come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.
take my yoke upon you.
let me teach you,
because i am humble and gentle at heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
for my yoke is easy to bear,
and the burden i give you is light.
-Jesus (matthew 11:28 to 30)
i am weak, i am diseased, i am sick, i am ill, i am broken, i am arrogant, i am stubborn, i am jealous, i am ego-tistical. i am a liar, a cheater, a cynic, a person who does not know how to love. but it is only when i acknowledge the self-destructive patterns of my heart that i can truly see how much i am in need of my Creator. how He is the only one who can lead me to the path of freedom from the chains that i have locked myself within. that He is the only one who has ever lived the life of love i desire to live. and it is only He who can give me His power to follow in His footsteps. when i am weak, He is my strength. He is my healer, my banner, my path, my freedom, my lover, my bridegroom, my warrior, my protector and defender, my father. He is G-d and there is no other. He will take care of me like no other. He will teach me and love me and guide me and protect me like no other. and i want no other. all praise and glory to You, Jesus, forever.
philippians 4:6 - do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to G-d.
matthew 6:25-27 - therefore i tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. are you not much more valuable than they? who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
matthew 6:33-34 - but seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. each day has enough trouble of its own.
philippians 4:7 - and the peace of G-d, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
me on my friend liz's shoulders at umutomboko festival in luapula. there were so many people there i needed to sit on her shoulders to get a view of the ceremony
my friend liz and i being silly as an hour speech was given during the umutomboko ceremony -- what responsible "american ambassadors" we are.. at least we got a lot of laughs out of the zambians surrounding our group of peace corps friends who went to the fest
the chief as he sat on his "throne" lifted up and carried throughout the crowd waving a piece of horse tail
umutomboko festival dancers
umutomboko festival-kids waiting for food to be thrown into the river as homage to the drowned lozi warrior princes, so they can jump in and get it
beloved friends and family,
let us reflect:
it is 6:01am. a rooster is crowing. smoke swirls from firehot sunset coals, atop of which is perched a silver pot, bubbling full of well-drawn water. 5 buddhist prayer flags wave between two skinny trees, blooming moon-shaped leaves above a garden. vegetables droop because the rain season isn't coming for another 4 months and hauling water from the well just for green peppers and carrots is too time consuming and tedious we've learned.
i hear the sound of a zipper and a head emerges- my friend katie from inside her tent, on a quick jaunt to the icimbusu(pit latrine) because last evening we filled our bellies full of rice and beans. speckled with turmeric, curry- our bowels are small scale contained thunderstorms.my shirt sleeves lift up to my wrist enough that neon blue paint splotches are revealed- proof of a paintbrush fight katie and i found ourselves in yesterday. my left thumb wears a strategically placed butterfly bandaid- i had been slicing sweet potatoes and took with them a sliver of my thumb. my feet are encrusted with their usual centimeter of dirt coating, bugbites dotting their ashy/hazlenut hue. i prefer bare and dirty anyday to sandal shackled feet.even if i risk uncleanliness(although i find something beautiful about having feet encrusted in mother earth's soil, like the sun dipped in gold.)
these feet. i look again at them. so strange in shape, like lima beans attached to stick like legs- beams, poles, holding them in their unconditional poise. so strange in shape, yet they have a great force, a great power. they have touched the ground in many lands and have carried me unwaiveringly, peacefully, sometimes hesitantly, nervously, lovingly, across the nations to where i now sit: the home of my friend carolyn, in the village of chalabesa, in zambia, africa.
what causes us to be where we are? the choices we make, sometimes so unblinkingly, with a smile and a high five, like a sailor with water and a star on the horizon. we dock the ship on the high seas of our lives and let go of the ropes, sometimes not nervously enough. just like our feet, our hearts posess a vastness and depth that i am sometimes honored by,yet at times terrified of. dancing with flames that need frequent dousing, lest they burn us, power streams like an unfurled streamer from our hearts. which path will you chose to put those beautiful feet upon, led by your heart's direction?
robert frost, "i took the road less traveled." st. francis of assisi, "make me a channel of Your peace." mother teresa- "we only have today, let us begin." martin luther king jr.- "if it means that i suffer, than i suffer, because i heard a voice say "do something for others." john donne- "no man is an island." ralph waldo emerson- "beware when God lets loose a thinker on this planet." dorothy day- "when we begin to lower ourselves, to wash the feet of others, this is when we can truly say, "i have begun." Jesus Christ- "whatever you do to the least of my people, you do unto me...where your treasure is, there is your heart."
let us live our lives selflessly and radically, for it is the only Way. Amen.
you are all in my heart and prayers everyday. i carry you with me here on this beautiful homeland called zambia.
all my love,
friends and family,
it feels like forever since ive heard from you all, and ive only been here for two weeks. i love you and miss you all so much. you can call me on mondays from 5am-6am, and from 10am-11:30am. i have my language trainer's cell phone. the number , and call it exactly like this: 011-260-096-782319. i know the hours are strange, but im 7 hours ahead here. you can call my parents at 609 390 3707 and they can give you information on buying a zambian calling card!
i would love so much to hear from you all. to hear your voices would be a treat beyond words. also, write to me. you can write to me multiple times per week if you'd like, because the letters take about 2 weeks to get here. although i did get a letter from the langfords(THANK YOU!) that only took 1 week to get here. check my livejournal at www.livejournal.com/users/peacecorpskati
i am now living in mwakera east(near KITWE), zambia, africa, with my african host family- the Mulenga family. the host family are christians- the dad, zamila mulenga, is a pastor!! praise Jahovah! i am so blessed that our prayers have been answered and i am living with a beautiful family who are following the teachings of Jesus, and their father is a pastor. they are penecostals- so they are vibrant! i have been with them for 2 days now. they are wonderful. i am in a team of 4 other Peace Corps Volunteers in this village, learning the language. right next door to me is another PCV. it is wonderful!
i am speaking the language called BEMBA, which is quite amazing. the words are commonly about 12 letters long each, which makes it a ridiculous language to remember, and i walk around with a notebook and pen writing down words frantically. my family is so patient with me, and tommorow will be the third day of language classes. i speak and think in bemba. the only time i hear english is sometimes talking to the pastor- my "ba tata", and also, he has a brother, Sudden, who speaks english, and there is Eunice and KristaBell who are 14 yr old sister's of the pastor who live near us who help me a lot, they speak english too.other than that- the rest of the village speaks bemba. the family has 5 children- Mwape who is 12yrs old, Mwape means - a gift given to us, Nissi, who is 2 yrs old, and her name means the Lord is my banner, Mulenga who is about age 7, jacklyn, who is about 8, and Gideon (the warrior from the Bible), who is 3. The names of these children are amazing! I met one of the family's relatives and she said she would name her next child Katie! Haha!
I have my own hut, which is about 15 footsteps away from the hut of my family. it is 1 room. it is a good size. it has a matress on the floor, with my sleeping pad ontop of it, a pillow, sheets, and the mosquito net. i have a reed shelf, a reed mat, a table, and a chair. i have a large tapestry on my wall, books, and posters on my wall. i love my hut!!
my family has taught me how to wash my clothes, draw water from the well, they help me practice my bemba, and they feed me. i eat a lot of rice, corn maize, lettuce, tomatoes, chicken, beans, groundnuts(peanuts). it is good food, i love it. my ba mayo- or mom's name is dearis. she is very very sweet. she sits with me at dinner and eats with me. the women eat seperate from the men. and since i am a respected guest, i eat not in the presence of the "messy" children. it is a little strange for me, but i am learning how to respect their culture.
today we got our bikes. we bike ride about 10 minutes away to our language classes everyday except sundays. today myself and 7 other Peace Corps volunteers came into the city, kitwe, to use internet. i dont know when ill be able to get internet again which is why i stress for you to write me or call me.
there is so much more id love to say but im running out of time. thank you so much for all of your prayers and support .pray for me that i would be able to remember the bemba language. training is difficult. but it is amazing. i love africa!
remember you are all so beautiful, so precious. your lives are but a mist. how will you use your life? let your life be a gift of unconditional love to all.
"make me a channel of your peace, where there is hatred, let me sew love.."-st. francis of asisi
you are all here with me,
walking hand in hand,
our hearts as one,
I love you all so very much.
My friend Marcus made this histerical picture of he and I in Zambia. He titled it, "Where's Waldo and Walda?" Can you find us both? I love you Marcus!
Jan 22-23: Staging in Philly
Jan 24: Fly out of NYC (17 hrs)
Jan 25: Arrive in Jo'Burg, S. Africa
Jan 26: Arrive in Lusaka, Zambia
Jan '06- March '06:
Apr '06 - Apr '08:
On Saturday, January 14, I had a going away party with my Philadelphia friends. It was a beautiful time, with many hugs, kisses, and words of celebration of life! Thank you so much to my family of friends. I love you all more than I could ever express in words.
The photo album of pictures from the party can be found here:
My simple path is love. By love, and through love, we can begin to heal ourselves and others. We can bring unconditional peace, kindness, gentleness, sacrifice, restoration, and Truth to one another. "There are many people that are hungry. Hungry not just for a piece of bread, but for love."-Mother Teresa. Let us individually chose not to allow this type of hunger to continue. Let us instead chose the simple path of love.
I believe that this is nothing extraordinary. This is our call, our mission, our simple path as humans. To be a gift to one another, a gift of free love. To ask for forgiveness when we wrong another. To do things not out of selfish ambition, but honoring others than better than ourselves.(Phillippians) Who can better model this way of life than a man who gave His life for His friends. A man named Jesus.
I pray that Jesus may inspire you all, wherever you are, on your simple path. A man who taught, lived, and died for and in love. A man who healed the sick, taught forgiveness and love. This is truly living. This is truly beautiful. Let us all do something and make something beautiful of the lives we've been given. For they are a gift to us. Let us be gifts as well, to all men.
"Make me a channel of Your peace,
Where there is hatred let me sow love,
Where there is injure, pardon,
Where there is sadness, joy.
Let me seek not to be consoled, but to console,
To be understood, as to understand..
It is giving of ourselves that we receive,
And in dying that we are born to eternal life."
- St. Francis of Assisi
From January 26-March 30, I will be training in Kitwe, Zambia. You can send me mail at this address:
After these 9 weeks of training, my team and I will disperse individually to locations which will be disclosed around March 30. At that point, I will have a new address, which I will update you with.
My soon to be Homeland. Kitwe is directly above Ndola:
http://www.tamaniproject.com One of my fellow Peace Corps volunteers, Matt, designed a website for all of the Zambian Peace Corps workers on our team. It is also a forum to discuss world issues on equality, human rights, etc. Check it out to also connect with other blogs of my fellow Peace Corps volunteers.
The CAHP, or Community Health Action Program, consists of Peace Corps' Community Health Development Extensionists educating the Zambians in the arena of health. The topics of health education include the 6 main health "thrusts" most responsible for the fatality of the Zambians. C.H.D.E. workers will be educating the Zambians in churches, schools, and community centers on the topics of HIV/AIDS, Child Health/Nutrition, TB, Malaria, Water Sanitation, Reproductive Health, and Family Planning. C.H.D.E. workers will also be setting up Child Health/Nutrition clinics, where they will be weighing babies, with attentiveness to malnutrition, and educating mother's on healthy nutritional diets for their children and themselves. C.H.D.E. workers will also be helping to assist mother's in giving birth to their children upon occasion or need. C.D.H.E. workers have the priviledge and blessing to be working toward educating and interacting on a personal, face to face level, with the Zambians in order to help reverse, one person at a time, the plagues of the AIDS Pandemic, Malnutrition, as well as other health crises that are ravaging the nation of Zambia, and the world. -K. Fourqurean, Jan '06-April '08 Peace Corps, CAHP Volunteer
After almost 12 months of papework, I finally received my invitation for Peace Corps to serve as a Community Health Extensionist in Zambia, Africa!! I'll be living in a clay-brick thatched roof hut and traveling around to speak about 6 main health "thrusts" by bike for 2 years and 3 months! I'll be speaking in churches, schools, and community centers of Zambia, on the topics of HIV/AIDS, Child Health/Nutrition, TB, Malaria, Water Sanitation, Reproductive Health, and Family Planning. This is everything I could have ever asked for, and more!! I am blessed beyond words!