Updated: Oct 3, 2020
How are you? It has BEEN a minute. Okay, perhaps it has been three months. Someone asked me if everything is working with the website's notifications because they haven't received any in months. I guess I'll never know if they were genuinely concerned or sending a hint but "ask and ye shall receive." The time for creating an update has come!
We have established that a good update MUST include the weather. After all an entire season has passed!
Cold season is over. Cold is a relative term. It meant I wore a jacket over my short sleeve shirt while wearing sandels for the entire 'winter'. It suits me well. I generally don't like the idea of layering because I feel that it restricts my movements. I also don't like closed shoes because I am actually not a huge fan of shoes. If it were socially appropriate I would choose to live barefoot.
However, do not be fooled into thinking that my feet are socially appropriate. They are CONSTANTLY dirty, very dirty. I was once in town, minding my own business, mentally going over my to-do list, when a stranger, a complete stranger, stopped me with a friendly greeting followed by "Mongu's sand is something else hey?.... Have you seen how dirty your feet are?" Externally I gave a fake laugh and agreed before going on my way. Internally I was taken aback as well as highly amused. Thank you kind stranger for taking time out of your day to point out to me that my feet are indeed very dirty. What you don't know kind stranger is that I just honestly don't have the time and energy to clean them fifty times a day. That is not even an exaggeration. As soon as I set foot out of the house my feet become dirty. Don't judge someone before you have walked a mile in their shoes. You don't know what they have been through that made their feet dirty.
Back to the weather. Cold season left without saying goodbye and in what feels like overnight we started hitting temperatures in the high 30's. As in between 37°-39° every single day. Ice cream is not an option because not even Shoprite is able to keep their ice-cream frozen. Refrozen ice-cream isn't great. Also, even if I would be able to get ice-cream that hasn't melted previously, by the time I get home from Shoprite the ice-cream will have melted. Again refrozen ice-cream doesn't float my boat. I am coping by freezing everything else. Frozen yougurt, frozen jelly and frozen chocolate milk. Here is a quick recipe. In a large jug combine one big tablespoon of coco powder, 6-8 teaspoons of sugar (depending on how much you want to convince yourself this is healthy), a dash of vanilla essence and an eyeballed one cup of boiling water. Stir well and add a liter of milk. Put in the freezer until it becomes slush. Enjoy with good company.
Here is the picking up where we left off part
Was it in March or April that we braced ourselves for three weeks of being out of routine? Now, six months later, I am starting to find the rhythm of the previous routine The community children have been coming to therapy for a few months now. I used to be quiet overwhelmed by therapy days (it's a lot of children in not a lot of time followed by a TON of progress notes that have to be written). BUT I have found a system that works for me. I worked out a way of keeping progress notes that takes a third of the time! I also have been chipping away of creating a year's worth of education topics to support the caregivers of the children with disabilities. I am still aiming to find a way to use it to support the families of children outside of Mongu. I am also excited that I will be resuming home visits from next week. I really missed those. I am happy that I can see the community children regularly again. I love seeing their faces! Here is a cute face to melt your heart.
The children from the homes have been going back to school for a few hours a day. They still spend a lot of time at the centre and they are bringing their friends from school. We still need to find a rhythm that works for the adults and the children. But there is no rush. Things are not entirely back to normal and we want to foster the relationships that we have built during the six-month long school holiday. We will have to see how all of this unfolds in the future.
I even went to church and life group again! I think I have attended church in person maybe 10 times this year. It was SO SO good for me to be able to worship in community.
Things seem to be moving from the "new normal" back to the "old normal". The birds have returned. The robins are singing and the paradise fly-catchers are flaunting their beautiful colours. Even the cockroaches have returned! Although they really could have stayed away. ;)
Some exciting things that happened
We invited a new baby girl into our homes. Here is a video of the mothers welcoming her when she arrived. Isn't this celebration of her just beautiful?
The Village of Hope children's homes celebrated their 10th Birthday! We celebrated with singing, dancing, speeches, take-outs and of course, cake. I felt deeply humbled throughout the entire morning of the celebration that I can come 10 years after the opening of the homes and enjoy the love and hope that thrives among the mothers and children in the homes. God has been faithful through all the years.
First Harvest and some reflective thoughts
The last time I mentioned that I started a vegetable garden. I had my first harvest!
Yes, seven green-beans. It is very underwhelming. I had dreams of walking around with baskets of vegetables and generously sharing my hand-grown vegetables with anyone who wanted. Apparently you can support a small family off a vegetable garden the size of a door. My garden is the size of about six doors. I can't even support myself! However, at the risk of being cliché, I can honestly say that my garden brought about an internal harvest.
Gardens and bearing fruit are a strong theme right throughout the Bible. Naturally I looked for metaphors between what I am experiencing as a vegetable gardener and my spiritual well-being. Lately, in my everyday life, I have experienced times of complete exhaustion. I don't know about you but exhausted Tanya is not the best version of Tanya that exists. She is unproductive, more selfish, quickly offended and rather impatient. I don't need that in my life. I can't pin-point what the cause of exhaustion was, but I responded by being intentional about my well-being. I ensured I was getting enough sleep, exercising, drinking water and eating more vegetables. I was scheduling time to do things that made me feel rested and restored (say hello to podcasts and reading under the trees). However, I was still exhausted. I realised that I wasn't taking care of my spiritual well-being. For me, quiet times in the evenings don't work - I am too distracted. I needed to start being intentional about getting out of bed 30min earlier to sit with God. Let me tell you, not even two days in and I felt the difference! I had SO MUCH energy. I saw in my garden the importance of faithfulness. If I skipped a day (or two or three) of watering the garden, it would show. If Tanya doesn't receive all the "water" she needs, it shows.
Also, I learnt about patience. I got my first vegetables almost 10 weeks after planting them. Good things don't happen overnight. If I don't see fruit in my own life or in my work I need to trust my Gardener knows what he is doing!
I will be visiting South Africa from somewhere in November until somewhere in January. The visit will entail meeting up with some people who can give guidance in therapy and also raising financial support for the therapy programme. Most importantly the visit will entail seeing family and friends. Please send me a message if you are keen to meet up! I am always an eager beaver for a catch-up! Also if you have a love for peanut butter, let me know. Zambian peanut butter is the best I have ever tasted. I will bring you some!
God remains faithful! Last time I asked for prayer regarding my work permit. I didn't quiet know how much I would need it. God worked out a permit for me in a rather miraculous way. Technically I would have had to take an expatriation flight to South Africa, but I can stay yet another three months. Please continue to pray for the following:
We are still praying for a new kids church building.
More people have signed up to sponsor children in the schools but we are still praying for each child to be sponsored. If you are interested it costs R260 for a half sponsorship and R520 per month for a full sponsorship. You can find out more here.
Please pray for God's wisdom as I start planning therapy for 2021. I want to be able to reach all the families and children He wants us to reach.
Thank you for your love and support!
Until next time... !