Thursday, September 27, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: Snake Holder…

The days roll forth with their every steady timing and it seems that October is just a hop, skip, and four days away. As many of you are embracing the new found days of fall here in Zambia my long john and sweater days are far behind me (although not Christmas sweater days…I will wear a good Christmas sweater no matter what the temperature if one can be found, perhaps it’s called “sweater” for a reason) as summer sets in here. I have been warned endlessly that October will be the hottest month, so come Monday I’m expecting something big, real big…and hot. I have also been told by several Zambians that on October 24th, which is Zambian Independence Day, the rains will come…always on October 24th. So needless to say my expectations for the month are pretty high.

I have been back to Kasupe several times to continue with the choir, bible study, and guitar lessons. I have also spent time walking around visiting people including several widows in the area that I have come to know. These are probably some of my favorite times here in Africa, just being able to walk the dusty roads removed from city life and visit with people, and it’s probably something I will miss the most going back home where I assume it won’t be kosher to spend an hour talking to someone while at work. Or just showing up on peoples doorsteps…although I may keep that up, so watch out! I have been visiting one elderly man who recently lost his wife (the woman I wrote about in previous emails), Mr. Chilenge, who yesterday asked me if I told people back in Canada about the people I met here and if I would tell you about him. I said yes. Mr. Chilenge lives in a small house in Kasupe and desperately misses his wife of 47 years. His own body is failing him as he has been ill recently, I think partly the result of a broken heart. He also misses his wife’s cooking as he made a comment that his son “just isn’t able to prepare things like she did!” You can see the weariness in his eyes as life on this earth becomes so cumbersome. We spent time talking about Jesus, Heaven, and praying.

Coming back to the farm and Kasupe now that I don’t live there has opened my eyes how much I unknowingly invested my heart there with all the relationships I’ve made. And coming back and having all these kids from all over the area shouting my name and waving, it somewhat overwhelms me. It makes me think that maybe all the time I thought I wasn’t doing anything and was “wasted” may not have been.

Life in the city is going well, I’m all settled into the new place with my new friend cockroaches. We have a good time. It’s great to be closer to everyone on the team. Life goes on as normal…if you consider finding cobra’s eating frogs in your yard as normal. Swift action was taken to defuse the situation. Here I thought that I was getting away from all this by moving into the city, but instead there are more things living here inside and out than I ever saw at the farm.

Speaking of snakes, which just happen to be a high ranking fear of mine, I did something most daring in nature this past weekend. I held in my hot little hands the cold blooded stylings of a python. Yes, I held a snake. It was a highly supervised affair. I believe I am now in high contention to be Steve Irwin’s successor. I was thinking instead of Crocodile Hunter I could be “Shannon Storey: Snake Holder…But Then Get’s Kind Of Freaked Out and Has to Put it Down.” I think it’s catchy. I will post the pictures on the blog as soon as I get them.

And that’s been a recount of day gone by. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say I think you are awesome! Even if some of you who are reading this I have never met…I’m pretty sure that when we meet I’ll think you’re awesome. Thank you so much for your prayers and support…it’s what gets me through. All the best wherever this finds you. And please go out and enjoy the fall colours for me.



“We love because he first loved us.” ~ 1 John 4:19

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: City Dwellings

As the ides of September have come and gone I write you from my new city dwellings. This past week I relocated all my belongings to a new abode which is located more in the city of Lusaka than where I was at the farm which was about 20km outside of town and took anywhere from 15-30 minutes to get to, depending on the road and what large truck decides to pull out in front of you and go at idling speed all the way…not that that has ever happened, it’s just hypothetical.

So the new place is a small, small, house on the property of a bigger house where a family on our team, the Allens, currently reside. So it’s nice in that I have my own space yet I’m not totally isolated either. Not only do I have the Allen family to keep me company but it seems a plethora of cockroaches and spiders. Last night I killed four cockroaches and two big spiders in the span of about half an hour. My method of operation was a can of “killing” spray which I realized a little two late was probably the wrong method in an enclosed space as I felt a little light headed the rest of the evening.

So moving has been a big part of my week here. Those pack-elephants just don’t move as fast as one would desire.

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to record the choir from the church by the farm of which some good friends are a part of. They sounded great although insisted on using this cheap keyboard complete with drum loop to play along with their singing on distorted speakers and they wanted that to be recorded with them. I loved the sound of them just a cappella so we recorded each song a couple times with the keyboard and then I made them sing it a cappella. They are coming again next week to finish up. They wrote all the songs themselves which is quite amazing! Now is the tedious process of editing it all. I’ll post some clips on the blog when I get a chance.

I had a good time with the kids at Chisomo again on Tuesday. They are also great singers so I’m setting up a time to record them as well. Guitar teaching is going well. Tomorrow I’m giving the “string changing” lesson as one broke the other day…most likely from all the killer 80’s solos I’ve been teaching.

On Saturday I had the youth from my church trek out to the farm to play soccer and some games. It was a typical Zambian event of meeting at 1pm, which actually meant 1:30pm, leaving for the farm at 2pm. Finally getting there at 3pm after picking people up. The original plan was to leave at 3:30pm or 4pm but ended up leaving at 5:30pm and by the time I had dropped everyone off and gotten lost in the process and back home it was about 7pm. But a good time none the less.

This afternoon I had a meeting with the Kasupe Rural Health Committee of which I am honoured to now be a member of. The topic of discussion was getting mosquito nets to distribute to the hundreds of needy people in the area as well as bags of lime which is used to sanitize the pit latrines. If you recall from previous writings and blogings this is the committee of elderly women who I made push a Landcruiser when I killed the battery on our home visits…and they still allow me on the committee!

For all of you in Abbotsford I hope you partook in the feastings at the annual MCC Sale, an event like none other. I can’t believe I missed it…and all that fine Mennonite cuisine and quilting. I think I shall attempt to make some Portzelky. There’s nothing like drowning your sorrows in fried dough, am I right!?

Mit herzlichen Grüßen,


“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.…He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls”

~ 1 Peter 2:2; 24-25

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: Seventh Inning Stretch

I hope you all had joyous Labour Day. I now certainly hope not to see any of you in a photograph wearing white. How appalling. That no white after Labour Day thing is a good rule of thumb for here, except everyday should be Labour Day because if you wear white you are asking for trouble. You’ll get a solid 10 seconds in your best whites before you look like a McDonalds swirl ice-cream cone of white and brown. Especially if you are 3 years old. I am not…but I have a young friend, Payton, who is. This Sunday he was wearing a brand new white shirt his grandma gave him for his birthday. As we were walking into church Elise, his mom, says to me, “so how long do you think that shirts gonna last?” Literally, thirty seconds later Payton is face down in the dirt.

I’ve been here approximately seven months now and it seems that the novelty of being in Africa is finally wearing off. Don’t get me wrong, I still love this place but all of the sudden one (being me) realizes that this is life. The things that used to be quirkily amusing now seem more annoying than amusing. Such as the street lights (which are called “robots” here…no, they are not electronic men/women, they are just like home) at major intersections that have been not working for the past 5 months and so it’s just a free for all to get through. For some reason it seems the four way stop procedure does not take effect here. Then there is the realization that the problems and pain in this country are far deeper than you could imagine and the overwhelming helplessness and exhaustion that brings. But then there is the upside to this seventh inning stretch, such as I’ve made some great relationships here, I’m getting a new perspective on life and what it is to be a follower of Jesus, and realizing maybe we in the West are not as lucky as we think we are.

The schools are just coming back into session now so this past week was again more quiet than usual. I had a good time at Chisomo on Tuesday doing a Bible study with about 25 youth. I have a couple new guitar students. The problem is that guitars are ridiculously expensive here so we learn on an extra one here at the farm.

Wednesday youth Bible study here at the farm continues to go well. It’s a small group but I think I prefer that because I seems to free everyone up to really ask some good questions and think about what we are talking about. One guy, Fisher, told me that the next day he goes and teaches the things he learns here with a group of his friends which was so encouraging to hear.

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to experience a Zambian “Kitchen Party”. This is something similar to a bridal shower. So it’s a little ladies gathering for the bride who is getting married and the event is geared at stalking up the bathroom. Actually, no, you may have deduced from the name that all the gifts are meant for the kitchen! So the bride comes in covered under a cloth being led in with her family in what looks kinda of like an African conga line…perhaps it could be a “Congo” line. Haha. Then they do a little dance. And the bride takes a seat in the front and has look down the whole time and look sad. There is a whole spread of food and plenty o’ dancing. The ring leader of the party kept looking at Elise and I and saying in Bemba that they were going to make the “Mzungu’s” dance. I broke out into a cold sweat and conveniently looked occupied and refused to make eye contact with the woman…I think she could smell my fear. The last time I tried the traditional dancing I think I dislocated a hip. They say that if I practiced I could do it…I would rather be able to walk.

Here’s the latest on what I’ve ingested. I went with a Zambian friend, Daliso, to this sketchy market place to eat what is called “set.” What it is is nshima (the thick porridge-like substance that is the staple here) served with a chicken head, chicken feet, chicken liver, and chicken intestine. What a treat! So I ate it all. It didn’t taste bad, it didn’t really taste like a whole lot. I ate the eyes and brains and all. Daliso said I could use another set of both. My mom would probably agree with this statement since I am enthusiastically eating this stuff. You can check out pictures on my blog:

Tonight I was driving home with Susan, who is back visiting from Sinazongwe for the week, and we drove over a snake. We were told that it’s not a good idea to drive over snakes because they can attach to the bottom of you car, get up under the hood, and slither into the car. We didn’t mean to run it over but she didn’t see it and only I did before it was too late. So we freaked out. Susan was driving and I was in the fetal position for the rest of the ride home. I don’t like snakes. But I would probably eat one.

We’ve made it through seven months! Thanks for taking on this adventure with me as we press on. I hope this letter finds you well. Feel free to drop me a line or seventy about what’s going on in your life…even some pictures…but remember I better not see anyone in white now. (Actually, I think that rule is ridiculous…I’m gonna wear nothing but white!)

Love from Lusaka,


“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” ~John 4:13-14