Written by: Sarah
We’ve finally returned home to Niger after being out of the country for 6 weeks! We were in Zambia for a time of training with the IMB (International Mission Board) and then we stayed on for a time of vacation.
Our training program is called 40/40 and basically it’s an orientation program to help you learn about African culture and help you begin adjusting to living on this continent. There are four phases of this program. The first one takes place in the capital city of Zambia, Lusaka and each day we went out in groups of three (2 missionaries and one African helper) and we had a certain topic we talked with people about. While in Lusaka we had a few free afternoons and we went to the mall and we took the girls to see a movie (The Lorax). To us it was like a reverse culture shock because we haven’t been around such a developed area for 9 months. During the second phase we went out to a more rural part of the country and we lived at ‘bush camp’. We camped out in tents and had to pump our own water. During this time we also went out each day and met people in the village and learned from them. The third phase is called ‘homestay’ and for 3 days we lived on our own in a village with an African family. We ate with them, worked with them, our kids played with their kids, and we just spent time with them. We went with them to their farm and harvested peanuts and sweet potatoes and we also went to church with them on Sunday.
The house we stayed in
Our homestay family
During the fourth phase we went to a ‘resort’ type place and had a chance to relax and enjoy a few last days with our group.
After 40/40 our family got to enjoy a great time of vacation in Zambia! We got on a bus and took a 7 hour ride south to the town of Livingstone where Victoria Falls is located. The falls were beautiful and such an amazing thing to be able to see. The first day we went Camryn and Jody did a zip line over the gorge, which they loved. A few days later Jordan and I did it together, and we loved it as well. We opted out of the bungee jumping. Actually, Jody was considering it, but he claims he wanted to spend his money more wisely. I think he was just too scared! I would have been scared for him if he had gone, so I’m glad he decided against it. We also hiked around the falls. As we crossed over one of the bridges it felt like we were in a torrential downpour…this was because there was so much mist coming off of the falls! After we got across Jordan was crying hysterically and it took her a while to get over that. Well, we had to cross back over that bridge so this time Jody took Lauren across and Camryn and Jordan hid under my poncho (which we had so we could keep our backpack dry). This time Jody slipped on the algae covered bridge and fell so hard that he had to go to a clinic and get 4 stitches, but we praise God that Jody didn’t get hurt worse and that Lauren was protected during that fall.
Another thing that happened to us was that we got charged by baboons! In this park baboons are everywhere, but we were told to be cautious of them because they can be mean. During the hike Lauren had to go to the bathroom and since we were far from the bathrooms I just took her diaper off and helped her go on the side of the path. All of a sudden Jody hears a noise and yells “monkeys!”. I grab Lauren (who is still diaperless) and we all start running down the path. One of the baboons grabs the diaper (thinking it was a bag of food) and some others chase us a bit down the path. I think all of our hearts were racing for a while, but after the fact it was quite a comical experience. And the poor baboon didn’t get any food…just a diaper.
Camryn and Jody getting ready for the zip line
Soaking wet after we came across the bridge
Jordan in front of Victoria Falls
Jody and the bridge
Beautiful view of the Falls
See that rhino back there? We were pretty close!
On the boat
After four days in Livingstone we went back to Lusaka and spent a few days there. We watched another movie with the girls at the cinema, ate out some, went to a local zoo, and got stocked up on some things that we can’t get in Niger.
Enjoying ice cream in Lusaka