Thursday, February 11, 2010

I came to change you, but instead you changed me.

*Music Credit to Paul Colman Trio ("Africa")

Instead of sharing a graphic with today's post, I am going to share this short movie. I put together a power point for one of the guys on our team who did a little presentation last night, and I wanted to end the slides with a "moving picture" snapshot of Africa. It is very basic, and I threw it together in about 15 minutes, but thought I would share it nonetheless. It gets me very excited to work on a couple of bigger video projects in the very near future. I am excited to announce that I am FINALLY through all of my Africa pictures, and they are all edited. I knew it would take me awhile, but I had no idea it would be a 2-week project. It has been so neat to go through it all, though, and relive the experience.

Thursday. In my journal, I just have the day listed in bullet-point form, as in "highlights," because I was really tired at the end of this day and so I didn't write too much. I think I can remember most of the details, though. 

I walked to school in the morning. This was our very lsat day of VBS. David, Leah, and Heather were in charge. They had a nice lesson, and the craft was to string beads on medals that the kids could then wear. They loved them. Post lunch, it was pretty much a free-for-all. A lot of the kids played soccer, and I was VERY excited to learn that Andrew (the art teacher) was holding an art class for anyone who wanted to attend. David and I went to it together, and a lot of the older boys were there, as well.

We all sat together at this one table on a couple of benches. I sat in between kids, and I felt like I was in grade school again. It was also then that I was reminded of my obvious tendency to be ADD. I loved the class, but I felt more antsy than a lot of my classmates. In fact, I was thankful that in previous days, I was not having to sit in a classroom all afternoon with the kids but I was free to roam around from class to class and take pictures and explore other parts of the school all day. That's my kind of job!

Anyway, Andrew is an incredibly gifted artist. He would start by taping a small square of white paper up on the chalkboard. Then he would put water on his paint brush, then dab it into a color, then swipe across it with a color. Then he'd add another color in the middle and blend it in, then another at the bottom and do the same. That formed a beautiful sky & water backdrop. Then, he would paint trees, grass, and foliage. Then even darker, he'd put a boat, a person, and a fishing net with astounding detail. In minutes, he would have this beautiful image painted for us to see. Then he would look at us and say, "Now do it."

Ha! Of course, I would watch in amazement as half of the kids would follow his exact strokes and create something amazing. I was always artistic as a kid, but as I got older and more versed to the computer and technology, my drawing and illustrating talents fell by the wayside. However, I do love to create and (attempt to) be artistic in whatever way possible, so I really loved this class. He actually showed us how to do 3 paintings before we started, so by the time that was done, David was getting antsy to go play ball with the boys and left a little early. Of course, I couldn't peel myself away, and continued to paint until David peeked his head in and said, "Hey T, I think the rest of the group left."

I didn't realize how late it had gotten, so I finished up my work and left. Sure enough, everyone else was gone. David was going to stay at the school until that evening, so I started to walk back on my own. I was actually kind of looking forward to the time alone, but right as I got to the corner, Dru pulled up in her car and offered a ride. I was actually more relieved than I thought I would be, and she graciously drove me back to the New Life Center. I actually ended up beating everyone else back.

We showered, got ready, and then headed back to the school around supper time. Thursday night was the night that the staff and teachers at Lifesong were cooking us a traditional Zambia meal. Boy, were we in for a treat.

Upon arrival, the ladies and some of the guys were in the back behind the kitchen cooking. They had rice in a pot and they were also making nshima. I had brought some African fabric with me along on the trip... at my 3rd shift job, I work with a girl who is from Africa, and when she heard I was going she was super excited. 

"I must give you something to wear," she said. "When you dress like an African, then, THEN, you steal the heart of an African."

So I decided to take that seriously and brought it all along. After seeing the teachers wear the same type of thing everyday, I thought it would be cool to break it out and have them show me how to wear it. That night, one of the teachers, Lucy, tied it around my waist as a skirt, so I looked just like them! It was very fun.

Then, they used the other part of my fabric for another purpose. In African culture, you tie part of it around your waist whenever you are up to "dance." So they had fun tying it around us girls and watching us (mostly fail at) dancing. It's all about how you move your hips, but it's not as easy as it looks. Grace would always keep the beat by hitting a bucket, and they would sing for us in a circle. The lucky person would stand in the middle and dance. Then, they did the same to the boys... THAT was funny to watch. It was really a fun time, and there was a lot of clapping and laughing.

We also got to experience the making of nshima. This is like their staple food... it's made from (corn?) flour. Basically, you heat up some water in a huge pot and keep stirring the flour in. It thickens into this very heavy mixture. It reminds me of the texture of Malt-O-Meal. We all took a turn trying to stir it. It was VERY hard! It's so thick and there is so much of it. Of course, those from Africa stirred it around like it was broth. They are pros.

After everything was ready, we went back into the school and sat at a very long table. We all mixed in, so it was fun sitting by and getting to know more of the staff. We all went around and told our names, what we did, and part of the week that touched us. 

The meal was very, very interesting. We all went up and washed our hands, then got a plate, and they gave us HUGE portions of every single thing there. They also told us what it was, and part of me wishes I didn't know what it was I was getting. My plate was literally layered with tons of food. Among the selection were caterpillars and termites. I never did get to my caterpillars; I think they were buried under my food, but I did try a mouthful of termites. I mixed them with nshima; it basically tasted like burnt bugs.

I might add that they informed us, shortly before we ate, that they were out of clean water for us to drink. SO we ate that entire meal without anything to wash it down with. I think that in and of itself was part of the reason I didn't try more than I did. However, I really did enjoy being able to experience food in their culture, even if it's not something I'd want to eat everyday.

It was a very nice evening. We headed back to NLC afterwards, had a devotion  by Kent, and then sang a little. By that time, I was doing good to keep my eyes open. For some reason, I was so tired this night. So I said goodnight early and hit the sack.

Coming up next is the very last day we had with the kids... Friday. I'll probably combine Friday & Saturday into one post because there's not too much to tell about Saturday. Be back soon, and love you all! Thanks for reading.



Jane said...

I hope you're not getting sick of me...Oh Taryn, I thought the pictures moved me...the video was even more gripping. I'm a goner!! Thanks again for sharing.

teresa said...

Taryn, I love each one of your posts and your pictures are wonderful. Thanks for sharing your awesome experience.

taryn said...

Jane, I am not getting sick of you! I love it when people comment. Glad you enjoyed the video, I will be posting another one at some point in the near future.

Teresa, thanks so much! I am really enjoying sharing the experience, and am glad you are stopping by to read my posts! =)