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Along, Beside, & Between: A Newsletter #25
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Not So Normal: Life in Gap Year

Hello All!
We are officially two months into our gap year program and things are feeling normal. We have a routine and schedule and we have gotten to know all 18 students. So here is a little treat for you:

I get the question all the time: “April, what does a normal day look like for you in Zambia?” So I pulled out my iphone and went through my week. Take a look here or below!!

That said, this past month of Gap year has been quite different than our normal routine. Take a look at the "What's been going on" block below. 

Much love and prayer, 

April

*Check out my new website with pictures and stories at www.missionaryaprilsylvester.com*

A Day in the Life
What's Been Going On

2 weeks Learning and Mission Trip to Samfya

A city in the northern part of Zambia, Samfya is super tiny. (There’s not even a super market!) But it is beautiful, situated on a HUGE lake called Bangweulu which means “Where the water meets the sky.” In a land locked country, most people have never seen that!
Part of the trip was learning about the traditional culture of Zambia. We visited the local Chief of the area. (While all of the students identify with different tribes, most have never been to see a chief so this was a really cool experience for them.) We learned how to cook some traditional Zambian foods. And we learned from some church elders about their teachings on the roles of men and women.
We also helped the local church in work projects and youth activities. Check it out: I put my back into it and slashed grass as well.

 

1 week helping at a Oasis orphanage


For a week, the gap students moved into Oasis Orphanage and worked as classroom helpers. 

1 week Kids camp

The theme this year was about Moses. We had a record number of kids this year:160 munchkins running around GLO! The gap year students led the small groups, which was an incredible challenge but they did amazing!

Story Corner
It all started with the simple question “Where did you go to high school?”
We were doing Rise N Shine, which is when we get up at 5am twice a week to jog and do exercises. This week we were in Samfya and as the straggling group of students jogged and walked along the road in the early morning light, we could glimpse the glittering lake between the trees.
I found myself out in front of the group as I jogged, falling into stride with one of the students named Anthony. He is a quieter one, so I just asked where he went to secondary school. He said he had gone to school across town.
“But you lived at Joyful Village right?” (Joyful Village is an orphanage down the road from GLO) “That must have taken a long time to go all the way to town and then back out to Chifubu"
“Yes. And there were also the other kids to look after in the morning since I was one of the oldest students at Joyful Village. I got up at 4 every day.”
I honestly wasn’t trying to dig—my brain was only half awake after all—but one question led to another.
He told me about how after secondary school, the orphanage can no longer keep them so he had to go stay with a family member across town. That was when he got into drinking alcohol.
“I would leave at 7pm and not come home until 3am,” he said remembering with a sigh.” I tried to work but I couldn’t keep a job.” There was a moment of silence where we could only hear our feet on the asphalt. “But then there was one day that I thought ‘Is this how I want the rest of my life to look?’” He shook his head. “So I decided to try to stop. But you know it is hard. Gap year has really helped me with that. Even the talks I have had with [another student] have helped me. And I am thinking about the future more.”
“That makes me so happy, Emmanuel! Tell me: What would you like to study?”
He smiled his gap tooth grin at me: “Mechanics. I love cars.”
 
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April Sylvester · 2109 W 19th St · Chicago, Il 60608 · USA

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