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: shannonstorey.blogspot.com.

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

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