Last week, I was sitting in our living room when Cosmas Lilamono came to our door to greet Jeremy. Cosmas and Jeremy have been friends for six years. As they were talking on the front porch I heard the words “party” and “19 years”. I immediately ran out to ask why in the world I heard the word party? I have lived in Zambia for over eight months now, and there has never been talk about parties in the Kaonde culture. Of course, I am sure they have them, but usually it involves large amounts of alcohol and witchcraft. But, Cosmas began to explain to me that he and his wife, Josephine, would like to celebrate their upcoming 19 years of marriage! I was blown away by this. I cannot tell you enough how uncommon it is here to do anything with your wife. Most couples do not even eat together. They do not share money, they do not think of each other’s needs. For Cosmas and Josephine (our dear friends and some of the first Christians in Mumena) to want to honor each other with a celebration was just amazing to me. Jeremy and I were pumped!
Well, yesterday was the day. Cosmas was very excited, and he had been updating us on things he was preparing. He was making a peanut cake. It calls for affordable ingredients he can manage, plus he can make it in a pot over the fire. We arrived and Josephine was wearing a new bright shatangi (material used as a skirt) and her best wig! I personally think she looks more beautiful without the wig, but a wig signifies a big deal here. All of their boys were jumping around with excitement. We sat with them at a small table they had borrowed from their church and ate chicken and nshema. Eating meat is a big deal and only happens on special occasions. When the cake was brought out after the meal, Josephine and Cosmas cut it together with one knife and then fed the first bite to each other. Again, I was shocked and so happy. It was funny because after they did it, they wanted Jeremy and I to do it as well. I explained to them that it wasn’t our anniversary, but we did it anyways for them.After a wonderful meal and good fellowship, the big boom box came out and all the boys started dancing.
It was a great celebration and all I could keep thinking without tears pouring down my face, was how these sweet boys would be impacted by their parents marriage. Would these five boys lead the next generation in a completely new idea of what a good marriage looks like? What it means to really become one and love each other unconditionally under God’s headship? For people living in a constant state of mental poverty, what happened yesterday would have never suggested these people thought they were poor. I am thankful for a God that gives you new insight and a new worldview once you decide to let him. I pray that church leaders like Cosmas and wives like Josephine will continue to impact and change their villages by their example.
|Cutting the cake, with all their kids watching|
|Jeremy and his namesake (this one is for you, Meemaw)|
|Jeremy dancing with a Lilamono cousin|
|The whole family|
|Learning some moves from Josephine|