Fun in Livingstone

After 5 and a half weeks working at The Havens in Namwianga we stayed in Livingstone before the group returned home.  The first night, Sunday, we held the first annual HIZ-Path banquet at Olga's Italian restaurant.  The next day we visited Victoria Falls during the daytime and "shopped" at the markets there.  Then we went to The Royal Livingstone for High Tea.  Tuesday we spent the entire day on a safari on and around the Chobe River in Botswana.  Wednesday morning four of us took a 30 minute helicopter ride over the Victoria Falls area and shopped downtown before going on the Lady Livingstone for the sunset cruise on the Zambazie River. Today, Thursday, we will shop a little before Beckie takes me to the airport. I will fly to Johannesburg to meet Coy and we will begin Phase II of my African Adventure! (The remainder of the HIZ-Path group will fly out Friday morning.) Hukana Matada!

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The Protea

We left the Havens and Namwianga Sunday afternoon after church and lunch and drove about two hours to Livingstone.  Right after we  checked into the Protea, Beckie and I drove "Khaki Jackie" a few miles down the road to confirm the safari and sunset cruise.  We saw giraffes, baboons, monkeys, and zebras in protected areas around luxury hotels and spas.  The rugged, dirt road leading to these resorts reminded  me of the roads back home in rural Woodruff County, but the destination was totally Out of Africa!  Most of the hotels here are gated and guarded by men who look like they are police. The lobbies are all open air --  no doors. The landscaping is beautiful with tropical plants and large fountains. The service is excellent and the staff seems to go out of their way to greet us. To those of us who have been in partial isolation for 5 weeks, this is luxury and we are getting used to it very quickly!

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Last Morning in Namwianga

Today is the last day at Namwianga -- and the last day for early morning coffee on the verandah of "Miss" Ellie's house. The last day for a moment of solitude before a busy day. The weather is perfect with an occasonal gentle breeze. I am trying to capture the fresh dry air, picture-perfect sky, bright red, purple, and white flowering trees and bushes just a few feet away, the birds singing,  the neighbor's chicken and an occasional rooster's crow, and, the low rumbling of Leonard's deep voice as he prepares breakfast in his kitchen just beyond the varandah. Truly no worries. Peaceful. 

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On our last night in Namwianga we were served potjie (poi-key) which, according to Sue & Rod,  means "little pot". According to Wikipedia,  a potjie is a social activity, with guests generally engaging in fireside chitchat while the potjie cooks, typically three to six hours.  We were certainly social throughout the afternoon.  Our potjie was actually a stew made in a large dutch oven over an open fire for most of the day.  Sue included "beef", pumpkin, miniature ears of corn, carrots and spices. After we ate Rod told us the beef was wildebeest! Delicious! I had two helpings plus homemade shortbread.  Great food!  

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Zambian Names

One of the things I did today -- the last full day at The Mission -- was to help Beckie and Dan enter names into the comouter and grade tests for 107 students. They taught an introductory speech, language & hearing class at the Namwianga College for two weeks. The names of the students were fascinating.  There's the regular, Perry, Fred, Kenny, Owen, Olivia, & Ruth. And then, there's Given, Tryness, Carnegie, Doka Doka, Origin, Biswell, Cryda, Kindred, Busiku, Rayton, Chondonda, Webbester, Chipango, Decent, Friday, Lucky, Solami, Epherson, Mercy, Keeby, Patience, Tedious, Chaba Chewe, Otan, Modester, Dorcas, Precious, & Pilot to name a few. The last names were difficult--  Mayoba, Kalalambili, Chikange, Ghibondo, Mang'wato, Mudenda, Nyengela, Siamwaampe, Sichoombe, Simuzingili, Sishwashwa, etc I'm glad I don't have to call the roll.

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I copied this from the movie script, "Morning Tears from a Place Called Heaven". Near the end of the story a friend is talking to Kathi Merritt and describing the impact she has made with her work with orphaned Zambian children: "At the dawn of each new day heaven cries for us.  The tears fall to the earth and rest on the blades of grass and the pedals of the flowers. Before anyone from the village has time to wake the dewbreaker will go forth and make a path for the people in the village so that they can stay dry from the tears. The dewbreaker takes the responsibility of brushing back the tears of heaven so that others may not be burdened and can walk peacefully through the path made. ... You are the dewbreaker.  You have soaked up heavens tears for the dying children of this land. You have gone before us and made clear a path for us to follow.  As like every morning there will be tears from heaven tomorrow.  But they will be tears of joy in the lives you have saved and no longer tears of sorrow.  God bless you child.  God bless the Dewbreaker." And God bless Kathi and the hundreds of children she has saved.

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Never Say, "Goodbye"!

We knew it was coming and we thought we were prepared ... and maybe we were.  After twenty-one days of therapy we are just now getting used to the customs and expectations and therapy style. We are experiencing progress in many of the children and even though we don't see progress in some, we know the children have benefited. The morning sessions were somewhat subdued.  Not much singing and  babbling.  Everyone was engaged in taking more pictures trying to capture every nuance. The afternoon sessions went as scheduled. Then we presented each Haven with a beautifully decorated cake and took more pictures. We didn't really say goodbye because tomorrow most of the students will return for therapy or to hang out with the babies.  I think we will never really say goodbye. 

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The Heart of Dixie

I am a school-based Speech-Language Pathologist with 36 years of experience and I am about to embark on the experience of a lifetime!

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