Monday, August 15, 2011

Thursday in Africa

This is the day we overslept. Heather had tried to set an alarm on her ipod, but it died in the middle of the night so we woke up when the other girls were banging on our door to leave.

We quickly got ready and walked to school. I was actually thankful for the opportunity to walk. It was one of my favorite parts of last year’s trip. It’s such an amazing chance to experience African culture in its reality… you see women walking down the dirt road balancing baskets on their head… children in uniform marching off to school… men riding bikes or wheeling the crippled.

The boys did an amazing job finishing up the pillars in the morning, and the other guys and girls finished up other small work projects in the morning.

Once we got to the school, Heather and I organized the sweatshirts we brought to hand out to the kids. Last year, we handed out t-shirts on the last day and all the kids loved them. This year, we went with bright yellow hoodies since it is cooler weather this time of year.

When this was done, I ended up wandering over to the playground and sat down on a swing with a little boy. We swung awhile together, and I found out his name was Lysart. At this point, 10 kids were pointing at my camera asking to “copy” me, so I let them have it. They had demonstrated to me by now that they could successfully use it, so I wasn’t too worried.

Lysart and I swung for a long time and sang songs. We spelled his name and mine, and we talked. I loved it. One of the more bossy girls there stood in front of me and kept drawing me pictures on this board with a rock—it was so funny. She drew a picture of me, and would erase it and then draw another picture and everyone would laugh. I recited a poem to them about snow, but I don’t think they understood since they’ve never seen snow in their life.

About this time, Heather came to find me and her and I, along with Whitney and Kailey, went inside to make tuna melts for lunch. After lunch, it was our day to do the VBS lesson. Our topic was “How to be a Jesus Truth Seeker” and so Whitney read our lesson, and then narrated our skit. We recruited a few others to help us with our “Good Samaritan” story. Our craft was to decorate some colorful foam visors with paint and markers and stickers that said “Jesus Truth Seeker” on them. The kids loved them!

After the craft, I went around and took group pictures, then the kids played a game on the field. Also on this day, we saw William, which was really exciting because after learning about his crippled feet on last year’s trip, we were anxious to see his feet now whole! He walks and runs, smiles and laughs, plays with other kids and chases girls. It is so exciting to see him have a love of life now, whereas before he would sit in a corner by himself and not smile. God is so good, and it was so neat to see how He helped us help him.

When I was out on the playground, a girl came up to me and said, “Hi, do you remember me?”

I asked her what her name was, and she said, “Karen.”

“Karen!” I shouted, and hugged her immediately. I didn’t even recognize her! I love Karen, and bonded with her last year. This year she has grown about a foot, and her hair was froed, which made her look even taller. But it was definitely Karen! I had sent her some pictures, so she was excited about those, and we talked and hung out for awhile.

We handed out the hoodies to the kids and they LOVED them! It is so exciting to see how their faces light up. They immediately put them on, and just as I hoped, the bright yellow looked AWESOME on them!

After the kids left, Andrew (the art teacher) showed Heather and I his paintings and drawings. I purchased a fabric with an African woman and her baby painted on it, and he used actual fabric to sew on her clothes. It is so neat and I can’t wait to frame it as a piece of art. Heather chose some of his cards, which she loves, and a painting with a beautiful African tree.

It was good to see Andrew again. I had taken one of his art classes last year when I was here and talked to him quite a bit, and I must have mailed him pictures after last year’s trip because he couldn’t stop talking about it! He wanted to take a lot of pictures with Heather and I, using his film camera. It was so great!

That evening, the staff and cooks at Lifesong prepared us a traditional Zambian meal. I knew what I was in for based off of last year. Fortunately, fried chicken and potatoes are on the menu, but aside from that, you have your selection of nshima (their staple food), soup, termites, caterpillars, and many other unfamiliar foods! However, most were brave and tried a little of everything.

I sat at a table with most of the staff and the cook, Elijah. Every time I would stop eating for just a second, they would look at me and say, “Eat!” In their culture, it is considered rude not to try everything and not to finish. Unfortunately, my eyes are always bigger than my stomach, and they gave us a LOT of food to choose from!

I talked to Elijah for awhile, and he asked me why I came back to Africa. I’m actually really glad he did. It made me think what it is that drew me back. Afterwards, we all had a chance to get up and share something. The staff, the teachers, and the Americans.

There were quite a few of the older boys with us from the school, so it was neat to hear what they had to say, too. It was the most touching to me to hear them speak. One of them actually brought tears to my eyes. He thanked us for coming and told us we would never know how big of a difference we made. It seems so small to me, but it is so big to them. I can’t shake the feeling that every time I think I am going to come “help them,” they end up showing me more than I could ever show them.

After share time, everyone went inside LS School for singing & devotions. Caleb had an excellent talk on worship, and how true worship is when we seek to image God. I loved this thought, because worship is something that can tend to be put into a box. It has to look a certain way, feel a certain way, or be a certain way. However, worship is such a personal thing to each individual, but in and through that, it can only truly take place when we seek to imitate Christ and who we are in Him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your account. What another great experience for you. Love, Aunt Connie