Friday, May 18, 2012


Today was spent touring London. We caught the bus back to the airport, then caught the underground train from there. It was really nice because we bought a ticket that was good for all day, train and bus for only 8 pounds.
It took about an hour to get ride the Picadilly line to central London. We got off and did all the typical tourist stops, and I don’t remember them all but these are the highlights: Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, The Tower Bridge and Tower of London, The Parliament buildings, Downing Street and The Globe Theater. We did lots of walking, with stops at cute little café’s for lunch and supper. We also caught the occasional bus to take us to the places a little farther away. The city is huge and beautiful, a good mix between old, intricate architecture and new, modern looking buildings. There were people everywhere! The streets were more crowded than the streets in Lusaka! It was also cool because we saw some things that are getting prepped for the Olympics. There was an Olympic countdown clock in Trafalgar Square, and there were railings and bleacher type seating being set up in various places around the city.
On the way back to the hotel in the late afternoon we stopped at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of Natural History. It was close to closing time though so it was a very quick walk-through. We saw lots of sculptures and precious jewelry as well as dinosaurs and animals.

It was cool to see the sights, but one day in London was definitely long enough for me. Now I’m just ready to get home and see my family tomorrow.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Leaving the Land I Love

This morning was again, surreal. The alarm sounded way too early, at 5:20 and up I popped ready to shower and do the final packing. Before I knew it, Dee was there and ready to go. It just seemed so sudden.
We got to the airport with no problem, and as a nice goodbye there was the most gorgeous sunrise as we were driving. The sun was a brilliant, florescent orange. It was beautiful!

We hit the airport at the right time because we got there before the huge line formed. Again, we got through the Lusaka airport without any issues.

I was kind of a crab all morning. I was just so sad to leave. I always get sentimental like “this is the last time I’m going to see a minibus” or “this is the last time I’m going to hear a Zambian accent” or “this is my last step on African soil”.  As we took off and I looked down at the country I love it just felt like I was leaving my home and leaving a piece of my heart behind. It’s hard not knowing when or if I’ll ever get the chance to come back. I can only pray that God blesses me with another opportunity to come home to Africa again one day.

The flight was very uneventful and relatively easy. I didn’t sleep very much, and watched a lot of movies. I watched Big Miracle, New Year’s Eve, We Bought a Zoo, and The Descendants. That really made the time go by quickly. Before I knew it we were starting our descent into London.

The London airport also went smoothly. We found everything OK and when we didn’t, we knew that we could speak English and people would be able to help us no problem. J We left our 3 bags in a locker at the airport so we don’t have to worry about them.
Then we caught a bus to take us to the Travel Lodge near the airport where we’re staying. We were expecting 2 beds in our room but there was only one. Which is OK. The other issue now is that we don’t have shampoo and they don’t have any here to buy either. And there are no shops or anything around. I get picky when it comes to clean hair. I really hope we can find solution to this problem or I’m really not going to be a happy camper. I know I sound spoiled right now but after long hours of travelling all I really want is to feel clean. We had supper at the cafe and went on the free Wifi for a bit before heading to bed.

I’m thankful that we made it here safely and am just praying the next day goes by quickly so I can just arrive home.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Final Day

I don’t even know how to begin to write about this day. I guess I’ll start with the easier stuff.

I got to sleep in a bit since our first thing didn’t start until 9:30. We had our English party with our ladies under the tents. We passed out certificates and pictures and then had cookies and juice while watching a slide show of videos and pictures of our time here. As we were handing out certificates and pictures I didn’t think I’d cry, but just receiving hugs from some of those ladies and seeing how sad they were made us cry.

After our party we went back to Kabwata with Dee to buy more stuff. J Since we had so much extra room in our suitcase we wanted to fill it with cool African stuff, plus we needed to use up all the rest of our kwacha. We were so successful! I got some more great things and I am so excited to decorate my future apartment with them! Dee treated us to lunch at the Mint at the Arcades mall. It was the cutest little café! I had a chicken, pineapple and haloumi cheese sandwich with a little side salad. It was super delicious!

In the afternoon we started making rounds of thank-yous we wanted to deliver. We gave Christine hers and then tried finding Mr. Zulu to give him a picture but he went home because he wasn’t feeling well. We were so sad that we didn’t get to say goodbye to him! We tried Pastor Kawiliza next but he wasn’t home. Then we walked to Pastor Mutentami’s house. He was there along with his wife and Maggie. He talked a lot about how positive our time here has been, so many nice things to say. Then he finished with a prayer and that’s when I lost it. It’s so sad to say goodbye to people who have become your family! The short walk back to campus was embarrassing because we looked like blubbering idiots.

When we got to campus things got better because we saw the kids and started playing with them as usual. It was kickball day. At first we just snuggled some kids and watched the older kids play. Then the preschool kids came over with Charity and we suspected something was up. They all made cards for us! Erika’s kids each made her one, and my younger munchkins all made me one. Charity and Bridgette taught them how to say “I love you teacher”, so as they handed us the cards they all said that to us. Melted my heart. Then they all piled around me for a huge hug. It was so sweet. Charity prepared a song and sang it for us saying the words were from the kids. It was about how much they would miss us and to remember them.
As kickball got into full swing the ladies all started showing up. We thought they were coming to say goodbye already but it turns out they wanted to play kickball, so they joined in the game. It was so cool to have them all there playing too! As usual, I sat on the grass and watched and just soaked in every last minute that I could with the kids. I had Corn, Brian, Maggie and Aubrey hanging around me. Even though they’re so young I doubt they really knew what was happening, but to me it just seemed like they were more snuggly and affectionate to me, as if they knew this was our last time to play together. For a while, as I was playing with them, I almost forgot it was our last day, it seemed so routine and normal. As the kickball game ended the mood shifted. This was it. We only had 20 minutes before we had to leave for town and our farewell dinner with the missionaries. The tears instantly started up again. Hugging all our ladies goodbye was torture. Seeing their tears made it worse. Regina and Sarah’s tears streaming down their face. Parksen and Bertha’s hugs and sniffles as they refused to let go of the embrace. Monica’s attempt at giving us the best gift she could: a sum of money. That touched my heart so much. She gave whatever she could just to show her appreciation to us in some tangible way, but of course we refused her money. Just the fact that she showed that thankfulness was way more than we deserved.
At first the kids seemed confused as to why everyone was crying and then they caught on. I went around to all the kids giving them a hug and a kiss and saying goodbye. I will never forget these next 20 minutes. The things that broke my heart even more were when Mwandida just burst into uncontrollable crying as I was hugging her. How can you be OK after that? Or when Given, big, happy, 13 year old Given had tears in his eyes as he asked us desperately, “will you be back, teacher?” “when are you coming back??” and not being able to give him an answer. Or when Sam just walked around aimlessly with his hands over his face crying. Or when Miriam sniffled with quiet tears streaming down her face. With sweet Pimbi’s eyes that said it all, staring at us like she can’t believe we are having this sad goodbye. But amongst all the tears the thing that kept me from completely breaking down was having the little munchkins like Corn sitting on the ground wiping dirt on his face while giggling…being completely his normal self because he doesn’t understand what is happening.
Finally after we had rounded up most of the kids that we were missing to say goodbye, some of the husbands came out; Regina’s, Parksen’s and Sarah’s husbands came out and kept expressing how much we have helped their wives and children and how they will all miss us. It was very sweet of them.
We weren’t able to see absolutely everyone after kickball but at least at some point of the day we saw everyone to say goodbye. That was it then; time to walk back to our guest house.
With a quick stop to see Uncle Ernie. He met us at the classroom buildings and gave us a very sweet card and said goodbye. Aunt Margie was still working so we called her after to supper to say bye.
As we walked down the gravel driveway to the campus gate I kept glancing back to get my final glimpses of the children that have captured my heart. There are no words to describe the feeling. The sun was just setting and campus was quiet except for the kids all standing in the driveway, occasionally waving. But the sound of their cries I will never forget.

We hurried back to try to clean ourselves up a bit before heading into town. Originally we were planning on going to evening chapel on campus at 6 to say the final goodbyes but we found out we actually had to leave the house at 6 to get to town by 6:30 for our farewell supper.
We went to Rhapsody’s with the Birners, Sargents, Hartmanns and Dave and Dee. Even though I was exhausted from the emotional goodbyes I think I was glad to go out and have something to distract me. Supper was very enjoyable! The food was great. I had Kingklipper fish on a bed of mashed potatoes, which were delicious. We had great conversation and Sue gave us cute little gifts as reminders of our adventure with her in Kafue. We also got chocolate bars from the Hartmanns—a little inside joke. When they were living with us at our guest house for a week during CELC Pastor played a little joke on us by hiding our chocolate. Pastor Sargent also gave us some LCCA chitenjes, which was very nice. I’m so happy to have one!

When we got home we went over to D&Ds for a bit so Erika could print some stuff and then we headed home for the last time. We have some final packing to organize and hope to load the truck with our suitcases tonight.

What a surreal and emotionally exhausting day. I can’t believe our time has already come to say goodbye to everyone. I feel like we just got here. I cannot remember the last time I felt this broken hearted. I love everyone here and the relationships I’ve made with the families on campus have been such a blessing to my life. They truly are my African family and not knowing when I will see them again next is such a hard thing. Leaving this continent is also hard. Africa is my home. Goodbyes have got to be one of the hardest things to do on this earth. The comfort in all of this sadness is knowing that if I don’t see these people again in this life, I will see them again in our eternal life in heaven.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kabwata Cultural Village

I cried when we said goodbye to Anne, and I’ve started tearing up several times when we’ve been talking about leaving, but last night I had my first real crying fest. It was weird because we had such a great day at our tutoring party yesterday, but I think the fact that it was a “farewell” party finally caught up with me as I was lying in bed. Thinking about leaving and how there’s nothing I can do to change the sadness that is about to happen, just hit me. I took time to just cry and be sad, and I kept thinking about that Bible passage Romans 8:26-27 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” It’s been so hard for me to know what to pray for. I want to stay in Africa so badly; it’s where my heart is; it’s my home; but now I’m returning to the States to Lord-willing receive a call on Saturday, so there are lots of emotions involved with that as well. As I was crying last night, it was like crying out to God with groans and tears, begging for trust that His will for my life will be done. He knows the desires of my heart and he himself will intercede for me with his own groans that words cannot even express. And the awesome thing about knowing the Spirit is interceding for me, is knowing that he intercedes in accordance with God’s will, whereas my prayers are often driven by my selfish nature.

This morning we had 4 ladies for English: Sarah, Regina, Kaluwa, and Monica. We had a super fun day! We played Pictionary/charades for the first part and there was so much laughing! Then we finished up with a PowerPoint on America and what we’ll be doing when we go back to America. We finished class early, since it was our last “official” one. It was such a surreal feeling knowing I won’t be teaching all the ladies anymore. It made me really sad, but today was the perfect, fun way to end.

After English we did a quick errand for Dee and then met up with her to go into town. We’ve been wanting to go to Kabwata for a while, and she took us today. It’s right in downtown Lusaka where people used to live in their huts. When the city began to do more building they tore town all the little villages but wanted to preserve one to remember the history. So now they still have huts there and you can go and buy curios and paintings. It’s like the market at the Arcades on Sunday. It was fun—I got some more things. It’s hard not to go crazy because I want to buy many things but I kept thinking about the weight limit of my suitcase so that stopped me from buying more.

When we got home we had sausage and eggs for lunch and then got to packing. I finished up packing up all our teaching materials and supplies and labeling the boxes for the next group. Then I moved on to my own stuff. It took me less than an hour to pack all my stuff! And it was so weird because everything fit in my suitcases piece of cake. In fact, the 2 big suitcases I have are only half full. How’d that happen? I have less stuff going back than I did coming here and I’ve bought so much stuff since I’ve been here. I think it helped that I traded some clothes and I kept all the teaching materials here. So now I need to go buy more stuff to fill in the rest of the suitcases so the stuff doesn’t jostle around in them with all the empty space. What a fun problem to have. Now I just need to make sure the weight limit is OK, which is my task for tomorrow.

After packing we headed over to campus to give Bridgette a thank you card and picture to give to Charity. We also got to play with our munchkins for a few minutes because they were just finishing preschool and were outside playing. I’m going to miss having the kids hang off my legs and arms like I’m their jungle gym. I have felt so loved by these children!

We had to cut the playing short because we wanted to run up to the little store to get some juice for our ladies’ party tomorrow. That was a quick little walk and we enjoyed the warm sun. Made me think I should lie out and enjoy the African sun one last time. Maybe I’ll have a few minutes to do that tomorrow.

After the trip to the shop we watched the kids play a game for a while. It was sort of like a mini game of dodge ball. The bigger kids were playing and the little ones were watching. So we sat next to the little kids like Jeffter, Miriam and Maggie. Maggie came right up to me to snuggle in my lap. Again, it melts my heart. She is the cutest little girl ever, but I feel like I say that about all of these children. Erika had fun making little Miriam giggle. Dee came over with all the volleyball stuff so we headed over to play. We only had Kaluwa, George, and Hastings come as far as students and their wives go, so we had lots of kids playing instead. It was fun playing with the kids this time, although it would have also been nice to play with our ladies one last time. I think they all had a function at church or something and that’s why they weren’t there.

Pastor and Mrs. Hartmann arrived here in Lusaka today. They came because Pastor had some meetings and they’re going to stay through tomorrow to come to our farewell dinner, which we are very happy about.

After volleyball we had supper which was kind of pathetic. Rice with a tiny bit of chicken and some wilty vegetables. We’re trying to use up some of the groceries we still have without having to buy more. To compensate we just added lots of garlic to everything so it was a very garlicy supper as well. Then we got to cleaning the house. We didn’t want to leave it a complete mess for Dee to clean up so we dusted and swept and tried to organize things we need to return to people. It always helps doing this kind of work with the music blaring. J
To end the night Erika started looking up things for us to do in London. I think a lot of walking to see the sights is in store for us. I think it’ll be fun once we’re there but right now it’s hard to get excited for London knowing that it means I have to leave Zambia first. One day at a time with prayers to God for strength.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Party Day

Today was our last day of official tutoring. The past few times have had some sparse attendance or we don’t really know who is going to show up. Well this morning I had Ndamiwe come and I tried to have him go home and get his brother Justice, but there must have been some communication issues because Justice didn’t come right away, and when he did come, our tutoring time was over. Oh well.

For English we did some review games, a review worksheet, and some reading comprehension on our Kafue adventure this weekend. I’m trying to savor every last class we have with our ladies. We have one more tomorrow and then our little gathering with them on our last day, Wednesday.

After English we headed straight into town to get some groceries for our party tonight. We were so grateful to Dee for taking us so we didn’t have to take a minibus. I took care of getting some pictures printed, and Erika went shopping for the napkins, cups and biscuits. Unfortunately, they told me the pictures would take 1 ½ hours to print; right when our afternoon tutoring was supposed to start. So after Dee’s shopping got over, she suggested we stay for lunch and hope the pictures get done in that time. So we all had chicken pitas at Galitos, which were delicious! And lucky for us, our photos were done after we were finished eating! Which was great because then that meant we didn’t have to go back after our afternoon tutoring.

As soon as we got back from town we had our afternoon group of kids come and it was quite the group. We had been telling the kids they could come whenever they wanted so we had a big group show up. We had Given, Dalitso, Stone, Obey, Mwandida, Shadreck, Jeremiah, Samuel, Pimbi, Mirriam, and Shine, plus Stone brought chunky Jeffter. So we all played games together; we did memory and Simon Says. And by “we” I mean Erika did the games. I pretty much sat and played with Jeffter the whole time. J I also took some pictures of the fun and did flashcards with Shad for a bit when he got sick of the games. It was a crazy loud, fun afternoon. Boy do those kids like to scream when they’re having fun!

In the afternoon we decided we had to be productive by organizing all our tutoring and English materials for the next group. We actually did pretty well with that and got most of the worksheets and lesson plans organized. Then we had an afternoon visit from Jennifer, one of the friends we made in choir at Bethel. She wanted to come over one last time to say goodbye, so that was sweet of her. We sat in our living room and chatted for a bit, but sadly we couldn’t spend a lot of time doing that because we had to head over to campus to set up for our party. Jennifer came to help us set up, which was very nice.

We got the food ready and the chairs set out and got all the certificates in order. It took a good hour to prepare everything and since we’re on Zambian time anyway, everyone slowly started trickling in shortly after 5. By the time most people were there it was close to 5:30. We invited the whole campus family; all our tutoring and preschool kids plus their moms and dads. We had a great turnout! Some kids were just getting back from school but came as soon as they could. We had everyone show up in the end. We started out by passing out all the preschool kids a certificate and a picture of us with the preschoolers, plus a fizzer which is a stick of candy. Then all the tutoring kids got the same thing, a certificate, picture and fizzer. It was so cute! All the parents clapped and cheered and the moms ran up to hug their kids when they won their awards.
After the awards we had some snacks which were a PB&J sandwich and some marie biscuits, with juice. They all seemed to enjoy it and spent the rest of the party chatting and eating. Then we took some pictures with some of the families. Titus brought his camera so he was getting lots of requests for pictures. We enjoyed talking with those that hung around a little later. They all expressed how sad they were for us to leave and how they just wanted us to stay longer. It’s so nice to hear how much they appreciate what we’ve done for them. I don’t want them to think that we are joyfully leaving though; it hurts so much to have to say goodbye to these people and if I could, I know I would stay here for years if I could. It’s hard to express all the complicating factors to them though, so instead I just tell them how much I’ve loved it here and how much I will miss all of them. Erika and I are already planning how we’re going to get back here within the next 2 years to see our campus “family” before they graduate and disperse.
We were so pleased with how the party turned out. Everything just went perfectly and it was so cool to all be together as a campus, celebrating our time here.
We had some of our regular boys stick around, because they never want to leave, and helped us clean up. We gave them leftover sandwiches as payment. J

We headed home around 6:30pm and had a quick avocado sandwich for supper before heading over to Sargents for Nathan’s 13th birthday party. The partygoers were Birners, Wendlands, Sargents, Dee and us. We had a Malawian shanty, which is lemonade, ginger ale and bitters. I remember my dad always made those for us in Malawi when we were kids. We chatted and then had cake. It was a fun evening.

Today was one of those go, go, go days. We didn’t have our usual couple hour break for lunch and we had party after party. It was a perfect day though, I wouldn’t have changed anything.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

This morning was our last church service at Bethel. Erika played the organ again this morning. It was a wonderful service as usual. In his sermon Pastor talked a lot about prayer and trusting in God to lead our lives in the direction he wants us to go. He said some things that just seemed so relevant to my life, as I know there will be many changes coming up in this next week. It was a great reminder to trust that God has a plan for my life and knows where best I can serve him. In one part of the sermon after Pastor had just said something, the whole congregation burst out into a song. I love that! The people are not afraid to respond to something the pastor has said. After the musical interlude, Pastor got right back to the sermon. The choirs also did a wonderful job today. It was kind of sad walking through the greeting line at the end of church, knowing I probably won’t see many of these people again.

After church we came home to get some things crossed off our list. We had sausages for lunch and then worked on making 36 PB&J sandwiches for our party tomorrow. All the bread was frozen, so that was quite the ordeal trying to separate all the pieces. After that was done we went over to Mrs. Birner’s to return her coolers to her. We had them because we took some of the leftover food from our camping trip.
When we got back to the gate we realized it was locked—Dave and Dee had headed out somewhere for Mother’s Day and we didn’t have our key with us. Uh oh. Easy solution was to head over to Sargent’s and Nathan gave us a spare key.

For a few hours in the afternoon we headed over to watch some TV while working on some planning things for our last few days of English class and tutoring.

Uncle Ernie and Aunt Margie had invited us out for supper tonight, so at around 6 we went to town with them. We ate at Mike’s Kitchen, and I ordered chicken with mozzarella and onions on top, with mashed potatoes. It was very delicious. We had fun telling them about our getting stuck in Kafue adventure and they fascinated us with some of their great ‘Africa stories’ which made our story sound quite lame. Aunt Margie told the story about when they got stuck in a game park in the Lower Zambezi and my cousin Joel was out of the car helping the guide try to get the car out when a lion starting charging right at them. Joel had to run toward the lions in order to get back to the car, even though all his instincts were telling him to run in the opposite direction. Talk about a scary “getting stuck” story! Ours pales in comparison.
After supper we went back to their house to watch the movie Rio and have some ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate sauce. What a wonderful evening. I’m so glad we got the chance to spend some time with them one more time before we leave.

To end this post I want to wish a wonderful Mother’s Day to my wonderful mother. I was so happy I got to chat with her a bit on Facebook this morning before church. She has been the greatest mother a girl could ask for, I am so blessed. J

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Stranded in Kafue

Our trip started out wonderfully! On Thursday we got up by 5 and were on our way by 6. First we picked up Ethel from Good Shepherd and got through town before the morning traffic started. Our trip to the park was uneventful. We stopped briefly to get gas and that was a slight dilemma. They had just run out of diesel at the gas station but some of the men standing nearby said they had a stash that they were saving, and filled up our tank. We were hoping the fuel was still good and they didn’t mix it with water, and thankfully they were being honest and everything was OK.
We got to our campsite before lunch. We stayed at a camp called Mayukuyuku. It was quite a ways off the main tarmac but it was within the park itself so we knew the chances of seeing animals were pretty good.

Gibson helped us set up our campsite and tents and it looked quite homey. We had the best campsite right on the bend of the river—the view was just gorgeous. The camp itself was rather small, only a camping area and some tented chalets but it was very nice.

After lunch we decided to go on a game drive in our own vehicle. It was going to be a marathon drive from about 1-7, and Mrs. Birner even brought her own spotlight so we could be out a little after dark. We packed the cooler of food since we didn’t want the monkeys getting at it, and then headed out. Before really starting our drive we stopped at another lodge, Mukambi, where we were hoping to see their “pet” hippo, Basil. Basil is a young male and when he started having troubles with the dominant male in the pod, he sought refuge at the lodge. He’s been coming back ever since and will even come right into the reception area and take a nap. Sadly, he wasn’t there at the time.
We went on pretty much all the same loops that we took when we came with Dave and Dee. We saw impala, puku, zebra, waterbuck, elephant, and buffalo. We were on the quest to see cats, so Mrs. Birner wanted to take us to a loop where she had seen 5 cheetahs with her husband a year ago or so. We had some trouble finding the right road but eventually some guys in a white pickup truck pointed us in the right direction. On this loop Erika and I got on top of the car on the roof rack for some better game viewing. There were definitely some really bumpy patches and we had to hang on for dear life. Our first issue was reaching a pretty big divot that was very steep. We barely made it out of there. The tires were spinning, the engine was revving, and Erika and I were hanging on with all we had. Thankfully, we made it out of there. That should have been our first clue.
Our second clue was when we came to a part of the road where we lost track of the road. The grass was too high, but since we were high up on the roof I thought I spotted where the road led, and sure enough it was. So we kept following it. We ended up coming to a flatter area which is the definition of savannah and I thought we were out of the woods. Little did I know…
Right as we rounded the corner we saw another ditch, this one had water in it. It was quite a bit less steep than the other one we got through, and Sue was afraid to turn around and go back through the one we had almost gotten stuck in last time. So the 4 wheel drive was put on and we tried it.

…we got stuck.
We almost made it through but the back tires got stuck in the mud and kept spinning. We tried several times to get out but couldn’t. We were so, so stuck. The feeling of fear and nervousness set in immediately. I was sure there’d be a way to get out, but there really wasn’t. At first Sue said we should sit tight, but us girls voted to at least try something before it got dark. At this point it was about 4:30pm. The back bumped was really bogged down into the mud, the exhaust completely under water. We thought be trying to push from the back would help, but it didn’t. I only succeeded in getting mud on me. After our failed attempts I realize we really were stuck and not getting out of there any time soon. We were in it for the long haul.
At first we were in very good spirits and joking about the situation and chatting. When the sun finally set and we were in darkness, that’s when we got more worried. We were in lion territory, and being so low in the divot, we couldn’t see what was coming. We thought we would see lions, elephants or other animals walk past our car, which we thought would be pretty cool, but after being stuck there for so long we realized not seeing animals was actually a blessing. We tried using our cellphones to call someone but there was absolutely no phone signal and the emergency numbers didn’t work either.
We had food and water along, which we also realized was all God’s hand at work. We also brought 1 sleeping bag as a blanket for the roof rack, so that kept us “warm” at night. When we decided to go to sleep at about 8 I climbed in the back. Ethel, Erika and I were all in the back, E&E on the 2 fold down benches and I was on the floor in the middle. I got the blanket since I was on the floor; I also only had capris and flip flops on, so I was thankful for a warm blanket. We slept on and off for a while and as it got later it also got colder. At 11 we had a terrible false hope moment. The moon rises so late, so as it was rising over the grass it looked so much like a spotlight on a car. We were sure we were being rescued! We started honking and rejoicing, but then realized it was only the moon. L Eventually everyone was shivering and freezing and I felt too guilty having the blanket on the floor so we all climbed to the front seat and put the sleeping bag over us. That kept us much warmer! Because Ethel and I only had flipflops on our feet were so cold! Ethel found a scarf to wrap around her feet and I wrapped an extra pair of clean underwear around my feet. Whatever works! Sue got cold by the window though and also wanted to stretch out her legs so she moved to the back. The girls slept for a few more hours. At 3am or so, Sue was shivering so bad and had a mini panic attack about what could go wrong—bush fires, elephants knocking us over, people having no idea that we were gone or no idea where to look for us etc. Seeing her so worried also made us get more worried as well. But after more huddling together for warmth and sleeping on and off, the sun started to rise. We made it through the night with no dangerous animal encounters!
When it got to be about 8am, we decided to take more action in getting ourselves out. We used a table knife that was in the cooler to cut grass to try to lay under the tire for traction. We also cut branches off trees and tried to gather mud clumps. We took the lid off the cooler and put it under one of the tires in the mud, to use kind of like a ramp. Erika took a shirt off to put under another one; Sue took off a tennis shoe—we tried anything we could to give the tires some more grip. We tried pushing again, and watching wish tires were spinning still. Unfortunately, after all the hard work, we failed. We even took off the two spare tires we had on the roof rack, hoping the lighter weight would help. Nothing, nothing, nothing worked and the praying continued! The whole time we were working we kept honking the horn to ward off animals, and we made someone the spotter, to keep watch.
After our failed work, we took a break and rested in the car. I decided sleep would be the best way to forget about our situation, because at this point I was feeling really down in the dumps. There was nothing else to do anyway. Erika and Sue tried to start a smoky fire to get a smoke signal out. They tried swapping a Q-tip in petroleum jelly and lighting it by using the cigarette lighter from the car. Erika tore pages out of her book to try to get a flame going, and then they were going to add green leaves to make it smoky. The fire refused to start though, so another failed attempt. All that was left to do was wait again and honk the horn every 5 minutes or so… Around 11 I woke up and just stared out the window. I saw a moniter lizard over by the water so I watched that for a while. Then I swore I could hear a vehicle. However, we had thought we had heard a vehicle so many times before but it was only the wind and our hopeful imaginations. This time was different though. To me it sounded like the rumble of a truck, and Ethel agreed. I was hoping and praying so hard—I was just about to reach my breaking point of hopelessness. Erika climbed onto the roofrack to see if she could see anything, and Sue started honking the horn like crazy. AND THEN WE WERE RESCUED!! We saw a truck come around the corner. Erika started shouting and waving and I Sue and I just burst into tears. Ethel and I hugged each other, and laughed and cried with relief. I can just picture that truck with 4 men in the back. I have never felt so relieved and happy in my life. Words cannot describe that.
They were men from our camp and were rather annoyed at us. We had asked a guide at Mukambi if all the loop roads were open and he told us they were. The guides from our camp said we should have asked them before going on a drive and they would have told us what was open and what was not. So that was definitely our fault. We apologized profusely and told them we were so happy to see them. One of the guys even had a gun, so we hopped out of the car and didn’t even give a thought to lions or whatever else could have been in the bushes. At first they tried what we did—pushing the back of the car and trying to get it up the hill. When that didn’t work they decided to pull us out the back. They got the tow rope out and looped it on the back bumper. Then with Sue driving in reverse, they pulled from the other direction and got us out. Needless to say we tipped them very well because we were just so overjoyed to be out. They told us that they did notice we never came back the night before so they were looking for us at night, but stopped looking around 9:00pm. Then they started again early in the morning, eventually finding us at 11:30am—19 hours after getting stuck. We followed their truck all the way back to the main road, it was comforting knowing they were right there with us guiding us back. As a bonus, we saw wild dogs on the drive back. There were about 10 in the pack. Wild dogs are extremely rare to see, so we were thrilled to see them. Sort of a compensation for being stuck for so long. J It took a good 2 hours to get all the way back to the campsite. When we saw a map later we realized we were the farthest possible place from camp that we could be when we got stuck. Praise the Lord for his answered prayers!!

When we got back to camp we showered and ate some viennas cooked over the fired and just talked through our whole ordeal. In hindsight you always feel better. It felt cool to have such a good story to tell. In the moment though, it was terribly scary! After recuperating for a bit we decided to take a night game drive with the camp in their vehicle. We figured they’d not be too keen to let us out by ourselves again. So we took a lovely game drive with a British couple. We were following a lion trail but never did see any. We didn’t see much on the night drive, but we did see some elephant, genets, and a porcupine. After the night drive we ate some supper. We made pudgy pies—cheese and peanut butter ones—which we delicious. Then we went to bed. As you can imagine, we were all exhausted. I slept like a rock! It was awesome because I could see the brilliant stars through the top of the tent. I could also hear the hippos grunting and we were sure at one point there was one feet from our tent since we were so close to the water up on the ride. We heard a large rustling near the bushes and then a big splash into the water. Thankfully we didn’t have an encounter with it.
It was cold in the tent but nothing compared with the car. In the tent I was on a lovely firm air mattress with a sleeping bag and then a huge down comforter on top of me. It was a wonderful night sleep!
Next thing I knew my alarm was going off at 5:30 for our morning drive.
We did a self-drive again (this was Saturday morning). We took the loop that we took the night before, hoping to see the lion. We didn’t see them but we were sure we heard one grunt and roar. We also checked a little quarry area and we saw 2 hyenas! Those are very rare to see in Kafue, way rarer than at Luangwa. We were so happy—Ethel wanted to see hyenas so badly.
Then we headed out to the main tarmac road to get to the other part of the park. As we were zipping along the tarmac I noticed some puku staring off into the distance looking pretty alert. Then I saw the lion. He was a little in the distance but in some grassy area so I could see him pretty clearly. I yelled “lion, stop, stop, stop!” Since we were going pretty fast, Sue screeched to a stop and had to reverse quite a while. But we saw it! It was a male—just like I was hoping we’d see! He was an older male, with a big mane. As we were trying to get pictures and look at it, Sue looked behind the car and there was another lion! Dejavu from Luangwa! It was a younger male just sauntering along behind the vehicle. He must have been right next to the road in the grass on the other side. He was walking toward his buddy over in the grass. Erika even opened the back door to get a better picture. Don’t worry, the lion could have cared less about us. We were so happy to see the lion—and right off the tarmac! We never would have expected that.
The rest of the morning drive was pretty good. We saw the usual things: elephant, warthog, waterbuck, and we saw 3 huge kudus, right next to the road, including a huge male with the gorgeous curling horns.
We were minutes away from seeing a cheetah. We came across another vehicle that was on a self drive and we just asked them if they had seen a cheetah, not expecting them to say yes, but it turns out they had just seen a cheetah and had been following it for a while and it just walked off into the tall grass. The puku that were standing around we making their alarm calls for a good 10-15 minutes because they knew danger was in the area. We parked the car and waited, hoping the cheetah would come out, but it didn’t. Bummer L

We got back from our morning drive around 12. We had lunch and then started packing up our tent. By 3 we were all checked out and headed out. As one last game viewing I spotted some hartebeest in the grass while leaving the camp.

The drive back to Lusaka was uneventful, which was such a blessing. I read my book and took a wonderful nap.
When we got home I unpacked, threw everything in the laundry, and had leftover spaghetti for supper. Then we went over to the guest house to tell Dave and Dee about our adventure and watched TV while we blogged.

Overall the trip was wonderful! We saw wonderful animals even though we were stranded for 19 hours. The getting stuck part was very scary but it provided us with a great story, and we learned a great lesson from the ordeal. Don’t go anywhere without telling someone where you are going or finding out information first. We also got some experience with testing out our survival skills. J
I am happy to be home and able to sleep in a warm bed tonight. What an adventuresome weekend!