I think we all are feeling more normal now in terms of adjusting back to the time, and culture and activity. James just left to go to Botswana for the week. He is meeting with some of the men there that are having a pastors conference to discuss plans for establishing a school for training men there.
My last post was on Monday, about me losing it.
I was given too much credit by a few friends comments. They implied that I only now was losing it. Correction, I only now was telling you about a specific instance of losing it!
Tuesday I went with my friend Myranda to a Ladies Bible Study. She had invited me at the end of last year and so I was looking forward to visiting with her. It is a group of about 20 women, all white and all expatriates. Some Americans, zimbabweans, south africans and europeans. There were a few missionaries in the group.
It was nice to meet some other ladies. After the study I had my shopping to do. I stopped at Blue Moon to get a bagel and a fruit smoothie. Well they didn’t have the smoothie so I just got the bagel and then ran into the grocery store for a bottle of juice.
I then headed downtown. I stopped in Kamwala where I get plastic containers, chitenge fabric, hangers, and other random things. I am familiar with one street there and so usual walk up and down the side peeking in shops to find what I need.
I was on the hunt for a chitenge fabric with red in it to use in my kitchen. So I went in and out of a dozen shops standing and staring at their fabric hanging way up high on the walls. I finally found one that I liked and purchased it. Was asked if I was going to wear it, and then they started laughing. I said not this one, but I do have some I wear. So they said, well, call again and next time wear a chitenge.
I think some people find it amusing that a white person would wear a chitenge.
After Kamwala I headed to another shop that sells wholesale goods but “Western style”. L A Imports. It is nice. Its behind a gate, you pull up they open the gate and you can park right there at the store EVERY Time! It is kind of like a mini-costco, or GFS. Only you can’t pick up the items off the shelf. When you walk in, a lady follows you around with a scanner and you check prices (because they are not listed) and then tell her what you want to buy. So I bought a few things and was checking prices on other items. They have some things that you can’t find other places which is nice.
And their items in bulk are cheaper than buying them from the big grocery stores in the city. But they are not cheaper than the wholsesale, whole in the wall, shops that are in town.
So I headed for those. I had forgotten how busy it is in town, people walking everywhere, traffic, etc. I had to drive around about 6 different times waiting to find a parking spot near the shop I was going to. I had to park close enough because I was buying several bulky items. A guy on the side of the street offered to find a parking spot. He said he had one so I had to turn around because it was behind where I was waiting in the car. So I pulled around only to find that it was up on the curb, on the sidewalk. Which he assured me was fine madam. I had just seen the police officer when I arrived and knew I could get ticketed for parking there so told him no thanks and drove around another few times. He then showed me another spot which was legit only it was right under the TAXI’s Only sign. A taxi cab had just pulled out of the spot and motioned for me to park there. I pulled in and then negotiated with the guy. “Trust me” He said, I am here. They will not ticket you...it is fine Madam.
Well against better judgement, mostly because I had been waiting 20 minutes to find a parking spot and I had to use the “facilities” I went ahead and parked there. I was able to get to the shop, find about half of what I needed and then paid to have someone carry the items out for me. I then had to walk to another shop nearby and find the peanut butter that we ( I ) like. (I am a bit of a peanut butter snob, or one might say I have very refined taste in peanut butter.) That was actually a nice surprise to find when we moved here that there is a brand that is comparable to Jif! it is called Yum-Yum. Very fitting. But since trying a couple others after we moved here, it is the only brand I buy. Though I might try the pick and pay store brand because it looks like it might be good. But enough about the peanut butter.
So after I found my peanut butter I had about an hour left before I had to pick up the kids from school so I headed to the newly built mall, Levy Mall. It opened while we were back in the States. It is in town and so worked out great to stop there on my way before picking up the kids. They too have a Pick and Pay grocery store ( which is out of South Africa- and my favorite grocery store in Zambia). So I stocked up on alot of foods, buying some things for the next few weeks. This isn’t too common here and so when I went to the register to check out the lady commented on how much I was buying. She then asked me if I was buying “in advance”. All I said was, “Yes”. It is true that I was, but also I didn’t mention that I was buying for 8 and we just moved back so I am still trying to get the basics for my pantry and kitchen. My shopping cart was overflowing and somehow that doesn’t seem to fit too well with the society in which I live. I would say even among those that are well off and eat well, I rarely see overflowing shopping carts at the grocery store. It is hard to be inconspicuous here!
Wednesday night we had some friends over for dinner and enjoyed hosting and visiting with them. We always seem to have interesting conversations about culture, zambia, america, men and women with this group of single young guys. They all attend Kat’s church and we try to have them over every now and then.
Thursday was International Women’s Day. One of the several Zambian holidays. Tomorrow, Monday is Youth Day. Another public holiday. I had to laugh about the women’s day because the night before we were discussing with the guys how in America for Mother’s Day women would be given the “day off” in a sense. Not have to cook or be taken out, given gifts, etc. That evening I got an email from church saying that in honor of women’s day all the women are invited to come to the church and have a work day and clean the church! Very different. Fine, but just different.
Thursday evening James and I went to one of the cell groups. Kabwata is a very large church and they have smaller cell groups that meet during the week. We did not make the effort the last years to at least try and so we are wanting to try and get involved in one this year. The challenge is that they meet from 6 to 7:30PM. For us Americans that is dinner time, getting the kids settled time, baths, preparing for school the next day. And small children do not attend the groups with their parents. So we are going to try and work it out so James and I go some of the time, and then maybe other times he takes the older kids. We will have to see how it will work out though.
The kids are still settling in at school. Jackson seems to be doing better this week. His teacher said he is doing well interacting with the kids and participating in class. We just have to work on improving his handwriting. That has been a big deal. He knows how to read well, but the handwriting is still lacking, and that is what shows up in the daily class activities.
Grace seems to enjoy having some time to herself and just with me. She will play quietly by herself for an hour in the mornings, and will go around just doing her own thing. Sarah and I have been able to get the horse organized more fully and we are slowly feeling settled. She did school Thursday even though the kids were off so on Friday she said she didn’t feel like doing school. So I gave her the day off if she would help me. She was glad for that exchange.
This week I was able to hang up most all the decorations and picture frames we brought over. I also was able to get my sewing machine out and sew some curtains for the kitchen cabinets. We have 2 cabinets on the wall and the rest are counter cabinets. They are old metal cabinets and the ones on the wall have no doors so the dishes gather dust pretty much every day. We leave our doors open in the daytime so I had wanted to sew something to put up. I had brought 2 tension spring rods to hang up in the cabinet so finished that on Saturday.
James started teaching Saturday. He will be teaching for the next month on Saturdays and then also on Fridays at the college. He usually goes to the college on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. He said he had a good meeting on Thursday with some of the teachers and is encouraged at the direction for the college. In April, He is planning to have 2 weeks off then will be in the Copperbelt teaching for a week module and then will have the following week off. Hopefully this will be the plan. As many of you know, our time in the States was anything but a “vacation” or “holiday” for him. With the exception of a week at Thanksgiving and Christmas he traveled alot and was planning to take a “break” when we got home for the month of April. So hopefully this will stick and he will get some rest.
So that is our week last week. Don’t worry I won’t give the play by play for each week on the blog. Just trying to catch up and know some of you might be wondering how we are re-orienting back to life here in Zambia. If you made it this far, Thanks for reading. It is 1,887 words! And to think I used to have trouble writing one page in school!