Monday, December 27, 2010

some observations about "the girls"

Some friends that have been through the adoption process told us we should be writing down stuff so we don't forget it, so this is just really a list:
--Mutale is non-stop giggling and laughing, always looking to be tickled and roughhoused with; Ethel has a deep raspy chuckle that sounds like a smoker's cough!
-- I'm under the impression that Mutale had never eaten at a table before (at Bill and Bette House they sit on the floor)she spends a lot of time at meals looking under the table at everyone's feet and laughing.
-- Mealtimes are always interesting, the girls can each eat about 5 pieces of fruit everyday. Ethel hates chocolate and baked goods but puts away hard candy like it's going out of style. She also won't eat peanut butter or cheese!! They both pick stuff out of their food they won't eat, Ethel picks all the pickles out of her tuna salad. Mutale won't eat it at all and says "Ndifuna nsomba! I don't want fish!" but also says she likes kapenta (tiny whole dried fish). Ethel will eat yogurt, but not with granola in it, Mutale won't eat most dairy products, including milk. They can both eat their weight in noodles though.
-- They both speak and understand Bemba, Nyanja, and English, but pretend to understand nothing we say in any language most of the time. Ethel is pretty quiet, but Mutale mostly runs around shouting "NO!" and "Stop it!".
-- So funny to see them in the bath - Lucas is all skin and bones scrawny, the girls have big round tummies, thick legs.
-- Mutale is about the most stubborn kid I've seen. She'll pout for an hour if she doesn't get her way. Or she'll throw a face scratching, pinching, shrieking tantrum.
-- Are girls just naturally vain about clothes and shoes or what? Ethel loved trying on all her new clothes and shoes. Mutale pouted for an hour over not being able to wear her dress shoes out to the playground. They both love to be dressed up. Mutale loves anything pink. Today she threw an all out tantrum about having to wear jeans.
-- They are seriously afraid of dogs, pigs, horses and all other animals larger than a cat.
-- Mutale is fond of swearing at me in Nyanja - mostly calling me "chimenso" and "chimutu" which means "big eyes" and "big head" respectively.
-- Lucas is already a great brother; he loves the girls so much and as soon as he wakes up from sleeping he jumps right into their bed and wants to snuggle, waking them up and causing all kinds of trouble.
We already love these girls so much it's crazy. They are amazing and beautiful. We are in so deep over our heads on this one (which is just where we like to be, cause then we can more easily see God at work).

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Overnights & Christmas

We have been super blessed by having a great social worker at the social welfare office. We have not really been able start the foster process because we've had a houseguest and we've had outstanding travel plans.So instead of being able to have the girls committed to us immediately, we've been needing social welfare to write us letters that allow us to take the girls out of their homes for the day or for overnights. This last week we had our first two nights with the girls - it went surprisingly well. While naptime is still a problem, generally the kids are so tired from playing and running around eating massive amounts of food, they all seem to do a good job at bedtime. We've had them three nights total and they've all been asleep a little after 7 and up a little before 6 which works well for us.

We really struggled with deciding to take the girls out for extended periods of time, mostly because we did not want to to have to drop them back at the orphanages. They were abandoned before and we did not want them to feel like we were just dropping them back at the orphanages in the same way. In the end, we decided that it would give us both a period of adjustment and the girls have actually seemed a little relieved when we've dropped them back off at the homes. They are used to the schedules, friends, food, and caregivers there, so it makes sense that even when we have a good time with them, they feel safe going back to what they know.

When we picked them up for Christmas weekend, the girls were at House of Moses for a Christmas party for the three orphanages that are linked together (House of Moses is for newborn to three years, Bill and Bette House is for 3-5 years, and House of Martha is 5 and up.) They were not too happy to be taken away from the party (even though it was actually over) and Ethel cried most of the way back to our friend's house where we spent Christmas Eve. But they warmed up after awhile and it's been a good weekend. I caught the girls looking at one of our photo albums and they were pointing out Luka, mommy and daddy! Wow. So we've had a totally insane Christmas. It was 85 degrees and humid, we went to a farm with a huge playground and were the only mzungus there besides our teammates the Singletons who joined us for lunch. And we had two new kids for Christmas. What a gift, what a day, I'm BEAT!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Victoria Falls and Livingstone (I presume)




I gotta say, I love Livingston in all its seedy, sweaty glory. The drive down to Livingstone is about 6 hours. Now, I can't vouch for it's beauty any other time of the year (it was our first trip down there), but rainy season makes this drive a surreal landscape of greens and blues that simply knocks your socks off. We got a nice little place in Livingstone and spent three night there for $25 a night Including eggs and toast and mangos at breakfast and there was a pool! I really loved Livingstone a lot; it's sultry. Maybe it's just a rainy season thing, but it's wet, muggy and the flora is tropical, beautiful and rampant, the streets are lined with mangos and seedy looking characters, the architecture is totally different, romantic in a oldtime colonial africa kind of way that's hard to explain but rusting tin roofs and various molds and vines overtaking tropical colored walls abound on the side streets. Don't get me wrong, you might get stabbed here at night somewhere but...
Anyway, we also had a chance to see Victoria Falls, which is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the seven wonders of the natural world. It's pretty fabulous. Everyone says you should visit it at different times of the year to get a different perspective since it changes so much due to seasonal water volumes. I think our timing was perfect! A nice amount of water coming over the falls and some sunshine and not too much spray made for nice photos. I guess that during the high point of the year it's like being in a giant cloud, don't even bother taking out your camerea unleless it's in a waterproof housing. Otherimes it's almost completely empty. It's pretty spectacular, don't get me wrong, but have you been to the Grand Canyon? It's amazing, but it's a big hole in the ground and after looking at it for a half an hour, it's time to go back to the hotel pool.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Chobe National Park!

For our Christmas present this year we decided to go to Botswana on a day safari and forgo the gift exchange thing and boy was it worth it!! Our friend Katy from Bellingham was here and so we took this as an opportunity not to be missed (especially since we can't leave the country for the next two years due the adoption process)! On Wednesday we drove down to Livingstone and stayed the night in a pretty nice cheap hotel.

Thursday we woke early and hit the Zambia/Botswana border. There's a ton of sleazy dudes trying to sell you Botswana money to pay for your entry visa and trying to "help" you. But after running the gauntlet of bureaucracy and petty larceny we hopped a small boat across the border and were ushered through customs and immigration into Botswana. Let me say that we were not expecting a lot, some team mates had been there two weeks before and saw very few animals. But we were BLOWN AWAY! The first part of our safari was by river and we saw crocs, hippos, red lechwe, monitor lizards, elephants, and a thousand birds. Lucas got bored about halfway through and while we gawked at bull elephants locking trunks in battle just a dozen yards from our boat, Lucas was squishing ants that were snacking on the crumbs from tea time. The second half of the day was a jeep ride through Chobe National Park. We saw about a thousand impala, puku, kudu, elephants, lions, mongoose, baboons and giraffe. It was unbelievable. The lions were SO CLOSE! Having them strolling alongside our open jeep was a huge adrenaline rush, and we felt like we were gonna freak out. Luckily Lucas had fallen asleep and was unable to scream and cause a ruckus. I can't really put the whole thing into an easy little blog post, but let's just say I couldn't stop smiling for about an hour after we got back the hotel.








Friday, December 10, 2010

Here's a story of a lovely lady

Who was living with two boys of her own... They were three Huckabys living all together, yet they were all alone. Then this one day when this lady met these girls, and they knew it was much more than a hunch...

Okay, I just couldn't resist. For the record this is Tricia writing, not Kelly. He would be sad to think folks associated the above Brady Bunch silliness with him so you can all be sure that I am the goofball.

Today was our first day spending pretty much the whole day with the girls. It would be impossible to describe all the weird thoughts and feelings we were all having... and actually it would be impossible to describe what Mutale, Ethel and Lucas were feeling since we can't get a whole lot out of any of them. But for the most part the kids seemed to have a good day. We decorated a little fake Christmas tree I bought and the kids were definitely stoked. And I was stoked too because honestly, I love Christmas lights and it finally started to feel a bit like Christmas today.

Besides play, these girls can also paint very well. And they also EAT. Man, they can really eat. There goes that food budget. And the last thing they can do a lot of is go to the bathroom. Man, with Lucas still not really potty trained I was unprepared for taking kids to the bathroom all the time. Boy oh boy, little kids have to go the bathroom a lot. We are really going to stay on top of that. And we also need to bring spare clothes in the car for each one of them. We are so out of our league!!!! Thank you God that you are going to fill in some of the gaps for us!

PS... we really want to post lots of pictures but we aren't entirely sure about the legality of that. We aren't really allowed to take and use pictures of orphans according to the orphanage. So we may have to wait until the girls have been officially released into our custody. Sorry!!! Needless to say, they are really cute and they can jump quite high.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

One Man's Plague Is Another Man's Lunch (Localvores/Foodies/Foragers)



In the book of Exodus the Lord sent a plague of locusts as a punishment to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for refusing to release the Israelites from the bonds of slavery. It was rough for the Egyptians and Pharaoh almost relented. But one man's plague is another man's lunch here in Zambia. Personally, I would live on milk and cereal if I could. Too bad a box of Cheerios is $9 and a gallon of milk is in the $5 range. Other recent sticker shock moments: a jar of Hellman's (Best Foods) mayo for $12, a pound of walnuts for $26, a medium cantaloupe for $10. So if we want to stick to our modest missionary budget, we need to eat like the locals do. Usually this means eating lots of fruits and vegetables and eating nshima a few times a week. But being interested in local food and foraging I jumped at the chance to try some grasshoppers when they descended en masse on our plot.

Zambians know how to eat local - during the rainy season they have all kinds of foraged greens (ndiwo za masamba) and free protein. Much like the manna that fed the Israelites in the desert, the locusts showed up early in the morning, and by 8am they had disappeared. Except for the 50-60 that Lucas and I caught in a tupperware. The guards and builders that live on our plot were excited to see the noisy tub of bugs trying to escape from their upcoming lunch date. So they invited me over for lunch and we squatted around a hot pot of nshima and plates of kapenta (dried whole minnows cooked in tomato and onion) and fried sontwa (grasshoppers). Now as for taste, they're not too exciting, pretty bland with plenty of crunch (the heads and exoskeletons and pretty tough), and little squishy around the middle.

Really, they don't taste like much, but picking out the various legs and wings is time consuming and a little disturbing. More disturbing is looking at their creepy faces and eyes looking at you as you pop 'em in your mouth. Needless to say I had a pretty serious case of indigestion and while I appreciate being to pick your food off your walls I think next time, I'll just let the Israelites free or something like that.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Unlikely family

Of course I, Tricia, have been thinking about adoption lately. And one of the things that came to my mind is what an interesting mix we will all be when Mutale and Ethel join us permanently. I think we will look like an unlikely family indeed. I am bracing myself for the questions I will probably hear from perfect strangers at the grocery store.

But it also makes me so excited that God is bringing us together. These little crumbgrabbers that seem like an unlikely addition to our family, well God has known from before I was even born that they would be my daughters.

And I can't help but stand in awe of God's Church, his family on earth and how he continually adopts the most unlikely people into his family... me for one! Visiting all these different churches since we have been in Zambia has given me a beautiful and broad view of God's family in this part of the world and it is truly humbling. These are my brothers and sisters!!! The family from New Zealand working here at a clinic, a man from Zimbabwe and his wife from Michigan, two teachers from Belgium, not to mention of course the very diverse group of Zambians who live in this crazy city! You put us all together and we don't look like a family really, but because of Jesus Christ we are completely and totally bound together... God's very own special United Colors of Benetton commercial.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

(Home)SICK


So the Huckabys have been sick. Lucas had a cold that developed into an earache. After a full run of an antibiotic he was back in action… for about three days. After Lucas got sick, Tricia and I both had a run-in with what seemed like the flu. Fast forward a week and we’re reliving the whole thing. Lucas started with stomach cramps that kept him up all night, followed by a fever, followed by cold symptoms followed by diarrhea and some barfing. Meanwhile Tricia was also sick with nausea, dizziness and exhaustion and now I’m feeling it too. Luckily we’ve ruled out most of the nasty stuff, but a dose of deworming meds is in order. All this to say, we’ve been sick off and on for about 4 weeks and it’s taking its toll on us emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

It’s not that I miss the cold and wet, but being sick just makes you wish you were home. For us that would be curled up on the couch of our parent’s house watching movies and being waited on hand and foot by people who love us. We missed a Thanksgiving party here as well (due to illness) and our internet was inaccessible for about 4 days. Needless to say, we’ve been feeling very disconnected and lonely. It’s these times when a quiet voice tell you, “It’s ok, you can give up and just go home. This is too hard.” But we’ve got work to do and we’re praying for those quiet voices to be overwhelmed by all the good we’re seeing done here – with schools, churches, pastors, and children at risk. So pray for health for the Huckabys – being sick is really getting us down.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Expecting


We're still waiting to hear from social welfare about our home assessment. Please pray that we can have it done soon.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ciyanjano House Project


Please consider giving towards our house project out at Ciyanjano! We are at 20% of our needed budget to rebuild and repair staff and director housing at our camp. This week we hired an architect to draw the plans for the house we'll be living in. The plan is to build little by little (pang'ono pang'ono) as the money comes in! Click here to give a gift to the project.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Girls Part2

People have been asking a lot of questions about our upcoming adoption. So here's a bunch of answers.

Why adoption? We have been adopted into God's family! We didn't know or love Him until he reached out to us and called us to His family. So adoption is the picture of the Gospel. We've also known that we've wanted to adopt for a very long time because the world has so many orphans who need homes and families and besides, why would we want to pass on my genes?

How did we find Ethel and Mutale? We'd been visiting orphanages just to love on some kids, playing games or holding the little ones (if you like holding and snuggling toddlers, visiting an orphanage is a great way to show love to kids!). We let social welfare know that we were interested in adoption and they encouraged us to move forward. They gave us a list of adoptable children in the orphanages we'd been visiting. Tricia and I both felt that God had been calling us to adopt siblings because they have a harder time being adopted and staying together. In our minds we wanted an older girl, 5-9 and a boy 2-4. But social welfare only had two sisters, 3 and 5. So we started praying and fasting. As soon as we realized who the girls were - we jumped. Mutale (3) already loved me and will jump into my arms when we visit the house. Ethel (5) had been playing with Lucas and laughing and fooling around with him. We felt God saying this was it. And we wanted to seek His will in something this big and not just do what WE wanted.

How did we know? Well, I'm still working on that one. But I had a strange moment with Ethel after praying and fasting before our first real visit with her. I had this very strong buzzing feeling - I guess, like de je vu, like I was already looking back at this moment from the future as a moment that changed my life forever. It was WIERD, and awesome. It's hard to explain but Tricia and I just feel assured it's the right thing for us to do... just like we felt about moving to Africa!

When do you get to bring them home? Please pray! So we found out that they were adoptable about three weeks ago. We met with Social Welfare and turned in our initial paperwork a week ago. I think we'll have our homestudy done on Tuesday of this week. And then... Only God knows. It could be weeks or months before the girls are released to our custody... but probably more like the beginning of the year. We have plans to go to Botswana for a day in Dec and the girls would not be able to leave the country with us. So we are praying for the first weekend of Jan. AND we want to take them for day trips and to bring them home for a couple days for Christmas to get them used to us more before January comes.

So that's the scoop, we'll keep you up-to-date. Please pray. And when things are official we will send out a picture of the family.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Girls

After years of prayer about adoption and of course more recent prayer and fasting regarding the decision....

Today Kelly and Tricia Huckaby went down to Social Welfare and officially applied to adopt Mutale, estimated age 3, and her sister Ethel, estimated age 5. What?! I know!

Because their birthdays are unknown, for the sake of the paperwork, we were given permission to just give them the birthdays we wanted for them. For whatever reason this detail of our meeting at social welfare was what really hit us. We are well on our way to being parents of three. We are already lovingly referring to them as "the girls." Well, Lucas officially joined this family with a birthday and today we felt like "the girls" did too.

All we can say is: please PRAY!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ambassadors

In 2 Corinthians we read:

...if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

This passage is amazing. Kelly and I are "missionaries" in Africa so of course we have to remember each day that we are ambassadors for Christ. I am reading a book right now called Instruments in the Redeemers Hands and the author, Paul Tripp, expands on this passage and what it means to be an ambassador: it's a 24/7 calling. But what I love about this passage in 2 Corinthians is that St. Paul is not talking about the call of missionaries to be ambassadors, he is talking about the call for every believer. God is making his appeal to the world through each one of us: Be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. I was challenged by this today and I hope you are too. Let us truly be ambassadors for Christ, faithfully proclaiming a message of reconciliation.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A friend in need... (Part 1)

Hmmm. Where to start? How can I possibly explain the amount of need we see here in Lusaka... Let's start with this from James 2:15-17:
"15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
or how about this from Matthew 5:39-42:
39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."

How are we called to respond? Scripture seems pretty clear. I'm still putting this all together in my mind but here's what we see:
We can't go anywhere without being inundated with requests for food, money, rides, work, help, etc. We are approached daily by random strangers looking for work or help. It's not just because we are mzungus (white foreigners), Zambians with (and even without) resources have similar experiences. While we live very modestly by American standards (and by wealthy Zambian standards too - people are shocked to find out that Tricia does her own laundry and cooking), we are still living far and above the average Zambian standard. We are constantly reminded of this as we visit people in the compounds (slums).
People ask us for things because they can clearly see that we have resources! For instance, we needed a roof-rack for our truck so we can take visitors and short term teams and their luggage to and from the airport, and so we can haul stuff to Ciyanjano. While it was being installed I sat and practiced my Nyanja with the guard. I learned that he and his wife and their infant daughter lived off of his wages alone. The roof-rack I was installing was almost a year's salary. So how are we called to respond?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Faces of Zambia

astridah (our househelper)
abusa martin phiri
kids in n'gombe compound

ciyanjano worker
christopher

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween

First off, Happy Halloween. Today is our wedding anniversary: 11 years! Woo hoo! The Huckateam is still going strong. Thank you, Jesus! I am so grateful for my Kellyboy!

Second off, what better topic for our Halloween blog than the topic that has been on my mind for the past few days... You guessed it: demon possession.

I don't know exactly where I stand on the issues surrounding demon possession, driving out demons, etc. But I can tell you that I came to Zambia already believing that demon possession is real. After working with the soup kitchen downtown for awhile in Bellingham, I would even say that I had probably already seen some cases of demon possession. I had even thought at times that maybe I should pray over certain people so that they would be released, but I didn't have the guts.

In scripture Jesus was always driving out demons. No big, crazy show about it but he would just tell demons to get on their way and people would be restored, and they would go on to be devoted followers of their savior. I think that's awesome and that Christ-followers should be battling it out with evil spirits just like Jesus and his first disciples did.

Which brings me to Thursday at Chainama Mental Hospital. We had a couple of guests join our usual group and they came prepared to do some battle. We started off with singing praise to our God as usual; but, things were getting a lot noisier. Some of the women I felt were behaving a bit wild just to get attention, but I truly believe that there were at least two women there that were demon-possessed. Our two guests prayed over one of these women really powerfully. She was lying flat on the ground on her stomach and was speaking to them as they prayed and it was sketch. Honestly, I had no idea what to do with myself and figured the best thing was to just keep on praising God and praying. Kelly was doing the same.

Anyway, I won't go into all the details but I believe those people really did set that woman free from a demon. She seemed fine afterward except really tired. Please pray for that woman to commit herself to the Lord so that the Holy Spirit will take up residence in her instead of some other new tenant!

Also please pray for Kelly and I as we reflect on our experiences and see how God would have us serve him. I believe that Kelly and I are already praying boldly for him to work. But should our approach to people who are struggling be even more bold? Pray that the Holy Spirit would give us eyes to see reality and give us understanding of what God's will is for us. I don't want to walk into Chainama each week and pray for the women and walk out again leaving women in bondage to evil! Not when we could've released them because of the mighty power of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Seriously people, I want your prayers about this please. And I want your comments. Tell us what are your own experiences or thoughts on this. Feel free to pass along good resources for us to read as well.

And let me just say, that if you are not a follower of Christ and you are reading this, I ask you to please consider Jesus. Bob Dylan said it best... You've got to serve somebody.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Family Dinner

The other night we had Pastor Anderson Jere and his family over for dinner. This was no small undertaking for us. The Jere's have 9 children living with them including various diminutive relatives and orphans. Before dinner we were told by our language tutor that Zambian families would expect us to have soda for drinking while socializing before dinner. So I scrambled around trying to buy a case of "softies," which is tricky cause you need a case of empties to exchange when buying a case of soda. You need to have a case to buy a case, if you don't have a case already, most places can't sell you one... hmmm. I went to pick them up in Kalikiliki compound and all 12 of us piled into the car. Back at our place Tricia was trying to whip up enough food for an army. She made a beet and bean salad, a huge egg and sausage dish, two loaves of bread, nshima, and a tomato/spinach relish - a mix of Zambian food and American food. We have noticed that Zambian kids can be like American kids -they have their favorites and might not like new foods. Everything turned out great. Of course Tricia had never made such a huge batch of nshima before and the bubbling cauldron of boiling hot maize spat lava-like nuggets of fire onto her hands and she finally called the Jere's oldest daughter into the kitchen to give her a hand. It was a fine evening, all the kids played in the front of our place, kicking soccer balls around and playing games. The older folks sat on the porch sipping cold softies and swattin' at mosquitos. A nice night indeed.

Wildlife

chameleon

giant mothgiant beetle

Ciyanjano

delivery day (crushed rock, mattresses, and timber)shoveling rocks

finished chalet
chalet side viewbunks complete

starting the bunk beds sawing and planing the beams for bunks
the nsaka

Lusaka

Kasupe Rd to CiyanjanoJacaranda at Zebra Crossing

Lumumba Rd.
looking into town off of LumumbaLumumba
gravel shack on Mungwi Rd.
gravel trucks
gravel breakers
quarries