Sunday, September 13, 2009

Homemade kites and Ice Cube Love

Jasper recently reminded me that October is almost here, the month we all dread the most… it is so hot!! But I am refusing to think of October and I am instead enjoying the breeze the blows throughout the ghetto in September.

As the days get hotter, the winds are most welcomed. With each season there are special things to look forward to. One of my favorite parts of the windy times (August and September) are the homemade kites that so many kids are seen with.

A couple of sticks, a torn plastic bag and some string are turned into high flying kites that kids all over Mkhosana can be seen running with. Every time I see one of these kids with their kites I think back to the colorful kites of my youth. My rainbow bright, cabbage patch kid or Barbie kite made me so happy… but I doubt that my smile could even compare to the one on the faces of the little kids I see with their “Spar” (The name of the local grocery store) plastic bag kite.

Their smile is contagious and every time I see their kite flying through the air I get a giant grin on my face. When they offer to let me fly it, somehow I can’t get it off the ground….so I am left to enjoy on the sidelines but oh how I enjoy!!
A few days ago I heard some banging outside my bedroom window. This is not unusual as my house is the playground for all of the kids to play games that are not allowed at their house (ie, the ones that break windows or squash gardens) so I looked out to see what was going on. Tisang and Precocious were banging a frozen water bottle on the ground to break the ice so they could eat it. I got so excited and called them in the house and gave them a heart shaped ice cube from my freezer. We are practicing English, so I asked, “Tisang, what shape is that ice cube?” She looked at me with pride in her eyes, knowing that she understood the question and knew the answer. She quickly replied, “Love!”

Homemade kites and ice cube love are just 2 of the many blessings found in the ghetto during the month of September!! The journey and the adventure continue as we get closer to October, when the weather channel will tell us the sun is “scorching” and we will miss the kites, and the wind that they danced on!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gigi and Joni's Labor Day Adventure!

Gigi and Joni’s Labor Day adventure!

This Labor Day weekend will be one that I will not soon forget! I went to church on Sunday and received a Word that was in season and desperately needed by my thirsty heart. Pastor Farai preached a message entitled “What do you see?” Oh how I needed to be reminded of who my God really is.

He really does provide exactly what we need when we need it, but when I am in the middle of the need, it is so easy for me to forget that! I needed a girlfriend, and God sent me a sister! After church I went to linger around the front and greet Pastor Farai and Pastor Jo and hold their new beautiful twins, who I of course am now volunteered to baby sit J An American was visiting and was being introduced to the pastors. Joni, a 39 year old single woman from San Francisco and I connected immediately. We spent the whole day together! I just happened to have my bathing suit on under my dress (just like going to church in Orange County) and we spent the day at her hotel laying out by the pool working on our tans and fellowshipping and sharing stories. We then went to dinner and kept taking and talked all night until we passed out in her hotel room after midnight!

God answered my prayer and sent me a friend, but as usual He went above and beyond! He sent me a sister, and gave me a Labor Day holiday at the Victoria Falls Hotel!!!!!! God, and Sista Joni blessed me beyond measure…she even left me with a smashbox mascara—(can we say LUXURY item) and Hillsong’s Faith+Hope+Love DVD!

When her bus pulled away, my heart was sad… I would have loved to spend more time with her. I felt so refreshed and so reminded of God’s amazing love. But I knew she had to go, she is off on her own adventure in California and I of course, have to get back to mine here in Zimbabwe!

Obviously, my favorite part of the hotel was taking a very hot bubble bath!! Thank you Sista Joni!!!

(I'll post pics of us hanging out as soon as I get them!!)

Lessons on the road to Lusaka!

August 27, 2009

I spent this weekend in Zambia, taking care of business with my car. In June I was in an accident and we had to take the car to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia for work on the body. Although the car has quite a bit of body damage, it actually looks worse than it is now, because the mechanic in Livingstone removed all the parts in the front to do the engine work and so the car looks funny because it is missing a lot of the body.

A dear friend of Pastor Chris, a man named James came down to drive the car to Lusaka, and I went with him. The journey was not easy—the important ones, I suppose, never are. The car has no windows on the passenger side and a plastic windshield that only covers parts of the empty space left by the one that is missing. There is about 100km (62 miles) of detour from Livingstone going toward Lusaka where the road is being resurfaced. The detour takes you into the bush on gravel roads in horrible conditions. People avoid this trip at all costs! We did this trip in half a car with no glass J By the time we made it back onto the main road we were covered in dust and very tired!

James felt bad that I was riding in the car in such a condition, but I told him “it’s all part of the adventure” and told him some stories of my time in Africa so far. He laughed and along the way would look at me and say, “it’s an adventure!” I try to make it a habit to never ask someone to do something that I would not be willing to do myself and this is one of those moments. We laughed almost the entire trip and I can say that whether the Pajero is in beautiful condition or lacking body parts, I have learned to be content! (Although I definitely prefer it to have windows!!)

I know we must have looked funny because every town or village we drove through people would look at us in the car and laugh, some of the more compassionate hearts would offer condolences. We had a minor breakdown and had to stop in a small town for repair—3 hours later we were back on the road, with a dilemma. We were driving a car with no headlights, and it was going to be dark before we reached Lusaka. We decided we would try to make it to Monze, a bigger town along the way with some lodges. About 45 km from Monze the sun had set and we were taking our chances driving knowing that our sight was limited. About 40km from Monze we could see nothing and no one could see us. We were in trouble. James was driving as slowly and safely as possible, but we had to admit that something had to be done.

I suggested that we get out of the car and flag someone down to help. The first car that past us almost ran James over, and didn’t stop to help. The second car stopped and drove very slowly to Monze, where he was also going to be sleeping and let us follow closely behind. When we arrived in Monze he took us to a lodge where he was going to be staying and I went in to check for availability. When I came out the good Samaritan said, “I know you, I have been to your house.” I didn’t believe this because it would be generous to say that 5 Zambians have been to my home in Vic Falls, what would the chances of one of those five finding me in the middle of the bush on a road I have never driven on before. But, God is so good and so sovereign, it was true. The man, Mambo Phiri had driven a bus for us with a team of volunteers in July 2007 and when we took them to the airport in Vic Falls we went together and stopped at my house to pick up a few things. He looked at the repairs I was doing and made suggestions. He had been stopped at a police roadblock and was going to be fined for something silly and I made jokes with the police in Ndebele and he was let off with a warning. We laughed at the memories and were awed by how good our God is, for sending along a friend to help in a time of need

I love this pic from outside our lodge the thatch
has "the real African story" carved into it. James
parked right in front of it last night when we couldn't
read it... this is what it looked like this morning as we left!

James and I spent the night in Monze and headed off uneventfully to Lusaka the next day. The car is now at a mechanic who will have it repaired relatively inexpensively and back on the road in about a month! I joined the M’kandawire’s at the Presbyterian church’s women’s conference in Lusaka and had the rare pleasure of seeing Pastor Chris and 2 of his brothers officiating a service together. It was a joy.

My favorite part of the service was when 3 of the church choirs were invited to sing. I was confused as to why they were singing separately if they were singing the same song, but I am so glad that they did. The first group sang, they were small about 10 woman and they sang beautifully in perfect harmony. I doubted that I would enjoy the next 2 any more than I had enjoyed that one, it was lovely. But then I was astonished, each choir got more and more impressive, bigger and a fuller sound. What impressed me the most about the last 2 groups were their conductors. Both women, were conducting small choirs (about 30-50 woman) in the middle of the bush, with wind blowing red dust everywhere and they, with their bright white uniforms stood in front of their women and gracefully moved their arms directing the voices with precision and concentration, as if they were conducting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. I sat amazed, with tears in my eyes, not from the dust in my contacts but from the lesson I saw in these 2 women. They very beautifully demonstrated what it looks like to use your full potential: your time, talents and treasures to build the kingdom. The size of their choir, nor the condition of their “performance hall” did not diminish the quality of their service. My heart was in awe of these women and their act of worship, they truly knew Who they were performing for: they truly know their Lord.

I couldn’t help but leave that place with a question in my heart: Am I fulfilling my role in the Kingdom with such passion and esteem? When people look at me, do they know who I am serving?