Our arrival into Lusaka
I woke up Wednesday morning full of nerves but prayed hard and handed over my worries to God. I have always believed that this is God’s will for us as a family but my personality tends not to think about things too much until they are upon me. So the morning of our departure seemed a good time to start thinking about what was ahead of us! This led to a knotted feeling in my stomach (similar to the morning of my wedding day which was another big decision in my life – fortunately a very good one!). I couldn’t eat much breakfast but that was ok as I’d had an Indian take away the night before. Come to think of it I was just as worried about the repercussions of last night’s chicken curry as I was about to share a rather cramped four hour minibus / taxi ride with Han’s parents to terminal 5. Fortunately, I later discovered there was good air conditioning, so I was in the clear!
Terminal 5 was quiet, calm and orderly – just how I like it. No chaos like previous trips to Heathrow and Gatwick, which was a good thing as I had plenty of that in the form of 2 little, overly excited girls, who wanted to stretch their legs after a long taxi ride. This entailed lots of running around and NOT listening to Daddy, Mummy, Nana or Grandpa! Eventually, things settled down – it’s amazing what a few spare luggage straps can do! Penny Lander met us at the airport with our bags and it was great to see her (Alan and Penny – thanks so much for all your help and your kind words in your card! We love you guys and value you so much).
After saying our goodbyes to Graham and Rachel (thanks mum and dad for all your help and support – we will miss you heaps), we headed through security and had my Swiss army penknife taken off me. How will I survive now? We then headed for a final bite to eat at Giraffe (getting into the African theme) – a bowl of chips and for anyone who knows us well, the compulsory Heinz Tomato Ketchup! (Not so African!)
The flight was a success, added to by the great surprise of sitting in Business class and having room to stretch my legs (thanks to a good friend – thanks mate, a superb touch!). Both girls slept the whole night whilst Han and I managed to catch a couple of hours!
Over to Han…
Well after quite a manic last few days in England dealing with unexpected and planned last minute bits & pieces, we arrived in Lusaka on Thursday morning. We were met at the airport by 2 English couples that are living out here in Lusaka – Val and Tony and Elizabeth and Chris. We have spent a great deal of time with them over the last few days and they have welcomed us into their homes and lives. They have brought around food for us, invited us for meals, driven us to places and even allowed Sam to drive their car! We are staying at a lodge which belongs to Val and Tony where we hope to stay for the first couple of weeks whilst we look for longer term accommodation. The lodge is becoming a haven, with a beautiful garden and great outdoor space for the girls to play. It is a real blessing as it allows us to have some down time and relax for a few days after what has been an intense and busy time.
The first day was a bit emotional as it dawned on us the enormity of what we are doing. A whole year can feel a long time when there are so many unknowns. The responsibility of bringing our girls to Zambia suddenly felt big, the change in their lifestyle, the lack of facilities around for them, leaving nursery, friends and the familiarity of their lives. I began to panic that I would have no structure in my day, with no friends with other children to easily see and do life with. Not being in a church yet and the amazing community that this brings. Financially reliant on others rather than ourselves, no car or means of transport, unfamiliar place and no idea where shops or amenities are! But after connecting with God, it is amazing how He renewed our strength and hope as we focused on him. Just before we left, a special friend Ant spoke to me about Isaiah 35. In our insecurity we can be still and know that God is our rock and strength. In times of weakness we can be strong and hold on to God’s promises. This is a lovely promise that really helped me, that “The desert will blossom with flowers and singing and joy! The deserts will become as green as the mountains….Say to those who are afraid, Be strong and do not fear” Isaiah 35.
The last couple of days have been better as we have now slept well and recovered from the long flight. We have been getting to know the people around us – the Zambians are so friendly. The girls are loving life as usual, enjoying the outdoors, warm weather and the fact they can wear their summer dresses and run around outside. The Zambian people stop to say hello to the girls and they love this! The roads are a little hairy as there are no footpaths so it has been a bit nerve wracking going for a walk particularly as Amba wants to walk in every direction but forwards! However, I am sure this will be something we crack in time.
We continue to have so much to be thankful for. Today Pukuta, the director of EFZ (the organisation who we will be volunteering for) has informed us that we can use one of his cars and they are mending one for us to use long term which is fantastic! Our plan over the next few days is to continue to settle in and begin to look for accommodation. We meet with him tomorrow so we may have a bit more of a sense of our role etc.
But for now, I trust you are all well and take care
Hannah and Sam, Isla and Amba