Monday, July 21, 2008

Welcome Family!

What's up with Ex-Peace Corps Volunteers?!?! My cousins Joel and Katherine, along with their darling little 2 1/2 year old baby Versellies arrived with my father in Zambia last week. We have had a wonderful week together and it would not have been nearly as adventurous sans cousins. Joel was especially interested in Zambian fare, so one evening we brought home some caterpillars from the market and some beer made from ground maize (CHEAP, fermented home-brew) called Chibuku Shake Shake. What a great name!

No, we did not let Versellies drink the Shake Shake, but she was a great little eater and even enjoyed nshima (the porridge-like staple food generally eaten twice a day in Zambia). I love this pic of my dad and I after trying the earthy-tasting caterpillars. They really arent't all that bad, we are just whimps.

We visited Chimfunci, the chimpanzee orphanage, which was just as fantastic as the first visit. They really are incredible creatures with so much personality.

Katherine is a secondary school teacher and was curious about the local education system, so we visited my friend Hamweenzu at a local basic school (Zambian version of elementary). The students are starved for materials and there are entirely too many little one's squished at each desk, but the teachers do an admirable job despite the challenges. My father was a physical education teacher, so was rather depressed to see that Hamweenzu has only 3 balls (that is ALL the equipment to which he has access) to use for more than 2300 kids' physical education.

On Sunday I preached in the bush and the visitors were treated as guests of honor-- seated at the front of the church behind me, the preacher. The children of the church were sitting on a grass mat at the front of the church when we entered, but they were "chased" to the back during the service. Just before I began to teach Reverend Chimfwembe and I invited the little one's back to the front to get their own short lesson and story.

The church is in a rural area and the congregation is made up of about 50 people, all very poor farmers, that looked fatigued and hungry. It was rather humbling to then go to a congregants home where a large traditional meal was prepared for my family. The generosity of the people I encounter constantly overwhelms me. Zambia is a place of philial love.


VPKM said...

I just wanted to say I enjoyed your blogs. I am a Zambian living in Canada and you have no idea how many blogs about life in Zambia annoy me. Most people seem to only want to blog about negativity and all the things they miss from home and how backward Zambia/Africa is. So it is very nice to read something from someone who writes it as it is. I know there are a lot of things wrong in my country but there is also a lot of beauty and hope. I miss home but I also appreciate that I have advantages here that I would not have back there. I will continue reading your blogs and once again, thank you so much for such a wonderful unbiased portrayal of my home.

Alissa Maxwell said...

I don't think I'll ever get over you in that collar! Not that it looks "wrong," just that it seems to give such a stiff look among the colors and lively faces of the Zambian people. Of course, I'm sure you are doing everything in your power to make sure the collar does not represent stiff or stern when you're wearing it! Love the pic of you and your dad trying new foods. =) Alissa

Emily said...

Carms- that last comment from vpkm is about as good as it gets! You indeed are such a fabulously vivid and wonderful writer, capturing the beauty and pain of life where you encounter both. So glad you enjoyed your time with family.