Tuesday, July 14, 2015

africa --- days three and four, some lessons learned

i’m writing this post from underneath my mosquito net.
yes, really.
and, what’s more,  i’m typing into a word document because in africa, the internet is quite an elusive thing.

if you are reading this, than please know, a small miracle has taken place on the other side of the world this evening.

it’s 11:22 pm here in zambia … probably about 5:22  your time.

i just finished an exhilarating sponge bath in which the thin stream of water completely shut off mid soaping …
it is my pleasure to inform you that rinsing the body with (cold) bottled water is not all it’s cracked up to be.
i would not recommend trying this at home.

but despite these few technical difficulties, i am absolutely enthralled with this country. i told you in my last post how precious the people of zambia have been and that only continues. the past two days i’ve crossed  paths with the most warm and lovely people.

like this woman. while we were walking from our lodge to the school, we stopped to chat and she decided she would like to show me how to bust up rocks. this is what she does. it’s her livelihood. every day she sits on this street and breaks large stones into small rocks … hoping to sell them.

she was a little amused at my effort!

yesterday we spent time with some of the widows from {wiphan} who earn money making jewelry.  they, too, tried to show me. i was hopeless. i couldn’t understand everything they were saying – well, truthfully, i couldn’t understand ANYTHING they were saying – but i’m pretty sure they were laughing at me. with good reason. haha.
but still, they patiently showed me the technique, over and over again. i never caught on, but we had us some fun.

by the way, you’re all getting necklaces for christmas this year.

another fun thing was, this morning, learning to make nshima at the nkwazi school. the people of zambia eat nshima twice a day. it is a thick, cornmeal mash … sort of like grits (but not really). it is the staple of their diet. this week, i’ve had several children ask me if we eat nshima in america. “if not nshima, then what?” they say. how can i even begin to explain to these zambian children how americans eat? not possible.

the {wiphan} school serves this as a meal around noontime. the children line up. each child brings his own bowl or plate, but is fed every school day. mama judith, a mama of  nine, makes the nshima and serves the children.
i had the chance to help a little today in “mama’s kitchen.”

mcnatt kids, mama jody is coming back with a new recipe – get ready!

the jewelry and cooking and rock busting were all pretty fun and interesting, but y’all know what has really captured my heart has been the children.  we spent most of our day with the kids at the wiphan school in nkwazi.

these kids are bright and motivated. it was obvious how much they love learning and how they see their education as a gift.  it’s not just what they said to me, but what i observed in the classroom and out in the courtyard (not quite the right word).  they are so proud of their uniforms and their grade level and the fact that they are at a {wiphan} school--- little is taken for granted here.

(if you see a bunch of pictures now, it’s because the internet decided to be generous … if you don’t … well, then, keep in mind i’m posting from a place which turns off it’s water and power on a pretty regular/daily basis).

her name is "given"

this darling boy could not wait for me to take his picture -- he had several poses!

yes, she came to school in a princess crown. i noticed more than a couple jealous looks

no complaints though. i can complain about nothing.
i don’t know how i’ll ever head back to america and be able to handle another silly complaint. i’m just warning y’all! =) africa has that affect.

there is so little here, but so much.
the people are so incredibly poor, but so incredibly wealthy.
there are unimaginable difficulties, but so much perseverance.
their spirit is inspiring.

i saw that even in the older students later today – the hospitality students at {wiphan}. these young men and women are finished with formal education, and are now learning jobs in hospitality.

i sat with them as they opened up their school day with 15 minutes of worship. between songs, the teacher, madam gertrude, and the students would repeat this:
teacher: “God is good.” students: “all the time.”
teacher: “all the time.” students: “God is good.”

in the last song, gertrude challenged the students to worship god and, in her words, “not pretend.”  she said when you are singing to God do not pretend … worship him with everything you have.  humble yourselves before him. these students sang the final song on their knees … many of them with tears streaming down their faces. (i was right there with them)!  they sang the words, “do something new in me o God.” i wish i had been able to record it, you would have agreed, it was one of the most beautiful praises ever offered up.

life has not been easy for these young women and men … for the children in the classrooms … for the widows in their jewelry hut … for the little ones left behind in the dusty streets of the compound. life is not easy. in fact, i really do not even have the words to describe how hard it is.

my friend, chabby
as i was finishing up in one of the classrooms, a young many came and sat with me. his name is chabby. he is 19. he is learning keyboarding at the school, but he confessed that it is hard to stick with it.  he told me, “i have no one to encourage me. no one at all.” we talked for about 20 minutes about his hardships and his hopes and his dreams.  when my ride told me it was time to go, i put my hands on his shoulders and tried to speak a few final words of encouragement. they weren’t near enough. there were tears in both of our eyes.
i climbed into the car with a heart broken.  so proud of this young man for achieving what he has so far, but so burdened.

i cannot imagine what this impoverished area would be like without {wiphan} school. it is a place of great hope and unbelievable joy. there is safety and learning and nshima and, more than anything, there is the love of Jesus.

tonight, under my mosquito net, with my slightly still dirty limbs and (really dirty) hair ... despite what i've seen and experienced ... i know this:
God is good …. all the time.
all the time … God is good.

*** tomorrow we will head to two more of the {wiphan} schools!

1 comment:

Sammy said...

I read all you wrote, and loved the pictures. I can only imagine the experience you're having. OK, I have a question and I'm being totally serious. Who buys the woman's crushed rock and why? It just sounds so sad that she would have to do this.