Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Afrikan Adventure: These flip-flops were made for walking

These flip-flops were made for walking and that’s just what they’ll do. One of these days these flip-flops are gonna…disintegrate right into the ground. So this week marked my first week without any sort of vehicle to use. For the past several months a team mate who was back in the states graciously let me use her vehicle while she was away. A humongous help. But those days are behind me now and it’s back to the world of public transportation. I prefer to walk when I can, I quite enjoy it really. It may not be the most efficient of methods of transportation, although, as a I found today, neither is the public transport system.

Today I spent approximately five hours in transport time to get to the farm and back for an hour and a half program. Here’s how it works. I had to get downtown to get on another bus to take me to the farm. However, at the bus station you wait until your bus is jam packed before you commence. Meaning if you get on and it’s not very full, you wait. The bus I got on was fitted for about 30. I was number 3. So after well over an hour the bus was finally full. Then of course we had to stop at the gas station. Two hours from the time I left home I had arrived at the farm (a trek that normally took me about 35 minutes by car). I had a lovely time teaching guitar and tutoring another youth in math (luckily it is grade 7 math). Then it was time to head home. The buses don’t frequent that area very often so I waited about an hour and a half for a bus to finally come my way. By the time we got back to downtown with all the stops another hour had gone by. By this time nightfall was fast approaching and not desiring to be traveling in a bus for another hour under the cover of darkness I opted to hire a cab to take me the rest of the way home. Perhaps walking isn’t as inefficient after all. But I was entertained by watching the events around me. Such as at the station men come around and try to sell you random things. I witnessed one trying to sell a man on my bus a pair of nail clippers. My busmate took the clippers, proceeded to clip his nails, and then decided not to purchase them and gave them back to the man at the window. Note to self: don’t purchase nail clippers at the bus station.

This past week there was another baby shower! This time it was for the wife of one of our Zambian team mate who works with the HIV/AID ministry. So Andrea and I did all this preparation and baking and it turned out to be one of the most awkward events ever! I think this was a little unusual for a shower to be had before the baby is born but the whole time the woman looked like she wanted to be anywhere but at this shower. I pretty sure it was just a cultural thing because at weddings and bridal showers the bride always looks like she wants to be dead too, when I’m pretty sure that’s not what’s really going on. We didn’t make them eat chocolate out of a diaper…maybe we should have, it may have been the kick start that party needed.

Today on the 24th of October, the year of our Lord, Zambia celebrated 43 years of independence. I had a stunning sweater vest made displaying the Zambian flag colours and name which I proudly sported along with my Zambia toque. If you recall, I once mentioned that everyone told me that on this day is when the rains would come. Anticipation was high for me on this day and although at one point there were several clouds in the sky…no rain. I did see several people carrying umbrellas. And why wouldn’t they because they were probably thinking “it’s October 24th…it’s gonna rain!” There are still a couple hours of October 24th left. I will not loose hope until the strike of midnight.

Living here in Zambia over these last through months has begun to paint a picture of humanity. I’ve seen the beauty of the people here, the preciousness of their souls, the forgotten and overlooked and shared glimpses of what God must see in his unfathomable love for those he created. But then the picture is tainted with strokes of deep sadness and the broken souls that each of us are. I think I used to see things to be more separate, like Zambia was very “other” from myself and my country. And superficially it is, we look different, the culture is different, the language is different, the economic conditions are different, our countries are separated by a vast space, and the surface problems may be different. But deeper at the souls of people we are really all the same. We all have this emptiness inside of us that aches for a relationship with Jesus. And we can try and fill it with stuff, or other people, or empty religion and trying to be “good.” But when it comes down to it none of that satisfies the void. Our hearts still ache for the restoration of that perfect relationship with our Creator that was broken long ago whether we realize it or not. It’s encouraging for me to think that whatever “programs” or “ministries” we have here aren’t in and of themselves going to make a difference, because sometimes I feel like I screw up everything I touch here. But it’s this relationship with Christ, no matter how cliché it sounds, that changes our lives and fills us with purpose and meaning and love. And it’s for everyone, no matter poor and overlooked or wealthy and noteworthy, free for the taking.

And with that I will bid you “adieu, adieu, to you and you and you” for the evening as I wait for the rain on this 43rd Independence Day. I hope this electronic message finds you well. A reminder…you only have about three more months to come visit, so book your tickets now. Take care my friends!



“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5: 18-20

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