Christmas in May, you say? You’d better believe it! Santa’s sleigh arrived in Africa early this year….. all the way from the Great White North!
I am pleased to announce that our container arrived on May 21st! We were elated! Actually, we were both jubilant and glum – partly because it reminded us so much of home, and elated to get some of our things that we were looking forward to seeing again. Dennis went about unpacking the tools with glee (so gleeful was he, that he sliced his foot with the grinder and required 7 stitches) BUT….he was not deterred. He went right back to work the very next day – tools in hand. We were so excited to have our things arrive from back home. Thank you to all who contributed in helping with the container – many thanks to those in Kitchener; Dan Weinhardt, The Faulkenburgers boys, Jake and Devon Boronka, etc. also many thanks to Mikey Delic (Dennis’ brother) for being willing to be used in helping load and in donating much of the furniture that now makes up our home. To Alltrade as well – for the many electrical items that will allow us to bring electricity to Harmony School! Also, Christian Aid and Ontario Gleaners for donating foodstuffs. Mennonite Central Committee for humanitarian relief kits. To Chris Morris and the list goes on…..we humbly thank you!
It’s been a very hectic/stressful and busy month.
First of all, we started feeding the children lunch along with breakfast in the morning. So, it’s the second feeding time. Okay, I just feel like I have to thank the donors again back home. I know I keep mentioning it BUT none of this would be possible without your love and generosity. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. I mean, we see it being lived out here day after day….and it is truly amazing. Often times when we give, we forget about it, but we see it being used here in a very tangible way everyday. So, having said that, I feel compelled to mention it again and again – to the praise of the Father.
Alright, back to lunch…..here is what lunch looks like here in Zambia. NSHIMA – NSHIMA – AND MORE NSHIMA!! They eat NSHIMA with everything. It is their staple food item. Let me try and explain what it is. It is made from mealie meal – which is finely ground corn. It would be similar to our cornmeal. They boil it in water until it thickens. Then they add a relish to that. NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE RELISH THAT WE PUT ON OUR BURGERS. Jazz, do not think about burgers, do not think about burgers……sob. Back on point, the relish here is considered anything that you serve alongside the Nshima (depending on what they can afford). So it can be anything from sautéed vegetables, to meat and so on. It was funny, I was grilling some meat for dinner outside, and Combe (the young man who tends to the yard), approached me and asked me for some relish (this is obviously before I understood what relish was). I proceeded to apologize, and explained that I didn’t have any relish (I’m thinking the kind you put on burgers) but that the next time I went food shopping I would buy some for him. He cocked his head to the side and looked at me quizzically. He then looked at the meat on the grill, and then back at me. We stood there in awkward silence for longer than I was comfortable with. After a few more moments of this torture, it dawned on me that he was asking for some of the meat I was grilling to eat as a relish for the nshima – ahh, yes, relish. Just another one of my “cultural adjustment” moments.
So, back at the school Dennis was interested in finding out what the nutritional value of nshima is, and he was surprised to find out that it basically has ZERO nutrients. This is information backed up by two nutritionists – one Zambian and another American. So instead of nshima, we serve rollermeal at the school, and that is equivalent to our oatmeal. Of course, they were not happy at first, but Dennis insisted because he wants the children to receive the most amount of nutrients. There is no difference in price, it’s just that people opt for the nshima because they are used to it.
So, from the container arriving from such a great distance to launching the second feeding program, we have been very busy!! We are privileged to be able to be a part of this ministry – humbled beyond words.