Zambian Orphanage: Week 4

Crystal and manager Clyde with the new washing machine at an orphanage in Zambia.

Mission Complete!

The big mission was completed this week! The new washing machine arrived!

The new machine is a Samsung with a two year warranty. Wembe and I picked it up and strapped it in the trunk of the car. I wanted it to be a surprise for the kids and the Aunties.

Everyone was very excited, to say the least, when they saw it! Auntie Agnes wanted to throw me over her shoulder she was so happy. But, I had a stern chat with each Auntie about the care and use of the machine. I hope it will last a long time, and free up some time for them.

Crystal carrying little Lushomo on her back at an orphanage in Zambia.

Uh, is there something on my back?!

Reflections and Insight

My last week volunteering at the orphanage has given me a real sense of family. My relationships with the Aunties, Uncles, and kids continued to grow. They’re just a big family. I can see they love each other with all their hearts. Yes, they get into small spats and tattle on one another, but what family doesn’t?

I was unconditionally accepted for who I am. They didn’t care if I wore the same clothes two days in a row, picked my nose, or had yeti eyebrows. For them, it’s about character, heart, and what’s truly on the inside.

Crystal goofing off with the kids at an orphanage in Zambia.

Funny faces!

Back home, I feel we get caught up in looks, appearances, and perceptions. Often times, we make snap judgements about others without giving them a chance. Who cares if someone’s purse doesn’t match their shoes? Or if they came from the wrong side of town? We are who we are, not where we came from or who we will be. I am guilty just like the rest of us, and it’s something I will continue to work on.

Lessons Learned
If I taught the kids anything, it is to throw away their garbage in the garbage bin! I was very tired of seeing the Aunties continually sweeping the floor because the kids just throw everything on the ground. From sweets wrappers to orange peels, everything was tossed on the ground—inside and outside.
If I saw who threw something down I would politely tell them they needed to pick it up and throw it in the bin. They quickly responded to my request. The last few days I noticed a difference. The kids were holding one another accountable for the mess making. All I can do is wish this continues.
The kids in their school uniforms at an orphanage in Zambia.

All ready for school!

Their future is bright

With the end of the school term, it was exam time. Mulenga, Naomi, and Namakau finished first, second, and third in their class! I was very proud of them. Terry also received a perfect 100% on his math exam. These kids are bright and work hard. If they continue on this path I know they will make a good life for themselves. There’s a future pilot, nurse, and bank manager among them.

Remembering the locals
The locals around town have been some of the most welcoming and friendly people I have encountered. If someone greets me, there is no ulterior motive. Sometimes it looks as if others are staring at me. I know this is just a cultural thing, and that they are just curious. You would be amazed what a simple “hello”, “good morning/afternoon/evening”, or “how are you” can do to another person. However, if a guy starts out by saying, “hey mom-me, you are looking very good today!” You might think twice before turning around and flashing a smile.

Oz Orphanage Photo Collage at an orphanage in Zambia.


I was dreading, as my friend Tony puts it, my departure ceremony. I have become attached to the kids, Aunties, and Uncles alike. They are my Zambian Family. I have 12 new nieces and nephews, three new sisters, and two new brothers or husbands, ha ha ha.

I have cherished my four weeks here more than words can express. I may not have left a lifelong impact on them, but they certainly have on me. As I was leaving I shared a few words, cried, then listened to sweet words from the Aunties, Uncles, and kids. I was deeply moved by their words, and humbled by the experience.

Of course I will be back. Could be two years, five, or ten. I know no matter how much time has passed that I will be welcomed with open arms. Twalumba from the bottom of my heart. A piece of me will remain here in Zambia, and hopefully within all those little kiddos hearts as well.
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