Kellers in Africa

our life in Zambia

Tag: Travel

Where the Rubber Meets the… Runway

After a very busy two months in the States we traveled back to Zambia on January 12th. We had separate itineraries flying back to Zambia (because we had to travel separately to the USA). And let me tell you, traveling while 11 weeks pregnant with a 5 year old and 2 year old is a WHOLE different game!! Baby 4 was NOT fond of landings. (very thankful for flight sickness bags and very kind flight attendants). We had a one hour layover in Dubai and only made it because I basically had a mental breakdown and told the stewardess I could NOT NOT NOT miss the flight.  🙂 I must have looked desperate enough because we got a private shuttle directly to our connection… which was waiting for us! Sadly, 3 of our bags did not make it and were delayed 48 hours. Timothy and Monica traveled well on their route and arrived ready to help a very tired mama and two SPENT little kiddos. Our bags turned up several days later… one of them, sadly, was pillaged. We didn’t lose anything “life ending” but it was a frustrating experience nonetheless.

Tip for traveling "long hauls" with small children: sleep when they sleep!!

Tip for traveling “long hauls” with small children: sleep when they sleep!!

Once we got home, unpacked, and got over jet lag we got back to work. As it always happens with a long absence we found that both cars needed some maintenance, some house issues had come up, and a whole bunch of paperwork was due at about 12 different government offices around town… and around Lusaka (2 hours away). America has NOTHING over Zambia when it comes to a love of bureaucracy!! Timothy was thrilled when all that got sorted out and he could get back to teaching and working with teachers from the local schools. He had several extensive trips planned in various areas of Zambia. He couldn’t have been more excited- the man was born for Africa!

Shortly before his first, big outreach we heard that his mom in Arizona was “failing fast”. Within 6 hours she was on a ventilator. We have been prepared for this news for a while so we immediately booked a plane ticket for Tim to go back to America and say good bye.  Sadly she passed away before he could even get on the plane. We were happy for her that her suffering ended… but it was very difficult for Timothy.

Happy wedding memories, 2007

Happy wedding memories, 2007

Cheering Grandma through cancer, 2013

Cheering Grandma through cancer, 2013

Another series of plane trips, another round of jet lag, an emotionally exhausting first week back in the USA with funeral arrangements, family reunions (somehow it’s always at funerals, isn’t it?) and wrapping up his mom’s life. He was asked to give the message and eulogy at the funeral which was both an honor and a very difficult task. Now he and his siblings are closing the final pages of their mom’s life and spending a few days together before they all go back to their separate lives.

Timothy will be in the States for another week or so, finishing some ministry issues that we weren’t able to complete last year. Please continue to keep him in your prayers as this has been a difficult time for him. His heart is in Africa with his work and his family. His body is in America….

The kids and I are “holding down the fort” and keeping each other distracted while we wait for Tim to come home. I am thankful for them… never a dull moment, I can tell you!

Another prayer request is for funds for a replacement field vehicle. While we knew it was at the end of “bundu-bashing” trips into remote areas, we didn’t realize the extent of the wear and tear on our Toyota Surf until we got home and Tim started overhauling it for some of his “tamer” trips. It still has a little life left for basic road journeys, but it really is no longer strong enough or reliable enough to take out to the field. This puts a major hamper on the work he does in remote areas.  Thanks for your prayers!!

On the road again... I just can't wait to be on the road again.....

On the road again… I just can’t wait to be on the road again…..

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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