just another ordinary day

January 30, 2011

This sight clued me into the instant realization that this was yet another in the never-ordinary day in the life here in Zambia . . . just when it was seeming to be a leisurely Sunday evening, we had another adventure.  Some of our “adventures” are daily: power outages, for instance.  This particular one we have not had in a couple months now.  The flood.  If you have never attacked streams of flooding water with a broom, I suggest you try it.  An interesting exercise in not-quite-but-near-futility.  Whenever the pipes burst or, in this case, a sink detaches itself from the wall, we all get in on the fun.  This time was significantly faster than usual, so far as clean-up goes.  Perhaps because it happened while we were awake and coherent? [the past 2 happened around 2:00 in the morning].  At the moment, however, the only lingering effect is a jimmied faucet-stopper on a sink that lies on the bathroom floor . . . and sparkling floors here in the dorm :-)



January 26, 2011

It was a moment suspended.  Suspended in the day’s busy-ings about.  Between lesson planning and lesson giving; between book cataloging and book organizing; between child supervision and child reprimanding . . . came a moment.

The final school bell of the morning had rung, and streams of students and staff were making their way across the field, from classrooms to the dining hall.  As I walked, I noticed a lone little one ahead of me, stepping slowly and gingerly, while others raced past in their rush for the lunch tables.

Once near enough I slowed, and knelt to within earshot of his small frame.  Even as I asked if he was ok, my throat was restricting with an unplaced yet palpable fear.  Another child approached, asking him why he didn’t put his shoes all the way on.  He lowered his head and mumbled that he could not, motioning to the bandages covering his feet.  Then I saw that his hands and elbows were also covered, wrapped in bandages under which I could see hints of open wounds.  And I understood the need for the bandages.

For just recently I learned that this little one, new to us this school term, is just one of this country’s far-too-numerous children infected with that dreaded virus.  So a stream of thoughts went through my head:

Is he going downhill?  Is this a symptom of a decline?  Has his time with us so soon begun to near its end?

And even as my mind went through this series of wonderings, I knew that I could not stop to dwell on them.  All that we can do in life, surrounded by whatever our respective challenges and hurts may be, is to carry on.  To keep doing our jobs, living our lives, and caring for those in them as best as we can.

So I simply walked quietly with this young one to the lunch table.  I checked with the nurse to be sure he was under the proper care.  And then I went about the rest of the day’s business.

Later on tonight, after dinner, he showed me a plastic toy he had found in the dorm.  “Miss,” he began, looking up at me, “what does this do?”  I picked up the toy and investigated it with him—giving up eventually, as I could not actually figure out whatever the toy’s intricate workings were: too complicated for this librarian J  But we did what we could, then off he went for evening games with fellow dorm boys, bedtime stories, and bed.  And tomorrow morning we shall all begin again with the day, whatever it may bring . . .

. . . & a time to dance

January 25, 2011

Things I’ve learned in local churches . . . and captured a few photos of this past Sunday:

It is common to have 3 choirs perform on any given Sunday–this is one of those 3 I had the distinct privilege of listening [and dancing] to this week.

I’m not sure if it’s quite so common but it does at least happen habitually at this one church–the pastor dances up to the pulpit, escorted by dancing and singing choir members [said 3 choirs].

It is highly improbable for those attending such a church to doze off or fight boredom.  More likely, for some amongst us, is a tendency to, well, naturally enough, sing and dance :-)

ballooning bejeweledness

January 22, 2011

This morning at breakfast a pair of odd pants was brought out by the younger dorm girls.  The strange thing about them is that they have an odd ballooning midsection, with skinny legs, creating an overall cartoonish effect when worn.  I was nominated to model the oddities, so took the occasion of wearing them to snap this appropriately foot-themed visual aid :-)

fungi variety

January 16, 2011

A trio of us took an afternoon walk to the pool today and, as we did, we encountered a coworker.  I knew what she was carrying well before I saw into her basket and, yes, sure enough, it was chock full of mushrooms.  I didn’t know beforehand, but she has the skill of knowing which ones to gather: a pretty good skill, from what I understand.  And I would suspect that, not being from here originally, it took a good deal of extra learning in order to be able to do so with the native Zambian mushrooms.  Maybe she’ll give me some lessons: I don’t think I’d have any trouble making use of some edible fungi :-)


a footed tent?

January 15, 2011

As the morning football [i.e. soccer] match neared half-time, a few of us bystanders noticed an odd sight behind us: apparently the tent had sprouted feet–or perhaps someone [or two ones] just carried an oversized umbrella?  And since said feet were wearing the ever-present, in this season, rain boots, the brightly hued effect was photo worthy, to say the least . . . and yes, I did also take some photos of the youngsters playing their game :-)


the happy library

January 11, 2011

I have never been accused of being too terribly serious, so far as my work with children and youth goes.   And so I risk embarrassing myself with this shot of my goofy, for sure, but hopefully endearing, “Welcome back!” to the students.  If you wonder
what the captions say, they are:
What do you see in the year ahead?,
Step on up to a great New Year!, &
Time for New Year adventures.
I will assume my readership to be able to decipher which
caption goes with which image :-)

about a foot

January 9, 2011

I have given myself several occasions, over the past few days, for my interest in photographing feet.  I like capturing both other peoples’ feet and my own but, for obvious reasons, it is when I take other people’s feet shots that I encounter the most flack for it.

But the other day I must say I felt vindicated when, shortly after being teased for taking a pre-volleyball game foot shot, one of said teasers proceeded to direct my attention towards a new photo op: a stunning rainbow.  Considering the fact that I had already put away my camera and joined my patient teammates, to finally start the game, I took this as a sign that it was ok for me to take my photos as I felt the need . . . ok, well, maybe not every time I feel like it :-)

Today marked my 3-day anniversary of arriving back in the country.  And since the first 2 of those days were full days of work in the library and school, Christine and I did not feel the least bit guilty about running away for the afternoon.  We planned our afternoon while returning from church and, once back in the dorm, set out for our outing.  It entailed the borrowing of bikes, a bike ride to the nearest pool, a swim and sun-soak, and then a return biking trip.  We were taking our chances, we knew, but the weather cooperated brilliantly, with no rain all afternoon and the most perfect of sunny-but-not-too-hot temperatures.

This being my first swim since returning, I commemorated the day with this “self portrait”

a “home”-coming

January 6, 2011

Back again . . . “home”?  I don’t know how much of a home I can properly call this place I have lived and worked since August.  But for whatever reason, it feels like a homecoming today to be back.  While I was away the rains have greened everything significantly: greened and colored, I suppose, if you take into account the flowers and fruits newly blooming.  So this evening I walked with my camera to capture a view similar to that which I snapped when I first arrived.  The angle is the same, but the sight of this setting sun is a new one for me, as far as the seasons changes go at this school.  And tonight, as I laugh with a much-missed friend over some happenings while I was gone, I share this glimpse with you all . . .


“. . . and may you rest in the assurance that He will never abandon you.”

Just as easily as the priest spoke these words, the tears sprang to by eyes.  Those tears that well up instantaneously from this heart that so unapologetically chooses to make its vulnerability known.

I do not know why he chose those words to speak over me as a communion blessing.  But I do know that those words came from above.

Shortly thereafter, this afternoon–longing for something, I knew not what–I spontaneously walked to a new friend’s home.  I had in mind that I would just deliver a letter; but instead, thanks to a serendipitous combination of openness and her activity of the day, the afternoon was spent chopping spices, kneading dough, and sharing hearts.  And it was exactly what I was longing for [that which I knew not]: a heart connection combined with a hands-on activity; so much so that I find myself once more in that state of wonder at the provision of a God who deals with us so mysteriously . . . so tenderly.

This photo is a shot of the almost-finished product, the Naan that has yet to be flattened and baked.