Sisters Keeper

new-phototastic-collage-3

Creating community where ever God places me is one of my passions. A highlight for me this month occurred earlier today when my sister in law and I spent time reconnecting with girls I have known for many years. Some I have known for a little over 10 years. We sat for hours as all 20 of us shared the highs and lows of 2016. Some of the challenges they shared were; having to choose between staying at home uneducated or courageously attending night school and facing the constant risk of being sexually assaulted. One girl talked about the hardship of living with hunger as a steadfast companion because the family can only afford one meal a day.She candidly spoke of how difficult it was to concentrate in class on an empty stomach but remained determined to have the highest marks in class, of which she did. All shared their deep frustrations of dealing with teachers willing to fail an entire class unless each one pays a small bribe. A few spoke of either praying on their own or with their friends, asking God to help them pass because they had no money to pay the bribe the teacher demanded. Prayers that were answered.

new-phototastic-collage

For some challenges, we had ready answers. One was creating study groups amongst themselves in order to encourage one another to keep studying and also to help those that are struggling in certain subjects. I noticed several things as the girls shared, they all have a very strong desire to excel in school, most of their problems revolved around getting an education.And, all of them ended their sharing time with a hopeful outlook of the future, with dreams of being lawyers, teachers, nurse or doctors.

new-phototastic-collage-2

The teenage years here are especially hard on girls, not only do they have boys their age relentlessly pursuing them for sex, grown men unashamedly do the same. In my opinion, if a girl reaches her teen years unable to see herself as valuable and worth respecting and no one helps her realise this truth, it doesn’t matter how intelligent she is, she will fall prey to boys and men who care nothing for her well being.
new-phototastic-collage-6
With this particular group of girls, we have some who are done with college, some applying to enter university and many more in different stages of high school. My hope and prayer is for them to continue looking out for each other, life is hard but if you have a few friends who genuinely care for you, burdens become easier to carry and hope never stops rising.
new-phototastic-collage-5
May Hope continue to rise for you too in this new year!

Hope notes: Musik

The end of April threatened to be another terrible month for Pikangikum but mercifully what most people feared( I included) was going to happen was averted. There is no other way to describe the salvation that came on the eleventh hour other than, a miracle. So, with suicide emphatically denied what it had wanted to rob from the community, I decided now was a good time to write about hope. Today hope comes in the form of a local band called Musik. I often hear these guys practicing and have wanted for awhile to spend a few minutes with them to hear their story and hopefully get their permission to share it.

Nick 23years. Michael 22 years. Rick 19 years.

Nick 23years. Michael 22 years. Rick 19 years.

When was Musik formed and who are its members?

Michael: Musik started in 2009 when my friends and I decided we wanted to start a band. The band is made up of Nick the base player, Me, the guitarist, Robinson the drummer and Nick the lead singer who is singing and playing the drums today cause Robinson is not in.

What do you play, who taught you to play and what is your favorite band and song?

Michael: I play guitar, my older brother Gregory taught me how to play. My favourite band is Muse and my favorite musician is the lead guitarist for Muse, Matthew.

Rick: I am self taught and started to play instruments when I was 15 years old. I play the drums, guitar and enjoy singing. I enjoy alternative rock and my favorite band is called Pierced the veil and my ultimate favorite song is by the same band is, King for a day. I have been playing with these guys for two years now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANick: I have been playing for 6-7 years, I owe my skills to two High School music teachers, Jennifer Morgan and Mike Lafayette. My favorite musician is Adele and favorite song is Rolling in the deep. I like that song because of the way the drums are played in it.

Do you guys just play for the fun of it or you have plans for your band?

Rick: Right now we are actually practicing for a local competition called Battle of the Bands that will be happening sometime soon. Micheal and I traveled to Thunder Bay in 2011 and 2012 to take part in a music festival. We played a couple of Green Day songs to a crowd of about 100 people. It was pretty fun. We would really like to tour other Northern reserves to inspire and encourage other youth with our Punk Rock style of playing. Currently we are waiting to hear if we are invited to play at  a reserve called Sandy Lake. They have a music festival called Muddy Water Festival that we would like to participate in.

Apart from music what are you passionate about?

Rick: my cat Jasper … I like cats … A LOT!

Michael: My dream is to be a dad one day 🙂

What do you like about Pikangikum?

Nick: I like how peaceful it can be by the lake especially at sunset, I would miss that if I ever left Pikangikum for good.

If you live in Pik and know these young men, take time to encourage them with what they are doing, who knows your words could be just what they need to keep going 🙂

(I have been trying the whole day to upload a video of the band during a practice session but to no avail, I will keep trying)

Miss Em and the bird park

In June I spent 2 weeks in Kwazulu Natal, a province on the eastern coast of South Africa. I spent the first week helping with the wedding preparations and then taking part in a weekend long farm style wedding of my dear friend of 19 years, Angela. The last week I spent in the city of Durban enjoying the hospitality of Miss Em and her family.

Miss Em

Miss Em

Miss Em is a little madam who is as she likes to tell anyone who cares to ask, “almost three!” She was such a joy to get to know because not a day would go by without her coming up with the funniest one liners, most times she wasnt even trying to be funny. My favorite moment with her was when we went shopping with her mom and Miss Em and I spent much of the time running around the store playing hide and seek. On my last day in Durban Miss Ems’ mom took us (her two older sisters and I) out to the Bird park, I don’t remember most of the names of the birds we saw that day, so please forgive me for not tagging all the pictures.

Peacock, male ones are always prettier than the female…so not cool :p

PicMonkey Collage 8 - Copy

Miss Em and Mom

Black Swan

Kissing Macaws 🙂

Observing life through the eyes of a toddler is heartwarming, everything is new and amazing, so much to explore, so much to learn and not enough hours in a day to do everything especially since for Miss Em, mommy likes making her take afternoon naps even when it clashes with her busy plans for the day 🙂

Thank you for sharing your family with me Miss Em, I dont know when I will be back but I promise I will try my very best to come back and share my lip balm with you every morning! (That was our daily ritual, every morning she would wait for me to get dressed then come into my room and ask: “Thula, please may I use some of your lipthstick?”)

best friends

Luke and I
Luke was my first real friend.  We became friends when I was 3 years old, my mother says she doesn’t know how we communicated in the beginning cause I spoke Bemba and him English.The way I see it, were there is a will, there is a way :D. Soon after, my parents decided to start speaking more English in our home so that I learned it faster and make it easier to talk with my best friend Luke. Luke is Scottish, sometimes when I think about those days I wonder if I spoke English with a tiny bit of a Scottish accent because we spent so much time together 🙂 ( his parents worked at the church together with my parents)
I don’t know what Luke remembers from our friendship but I am told I did not allow anyone else to play with him when I was around 😀 poor guy! I also remember having this Scottish coat and dress that were my favorite outfits that his mother gave me. If I had my way I would have permanently lived out of that dress. I would force it on even when it was too small for me to wear, that’s how much I loved it!
We were friends for 3 years and then after that his parents went back to Scotland, we never kept in touch. Who knows maybe one day we will randomly meet and reminisce those silly toddler years.
Luke and his parents had such a positive influence on my life it’s no wonder I have always had a desire to visit Scotland one day!
Now you know friend, it was a little boy from Scotland who inspired me to learn the English language!
(FYI I was born and spent the first 6 years of my life in Zambia).