I love the new year. New beginnings, fresh starts, new opportunities. Ah, it gets me so excited. 2017 has been wonderful so far, and apart from VOH admin work, here are a couple of newer things that I’ve been up to:
Village of Hope, Chongwe
January marked a new school year, and I have been given the opportunity to teach a new group of grade 5’s. I go into the Village twice a week, and will teach an English class in the morning and afternoon. My goal this January was to really get to know the children in this class, and remember each one of their names. There are kids in the class that I know really well because they live in the children’s homes, and there are kids that live in the community that I just recognize from coming to and from school. Overall, it’s been such a joy to be in the classroom with these precious kids. A joy to be able to pray with them before class starts, work with them, and teach them new games – even though all they ever want to play is 7up.
Taonga School, Lusaka
My friend Abi started a school in Lusaka, and I have been able to help her on Wednesdays to work with groups of children to help them with their phonics. Between working with different groups of kids, Abi and I get to chat, drink coffee and eat home made English muffins. Does it get any better? Oh, yes it does. On the days when they make loaves of bread! Anyways, back to the kids. Working with these groups of kids has been so much fun. The best part of all is working with little Christine. Christine is only 5, and already has been through so much. You would never know when you see her bright smiling face. After hearing her story of abandonment and horrific abuse it’s such a pleasure to spend some time with Christine working one on one with her, helping her to focus on one task at a time. She’s the sweetest little thing, full of life, happiness and joy…and can’t really sit still because she’s too excited about the other things going on in the classroom.
Kachimfya Café, Kitwe
My friend Amy started a youth empowerment program a couple of years ago. Her program is called the Kachimfya program, meaning “to overcome”. In Zambia, students have a gap year between grade 12 and college, and the Kachimfya program offers a place for students to attend and learn different trades and skills. This past year she has been given an amazing opportunity to start a cafe. A lodge offered her a space rent free for a year and the goal was to use Kachimfya graduates to run the café. She’s renovated the space, picked the staff and this week I was able to put my Starbucks experience to use, and train them. They were amazing! They learned how to pour espresso shots, steam milk, and become confident in learning a new skill. Of course we had to test everything we made, which made for jittery days and sleepless nights because of the caffeine overdose. While I was there, we were able to do two trial runs and open the café for a couple of hours. It was amazing to see how excited these students were, and how seriously they took their positions. Everyone’s goal for the café is to make it a safe place for youth in Kitwe. A place where they can come, hang out, drink coffee, and feel God’s presence.