Megan and the Arise Home kids, (L to R - Enny, Hope, Dorothy, Megan, Armond, Stella, Nelly, Alliness, Fred, Mukonda)
As many of my friends and family spent their time this weekend remembering all of the men and women who laid down their lives for our country, we here in Africa are celebrating African Freedom Day and celebrating those who fought for the freedom of so many countries on this continent.
As I reflect over the past 12 hours, I can’t help but think that Arise Africa is raising some of the next leaders of this nation. There are so many different philosophies on how to help this nation, but here at Arise Africa we are doing our best to bring up God fearing, well-rounded individuals. We are working to help them walk in the ways of the Lord, love others well, and learn to function in society.
Today was no different. Being that it was a holiday, we took the opportunity to spend some time as a family and have a fun day out. We took the morning and went to visit the local elephant orphanage. We got their rather early, so of course a game of football (soccer) had to happen.
Armond, Mukonda, Dorothy, and Fred
After hearing about the elephant’s development we left and started off for lunch.
We happened to drive by a field of freshly bailed hay. Being the girl from a farming community in Illinois, we had to get out and have a fun go at the hay rolls. We have a visitor from Texas, Steve, and he was teaching the kids how to walk on the rolls. As we left the field, I asked the kids if they ever thought that they could have such a good time on a bunch of dried grass and they giggled and said “NO WAY!”.
Steve, and Fred helping Alliness
Dorothy and the white elephant (our car in the background!)
Alliness and Dorothy
We proceeded on and spent the afternoon having lunch at a restaurant called Mint. You need to understand that our kids come from places where going out for lunch was never an option. They had never ever been to a restaurant when we got them in custody and had never even had pizza. We have been working very hard on our manners and what better way is there for our kids to learn their “pleases”, “thank yous” and menu ordering that practicing in an actual restaurant. They did great! We divided the kids up into three tables. Each table had an adult with them and they each were given a menu and had to order on their own.
Uncle Chipa and Aunt Katiba's Table (Stella, Nelly, and Hope)
Uncle Chipa and Aunt Katiba talking with Hope
Alliness with her food
Our Nelly, who is the shy one, at first would not order. We had the waiter go on and take everyone else’s order. I told her that if she couldn’t order her own meal then she wouldn’t be eating. She finally did it! I was very proud of her. Coincidentally, in our home we have a box of questions that we go through on a regular basis, so we brought those along to help with dinner conversation. Nelly’s first question out of the box was “What helps you to have courage?” I told her that something that builds your courage is trying new things. I asked her if she was nervous having to order her lunch from a stranger and she said “yes!”. I went on to tell her that the next time it won’t be so difficult, and it wasn’t…she was great ordering dessert for her table! (I don’t know if it was her actually being courageous from experience thirty minutes prior, or if it was the Oreo Sunday that made it easier!)
All that to say, in raising our kids at Arise Africa and in the Arise Home we are doing our best to give our kids real life experiences, real life situations to expand their horizons, and real understanding of the real world.
We are raising the next generation of leaders and what not a better way to do it than to show them than through God honoring, life changing moments. We are doing our best to be intentional with the choices we make and the life lessons we put before them. Arise Africa wouldn't be able to take out 11 kids to a nice restaurant without generous donors who specifically gave to this day. Thank you to those of you who helped make this possible! You are helping us raise leaders for this great country in Africa!