Hi again everyone,
Today's Africa story will really just be a jumble of stuff I haven't told you about. Things I forgot but have now remembered, people who meant alot to us, interesting moments, etc.
First of all, I don't know if we told you, but it is winter in Africa. So, in Zambia the temps were in the 80's most of the time. The air is VERY dry. Nights were cool and most mornings we wore long sleeves. The Zambians believe that the weather is cold (he,he) so they wore winter jackets most mornings! Seriously! Also, it is VERY dusty there. The dust is fine and it gets everywhere.
One of the things I forgot about was the presence of armed guards/police in many public places. At the shopping "mall" we went to in Lusaka the first morning, the guards had guns similar to AK-47's. Just a little creepy. The other thing that is very different is that there are police stops along the roads. Just the main roads, not the neighborhood roads. So, you drive for awhile and then there is a small stop sign in between the 2 directions of traffic. You stop and talk to the police people. Dan always offered them new testaments and most of the time they took them. Once at one of the stops the police man wanted to see all our passports. Dan offered him a bible instead. He took it and let us pass. Most of the time he gabbed with the police people and they were friendly stops. Dan speaks their native language which is Bemba. (He also speaks Swahili and about 5 other languages). Oh and sometimes there would just be speed bumps on the road. We're talking speed bumps across 309 where the speed limit is 50! That was totally amazing! I think that alot of the speed bumps were to slow people down as they were coming to a town.
One night while we were still in Kabwe each of our families got to eat dinner with a Zambian family. Dan drove us out to the bible institute and dropped us off one by one at our respective families houses. None of the houses have electricity, so we ate by kerosene lamp (others ate by candle). The homes are small. The main room where we ate is about as big as our room where our piano is. They had 2 other rooms and that was the house. A traditional Zambian meal starts with hand washing. The wife or the kids come around to each guest with a pitcher of hot water and a basin. They pour the water over your hands, if they have soap you wash, if not you rub your hands, then they rinse your hands and then you dry them. A traditional food is nshima (n-sheema). It is cooked ground maize and a staple of their diet. It looks like congealed cream of wheat. And often a gravy is served with it. It's not exciting tasting, but it's not bad. So, it was an interesting evening.
We ate with a very quiet couple, but we all managed to keep conversation going. Each of the kids spoke once or twice. Their kids were totally quiet. A really neat thing happened with all that. We had met several of the bible institute students on Sun and then again on Mon. The women had helped us buy our material in the market. I had hoped/prayed we'd go to this one woman's house 'cause I'd talked to her some and she is so sweet. She helped me pick out one of my chitenges. I wore that chitenge that night and we ended up at her house. Everyone from the team had a gift pack to give to their host and hostess. We had bought chitenges in the market to go in the gift packs. The chitenge I had picked out ended up in our gift pack! I thought that was so awesome! To me that was one of those small God sightings. Another Zambian tradition is to pray a blessing on your host's house before you leave. I really like that tradition and the Zambians were so grateful that we knew to do that.
::Click image to see larger or| Click here to visit the Martin Africa photo album]::
In Mufilira we got to know so many people and they were all awesome in their own ways. Kyle became friends with a boy about his age who sings on one of the praise teams. They have exchanged addresses and hope to stay in touch. We all fell in love with a little boy who was in the day camp. Initially we thought he was an orphan, but his mom was in the conference. He has something wrong with his legs and can't walk. Over here it would have been corrected or he'd have leg braces, but over there you just live with it. When we realized he couldn't get from station to station, one of the men from our group carried him to each place. We also made sure he got to do some of the activities as much as possible. So, we all kind of spoiled him and he broke the hearts of some of our kids. The day we left he asked to come home with me. When we all actually got on the bus to go he wailed heart wrenching sobs! It was awful saying good bye to him. His name is Hassan and you all could keep him in your prayers. Joann (Dan's mom) said she is going to work on getting leg braces for him. That'd be great!
Then the women I fell in love with were the women who work at the orphan care center. These are strong, caring women who have gone through rough times of their own. The 3 I got close to were Helen (runs the center), Rose (a midwife who helps at the center) and Regina. Regina adopted me when I told her that I have a sister in law named Regina and that she is special to me. Regina said "well then I am your African sister" and I said ok. When I very first met her the first thing she asked me was "how old are you?" I dont know why, but I heard her ask other people that too. Anyway, she was great. Rose called me her daughter because she has a daughter in law named Priscilla. Zambians love connection. So, I was always, "Priscilla, my daughter" whenever Rose talked to me. These women love Lord with a passion and they love the orphans. Beautiful women!
Ok, well that's about it for tonight. I can barely keep my eyes open at this moment, so I think I will go.