We are the Davis'

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a great Thanksgiving in Mumena with our team and our special guest, Chief Mumena! All of the ladies had previously met to divide up who cooks what, and we ended up with a very, VERY good meal. I was feeling especially thankful that day for our Chief who is so supportive of our team. I was so glad he came to share in our tradition. I was also so thankful for our families many, many miles away and our amazing supporters back home. We are so blessed!
We had the honor of being responsible for cooking one of the three turkeys. You can see who that responsibility fell to.
No football or TV is available here-so we settled for cards.
Lydia Love, seriously too cute.
Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rainy Season Adventures

Last week, we had a seminar for 6 young Congolese men training them how to be preachers.  I won’t write much about that experience, but you can see Jason and Erin’s blog as they tell more.  However, one thing that happened proved to be very memorable.  The last day they were here, we took them out to a Bible study in Mushingashi that go to every week.  They were going to get a chance to practice preaching for this small congregation.  So we all loaded up in the truck and headed off for the 40 minute journey.  As we turned off the tarmac onto the dirt road, winds started picking up and lightning was streaking across the sky.  Our destination was 8 km away through the forest.  As the storm got bigger, the rain became heavy, the trees were swaying back and forth, and limbs were flying everywhere as I was driving on this now very slick mud road.  We finally made it to the church and the storm had passed.  We had a great Bible study and the young men did well. 

However, it was the return trip that proved memorable.  We made our way back down the muddy road with debris on either side of us.  Half way out of the woods, we came upon a tree fallen across the road.  So me and the six guys jumped out of the truck and were able to move this tree to the side for us to pass.  About a minute later, we came upon another tree blocking our path that was a bit larger.  However, with some effort we were able to relocate the obstacle.  With only about a quart of kilometer left to the exit, we were stopped yet again by another tree.  This time there was a truck loaded with people coming the other direction that had begun to chop away at the tree as it was quite large, about three feet in diameter.  So after about 30 minutes the tree was finally chopped in half and it took 15 of us to push the huge trunk to the side giving just enough room for our truck to pass.  We decided to let the other truck go first.  As the truck maneuvered its way towards the opening it veered to the side of the road just a bit and both tires on the left side of the truck just sunk straight down in the mud. 

So the next 30 minutes we spent putting tree bark under the tires and all 20 of us pushing on the left side of the truck as it slung mud all over us to get unstuck.  After several attempts it finally made its way out, and then I received one of the biggest compliments I’ve ever had here.  They called me a “muntu”, which when translated means “man”.  This is a compliment because usually I get called “mzungu” meaning “rich white man”.  However, all the Kaonde people call themselves “muntu” and make a clear distinction between the whites and the blacks.  I guess since I was in there getting just as muddy as the rest of them, they for just a moment viewed me as one of them.  Truly a memorable moment.  Thankful though for four-wheel drive as I did not get stuck when passing!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quick Update

Just wanted to show a few pictures today. I am so proud of my husband and how he handles his work and passion in Zambia. I am a blessed woman.
Here he is teaching some Congolese "youth" about serving and teaching the church. There are seven men who came early this week from the Maheba Refugee Camp, just 45 minutes away from us. They have been working with Brian, Jason and Jeremy (the 3 Davis men) on preparing lessons and learning how to use their Bibles to teach. These men are still considered "youth". You can have five children and a wife, but if you are 40 years or younger, then you are still youth. These young men will soon be filling the shoes of their elders as they get older, so our team is trying to help prepare them for the transition into church leadership.

On another note, it is still very hot in Zambia. Everyday, people anxiously await a rainfall so we can get some fresh, cool air. As I was passing the school building, I noticed they were having class outside, under the kensanza to try and get a break from the heat. You can see a storm rolling in behind them. How exciting!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

New Season

The rains are definitely here. The past few days it has rained constantly, especially at night, which I love. It always makes me think of my momma and grandmother, hearing the rain hit so hard on our roof—they always enjoyed listening to rainstorms under a tin sheet porch. Who knew that one day that would be what my roof is made of.

Here are some pictures showing some of the perks of the rainy season. Since the ground is still really tough, we will wait until the end of the month to plant and garden, so I don’t have pictures of flowers just yet. These will have to do.

Growing mangos in our yard

Language learning has been a constant struggle for me. I love and hate it all at the same time. Regardless of how I feel, the key to the heart is language. The people out here light up when they hear you speak their language. It is also much easier to understand their culture and ideas when you are hearing it straight from their mouth without interpretation. Much gets lost in translation. I can understand a lot more than I can say at this point, but it is so exciting when you can understand the main idea of a conversation in kikaonde. I have approached numerous methods to learning the Kaonde language out here, but by far my favorite is learning from my friend out in her village, at her home. She is in the process of learning English. This makes it much more fun to learn from her because she is experiencing the same frustrations and joys that I am at the same time. We are learning from each other, sentence by sentence. Today, I sat out in her village for about two hours. She would write down a sentence in kikaonde, and I would write it in English. We both know enough of each other’s language to get by working together and helping each other. Her English is really progressing so she is able to put together simple sentences and verbs for me to practice. We laugh at each other a lot and continue to repeat the word “shupa” every couple of minutes. “Shupa” is a funny Kaonde word meaning stubborn or really difficult.

I was able to start back with Erin doing our usual Tuesday afternoon girls Bible study, after being gone for two weeks. In the beginning we had six girls, ages 12-16, coming, and occasionally we will have a week where all of them show up, but more than half of the time there are only two girls-but every week it is the same two. They never miss a Bible study, and we are seeing them grow and develop into beautiful young women. I pray that their faith continues to grow, and I hope they don’t give up the fire they have to learn. I love these sweet girls- Katherine and Rwidness. Even though our study is small right now, one of the other village girls who is about 17, really wants to be a part of it, but she has a baby and chores to do everyday so she can’t manage to meet in the middle of the day. She always has to decline the invitation to come, and I thought she just wasn’t interested. However, she showed up at my house a couple of days ago explaining why she can never come and asking for a different time to meet. We will start meeting with her once a week around 4 pm after she is done with her chores. Since a baby came in to her life, she can no longer attend school. I am excited about this new opportunity!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mumena in November

I am happy to inform you that we are back in Kaondeland, Mumena. We had a huge thunderstorm to welcome us back as we were going to sleep Wednesday night. Jeremy and I have a tin roof, so when the rain gets hard enough we literally have to yell at each other to communicate. It is pretty funny.

I loved getting back and seeing the sweet faces that we have been working with. I have a friend, Mesa, who is 17 or 18 years old and has an 18 month old baby. She spends each day hauling water for her family since she can no longer attend school, being a single mother. If she is not hauling water, she is cleaning or doing laundry by hand. Yesterday, she had two huge buckets of water she was carrying and dropped them when she saw me and came running to welcome me back. Her face was lit up, and she was excited to see "Mrs. Jeremy" again. I was humbled as I compared the past two weeks in Cape Town I had to what hers must have been like. Today, I will go to visit her as she sits and washes clothes- she is one determined teenager.

This month the Kaonde tribe of Mumena will begin working in their fields again to prepare for the rainy season. This is a busy month for them. The holiday season, I have heard, gets a bit slow due to people working and staying out in their fields.

Last night, Jason, Erin and I had a surprise birthday dinner and cake for Jeremy. His birthday was the 1st of November, but since we were traveling, I felt like we still lacked a celebration. It was a good night for the four of us to catch up and eat a cake mix and icing kit that came from South Africa!