Saturday, May 29, 2010

Home Stay – Here we Come – Day 1

Warning: Some of my home stay writings will be a little longer, but don't feel like you have to read them all. It's mainly for my parents and in-laws, because they are more than naturally curious about what their grandchildren are doing☺

Start of the day:

Before we left for Pastor Mwenda's home, I decided to let Renee look at my toe that had been hurting for three days. She called over another lady who confirmed "jiggers." This lady's husband calls her the "jigger digger," (sounds nice, huh?) so she got hired for the job.

She soaked my foot and then dug around with a straight pin. To the best of my knowledge, jiggers are a type of flea that gets under the nail, digs deep sometimes, and lays eggs. Sounds awesome, right?

She found two black things, which could have been fleas, but she couldn't locate the egg sac. Thankfully, we think, one didn't get laid, so after much prodding, they bandaged me up and we finally headed out for our home stay.

Pastor Richard Mwenda

met us and we carried nearly everything on our backs or on his bike. Kevin (our director) did have to bring a couple of things later in the truck. It was only about a 20 minute walk to his house.

Soon after meeting his wife, Esther, we both realized I had met her earlier in the week when she washed my clothes! She wanted me to rest first of all, but when I saw her go to wash dishes, I walked over, and she handed the job to me. I was thrilled she would let me.

You can see the dish washing station behind the guys.

Every time I started a new job, Esther wanted Kylie to take a picture.

After that, I helped Doug, Kylie and Karis shell corn for an hour or more. In the middle, we stopped for a snack of sweet potatoes.

We finished shelling the corn, and then I went to help Esther wash her clothes. She showed me a really dirty shirt and told me it's what she was wearing when she cleaned our hut. She doesn't speak much English, but I finally understood because the shirt had an orange powder mix all over it, and I realized she had re-painted the inside of the hut for us. It was very nice and clean. We fit three twin mattresses in there, pushed together, with a little walking room around two edges.

This picture was taken our last morning when I had already started stripping sheets from under my sleeping children. I'm such a nice mom, huh?

Next was lunch. We sat down, and Caleb's first words were, "Where are the spoons?" and I wanted to say, "Where is your cultural training?" We ate with our right hands for three days, and by the end, Caleb wasn't quite so covered in his food.

The staple food in Zambia is nshima. It's like a really thick grits

that sticks together like not-so-creamy mashed potatoes. You pick up some nshima, make a small pocket with it in your one hand and then reach down to pick something else in it. In this case, it was beans. And since, Caleb didn't try nshima, he was trying to eat handfuls of beans, and it wasn't pretty.

The kids played so well today with all the Zambian children, and you would not have been able to tell that they couldn't speak each others' language.

After lunch, I set up house in the hut. After giving the lunch dishes a chance to soak (over an hour), I washed the dishes, and then she told me it was time for my kids to bathe.

It was 3pm.

She just doesn't know how much dirt can find Caleb's body from 3pm until bedtime.

It was a WONDERFULLY hot bath. She took boiling water and put it in a basin, and then added cold water until it was…still boiling hot.

After this night, I did the kids' bath water. The four of us had to stand in the shower house this first night for over 20 minutes just waiting for the water to get cool enough to put on their bodies.

These Zambians really have tough, calloused skin. All of the participants of home stays say they witnessed the Zambian women picking up hot coals that had fallen out of the fire, and replacing
them with their hands. Nshima is also served at well over 100 degrees, and it doesn't even phase them to pick it up.

Anyway, back to showering. I had already decided that Caleb was the only one getting his hair washed during our whole home stay (that's one of the reasons why I look so lovely in the pictures). I got one basin for three kids, and I wasn't sure we would have enough water to wash shampoo out of the girls' hair. I would scoop out water with a cup, wet each child, they would soap up, and then I would cup the water over them repeatedly until they washed all the soap off.

Doug and I shared a basin as well. No hair washing for me. Doug went next, and while he was holding on to the inner wall, washing his feet, it collapsed. All of us outside, just heard the bricks falling to the ground. He still doesn't know his own strength ☺ It would have made a great story if it had been an outer wall, and he had come tumbling out in his birthday suit. I think I'll tell it that way, anyway!

Good thing I didn't wash my hair. It was time to cook nshima. The coals weren't getting hot enough outside,

so she moved the cooking to the cooking hut.

When she wanted me to follow her, she said, "I hope you have no weak eyes."

Well, apparently, I do. The smoke in the hut was crazy! And on top of that, I'm not NEAR strong enough to stir nshima. Wow! That stuff is crazy-hard to stir!

I moved to the back of the hut, where the chickens were nestled down and where the smoke was less, and since I was too weak to stir, I held the flashlight for her.

Friends came and went all day long and either Esther or Felicia (the niece she adopted when her sister died) went all day long, back and forth to the road. Esther sells tomatoes and only goes up there if someone is waiting.

Many kids were around all day. 10-15 at any given moment, and they all played with my kids. And when we shelled corn, so did many other kids that didn't even live at this house.

Karis fell asleep while we were cooking nshima, so we put her down before dinner. Everything was great, and dinner was very quiet. We prayed together and found out that Doug needs to be ready to leave for the fields at 6am.

It is 8pm as I write this journal in my hut, and I would think it was 1am if I didn't have a watch.


But a good tired.


jen armstrong said...

WOW! okay, so how's your foot? still no sign of the eggs? hoping not. there's just so much to take in...all that y'all are doing, etc. does it feel overwhelming like it looks from afar? or are you WAAAAY beyond that point?

Kathryn Taylor said...

There is still considerable space under the nail from all she dug out, but no egg sacs or jiggers. (Isn't that the most awful word you've ever heard?) All of it doesn't feel so overwhelming up- close but some days I do have to remind myself, "This is just how life is here." Can you believe I forget sometimes where I live? Especially in the morning. I wake up, see the mosquito net, and say, "Oh, yeah. I live in Africa."

Homestay in Delhi said...
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