradford was out there holding his own quite well, also.)  (Submitted by Michael Lewis)

Having arrived in Chingola, a former copper mining boom town (a boom at least for the outsiders who came in to exploit the resources and the indigenous people who lived here), we made our way out to the school in Kasompe yesterday.  We could see by the chart on the wall in the Kasompe head teacher's office that every single student in the school was either an orphan (many double orphans) or an otherwise vulnerable child, most likely from a home of extreme poverty.  Educating a child, especially a girl, in these communities offers a quick break in the cycle of poverty because a literate girl is 50% more likely to go on to raise children who also will learn to read and write.  If the incredible women we met at the NGOs at the beginning of our trip are any indication, or the women we've met as Kafwa or school teachers, that educated girl also will likely go on to change the world. (Posted by Michael Lewis)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Love them!

We just left one of our favorite places on earth--Zamtan!  See why we fall in love with these little charmers?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Flannel graphs

The CSS who work with orphans were thrilled with the stone-soup flannel graph  story shared  by Michelle Mahlik.

An engaged class.

Enactus in action

This is real time!  Paige Robino has just introduced a new thread-wrapped pen craft that we expect to be a hot item at Graceland.   Better get your order in!

Posting some pics in real time: Board Member Cherry Newcom is teaching bead-making to some of the Zambian Kafwa this morning, including our youngest bead-maker, Violet. (Posted by Michael Lewis)

The HealthEd Connect site visit to Chipulukusu continues to go very well. The Kafwa are engaged, excited and inspiring, and the kids are so dear.  They love having their pictures made almost as much as they love looking at themselves on our cameras. (Michael Lewis)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Absolutely amazing!

We gave the go ahead on the new classroom block at Chips last month and the three classrooms are already almost up to the roof.  Mr Millimo, the head teacher, is the biggest construction watcher.  He wants to get the 7th grade added ASAP.  He said he would start the new class as soon as the roof was on even if the floor wasn't poured  or the windows installed.  The only reason he is waiting for the roof is that Zambia is in the rainy season and there is a random downpour every day.  Everyone is excited about 7th grade since that is the top and final grade offered in community schools.  We've nearly arrived!!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Whole Team on the move.

Rainbirds Cherry, Shandra, and Michelle

Neither rain nor gushing paths nor slimy red mud can deter the HealthEd team.  Brandishing umbrellas and determination, we ventured down to Chipulukusu this morning for church and meetings.  What fun to see our Zambian friends again!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

NEWS BULLETIN -- ZAMBIA. A rash of peeping moms has been reported in Lusaka. The public should be on the lookout for suspicious women lurking around open windows. They are known to lure vulnerable children into situations where they will be educated, cared for, and offered opportunity. The public is urged to report any successful encounters to HealthEd Connect immediately. (Michael Lewis)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Jac in action

If you look really carefully at the picture you will see Jac hard at work on his laptop balancing the trip finances for the day.  Unfortunately the electricity has gone off again.  Even the little generator at the guest house where we are staying in Lusaka refuses to work.  In spite of the challenges, Jac is determined to balance the Kwacha!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Certificates of Achievement

Proud owners of Grade promotion Certificataes at Chips!
Kasompe kids showing off certificates

Certificates of achievement are a rather scarce commodity among our school children.  We initiated a new tradition this year with a certificate of promotion to the next grade.  The school year in Zambia parallels the calendar year so certificates were distributed just before Christmas and children promoted to a new grade.  Life is so tenuous for so many of our kids that a piece of paper documenting school attendance, even if only the 1st grade, is a treasured item.

safe arrival

We are safely in Zambia!  The weather change has been dramatic.  We left KC with blowing snow and 10 degree weather.  We are now perspiring in humid 80 degree heat.  Everyone is happy and healthy.  The students and Jac are at the game park today and Michael and I are working!  We are flying to Lusaka in about an hour for appointments with USAID, UNICEF, and other contacts.  All is well....

Monday, January 6, 2014

Nurse Helen

I received this touching email recently from Charles and Sara Lloyd.  I know you will enjoy it!

Helen Rogers Lloyd, my mother, graduated in 1926 as a Registered Nurse in Public Health. Her 49-year career serving others in the Birmingham, Alabama area was a continuing journey ministering to others to help them be healthy and free from disease and sickness. When she died in 1992 we wanted to honor her memory through a cause that paralleled her passion for public health issues.
In our conversations with Sherri and Jac soon after her death, they described a project for Zaire (Now, The Democratic Republic of Congo). Sherri envisioned training 20 Birth Attendants spread out in many villages who would help mothers and newborns come into the world with less complications and in more healthy surroundings. 

Today most of the original 20 are still active in the field delivering babies in their villages. This year, 2013, 6 of these Birth Attendants delivered 1,400 babies with no maternal or infant mortalities through early December. What an amazing accomplishment these ladies have performed

Nurse Helen would be so proud of these ladies continued good works and all the effort that Sherri and Jac are doing to help others. We are grateful for HealthEd Connect’s work that wisely invests in projects that provide long-term support to others through support and education.

Charles and Sara Lloyd

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Final wait

After 3 days of canceled flights to Zambia and endless hours on the phone rebooking, Lynley Closson, and Karl Bradford optimistically joined us at the Airport Fairfield to monitor weather and flights with Jac on their phones.  Paige Robino and Becca Ferguson came a bit later to spend the night.  High hopes we will be off to Zambia in the morning.

Friday, January 3, 2014

R to L  Paige Robino, Lynley Closson, Becca Ferguson, Karl Bradford and Sherri.  That's Jac behind the camera!
Just wanted to tell all of you chief supporters on the home front that Team Zambia 2014 is just about ready to launch.  We had hours and hours on the telephone and computer trying to regroup after getting our flights canceled TWICE due to the snowstorm.  But we had lots of other people to commiserate with!  Last count over 10,000 flights were canceled due to Hercules.  Fortunately, the other members of the team are traveling as scheduled.  Michael Lewis has already been in Africa for several days and Michelle Mahlik, and Cherry and Shandra Newcom leave tomorrow.  Hopefully their leaders will catch up at some point! 

All lights are now green for a great trip even though we're starting 3 days later than planned.  Who can complain about a day sight-seeing in London while waiting for our next flight, getting drenched at Victoria Falls, one of the wonders of the world, or cruising down the river watching elephants?  As awesome as that all sounds, the heart of the trip will be the adorable kids we will meet, the inspiring health workers we will work with, and the opportunity we will have to make a real difference in other people's lives.  I'm sure there will be MANY stories to tell when we return.

We have a 5:50 a.m. flight Sunday morning.  So we're almost off...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Palliative Care

Kafwa health workers visiting the homes of the very ill and dying.
Shandra Newcom and Dr. Jeff Manuel, HEC Board member, are busily organizing materials and planning a Kafwa training session on Palliative Care for the January 2014 Zambian trip.  Shandra will be traveling with the team and leading the session entitled Helping Hands, Healing Hearts.  At the end of the workshop, a celebration and remembrance will be held to honor the lives of the Kafwa's patients who died this past year.  The Kafwa in Zambia have a very organized program for visiting those who need their assistance in the communities where they live.  They know the people's needs, they know they bring great encouragement, they know they relieve suffering and they know the people depend on them.  They just don't know that there is a fancy word for that called "palliative care."  I know they will be thrilled to receive the new information that will support them in their incredible work.