I had voiced it out loud in one way or another, how it would be so great to actually see where our friends are living and serving in Zambia, but I never voiced out loud the dream that was really rolling around in my head.
Paul and I never go anywhere just the two of us. Well, not never, just hardly ever. We went on a 4 day honeymoon, and then 10 years later a cruise...and that has been it.
This year is Paul and I's 15th wedding anniversary. I have been dreaming for the last 5 years how grand it would be to actually fly to Zambia and make that our 'anniversary trip.' I knew it would remain a dream, though, because tickets for the two of us to fly there are close to $4000. Yeah, that would have to remain a dream that I held in my heart.
But God knows what our hearts are crying, and He truly does desire to give us good things.
This past April, on my birthday of all days, a friend calls me out of the blue to tell me that she and her husband want to pay for our tickets to fly to Zambia and visit Erik and Carrie.
She did not know about my heart's dream.
But God did.
So, the summer of our 15th Anniversary, the dream in my heart became a reality.
There is so much to say about our trip, so much so I am having difficultly really explaining it to people, to actually put it into words.
So, I decided to split up my telling about the trip into 3 parts. This is Part 1: The Beautiful. I will tell it mostly with pictures, with a bit of commentary thrown in.
We landed in Lusaka Airport after nearly two days of flights and layovers. Erik and Carrie picked us up there and we drove to the hotel where we met up with the rest of the family and their missionary team. We stayed there for the night and then headed out before the sunrise on a 7 hour bus trip to Livingstone, Zambia. (Side note: we rode in a bus owned by Lifesong, the mission organization that the Wiegands serve with in Zambia. It made our many hours on the road more tolerable when we could all be together in one place, hanging out)
At the base of the falls, looking up through some of the mist
Standing on the bridge that spans between Zambia and Zimbabwe
I may have taken way too many pictures of rainbows....but it was really hard to resist!
They're a little small in the picture, but one of my favorite captures.
The next morning we headed into Botswana to Chobe National Forest and an African Safari Jeep and Boat ride. It started with coffee, tea, and muffins.
We saw hippos, giraffes, impalas, countless types of birds, a lioness hunting a warthog (Pumba!!), crocodiles, several others that I'm forgetting at the moment, and of course....elephants.
The highlight of the elephants was the baby and mom who ran right alongside our jeep.
This is how I felt pretty much our whole trip. I had to keep leaning over and whispering to Paul, "We are actually in AFRICA!!" Even when there, it was hard for me to believe.
I was a little late in catching the sunset, but I got the afterglow. The mist is from the falls in the distance.
The next day after the safari we all piled back into the bus and made the 15 hour (yes, 15) trek to Garneton, Kitwe, Zambia. This was the one shot of blue in the continuous band of red sand and brown dirt.
The remainder of our time was spent just 'being' with Erik, Carrie, and their kids. We went on errand runs to find parts for their hammer-mill, grocery shopping, helping with a bit of "spring" cleaning, heart to heart talks, playing darts, sitting in the sun, and getting to understand their life in Zambia a bit more.
Walking the 1 mile path to Lifesong School from their home.
Something I found surprising, eating out is pretty inexpensive. So, we did quite a bit of it! Erik is protesting his Fanta being borrowed for Jayde's bottle...
One night we were able to go out, just the 4 of us (double date!). Being able to talk candidly, uninterrupted was quite nice.
Of course hanging out with these 4 was a delight. They are all growing up to be such sweet, mature Christ followers. Ooo, I just wanted to keep squeezing them.
Shitenge shopping in the market. Just loved all the patterns.
We got to cheer on the red and yellow teams at their annual Sports Day. So much energy, sounds, and joy packed into the play yard. (More on the school in a later post!)
Babies and just passed around in this culture. Everyone just jumps in and helps take care of everyone else. I found myself the lucky recipient of this one for a bit...
I have over 600 pictures from the entire trip, so it was kind of tough to narrow it down to this lot. But this a glimpse of the beauty that can be found in Zambia. From the natural beauty of creation, to the patterns of the shitenge in the market, to the joyful sounds of children at play. Zambia has beauty, and I am humbled that we got a chance to see it for ourselves.