Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Dead Purple Bird & Gratitude

My favorite dirty kids! There parents are usually gone to the fields during the day so I go over there and entertain them! They are so much fun!

The explanation is in the first paragraph! Thanks Lynn Miller and Dea Irby for providing this moment!
A group of small boys gathered around me intrigued as I cooked some Harvest Blend from Trader Joes. I giddily sat on my porch enjoying the day and a taste of home while the boys were busy talking amongst themselves pointing at my pot. I found myself slipping into thoughts of the past as I sipped a delicious cup of hot tea. My mind didn’t get too far into the past before Africa came jumping out at me. I looked down at my charcoal stove and saw a beautiful purple dead bird roasting next to my Harvest Blend. The boys had no idea why I started laughing so hard… life is full of surprises and the best thing to do is welcome the smile wrinkles.

(A couple of days later)

Thanksgiving morning with Moringa Girl!
Today is Thanksgiving. I wake up to hear the very pregnant mother of moringa girl knocking on my door. I pulled myself out of bed, opened my door to greet the day, and found moringa girl with her hands reaching up for me. Her mother went on to the clinic to get a check-up on her large pregnant belly. It was 7 a.m., so I grabbed a blanket, granola bar, and a book. We sat on my porch and she immediately cuddled up with me. I closed my eyes and realized how blessed I am. You may think I have given up everything -- a perfect life with a nice car, job, city, friends, and whatever else you can think of – but what I’ve given up in material goods I’ve gained in happiness and fulfillment. And for the first time in my life I truly know what it is like to live every day to its fullest potential. I am thankful for the courage that led me to live this dream. I am thankful that the dream is better than I ever could have imagined. And I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the support of friends and family!

The welcoming party for the 4 visitors from Georgia! They formed a choir and made up songs to welcome them!
A month ago four well-traveled men from my hometown came for 10 days to work side-by-side with the local Zambian villagers to help build a community center. Despite being physically and emotionally exhausted from working nonstop for two months, the week was amazing! They immediately adapted to the basic lifestyle of not having the amenities of a shower, toilet, electricity, or a stove. The people accepted them and were celebrating before they even arrived. Special songs were even composed to welcome them to the village!

Pete Marzliano (ag agent in Rabun Country, GA) and Mr. Mwemba (the local ag agent in Luamala) teaching together in the school! About 80 people showed up and people were even turned away because there was no space for them! They learned a lot! 

The foundation of the community center and the 4 men who came to be a part of what they have started!

During the week, people came to present the visitors with gifts. Get ready for your heart to melt… one of the most hardworking community members I have talked about many times before, Biston, hardly ever has enough food to feed his family. Many days his family only gets to eat one meal. On the last day the men were here his wife brought over an entire meal and a live chicken. This gift would be compared to the few cents the poor woman gave in the Bible story. It is the biggest she could give because it is all she had. I knew it was hard for the men to accept it, knowing the family might not eat well for a several days. Seeing someone give all they had to show how appreciative they are… I have tears just thinking about what this sacrifice must have meant to Biston’s family.
The men with Biston's wife receiving the presents! Read the story for a better explanation!

Speaking of sacrifices… my village and I are especially thankful for the people who have invested their resources to make the projects here become a reality! I also want to give special thanks to people who took the time to help pack the suitcases. We have all enjoyed the surprises and presents -- it has been like 10 years of Christmas packed into four suitcases!  From the bottom of my heart Thank You!
So far about 40 reading glasses have been distributed! They are so happy and thankful for the love that many of you shared! Special thanks to Barbara Copeland, Libby Bragg, Deb Gangemi, Brenda Nicholson, and many others!

With the 4 men from GA and Chief Mulonga. He calls me his daughter! 
I am so proud of my Luamala sewing group designing and making these bags! Thank you to all the people who made this very possible! You know who you are!
I taught them how to play with Playdough and they made lots of animals! Thank you Nancy & Keith Boger!

Oh how they are loving the crayons, coloring books, and books! Thank you to Libby Bragg, Vanessa Kinney, Cindy Hogshed, and many others! 

Gift, the founder of Holland Disabled Association and the man who has been training my Luamala Sewing Group! We were selling bags to one of the mines here! We will be sending more back to the States soon! So let me know if you are interested in buying! Check out the new website just put up


  1. Gift's smile says it all! I am so thankful for your contentment. I am proud that you are my Kat Girl!

  2. Kat, thank you for sharing these pictures and stories. What a blessing it has been for us to share in your ministry in some small way. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the people in your village makes my heart explode with joy. You really are being "Jesus with skin on" to these folks, and we are thankful to be included in what you are doing! May God continue to bless you and all those whose lives you are touching. Nancy Boger

  3. Dear Kat; You don't know how much I have enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing all those wonderful smiles!! The people from your village are all so full of life and love... they are amazing! And you are doing such great work! I can see why you love your new life in Africa. God bless you!

    I don't know which photo I like the best... the one about the reading glasses brought a big smile. The ones with the kids, well... an even bigger smile, they are so cute!!!What is the name of the little boy (play dough photo) to the far left? He seems so sweet! They all are! To bring you a bird to compliment your meal was hilarious... and it's all out of love for you. What a caring touch that roasting purple bird was. You gotta love them!

    I got a bag when I went to your mom's for Thanksgiving. I love it. When you send more I would like one for Sandra and another for Mayra.

    Take lots of care, and I am looking forward to your next post.

    You don't know how much I admire you! Love, hugs and prayers going your way.


  4. Kat!! how do i send things to you? i'd love to send books, art supplies and creative toys for the children. and if you need anything from trader joes, i can get my bf to pick them up for you in cali and send them to me and i'll send them to you. your story is so inspiring.

    much love, jen

  5. Hey girl! You are making wanna come take pictures so bad!!!! LOVE your blog!

  6. LOVE you & your work and HAPPY NEW YEAR! Please keep blogging!

  7. Your joy and fulfillment is evident... as much as these people love you and bless you, you are such a gift to brighten and encourage them on their way too... Praying for a safe delivery for Moringa Girl's mama! That was my favourite pic!

  8. Found you through Hope Martin today...thank you for blessing me by sharing your life and ministry!!!!

  9. Kat ... WOW! What an incredible life. I happened to be invited to the North Georgia Advisory Council breakfast that was this morning [I'm just a student ... no idea why they wanted little me there]. Anyway, I mentioned micro finance and your dad actually caught me afterwards to talk about it [I think mostly because he's super proud of you and was so excited to find someone to share your story with]. Regardless, this is all so incredible. I strive to live my life just as radically [although, it seems that college is a bit restricting], so I am so beyond excited that I got connected with your blog. Keep doing all of the incredibly inspiring things that you are!!

    1. Ha.. Lena college is a bit restricting, but there are summers to explore the world! I was in the same boat at 17. I knew then I wanted to do this it just took me 9 years to actually get to my goal! Make your goals now and work for them... may take some time, but they will happen!

      Thank you everyone else for the encouraging words! So much has been going on and I will post a new blog in the next week! From the bottom of my heart I appreciate all the support, encouragement and prayers! I couldn't do what I am doing without you!