Friday, November 30, 2007

Orientation in Zambia

We have now completed our time of orientation to life in Africa, and we're alive to tell about it!!

To learn about Africa and what rings true in the hearts of Africans, we spent one month in Zambia as a part of an orientation program. For 2 weeks we lived at a seminary in Lusaka (capital city) taking day trips into various parts of the city to talk with local people. We learned about everything from clinics to traditional healers, funerals to naming ceremonies. One highlight of our Lusaka time was Michael scoring a goal while playing soccer with the boys in the neighborhood.... USA USA... complete fluke.

We then traveled out into the bush and lived for 10 days in tents, where we slept to the [less than] gentle sounds of screaming bush babies, howling wild dogs, and more insects than you can find in your local zoo. We only directly encountered one snake, a few rats, numerous scorpions, three dogs, a puppy (which made our tent door his bed), goats, cattle, and many wild pigs (one of which now resides in our stomachs).

After the tent time came the highlight of our stay in Zambia: 3 days/nights living in a grass-roof hut with a family in a village. These 3 days were truly a blessing as we lived as the Africans live and learned so much to respect and empathize with. While Joe Joe cooked okra, stirred nshima, and drew water from the well, Michael chopped down trees, hoisted water for the garden, and wrestled crocodiles (would you believe 2 out of 3?). Each of the 3 days we went to see and show respect to the headwoman of the village. A lesson in leadership: the first time we met the headwoman she was sitting on the ground cracking peanuts (known as groundnuts here, one of the main crops in this area) by hand. There's not a more menial task in the whole village, and here was the most important and powerful person in the village de-shelling peanuts. If only every leader had an attitude like that.

Nyanja word for the day (1 of 72 languages in Zambia): Zikomo means 'thank you'.


Kevin Eby said...

I Nyanja that you want to be a nut sheller and respect your elders. God Nyanja that, too.

I Nyanja that picture of Joe Joe with the children, I'm sure that they Nyanja her.


Michael & Joe Joe said...

Hmmmm... I think we have a bit of a reversal. Nyanja is the language of Central Zambia, Zikomo is the word for "thank you" in Nyanja. :) Thanks Kevin!