Friday, January 15, 2010

Trip to Africa

At about 4:30 pm (London time) I met up with a couple named Mr and Mrs Clark from Ontario that were heading to visit their daughter and family also in Chitokoloki. That was nice since I was starting to feel a tad lonely and not to mention how completely exhausted I felt. Seriously...I called Dean on a pay phone and I felt like I would faint just standing there...I needed to be sitting. I had not slept the night before and it was catching up to me. Because my entire layover in London I was alone...I also could not sleep b/c I wanted to be watching my stuff at all times. I was trying to look otherwise but I was carrying a significant amount of cash on me as well (having little choice).

I was frustrated in London because after spending 20 pounds at the Apple store in the airport I was still unable to get service on my iphone. Att--you stink!! I had requested the international plan and they hold told me "oh yes in large cities like London and Lusaka you will have good connection!". When we boarded the plane I felt better immediately b/c it was significantly smaller than my previous plane. I was able to switch my seats around and sit across the aisle from Mr. and Mrs. Clark. I looked down at my phone and noticed I had connection!!! So I started texting Dean frantically to see what communication we could get in in the short time I had before take off :)

In London, as Dean strongly suggested, I really sincerely sat down and surrendored my fears to God. I don't know when I had experienced such de-mobilizing fear prior to the Seattle to London flight but it was awful. AWFUL. I experienced sheer panic. ;( So in London I gave it up. Yes my surrendor included losing ALL control and it was really a relief to let it go. I asked God if He would be so kind to really help me out. Perhaps my faith is weak--but I was trusting Him and just asking for some mercy and a relatively smooth flight.
The most interesting part is that flight was way rougher than my first flight. And I never experienced panic. I remember at one point thinking "Janice you haven't even looked away from your movie" and it was just constant. Maybe the plane was older I don't know but it was bumpy the entire way. And I was so calm.
However I did get sick. It was not air sickness it was completely-overtired-can't eat cant sleep-sickness. I got sick. I must have gone to the bathroom 15 times on that flight...my stomach was not doing well. Then dinner was served and in hopes that that would help me I started to dig in. Seriously think if I ate 2 more bites it would have come up 5 minutes later. So no dinner for me. Mrs. Clark was sooo kind and went and got me a cup of gingerale and even put sound blocking headphones on my head. I began to feel better and slept. Funny story is I was sitting on an aisle seat in the middle section (3 seats in our row) and a space between me and then an older gentleman on the end...who honestly I was wanting to wake up because I love talking to older men :) Seriously he was in his 70's and I figured he probably had a good story to tell. I don't know if I dreampt about him or what but I recalled when I woke that I got right in his face and was shaking him and remember him setlling me down and tucking me in. So in the morninng it came back to me and I started talking. He had a slight irish accent and immediately put his hand on mine and said "oh darling its no worry I don't even remember it". :) He told me he has lived in Lusaka for 23 years and is not starting seminary school so he could further help the gospel in Zambia. (seriously probably half of our plane was missionaries...lots of Bible reading in the morning, it was great!!)

All in all I would think I slept 3 hours of the 10 hours. Not too much but I did SLEEP. Maybe 4 hours. Definitely not a full night. In the morning when light came up the emotion I felt was almost overwhelming. I was in Africa. I can't quite explain what that was like. I was not only in Africa but I had trusted God and had peace. I think I sat there for a while just smiling. INside and outside. I began to read my bible and in Psalms (don't have my bible in front of me) I read "Guard my life Oh God because I live for you..." and it was God's still small voice telling me "Janice you WERE safe and you ARE safe" I seriously sat there beaming for a while.
Then up came the sun. Wish I was sitting by the window because it was very beautiful. I immediately turned on my ipod (thank you Dean...haven't listened to my ipod so much EVER)...and turned on Michael W Smith's song "A new hallelujah". I think I had to clench my teeth to keep from singing. "out of Africa comes a new song..." and my heart seriously skipped a beat. You know those moments like when you have your baby and the emotion that you can't put into words just HITS you and you just feel your heart beating wildly inside of your chest....? Thats what this was. This was my moment. I could't believe I wasn't dreaming. I was in Africa.
Our plane landed a few hours later (after me sipping on a quite nasty cup of tea provided by the sweet stewardess to calm my still ill stomach...) and I was beyond thrilled to get off the plane and walk into Zambian air.
We were met up with Mr. and Mrs. Hannah and after a delay we loaded into their truck. It was decided only I would be going on the missionary plane as a doctor from Australia and his wife needed to go as well and had plenty of equipment that needed to be on the plane as well. My first moment of a tad of panic was when they pulled into a remote air strip with a few zambian young men standing around and said "ok Janice you get out here...the pilot should be here shortly we will go get the doctor and his wife" I remember my eyes popping out of my head and trying to find the courage to say "ummm I really am uncomfortable staying here alone..." (Dean I knew you would be proud!!) but seriously...you are going to let this white girl just hang out with not even a cell phone to connect her with anyone?! ummm...not so much. so without much of a warm response one lady said she would stay with me.
The pilot arrived within 15 minutes and wow. Wow. Ok Janice lets see if you REALLY are trusting God that He'll guard your life. I did have to focus and realize the size of the plane was nothing to God. The pilot introduced himself and said "I hope you have flown in a 4 seater before...it will be very very very bumpy is there any meds you can take?" AHHHHHHHHH!!!Bad sign.
Ok so I get in the back of the plane and the pilot...prays before take off. The doctor is flying co pilot and his wife and I in the back. We taxi down the runway with our windows opened and then they get shut and up we go. The first 20 minutes of flight were amazing. We were only at 600-800 feet and you could see women walking down the dirt roads with baskets on their head. I loved it. I was enjoying every moment. One weird sight was graveyards...dragging out forever and you would see a headstone literally in a field by itsself. Kind of like, ok, they died lets bury them right here!
Then we started to go up...it was amazingly smooth. Seriously I have been on plenty 2,4 and 6 seater planes and they are NOT my thing but this was incredible. We flew below clouds for quite a bit. I should say it was a 2hour 40 minute flight. At one point we were in clouds, it POURED in the cloud and you could see nothing but this big grey cloud and the plane was extremely bumpy and I held on to my seat pretty tightly and prayed pretty earnestly ... we broke through the cloud and it was gorgeous the rest of the way!!!! It was an amazing flight and I took it as a gift from God.
We landed on a dirt runway and I could see several locals and one white lady on a four wheeler :) I knew that was Tanis and I think my emotion was used up on this trip already. I was not emotional at all...landing in Lusaka was extremely emotional for me but this it was just "COOL". We got out of the plane and I could see C and Z running around ...Tanis got them to come over and give me a reluctant hug. :) I feel like I know them because I have seen so many pictures. They are absolutely beautiful. Dark dark skin and big white eyes. I don't think I took my eyes off the twins as I was introduced to several of the missionaries. We then loaded up on Tanis' four wheeler (with plenty of warnings that I should ride in the truck lol) and headed over to her house! It was so beautiful. I was not expecting everything so green and lush...we are in rainy season however. (by the way the day was a gorgeous sunny HOT day). The hospital, church and houses were all pointed out to me . Tanis house is really adorable. The only thing I had never known was the cement floor. Maybe in all the pics we have seen I've just never looked at the floor! :) My luggage all arrived safely -- even one entire suitcase of frozen food I had purchased at Costco!! How sweet is that?! $150 worth of cheese,crab, salmon and shrimp in a suitcase all the way from Pasco to Zambia!! Still cold :) Tanis served us spaghetti and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Oh I failed to mention her helper in the kitchen turned around for us to see a tiny baby girl tied to her back. Tanis smiled and said "I wasn't telling you about her..." :) So its a sad story of a lady that is severely mentally handicapped, deaf and blind that has had several children. Very sad. THis is her last child...she is 2 mths old. AND ADORABLE!!!!!! Ke-ke (kay-kay) is her name. Tanis often keeps her during the day and returns her to her great aunt at night.

I opened my suitcase and immediately gave C and Z their giant sticky hands from Tirzah Zion Azlan and Zahria. It was so cute when they realized what they could do. Their laughs were adorable! I got plenty of pictures...in fact my camera was around my neck all day.
Internally I was feeling an emotional struggle. I wasn't feeling what I had hoped to feel. Yes they are beautiful...and they are soon to be our sons. Yet...there is a HUGE language barrier. They just look at me blankly and I do my best. However throughout the day I noticed they were constantly watching me. :) I sat down and showed them the pics of our family and one by one they named the kids in their very timid voices.
They seem to just make themselves happy wherever they are. While Tanis and I were talking they just pushed their trucks around the house. Barney was in a small wagon going for a ride, toy radios were playing. It was extremely similar to an everyday scene in the Walker home. C reminds me SOOOOO much of Azlan. Seriously. He sparkles and he bounces. He has this look that you know he`s laughing on the inside. I think our two pranksters in a few years. You`ll see! Z is quiter and seems like he`s the one that would come give you a hug more like Zion. They are attached to the hip and I love it!

We then went swimming. The twins were hilarious. Seriously. No water wings and crazy. Think Azlan in the pool. Yup thats what it was. Crazy!! Jumping in...doing handstands in the water...etc. Finally we did put water wings on them so they could go in the deep end. They played for HOURS. Tanis and I got in for a bit as well. I`m still feeling a LITTLE OFF as I`ve had little sleep in the last two days.
Last night we came home and I gave the boys a fun bath. Introduced them to their little boats I had bought them that T,Z,A and A love playing with at home and they had tons of fun. Our boys are going to LOVE them.

Got them dressed for bed and then I guess somewhere in there, in complete and utter exhaustion I fell asleep on the coach. We had not eaten yet...Tanis woke me for french onion soup and it was delicious but I was way overtired. I then got situated in bed surrounded by my misquito net. A water bottle beside me and a flash light as well. Its hot. Very hot. and...I have to pretend I`m hearing birds...its bats. I cannot see them thankfully but I hear them. Worse in my room. I woke not long ago and had no idea how dark it would be. I could not find anything...no night stand nothing. So I laid here til Tanis heard me call her. I was disappointed to find out its only 2:30 am...shoot. I got up and am sitting inside my mosquito net on my bed typing this to Dean for him to post on the blog.
Want to know something incredible Tanis came in and said she has been called in to `theatre`(surgery`) as a patient is on her way from Chavuma ... with a ruptured eptopic pregnancy. Can you imagine...3 hours of horrid roads in that kind of pain!! So Tanis will be heading in to the hosptial that is right here on site...in an hour. Praying the lady survives until then ... she will have emergency surgery soon. What was amazing is that C and Z have lived with Tanis for 2 mths now exclusively here...no going back to the village and yet she has NEVER been called in to hosptial in the night yet. She is always on call but has not had to go in yet...which is good because she said she would have to leave the twins here while she went. Yet...here we are...my very first night here...and she gets called in! As Tanis said ``this is such a God thing!``.

Tomorow Tanis is not working and we will be going to Zambezi for a social welfare appointment. Last night in my overtired emotional state I laid in bed crying about my family. I want to be with my family and it got so bad I thought I don`t want to come back here in March and leave the kids again.!! Thankfully it was a very emotional moment and I can blame it on that. However...to my husband and children...while this trip is one of a lifetime...its you I want to be with. I feel a tad empty. Like I have gone back in time and I`m single and childless...its strange and uncomfortable. I love you all. To those of you that agreed to pray. Thank you so much. Seriously..wow...I`m so grateful for all the prayers that have reached God`s ear on my behalf. It truly made a difference.

Keep watching the blog I can email Dean daily so I will be still posting regular updates.

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