Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sharing a Meal

About a month ago, one of the boys, Francis that we sponsor in Kabanana asked if we ate nshima. I said yes and then he asked if he could cook a meal for us sometime and we come and eat with him. I told him that would be nice and thank you. So since that time I have not been up there at the same time that he was around. He asked Kat about me last week and so I sent a letter for him saying that I would be coming next week if he wanted us to stay and eat with him.

So today was the day. We picked up Fanny and Maureen and Kat and I all went to their house.
When we arrived the mother was cooking and Francis and Barbara were no where to be seen. Memory and Christian were so we talked with them a little and then the older two kids showed up.

The nshima was ready and we prepared to eat with them.
Before the meal a pitcher with water is poured over a basin and we washed our hands.

Then Fanny began serving the food that the mother prepared. She started with the nshima.
It is cooked and then formed into large patties that you then break off with your hand and roll into a ball with only using your right hand. So I reached for the hot patties and burned my fingers. Not just like oh its kind of hot, but OWW, they are burning and the skin is hurting and I am trying to do everything the right way. Katryn said my face turned red and I said ow or something to that effect, while everyone started laughing!

I don't really know how you are supposed to pick up burning hot nshima without experiencing the burns. (Think of sticking your fingers into oatmeal that just came off the stove- but not just sticking it in, then trying to pick it up and put it on your plate) Maureen and then Francis got theirs without any trouble but then when it was Kat's turn she tried and Fanny ended up putting it on her plate.

Next was the pumpkin leaves, which I was familiar with and took a helping of those. After that came the main course. FISH.
I was contemplating in my mind how to go about the fish. I don't care for fish, but was thankful it was not caterpillars which we seriously had discussed last time with Francis. The fish was fried and cut in two. The front or the back. The head or the tail. So I opted for the tail and set to work trying to cut with the serving spoon a piece of the fish off so I could have "taken some" and then left some for someone else who only wanted a little,... say maybe Kat? But everyone was watching as I was serving my piece as Fanny held the bowl. I must have had a momentary look on my face because she gave me the look of, "go ahead and take a piece". So I did. We all ate and it was fine, mixed in with my nshima and watching for bones.

It was so kind of them to open their home to us and to serve us a meal. I certainly didn't want to offend or take any of the food for granted. Maureen prayed before we ate in Bemba which gave me a good opportunity to thank God for their kindess and ask for help to eat the meal and not have any issues.

Something as simple as taking a meal together meant alot to them and to me. It is very common for Zambians to ask if we eat nshima. It is their staple food product and I think in eating it and especially eating it with them, it shows we are entering into their culture and that we do care about them and love them. So I was thankful to share this meal today, and not only with them but also with Kat and Maureen and Fanny.

After the meal the mother taught a bible study to us from various scriptures and through Maureen translating. She emphasized the love God's children have for one another and the oneness in Jesus. That there is no black and white, that doesn't matter but we are all God's Children.

After the bible study and Fanny's encouraging to the kids to keep attending the Sunday School, which is somewhat sporadic, we took a couple pictures outside.

(Me, Barbara, Francis, Mother, Maureen, Fanny)


  1. But, the fish heads are tastier than the tails.

  2. Hi Megan, its encouraging to get to know more about your work here in Zambia, we will remember you and your work in our prayers... now about the nshima... if you where visiting my village and you prepared rice or pasta for lunch, it would still be excepted of you to later on come and serve nshima because anything else served especially for lunch other nshima is "treat as a starter" before the main meal... nshima! so its quite central in our culture and lives but also some kind of identity and therefore if you eat with us, you identify yourself with us and you are joyfully welcomed and accepted in our lives! We sometimes call it five fingers!

    Macarthur from KBC.