Zambian Orphanage: Week 2
Oz Kids International Orphanage
Top 3 phrases that come out of my mouth on a daily basis (in no particular order):
- No crying
- Stop fighting (insert name here)
- You need to share
Top 3 phrases that I hear on a daily basis (in no particular order):
- Auntie look at!
- Auntie look at!
- Auntie look at!
My second week at the orphanage has been just as exciting and fun as the first. We were visited one night by the local police. This always worries me, as I have already seen their corruption first hand last week. Luckily, there was no extortion involved. They simply had a child they wanted to place in our care.
The little guy, probably around one year old, had been found alone at the market. He had been in the care of the police for over a day. Immediately, we took him in and fed him. He wasn’t crying or anything, which really surprised me. Apparently, once the mother was found she can be beaten for neglect!
A few hours after the police paid their visit, we had more visitors—the caretakers of the child. The story we were given was that the mother was in the hospital. She had left the child in her neighbors care. It was the neighbors who had misplaced him at the market.
Communication has been hit or miss with the aunties, uncles, and kids. They are all bilingual. They learn English and Tonga (their native tribal language). While we all speak English, our understanding is not the same. They often get L’s and R’s mixed up. Clement, the chaplain here at the orphanage, was talking to me about the “bike limbs” and “lats”. I finally figured out he was talking about—the bike rims and rats! Ha ha ha, we had a good laugh after that.
My daily routine has changed a bit. Clyde, the manager, is away on business in the Copperbelt. The orphanage has a truck used to ship goods as a way to generate revenue. In Clyde’s absence, I was left in charge! I have been given the keys to the car and the debit card. I now spend about half the day dealing with the business side of things. It is definitely not as fun as hanging out with the kids, but it’s necessary to keep things going. Don’t worry, I still assist with the cooking and cleaning.
Clement and I took my shadow, Emely, to the local clinic. She was very tired, wasn’t eating much, had a low grade fever, stomach pains, and a cough. Three hours later we left the clinic with four different medications and a diagnoses of “not malaria”.
The three other younger kids are showing the same symptoms. Sickness easily spreads around the house. I can’t tell you the last time I washed my hands with hot water and soap. Hopefully, it will not get around all the older kids. The lady at the clinic kept calling me Emely’s mother, saying, “she loves you very much.”
Emely had to get a blood test. I held her while she was poked. She was screaming “Mommy! Mommy!” as I was holding her. I had mixed feelings about the whole situation. The clinic lady told me I should take her home with me and adopt her. I thought that was a bit forward.
The older kids are almost finished up with their term at school. Homework has been dwindling down as they prepare for their end of term exams. School break will start on August 8th, so I will get to spend some time with them while they are out of school. They are also getting out earlier, around noon, for the last two weeks of school. We like to go for walks in the afternoons, and our walking group has grown. The neighborhood kids now show up and ask to go on a walk! I have one rule, the kids must have some sort of shoes on their feet.
I’m happy that they’re getting out earlier. This way, I can spend more time with them in the afternoons. We have a good time dancing, singing, cuddling on the couch, and just hanging out. I like to tease them about boyfriends/girlfriends, and normal pre-teen issues. They still enjoy playing with my hair, and everyday they tell me “Auntie you look nice today!” I smile every time 🙂
The Washing Machines
Some of you may have seen the online fundraiser campaign to get the washing machines fixed here at the orphanage. For those who have already donated, thank you so much, twalumba! The house aunties spend several hours every day doing the laundry for the 12 kids all by hand. The idea came to me that other people might want to directly help the orphanage, so I went forward with fundraiser idea. If you would still like to donate, you can here!
Currently we have raised $250, fantastic! We had a repair man come out on Monday to look at the three broken machines. One looks beyond repair, one needs a new motor and draining system, and the third looks as if it only needs a new wiring system. Rats had chewed through the whole machine.
We transported the one machine in the trunk of the car to the repair man’s shop at the market. When we talked price, of course he gave me the mzungu (white) price. Luckily, I am a skilled negotiator, and got him back down to Zambian price. I told him if he did a good job on this machine, I would give him the opportunity to fix the second machine. Progress is being made—African progress.
Conclusion: Week 2
I have another two weeks left here. I know I am already going to be sad to leave. The weather had turned into more “winter” weather. Highs during the day are mid 70’s. The nights are upper 40’s low 50’s. Plus, the wind has arrived. It gets the dust blowing, big time! We still deal with the lack of power and running water every day. I suppose I have grown used to it already.
On a side note, I want to let everyone know that I am NOT in an ebola risk zone. I have had several people concerned for my safety, but I am a few countries away from the outbreak.