The First Week in Macha

After nearly 4.5 weeks since we arrived in Zambia, we moved to Macha! On Tuesday of last week, we moved out of Nahumba Guesthouse in Choma and we have started the process of settling in Macha. The Percy family has moved into their long-term house at MICS, while our family is living in a temporary house about 3 kms away from MICS, located on the campus of Macha Research Trust (the medical research institute founded by Dr. Phil Thuma).

Rose_House

The Rose House

While this isn’t our permanent housing solution, we are thankful that the “Rose House”has been made available to us for the next 6 weeks or so. The directors of MICS, Gil and Ronda Krause, have been having a small apartment built for them on the MICS campus. Work continues to progress, and within the next month, we hope to be moving them into the apartment, which will make the other larger house on campus available for our family.

This continues to be an ongoing journey of stages. Every step brings us a bit closer to being settled and beginning our long-term work in support of MICS. At times, we continue to feel the stress of living our lives in “temporary” housing, not being able to fully settle and establish some daily routines, but we look to God for strength and flexibility in those challenging moments.

Ranen_school

Ranen ready for school

Moving to Macha has meant that we have been able to establish some routine for the kids. Ranen (along with Micah and Caleb Percy) has begun attending school at MICS. His first day in Reception (aka Kindergarten) was last Wednesday. After some initial shyness and few tears, Ranen joined Miss Mwiinga’s class, and has enjoyed several good days of school. I can only imagine how overwhelming this must feel to a 4-year-old boy – attending school in a new country, in a new culture with different social norms, where the kids and teachers talk with an accent that is likely hard for him to understand – probably nothing feels familiar. I couldn’t be prouder of the way he is adjusting to life on this side.

Girls_Schoolwork

Hard at work

Kanah and Talya are also beginning to ease into a study routine. For the next number of months, both will be using Canadian curriculum books for the core subjects of Math, English, Social Studies, etc. Their first formal school day together began at 8am, working through lessons in a number of subjects, including independent reading time (and ending with their own 20-minute yoga session!). Eventually this term, we hope to expand their studies beyond the curriculum books to include other areas of personal interest. This is a huge learning curve for all and I’m sure there will be a lot of trial and error involved.

In addition to settling into life here, we have been jumping in with some logistical details at MICS. The construction of the Krause’s apartment has required many days of picking up supplies in Choma, which we’ve been doing over the past number of weeks. We also continue to work with the Macha Mission Hospital maintenance workers who are overseeing the completion of the new well at MICS. Projects like this simply require more time and logistical management here.

I’m only being honest when I say that already we’ve faced challenges, frustrations, and feels of discouragement in the past days and weeks. It would be naïve of us to expect any less when relocating our entire family to a country and culture that’s significantly different than our home. It’s during those times that we must rely so strongly on the clear sense of “calling” to return to Macha. We cling to the hope and certainty that brought us back here in the first place.

Welcome_Sign

A note from our lovely neighbours

We are thankful for the prayers and emotional support of our community back home. During these days of transition, settling in, finding routine, and eventually starting our day-to-day work in support of MICS.

We are also so very grateful for the community here that has welcomed us so warmly. The outpouring of love and enthusiasm for us by both our Zambian and North American neighbours has been very encouraging and uplifting. Thank you.

 

The Horse and Her Girl

Kanah_Lucky

Lucky first came to our farm in the summer of 2010, shortly after we returned from Zambia. We bought her on a whim (it was an amazing deal we couldn’t pass up!), knowing how much Kanah was interested in horses. We knew nothing about caring for a horse. We knew nothing of Lucky’s history. We took a chance and it turned out to be a “lucky” one. Lucky and Kanah were inseparable. Caring for Lucky become Kanah’s passion and it forced her to mature quickly and manage the responsibility. Seeing Kanah go out to the barn every morning at 6:30am, regardless of the weather, convinced us of her love and devotion. Watching her spend hours teaching Lucky to respond simply to voice commands was astounding.

On the weekend, we received the very sad news that Lucky had to be put down. Apparently, she had fallen and shattered a hind leg – a catastrophic injury for a horse.

Saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy. We first said goodbye to Lucky in December, when we took her to her new home at U-Turn Ranch. U-Turn is a family-operated farm that runs children’s camps during the summer months. Both Kanah and Talya have attended camps there. One of their programs for campers includes learning to care for and ride horses. Lucky was to be the perfect addition to their herd – her smaller size made her ideal for younger children who might have been intimidated by a full size horse. We were thrilled that U-Turn decided to take Lucky. We knew that she would have a loving new home that would appreciate her gentle nature and her unique ability with children. But still, saying goodbye to Lucky when we left her at U-Turn was heartbreaking for us all, especially for Kanah.

There is a unique bond between a girl and her horse that we simply do not understand, but that we have witnessed first hand. They understood each other. They trusted each other. They learned to work together and they loved each other.

We had hoped that we would be able to see Lucky next summer when we visit Ontario. We looked forward to seeing her thrive in her new environment, happy to be a part of a herd of horses again. We now grieve that we will never have that opportunity.

Losing a loved-one (whether a person or an animal) is one of life’s tough lessons. Kanah has now had to face that lesson multiple times. She’s done so honourably. Even in her passing, Lucky has influenced Kanah and taught her how to grieve gracefully. As we told Kanah, there will be other horses in her life. And there will be more losses. But there will never be another Lucky. She was truly special and deeply loved.