I’m here

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Zambia at last!

Kamwamba! I am writing my first blog from Zambia. It is nearly 2 in the morning and I am experiencing the usual time warp from travel. In Zambia I am now 6 hours ahead of the US east coast. So for me it is 7pm.

I was really tired and went to bed at 9:30pm. When I woke up at just after 1am I was wide awake. It usually takes a couple of days to a week to adjust.

The last few days have been a challenge. We traveled to Texas to spend time with family. It was good to be back and see everyone. I spoke at Cameron Road on Sunday about the work in Zambia. It was a good day.

Everything was going well until arriving in Atlanta on our return trip. We were flying Frontier Airlines for the first time. As we were pulling away
from the gate we were informed that there was a problem with a valve on the engine and it needed to be looked at. So we pulled back to the gate and the
mechanic came to check it out. After an hour sitting while they went back and forth we exited the plane. We were (eventually) told that the part was
to be brought in around 7pm and we should be on our way about 10pm. This was about 3pm.

At first I was just a bit nervous. Our plans included an overnight stay at a hotel near Dulles. Friends from Chambersburg were to meet us and bring
the bulk of our bags. Frontier charges for bags so we were traveling light to save cost. When we got the word about the delay they were already on
their way. They turned back to wait for me to let them know when we were leaving again. As it got later and later he said that he would come alone
because his wife was working the next day. Eventually he said he would meet us in the morning.

As 7 came and went I was now getting very nervous. The part arrived but it became clear that it was not going as planned. By 10 I was fearful of what
would happen. At just after 10 they finally came and said that the flight was canceled. Credit was to be issued but basically it was “have a nice
day.” No effort was made to help with other airlines. They would rebook us on their next flight to DC. However, they only had one daily flight at 3pm
the next day. But there were only a few seats open and it wasn’t long before their rebooking was for 2 days later and then 3 days later. My flight to Dubai left the next morning.

Panic time…if I reschedule the flight on Emirates there would be a charge. To do it at the last minute could run into a thousand dollars or more.
Needless to say there were a lot of irate people at Frontier’s desk. Folks were stranded who could not afford to miss work etc., not to mention afford
the hundreds of dollars involved in booking last minute on another airline. By this time all or most of the airline ticket counters were closed anyway.

Eventually what I was forced to do was to check online to see if another ticket could get us there early the next morning. Eventually I booked 2
tickets on United. By the time everything was said and done I had to spend just over $900 dollars to get us to Dulles early enough to make a
difference. So we sat in the airport at the United counter until they opened at 4.

We arrived at DC about the same time as our friend. Instead of a leisurely evening sorting and rearranging our baggage we were forced to do it in the
parking lot. We ended up leaving a few things with our friend. I did make my flight but Audrey missed hers and had to wait most of the day on standby for another flight to FL. She eventually made it by evening.

Instead of being relaxed and rested I was hot, tired and sweaty but on the plane. The leg to Dubai was about 13 hours and to Lusaka was another 7
hours. We arrived in Dubai a bit ahead of schedule. That was good because there was only about an hour and 35 minutes between the flights. I made an
assumption that since I was flying Emirates the entire trip that the next gate would be somewhere near where we arrived. Wrong, wrong, wrong…I walked
nearly 2 kilometers (over a mile) from one terminal to the next. As I was standing in line to enter the gate area sweat was dripping off of my arms.
Just letting you know how I have suffered (a little levity here don’t you think?).

The flight to Lusaka went without a problem. We arrived on time and I was in Zambia at last. A bit too tired to feel ecstatic…but happy none the less.
Charles and I spoke and we will spend the night in Lusaka. So here I am at (now 2:40am) writing this post. There is no Wi-Fi at this lodge so I will probably send this later on this evening (obviously that did not happen…sorry).

The only thing on the schedule later this morning is to go to Action Auto and pick up my truck. At that point we will head to Siavonga. I will be
spending a few nights at Eagle’s Rest as the roof is not yet completed on the house.

Men will be arriving later on today for the National Men’s Conference which will begin on Friday and continue through Monday.

A Brand New Truck

The first thing I did after spending the night was to go to Action Auto and pick up my brand new Isuzu CB250 truck. I have been driving a CB 300 for
the last several years. I still have that truck. It will be my work truck. But this is really a comfort. It has air conditioning, an AM/FM/Disc stereo etc. It rides really nicely.

It is only a 2 wheel drive but it has four wheel drive suspension which tends to be heavier. It sits at least 6 inches higher that the 300. It is to
be my distance vehicle. Whenever we travel out of the district the 250 is what we will take. I will be the only person to ever drive it as well.

We arrive in Siavonga about mid-afternoon and I check into Eagle’s Rest. There are some administrative things for Charles to do so we spend the evening
at the church building. I eventually arrive back and my room. A few calls are made to folks at home. I learn that there is no time available for WiFi so I cannot make contact by email just yet.

It is about 9:15pm when I turn in for my second night in Zambia. I wake about 4am. 7 hours of sleep is good. Hopefully I will shift easily into the new time. Anyway it is a start.

National Men’s Conference of Zambia

Each year there is a national men’s conference and a national women’s conference. I attended the one 3 years ago in Lusaka. The women that year have
over 4,000 in attendance. The men…had barely 150. Women always seem to turn out in large numbers while the men lag far (very far) behind. We will be doing better than any other year if we can break 200.

The theme is being men of vision. I am the first presenter on Friday morning. There will be two presentations each day. Each presentation will be
followed with a session where the men break up into discussion groups to discuss a series of questions about vision. Later the men meet together and each group presents its thoughts and conclusions to the group at large…

The conference is now over. There were 254 in attendance; a record and more than 100 more in attendance than the last conference. There were 48
congregations from Zambia present. It is now Sunday evening and very few will remain until the morning when they will depart after a devotion and
breakfast. It has been a good effort on the part of Siavonga. They organized, advertised and encouraged congregations to attend.

My contact information in Zambia:

Address for mail: Box 79, Siavonga, Zambia
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 011260973040847

2 thoughts on “I’m here

  1. Troy Singleton

    Mwapona “Joe,”

    Glad you’re home (well, at least @hotel) and up and running (cool wheels!). Sounds like the NMC is showing some real potential which I’m sure your presence there now on a regular basis will help in developing. You’re in your element, C 🙂

    Hoping everything works better than planned and that He blesses you real good.

    Pass the N’shima!

    Mucaale kabotu Mukulana

    1. Don and Melba Deitrick

      Charles, so glad to hear from you and to know that you are in your new location. I hope the house will be completed before long. I wonder what you are doing for household items. Don preached and taught the Bible class at Chambersburg yesterday, Aug 2. Some folks. they said, were out of town – still vacation season. It was good to renew acquaintances with the folks there. They too were eager to hear from you so now I guess we are all satisfied on that. I presume most of them are on your email list. God bless your work and keep you healthy, Look forward to further reports. In Christ, Deitricks

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