May 31, 2011

where YOU lead: the gigglers

we worshiped with the church here in namwianga on sunday, and afterward i decided to spend my afternoon flippantly. i rewarded myself for these past weeks’ work by taking my 2nd hot shower of this trip, and i even went as far as to straighten my hair. sheer frivolity.

my schedule for therapy this week includes the following:

9:30-11:00 our group conducts language stimulation therapy with toddlers from havens 2 and 3. we sing songs, read books, and encourage production of language through activities such as playing on the playground or having “tea time” where the toddlers drink warm milk.

11:00-12:30 we engage in one-on-one language stimulation with the older children from haven 1 which range in age from 12 to 18 months. we sing and play, encouraging the production of speech through imitation and repetition.

2:15-3:30 we engage in one-on-one language stimulation with the toddlers from haven 3 through the same previous activities.

3:30-4:15 we work on language production with the child of our choice for the remainder of the day.

i am loving these children, and in the coming days i will be giving you the lowdown on each child and his or her personality. they have stolen my heart and make me smile and laugh on a daily basis.

there are 2 other zambians who have stolen my heart and make me smile and laugh on a daily basis. the first is our neighbor, mrs. mono, who is a seamstress who will sew anything that you want to have made. tonight i went to her house where she had made me a beautiful quilt with chitenges i purchased in the market. she makes bags, wallets, scrubs, placemats, and just about anything you could think of to have made.

the most touching part about mrs. mono is that she put all of her children through college, which is rare for zambians to attend, through her sewing. she will sew all through the night because she loves the people she is sewing for and because she loves her family. whenever you go over there she giggles and hugs you and gets embarrassed when you tell her just how beautiful whatever she made you is. she is just as beautiful as the prettiest quilt she could ever make.

the second is our night watchman webster. for the past two nights he has been teaching us hymns in tonga, the language here, and we will eventually be performing for them for the church here in namwianga and in a town called kasibi. whenever we sing a song well, webster giggles and shouts, "ooooooh, that was niiiiiiiice!" he is the most energetic and smiley man i have met here, and he is one awesome song leader.

webster lives in a one-room house out in kolomo, the town closest to us, and one night last summer he got very sick. dr. weaver and dr. tullos drove him to his house in the middle of the night on the streets here which don’t have any lights, and after they arrived to his house, they realized they wouldn’t be able to find their way back to their houses. webster, while physically very ill, bent down and removed his shoes and placed them on his brother’s feet so that he could guide them home on his bicycle which didn’t have any pedals.

despite poverty and working all night long to protect us, webster is always smiling and laughing and encouraging us. at 29 years old he has dreams of being a preacher and a song leader, and we love being his guinea pigs in his provisional singing class. zambia needed a mrs. mono and a webster, and so did we.

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