Saturday, October 25, 2014

Party Time

some of the guests

Yesterday Sara and I hosted the crowning event of our year together... it was a time set aside for spending time with friends here before we leave. Plus, it was Zambia's 50th year of independence! How could we not have a party??

A party like this is an interesting thing, because it's such a mix of traditional Zambian and traditional American... and the traditions are quite different.

  • We served a traditional Zambian meal, but in a semi-American style including American cakes. 
  • We offered hand-washing stations (Zambian) but they were self-service (American). 
  • Our neighbor set up two speakers and played music (Zambian), but whenever he cranked it to a "normal" volume, Sara would go ask for the volume to be reduced (for American ears...). 

As we planned the event, I was a bit nervous about the mix of the two cultures. My main concern was that there would be enough food for everyone. Here, the definition of "enough" can be quite different from the definition of "enough" I'm used to in the States. For example, a party is often measured by how many "softies" (soda served in glass bottles) are available for each person. Once, some friends hosted a party and one guests was particularly pleased, because he enjoyed SIX Fantas throughout the afternoon!

The Lord blessed us abundantly with a wonderful party-- plenty of food, lots of friends, a great setting, fun music, beautiful weather. It was perfect.

Our friends Jim and Rachel who traveled all the way from Livingstone
yesterday morning just to be with us in the afternoon.

We did something quite un-Zambian and as we invited our friends. We asked if they would be able to come, and if so, how many would come-- "so we can have enough meat for everyone," we said (meat is another important party component here). Then, a couple days before the party, Sara called many of the friends on our guest list to confirm their attendance plans. I wasn't sure if these efforts would pay off, but, our guest count on Wednesday was actually quite similar to our final guest tally after everyone left the party Saturday.

A few folks weren't able to make it, but that's to be expected. [In Zambia, you wouldn't want to tell someone, "No, I can't come to your party." You might say, "I will try" (even if you know you won't make it), or, you might say, "Yes," because you really do want to attend (even if you have too many other things going on), or, often something last-minute (like errands or visitors or a funeral or a schedule conflict you forgot earlier) may arise inhibiting your attendance.]

drinks, music, friends... what a party.

some of the youth from a young adult Bible study Sara and I hosted earlier this year

Luckness- our newest Nahumba employee

There were nearly 100 people at the braai yesterday. It was such a pleasure to see so many of our friends together in one place (several of them didn't know each other before because the commonality in the group was knowing us). Sara and I had a great time preparing for the celebration (tons of organization lists of course ;) and it was so satisfying to see our friends happy-- eating, chatting, and enjoying the party.

Here's what we served:
nshima (staple maize porridge patties made from mealie meal- like cornmeal- and water):
2 large and 2 smaller containers (we had some left)

relishes (vegetables):
2 large pots of traditional greens (called "rape")
2 large dishes of cabbage (4 small cabbages) prepared in a traditional way
1 huge pot of brown beans (1 small serving left!)
1 large bowl of "soup" (tomato broth/sauce)

Many thanks to our neighbors Jan and Beatrice who helped us with cooking the nshima and greens and cabbages.

meat (cooked on the braai):
4 chickens
6+ pounds of boerewors
2 packages of pork sausages
2 packages of chicken Hungarian sausages
1 package of chicken viennas

Friends also brought a dish of baked beans, a big tray of fresh veggies, and a dish of potato salad, which were devoured quickly.

We also bought and served 80 buns from a bread shop in town. (we did have leftover buns)

As far as "softies," we severed somewhere around 120.

And for dessert, we served 6 cakes (9x13) as well as another dessert from a friend.

that's all.

the tong master!

We didn't plan anything formal at the event regarding good-byes, but a friend stepped up and led in a Zambian-style farewell, which is like an open mic at a funeral in the States! No joke- I felt like I had been buried yesterday afternoon! This was a time for kind and positive words of blessing and encouragement, and it was really special.

my friend Nchimunya washed SOO many dishes throughout the afternoon!

  • My "peanut butter lady" shared that I've been her best customer! (haha... often over the past two years, I've been the middle-man in getting fresh peanut butter for friends in Macha, or even others here in Choma. Of course I was a very faithful customer personally as well.)
  • A friend from "my" bank in Choma shared how much the bank has enjoyed having me as a good customer... he said he's sure I'll be a good customer for my next bank, and that they'll appreciate me too!
  • Another friend shared about how we've become soul-friends this year, and how it's been God's Word that has brought us together.
  • One friend couldn't share because she didn't want to cry in front of everyone.
  • A teammate shared about visiting my family in Michigan last year and how he and his wife were blessed to meet and spend time with my parents and siblings. This was especially meaningful to me because when I arrived in Zambia two years ago, I realized that not a single person I was working and living with had ever met my family or visited my home-- no one knew where I was coming from. It was an odd and sad feeling.

After the kind words, three friends prayed blessings on Sara and I; it was such a sweet time.

so many friends. such a great party.

I will miss being neighbors with this child!

One thing is sure, Zambians know how to make a gal feel loved. Some of the most satisfying times of the past two years have been moments with Zambian friends when I have felt valued and loved and "together" in purpose and spirit.

before the party... setting things up

Sara cooking the "soup"

of course a big party means lots and lots of dishes...

busy Sara...

setting up the music

our late guest
(plus the photo board we put together)

And... last but not least... one of our guests completely forgot about our party. He called after everyone had left. I was expecting some grand excuse, but... he confessed that he simply FORGOT. Hahahaha. When he heard we still had a few softies remaining, he asked if he could come claim his. While Sara and I soaked our tired feet we had a nice good-bye visit together...

The End.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Happy Toes

very happy indeed

PS- HAPPY 50th year of INDEPENDENCE, Zambia!!! Today we celebrate!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I booked a field day with the economic development team recently… my last field day.   :(

We were visiting several Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) groups. Despite the temperature soaring near 100F (which you might not be able to tell from the pictures if you focus on the fellow in the winter jacket…), it was a fabulous day.

Conrad opening the meeting

Heather- these guineas are for you!

did someone say buns for tea?!?

I found myself sentimental and sad as we drove home through the bush. What a privilege it’s been these past two years to work in tiny ways alongside the church’s economic development field officers as they reach out to communities and share the gospel holistically.

stopping to buy charcoal on the way home

PS- the pronunciation of “Simaubi” is actually very much like the sound of “See-a-movie” spoken quickly :)