Thursday, October 30, 2014

going home

home home home, that is.

together for a normal evening meal last year with my family

I say-- it can get a bit confusing having so many homes!... There's home, which has been Nahumba Zambia for the past two years, and then there's home home, which is my beloved Cookie House, and then there's home home home, which is my parents' house, where I grew up...

If all goes well in the air and below... I'll be HOME (home home & home home home) today!

The other day, in preparation for leaving Zambia, I flipped through some old blog posts. I read a few (like this one, and this one, and this one) that warmed my heart and reminded me of all sorts of things to look forward to about  home. Plus, I looked though some family photos from last Christmas (I was here in Zambia so you won't see me in any of the shots; thanks to Naomi for sharing from her photo stash).

I LOVE my family.

time for some sledding!

annual pizza game night at New Year's

Christmas at the Cookie House

I remember playing Funny Bones with the aunts and uncles as a kid...
such fun!

it's so much fun having little people in our family once again!

Well... anyway-
Just like last year, I compiled another list of some items I'm anticipating back home in Michigan:

Betsy and I last December, just before I returned to Zambia

  • Back massages with Betsy (she gives the best, you know...)
  • Dinner at Dad and Mom's
  • Real ice cream (chocolate and cherry chocolate chunk especially)
  • Sweaters and scarves (think positive. think positive. I do love scarves, I do... I'm rather concerned about freezing in Michigan coming from Zambia's hot season)
  • Being a passenger (not driving everywhere)
  • The Cookie House
  • Being neighbors with Brother Byler (his business is across the road)
  • Baking fruit muffins (blueberry, raspberry, peach, etc.)- oh, and gingersnap muffins too... so perfect for Autumn
  • Target (what a great store!)
  • Quaker Life and Quaker Oatmeal Squares (love those things...) [breakfast cereal]
  • Drinking tea with Amy
  • Hot showers
  • Cooking on a gas range
  • Logan's maple syrup (a bit odd as I'm not a huge maple syrup fan, but I miss using it as a sweetener when baking)
  • Apples and applesauce (I hope they're as cheap as I remember them being!)
  • Salmon for dinner (ooolala)
  • Home improvements at the Cookie House
  • Playing Dad's piano
  • Pinconning cheese (especially the garlic herb block, and horseradish dip)
  • Non-crackling cell connections (I hope.) ...I dare not even hope for a good internet connection... IF that happens, I just want to be shocked beyond belief... because... I'm not sure they actually exists.
  • Bagels (oh. yum. oh. yum.)

Of course, as always, the best part of being home home home is being together with my family. I'm also looking forward to reconnecting with my Michigan friends.

As far as the weather goes... um. From what I hear, it's actually quite similar in Zambia and in Michigan these days... think: 30's (C) Zambia and 30's (F) Michigan... honestly, I'm not sure how I.will.survive....

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


I recently pampered my toes using Sara’s (homemade) grapefruit extract sugar scrub.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Chinese Good-bye

Our friend Mary treated Sara and I to the local Chinese restaurant for a farewell meal.

Choma's own Chinese Restaurant!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cook 'n Potts

Michelle and I working on the e-cookbook

Michelle and I just finished compiling our joint cookbook of favorite Zambian-ized recipes. Cook 'n Potts (our sir names combined... pun intended...) is an e-cookbook and is available free of charge (via a flash drive :) for all service workers who move to Zambia.

Our hope is that Cook 'n Potts might be of at least tiny assistance for at least one or two folks who arrive in Zambia from the West and aren't sure where to start when learning to cook in a new setting. Our focus is using locally available produce and grocery items, though most of the recipes are Western (different from the local uses of local products).

From the first time we met twelve months ago, Michelle has reached out to me as a friend. We have enjoyed many, many visits, chats, and treats together over the past twelve months.

Michelle, Andrew, and kiddos- thanks for being a blessing in my Nahumba life!

Oh, and just in case you're curious... here's a portion of the cookbook's introduction:

"Here in Zambia, time spent together is a valued thing. Sometimes the best moments are shared on the veranda over a mug of steaming tea accompanied by a little something sweet, or outside casually nibbling on groundnuts and fresh fruit, or inside after dark when sharing the evening meal…

"Coming from our Western backgrounds, we’re well-accustomed to spending time with people and food. However… we moved to Zambia and discovered we had a different set of “toys” to play with here in our new kitchens. Some of our North American go-to meals/food items weren’t available (or were just too expensive to use every day!) here in Zambia. On the other hand, we found a whole new collection of local products available at reasonable prices (or… at no cost if you’re fortunate enough to have a fruit tree in your garden!).

"We decided we would adventure, create, tweak and save our favorite recipes to share with future Zambian newbies. Thus, the idea of Cook ‘n Potts was born." 

PS- The Potts family has just wrapped up their first of three years serving with MCC here in Choma, Zambia.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Where Morning Dawns...

and Evening Fades
You call forth songs of joy. 
(Psalm 65:8b)

(photos from a recent evening walk near home. Wonder of wonders... 
our road is in the process of becoming a tarmac route!)

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 guest 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!