Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Poverty and Child Labor in Lusaka

The unemployment level in Zambia is about 50% (of course this is mostly an imaginary number - considering the type of work available, the high amount of under-employment, and the ability to get accurate numbers with a rapidly growing urban population) Check out Steve Allen's blog for some stories on jobs in Zambia (link on the right). Basically people will do anything. We saw people selling hats, grapes, machetes, cellphone chargers, newspapers, and single pairs of highheels or a pair of sweatpants. We saw people riding old-school single-speed bikes loaded with hundreds of pounds of charcol made in the villages and transported to sell in the slums. We saw people selling milkcartons full of thick, highpower corn beer called shake-shake. We also saw people sitting in tarp or cloth covered lean-tos breaking large rocks into gravel and dust. This is a story on the rock breakers.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Notes from Tricia

I'm sneaking in to Kelly's blog to leave some of my own impressions for all of you thoughtful dears who are keeping up with us Huckaby's.

Our trip to Zambia could not have been better. Many of you have been helping Kelly and I pray for clarity about what God would have us do. I am an action-oriented person so it is hard for me to wait on the Lord at times and not just jump right in to what I think is best. But, while I tried to stay as open as possible to all options, I could not escape the feeling that I had already been to Lusaka before. Everything felt so familiar and I seemed strangely at home wherever we went. It's not that I could imagine exactly what it would be like for us to move there - of course it's impossible to know all that would entail. BUT, it is impossible to imagine NOT moving there.

At the end of the week we were to meet with members of the Board of Directors and I was very aware that this was an important interview. I felt so sure that my place was in Lusaka but I wanted to know for certain that it wasn't just me and some kind of weird emotional response I was having... I began to pray that if God did not want us to pursue this opportunity that the members of the Board would have some kind of problem with us... that they would have a different perspective and be able to clearly see that we were not a good match.

After a long and lovely conversation the three Board members told us they felt very clearly that we were being called to Zambia and that they would be praying for us. It was such an awesome confirmation! I feel so excited about Action Zambia's programs and I can't wait to see how we will fit in to the picture.

It has been a bitter-sweet homecoming because we have amazing friends and family, a supportive and wonderful church home, and a phenomenal community. Not to mention this cute little basement we're living in... wink. Please, please don't let me ever take all that for granted. But believe it or not, I already feel like I have a second family in Zambia. The Action Zambia team is fantastic. I really can't stress enough how much we loved each person (and all their kids!). And I have so much respect for what they are all doing. And I think most importantly I am so HOT for what God is doing in Lusaka. He is powerful. He is loving. And his Spirit is alive and working!!!!!

So here I am and I feel like I am smak-dab in the palm of God's hand. I am loving the Baron's house and settling back in. I am loving being home. But, I am loving being home in light of all that lays before us. I have no idea exactly how this is all going to work out and that's fine. All we can do is be obedient about pursuing what we think God wants for us and we'll leave the results to him.

I feel like God is pouring his grace out on the Huckaby's in a major way. How is it even possible that we have such a great God???!!!! He is our ROCK and our protector.

I also want to send out a big THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all our wonderful hosts in Zambia for making our trip so grand and to ALL of our beautiful friends and family who have been calling us and praying for us and sending us encouraging emails. I have to tell you people, I think Kelly and I have to be the luckiest people in the history of the entire world. I'm totally serious people.

That's all for now, but check out my sweet braids and the ensuing fro.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

home? at last with the Huckabarons

Well, 30+hours of flights and layovers and we're finally back in Bellingham. I have much more to write about our trip and that will be forthcoming. However, right now we're busy getting settled into our new home. Feeling jet-lagged and crazy, maybe a little exhausted and sad to be home, but excited to be with Lucas again, we moved into our friend's basement. When we made the decision to go on the mission field, we wanted to start saving money for the upcoming costs (which are astronomical) and Tricia started praying for a basement - somewhere we could sleep for cheap and show people that we were willing to give sacrificially to make a move to Africa. A week later our friends from church (the Barons) invited us to move into their home while we save and prepare for Africa. Amazing that this family of five was so faithful as to move us into their 2 bedroom house and become a family of eight! Please pray for this transition and for the Barons! I need some sleep.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Last day in Lusaka

So today is our last day here in Lusaka. I feel like we have been gone for a very long time, marked by a deep disconnection with home; when I met an American here that was working on an adoption in the city, I felt like I should ask him about what was happening back in the states. It was funny because he felt the same way although neither of us had been in country for more than a 9 days. For the past two days we have been running around and getting a feel for what it would be like to live and serve here.

On Thur we went into Kanyama compound to see the community school and orphanage AZ works with. In Lusaka, there has been a major collapse of the public school system, due to "brain drain" (the flight of educated people to better-paying countries) and HIV (last year 1000 new teachers graduated; 2000 died - mostly from HIV/AIDS). So in the compounds, the local churches have opened schools to provide basic education. AZ provides both physical and technical support to a number of these schools. The kids are amazing! They chase you around everywhere wanting to shake your hand (all Zambians excel in complicated handshaking) and and say "How are you doing?" In case you haven't noticed the Zambian children are BEAUTIFUL!

Yesterday we found out about finances and got estimates and budgets for how much support we will need to raise and how all the money is spent. The numbers are astronomical, but God is bigger. Everything in Lusaka costs the same or much more than they do in the states. With no industry, all items are imported from South Africa and China. Rent here is higher than in Bellingham and all consumer goods cost more. Contrast this with the fact that the average Zambian makes $1-$2 a day. It's crazy.

Today we meet with the Zambian board of directors of AZ. They make the decision to invite us here and then we would start the next steps. Please pray for discernment for the board and for us as we finish out our final day here.

In case you're wondering - if Lucas was already here, we'd never come home.
Thanks for praying,
the Huckabys

Thursday, February 12, 2009

these pictures are: streets and slums of Lusaka; Tricia on an elephant; Kathrine, Gift, and Ireen

these pictures are: Cyanjano Centre (where we would live), a Zambian license plate, and our hike through the villages near Cyanjano.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Midpoint in Lusaka

We've been in the city for the last three nights staying with Tim and Andrea Hilty and their two beautiful children, Ireen and Ian. Tim is the director of Action Zambia (AZ) and both were heavily involved in developing the HIV/AIDS education and care-giving program called C.R.O.S.S. (Churches Ready to Overcome Stigma and Silence). They are absolutely wonderful people and great hosts. I can't really say enough about their honesty, thoughtfulness, and desire to serve the poorest of the poor in urban Lusaka - to the glory of God. We have been having so much fun just talking and sharing our stories, experiences and faith. Today we move to the Allen's house and I feel very sad to leave the Hilty's.

So far our trip has been amazing! We were front-loaded with a lot of easy stuff and were eased into the realities of Lusaka. Sunday and Monday at Ciyanjano (the farm), and then the Hiltys, which is in a beautiful neighborhood with many Zambians, a school and an orphanage, and a few muzungus (white people). On Tuesday we drove out into the countryside and went to a day-lodge safari place and saw lions and zebras and Tricia rode an elephant!

I feel like yesterday our real trip started. We went to a compound (the Zambian word for slum) called Kabwata. We were in the "middle class" section of the neighborhood which look similar to the worst projects in urban America. We met with John and Eta, the Zambians who run the CROSS program now. What a huge blessing. Please pray for them as they teach the Zambian church to love and care for those with HIV/AIDS.

Soon I'll be posting more about what we learned yesterday, but now we're about to leave for a day of adventure. Please pray for us today. We are going to the heart of the compounds today. I have not even began to explain what we have seen so far, but let me tell you this: when we drove through the edge of a few compounds yesterday I felt the deepest fear I have felt in my life. I thought that if Tim stopped the car and told me to get out, I would have begged him to keep driving until I was back home. That's where we're headed today. But I know that I can do all things through the God who strengthens me. And there is this - whenever I feel discouraged or afraid here, I meet a Zambian believer. They are amazing! What a blessing to Christianity in a totally new context. They are the most gracious and friendly people I have met.
Thanks for your prayer and support.
-the Huckabys

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

muli bwanzi from Zambia!

Greetings from Lusaka. Tricia and I arrived safely in Lusaka on Sunday morning (after a 12 hour overnight layover in Nairobi) and have been running ever since. On Sunday night we stayed out at the farm and met the guards and their families who work and live there. Elizebeth and Leah made a huge Zambian meal and we all ate together at a huge table along with all the kids. We nshima which is like cornmeal dumplings along with a variety of "relish" which is what they call stewed veggies. I ate chicken for the second time in ten years! After the meal we had a bonfire and made smores and the Zambians sang worship songs and played the drums around the fire until the moon was high in the sky -it was so bright you hardly look directly at it. We also had a chance to walk around the property and through the village nearby. We met lots of people and everyone was super friendly and we were excited to meet the people here. Hopefully I'll be able to post some pictures and more info soon.
Thanks for all the prayer and care -
the Huckabys