September 26, 2010
My blog, I know, has been a bit silent this week. This is due in part to the extra work decisions and assignments that the past week brought. And in part it is due to the fact that my “catch-up” time for communication, generally on the weekends, has this weekend been eaten up by some more travel and more time spent visiting with friends. So at the moment I am just in from a church service of much singing and dancing, both in the main service and with the children I was teaching. Soon it will be more travel, but at the moment I am enjoying the little ones,’ and big ones,’ company [along with a good deal of nshima, kapente, and munkoyo :-)]
Though not exactly on-topic, my photo today is one I snapped Friday afternoon, of the upper school girls displaying their hoop skills–and in case you wondered, I heartily cheered them on as I snapped action shots!
September 18, 2010
Bataata. My father. MY father.
As we learned in our last class, in the Bemba language the word for father is a completely different one when signifying “my” father, as opposed to the father of another person. And when the instructor told us this fact, tears sprang to my eyes, for I knew that I was about to make the journey I have anticipated for over 2 decades now. Zambian time and logistics being what they are, I knew it would not be definite until I was actually on the road. But after an 8-hour journey yesterday, I arrived in the village where I was, for a portion of my childhood, raised. And this morning, the man who knows the way knocked on the door and led me to “where my father lies” . . . bataata kumanda kobalala. There I did what I had decided upon: In colored chalk I covered the stone. A cross. The word bataata. And the initials of the 4 of us who knew him as such. So be it.
September 15, 2010
It never ceases to amaze me at how many challenges a single day can bring when in the throes of Zambian boarding school life. While attempting to catalog an entire collection of books and keep the well-used collection in order in the meantime, I found myself today filling in to teach weather, Biblical foundations, & geography. Along the way I also practiced my Bemba, speaking with others and studying my phrase book. There were staff meetings & school assemblies to attend, French students to tutor, little ones plates to fill at the dining hall, responses to “May I please be excused, Miss J?” and various other ventures and adventures.
But underlying it all was a sense of growing, nervous anticipation: a knowledge that it looks like this weekend will be the one in which I finally take that road trip to hunt down a certain pivotal spot in my life. Planning is underway and, Africa being what it is, it is still pending but, Lord willing, I will be on a bit of a life journey in a few days.
That said, the work day is not yet done for me so far as the students go but I did take a moment to snap a photo of one of the trees that has caught my eye of late: I have not idea yet what it is but was amazed by the hue: it was so bright that I actually toned down the color to post it!
September 11, 2010
Today’s Saturday ventures included a fine variety of weekend-like jaunts: a trip into town for shopping, for instance. And a music lesson, in which I dredged up all my old childhood piano training in order to attempt to teach sight-reading . . . and, of course, the photo walk. The trio of us inspected various types of growths as we walked: the banana grove [those bananas are still too green, I'm afraid], a vegetable garden [that the dry season has diminished rather obviously], and a fair number of striking trees [not that I have any particular arborist's inclination, mind you :-)]. This is one that I have tended to photograph over the years . . . this year being no exception.
September 10, 2010
I post this in mid-song. Literally. I happen to live with a virtuoso female quartet and we spend evenings, after the day is done, amusing ourselves by harmonizing with each other, song after song, spontaneously chosen from the praise book. My intention was to play with this photo I snapped during my post-class afternoon walk. But at the moment, I would rather be singing. So that’s what I’m going to do, leaving you for now with this very Zambian tree . . .
September 6, 2010
Yes, this really is how purple the flowers are. Now imagine a very large tree made up entirely of this hue, and you will understand why I gasp each time I pass one of these numerous painter’s delights. It was actually on my To-do list today for once the school day was done and I could snag a photo-taking moment :-)
September 4, 2010
. . . because sometimes what is necessary is not a barreling-through till the work is done but a stepping-away to a new slant, a new point of view . . .
At the end of the week of frenetic school-life activities, I realized that I was focusing solely on the hugeness of my work-to-be-done. Knowing that it is beyond me to manage to complete the work of this library system set-up, I had a sense of despair by Friday afternoon. When school ended early, as it does on Friday afternoons, my initial sense was one of obligation to just keep working . . . obligation, mind you, without motivation.
So I caught my motives and made a change in plans. The work will remain. Life, however, is just foundvin each moment we have before us. I snagged a friend, then, and we went for a walk. We took photos, laughed at the antics of the young football [or, in the U.S., soccer] players out enjoying their freedom from the classroom, and we inspected the intricacies of the trees in the banana grove.
And the view from where I stood, looking up at the banana bunches, was a blessed reminder that there is as much of a joy in the moments snatched as there is in any sort of tangible work that can be accomplished.
September 1, 2010
What with a combination of jet lag, travel weariness, the immensity of the work I hope to do here, and being thrust headlong into the throes of a hectic beginning to the madness known commonly as boarding school life, I had an afternoon of exhaustion. And then I felt twinges of guilt: everyone else seems to be managing just fine with this schedule, I thought . . . it is far too early in the term for me to justify such a feeling!
So it was with deep gratitude that I soaked up a few moments of unexpected delight: before the dinner bell rang, I lingered in the playground and chatted with one young student about his home village. And, incidentally, we were in mid teeter-totter as we talked–a singular pleasure for me, to be sure! As we did so, I noticed the beauty of the sunset and knew I had to try to capture the moment visually as well. Luckily for my camera-fetching purposes, the dinner bell came late so I managed to make a dash for my camera. Obviously, in this photo, there is no companion teeter-totterer . . . I’m afraid by the time I had returned, the dinner bell did ring, at which point hungry young student made a mad dash for the dining hall: no lingering for photo ops for him! Hopefully you won’t mind too terribly much the visual of a mere setting sun and empty teeter-totter seat :-)