Rachel Stephens, or Rache, as most of us call her, just left me a message on my MySpace asking me to mention her in my blog so that when she googled herself she could find herself, and not just the photographer, Rachel Stephens. Rachel is one of “my kids”. She was on my team this past summer to Zambia. Rachel’s mom, Wendy, came down to visit her while we were in Boot Camp. Wendy and I got to talking. We found out that we’d both gone on Haiti teams back in the “day”. She’d gone in 1980 and I in 1981! Or was that I’d gone in 1981 and she’d gone in 1982? Oh, well, forgot! Anyhow, it seemed crazy to me that I’d been a kid doing TMI with one of my kids’ moms. Anyhow….here’s Rachel on the screened in front porch of my tent at Boot Camp in the swamps of Florida. I think this is the first picture I took that summer! Thanks, Rachel!
We had a bunch of birthdays while together last summer. What was it, seven all together? And Rachel had the dubious honor of turning 16 while in Zambia. Worse, she turned 16 while we were still at the base and hadn’t even set up our own camp yet. We were rather disorganized, and yet we had a big birthday to celebrate. Two of the assistant leaders (Emily from Zambia Orphan Angels and Krista from our team) managed to scrounge up the makings for a cake, but since we had no oven, nor even an oven box, they cooked the cake over a brazier in a baking pan covered by a cookie sheet! The cake was not level nor was it evenly cooked, but it looked and smelled heavenly. It was kept a surprise from Rachel. And we found some cardboard and used some markers I’d brought from home to make a card. The card was passed around all day so that everyone could write a birthday message. The cake, which had been so carefully made and kept secret, was carried out while we all sang happy birthday. Just before the cake got to Rachel, Emily (gosh, WAS it Emily?) tripped and took a headlong dive into the dusty ground. But she kept that cake level and didn’t lose a crumb of it! I think Rachel will always remember her sixteenth. Even though there wasn’t a big huge celebration, and no dancing, and no presents, and none of the stuff a sixteen year old these days expects at their sweet sixteen, I think this was about as sweet as a sweet sixteen gets. And if I’m not mistaken, Rachel took that card from village to village and to London and to Florida, and home to Minnesota.
Rachel Stephens thinks she’s my favorite. But that’s only because I made her eat the butts of bread and because I put pictures like this of her in my blog! (And because she was countoff number 22 and 22 IS my favorite number.) This was taken on Girls’ Night in Lufwanyama. We took some time out to give ourselves facials, and manicures and pedicures by flash light and candle light. And we at brownies, and just had a blast. What a fun night. I think Rachel looked the best in her mask…
And here are Hannawa, Bethany, Shang, Kellie Rock, Becca, Rachel Stephens and Sarah on the night of our team banquet in Kansoka. They are all dressed up and showing off their Leprechuans…don’t ask….it’d just be awkward….
There you go Rachel Stephens. I hope that very soon you can google yourself and find yourself and not that other Rachel Stephens who is a photographer.