Long Weekend

March 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Twin Palm Road, Lusaka

It is the beginning of a four-day weekend here in Zambia. Yes, you read that right. Four. day. weekend. Good Friday and Easter Mondays are national holidays in this Christian nation. Adding to that joy is that my husband has returned from the Great Blue Yonder of the Luapula province of Zambia and has been returned to the loving arms of his family. We are taking some time off this weekend to be together and enjoy the Easter celebration as a family. Wishing you a lovely holiday and restful weekend.

Welcome, Family {This is Zambia}

March 8, 2012 § 3 Comments

Welcome, Mom and Madison!

We recently had the joy of welcoming my mother and sister to visit us in Zambia for two weeks.  The trip was a whirlwind with a fun activity or two taking place every day.  Some of the highlights in Lusaka included visiting local markets, visiting several of our favorite NGOs (Special Hope Network and Chikumbuso), visiting our church family (both at International Baptist and at the Nelson’s home church), and meeting many of our friends.
A particularly special moment took place on 17 February as we went to visit my sister Madison’s sponsor child, Racheal.  Racheal and her family live in a village near Chongwe, about an hour outside of Lusaka.  We first went to visit World Vision’s Chongwe ADP to appreciate the good work being done by the local staff.  We then traveled to Racheal’s school to meet her headmaster and teacher.  Finally, we went with Racheal to her house where we met her family and gave her several gifts, including some nail polish that she immediately tried out!  We were thrilled to meet Racheal – she is an adorable girl and along with her family was a very gracious host.

Visit with Rachael

Rachel and her family

During the second week of the visit, we drove down to Livingstone, which is about 500km southwest of Lusaka.  The drive itself is very beautiful, and Livingstone is a fun town with many great activities.  Some of our favorites included a safari drive where we saw animals such as giraffe, zebras, and rhinos.

Our safari guides

Zebras

Giraffe

We also were thrilled to watch a sunrise over Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the world.  The water level is very high this time of year, and we were all soaked by the immense mist from the Falls.  Also, we spent every evening enjoying a sunset over the Zambezi River – we had some great talks and family moments together.

Spider's Web over Victoria Falls

Sunrise over the Falls

Sibling time

Finally, perhaps the most thrilling moment from our time in Livingstone was our visit to Mukuni Safari, an experience where you can get very close to the animals.  My sister Madison participated in the Cheetah walk where she literally walked several cheetah’s on a leash.  It was an amazing experience!  We were all very jealous of Maddy.

Cuddling with the kitty

Heel, Fluffy!

Having Mom and Madison visit was one of the highlights of our time in Zambia so far – thanks for making it all the way out here!  We love you and miss you already.

Goodbye for now...

{Wordless Wednesday} Sunrise over Victoria Falls

February 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sunbreak

 

Christmas and birthday happenings

January 2, 2012 § 3 Comments

Now, to be completely honest, I just don’t like Christmas that much. It feels full of hype, materialism, and obligations (some of which I enjoy, some of which I don’t). In the Christian community it’s considered sacrilegious to say such things. I’m supposed to enjoy the “magic of the season” and celebrate Jesus’ birthday. The Bible never mandates that we celebrate Jesus birth at Christmas or any other time. In fact, it was originally a pagan feast that the Christians took over (see THIS ARTICLE from Mark Driscoll). In addition to this my birthday is 2 days after Christmas and so it sometimes feels lost in the celebration. Growing up, my friends were often away for the holidays and so we couldn’t celebrate with them. My family, however, always tried to be conscientious of the day (thanks, fam!).

All that to say, I was glad that we could escape for Christmas and my birthday this year. All I wanted was to spend my birthday on a beach.

Beach at Siavonga, Zambia

So we borrowed Ben’s boss’ camping gear and headed 3 hours south to Siavonga town on Lake Kariba. It was a perfect locale for us and full of adventure. Each day was something like this: eat, read, play scrabble, swim, read, eat, sleep. We even swam in the water for the first 3 days until we saw a crocodile. Then we stuck to the pool at the lodge.

Campsite

The first 3 days we camped on the beach and cooked over a small charcoal stove. I felt like such a big girl being the one to plan our meals and cook our food while we camped. Mama, I missed your famous spaghetti and thai lettuce wraps!

Cooking dinner

Sunset shot

On my birthday, we ventured outside the camp and went to visit a local crocodile farm. There was literally thousands of crocodiles from eggs in the incubator all the way up to 80-year-old males.

 

Baby crocs eating their dinner

We also traveled to the border to view the Kariba Dam at the Zimbabwean border. We got the dam tour, we read plenty of dam facts, and saw a lot of dam sites. Ok, I’ll stop now.

 

Welcome to Zimbabwe!

Kariba Dam

Zambezi river

There are no safety features (like, at all) on the dam except for this small sign. We took note and didn’t lean over the wall.

Warning for all

When we came back to the camp and had to move into the lodge for the night as a huge windstorm blew our tent over. Now we know why Jesus said not to build your house on the sand. Case in point. I had a dinner of chicken and chips and the lodge surprised me with a birthday cake and birthday gift! We missed our families but were thankful for some good holiday and birthday celebrations.

Surprise Birthday Cake

 

 

Merry Christmas from Africa!

December 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

 

Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Zambia

Ben and I are going to take some time off for Christmas and my birthday to go exploring in Zambia. We’ll be camping and enjoying the bush, missing our family and friends back home but thoroughly enjoying spending Christmas in Africa! We’ll be back in this space after the New Year.

Much love from our home to yours,

Ben & Laura

 

Falls and Safari

December 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

During our visit with the girls, we spent 3 nights in Livingstone, Zambia as well as a day trip to Chobe, Botswana. It was a great trip for many reasons but most of all was the fabulous company that we got to enjoy!

The Gang - Ben, Elizabeth, Kelly, and Myself

We went at the end of the dry season so the water is very low. We’re told that after the rainy season you can expect to be soaked walking through where were were.

Mosi-O-Tunya or "The Smoke that Thunders"

Vic Falls

Parents, don’t worry. Ben is on the edge but the rocks are completely dry and stable. I don’t know what got into him but he had to get as close as he could. I was a little more sane (as well as hot and tired) and enjoyed relaxing in the cool river instead.

On the edge

We enjoyed High Tea at the Royal Livingstone Hotel to celebrate Elizabeth’s 30th birthday. It was such a treat and the spread was incredible! Creme brulee, quiche, cucumber sandwiches, and a variety of cakes and puddings.

Birthday Celebration!

Tea for two

The spread

The next day, we headed down to Chobe, Botswana. At the border, we squeezed onto a small ferry that only had room for 2 big trucks and about 30 people. Let’s just say it wasn’t quite up to safety code. To top it off, the diesel exhaust blew in our face for the 5 minute ride across the Zambezi river. It wasn’t until we crossed that we realized that there was a private boat that had been waiting for us! Guess we were just too eager to do things the local way.

Ferrying across the Zambezi

Tight squeeze

We spent the morning on the Chobe River enjoying tea, biscuits, and wild life.

River cruise

At one point, the table cloth kept blowing off the table so our captain/guide had Ben take the wheel while he fixed the table cloth. Ha!

Captain Ben

In the afternoon, we took a game drive into the park and were fortunate enough to spot many animals even though the rains had already started and the animals didn’t need to be at the river anymore.

Hippos

Giraffes

Such an awkward way to drink!

Elephants

i

My foot in an elephant's footprint

Safari crew (Kelly was sick this day...stupid African GI bugs)

 It was a wonderful trip and we’re looking forward to bringing other friends and family to our new favorite places in Livingstone also!

{Wordless Wednesday} Echo Ridge Panarama

August 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Echo Ridge Hike, Chelan, WA

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