November 1, 2019

A Day of Welcoming

Vineland Free Reformed HANDS Team:

At last our time of travelling is over, and now we get to begin the project! 


We started our day off by driving down dirt roads, avoiding unfinished bridges, and waving at the locals we passed by on our way to Mwase School where we would be working. However, before we could begin, the school had a welcoming ceremony for us. They seated us on a stage with the school staff facing the students. I think we were all expecting to sit, watch, and wait for our own little speech and song presentation. Those expectations were quickly changed when we got pulled into dancing with the locals. I would use the term 'dance' very loosely. I believe we mostly did a stiff imitation of the dancers. We were both excited, and nervous to follow their wonderful presentations with our song "Days of Elijah". We gave it our all with the most enthusiastic actions we could muster and I believe the students enjoyed it! Next, came the presentation of the gifts. Our gift was a pastel drawing of a Maple leaf and a Bougainvillea (Zambia's national flower) with a picture of us on top and our signatures at the bottom. Their gift to us was a goat. Yup, a goat. We named him billy, but we never got a chance to know him very well because he now resides in our bellies. He was actually quite tasty if I do say so myself. 

After the Welcoming Ceremony, we had the ground breaking ceremony. One of the masons had Mitch and Brandon Kanphuis lay the 'first bricks' (the project had already been started). From there we finally began building! 


In the speeches, skits and poetry this morning we learned of the importance of this dorm project for the school and community. So many of these girls live 5-15km away from school, and while they are very used to walking these distances every day (some kids we talked to today start walking at 5am to make the 19km trek to school, 5 days a week!) it can be very dangerous walk for these young women who can easily be taken advantage of and abused. There is currently a dorm at the school but a building designed for 48 girls already has 105 staying there. These girls, called girl child by the locals and are from 13-18 years old, bring their own food for the week and cook all their meals for themselves. May the Lord bless these efforts to His glory!



Nov 1, 2019 at 6:13 pm

Ok, at first I though Adrian had Alex beat in the sleeping photo contest, until I noticed the little bit of drool on Alex's picture!

Valk Family
Nov 1, 2019 at 7:41 pm

We are loving the updates!

I spent supper time describing the photos to some of the family. We all laughed imaging the long-legged guys crammed into the bus.

We are praying for you all daily.

Nov 3, 2019 at 8:39 am

Nothing like trying to dance with Africans! Thankfully they're very gracious to stiff folks who can't touch their rhythm.

We did "Days of Elijah' too when we were there this summer.

Bert Wikkerink
Nov 4, 2019 at 10:31 am

I am Jealous !! I was in Zambia back in 2014. Fell in love with the people and the country. Say hello to Philemon for me.

Nov 6, 2019 at 10:37 pm

Good work friends. Enjoying every second with you.

Nov 6, 2019 at 10:37 pm

Good work friends. Enjoying every second with you.

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