Despite all of my best intentions to continue writing about my Zambia adventure, the impact of the Restore Church team arriving at the Village and School of Hope, to help with the library. What a crazy mad time this was. And so full of love and God’s grace.
And best of all, most of them were young enough to find the work and the heat no barrier to getting things done. They emptied a good portion of the Container that arrived within days of their own landing and the guys put up all the shelving (with no instruction book), and the women either worked on the books (entering them into an Excel Accession list, cleaning, or hauling the boxes to and fro) as well as the nurses helping out at the Clinic and another did at least six presentations of her puppet/music/bible story performance. What a hit with the kids!!! And of course, there was the worship as three of them lead or participate on our church worship teams. And the wonder of this was that the U.S. team worked hand in hand with the Village Teens who make up their local worship team.
Here they are:
Maranda, Amy, Tara, Irm, Kate, Allie, Emily, Stella, Tiffanie, and Shelley
Gordon, Chad, Nate, and Larry
A team is only as strong as its weakest link : there weren’t any. There were sweaty days and days of rain and mud. There were meals together every morning, noon, and evening. There was special time set aside for one or two team members to visit of the children’s cottages each evening. There an evening debrief and prayer every evening. There was music and laughter and there were tears.
And many said they would return to serve again. From the 600 plus children at the school and the 89 kids in the village (just in the time they were here, 6 children were accepted into the village – the prison kids, the ones who were born in prison and were looking at being raised in the prison if arrangements hadn’t been made to bring the toddlers to the Village), there was touch and pictures and games and dancing and worship (two nights of which were completely initiated and led by the kids themselves). Power of God present. And then there was the last Sunday morning: after service, several of the kids were still fired up in song and just turned back around and re-entered the building to sing and dance some more. It was joy unleashed. I’ve never experienced such an outpouring from kids aged 9 – 18.
Working selflessly in a foreign country is a unique experience. There are always some hardships, like the spiders that wear sneakers and hang out on the walls, or the funny shuffling sounds of critters under your bed, the mattress that feels like a hippo slept in it first, and the challenges of off and on electricity and massive downpours (during the rainy season). But there are also sunsets to die for and fresh air and the sounds of children laughing and calling you Auntie and Uncle. There is music and voices that we rarely hear in the West and a blur of languages, both Nyanja and Bemba with British English in between. It’s a cacophony of sound, sights, colors, faces, and nature. It’s a circus. It’s a bumper car ride with the dirt roads and puddles.
Come and see for yourself.
It’s a hotel. My window is open and it’s January. Yep, honey, this ain’t Maryland.
This is my first trip post retirement and it’s lovely. Granted, my brand new Christmas gift suitcase got destroyed on the way and the Johannesburg airport carousel was littered with my underwear, but it all worked out. It’s a story now.
I am here because my host, Benedict, who picked me up along with Muzo (rhymes with Ouzo), had some errands to run in Lusaka before heading back to the Village of Hope. They also have to make another human pick up (Gipepe, that spelling can’t be right), who is the Village doctor, an amazing woman I met once before in Maryland when they were visiting stateside. There’s a cholera outbreak here and it makes everyone nervous, but it’s mostly in the poorer areas. Nonetheless, bottled water is everywhere, and still I almost brushed my teeth with sink water. Habits die hard.
But that is the point. I am here to serve and work at the Village, true. I am also here to break down the every day habits, to discover the me I’ve lost in the busyness of my life that has been on automatic pilot for too long. I want to be more conscious. And integrated.
And it’s time to write again. Here yes. Also on my Meditations blog, as God leads. And maybe, just maybe, another story may be birthed as well. Slow down. Listen.
Watch the trees bend to the wind and leaves flutter outside my window.