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Entries in internships (4)

Friday
Jul102015

Interns day 1

A note from our 4 summer interns...

We arrived in Lusaka last night with no luggage to a country without electricity.  Feeling out of sorts, driving on the left side of the road, we arrived to the place we call home for the next three weeks. 

 We finally put our heads down around 1am and woke up to a phone call from Megan saying she would be there to pick us up in 5 minutes.  Feeling completely jetlagged yet excited, we got a jolt of adrenaline and started our day. 

We thought we would be taking it easy our first day, but little did we know, we had a fun filled exciting day full of new experiences and new friendships.

With the help of a coffee at the local coffee shop, we left to go to the Arise Home.  We arrived to a new shipment of kids Bibles that were donated to Arise Africa for their sponsorship program.  We sorted them and got them numbered and repacked and delivered to the two community schools Arise partners with.   These Bibles will be used in their weekly Bible clubs. 

We left the Arise Home and started off for the compound, or slum called Matero.  We didn’t know what to expect.  The roads were bumpy and had massive, crater like holes.  There were markets full of people really trying to sell their goods to make their daily wage and women balancing a baby on their back and a basket on their head.  Through the hustle and bustle of it all, we arrived at Destiny Community School.  We were met with huge hugs, smiles and a flurry of energy. 

 

The kids were all different ages.  All running up to us and we all felt completely overwhelmed with love.  

Today we got a taste of what we will experience over the next three weeks.  We are so happy and excited to be in Lusaka to serve the Lord!

We got home and had dinner and chatted about our day and got the phone call that our luggage arrived! 

Thursday
Nov062014

Jesus is Better

Note: this blog post was written by one of our 2014 summer interns, Ellen Taylor

I have been back from Africa for some time now and I am just now getting around to writing this post. I guess it takes that long to process through a trip like the one I had the opportunity to experience. A life-giving, life-changing trip. A trip that shook me to the core and taught me lessons that I am still learning almost three months later. It was an unforgettable month.


Exhausting. Hard. Good. Draining. Eye-opening. Incredible.

These are just some of the words I have used to describe my time in Lusaka, Zambia this past summer. Whenever people ask me about my month there, these few, simple words are all that I can usually muster up. It’s hard for me to even start describing my experience because it was one that was completely different than I could ever have pictured. It was a day-to-day humbling, uncomfortable, but incredibly life-changing month.

For those longer conversations with good friends over coffee or a shared meal, I tell them stories. I tell them about the people that I met and the pure joy that overflowed from them despite all the hurt they had been through. I tell them about the beautiful, precious kids I got to know and the determination many of them have to overcome the obstacles they face for a brighter future. I talk about the antics that went down when you throw 5 college-age girls together for a month and the sweet community that happened with these girls whom I had never met before our trip. I talk about how my internship changed me and challenged what I want for my future. And most importantly, I tell them that Jesus is better. That He is better than anything that this world can offer or supply. That our circumstances should not define our joy and limit our Savior. That Jesus is better today, and He will be better tomorrow and every day after.

 

The media and the Western world tend to shape people’s view on Africa. I know it did for me. They paint a picture of a broken, hurting, poverty-stricken continent that is full of desolation and in desperate need of our resources and occasionally our help. They tell us that we must fix their symptoms through tangible resources instead of fixing their deeper needs. Yes, I saw hurt and heartache. I walked through dark streets and had my eyes opened to a life that is completely different than the one I live here in Texas. But, what the media and Western world leaves out, is that these are hurting people. People like you and me. People who have a deep, abiding, unending amount of joy. Who do not let their circumstances define them and steal this joy away. I saw Jesus clearer in these people than I ever have before. Time and time again, they taught me what James commands us to do in James 1:2:

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”

To simply rejoice. To give all the glory to God, no matter what life throws at you. My friends in Lusaka live this out daily and taught me that I still have so much to learn when it comes to trusting my Savior. I learned by watching them live their lives for Jesus that we were made to know Him. And to make Him known. When something good happened to them, they gave all the glory to God. When something bad happened, they still gave all the glory to God. They knew that they were loved and known by Jesus. I only hope that one day I can be as half as loving, grace-giving, humble, and generous as them. I look up to them for their strength, courage, and compassion. And most importantly, I look up to them because they understand that Jesus is better than what this earth can supply us.

I could go on and on about my time in Zambia. I could fill blog post after blog post about all the lessons, big and small, that I learned from my time there. I am so thankful that the Lord sent me there this summer to meet and get to know the people that I did. I am forever changed by them. Jesus is greater y’all. And so much better.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” // Ephesians 3:20-21

 

- Ellen Taylor

 

Thursday
Jul032014

Alissa's Turn...

Hey everyone!  Wow what a month in Zambia we had!  I wanted to write a blog post of my own since the interns took control of the blog for June which was a major help to me. 

So this blog post is all about our interns. ha ha ha I bet they are scared right now reading this!

I was hesitant to start the Arise Africa intern program because of concern of taking care of college kids for a long period of time in Zambia.   Boy I am so glad I took the challenge and had the interns with us this month. It was amazing!  They were awesome!

From leaving DFW airport with them over a month ago to now it has been such a blessing in my life and Arise Africa's.  We couldn't have had a better group of girls to do life with over there.  Although they didn't know one another beforehand (or very little) they all instantly bonded and were willing to work together for anything.  They fought through not feeling great at times, anxiety, pressure, fear, confusion, and many other things to work to selflessly and hard for those around them. 

So here is MY list of lessons learned from having interns in Africa:

1.  Malaria medicine can cause anxiety, take someone off of it if this or any other weird things are happening to them!

2.  Taylor Swift is apparently a really good song to sing to while on a road trip in the middle of the African bush

3.  Leggings and super big extra large t-shirts are the total fashion statement right now. In fact that is all you need in your wardrobe.

4.  If interns live on Nutella and coke and goldfish for the entire month, they will be fine!

5. Don't forget to remind them when going to Vic Falls and on the game drive that large African men wanting to take them on a walk to see rhinos with AR 15 rifles is actually normal and nothing to be concerned about. 

6.  Explain on day 1 that all water sitting in compounds could be sewage and to avoid it

7.  Disney Movies are great, no matter what age you are

8.  Everyone can all talk at once and somehow hear every conversation happening and still keep talking

9.  They are really good at organizing donations and doing child sponsorship letters

10.  They will make friends with everyone

11.  Having 5 American college girls in your car in Africa draws attention and you get to be known around town as "The Landcruiser with the Texas A&M bumper sticker and hot girls."

12.  Do not trust them with Remy the night guard

13.  They can't cook at the beginning of the month, but they will learn and take care of themselves!

14.  They are willing to help in any way, including manual labor, holding babies that pee on you, coralling kids at Bible camp, cooking and many other things.

15.  Hand them over to your Zambian staff at 6AM and say good luck and don't worry about them until night.  They will manage the mini busses, compounds, and everything else just fine!

16.  When you ask them if they have talked ot their parents back home and they say no but the parents are fine with that, the parents are actually not fine with that and I should expect an email!

18. They are pretty good drivers, even in Zambia!

19.  You can beat them in a NERTZ card game any day so make sure you make them do ridiculous things for losing.

20.  They have hearts of gold and are great Godly girls!!

 

I am so thankful for their help with our staff and Bible camps and everything else.  We were able to accomplish so much this month and the interns were the reason why!  I had so much fun seeing the girls work in new environments and trust the Lord on a daily basis.  I loved watching the Lord's work be done through them.  They were calm and patient when needed and were willing to work so hard. 

To our 2014 summer interns, you guys did GREAT!  You have no idea how much God used you this past month and how thankful we are.  God has a great plan for each of your lives and has uniquely made you, just hold on and keep going after Him! We love you and Arise Africa is always here for you! Don't be a stranger!

Oh yea and I've paid for Millie/Annie the dog to be shipped to America, who wants her?!

In Him,

Alissa

 

Saturday
Aug252012

Our Elephant Loving summer intern...

Last fall I received a phone call from a girl that was studying at UT and needed a summer internship with a non-profit.  She had to get school credit for it, which I thought I could pull off, and make us look legit enough.  Carly and I spoke on the phone and agreed to meet at a coffee shop in Dallas on her Christmas break.  In typical fashion, Carly had to call me and REMIND me that we were meeting as my scattered brain was everywhere during the holidays. 

So we met at Pearl Cup and had conversation about the summer and our trips we had scheduled to Africa.  I decided Carly looked like she could hang with me and I wouldn’t kill her with my crazy life and Arise Africa’s fast paced schedule.  She seemed like a PLU (People Like Us)

Fast forward to the month of May, which is somehow always my most busy month for my “real” job, being a photographer.  Working for clients such as the NBA make May hard.  I run from arena to arena shooting games all while running Arise Africa.  And we somehow always do HUGE missions trips starting in June.  (Perfect timing Alissa!) 

 But this May after college finals were over Carly began working for us.  And it was like nothing I have ever experienced before!  I could call Carly from whatever city I was in and she was right there able to deposit checks, or respond to emails that Arise Africa was receiving.  She could shop for our mission trip and she was so efficient.  Heck she even took care of my personal life and let the dog out for me when I was out of town and kept up with my schedule reminding me where I was supposed to be and what we needed to get finished.  It was like magic!

Then Carly began to organize our school supply drive where teachers around Dallas (and my ever loyal Houston teacher friend Kate) gather up all their extra school supplies and donate them to us when school ends.  Carly even made a fancy flyer to pass out to the elementary schools. I knew she was good but this put Arise Africa on a whole new level!  She called principals and organized placing trunks in the hallways of the schools as teachers cleared out their rooms.  This trash to USA schools is like gold in Africa.  We collected hundreds of pounds of crayons, markers, pens, pencils, paper, posters, and children’s books.  ALL of which Carly collected, organized and delivered to my garage.  I couldn’t believe it; I had NOTHING to do with the school supply drive this year and it was a major success not to mention much more organized.    

I am not sure I would have made it to Africa in June without Carly’s help in May.  And for that matter I am not sure any other mission trip participant would have either.  She packed and weighed each of our donation bags, dealt with last minute airline changes, bought and booted up two brand new computers for Africa, and listened to my absurd ideas on how to pack the desktop computers.   (They made it without any damage!) And most importantly Carly ran behind me cleaning up my messes, and there are a lot!  She watched where I would put my keys when I was at the office or when we were packing in our garage and right when I was about to loose my mind trying to find them she would politely tell me where I had placed them.  Once again, magic.

In June we headed to Africa.  And once again Carly was up for doing anything.  The first week Carly was there we were having a training week for Zambian teachers with our American teachers.  One of our Zambian teachers arrived in typical African fashion with a baby strapped on her back.  Elizabeth has been taking care of this child who has no parents.  Carly selflessly helped Elizabeth take care of Mapalo (means blessing in their language) so that Elizabeth could attend the class. 

 

Carly sat outside of the class and loved on this kid!  Every day when I would arrive at the training she would be holding that baby and entertaining him.  We found out that Mapalo loves the Beatles thanks to Carly’s iphone.  He also likes hard-boiled eggs and watching other kids so Carly found a playground and would sit on a bench while he watched kids play.    Mapolo was not easy to take care of and yet everyday Carly took care of him, never ever complaining.   

Carly spent the rest of her time in Africa loving on other kids, and of course running after me helping remember where my car keys were or other important things like my backpack with my computer.  She took care of writing the blog every night which is the last thing I want to do when I am over there.  She stood up and handled things I didn’t even know I needed help on.   She took a group of kids during our Bible camp week and loved on some of the smallest ones.  This is not easy to do day after day. 

 

Carly also introduced all of us to the card game, Nertz, which pretty much has changed our mission trips forever.  The intense card games that were held every night were pretty epic.  Between eating brownies and Choc Kits, watching out for rats, and playing Nertz our evenings on mission trips are rather entertaining.  (Yes I am sorry for future mission trip participants, there are rats in Africa) We also discovered Carly has a very strong love for elephants and anything elephant related.  We noticed she might have a bit of an issue that might require a therapist at the local souvenir market when she purchased just about anything elephant she could find.  And there is a lot of elephant paraphernalia let me tell you.   It was like watching a kid in a candy shop as she bought every wooden elephant possible. 

Carly got to go to Victoria Falls where she RODE elephants!  And this was a lifelong dream for Carly.  From my experience I thought the elephant rides stink, and of course very vocally informed our group to not waste their money on it.  They walk you through the area where they eat off the trees so everything is gone and you walk for like 20 minutes and it is boring.  It is like riding a fat horse in my mind.  But nobody listened to me (thank the Lord once again) because the elephant rides have changed since my last experience (which was 2006).  Not only did our group ride for two hours on elephants but also got to feed them and pet them and hang out with them afterwards.  Carly was in absolute heaven.  She even enjoyed learning about the elephant shi* on the game drive.   

When we got back from Africa Carly probably had the worst job ever, moving our office in the month of July, in Texas.  Carly helped me pack up our old office and drag our stuff across town to our new office.  This took many trips in our cars, because people we are a non-profit we don’t hire movers.  With the help of another mission trip participant, Madeline, they completely set up our new office.  It was incredible.  And it looks GOOD!  If I had done it everything would still be in boxes except my desk and a chair.  But we look legit and even decorated, like with stuff on the walls! 

As the summer ended I realized that my life was getting ready to get difficult because Carly was leaving me.  I also realized I had to write her professor and document her hours and other stuff for her to get school credit for the internship.  Well, Carly constantly reminded me of this thankfully so I didn't miss the deadline.  In fact I received an email from Carly and the title of it was something like this "ALISSA I WILL FAIL THIS CLASS AND NOT GRADUATE FROM COLLEGE IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS NOW!" (She knows me well :)

I realized without Carly I would have to start to keep up with my own stuff and actually pay attention.  I would have to fill t-shirt orders myself and so many other jobs she did, the load was back on me.  We had a fun party at a friend’s house and I thanked Carly for all she did.  And I also gave Carly her going away present for working with us for the summer. 

If you don’t know what that is in her hand that is a paperweight with elephant crap in it that I bought at the local market in Zambia! 

 

Carly thanks for ALL your hard work and I miss you already!

And do you know where my keys are?!   

 

- Alissa