Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Change of Weather, Change of Attitude

For now, the monsoons that plagued us for almost 3 months have ceased and abated and replaced themselves with only occasional storms. The sludge that dominated the better half of all of the walkways and roads has dried to form deep ruts and cracked soil. The roads aren’t any better to drive on, but you can effectively walk from point A to point B without needing a shower at the end of it. People are outside more (or maybe it just seems like it because we’re outside more.) Because of the early and heavy rains, the fresh maize that they pick from their fields before they harvest for the season is ready very early. Everyone is walking around with fresh roasted maize. A common gift is a few ears of maize that can be roasted or boiled. Jeff also has delicious sweet corn growing in his garden that we have been enjoying as if it’s August in the States. Sunda likes the roasted maize better than sweet corn with butter and salt. Typical. Very Zambian.

With the change of weather comes a change of attitude. In Jake and I, and in the people, it seems. It’s almost like the first week of sunshine after a long winter at home. Everyone seems...Happy! Happy that we can sit outside and chat with friends and neighbors. Hopeful that the harvest will recover from long rains and no sunshine. Relieved to see a little bit of color on our white faces. This is the season when visitors start to come. So, a long stretch of no “outsiders” on the farm will quickly transition into a bustling guest house and bi-weekly trips to the airport to pick up work teams and volunteers.

The sun has brought with it an important change in Jake and I too. It has been difficult to do outreach because of terrible roads and vehicle availability. And because of continued vehicle difficulty, it will remain difficult to leave the farm for long periods at a time. Not willing to be defeated, Jake and I have set up our tent in one of the villages on the farm. We are headed out this afternoon for a week of ministry on “The Southern Corner” otherwise known as “Graham’s village.” When we’re at home, we often get comments like, “Why do you go to Africa, there are people who need help right here in the United States?” True. While here, God seems to be drilling into us, “Why are you searching to go far and wide, there are people that need me right here on this farm!” Our schedule will include two daily teaching sessions and an evening fellowship time for our weeklong stay. It’s such a blessing to get to know the people that we have been living with for so long. And it’s wonderful to hope that they actually believe what we say because we’ve lived it among them before preaching it to them. I told Jacob the other day, “I think we can be confident that we are finally integrating effectively.” “Why?” He asked me. “Because,” I explained. “The women let me do the dishes now.” Isn’t that the universal sign of true friendship?

Sunda is growing like a weed and can now actually wear the 18 month dresses we brought with us. She’s even pushing her way into the 24 month ones! Her hair is long enough now to be plaited, so she has a cute new hairstyle every week courtesy of one orphanage “auntie” who can make her sit still long enough to do it. She has just enough vocabulary to make sure that we are obeying her every command. And this week, she has been introduced to the terrible “Time-out.” As with any especially talkative, clever, and enjoyable two year old, she can throw a fit with the best of ‘em. But, she is now learning that it doesn’t get her very far. The problem with being here in Zambia is that they are not the strictest parents. They don’t really believe in disciplining kids until they are at least 6 or 7. So, if she throws a fit in front of one of our Zambian friends, they immediately pick her up, comfort her, and give her whatever she wants (all the while glaring at me as if I’m an insensitive monster for ignoring her.) It’s kind of like having a bunch of grandparents around, all the time. 

I could ramble on and on…but what I would really like to know is: What are you interested in? Do you have questions about Zambia or the things that we do? I would love to share things with you that are interesting and relevant, but sometimes I take extraordinary things for granted. For example, I totally forgot to tell you about the elephant that was just roaming around in one of the fields that Jaime and I were walking by. When do you ever get to see an elephant just hanging around? Anyway, please feel free to post any questions or subjects you’d like to hear about. If nothing else, it will keep me from writing about Sunda’s poop stories, which you definitely don’t want to hear about.

Have a wonderful week…enjoy the sunshine…or, we’ll enjoy the sunshine. ;)


Anonymous said...

Actually, Jess, we really ENJOY hearing Sunda's "poop stories"!!! LOL!!! The blog is awesome, as always...Norman and I read it together on the couch.. I have such a range of emotion when I read your blogs...proud, happy, sad(because we aren't with you)..they make me laugh and cry and visualize in my mind the things that are happening to you every day..like watching an elephant walk by and hearing Sunda say "Mama poop"!!!
We love you, Jake and Sunda so much and we really are proud of you. Anxious to see you in a couple SHORT months.
Mama and Papa

Andrew Duda said...

Hey Jess, its nice to hear that things are going well. and to agree with mom and pop, I do enjoy hearing about the ever so glorious sunda poop stories.

you mention about all the animals and stuff of that sort. What is the strangest thing that has happened thus far with an animal encounter? if that is even a question. you know me, im curious!!! I love you! Tell Jake and Sunda that I love them too!


Anonymous said...

Oh Jessi!!! I wish I could fly to Zambia and stay with you and Sunda when Jacob has to go away!! I still hate being home when Norman is away...and I don't have to worry about spitting cobras!!! We can't wait to see you all VERY SOON!! Hugs and kisses.
Mama S.