ZamLife: The Morgans & The Curls together again!
My plane touched down at RDU last night at 9:15 to finish out the 30 hour journey home from Lusaka, Zambia! I couldn't wait, not even a day, to fill this blog with the amazing outcomes of our 3 week trip to our home-away-from-home, Zambia. Despite the terrible jet lag (wide-eyed and bushy-tailed at 4 AM today!) my heart is so full and eager to share with you all our wonderful news! I'm going to break down our trip into 3 parts -- Life Okendewa, Chicks Empowered, and Upcoming Excitement!
Remember the blog post about our Grand Opening Celebration? It was pretty much the whole point of our trip. And it was AWESOME! If you haven't taken the time to read the blog post or watch the highlight video from our big day then stop. everything. you're. doing. AND CLICK HERE NOW!
The day has truly become one of the highlights of my life. I wish everyone could have experienced for themselves the excitement radiating in Kunchubwe Village that day. It was incredible and exceeded our greatest expectations.
We're continuing to reap the benefits from the success of that day. With the Chieftainess' outspoken support of Love Abounds - new doors have opened and rumors/criticism have been silenced. One major outcome happened last Saturday as we sat in on the Nkomeshya Chiefdom Zone 8 Headmen Council (yes, this is a mouthful). Zone 8 covers 21 villages, including Kunchubwe, and Headman Stephen is the Council Chairman (AKA he runs the show).
At the meeting, we discussed the criteria for the children of Life Okendewa - their ages, their gender, what types of situations they should be rescued from, etc etc. It was a whole new experience for us. Instead of jumping through hoops - door after door was opened without even trying. Thanks Chieftainess! We charged each headman to find a child in their village that met the requirements and fill out an application for Life Okendewa. Headman Stephen expects that we'll start receiving the applications as soon as this week! (UPDATE: as of 4/12/17 we have 19 applications)!! We can't wait to fill this beautiful blue house with beautiful little girls! And speaking of beautiful little girls...
meet Josephine!! And House Mom, Beauty!
We're so excited to WELCOME HOME our first Life Okendewa child and House Mom! On the One Year Anniversary of Tony and Carol residing in Zambia - we moved Beauty and Josephine into the house. My eyes filled with tears as Josephine saw her new house and room for the first time. Beauty's face lighted with pride and joy as she explored her new home - especially the pantry, kitchen, and bathrooms. The several days following, Beauty swept, scrubbed, & washed - giving the house a lived-in feel and looking better than ever!! We can't wait to follow Josephine and Beauty's stories and add more stories in the coming months to this beloved house. Stay tuned for more pictures and videos of our new family members to come!
The ladies of Chicks Empowered never cease to amaze me. Unfortunately, we didn't have a ton of time to spend with the ladies during this trip. But the moment I cherished was watching each lady (dressed to the nines) walk up to the Life Okendewa Grand Opening Celebration with pride and joy radiating off their faces! They each greeted me with GIANT hugs and smiles - their excitement for Kunchubwe Village and its new development bouncing off them - giving me the confidence I needed to address over 1,000 people for my speech.
The following Monday at the Chicks Empowered weekly meeting, Headman Stephen told the ladies that the success of all Love Abounds projects was founded on their success. And I couldn't agree more! While everyone questioned who we were and our intentions, the ladies of Chicks Empowered said YES! to taking a risk on us to improve their livelihoods. They persevered when times got really difficult. They took a chance when no one else in Kunchubwe Village wanted to - and now they're reaping the reward - making almost $40 a month each! Their success proved to others that maybe Love Abounds wasn't so bad after all. Their success has inspired others in Kunchubwe Village to step out and improve their livelihoods, too!
This past November, we granted our first microloans - $56 to each lady in Chicks Empowered. With their loan, the ladies bought fertilizer & seed to grow maize. We visited their maize field and holy cow its the best looking maize in all of Kunchubwe! Not only will the ladies be able to sell their maize at the market - they will also be able to make chicken feed from the maize and increase their profits even more.
We're so incredibly proud of this group of women. SO. SO. Proud!
We have a lot of excitement on the horizon. A huge part of our trip included lots of administrative meetings.
- We met with the Love Abounds Crew to discuss their upcoming economic development project and were BLOWN AWAY with how they've thought out all the details! A whole blog post coming soon...
- The Zone 8 Council Meeting included discussing future areas to drill boreholes and other projects!
- Among other smaller meetings...
And planning out the rest of 2017 with Tony & Carol, including:
- THEY'RE COMING HOME IN MAY! That's right, folks, The Curls will be back in the USA May 19th - June 5th! They've got a lot of family and friends to spend time with but we're claiming all their attention for a day - hosting a Curls Tell All event over coffee and treats. Be on the look-out for your invitation in email or on social media!
- Bethany will be back in flight in June to Zambia!
- A BIG ol' group trip to Zambia this August with a bunch of teenagers!
We're PUMPED UP about the rest of 2017 and the many exciting projects on the horizon! More and more blog posts to come to fill you in on everything but until then... this girl needs a nap!
As always, BIG THANKS, and LOTS of love!