I’m so embarrassed I haven’t blogged in over a month! I’ve been extremely busy managing Ciyanjano on my own. My to-do list was massive. But, I’m slowly working my way through it. The biggest thing on it has been finishing the shower/toilet facility. 99% of it is done.
All major construction was done at the end of March and we’ve had a few groups use it since then. But it still needs some finishing touches. I’ve been busy building and installing hooks, doors, and window frames.
Here is what it looks like inside:
And here’s what it looks like on the property:
Wow, I can’t believe I have lived in Zambia for an entire year! I cannot thank God enough for the incredible experience. And of course all of you for your support. The prayers, words of encouragement and donations keep me going.
I feel incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to live out the Gospel here in Lusaka. As locals say “God is Good, All the Time.”
I don’t know what else to say besides how grateful and blessed I feel so here’s my newsletter for the month. 2013-03 March
Sorry I haven’t blogged much recently. I’ve been having trouble with my internet in the evenings.
Friday is the one year anniversary of living in Zambia. This year has just flown by. And I’ve been living on my own this whole time. I’ve lived with my family and with roommates but never by myself and for the most part I’ve enjoyed it. But there are downsides, like the other day when I got trapped inside the bathroom.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Let me explain, the door to my bathroom is a bit bowed and can’t latch in the door jam. I installed a deadbolt to keep the door shut and hung the key from the door handle so it couldn’t be lost.
I finished my shower, heard my phone ringing outside in the main room, went to unlock the door and found this.
A broken key. The head of the skeleton key snapped off with no way to unlock the door…The lock came with a spare key but I had put it in a drawer…on the outside.
So my options were limited. I couldn’t climb out the window because this is Zambia and every window has burglar bars preventing people from getting in, but it also prevents me from getting out. I couldn’t call anyone because my phone was outside, and even if I could have called someone, the front door was locked from the inside.
The only choice I had was to break down the door. Fortunately, I had placed a box of hardware and other random junk under my sink and I found a large steel rod inside. I used it to break out the panels of the door enough for me to crawl through and get the spare.
I’m not sure if there is a moral to take from this occasion other than getting locked in the bathroom once a year isn’t too bad. Here’s to another year in Zambia!
2 weeks ago, Jailos, one of our staff here at Ciyanjano – told me there was smoke coming out of the power distribution box. As I walked to the box with our electrician on the phone I tried to guess what was the problems and how much it’s going to cost to fix.
After closer inspection it became apparent that the culprit was a blown fuse. When the electrician looked closer, the root of the problem was the cable that powers the Cigayo, Ciyanjano’s maize grinding business.
Over the past few years we’ve had numerous electrical related problems. So when the electrician said that the current cable was too small and it was giving insufficient power to the grinding machines things made sense. The cable has also been chopped, spliced backed together, and chewed up by termites. The cable that was originally used was 4mm. What it needs to be replaced with is 4-core, 10mm armored cable.
If that sounds expensive it’s because it is. This cable costs $3.20 a foot…and we need 1,050 feet.
We have set up the Cigayo to operate as a small business. The revenue it generates goes back into Ciyanjano and helps to pay operational expenses. The total cost of the repairs would wipe out months worth of income that Ciyanjano desperately needs.
These repairs had to be done immediately. We reallocated some funds to purchase half of the cable and now we need to raise the money for the whole project. Therefore we are seeking to raise the necessary capital funds. With the harvest right around the corner these improvements will help increase profits during our busiest time of the year.
If you are interested in investing in this business please let me know. You are not only investing in a small business that serves the community but you are also investing in the lives of the people who use Cigayo to feed their loved ones.
The last time I blogged about our current construction project, shower/toilet facility, the walls were still being built. When I got back a few weeks later the roof was complete. After some minor improvements to the initial construction of the roof, the window/door frames and electrical went in.
Right now the main thing going on is “plastering.” I’m not sure what the American word for it, or if there is a word for the technique, or if we even do it in American construction. Plastering and shining uses a wetter mixture of concrete that is added to the surface of the concrete blocks and “shined” by smoothing the cement out.
Soon the plumbing system will go in. We managed to save a ton of money by purchasing utility sinks from the city market.
We are still planning on having the facility ready to go for a large group who is coming to the campground Easter weekend. So please pray that things continue to go smoothly.
Declare you to be licensed! Today I went to go get my driver’s license. I’ve put it off now for far to long and it was finally time to get it. Up to now the process has been a breeze. My physical exam was good (fyi, all my limbs are in working order); I had the right forms and I got a drivers test scheduled for today last week. I was really nervous about the test. I’ve heard horror stories about failing immediately due to “excessive hand climbing” – which is the “American” style of turning the steering wheel. The proper way here is to slide your hands linearly back and forth moving the wheel never over lapping. It’s really uncomfortable and unnatural…and makes no sense.
When I got there this morning I told the guard I was here for the drivers test. The exam began with driving through a “T” shape course lined by cones. It sounds simple: drive straight, turn right. Back up turning right and then repeat on the left side. If you touch a cone you fail. If you don’t do it in one smooth, continuous motion you fail.
As I backed around the corner from the left side my point of reference was lost because all the cones were the same, sun-faded color. In the rear view mirror they all looked the same so I cut too wide. Even though I never hit the cone I just got out and went over to the guy who promptly wrote “FAIL” on the back on my form and told me to report to the officer in the booth to reschedule another exam in 7 days. I just laughed.
As I approached the booth I figured I’d plead my case with the guy to give me another shot. I forget exactly how the fact that I have an American license came up but the official in the booth said I would only have to do a license conversion test. He told me to get a photocopy of it and my Zambian ID. After 10 minutes literally running up and down streets looking for a working photocopier I gave them to him. As he looked at my Washington State license he said “We the people, We the people. I like that phrase on your passports. Where does it come from?
One thing I’ve learned here is that with the right official on your side a dead-end isn’t exactly a dead-end. Using all my diplomatic skills I began discussing with him the Constitution, the founding fathers, and all things America. As he laughed, he began filling out official looking forms. He hands the papers back and instructs me to go pay for my provisional license and come back for approval stamps.
30 minutes later, 25 of them spent standing in line to pay, I drove home with my license in hand having failed the only test I took today and with an even greater appreciation for our founding fathers.
God bless you ‘Merica.
Last week I went to 3 different countries and saw another 2. Needless to say it was busy…and a ton of fun. We’ve been hosting a short-term team who put on a hospice seminar with the CROSS Project and then helped run our team retreat this past weekend. In between they went down to Livingstone to see the falls and go on a game drive in Northern Botswana. They wanted to have someone who could help show them around so I, quite selflessly I might add, volunteered to take them down.
The last time I went to Victoria Falls it was right after the rainy season. There was so much mist and vapor that I really didn’t even see the falls. Because it’s the end of the dry season I was able to walk out onto the river bed right up to the edge of the falls. I would have gone out farther but I was stopped by some guards because I didn’t have a guide. At first I thought it was a scam but when they said that the guides know when they divert water over the falls upstream I thought it was quite a legitimate reason to have a guide.
The next day on safari in Chobe National Park we saw a ton of elephants, hippos, crocodiles. I was very doubtful we’d see a giraffe and/or lion. In fact, I said it would be a small miracle. God must have heard me and wanted to prove me wrong because in the last 25 minutes of the drive we saw a giraffe and a few lions. The lions were deep in the bush so I couldn’t get a clear line of sight. It was very exciting.
Here’s a little early Christmas present from me to you.
I’ve spent the last 3 days in Livingstone with some guests but while I was gone the contractors finished the slab box for the shower/toilet facility. It’s the end of the first phase of construction, and one of the most important too.
Before I left they were filling in the foundation.
Then they compacted it using the cement blocks. Sadly, I didn’t get any photos of this process. When I got back to Ciyanjano earlier today, this is what I found.
Tomorrow the team is heading north for our annual team retreat. Please pray for safety on the road.