More Africa

Yesterday I took a break from writing (translated: I forgot to write an installment, sorry), but I am back now. In the mish mash installment I forgot to tell you about the toilet paper in Africa. Toilet paper there comes in many colors! We had pink, blue, tan and off white. Very interesting.

I also forgot to tell you about one of the really neat guys who we met there. His name is George and he served our meals to us every day. He was so sweet and really friendly. He was great with our kids. One day he knew Caolinn wasn't feeling too well and he came over and asked her if she was ok. He told her he'd pray for her and the next day made a point of asking her how she was feeling. He also taught our kids a couple songs in Bemba. We knew one, but needed to learn a new one, so he obliged.

George has several children. One of his children has something going on in his brain. "They" think possibly a tumor, but don't know and there is no money for an MRI. George also is an elder in the church there in Mufilira, he leads a bible study group and mentors some of the younger men. George was a hero to us 'cause he has such a servant's heart.

Saturday (after the conference was over) there was a wedding of a couple from the church. Now, here's an example of what we call "Africa time". We were told by the pastor marrying the couple that the service would start at 9:30. Well, Carl took a group of us into town at 9 am and when they saw Pastor Skye at 9:10 in town they knew that there would be no wedding at 9:30. (Carl knew that long before we did since he's been in Africa 50 yrs). The wedding finally did start at 11:30. We also say "TIA" this is Africa. And truly that is the way things go there.

So, the wedding was not a whole lot different than one of ours except that the bridesmaids, flower girls and groomsmen dance (swaying kind of dance) up the aisle. Someone timed it and I can't remember how long they said it took, but it was longer than 30 minutes. The other difference was that it is culturally unacceptable for the bride to smile or make direct eye contact. She looked like she was being led to her torture. The groom was very somber as well. But if the bride were to smile or look up it would be considered prideful and that would be a bad start for the marriage. We, of course, were given the seats of honor. We sat up front on one side of the church while the families of the bride and groom sat up front on the other side. (We did not pick to sit up front, but were ushered there). Matt preached the wedding sermon and Matt, Greg and Mike (Ford) as pastor and elders from our church joined with the pastor and elders from their church in praying for the couple after the ceremony was performed. The other thing they have to do is sign all their documents after the ceremony - something to do with the Zambian laws.

Ok, so after the wedding ceremony is the reception. We were invited to go to that (and had to as it was considered an honor that we would go). The reception was a short distance away at the Hindu Hall. This is an old huge theater that was owned by the Hindus in the area at one time. Now there is only one family left and the hall is up for sale and in a shabby sort of state. The bridal party was at a table on the stage. The cake was on a table just in front of the stage and the rest of us were in seats in the theater. Yes, we were in the front rows again. The reception wasn't a whole different from what you might experience here EXCEPT for the knife girl! Really, this you had to see to believe. When it was time to cut the cake this little girl danced down the aisle waving and swooping a LARGE and sharp knife. And do you remember what Africans do when they like something? Yes, they trill if they are female and then some of them put money on the body of the person who is doing whatever it is they like. So, please picture this...little knife girl is swaying down the aisle with her sharp and large knife. She is moving it around and people and people are running up to her and putting money in the neckline of her dress. The dumb Americans are trying to keep their mouths from hitting the floor! We are totally amazed and thankful that no one got the business end of that knife.

Click image to see larger or Click here to visit the Martin Africa photo album (cache)

That was worth every moment of the wedding. So, after the cake is cut and the appropriate honor is paid to the parents of the couple, the Americans are once again honored. They call us up to the table where the cake is. Now we had noticed that there were a bunch of little cakes (fill the palm of your hand) decorating the table the cake was on. Guess what? Each one of us got one of those little cakes. They had been made to honor us with. The honor and respect that Zambians show their guests is TOTALLY humbling. So, after that then, we were served soda and the rest of the guests were getting a meal. (We had eaten after the ceremony and before the reception). Some of our group tried to help serve the guests for awhile. After that there was some dancing and that was fun. I danced with my sister Regina. Then we left and they all stayed for awhile longer. We could hear the party breaking up while we were eating dinner.

Sunday was church again. Before church we dedicated the orphan care center and the women dressed us in traditional dresses while the men gave our men traditional shirts. Greg preached and did a fine job. We sang "He Reigns" again. (Just a little glimpse of heaven). Church was only about 2 hours long this Sunday and at the end the Zambians presented us with more gifts and then we stood outside in a receiving line and shook hands. Then we had lunch, packed our stuff on the bus and said our goodbyes. This was hard. There were so many people we had built relationships with by this time that saying goodbye was sad. Kyle's friend, Henry, had tears in his eyes. Hassan was wailing. And we were all getting in one last hug and picture. From Mufilira we went back to Kabwe. We spent the night there spread out between the 3 missionary families. We got to stay with Jeff and Sally Roth. They are a neat couple and we thoroughly enjoyed their company. Plus they fed us wonderful, homemade pizza! Boy were my kids happy with that.

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Kyle & Henry Priscilla, Hassan and his mom

One of the things I have learned on this trip is that missionaries are real people. I have always known that, but to really get to know them and see that they are just normal (only they are really amazing) people like you and me is pretty cool. Please keep Jeff and Sally and their girls in your prayers. They were victims of an armed robbery this year and they are still dealing with some of the fear that is left over from that; especially their daughter, Rachel, who was separated from everyone during the whole thing.

On Monday we made the 10 hour drive to Livingstone, Zambia. Victoria Falls. And this is where I am going to stop.

talk to you all later (by the way, I was really "home"sick for Zambia today), Priscilla