Tea with Neighbors

We have been in Lusaka for almost 18 months, and have not really met many of our neighbours.  During our 3rd month here, we bought some furniture from neighbours, and got to know them a bit, but they were moving away.  Our complex has 4 duplexes (8 flats) around a courtyard, with one entrance gate.  We smile and wave, as people come and go from our complex, but have not had any conversations.

IMG_1379 copyWith encouragement from friends, IMG_1386 copyI decided to invite the neighbour women for tea, and yesterday was the day!  I wrote out invitations (we do not own a printer), and asked the complex caretaker, Anania, to deliver an invitation to each flat.

Two of my neighbours responded and were happy for the IMG_1381 copyopportunity to get to know each other.  I set out extra plates and cups, just in case anyone showed up at the last minute, but the three of us enjoyed two hours of friendly threeneighbors copyconversation, ranging from our backgrounds and families, to work, to religion, crafts, shopping, travel, sports, and food.  We agreed that we wanted to meet again, next time hoping to include more neighbours and our families.

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Clouds and editing

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.    Ps 19:1-4

This is the middle of rainy season – I thought you’d like to see the view from one of our upstairs guest rooms (hint, hint – we have guest rooms!!) this afternoon. IMG_1274 copyYou can see the small government runway in the IMG_1278 copyforeground, and the compound, Kalingalinga, in the distance.   I carefully aimed the camera above the cement wall, electric fence, neighbour’s chicken coop, rooster, and laundry.

IMG_1275 copyIt has been difficult to upload pictures to this website, and then to publish my posts.  I was gently encouraged to consider resizing or changing the resolution or whatever, to make it easier for me (with our sketchy electricity and even sketchier internet!) to write the blog, as well as for anyone else to look at the pictures a bit more quickly.  As I’ve waded through our basic photo editing, it has reminded me of my need for resolution, to be re-sized, and to be re-centered!

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.   Ps 19:14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overheard at the Grocery Store

shoprite aisleA few weeks ago, while grocery shopping, nutellaI went to two different stores, and could not find flour in a regular-sized bag, or soy milk or Nutella (crucial, right?!).  Both stores told me that those items were “finished,” and suggested I try ShopRite – the biggest store around.  Wednesday evening, Tim and I went to the mall to ShopRite (and out to dinner – hurrah!), and found those items.  soy milkWhile in the soy milk aisle, I heard 3 stockers discussing that “There is nothing new under the sun.  I’m telling you,  nothing.  Not even ATMs!  Right, Mama?  (me)  That’s what Ecclesiastes said, and he knew – there is nothing new under the sun.”  (or words very close to those)  Cracked ECC 1v9me up – only in Zambia do you hear the Bible cited so readily, or have strangers drawn into the conversation!!

PS – I had the soy milk on my cereal the next morning, and thought it had a different taste, but it was a brand I had not tried before.  The next morning, the carton was all bulged out, even though it had been in our refrigerator – I hadn’t known that soy milk could ferment!  Yuck.  I’m back to regular milk and lactase tablets.

This Past Weekend Part 3

After our home visits on Sunday afternoon, we gathered together at the hospital.  Next on the program was a visit to a rural village for dinner.  We all loaded onto the hospital bus for the drive.  The pickup truck had already gone out to the village – our driver brought out the kitchen staff, all the food, tables, and the Tonga stools (from Saturday evening) early in the afternoon.  Our Spiritual Director, Pastor Harold, drove the bus for the rest of us.   IMG_1346 IMG_1360After about 40 minutes on paved roads (dodging minibuses, pedestrians, goats, broken-down vehicles, etc.), we had to park the bus, and be shuttled in to the village by the (4-wheel drive) truck.  The roads were muddy and potholed – worse than anything we ever saw in Vermont – even in the midst of Mud Season!

IMG_1352IMG_1362When we arrived, the villagers had already collected, and were singing and dancing. Reverend Na, who is married to our Spiritual Director, pastors a church near this village, and two or three choirs had gathered to entertain us.  They sang, accompanied by drummers, other adults listened, and the children were collected in one area on the grass and were clearly on their best behaviour!  In the picture above, left, Reverend Na is the woman on the right, translating a story being told by the woman on the left.

IMG_1350IMG_1356We had a feast – serving our visitors, the choirs, the villagers and then the children.  My favourite was sweet potatoes in peanut sauce – I want to try making it at home sometime – delicious!

This Past Weekend Part 2

IMG_1323

On Sunday, we took

IMG_1326our visitors to church.  We attended a UCZ (United Church of Zambia) near the hotel they where they stayed.  This denomination was formed by the first president of Zambia, after the country gained independence.  After a rest break and lunch, we went on home visits with them – to see patients & their families.  I went to a house in a section of Lusaka that is just south of the hospital.  We visited a little girl who had been treated for bilateral club foot.  You can just see her in the picture on the left.  She was all dressed up in a white dress and shoes.  We went into the house on the right, and sat in the living room with her parents and big sister.  The house was very neat and clean, and the family was obviously waiting for us.  There was a pot simmering on a brazier (charcoal cooker – think of a giant coffee can with holes in the sides, a fire in the bottom, and a pot resting on top) just outside the (curtain) door.

IMG_1329 Inside, there were two pots on a hotplate – clearly the only IMG_1324“kitchen” they had.  To the right, as I took the picture on the left was a small cinderblock building – the common pit latrine that about 20 households shared.  Based on the smell, on don’t think all the mud near our cars was only from the rain….

This family is so grateful to CURE for the free surgery that treated and fixed their daughter’s clubfeet.  She attends clinics for followup, still wears special shoes and a brace part of the time, but when we saw her, she was running around, walking normally.  What a blessing CURE is to so many little ones!  We are thankful to be part of the work that is going on in Zambia.  Please continue to pray for the hospital, and the families still to be helped – with surgery and through the Gospel.

This Past Weekend, Part 1

Wow – we have been busy! We had a large group of visitors at the hospital this past Saturday through Tues morning. Most of them were from a church in the US, and a few were from CURE headquarters. Anyway – we met them at the airport, and took them to the hotel to make sure their check-in went smoothly.

IMG_1307After lunch, we met them at the hospital, when we had tours, talks, and interviews with some patients.  On the left, you can see a young woman who has had multiple surgeries on her right arm, a mother with a baby with spin bifida and mild hydrocephalus, and a little girl with hydrocephalus.  All of them have had surgery, been treated and are in good health.  Pamela (on the left) is scheduled for more plastic surgery in several months, but she is happy to have use of her right hand, and she volunteers at the hospital in the Spiritual Department.

In the late afternoon there was a braai (cookout)IMG_1311 outdoors on the hospital grounds.  Our kitchen staff prepared lots of food – t-bone steaks, chicken and sausages, as well as eggplant, potato salad, roast potatoes, nshima, sautéed greens, etc.  After the visitors and staff ate, the guardians (mothers) came out to eat – you can see two mothers walking back to the Children’s Ward with their babies on their backs, on the left side of the picture.

After the braai, we each collected a Tonga stoolIMG_1318 and headed out to the bush behind the hospital.  Our Spiritual Director, Pastor Harold, is from the Tonga tribe, south of Lusaka.  He drove down the weekend earlier, and bought 29 of theses carved stools.  The decorative upright is carved so there is a carrying handle!  They are made out of a variety of wood – some were much heavier than others.  The edge design is from blackening them in the fire.  The seats are concave, to make for more comfortable seating.   We walked back to the undeveloped land where a place had been cleared in the bush, and wood collected, for a campfire with singing & stories & roasted maize (corn).  What a lovely ending to a busy day!

 

Valentine’s Day

I have been trying to decide if I should keep up this (random, occasional) blog, or if Tim and I should switch to email prayer/update letters.  I am hoping to post more frequent, shorter blogs.  Any feedback?

In an effort to start communicating more, I thought I’d post a few random experiences and pictures.  On Thursday, February 13, Pastor Harold (the hospital’s Spiritual Director) Timasked Tim if he would Lisspeak on “Marriage” at Friday morning’s chapel service, since it was Valentines Day.  Tim and I decided it would be more fun if both of us spoke, so I went in to the hospital on Friday morning for the 30 minute chapel time.

We started off with a wedding picture of us – from over 35 years ago.  There was a startled, “Ooohhh” from the staff, and then laughter.  wedding picI think it was difficult for them to make the connection between that young, dark-haired couple and us!  We had recently read an article on marriage on the internet, and we shamelessly borrowed some of the ideas, adding a short reminder of the Biblical description of Christ as the Groom and the Church as the Bride, our own emphasis, and experiences. Tim and I had a good time, got a few laughs, but truly, I think our cultural differences, and our age (!) made it a bit bewildering.  I pray that some of the practical advice we gave, as well as the reminder that marriage is about more than just the 2 people will help strengthen the marriages of the hospital staff.