We are back on American soil…Hallelujah! I’ll be writing up our trip in a few posts…
We left for the airport the morning of June 22…(with lots of tears at the airport saying goodbye to Luke and Ben – they were in GREAT hands with BeBe and Grandpa and Aunt Tara and Uncle Logan). I just wanted to pack this nugget with me!! ^^^
Our first leg of the trip was a 14 hour flight to Dubai. I’m not a huge fan of flying because I can never seem to get comfortable on a plane but it really wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be. We flew Emirates Airlines and they had a ton of movies, tv shows, games, and music to keep you entertained. I was able to watch Beauty and the Beast, the Big Bang Theory Season 10, LaLaLand, Jackie, and slept to a large playlist of the Beatles greatest hits. For some reason, I would always wake up when it was on Penny Lane. weird.
After we landed in Dubai, we had about a 20 hour layover. With Emirates, if you have a long layover, they put you up in a hotel (see view above^^^) and feed you. It is SO much better than trying to hang in the airport. Some people went out for tours and shopping, but all I cared about was food and sleep. We grabbed some lunch and headed straight for bed. Woke up in time for dinner, watched the one English speaking station (Britain’s Most Talented Season Finale) and went back to sleep. In the morning, we ate breakfast and headed back to the airport for our flight to Zambia.
The fam and Emily! We met Emily in Dubai – she is cousins with one of the girls that lives over in Zambia with Mariah. Emily is from Chicago and is the cutest!
Once we landed in Lusaka, Zambia, got our visas and luggage, we walk out and see Mariah waiting on us! Cue tears again! It was SO good to see her and she was so excited that we were there! She loaded us up in her car and drove us over to her flat to relax for a bit before we had our first Family Legacy meeting. During the meeting, we had the Tree of Life kids come up and perform – it was our first taste of Africa… I just remember standing there thinking, “Am I really here? Is this for real?” It was so surreal.
After the meeting and dinner, we headed to our home away from home for the next week. We were all so exhausted and ready to just unpack and climb into bed but instead, we had our first African wildlife encounter. At first, I thought it was just a fake spider that Mariah had put in our mosquito net as a “Welcome to Africa” joke… but it wasn’t. After tearing our room apart, we finally found him and, ahem, took care of him so we could sleep easy that night.
Sunday morning, we woke up and walked down for church with the Tree of Life Kids! These kids love to sing and dance… it was a great experience!
After church, we chatted with some of the girls – who are totally the same typical middle school/high school girls that joke and giggle and move in groups. We had lunch and then made our way through some Zambian vendors that set up a market there on the property for us. After that, we met our Zambian partner or Evangelist for the week. Her name was Milika and she was the best! Her birthday was in July (like me), she is 28 (almost like me), the first born (like me). She was so so sweet and encouraging since I revealed that I was nervous about having 10 girls for a week and I had no idea what I was doing. Milika was such a huge help and I couldn’t have done this week without her!
Sunday evening, we had dinner, went through what to expect on Monday and then it was PB&J making time… each night, we needed to make 8 sandwiches for all of our helpers. We stayed in a villa with many other people and the upper room was this huge open living space with multiple couches, a long dining table, a kitchen and wrap around balcony. We spent a LOT of time up there…some more than others.
I’m sure some of you are like, Tree of Life? Family Legacy? Evangelist? What the heck is Jordan talking about? Here’s the backstory:
Family Legacy is a ministry based in Lusaka Zambia that aims to give orphaned children a better life. HIV/AIDS is so rampant that the life expectancy is 60 years old and the median age is around 16 years old. The children in the worst living situations are given the opportunity to live in the Tree of Life Children’s Village – with homes, house mothers, a clinic, school – all right there on the property. Also on this property is the Legacy Center where Camp Life is held. Camp Life is for kids that are living out in the compounds (ghettos) that are either sponsored to go to a Legacy School or are needing to be sponsored for school. Family Legacy has built multiple private Christian schools throughout the city of Lusaka for these sponsored children to attend school to receive a proper education. During Camp Life, each American Ambassador (me) is given two Zambian partners: an Evangelist and an Apostle. The Evangelist helps translate for you, does one on one time with you and each individual child in your group. The Apostle helps with the kids, goes to get the food, takes kids to the bathroom/clinic/ etc. There you have the quick rundown of everything. Check out Family Legacy here. Or leave questions in the comments below… I’d be happy to answer them!
Stay tuned for our week at camp! 🙂