A Learning Experience

Happy Independence Day! Today, Zambia is celebrating its 50th year of Independence from Britain. Previously I had realized that other countries can be very patriotic, but the concept apparently never took root until recently. When I match imagery with the word “patriotic” I tend to include fireworks, cookouts, parades, red, white, and blue, and generally the stuff I grew up knowing. Nothing is wrong with recognizing the familiar, but I now feel privileged to be a part of this new learning experience. Zambians may not fly too many flags on days other than today (unlike America where we fill practically every nook and cranny with our colors), but ask almost anyone what their flag stands for and you can see their chests swell with pride. For all of you who do not know what the colors on the Zambian flag stand for (trust me, I didn’t until a few weeks ago), I shall educate you. Green – agriculture, Red – the struggle for freedom, Orange – copper industry and mineral wealth, Black – the people, and the Fish Eagle stands for the people’s ability to rise above the nation’s problems. Pretty cool, huh?

Speaking of cool, can you believe that we have been here for two months already??! Now before y’all go raising your pitchforks, I do realize that it has been about a month since I last wrote a blog… I wish I had some epic excuse to offer such as “I was off fighting hippos for water rights!” or “I was ministering to cannibals in the deep jungles of the Congo.” But alas, I can only offer the pitiful reason of being too busy and suffering from a bit of writer’s block. I solemnly vow to try my best not to let a month go in-between this and my next post. πŸ™‚

Since this blog is dedicated to my learning experience so far, I shall try to keep the content as interesting as possible. Please just bear with me πŸ˜€

– Nshima and rape are Zambia’s equivalent to America’s rice and beans, meaning they are cheap, quick, and in abundance. Unfortunately for my taste buds, that also means that they are served more than once a week. I am not trying to complain – well, too much anyways – I am merely making an observation. Before you start hosting a farewell party for my slowly dying taste buds, I must also include that there are plenty of other dishes they prepare here that are, for the most part, quite tasty. So no, we are not starving in Africa (though the guys might beg to differ)

– Everybody heres loves photos. This is also true in America; however, Americans have enough devices to immortalize themselves whereas Zambians might have a cheap phone, but are thrilled to use an actual camera. Though the words “come, take another photo of me here! and here! and how about this?” still annoy me to no end, it also makes me wonder what more we could be focusing on in our more privileged lives if we stepped away from worrying about portraits, selfies, and the like for just a moment. The camera can be a powerful tool – just look at Jacob Riis – when focused away from the photographer*

– Newly waxed concrete floors are actually quite dangerous. Tanya and I waxed half of our house (our bedrooms, both bathrooms, and the short hallway) yesterday and though it looks and feels quite lovely, the intensity of daily life just leveled up to danger-mode. When attempting to slide on purpose, the effects are amazing! But when you don’t expect it – i.e. climbing out of the shower onto a previously non-slippery mat – well, let’s just say that your heart gets a wake-up call

– God has a funny way in which He draws you closer to Him. For me, it was not allowing my iPad to connect to the Internet (which was torturous since everyone else was able to connect just fine) thus disabling me from calling my family or surfing the web in general. Needless to say, I was pretty ticked at Him and kept questioning why. My thoughts took a downward spiral and I willingly became sucked into a pity party hosted by yours truly. After having such a lovely afternoon, how could my day suddenly turn so sour?! I was grumbling and complaining as I started back home when I came upon a sprinkler. Being the true Pisces that I am, I waited for it to come back around and splash my feet. The water did more than just rinse my feet, it also washed away some of my grouchiness, and the longer I stood there, the more clear-headed I became. I was suddenly struck by the thought that I hadn’t spent much time with God lately. Here I was, a missionary in Africa, supposedly serving the Lord, and I hadn’t even bothered to take 10 minutes of my day to commune with Him. I went home and spent quite some time with Him in the Bible and in prayer, humbled by the experience. He knew that was just what I needed. Being the weak human that I am, I shall likely forget this instance in the future and have to be shown again my need for Him, but luckily for me He is a patient God. And yes, I did get to talk with my family the next night for a full two hours and it was delightful πŸ˜€

– Demon possession is real and kind of scary. Despite being taught a bit of exorcism 101, the real deal still takes you by surprise. Not saying that this issue does not exist in America, I just believe that it is more prevalent here because spiritualism (both good and bad) is quite common in daily life routines. A student here, Joshua, was affected by what we believe to be demon possession. Side note: in all honesty, anything that goes wrong with anybody is automatically attributed to demon possession. Even if someone faints from low blood sugar, it is the prayer band being called before a nurse or doctor. I guess the concept is good, but not everything is quite as dramatic as they make it seem. Anywho, Joshua was very sweet, kind, spiritual, and soft-spoken so it came as quite a surprise when he began acting out. He would disappear at night, yell at people, he didn’t eat for three days, refused to get into any type of vehicle, denied any sort of medical attention, and even jumped off a two-story balcony (luckily he wasn’t hurt too bad if at all). His father came and somehow managed to take him home. The last I heard was that God really pulled through and Joshua is now recovering and feeling more himself. The whole experience was quite a shock because this was no long a Guide’s Greatest Stories, this was the real deal happening to a friend of mine whom I had had lunch with not two days before. Makes you think…

– God also answers prayers. Yeah, I guess I already knew this, but it still surprises me every time! Last week it was a struggle to get the wheat in before the rains came. After working long hours each day (well, I didn’t, unfortunately, but others did) for most of the week, the wheat was finally bagged and in storage. A few hours later storm clouds blew in with hearty gusto accompanied by thunder and lightning! A steady, gentle rain, a sharp contrast to the previous display, settled in for part of the night. The air felt so clean and crisp the next morning! God heard our prayers to hold off the rain and when we were done, He opened up heaven’s windows and made sure we didn’t miss His display with added lights and sounds

Well, so long, my friends! I shall continue learning so that I may share more adventures with you! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and feel free to message me if you have any thoughts, comments, questions, posers (for you, Dad πŸ˜‰ ), or if you have a prayer request or just wish to talk. Love you all and have a wonderful Sabbath to come!

* Please don’t take offense to any of my ponderings and opinions. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a portrait or a selfie, heck, I am a wanna-be-professional photographer. I was just thinking out loud, thinking out loud πŸ™‚

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6 thoughts on “A Learning Experience

  1. Love your blog and all of the experiences you shared! Due to no lack of connections while reading the blog vs. calls, I could read the whole story! We love you and are so very proud of you. And yes, we are back home from the ride up to Signal Mountain!!!! Love and miss you bunches! Love your writing style!!! Mom and Dad

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    1. Greetings!
      No need to worry, Ebola has not entered Zambia as of yet πŸ™‚ The Congo, above us, has reported some cases, but each are pretty large countries. Technically, y’all in the US are closer to it than we are. The director here at Riverside is one of the people they would contact if something should come into Zambia or threaten us. Thank you for your concern though! πŸ˜€
      Have a lovely day!

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  2. -50 years of independence? sa-weet. here’s to 50 more years of progress and good fortune for Zambia and all Zambians
    -hey, if all i had was a cheap phone to snap pics with, i’d be hounding you with the big fancy camera too! is there any way to develop some of the photos over there so you can give ppl physical copies as keepsakes? ’cause that’d be awesome if you could
    really appreciate all the photos you post on faceybook. haven’t looked at all of them yet, but the ones i have are fantastic.
    -okay, so the demon possession thing is ineffably creepy. really makes you question the secular rational mindset we have over here in the States. that said, your observation about everything being labeled demon possession cracked me up–fainting spell? demon possession. coughing fit? demon possession. feeling a bit tired? THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU–aaaand also concerns me a bit, as i feel medical personnel should at least be called before any prayer warrior-ing starts getting set up.
    -gathering in the wheat! hey, legit farming! y’know, that thing almost every person did for a living before industrialization ;P does it make ya feel “closer to the earth”?
    -don’t feel bad about not posting for long periods of time. you’re busy, i’m busy, everyone’s busy, and it’s hard to find time to chronicle happenings in writing. just do what you can, us readers will like anything you give us. ^^

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    1. I cannot believe I haven’t responded back yet! I’m sorry 😦
      Love your feedback and input! Keep it coming (although like the last point, I can only imagine how busy you are… or will be since this is the last day of break)!
      For the photographs, I let people know that I can make photos available via Facebook or by the old-fashioned way of…. THE EMAIL *dun dun duuuuunnnnnn* If they want a copy in print, they have to pay for the printing – no one has taken me up on that yet. I have often wished for one of those old polaroid cameras in which they could get a photo immediately. Oh well.
      Yes, demon-possession is humorous in a way, but scary in others. It’s such a real thing here. Americans talking about football (the actual pigskin and not futbol, or soccer) is roughly the equivalent… minus the teams and such. Team Witchdoctor? Another thing that’s interesting with the whole medical aspect is that altough people like to go to clinics and such, get medications (okay, some just take all of the pills in one day and wonder why they’re still hurting the next *rolls eyes*), and the like, but in the end the pills sit on a shelf and they aim for more natural methods. mind=blown why even go to the clinic?? Oh well πŸ™‚
      Anywho, have a wonderful new semester and please try not to fry your brain too much….! ❀

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      1. -yeah, those old Polaroids really have an appeal for a lot of people in the digital age. wouldn’t mind one myself.
        -oh schnapps!! talking about football here–depending on your circle of friends–is close to talking about the weather in terms of sheer ubiquity. so demons must pop up in conversation all the time. er, figuratively. weird.
        -i promise it won’t fry! already this semester is looking to be a heck of lot easier than the last. still a lot of reading, but not as much writing. so that’s nice.

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