Kellers in Africa

our life in Zambia

Home again, home again, jiggity- uh… wait, diarrhea doesn’t rhyme

We are finally back home in Africa! After a marathon container pack and load in March and April, we packed our THIRTEEN suitcases up and headed home. (Don’t even ask me how I ended up with that many check-ins after we shipped an 18 ton container. Life happens!) 😛

Plus three car seats, 6 carry-ons, 3 children, a stroller, and about 6lbs of snack food (who likes airplane food??).

The flights went much better than expected. Frederick (now 3) had a meltdown or two, but for that little OCD monkey… that’s not too bad! Fortunately his “blank-let” was along for the ride and totally saved the day (and the sanity of a few hundred haggard passengers) 😀 Olivia did GREAT. She didn’t sleep much for 30 hours… but she did great nonetheless! One of the kind and attentive flight attendants said to me at about 3am, “My. She doesn’t stop moving, does she??” Nope. I’m very thankful the check-in lady was kind enough to get us as many bulkhead seats as she could manage (God bless British Airways)!

You aren’t tired, are you?

Frederick in Heathrow (after 5 hours of being force-marched up and down the length of the terminal). We were tired… but more importantly… so was he!!!

We arrived bright and early and our friends brought not one, but TWO cars to pick us and our luggage up and transport us all back to Kabwe. Driving home was a little strange- Lusaka has such a burgeoning economy that even in our absence much had changed. Most noticeably: the roads were even more congested. Ah well.

Our first day home was great (if exhausting). We kept the kids up late so they actually slept pretty well (midnight to 9am!) Friday morning all seemed well….. then Olivia seemed to be melting. I mean we’d set her on the floor and she’d just kinda slump over. :L I called it jetlag and carried on. By bedtime a fever set in… and I spent half the night nursing, jiggling, patting, walking, and cleaning up diarrhea diapers and puke. You know, for a 15 month old, she has GREAT projection. Just sayin’. But that was only half the night, right? Good catch. You see, the other half was spent with Olivia AND Frederick. Who also has projectile vomiting down to an art from. Who knew? Our family is so talented.

This was Saturday morning. It was a full 48 hours before he would eat a single mouthful of food. Poor kid didn’t have much weight to lose. Imagine this minus 5 lbs 🙁

Saturday and Sunday are now kind of a blur. I remember changing about 2,465,894 pairs of diarrhea pants from Frederick and another few million diarrhea diapers from Olivia. Oh, did I mention that we hadn’t gone shopping yet?? Praise GOD we had left a bunch of wipes in the cupboard and the cloth diapers were ready to go!!! I did NOT have enough disposables in the diaper bag to get through that putrid marathon! I would have been resorting to desperate measures like wash cloths inside ziplock baggie pants! And yes, I have really done that. (Desperate times, desperate times!) 😀 I’m also incredibly thankful for our neighbor, Christel, who had the food basics waiting for us in our kitchen (and a camping fridge for us to borrow since ours somehow broke while it was turned off!) And for water kefir! I had NO yogurt, NO probiotics, NO dry toast for these poor diarrhea bellies. But I DID have all my precious cultures, packed with TLC (by another amazing friend, Joy) and carefully transported all the way to Zambia.

Three cheers for probiotic home brewing (NO, not THAT kind of brewing!)

It’s amazing how God supplies, though. In the last week I’ve probably averaged 3-5 hours of sleep a night. Any one who knows me will tell you that I do not function on less than 8 hours. 9 is better. 10 is awesome. (How am I surviving motherhood???) 😉 But I am really feeling ok. Now, I’m not volunteering to add anything to my to-do list… Fred and I are still dashing to the bathroom every 45 minutes or so… but I’m very thankful for the energy needed to take care of my babies. (And Timothy… who’s also sick. But he takes himself to the bathroom.) Then there are the little big things like there being an ample supply of wipes in our cupboard. Seriously, I would have been outside hosing their little butts off at 2 am if not for those precious packages of prelubricated, disposable convenience!!

Oh, one last thing. Our sewage pipes are blocked. Diarrhea goes down and………..

welcome back to Africa!!

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a wife, a mommy, a missionary, a teacher, a writer. I'm living a colorful life in Africa.

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  1. Oh, my goodness! What a messy marathon! I can totally relate as I got some sort of stomach bug as well about 2 weeks ago – 9 days until I got some serious medicine. But at least I could get to the toilet in time. You deserve a week at the beach in a lounge chair with mint juleps or something to soothe your exhausted spirit. It’s GOT to get better soon.

    We’re so amazed at your stories from AZ with the containers, the financial giving, the loss of Tim’s mom, and his mom with cancer. God must think you guys are invincible. You sure set the standard high for the rest of us.

    We love you so, and appreciate all you are doing to bring the abundant life in Christ to the people of Zambia & beyond!

    Nancy Burke

    P.S. So when do you have time to keep your website going??

  2. AND you managed to udate your blog! ONLY by Grace??? What a homecoming, Ashley! Goodness me!! I am so thankful that Tim managed to take care of himself 😛 May the ensuing days just get better and better and you will be able to get back into the swing of things – YAY for the kefir!! I would love to know (one day when you ’emerge’) how the kefir was stored for you – Having a battle as I have waaay too much and can’t bring myself to turf it out! xx

  3. I’m sure I’ll be awake for many nights trying to think of a word that rhymes with diarrhea… Seriously, That was quite a siege, and certainly not what we were picturing as we prayed for a smooth arrival in Africa. (A little TOO smooth!)

    Hopefully everyone is back up and running. No. Hopefully NOT running. Zheesh, the opportunities for humor here are endless. Seriously, we are praying all is well with ALL the Kellers now, and that you, Tim and the kids are able to get settled into a routine once again. We miss you in Pagosa and always wish you could be here for a longer time, but I know that your hearts are really in Africa.

    With much love-


  4. Tim says “cafeteria” rhymes… not sure that’s comforting! Miss you too and VERY much looking forward to seeing you in Zambia!!

  5. I know! I hate throwing out perfectly good cultures! I have about a cup and a half on my counter now. 🙁 We don’t even have a dog yet for me to feed it to! When we get a blender I’m going to try adding it to smoothies!

    For transport, the grains were live so I put about 3/4 cup grains with about 1 cup of fresh solution HIGHLY mineralized. I put it in a few freezer zip bags and then a friend double bagged it with one of those fancy vacuum pack/fresh pack machines. It didn’t leak at all!

  6. Thanks, Nancy! The trip home this time was both an incredible blessing and a real faith-increaser. 🙂 God is good, and so are the many friends who keep us held up to the Maker. God bless!!

    (Jetlag is keeping the blog going, lol) Frederick and Olivia are adjusted but not the rest of us!

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