Sunday, August 17, 2014

Foundation Outreach International: The Zambia Project

As promised, I kept a journal during my time in Zambia! I didn't journal every day, and probably the thing I journaled about least were the classes themselves. But I figured the most important thing to share with everyone back home was the culture and the things I learned from the people there. So, here it is!

Thursday, July 24

En Route

I got to the Cincinnati airport at 7:30 yesterday morning, and won't arrive in Lusaka till somewhere around 11 tonight (local time).  My flights so far have taken me from Cincinnati to Detroit, where I met up with Courtney, to Amsterdam, where I am currently. We have a 4 hour layover here, and with the bright morning sunshine outside I don't even feel like it's 2 AM back home! I got a Dutch postcard and a Dutch banana (yep, no different from American bananas… probably because we both get bananas from Costa Rica…), and we took pictures with giant teacups. I'm really hoping to be able to leave the airport and see a little bit of the city on our way back home (when we have a  6 hour layover).

Next, it's off to Harare, Zimbabwe, and finally Lusaka, Zambia, where we will be picked up from the airport by the Bandas. I can't wait to meet them! Oh, and did I mention that Delta international flights are still awesome? I had wine, water, orange juice, and tea, and those were just the drinks. Didn't sleep at all, though. Might have to try and remedy that with a good nap on the next flight!

Yes, that is the man next to me's glasses in the corner of the picture. :)

 4,880 miles from Detroit to Lusaka. What a journey!

Side note, the woman sitting next to me was en route to Norway to kayak and backpack around the fjords for 10 days. That is getting added to the bucket list for sure.
A very cool restaurant in the Amsterdam airport!

Friday, July 25

The Preparation Day

The drive from the airport was the quickest part of the trip. It only took 20 or so minutes to get from the airport to the Bandas home. Most of the roads were well paved, and the only dirt part was the very last turn we made. They said, "now you know what it is like to be an African!" and were surprised when I said we had driven on dirt roads in the US. We got here at midnight last night, and slept till almost 9 this morning. We slept in one of their guest cottages, in a beautiful little room with 2 twin beds. She gave us fried eggs, rooibos tea, toast, oatmeal, yoghurt, pineapple juice, and baked beans for breakfast--such a spread that I didn't even get to try several of the options.

We met a young man who is living with them, Daniel, and also met one of their sons Rangana, who is 14. We also met a young woman who I assumed was their daughter, and I was very confused why she was not introduced to us by name. Later, I discovered that she was the Bandas maid, who has been helping the family for about a year. Rangana helped us this afternoon with sorting out some of our teaching supplies so that we will have everything we need for the classes. He also told us a bit about Zambian culture and asked us some questions about why American culture is the way it is. (How do you answer those sorts of questions?)

A minister and his assistant from Malawi also arrived today. It took them 2 days to get here by bus from Malawi, the same amount of time as it took us to get here from the United States. That is commitment! They are very friendly and talkative. They really enjoyed making fun of my t-shirt as well. I'm wearing a shirt I got in college with the name of a student group I'm involved in, the Student Dietetic Association. Those words are small though, and the big letters SDA are written across the top. Courtney was wearing a CYC shirt. They laughed and said, "so Courtney, you are in Cogwa, and Erica, you are a Seventh-Day Adventist!" I'm glad I got this shirt worn today instead of a teaching day! Apparently the Seventh Day Adventist church is very big here, so that could have been quite confusing for people who didn't read English well enough to read the words below the letters!

After sorting out our teaching supplies, we had a delicious lunch of cooked spinach, cooked kale, Zambian brown rice, curried meat, and nshima, which is one of their staple foods here. It is made from maize meal cooked into a porridge, and then thickened by adding even more meal and cooking it down until patties can be formed from it. In their kitchen, they have a large bin (that I thought was a trash can and almost threw onion skins into) of maize meal, and Mrs. Banda told me that Zambians who can afford to have 2 or 3 meals a day generally have nshima for 2 of the meals. Those that can only afford to have one meal, dinner, will eat nshima for dinner. They serve it many different ways--with gravies (which are really more of what we would call sauces), meat, vegetables, or really anything at all. It has a plain flavor that can go well with anything, and is very filling. I gather rice is also quite a staple here. The boys would completely cover their plates with it and put much of the other stuff right on top.

After lunch we went to a local shopping center, which they called a mall. There were quite a few shops, a few restaurants (one of which served ice cream cones, another pizza, and another Mexican food), a Shop n Save? grocery store (which Rangana told me was probably one of the only grocery stores in the country whose shelves were fully stocked), and a money exchange center where we got a few Kwachas. The exchange rate is 6.03, so the bottle of wine Courtney and I bought for the Bandas was 52 Kwacha. Rangana told us that the word Kwacha actually means "new day" (or something like that)--a very optimistic thing to call your local currency.

Courtney and Mrs. Banda then went to pick up the Horchaks from the airport, and dropped Rangana and I off near the dirt road to walk the rest of the way home with the groceries. After he showed me around their beautiful garden, where they grow lovely flowers as well as papayas, white onions, and guavas. I asked him if he would show me around the rest of their neighborhood down the street, and he seemed a bit uncomfortable and said that maybe we could wait until tomorrow when Courtney could come with us. He explained that in Zambia, when people see a woman and a man walking together, they assume something must be "going on", and if it is a white woman and a black man walking together, they assume he must have gotten her there by trickery. He had had a conversation in Nyanja with a woman selling tomatoes on the side of the road when we were walking back from the store, explaining to her that we were not dating. Apparently if a man is walking with 2 women, people will assume that something is going on with at least one of them, but at least it is slightly less awkward for him.

I asked if the women and men sit together at church here, and he said yes. Many places in Africa, and perhaps still in rural Zambia (which he said is at least 50% of the country), women are still considered inferior, and they must sometimes sit on the floor while the men sit in chairs, etc. Women in much of Africa, though not so much in Lusaka, where I saw most women wearing jeans, must wear long skirts. Mrs. Banda wore one over her jeans in the presence of the Malawian men, saying that it would be offensive for them if she did not. (Of course, I picked today to wear my bermuda shorts! But she assured me that it wouldn't offend them for me to wear them. I suppose I hope that's true!)

Then Mr. Horchak went with Mrs. Banda to pick up Mr. Banda from one of the properties they own, where I guess one of the tenants called about some trouble with the fence. (Everything is fenced here!) While they were gone, we had tea with Mrs. Horchak. What a fun lady!

For dinner, we had brown rice, a wonderfully seasoned prepared chicken, a prepared cut of beef, steamed vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, green beans, and small squashes), cooked pumpkin cubes, a cabbage and red pepper salad, cabernet, and a tomato sauce that I made. Mrs. Banda told me it was made just like in the States, but I don't know if I've ever made a tomato sauce without canned tomato sauce or paste, so I just made a kind of chunky curry in the frying pan with the olive oil, diced tomatoes, garlic, onions, salt, curry powder, and cayenne pepper that she gave me. She looked at it and kind of took a minute, laughed, and told me to add some water and crush the tomatoes so that it would actually be a sauce.

We had lovely conversation with the Bandas and the Horchaks at dinner, and then retired for the night. Courtney and I are both keeping detailed journals, trying not to forget anything that happens while we are here! Did I mention that she is awesome and adventurous, and we are going to bungee jump together over Victoria Falls??

Saturday, July 26

The Sabbath in Verino

I didn't sleep too well last night, waking up at what would have been 6:30 back home (12:30 here) and staying awake for 5 or 6 hours until I finally got back to sleep for another hour or two. I was starving for some reason, and dogs were fighting outside and a rooster (or at least I think it was a rooster?) was crowing pitifully all night. But once we got up and got the day started, I felt awake and wonderful and didn't get sleepy until halfway through Mr. Horchak's sermon. (;
We had Mrs. Banda's delicious oatmeal (which I discovered she just makes by cooking milk, water, salt, and oats on the stove for 15-20 minutes), toast, rooibos tea, and yoghurt for breakfast after getting ready for church, then left around 11 to get to the campground for noon services. We met lots of people before and after church, and saw lots of adorable kids!
I was absolutely amazed by the children we saw. They were so well behaved during church, and so quiet and self-sufficient after church. The older ones took care if the younger ones, and they amused themselves and each other in a way that American children don’t seem capable of! We even saw a 5 year old boy carrying his baby sister on his back in the sling, which is just a long, wide scarf tied tightly around the baby's behind, over one shoulder an under other of the carrier, and knotted in front. One mother we met showed us how to do it and told us that it is very soothing to the baby to be on the back, not to mention freeing up the mother's hands to do whatever she needs to do and making walking places much easier. It comforts them when they are crying so much so that she said getting them used to not being on the back is similar to another weaning from breastfeeding!

After services and some fellowship, we had a nice late lunch together. I've noticed that the people here are so much more thankful for their food than we are in the States. In every prayer that I've heard an African give over a meal so far, they always thank God for the food in comparison to how little so many have, and they ask God to give food to those in need. Mr. Chirwa was telling us during the meal, as we were eating our nshima, chicken, cabbage salad, and boiled potatoes, that in much of Africa, if there is not enough maize, then it is considered a famine, because that is such a staple that almost nothing is considered a meal without it. (By the way, I ate with my hands, like Tine showed me. Many of them will take bigger handfuls, mash it up together in their fists, and then eat it, but I just used my fingers the way she did. I suppose she is mire Americanized after living there for several years, but when I did things the way she did, I felt like I was at least getting closer to doing the African way.
We headed home at close to 5, and relaxed until sunset, doing a bit of discussion on how the classes would go. Then, Mr. Horchak and Mr. Banda took Courtney and I to another mall to change a bit more money, shop a bit more, and get the ingredients to make a few small pizzas for a late dinner. We ate slices of pizza with red wine in the kitchen, as Mrs. Banda was in her room resting. Then we watched a bit of BBC news with Mr. Banda and Mr. Horchak and headed to bed.
I'm pretty nervous about the classes this week, to be honest! I know people expect a lot, and I just don't have any experience with teaching adults or with teaching English, let alone to people who don't already speak it. I am excited, of course! Just really nervous, too. We head to the campground tomorrow morning, and we'll start with the mixer games after lunch (most likely).

Sunday, July 27

The First Day of Teaching

Sermonette: Mr. Horchak
Ephesians 5:1-2 

Today was our first day of classes. We got ready and packed up in the morning, then waited for several hours for the Bandas and the truck that was carrying all our supplies to be ready. After a breakfast of oatmeal and toast and fruit, we finally set out. We got everything set up at the campground and finally started teaching around 11 with mixer games and easy sentence stem introductions. After lunch, we taught the vocab from the first hymn with some games afterwards to review the words.


Monday, July 28

Class Day 2

Sermonette: Mr. Salawila
Jeremiah 17:9



Tuesday, July 29

Class Day 3

Special music. Mr. Salawila and Mr. Chirwa ("Do the Work")
Sermonette: Mr. Banda
Why do we have English classes?
Matthew 24:4, 11 "Many" means lots of people--even in the Church! If you don't understand the English language, how will you know if there is a doctrinal change? How will you know if you are being misled? If you depend on one minister (Mr. Banda), it would be very easy for you to be deceived! Take the opportunity to learn for yourself.
Made the oatmeal porridge this morning! Also dropped half a pan of rolls into the dust. What a sad start to the day! I felt terrible. They cut off the tops of the some and the bottoms of others and gave them to the kids.
Speaking of which, I have fallen in love with the kids. I spent last night and tonight between class and dinner just playing with them… football, ring around the rosy, spinning, tickling… who needs language in common when you're kids and you're adorable?

Most nights we have watched movies; the Life series and others have been much enjoyed. Our projector stopped working halfway through our morning class today, though, so we had to skip the movie tonight. Instead, we talked around the fire, and they asked us lots of questions about America, especially about houses and flats, farming in America, families in America, and hair. It was a great conversation! We talked about how common polygamy is in Zambia, and that most people outside the church get married by 14 or 16 because that is the age when they finish school and cannot work on their parents' farms any longer. Then all that they can do is get married and have children to help them work on their own farm. Most people have more than 5 children for that reason. Some women will have 15 children! Others will marry lots of wives to have more children. But they said the divorce rate here is still quite high. Most people are farmers, and the most common crops are maize and cotton.
In regards to the discussion on hair, I thought it was interesting that they said weaves were so popular here in Zambia. It seems like most people are not rich, and they don't wear makeup or bathe often or have very many nice clothes, so I was surprised they would really care so much about hair. There are no mirrors in the bath houses at camp, and I have no idea what I've been walking around looking like (which is kinda nice), but I guess I thought that meant that the women wouldn't care about their appearances. But I suppose that's kind of a universal thing after all.

Wednesday, July 30

Class Day 4

Special music: The group from Nalubanda

Sermonette: Mr. Chirwa
Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep, the church. But He didn't say what kind of food to feed them with.
We are being fed in order to stay the course of righteousness.
Our hearts are deceitful. In order for us to get away from our deceitful hearts and stay the course of righteousness, we must be a sponge learning God's word! Let us drink in as much as the Church, our mother, feeds us, because it is fed to us by inspiration of God.
1 Thessalonians 5:10
1 John 1:9

The food has been so abundant here, it is like a thanksgiving feast every meal!

Thursday, July 31

Last Day of Classes

Sermonette: Mr. Momba
2 Timothy 1:6
He didn't give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of courage.
We can only learn and surge ahead if we first of all drive away shyness and fear. Fear is coupled with the way you think and feel. If you are afraid, you feel timid and unable to do something, but with that kind of feeling and thinking, we stop trying! Self-confidence is the key. It is the spirit that God gave to us.
Early this morning, Brenda came to my tent to wake me up so we could go for a jog as the sun rose. We went up the dirt path toward the road, passing charred fields caked in mist (which I learned is done here to promote new green grass growth for the cattle). She said she likes to jog often, but I noticed as we went along that she still wore her same flip flop sandals! I asked her what size she wore, and she said 6, but when she put her foot up to mine it looked like the same size as mine or bigger (I wear 8.5). Maybe she meant that was what size sandals she has and she doesn’t realize how poorly they fit? But I told her I would leave my tennis shoes with Mrs. Banda to bring her next Sabbath after we've gone. Her husband has been unemployed for 2 years, and they get a small assistance from the government--very small--and some help from the Bandas with money. It's very very tight, since they have 5 children to feed and no income to do it with. Shoes are a completely unnecessary luxury compared to food.
In class today, we reviewed everything we had learned and went over questions about any other words from the hymns we covered. We ended with speeches where they each wrote either on their own or with the help of sentence stems a story about themselves--how they had come into the church, their life story, or just a short description of themselves. After they gave their speech, we let them pick a book from the suitcase to take home for themselves and their family. Here are just a few of the speeches:

We gave the kids books today after the adults had taken what they wanted. They were so excited! It was such a special thing to see. :)

Friday, August 1

Back to Lusaka

We got up and packed our things, had a quick breakfast, and got ready to leave the campground. The goodbyes were so sad to say! I helped Brenda write a letter to Charlene and Jennifer, and then the bus came for the Mapoko members (the Nalubanda members left last night.) Karen gave us a big, beautiful pumpkin from her garden, and we gave her all the leftover food for her family (since Karen and Conard's and Darius and Rachel's families live in the house on the church property).

When we got home, we asked the maid to do some laundry and then went to the mall with Rangana and Silvestor (from Verino who already knows English--not the same Silvestor from the English classes). We spent awhile at the very American-seeming mall, containing a FoodCo (Walmart's African branch) and several American chain stores and restaurants alongside African and Zambian ones. I got a zebra patterned salt and pepper shaker set (though, here, it would just be salt and salt, I've noticed!) and a set of giraffe salad tongs at an African-made store, but we were quickly bored--it was too much like a mall back home. So, we walked to another mall where Silvestor thought a market would be going on outside. The market just happens on Saturdays and Sundays, though, so we went instead to look at a health food store that I was interested in, and then to buy groceries for Friday night dinner. I wish we could have gone to the Agricultural Show instead--I am told it is an annual thing and just about everyone from Lusaka goes. It is opened every year by the president of Zambia--this is the 88th year and the first year ever for that tradition to be broken, since the president is sick (or vacationing, or busy, as his media claims). Anyway, sad to miss the show, but I guess the guys weren't interested in going.

On the way home, we dropped off Silvestor (he lives in a "flat" right behind the first mall we went to--got a nice place in a nice location, I understand, while he had a job working IT for the government, but now that he is out of a job it's becoming very difficult to pay the rent). We then stopped at a produce stand on the side of the road to get a paw-paw (papaya) and some roasted maize on the cob as a snack. When we got home, our clothes were on the line and the maid had left for the day. We started making dinner of chips (French fries--did I mention that they fry literally everything here?), braii steak and chicken (barbecued), cabbage salad, boiled pumpkin, broccoli, cauliflower, and beetroot, rice, tomato gravy (sauce), and nshima, (which no one had room to eat). We congratulated Daniel on having passed his exams (he just received the scores this week) and did the dishes for Mrs. Banda and were in bed by 8.

Saturday, August 2

Sabbath in Nalubanda

We're on our way to the church in Nalubanda. We left at 7:15 and it's now 11:00, but we've only gotten about an hour closer to our destination. First, we took a side trip to the Bandas' farm to get something fixed in the car. The fuel was leaking, so one if their employees there fixed that and sent us on our way. We drove a little further (through downtown Lusaka, past the city markets, past the homes of the president and vice president, and then past the embassies) and the car's brakes were sounding bad, so we stopped at a little garage on the side of the road, beside a Hallal restaurant and a store, and Mr. Banda had the car worked on again there while Courtney, Mrs. Banda, and I stood/sat/got whistled and honked at by bus drivers on the side of the very dusty road. Then we drove a bit further and stopped at a filling station. We were supposed to meet Mr. Momba in Mumbwe at 9:30 and be at church by 11 for services at noon… but, as Mr. Banda says, "This is Africa."

After finally meeting Mr. Momba with his bus (van) driver in the town of Mumbwe, we parked the car (after some time--restroom stops, apple-getting, washing, and eating, and trying to find one another) and piled into the "bus." A few turns later, we hit the dusty dirt road, and even with the broken rear window completely duct taped over and all the windows closed, we were still coughing because of the dust. Courtney and I used the scarves Mrs. Banda lent us to cover our noses and mouths as well as our hair to keep it clean, and we trucked out the 35 or so kilometers on the dirt road to the village, arriving at about 2:15 (or 14:15 as they say here) in the village.

The landscape of Africa is like the dry grasslands of the states. Some different trees, but same idea. I've seen several baobabs and lots of palm trees along with the deciduous and a few of those Lion King trees that I always associated with Africa before coming here. (I still haven't figured out what they are called!) the buildings are all brick and/or mud or some kind of thick plaster-like material that I have yet to figure out. The roofs are made of thatch, a thick, long grassy plant that they place atop a wooden frame on the mud village houses, or tin (bigger buildings or ones in the city), which apparently makes for a deafening noise in the rainy season. In the village of Nalubanda, and along the sides of the roads along the way, we saw many of the traditional circular mud hut (bricks caked with mud outside and inside) with thatched roofs. These houses take 2-3 months to build, and most families have several small ones for various family members and/or various tasks.
It seems Zambia's technology, especially in the rural areas, has advanced very differently than the developed world. They mostly skipped the whole home phone phase, jumping right into smartphones. The village doesn't have power lines directed to it, but instead people run TVs, radios, boom boxes, cell phone chargers, and other things off of solar power. What an odd life it seems to me as an American: cooking nshima on coals while watching the BBC. (Just to clarify, normally, the kitchen is a separate, open-air mud hut building, and I didn't actually see anyone who had a TV in their kitchen. It's just the idea of the possibility.) Washing clothes in a bucket while talking on a cell phone. Riding a motorbike to get more thatch for the roof of your house.

In the town of Nalubanda, we learned that there are only 62 adults. How many people total? I wanted to know. I had to check Mr. Mooya's answer with Mrs. Momba to make sure he had understood my question correctly. He had. Including babies and children? About 200.

Our members who live in this little town include the Mooyas and the Mombas. Mr. and Mrs. Mooya grow cotton and keep chickens and goats. They had about 20 big bags of cotton next to the house to be sold. They don't keep any of the cotton for themselves, but sell all of it in town for about 300 kwacha per bag (about $50). Mr. and Mrs. Apron Momba grow some maize and have cattle and chickens. Their son (Venus) and daughter in law also grow maize and keep cattle and chickens. Altogether, the family has some 59 cattle, a few cows for milking and most for slaughter. They keep the cattle on their property during the rainy season when the grass here is good, but during the hot and cold dry seasons (April-October I believe), they herd them down along the roadside some 15 kilometers to the Kifue River for better feeding.

After a wonderful sermon by Mr. Jerry Shachonga, Venus took us for a tour of the village (including his home, his parents' home, the Mooyas' home, and the village head man's house. and we ate a delicious late lunch provided by Mrs. Grace Momba of lechwe (a type of antelope), rice, potatoes, pumpkin, cabbage salad, and nshima.

The drive home in the dark was much less eventful, and we arrived back at the Bandas' home around 9:30 pm with Austin Momba, who goes to college in Lusaka, in tow. A long but wonderful day!

Sunday, August 3

Victoria Falls

A 1 hour flight to the beautiful (and tiny) Livingstone airport was followed by a 40 minute wait for Bervin and Zere Momba to pick us up. They drove us to our guest house, which hadn't been cleaned yet from the previous visitor, and then to their home. They live in a very nice Western-style duplex with a big kitchen. There are no other Church members for them to meet with in Livingstone--the closest churches are each 5 hours' drive away (or 7 or 8 hours bus ride)--so they hold services every Sabbath in their living room using CDs of sermons that Mr. Banda sends them. I was supposed to bring 2 CDs from him to them on this trip, but completely forgot and left them back in Lusaka! Funny thing is, their next-door neighbor is a Pentacostal pastor, and hold church services for hours every Sunday and Thursday night in his home. We had the opportunity to hear them for a few hours yelling in "tongues", screaming repeatedly at the Devil, etc. it was quite terrifying to say the least. Thankfully during that time we also had a really cute new baby to distract us. Zere just had a beautiful baby girl 3 weeks ago, and her mother is staying with her for the time being to help out.

We waited for a while to have "second breakfast" of corn flakes, fried eggs, beans, turkey sausage, and toast with them around noon, and then Bervin took us out. He showed us around 2 beautiful hotels with gorgeous views of the river, and then took us to the falls, where we excitedly began our hike. We made sure to cover every square inch of the trail around the falls, taking in every gorgeous view (and getting very, very wet!). I think I was expecting something reminiscent of Niagra Falls, which I think is an incredible sight. But this was like nothing I ever imagined! It was huge, and incredibly powerful, and did I mention huge?


After hiking all around the falls, we hiked down a trail called the "Boiling Pot" to see this nifty little doo-hickey. We watched someone bungee jump off the bridge and looked at each other with wide eyes. I was suddenly glad that Mr. Horchak had forbidden the bungee, especially when we met a man who said he helped run it and was trying to get us to come with him and do it... this guy was definitely either a bit cuckoo or had had too much to drink.

Finally, we went across the bridge over the Zambezi that connects Zambia and Zimbabwe. The bridge itself is "no-man's land" because neither country owns it, so we had to get cleared to leave Zambia at one border crossing, then head off across the bridge and continue a ways before we crossed into Zimbabwe. We were expecting Bervin to come pick us up soon (it was just about 18 hours, when the park was closing), so we didn't get our passports stamped in Zimbabwe, but felt content with having crossed past the "Welcome to Zimbabwe" sign!

Bervin picked us up when we got back to the park entrance. On the way home, we stopped by the side of the road, where 3 elephants were peacefully grazing! We then went back with him to have a delicious dinner with the family. Courtney wasn't feeling well (I was kicking myself for not making us get raincoats), so we left early to get to our guest house for a good night's sleep.

Monday, August 4

Victoria Falls Part 2

We started with a breakfast of eggs and toast (and lots of tea, since we were both feeling under the weather) from the guest house, then walked to the Livingstone museum (which was a really neat place, but wasn't the "cultural center" where we thought we were going). When we finished at the museum, we decided to catch a taxi and get the driver to take us to wherever the "real" cultural center was, that Mrs. Banda had been telling us we had to go to. He took us to a group of 3 large buildings, built to look like mud huts. Since no one else was in the parking lot, we asked if it was open. We had heard this was a great place to get souvenirs, so we asked the taxi driver to find out specifically if the shopping was open. He got out of the car and came back quickly with a woman, telling us that yes, they were open, and yes, we could get out. So, for some reason, we decided to get out and pay him and let him leave. Then the lady took us inside. The building was an empty stage surrounded by empty seats. "In the afternoon, there will be traditional dancers here," she told us, and explained that no one was here now but we should come back in the afternoon to see the dancers. They also had a restaurant outside that would be open later out by the outdoor stages. We looked at each other in consternation, and went outside to find that the taxi was long gone. So, we called Bervin.

We really wanted to go on a safari or some kind of animal tour before we had to leave at 17 hours, but nothing was running at the right time for us to go. Finally, we ended up at the helicopter place that Rangana and Mrs. Banda had told us about, and Courtney, out of the goodness of her heart, paid for Bervin and I so that all 3 of us could go on a half hour tour above and through the falls, and around the park that surrounded it. It was an incredible flight! We not only flew through all the chasms of the falls, sometimes practically skimming the water, but also saw a crocodile, several hippos, a few giraffes, some zebras, a herd of buffalo, a herd of elephants, and some impalas.

On the way back to Bervin's home, we stopped by a market, so that Courtney and I could do the last thing on our to-do list for Livingstone: get souvenirs. I bartered for a painting, a pair of giraffe earrings, a copper bracelet, and a set of coasters. Among Courtney's finds was a super awesome home-made radio!

When we got back to Bervin's we had a late lunch and then headed off to the airport. Another sad goodbye, and we were off back to Lusaka and to our "mama."

Tuesday, August 4

Out of Africa

Our last day! The saddest part of it to me was when Rangana asked why we weren't excited to go home. The Zambians all made it sound like it was such a sacrifice for us to be there in Zambia, like we were really missing all the creature comforts of home. I will say, I did miss brushing my teeth with tap water and not having to buy a bottle every time I was thirsty. But honestly? Not being able to use the internet or my cell phone was such an appreciated break to me. And I was learning patience: things just take more time, and you have to be okay with waiting. You appreciate things working so much more when they don't usually work and so you don't expect them to. You can't expect car repairs to be quick or queues to be short. You don't get upset when someone cuts you off in traffic. You take the time to ask others how they are and really listen to the answer. You always pray for those who are more in need than you are, especially the hungry. You appreciate what you have, because so many people don't. You want to improve your quality of life because you know it can be done, but you are at peace exactly where you are.

We visited Mrs. Banda's hospital in Lusaka, where I got contact information from the people in charge of the HIV/AIDS department and the oncology department, where I could volunteer in a couple of years. She then took us to a few markets and shops so she could buy some cookies for Tine's book launching and we could buy her some clothes and groceries with the kwacha we had left over. That evening, the power went out, and Rangana, Daniel, Courtney, and I played a makeshift version or cricket with a flashlight before dinner.

Our flight wasn't until midnight, so we dallied for a few hours after dinner, then all 6 of us piled into the Bandas car for the ride to the airport. The systems were down at the airport, so we waited with our bags and passports for several hours while they did everything manually. The flight was delayed about 2 hours, and we all felt like cheering by the time we all were on the plane and the gate was closed. An appropriate end to our stay in Zambia, perhaps? But I wouldn't have been upset if they had said instead, "sorry, no flights are leaving here. Just go ahead back home," and I'd have gone back to "my" bed at the Bandas and gone right to sleep and woken up to oatmeal and rooibos tea and the warmest, kindest people in the world.


  1. Thanks for sharing and giving us such a personal view of our brethren over there. Thanks to both of you for your ambassadorship and service.

  2. Thanks for taking us along on your trip!