Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Week Two

Afrikan Adventure: Settling in

It has been a fortnight (also known as two weeks) that I have spent here in the heart of Sub Saharan Africa. Things are going well and I am lovin' life in Zambia! It has been a bit of an adjustment to slow down the pace of life a bit. Everything around here seems to take a little longer than it did back home and it's interesting to adjust to a very task/time oriented culture to a culture that is more relational and less concerned with getting things done. I felt that the year leading up to me leaving was a big lesson in being patient and now I see why! A case in point: on Monday I went down to immigration to get my work permit with the help of one of the guys from our team who deals with this stuff and knows what to do...good thing cause I would have been completely lost and probably ended up in the fetal position in the middle of the floor. We first had to go to this little room where our file was kept. The filing system was quite complex. Basically it was just stack upon stack of file folders stacked all over the room in a seemingly random-like fashion. Upon retrieving it they handed me the work permit (looks like a passport book) to make sure the info on it was correct. I noticed that my birthday was wrong and so I told them and immediately thought that that may have not been the best idea as I feared they would not let me take it that day and make me come back another day. They took the permit and left the room, then came back, helped a couple other people, talked on the phone, finally came back to me, made me follow this guy up to another storey of the building into another little room where a woman finally could change the date and then back down to the first little room. Then back up to another room where we had to get them stamped or something like that. I gave mine to Luke, another new guy here, who eventually basically had to physically section off a piece of the desk so he could get served. All in all in took a good couple hours. But I got my work permit and therefore I can stay in the country!!

Orientation continues to go well and we are making good progress and due to an accelerated pace we should be done by next week. The couple who is teaching it is leaving for the states for a few months so we are trying to get done before they go. Yesterday I had a true cultural experience of attending the Tuesday Veggie Market where all these little stands (or actually just on the ground) cram into this one area and you can get all these fresh fruits and vegetables. The place is packed out with people so you can barely walk and each vendor has a little scale and you tell them how much you want in Kilograms and they weigh it out for you. Most can pretty much get it right on by feel. A pretty cool experience.

There are certain times here that I have really felt I am in Africa. A few examples...
1. we bought our bread from a casino...and it was shaped like a crocodile
2. you stop in the middle of the street to buy a newspaper
3. at major intersections guys come up to your car to try and sell you stuff from nail clippers to fruit. My favorite item, however, are the real live puppies they try and sell.
4. the driving here is insane, all rules of the road go out the's no holds bar...although I often wish I had some kind of bar to hold on to!

In other news...I am hopefully going to be starting a girls choir with some of the girls in the neighbourhood (grades 10-12) where I'll teach them some English songs and they can teach me some vernacular songs and we'll do a little Bible study as well. So I'm super pumped about that. If I can get the notice out hopefully it could start this Friday afternoon. I am also hoping to start getting involved with the youth group at a church I have attended the past two Sundays which meets on Saturday afternoon as well as getting involved with the choir. So I'm stoked about that too! Once orientation is over I'll have more of a chance to figure out where I fit as far as different ministries here. One that I am really interested is the HIV/AIDS team which is hoping to be able to start a focus on the youth which I would love to be involved in.

So that's pretty much life in the last little while. The power went out for the seventh time tonight. And the weather has been overcast and rainy...reminiscent of my mother land. Thanks for all your support and encouragement.
Peace and Love,

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