Monday, May 26, 2003

All I can really say is good times are being had here in Zambia. Today was a double holiday for us Americans here. Not only was it our Memorial Day but it was African Freedom day. So to celebrate this momentous occasion we had a braai at the mission this afternoon. A braai is a South African thing that is basically a BBQ cookout. After we ate, many of us played Mexican train with dominoes….I didn’t win.
Then tonight we went to some friends (James and LeeAnn) house for another South African treat. We had a potgie, which is like a stew that is served over rice. James and LeeAnn had me and Stephanie and another family, the Howard’s, over for supper as a thank you. LeeAnn just had their second child this past Thursday. On the Wednesday before, LeeAnn called me and Stephanie and said she was going into labor and asked if Daniel, their 3 yr old son, could stay with us for a few hours and maybe even spend the night while she and her husband went to the hospital. We were more than happy to have a slumber party with Daniel. That little guy is such a cutie (and a wee bit naughty) he has this South African accent that sounds British and big blue eyes that could melt your heart.

Here is Daniel, as cute as can be. Notice Chikulu in the background. Daniel covered him up with his blankets and teddy bears.

It sure is a hard life having to hold babies!
Me, Jason Luke, Tabitha Howard, Daniel

Daniel had a fantastic time at our house. When his dad came to pick him up Daniel refused to go with him and insisted on staying with us. So his dad left and came back a couple of hours later. Even the second time around he refused to leave. But dad won out that time and finally got Daniel to leave, but only after promising that Daniel could go to “aunt” Lindy’s (Lindy Howard) later that day. Tonight before we ate supper James sincerely thanked us all for our help last week and LeeAnn got a little teary-eyed while telling us how we (me, steph, and the Howard’s) have become like family to them, especially to Daniel. It was really sweet. Anyway….after many hours of labor last week, she finally gave birth to an 8 pound baby boy named Jason Luke.

Steph and Jason Luke

Daniel and his mom, LeeAnn. Me and Daniel.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Adventures in babysitting….

Tonight me and Stephanie babysat for the Connard’s who are in town for a few days. We only kept their youngest, Benjamin. He is such a good baby; he is always so content and rarely fusses. The poor thing is sick right now and when he breathes he wheezes. Well we were in the living room watching him play with a broom and sweep shoes around the coffee table. All of a sudden we look at him just in time to see him whack his face on the corner of the coffee table….we should have seen it coming. I go to pick him up hoping he is not going to start screaming. When I pick him up I see a little bit of blood starting to trickle out from under his eyebrow. In a matter of seconds a little blood turns into more blood. In a passing moment of panic I head out the door with Benjamin in my arms to Dorothy’s house next door (Dorothy and her husband have lived here for 30 years and raised two kids here, surely they will know what to do). As soon as I stepped off the porch I thought, “No, We don’t need help. We can do this (it is ONLY blood, after all). I mean I am a family and child studies major. I even took a class on stuff like this for crying out loud!” So I followed Stephanie into the bathroom where she was getting tissue to clean him up. The whole time Benjamin is struggling to cry and breath at the same time. It was so sad. In the middle of playing nurse to Benjamin, the power goes out. Doesn’t that just figure! Finally we got the little guy all cleaned up and he stopped crying. When we told Mark and Stacy (his parents) what happened they just laughed, he is a tough African bush baby, after all.

Carrie (journeyman in Kasama), Stephanie, and Benjamin in the office.

Culture Crisis…

On Monday, Esnot, our house worker came to clean our house. Esnot’s friend, Loveness, also comes and cleans Chris’s and Mallory’s flat next door. Well, lunchtime rolls around and Esnot asks me if me or Stephanie will be “taking nshima”. I tell her Steph has already left and I decline her offer (I knew what they were cooking and wanted no part of it). Esnot comes back and informs me it is too late because Loveness already prepared some for me. So I graciously smile and nod my head. Kapenta was for lunch…I very much dislike kapenta. Kapenta are small sardine-like fish (that stink to high heaven when being cooked). And the ones that Loveness was preparing were dried, so that meant they would be nice and bendy…almost crunchy. Yippee! So I confess to Esnot that I do not like kapenta and she tells Loveness. So as to not totally insult Loveness and to be rude I offered to take a few bites instead of having a whole plateful. As I sat rolling my nshima in my hand and chewing my kapenta and hoping to keep it down, Philippians 4:13 kept running through my mind, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” When I was finished Loveness was very pleased that I tried her kapenta and told me that one day I will become Zambian and will like it. I’m not so sure about that.

Kapenta!!! Loveness (left) and Esnot (right) enjoying their meal.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

SLACKER! I know that is what I am, sorry. It has been way too long since I have put an update on here. But I guess if you know me then my slacker quality doesn’t surprise you. So let’s see, what have I been up to in the last 10 days or so.
Quite honestly, nothing new has been going on. About the only thing I can think of is Mother Theresa orphanage. I would include pictures for you to see but we are not permitted to take pictures there. This orphanage is quite a bit different than the House of Moses. There are many more children at Mother Theresa and some of them are very sick. When you enter the room where the young babies and toddlers are, you are hit with such a repulsive and foul odor. The first time we went I literally started to gag and had to exit the room and was unable to go back in to play with the small kids that day. We have figured out that the best day to go visit is on Friday because on Thursdays they do a thorough cleaning that helps reduce the stench. When we went this past Friday there was a baby that was hooked up to an IV. A lot of the children here have HIV/AIDS or their parents died from it. The baby that was hooked up looked so sick. He (or she) was very thin and cried constantly. I tried to console him by rubbing his belly or holding his hand and talking to him but none of it worked. All I could do was pray for him and ask the Lord to comfort him. I think it is impossible for me to leave that particular orphanage and not cry about it at some point. I don’t know what gets to me most…the pain that some of them have to endure alone, the thought of them dying there, or the fact that those babies and children are innocent and are not there through some fault of their own. I know our God is sovereign and that is what comforts me. Over the last 3 weeks there has been a certain verse that God has been throwing at me from many different directions. It is Romans 8:28 and I think it applies to my orphanage visits. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Praise God that He knows so much more than I do!
But don’t get all depressed about the Mother Theresa orphanage, not everything about the visit is sad. The toddlers are a lot of fun. They really enjoy it when we sing to them. We have sung everything from “twinkle, twinkle little star” to “what a mighty God we serve”. Also, every song we sing we put to a fast clap…the kids really like this and clap away with us.
Mother’s day weekend was a pretty eventful one. That Saturday there was a triathlon held and many people in our mission competed. Stephanie, Mallory, and a new friend named Annette competed in the team category. Stephanie swam, Mallory biked, and Annette ran. I am very proud to say that their team won and brought home the gold medal and trophy. Also, James Strange (our treasurer), David Kizziah (journeyman 9 hours north), and Chris McIlravy (journeyman that just arrived) competed in the team event. James biked, David ran, and Chris swam. They came in second and did very well. And Alan competed in the individual race. He not only won the competition but he set a new record time.

first row: James and Cindy Strange (Cindy is my supervisor), me, Annette
middle row: Mallory, Alan, Chris, David
back row: Tommy, Stephanie

So today is May 18. Two things come to mind about today. The first being that it is my half birthday, I am now officially 23 and a half. The other being that one year ago today I graduated from college. CRAZY! How can that be? A year has already passed? I have been a semi-grown up for a year now. I can’t help but wonder what I will be thinking one year from today. Will I be as excited to be here as I am now? Will I be making plans for my homecoming back to the states? Who knows, I guess time will tell.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Seated (left to right): Mallory, Nathan, Alan, Stan, Tommy
Standing (l-r): David, Jill, Stephanie, Sean

Tonight we (all the journeymen) went to the Dickard house for Nathan Dickard’s birthday. Nathan turned 10 years old today. So to celebrate the occasion we were invited over to eat the meal of Nathan’s choosing, “noodley stuff” as he called it. It was a great meal (like every meal at the Dickard house) that was topped off with a most excellent chocolate cake which was baked by Sean, one of Nathan’s older brothers. Sean is somewhat famous around here for his baking skills.

Sean putting candles in Nathan’s yummy birthday cake.

Nathan blowing out his candles.

Unfortunately, Nancy (Nathan’s mom) could not be here to celebrate with us. She left Sunday morning headed to the states for a few weeks. But I know she would be pleased with how the birthday supper went. Tonight was also fun because we had two out-of-town journeymen joining us…..David and Jill, who both live in Kasama (9 hours north). It is always nice to see those guys when they come in to Lusaka.

Stephanie and Jill.

Bright and early in the morning, 5:15am to be exact, we will be headed to the airport. A new journeyman, Chris, will be arriving. He will live here in Lusaka and work with Mallory heading up mountain bike survey kind of work. So you can pray for Chris and the adjustments he will need to make to his life in Africa.

This is me and Stephanie being really funny and showing off our creativity! We talked Mallory into making mother’s day cards with us and he left his on our table when he was finished. Well we decided to turn it into a sign for Chris when he arrives to his new house. Earlier in the week Mallory forbade us to make tooty-fruity girl signs to put up to welcome Chris. So tonight we did a little doctoring to Mallory’s card to his mother. Along with a few minor adjustments, we added glitter, and hearts, and the color pink, and changed “mom” to “Chris”. So now when Chris goes to open his door, he will see a cute little poster from his roomate Mallory welcoming him home that says “love, Mallory.” I hope he likes it because I know me and Stephanie sure do!

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Today could be described as “a lesson in Zambian culture.” We learned that weddings here are ALL DAY affairs. Me and Stephanie attended the wedding of one of Stephanie’s closest national friends, Kasonde. Kasonde is a really great gal. Her aunt, Elizabeth, operates an orphanage from her home. I have mentioned it before. It is called the Tasche House. So all the kids (about 15) from the orphanage got to come and be apart of the festivities, which was fun for me and Stephanie because we got to play with them the whole time.

Aunt Elizabeth.

The Tasche kids waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Now let me explain to you about Zambian time….time doesn’t exist. The ceremony was to begin at 11am (which it didn’t). A good rule of thumb around here is to add an hour or hour and a half to the time. If something is to begin at 2pm then you would be safe to not show up until 3pm or a little later. Needless to say, we showed up at the ceremony around 11am like any good American would…..and we sat there until 12pm when the bride and groom finally showed for their wedding. We knew they had arrived because we could hear all the ladies in the back making their African trilling noise (it is a rather hard noise to explain). So finally we were all set to begin!

The groom, Chola, watching his bride come down the aisle! Kasonde being “respectful” as she walks down the aisle.

Most wedding ceremonies in this country are similar to the ones in the states. Only here they DANCE through the whole thing, not walk. So it begins by the bridesmaids dancing a choreographed routine down the aisle to their assigned spots. Meanwhile the groomsmen are standing in a line swaying back and forth to the music being played. When it is time for the bride to make her way down she must walk very slowly and keep her head down while not smiling. This is supposed to be a sign of respect. But you almost want to feel sorry for her because she looks like she is sad or in pain.
Another difference in the weddings is here there is something called a matron. This is an older married woman who helps and counsels the bride prior to the wedding. She tells the bride how to act not only on the wedding day but also in married life. The matron is a part of the ceremony as well. She is always the leader when it is time to make an entrance

Mr. And Mrs. Chola Chama. The lady in red is the matron.

Me and two of the bridesmaids, Bwalya (left) and Frieda (right).

After the whole wedding vows and ring exchange and kissing, it is time for the preaching to begin. The pastor today wasn’t so bad, he only spoke for about 15 minutes. When the preaching is over then the wedding party dances out. This time the bridesmaids and groomsmen dance together. It really is a lot of fun!

The wedding party dancing into the reception.

If you look closely you can see the groom dancing around the bride. He seems to be pretty excited!

Now it is time for the reception, which was scheduled to begin at 3pm. And again, we did not apply the one hour rule and ended up waiting. The wedding party arrived to the reception at 4:45pm. Again, the whole wedding party dances in doing a choreographed dance, also known as “steps”. It is all very entertaining to watch. The reception went well and they served all the cokes you could drink! We both had 3 apiece!

Me and Emily (one of the Tasche kids) trying to pass the time.

Me and the girls sitting at our table. Me and Stephanie.