Thursday, June 30, 2011


Yesterday was an amazing day in Africa!  The temps warmed up just a little and for the first time all week I wasn't freezing!  Yes, it can be cold in Africa.  I learned that this week!  I spent the morning at the fish ponds and the afternoon at the OVC before attending prayer visits in the evening.

We accompanied Pastor Mudenda's wife and several elders from the Wesleyan church to visit folks in their homes to pray with them.  Some of the people had missed church on Sunday and others had specific prayer needs.  This was my first opportunity to be welcomed into a Mwandi home and sit with men and women in their natural settings, rather than at the mission house or at the OVC.

Mwandi homes are quite different than what you and I are used to.  On our first day we took a village tour and were shown how villagers live.  The stark contrast between our homes in Mooresville and the homes in Mwandi are evident, yet I found myself forgetting what life was like back at home and really appreciating the handiwork and skill that goes into the homes in the village.  Some are mud huts while others are made of concrete blocks that are mixed and set each by the homeowners.  Homes here could take years to build.  They don't hire contractors and skilled workers.  Each homeowner has built their own home and does so with what little free time they have after work, school, feeding, etc are all complete.

It reminds me of my parents and how they built the home I grew up in little-by-little.  It was always in a state of construction.  As we lived in the basement, he continued building the main floor and second floor.  The house itself was a project in savings and they added to it a little at a time when their was extra money.  Today it stands as a very large beautiful log home with all the character and beauty that only a home built by the homeowners could possess.

The same is true for the homes in Mwandi.  The villagers take great pride in their homes and they are well kept and neat and orderly.  As we arrived to each different home unannounced, they were taken a little off guard, but quickly made us feel at home and welcome.  Their hospitality was humbling.  They would stand up from their small wooden benches and invite us to take a seat. 

At each home we would sit and pray over the people, chat a little, and then head to the next home.  We didn't spend more than 10 or 15 minutes at each place, yet I felt that our visit was significant and appreciated.

Meeting in homes and praying with one another is such a common occurrence in Mwandi.  While we came into the homes without any proper warning, there was never a moment where I felt unwelcomed.  Our presence brought them hope, just as their presence brought me peace and joy.  I felt so comfortable praying outloud, and praying for complete strangers.  I have never felt my faith or salvation as vividly as this experience made me feel.  It made me realize that while most of the villagers in Mwandi are materially poor, Americans are truly the poor ones.  We are spiritually poor.  Even though I see myself as a devout Christian who truly believes in the resurrection of Christ, I have never had to live off of faith the way many in Mwandi must.  I can see now that poverty is not simply having little money or food.

When I get home I want to take what I have learned here and implement it.  I joked with Forbes that we are going to begin meeting with all our friends, popping in on them and praying for them.  We joked that they are never going to invite us over for anything ever again!  But don't be surprised if you see us knocking at your door someday soon!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


“We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.”
                                                                            1 Corinthians 8: 1-2

Today is a new day. Some of the feelings from yesterday still linger in my chest, but I am determined to make it a new day. This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. I have but one chance in Africa. I have spent nearly half a year preparing for this trip. I have raised funds to be here. Now it is time for me to take advantage of the opportunity before me.

I have enjoyed this trip thus far, but for all the conventional reasons. I took delight in the food and the accommodations. I was excited for Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River. I met the local villagers and was eager to learn from their way of life. These are all the typical reasons I enjoy travel. But this is not a typical journey and it is time to get energized for different reasons.

In Africa the Baobab tree has a story. It once stood tall and beautiful. The tree was so beautiful, it puffed up with pride. God decided to teach the Baobab tree a lesson and uprooted the tree, turned it on its head and plopped it back into the ground. The tall and beautiful top of the tree was now buried far underground, exposing its roots for all to see. Now the large Baobab tree is a simple tree trunk with short limbs and few leaves. It’s beauty was buried.

The lesson of the Baobab teaches us about our own pride. At home, what do I take pride in? My home, my fitness, my work, my clothes, my hair? In Africa, do any of these things matter? My home is thousands of miles away on the other side of the world, and no one here is asking about my new patio chairs or curtains. My fitness is certainly of great benefit in Africa, but is anyone concerned that I can run 6 miles? While my work at home is rewarding, it doesn’t translate well in Africa.

So what am I left with? Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Love is the same in any language. Just as a hug or a smile is the same in any language. God has picked me up, turned me over and plopped me back down on my head. Burying what I have always known, and exposing a new reality. Today I invite you to try walking on your hands and see how your view of the world changes. That is what I intend to do.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Slow Down

I am not having the best day today.  I think it is expected on missions that you will have some days that just aren’t great.  Today is one of those days.  It hasn’t been all bad, but I’m just not feeling it today.  There are things that I have been struggling with all week and I believe the feelings have culminated into a bit of a funk. 

Despite the encouraging devotion this morning, the reassurance that it is about relationships and not about accomplishments, I am feeling a bit useless.  Before we left for Mwandi we were asked by so many what our tasks would be.  We would answer with what seems to be the motto of the trip: “it is about the relationships not the tasks.”

I hear it, I understand it, but I am having trouble with it.  Though I spend many hours at the OVC, time at the hospital, time at the farm, I question how useful my time is.  I wonder if anyone is finding value in my help.  Or am I just in the way? 

Although I am feeling discouraged and my emotions are getting away from me, I understand the reality.  First, my time is valued.  Even if I don’t accomplish much in a day, I know that I am appreciated.  Just my presence shows support and love for this mission. 

Second, it is a positive thing that I am not needed much.  It shows that the mission is sustainable.  The OVC can afford to hire staff to watch over and feed the children.  Volunteers are useful, but the staff has the system under control.  It is wonderful to travel to a remote village in Africa and find a successful program implemented.   Once I better understand those systems, I will become more and more useful.

Lastly, I have been away from home for a full week now, and not just away from home, but in a third-world country on the other side of the world.  It is true in any situation, travelers become weary.  Although our living conditions are very comfortable, being away from the familiarity of home is beginning to take a toll on me and I believe this is feeding my anxiety about the mission.  There have been moments today where I just wanted to get up and run.  Run away.  Rather, I have decided to allow myself to experience the emotions, take the time to process them, and realize why I am feeling the way I am.  After recognizing what I have been experiencing, I have been mindful to not allow my attitude to effect the people around me or the work that is being done, while also vowing to have a more positive mind-set tomorrow.  

The hardest part about being an American in a village in Africa is not having enough to do.  I have no to-do list, and no checklist, just an obligation to help where ever I am needed.  I struggle with downtime and quiet time.  At home I fill those gaps in my day with television, internet, magazines, etc.  Here I must fill those moments with my own thoughts and prayers.  And perhaps I am driving myself bonkers in my own head.  I think that when I get over this funk, I will feel refreshed and renewed and hopefully appreciate the slow pace and way of life in Mwandi.  It is so different than my pace at home and I am obviously struggling to adapt. 

The funny thing about it all is that we were fully warned.  I cannot tell you how many times we were told that the pace was slow and nothing starts on time.  We were told that it is quiet and we will find ourselves overwhelmed.  And yet, as I experience all these things first-hand, nothing could have prepared me.  I suppose that is the thing about mission, you just have to experience it yourself!

Love is Kind

Love is patient. Love is kind.

Coincidentally, Forbes and I opened our devotional book, “Become a Better You” by Joel Osteen, to find that we had reached Part 3: Develop Better Relationships!  The theme of this mission has been to be relationally focused, not task focused and it hasn’t been easy.  So it is very fun to see another “God Thing” take shape on this journey and I welcome the daily reminder to build better relationships through my morning devotions with Forbes.

Even my thoughts on the blog this week have been all about what I am doing, and how I am helping.  Rather I should focus on who I am serving and loving.

Joel Osteen points out one bible translation that reads in 1 Corinthians, “Love looks for a way of being constructive,” rather than the ever-popular, “Love is kind.”  In other words, as Osteen explains, love looks for ways to improve someone’s life.  He says, “Don’t just obsess about how to make your own life better, think about how you can make somebody else’s life better as well.”
The way we can improve another’s life is through love.  The bible teaches "Peace, Love and Joy, but the greatest of all is love."  So today’s question is not what are my mission projects and what will I accomplish.  Instead I begin my day with these sentiments:

Who will I encourage today?
Who can I build up?
How can I challenge someone to reach for new heights?
How can I inspire someone today?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Team Work

We spent the morning on the farm and our afternoon at the OVC today. 
What I enjoyed most about today was the chance to work alongside my husband all day.  We won’t have that opportunity many more times this week.  He will likely be in a classroom teaching, so I cherished the opportunity today.

We have had practice working together in the past and if I am honest, we aren’t that great at it.  I remember our first attempt when we were planning the staff party at the end of summer camp in 2006.  I’m not even sure if we were dating at the time.  We went to Wal-mart to pick up a few things for the party.  I really thought it would be nice if we bought ribbon and tied together everyone’s staff gifts individually.  Forbes thought it was a much better idea to just hand each of the items, a t-shirt and yearbook, separately.  It was quite the dual in the middle of the Wal-mart as we batted our opinions back and forth.

Ultimately he won; his idea was better, easier, and made more sense.  But it takes me quite a bit to admit to not being right.  Just like last night when I had to tell him that his idea for a game with the children was better than my own.  He doesn’t hear the words “you’re right” quite as much as he probably should.  I’m learning.

We spent yesterday afternoon planning the children’s devotion that we led today.   We worked together alright, but I wouldn’t say it was great.  However, today as we led the children in songs, a reading and even a game, we did a much better job working as a team.  Even when things weren’t going very smooth and the children weren’t catching on to our game, we would cast each other a sideways glance and just roll with the punches. 

Today was one of my favorite experiences working with Forbes.  Along with leading devotion, we also helped serve lunch and snack.  The OVC serves 270 children a midday meal every day of the week.  For many of these kids, it is the only food they eat all day.  I was humbled when the feeding assistants offered us lunch as well.
Inshima is a traditional African food and is very similar to polenta but made with white corn, not the sweet yellow variety we have in America.  Collards and a soy-based “meat” product were served with the Inshima.  I think the workers at the OVC expected us to be appalled by the Inshima and soy “meat” and were shocked when we ate every bite on our plates.  Little do they know this is a typical meal in the Kummerow home!  I was excited to see collards but a little hesitant to try the inshima and soy product.

When we walked into the gates of the OVC today the children instantly jumped to my side.  “Mekua! Mekua!” they cried!  The little girls ran up to me, grabbed my hand, told me their names and asked me how I was.  They are beautiful children with big, round eyes that show wisdom beyond their tiny ages.  Despite their daily struggles, they are children just like any others.  They play, they swing, they jump rope and sing.  They even fight and yell sometimes.  I find that I forget where I am when I am in their presence.  I could be in any schoolyard in any country and these boys and girls could have any circumstance or background. 
But it isn’t just any reality for them.  While I sit here getting ready to eat another meal, they are at home now and perhaps won’t have that opportunity tonight.  After today’s inshima, soy, and collards, they won’t eat again until midday tomorrow.  I forget these things as I play with them outside the OVC, but as I watch Irene cook our next meal I am reminded.

Each day here I have questioned what my purpose is, and why God has sent me.  Anybody can hold their hand Lord.  Anyone can give these children a hug.  Why me?  What am I supposed to do?  Forbes will be teaching at the high school.  Ben, Mike, Eric and Steve are teaching microfinance. Doug is teaching seminary students in the bush…but what am I doing here?

I still don’t really know the answer to that question, but I have realized one of my tasks is to share the stories of Mwandi with the world.  I am but one person and can only do so much.  But I have a voice and I have an audience and maybe that is my purpose.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


A couple interesting things have come to light since I wrote out my sentiments from yesterday that pertain specifically to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. I suppose this is what you would call a “God Thing”…when you just can’t explain away a coincidence.

After reading about the pandemic yesterday, I felt very sad, helpless and hopeless. I wondered if we could ever really overcome something as large as HIV/AIDS. I felt like there was no way for me to help.

Last night our group spent nearly 6 hours in open and lively conversation. For several hours before dinner we sat around the living room just chatting. Once the meal was prepared we moved around the table and our conversation lasted another couple hours. Finally we moved back into the living room for our evening devotion that lasted much longer than anticipated. It was nearing 11pm when we were finally finished with our discussion.

While many things were brought to light last night that spoke deep into my heart, one thing Doug said that really made sense of how I was feeling about the HIV/AIDS pandemic was this:

“I may not be able to cure AIDS, but I can hug a person and pray with them.”

Then today, after returning home from church, I walked into the Simba House to a room full of guests, two of which had just traveled from Lusaka to Livingstone for a training, and swung down to Mwandi for the morning. They lived here for 5 years and were just popping in for church and a visit. This husband/wife duo work in Lusaka now for the ministry of Public Health and reproductive health. Their primary task is developing a plan to combat HIV/AIDS in all of Zambia. All through lunch I picked their brains about the pandemic and what is being done to fight this disease.

While I learned many things from Chobi and Wesi and Doug, my take away from these two experiences is this...something is being done, it is not hopeless and I am not helpless. I can help by supporting those who are already working on this issue, whether it is in prayer or financially. And I can help those who are affected by this disease by loving them, praying with them, and like Doug said…hugging them. I can educate myself about the disease, about the devastation, allow myself to feel sad, and then do what God sent me here to do: build relationships and show love to His people. And you can contribute as well by praying for me while I am here and praying for the people that I am meeting. We are not helpless, and it is certainly not hopeless.

In other news, church was simply amazing this morning. Watching Doug preach and Pastor Mudenda translate, singing and praising with vibrant Mwandi men, women and children, and observing the Lord at work in a place clear across the world from my home was undoubtedly one of my favorite experiences!

Right now things have slowed down a bit. Everyone is caught up in conversation, sitting around the living room again. It is Sunday and we are relaxed and enjoying the company of those around us. I pray that your Sunday back at home is similar, and hopefully as joyful as mine.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project

As much as I love to tell a story with photos, it will be much easier on me and my fellow houseguests if I limit the amount of photos on each of my posts while in Mwandi. They will appreciate a chance to enjoy the internet if I’m not hogging all the bandwidth.

This morning was an early start. We met Gertrude at the church for a thorough village tour. Along the way we met an array of wonderful people and witnessed the life of Mwandians. The tour ended at the Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s Center, the OVC. The morning concluded with a few jobs at the OVC. I helped the children clean up and shower, Forbes served snacks, Ben led a devotion, and the rest of the crew had great fun playing games and entertaining the children.

I learned something new about the OVC yesterday on the way into Mwandi. As Rury was explaining to us the projects at the mission, we received a great lesson about how the OVC came to be. When Fiona first came to Mwandi over 15 years ago she conducted a comprehensive study within the village to discover the needs and how to best serve the villagers. The community of Mwandi excels at caring for their people. They welcome orphans into their homes; extended family members are immediate caretakers of children when their parents pass away. The issue in a village like Mwandi is that many times one family can wind up caring for tens of children because of the HIV/Aids pandemic, and many times it is the elderly grandparents caring for their children’s children. Other times, children aren’t orphaned, but because their parents suffer with HIV/Aids, they are not well cared for. Thus the orphans and vulnerable children.

Therefore, the OVC was developed to assist specific needs such as clothing, food and schooling, but not necessarily shelter. In fact, I was mistaken to believe that the OVC was an orphanage in the normal sense of the word. Rather, children spend their days at the OVC, receiving food and counseling and devotions. The center serves children in many different ways and classifies families according to their specific needs. Not all children are on the Nutrition Program (receiving food). Some just receive support for school or clothes and blankets. The families and adults in the programs also receive counseling and support to help better their situation.

The Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s Center is an innovative approach to serving the needs of a village. Rather than supply services that are easily provided by the community (shelter), they sought the advice of the villagers to find the specific needs that need to be supported (clothing, school, food). This program benefits the community without creating a dependence.

Recently Fiona conducted another study to gauge the effectiveness of the OVC and how it is perceived by the village. While the center is providing basic needs, the research found secondary needs that are not being well addressed in the community. Of high importance is to continue and further educate guardians, children and the OVC Project staff around HIV/AIDS and the rights of children. Supporting guardians with parenting knowledge and skills is also of high importance.

As aforementioned, HIV/AIDS is a pandemic. I don’t know stats for this community but I’m sure I’ve heard numbers between 30% and 50% are infected. As I spent the morning at the OVC, it was devastating to look into the eyes of these beautiful children and know that perhaps half of them will suffer in their lifetime from a disease that is entirely preventable. For many of them, they have no choice. They are already infected, their destiny already set ahead of them.

For the next several days I intend to educate myself about the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Mwandi and learn about the practices that are in place to help alleviate the devastation. What are the needs of this community? How can I help? How can we help?

Would you like to read more about Mwandi, Zambia? 

Keith and Eda, two of the missionaries stationed in Mwandi write a blog over at
One of our team members, Mike Jette, is also keeping a blog while we are here at

Check them out!

How a Vegan does Africa

How many pinch me moments is it possible to have in a day?  Or even in a short two-hour drive down the M10?  Can it really be possible that I am in a small village outside Livingstone in a country in the middle of Africa? 

We pulled into Mwandi this afternoon and simultaneously I felt home and in a foreign place.   Sitting beside Rury in the Land Cruiser on the way in, I heard all the stories and tales of a life I knew nothing of.  But as we rolled into the village I felt as if I knew the people and the environment already.  However, as I really began to see the village, the people, I realized I was in a world so far removed from any experience I have known and I have so much to learn about this place.

I am overwhelmed.  I don’t know what is laid out ahead of me in the next 10 days.  I don’t even know how to describe what I am feeling right now.  I haven’t begun to process the day.  So rather than try to be deep and philosophical at the moment, I want to change gears and do something unorthodox on Vegan Faith…talk about food!

For a mission to Africa we have been exposed to some pretty reasonable living conditions.  I had no idea what to expect at all.  I was fully prepared for the worst of the worst!  But I have been pleasantly surprised every step of the journey by the organization of this trip. We have followed in the footsteps of many missionaries before us who have paved the way for safe and joyful travels to a land that is very foreign to Westerners, if for no other reason than to make accommodations tolerable to encourage many more missionaries to Mwandi. 

I hesitate to write about things like food and lodging because I don’t want to offend anyone or undermine the fundraising that we have done to get here. Even as I write these sentiments, I question the appropriateness of a post dedicated to food while I am serving many who go hungry every day.  This whole trip has me internally conflicted about my way of life versus the needs of those around me.  But as aforementioned, my brain is not functioning to process thoughts like these at the moment.  So I am going to quit trying to make sense of it all and just bring it to you…after all in my “real life” I write a food blog…it is my never-ending task in life to photograph everything I eat.  So whether it be appropriate or not…let me show you how a Vegan does Africa!
Each morning at Fawlty Towers I enjoyed a hot bowl of "Jungle Oats" served with mashed banana and cinnamon.  Of course I can't leave well enough alone and added my own banana and peanut butter on top!
Our first lunch in Livingstone was at a nearby cafe where Forbes and I shared a large Greek salad and toast served with avo and lemon juice.
Dinner was at the adjoining restaurant to the cafe.  They had an eclectiv menu including these "Fashion Sandwiches" which were just like sushi rolls, only made in a bite-sized sandwich.
After our tour of Victoria Falls we enjoyed a pool-side lunch at a nearby hotel within walking distance to the Falls.  The the Sun resort Forbes and I shared a create-your-own Nibbler Platter with potato wedges, veggie spring rolls and Falafel.  As well as another Greek salad.  This makes our fourth Greek salad since arriving in Africa!
Dinner on Thursday was enjoyed overlooking the Zambezi River and I enjoyed my first local brew while watching the sun set.  Mozi is just a light beer, very similar to a Bud Light.

Dinner was enjoyed with a fabulous view out over the river.  Grilled eggplant burgers.

Would you like some ketchup with your burger? 

If there is one thing I will bring home as a souvenier it will be this "Tomato Sauce".  It is quite divine.  I believe it is spiked with a cinnamon or nutmeg spice that makes it unbelievably tasty!  I am addicted!

My favorite meal in Livingstone would have to be our lunch on Friday before heading into Mwandi!  Across the street from Fawlty Towers (our hostel) is a little cafe called Kilimanjaro.  At this cafe I found my very first African Green Monster!  Forbes and I also enjoyed the Summer Salad and Veggier Burger. 

Finally on Friday we arrived in Mwandi, just a two-hour drive from Livingstone.  The Simba House is where we will stay for the next 9 or 10 days while we work in the village.  I would be lying if I said it isn't quite comfortable.  All of our meals will be provided here and I understand the food is amazing!  Our first dinner did not disappoint.
The dining room.
Plenty of veggies to go around.
It is amazing when you think you won't be able to eat vegetables and you are blessed with an abundance of makes me so very thankful!  The food has been amazing since I arrived in Africa and I realize how truly fortunate I am, that I may never go hungry.  It is very humbling to be here in Africa, to be treated so kindly by everyone I meet and to have comfortable living conditions while serving.  I owe so much to this village already and I am excited to get started!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Living in Livingstone

"I'm prepared to go anywhere provided it be forward."
                            -David Livingstone

I realized today that I am thankful for being thankful. 

Let me explain...

I spend many moments in life praising God for his provisions, thanking him for all the pieces of my life.  I remember walking home one day not too long ago, spending a full mile thanking God for each and every person, place, thing and experience in my life.  I am fortunate.  Certainly there are days I wallow in sadness and self-pity.  But I realize that I am a really blessed person. 
Today I saw one of the seven wonders of the world and I couldn't be more providential.  I was captivated by the majestic falls, the glory of the water's power, and the intense "smoke that thunders."  Today I saw the work of God.  And today I was appreciative of every view, every sight, every experience.  At every bend I found myself thanking God again and again for the beauty that was before me, remembering the sacrifice that he paid so that I might live with joy.
Then this evening as I sat gazing over the Zambezi River, captivated by the sunset in the distance I realized that what I'm most thankful for in this life is the chance to be thankful.  Others may be appreciative of their experiences and good fortune, but to whom do they extend their gratitude?  Do they know God and the love of a savior?  Do they realize from where the blessings rain? 
Sure, I'm a lucky girl.  My life is abundant with adventure, love and joy.  Today I saw a hippo soaking in the river...
Two giraffes playing by the water's edge...
And a baboon who was too close for comfort...
Today I saw the regal Victoria Falls...
But today was just the beginning.  The real adventure begins tomorrow as we voyage into the Mwandi village.  God is at work and I am grateful for every experience. 

This is Africa and this is my journey, and this is God's mission.

"I determined never to stop until I had come to the end and achieved my purpose."
                            -David Livingstone

Cast of Characters

Good morning!  My computer is telling me it is 1:45am at home...yet I'm feeling alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic (camp song)!  It is 7:45am here.  I had the best of intentions of suckering Forbes into a run with me this morning, but alas, sleep won over.  Not to mention a very full day today, including plenty of hiking at Victoria Falls this morning lured me into a few more minutes of sleep. 
I feel so blessed to have made it safely to Livingstone.  And so did all of our luggage!  So far I feel very little sleep deprivation/jet-lag.  I am constantly reminding myself that I really am in Africa; now that I have arrived it doesn't quite feel so far away anymore.  The days leading up to this trip were very surreal, and that feeling still hasn't left me.  I am anxious to get to the village of Mwandi where we will be staying for the rest of our trip and I think the reality of our mission will finally set in once we are there.  We leave for Mwandi tomorrow morning, and until then we have plenty to keep us occupied. 

Before we are fully immersed into our mission and tasks I would like to introduce you to the cast of characters I am traveling with:

Of course ya'll know Forbes:

I am so thankful that this trip was laid upon his heart, as it was mine.  I would never want to go on this mission without him.  I know that we will be changed so much and it wouldn't be fair if only one of us got to experience this.  I am so happy that we are doing this together!

Next is our fearless leader Doug:

You have also heard much about him in the past on Vegan Faith, including recaps of his sermons from time to time.  This is his 6th year to Mwandi!

Fred is the minister at another local church in Mooresville, First Presbyterian and has also been visiting Mwandi for many years.  He was just here in April of this year and is very knowledgeable about all the people and places.

Steve is well-traveled and a wealth of knowledge.  His stories are so interesting.  Forbes and I hope to be like him when we grow up and travel the world!

Bob is my hero.  We just found out he is 81 years old!  And as we were walking to the market yesterday and I inquired if he would rather take a cab, he assured me that he walks at least 4 miles a day! 

Last but not least is our dear friend Ben.  We go to church together.  Forbes went on a mission trip with Ben and the youth last summer and it really sparked his interest in missions, which subsequently led to our adventure in Africa this summer.  I am very thankful for that!
(Ben would not upload!)

And then there is me of course!  My dream of coming to Africa has finally come true and I have God to thank for every provision.  I cannot wait to experience it all but am constantly reminding myself to slow down and breathe it all in.  

There will be several others joining our group this evening before we head off for Mwandi tomorrow morning.  And then of course there will be many more folks to meet!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Travel Mercies

Charlotte to JFK= 2 hours
Layover= 2 hours
JFK to Johannesburg, South Africa= 15 hours
Layover= 2 hours
Johannesburg to Livingstone, Zambia= 1 hour 40 minutes
Drive to hostel= 10 minutes

...and we made it!

Basically I slept all the way to JFK.  We made it easily to our next flight and the the giant jet took off on time.  Immediately I changed my watch to Africa time and began to alter my mindset.  I had "dinner" a little after noon our time, but close to 6pm in Africa.

Forbes and I enjoyed a movie on our personal television sets, popped an ambien, changed into pajamas, donned my face mask, socks and ear plugs and managed to sleep a solid 8 hours!

It was morning then, and I watched a beautiful sunrise outside my window while enjoying my breakfast.  Combining fruit and rolls from the airport meal with crackers and peanut butter from my packed foods, I managed to eat a well-rounded meal.

After another movie we were on the ground in Africa and on our way to Livingstone by 11am.  I was hungry then and snacked on granola and crackers and cookies before boarding.  I thought I was going strong as I sat on our jumper flight, but the minute we began to move I was clocked out.  Sleeping the whole way to Livingstone certainly set me up for success today!

We have had a few hours to unload, walk around, do a little sight-seeing and now we are off to dinner!  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On our way!

Greetings from JFK

It is just 9:30am and I am already ready for a salad!  I've been up since 3am, showered, off to the airport at quarter till four, on a plane by 6, landed in JFK by 8 and now I'm just biding my time before the longest flight of my life! 

Right now American Express is my favorite in the whole wide world.  Did you know that you can get 20 minutes of free Wi-Fi through a Boingo hotspot?  Yup, I just clicked on a little American Express button, did not have to enter any information, and got online.  That gives me just 15 more minutes to post before I run out of time.  So this will be short and sweet. 

We will land in South Africa sometime tomorrow morning.  With a long layover and free WiFi in Johannesburg, I hope to bring you a better post, and hopefully a video or two.  Until then...enjoy photos of weary travelers!
The Green Team!
Successful first flight.  We slept most of the way to JFK.
Except when the Today show came on.  Have you ever been on a flight with cable tv?  Best thing ever!  Personal televisions on a domestic flight...never heard of such a treat!
Beautiful sunrise from the air!
We had about a mile walk to our next gate.  It was an unexpected exercise that was wildly welcomed.
We are checking in now for our flight.  We leave in just about an hour.  Then 15 long hours later we will land in South Africa.  See ya'll then!