Thursday, July 8, 2010

Another Level

Living in Africa is difficult. Every day there are things that don't work as they should, something that was suppose to happen does not happen, things take twice or three times longer to accomplish than back in the States.
Sometimes things seem like an Endurance test. It's long and hard and then when you think you can't wait any longer, or hold out, you have to wait more and hold out some more.
Roads are rough and crowded, water is cold, and trickles out instead of full blast many times, ...the list could go on.
My point is not complaint but stating the difficulties here.

But living in Africa is difficult on another level. Not just difficult because we come from a pampered life style in the good old US of A, where we can expect certain things.
But difficult because of what we see and hear every day. DIfficult on an even greater level.
I felt this most last week.

We see so much. Just in one day, last Tuesday for example. Everywhere we drive we see kids in tattered clothes, no shoes.
I was visiting a friend's house and realized that she only has water for a few hours each day.
Then the time at the orphanage, which I already mentioned about Akim. But another little boy was crying and crying. One of the workers was kind of rough and tired of his screaming and grabbed him and took him to another room to cry by himself and settle down. He tends to cry everytime I am there but that day he was even more upset. He was eventually brought back in and started crying again. I was putting another baby down and saw him start throwing up a little. It was from being worked up and crying so much. So I went to get him and wrapped him in a blanket and took him to the porch. He laid his head on me and just wimpered and tried to settle down.
It was time to go and so I had to put him back and then he started crying again.

Leaving the orphanage to pick up the kids, I passed the UTH hospital, which is known for not being a good place to go when you are sick, but the only option for most Zambians. Next to the hospital is the morgue. Where I pass the turn off to the mortuary, there are 2 signs that stand out and then a line up of ladies selling flower arrangements. The one sign talks of the risk of AIDS and promotes abstinence and exposes the lie that relations with a young girl does not cure AIDS, and the other sign is a simple one posted to a tree and says, "Cheap coffins for sale".

At the next traffic light there was a funeral procession with the casket. Every day we hear or see a funeral procession.
Every day! If we are not driving around town and see one, we will hear one going by the house. Because people stand in the back of a truck and sing as they drive to the burial. A couple streets from us is where one of the graveyards is.
After we picked the kids up I told James in the car on the way home that Akim died, last week. And then I just started crying. When the woman at the orphanage told me, it was so matter of factly, because it happens all the time.

As I was waiting for James at school, one little girl came up and told me that her Auntie died and earlier this morning Sarah said a classmates cousin who was 8 yrs old died. Encok was off early one day to attend a funeral as was Mr. Chipeta a few weeks ago. Then as we drove onto our road we saw a mentally ill man walking in only a pair of shorts and torn up socks. He was covered in dirt and just walking around. And it was windy and cold.

I did see Johns at the market last week and he helped with the bag. I was noticing he had a torn up falling apart windbreaker on.
So after we got the vegetables I went to a place where they were selling used clothing. They had jackets for $4. I wanted to get him one. So I bought it and gave it to him and told him to wear it. He put it on reluctantly and I was not sure why. Then when we went to the car I tried to explain I did not want him to sell it, or have another boy take it, but it was for him. He said ok ok and then put it on. Well he left and normally I take off in the car, but I had gone with a Zambian friend and so I went back to look for her. I was standing by the entry and saw him. He just stopped in the distance and looked at me. I waved and looked at coat on. Then I looked away trying to find my friend. Then a few minutes later he walked by with the coat on and said, "Hello Madame" and waved.

So I don't know if the other boys will say something to him, or if he gave it away for something, or if he hid it somewhere b/c he looks more pathetic in rags and therefore might get a better "tip". I don't know, but even that was a bit discouraging.

I had asked my friend in Kabanana to see if the kids we are starting to support there have warm blankets and coats, what they need to be fine for the cold. She said no, and now is going to find out what we can get for them.
But these are just examples from the past week. It is hard living here. One friend told me that over the course of a month, her mother goes to about 20 funerals. But this is normal. I don't think I could explain it to the Zambians why it is difficult. And I think maybe even the few Zambians that I know read this, might not understand exactly, because it is not normal for us.

I wrote to a friend back home and was explaining the difficulty of all this, but I said it is not that I want to leave. I don't. I just wanted her here to go through it with me. To help.
So that is the "another level".

Thankfully in God's perfect timing we had already been planning a "holiday away". We have been here almost 6 months and were both feeling the need to have a break. So we left last Saturday and just returned home last night.
We went to South Luwanga Park. So the next few blogs I hope to show pictures and tell you of our "Holiday".

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing this so we can pray more sympathetically. Please pray for Mariah, Austin, and their mother door neighbors grandchildren who play with our children often...Their 33 year old Dad died in an accidental drowning at Green River July 4. They attend the Catholic church here.
    Thanks, Mary