I am laying in bed, semi-awake, it’s after 4 am, writing a blog in my head. It rarely happens, but lately, probably because we are days –almost hours- to leaving this place- I have been subconsciously dreading I would miss writing something important and then time would be gone. It’s not as dramatic as that I could always post as ‘I remember once in kitwe’ or ‘ I just found old pictures of’! Nevertheless I am up, cup of rooibos steaming next to me, bathrobe and socks on –it’s Zambian Fall here!
Last week. Cutting up carrots, pouring coconut juice, deboning a piece of cooked chicken, throwing some rice on the stove and pouf! The power goes off. Just like you would imagine a house giving up the ghost. Unannounced, unwanted. With no bread whatsoever to make any kind of sandwiches we decide it’s time we try a little Zambian restaurant on the main road North. It’s part of a gas station, doesn’t look so inviting at first sight but we heard you can get Nshima with fish (FISH ya’ll!! Rare around here) for KR 12. Just abt $2.50. sounds like a great deal to me. That day had been grey and just as we headed out it started raining. In the middle of the dry season…. Very strange. But we loved every minute of it, driving in rain, stopping at gas station for something to eat, we felt back at home on a road trip. The fish was SOO delicious, it was a huge piece of Bream, fried, with tail, skin, bone and all, but sooo tasty and yummy. We even went back in for seconds but as I showed up a bunch of workers lined up in front of me and by the time it was my turn, a lonely fish head was looking up at me from the bowl. I passed. After eating – we started chatting with the guy sitting by the door, the manager of the place. The rain came up, and as much as we were enjoying it he explained why a rain in the middle of the dry season was actually dramatic for zambian farmers. By now, most maize has been harvested and is being dried, to be later milled in to flour, then cooked into Nshima, what EVERY Zambian human being eats everyday of their life, except for maybe 2-3 pple in the whole country who don’t care for it. I met one of them.
The unlikeliness of a rain would have taken most farmers by surprise and would have most likely spoiled that harvest, as the grains are layed out in the open to dry. Not to mention builders that have stacked piles of bags of ciment, and in one little shower, all of them are ruined. The harshness of the ‘outdoors’ living. He went on to describe his own field of maize, he said he grew corn mostly (corn as in the sweet yellow corn as we know it in America and Europe, 99% of Zambia grows maize a harder, light yellow in color, not sweet type of corn) The conversation quickly became alarming when I asked him if he knew the percentage of corn farmed that is genetically modified. “All, I think.” he said. “Because once the grain is harvested it cannot be replanted” URgh. My stomach got a knot. I’m feeling dizzy imagining what it would be like to eat that grain as your staple food for a lifetime. The knot is not going away. We talked some more abt the impact it could have on him, his family. He seemed to be aware of it but unable to change anything. He added ‘regular grains don’t yield enough to make it worth the effort’. Then onto to pesticides and insecticides, the story only got worse. “the maize is sprayed while growing, then again after harvested to keep away animals from store houses.” Organic sure is a foreign thought around here, according to my experience at least.
SO in 2 days we are locking up our house and going on to the next adventure. The immediate adventure will be to get the states! We have to take a taxi to the bus station at 5 am, jediah will drop our luggage downtown with Clive, then come back to get us the girls. Then a 6 hr drive to Lusaka. Thank God for diapers and pull-ups, cause this bus ain’t stopping for peepees! Then another taxi to a lodge. (a taxi ride is roughly $7-8) Spend the day and night there, leave super early morning for the airport; then first 8 hr flight to London; spend the night at small local hotel; leave next afternoon for second 8 hr flight; arrive in Bwi at 8 pm. Hallelujah.
My friend Memory, if you remember her! Pray for her little munchkin Nalu, she has been at the hospital twice already in 2 weeks, she seems to have some sort of respiratory problem…. Not yet diagnosed. It could be an allergy to the milk powder supplement she is giving her, she is only 3 months old. We had been planning for a while now that I would teach her how to make a pumpkin pie (pumpkins are abundant here!) but that hasn’t yet happened; so last night after church we dropped off a pumpkin pie at the hospital and said our good byes. She is an amazing woman. Her husband doesn't permit her to come to church still but her words are so edifying always... I will miss her. and many others.
Also our dear Astridah (the 'bride') who was diagnosed with a serious heart condition. We are trying to get her to see another heart specialist. Her last hospital experience was a joke and a disaster. They injected her with pain killers 3 x a day, one of the doctors later admitted it was over-dosed............ She DIDN'T need pain killers. Made me sick. Then she was sent home with no meds to take or advice on what to do, in case she has a spell in the middle of the night -as she usually has them. Her condition is the cause for most heart attacks in young people........... Lord please lead her and her husband to the right specialist....