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Absolutely Unbelievable Progress!

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Hello again! After I left you yesterday, I hurried home to have a delicious meal of nshima, fish, chicken, cabbage, gravy and mashed potatoes with my host family. It was such a wonderful and satisfying meal, and having nshima after six months away really solidified in my mind (and stomach!) that I am back in Zambia.
I went to bed early to get ready for another early morning for sponsorship updates, and semi-accidentally fell asleep at 8:30pm. Those who know me know that this is actually not that much earlier than I go to bed at home, but still, I was a little embarrassed.
At least I was well rested the next morning when I was picked up promptly by Hope’s new driver, Ba Alek, and went straight to the school to get ready for more updates and letters. To pretty much everyone’s surprise, we managed to make it through ALL the remaining grades! Not only that, we also managed to go back to Grades 2-4 and get updates and letters from the kids who missed school yesterday. It was amazing, and now I’m looking forward to a slightly more relaxing rest of the week! We’ve managed to get roughly 250 updates in two days, and I couldn’t be happier.
The updates and letters were a lot of fun to work on. We had all the children draw pictures for their sponsors, and we discovered a couple true budding artists. We were a bit short on translators, so the kids also got to have a bit of fun laughing at me as I told them to seka (smile), iminina apopene (stay) and kabiye ku clinic (go to the clinic – the building where we were doing updates so as not to disturb classes). I can never tell if they’re laughing because I’m not saying things correctly or because they’re always surprised that Bemba is coming out of a muzungu (white person, of which I am considered one here).
We then had a quick lunch break before heading out with Pastor Judy and Moses, a volunteer involved with Hope, to visit the homes of Ishuma and Kainos, two boys at Hope. Taking the stories of students at the school, stories we call Transformation Stories, is one of my favorite parts of my trips. It gives me a chance to meet and get to know the children at Hope and to meet their families as well. It also never fails to give me a new perspective on the work that needs to be done of the children here. The stories are sad, beautiful, inspiring and heartbreaking, usually all at once. They also have the added benefit of giving us a chance to walk through the village of Twapia and have small children follow us for miles at times.  Never a dull moment here, and I’m looking forward to more great stories tomorrow!
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