Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: Team Time

The past three weeks held my first experience hosting a team here in Zambia and oh, the times we shared. There were 10 people here from California, most in their late teens or early twenties so it was great getting to know them and work with them. They were a great team and a huge encouragement to me personally, as times of late have been a bit on the discouraging side.

This past week we were able to meet with a local Rural Health Committee in our area consisting of five of the cutest old Zambian ladies ever. They do home visits to the many sick and vulnerable in our area. So I along with two girls from the team, one being a nurse, were able to come alongside them and join them. So on Thursday we had them select 8 homes that they thought were in the most need and we were able to go visit them and bring them a bag of Meali Meal (what they make the staple food out of) and a blanket. We had a blast with the ladies. I killed the battery on the truck midway through and so these five ladies and Alisha and Esther (from the team) had to the push the car as I attempted to start it. A feat I had never taken on nor conquered before. But after four tries the unthinkable happened and we actually got it started. I can’t believe I made five old ladies push start a land cruiser! But we were all quite proud of ourselves none the less!

It was challenging experience to see such heartbreaking need. Most of the families were widows who had taken in several orphans and the widows didn’t work or have much means to support their expanding families. One elderly woman was paralyzed from the waist down and has taken in several children. She would get herself around by dragging herself along the ground. The whole experience just seemed to reveal just the hopelessness that exists in this country and it’s hard to feel like there is nothing you can do to “fix” it. It just drives home that this country’s only hope is God and His salvation through Christ.

We were also able to visit an elderly woman several times in her home who was suffering from some severe back pain. The nurse from the team, Alisha, was able to teach her some stretches and give her several massages to help temporarily alleviate the pain. This was another situation were you just feel so helpless because you see someone in such pain and there is so little that can be done for them here.

On a lighter and perhaps more disturbing note…I ate a whole mouse! That’s right fur and all…it was cooked, don’t worry. It was actually not too bad, tasted like chicken. Although, lately I’ve found myself foaming at the mouth and have taken a craving to cheese and making holes in walls. I also managed to slip some dried caterpillars into the taco meet for dinner one night…I’m not sure if my shenanigans were appreciated by all. I suppose I should have warned them the dinner may contain traces of caterpillar for all those with severe insect allergies.

Then on Friday we invited a bunch of the people in our area over for an open house. So for the occasion we slaughtered a pig and two chickens and I had the privilege of slaughtering one of the chickens (as is the woman’s role here). It was a first for me…I’m thinking of opening a new business called: “Shannon’s Slaughter Shack!”

This Saturday is a sad day as I have to say goodbye to Stephanie and Susan who will be moving six hours south to work with another organization doing medical and midwifery work. I have lived with them for the last six months (and shared a humble hut with Steph) so it’s hard to see them go…and that leaves me as the lone single person here, but I’m excited for this opportunity they have. I will be traveling down with them this weekend to help them move and see where they will be living.

Our team is still going through some struggles and we are still very much in transition, topped with seeing two close friends leaving makes things a little discouraging for me personally at the moment. But there is still much to thankful for and with and for God I will press on.

So thanks for reading another verbose letter…I hope it finds you well. Check out my blog for pictures of events gone by, such as mouse eating and alike!



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