Thursday, May 26, 2011

Here Comes the Judge... Here Comes the Judge...

Well, that's what we were hoping anyway. So far we've had three appointments with a magistrate to complete our adoption of Ethel and Mutale. One cancellation followed by two no-shows. At our last appointment a marshall finally came and told us that the magistrate seemed to be having some kind of personal problem and was not answering anyone's calls. He thought we should wait and reschedule for early June.

So basically, my understanding is that the process of finalizing an adoption sort of falls outside of the magistrates' regular duties. These magistrates get assigned cases but they sort of have to just fit them into their schedule somehow. Apparently there is not a lot of structure laid down for cases like ours. There were only 8 adoptions from Zambia last year to American families, I guess.

The girls were definitely disappointed when our appointment was fruitless, yet again. Ethel especially. But we are a family now whether a magistrate sees us today or tomorrow, and we explained that to the children. Please pray with us that we will be able to finalize this adoption very soon. We all want these girls to be officially Huckabys!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Scoop on Our House Building Project (Part 2)

So the cat's out of the bag. If you got our Ciyanjano newsletter you know that we moved out to Camp Ciyanjano at the beginning of the month. The reasons why are many - first and formost is that we absolutely need to live on site in order to oversee the development and growth of this ministry. We have a number of awesome projects happening out here right now and we hope to be building our house soon as well. So here we are living in a hut. Our first two weeks have ben pretty amazing. We love living out here. It's ridiculously beautiful this time of year. It's supposed to be the "cold season" but everyday is like the nicest summer day in Bellingham. High of 80 low of 55. But 55 is chilly in the morning to our newly thinned blood! We had a big yard sale to get rid of lots of old junk (and make space for new junk) and were able to meet a bunch of our neighbors. We've been keeping the whole thing quiet as we waited for ACTION to get our letter out announce our move. We love the hut. But it is seriously too small for us. Living in the same room as your children is not cool. Enough said. Please give towards building our house! Save us from this insanity! We're getting closer every month and we're at 45%!! javascript:void(0)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Scoop on Our House Building Project (Part 1)

The plans are finally completed and everything was put together for scrutiny at the Lusaka Province Planning Authority. But that's just the small hurdle. I'm not sure if you've seen the house plans on the blog, but the house is pretty modest for a family of five with regular long-term guests. We'd been working with trying to build up a house that was already about 1/4 built thinking this would be the much cheaper way to go, rather than starting to build from scratch. We were planning on the cost being around $25k. However, we had a number of builders give us estimates of $40k-$50k!! We know that this is not that much money in the long run (heck if we paid the average price of $900 a month to rent a three bedroom in town we'd throw that much money away in the first 4 years in Zambia!!) but it's hard to wrap our minds around. We just don't know where the money can come from.

So we decided to start from scratch - to rethink the project. The half-built house is a standard Zambian house - all concrete and asbestos sheet roof (which is heavy and requires heavy infrastructure. Our upstairs terrace that could be turned into a complete apartment in the future required massive amounts of concrete and rebar. So we scrapped the plans and drew up something new. The new plans require building from scratch. The house will be smaller and have a smaller footprint which will save on the cost of a huge slab/foundation which is expensive. It will also be lighter with lots of wood and a thatched roof. This will also save money. Because we don't have to work with an existing structure we can open up the floor plan requiring less interior concrete, again saving us money. The house will also be situated in an unused area of the camp which means more privacy without having to build a wall (this save us a lot of money!). So our new plans still come in at almost $40k but the new house will be so much better in a many ways and it will still save us $7k-$10k on a wall fence. God is good and we've had some nice donations come through this month and we're at $18k!!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me

So this week I had my 34th birthday and my first birthday in Zambia! This is Tricia by the way. Usually I would make a very big stink about my birthday and make everyone celebrate with me... and really I guess this year was no different. We decided to throw a BBQ out at Ciyanjano with the Zambian families that live and work there so that we could all start getting to know each other better.

It was amazing how different something like a BBQ can feel! People were in good spirits and really enjoyed the food. I think everyone felt very appreciated that we tried to throw a nice party. I really can't explain how lonely it feels though to have a bunch of women chatting away in Nyanja and laughing and having fun and me barely catching what is going on at any given moment. I am definitely going to have to work harder on my Nyanja if I am going to build relationships around here.

All day I was very nervous because Zambians traditionally dump a giant bucket of cold water on you on your birthday. And Jailos, one of the men who work at Ciyanjano, told me ahead of time that they were going to get me. But it was quite cold out in the morning and I asked Jailos, "ASakala, are you really going to dump water on me today?" And he said, "Oh yes, it's our birthday tradition." He looked quite pleased when he said it too. So I said,"Well, can I change afterwards because it is very cold out today?" And he said I could. I had butterflies in my stomach all day about it... peeking around corners, just waiting to get hit. It was completely nerve-wracking! By the end of the BBQ though, it still hadn't happened. Jailos finally told me that since it was so cold out today they decided not to do it. I couldn't help but feel like a wimp, and honestly I think I would have felt a bit more like I belonged with this crowd if they had just soaked me.

At least I had a big fat piece of chocolate and peanut butter cake which I made from scratch. This birthday cake I made for myself is by far the best cake I have had in the 10 months in Zambia, I humbly submit. I wish you could all have a taste. Happy Birthday to me!