Saturday, July 12, 2014

Week 4: Seeking Sabbath

Sabbath in Late Fall

Sometimes on the Sabbath
all you can do is
settle into the soft body of yourself
and listen to what it says.

Listen to
the exhaustion that is deeper than tiredness
the hunger that is for more than food
the thirst that is for more than drink
the longing for comfort that is more than physical.

On the Sabbath
body and soul reach out for time of a different sort
time that is full of space rather than activity:
time to watch the burning bush in your own backyard...
the movement of the wind among bare branches...
the last leaf clinging to the branch before its final letting go.

Letting go is hard,
letting go of that which no longer works
that which no longer brings joy and meaning
that which is no longer full of life.

It seems cruel
That something that used to be so beautiful
should fall to the ground
sinking into the earthy mud along with everything else that is dying,
no longer recognizable for what it used to be.

It seems cruel but it is the way of things.

One generation gives its life for the next.
One season slips away so another can come.
One crop of fruit falls from the tree so that more can be borne.
One wave recedes while another gathers strength to crash upon the shore.

It seems cruel
but it is the rhythm of things.
And rhythm has its own beauty.

- Ruth Haley Barton


July 6, 2014

I woke up early again this morning, unable to make myself sleep any longer. Luckily Daniel was awake so we were able to talk some before having to get dressed and packed up to head home to Kalomo. Before leaving we had this incredible breakfast at the hotel. Made the whole entire stay worth it. We ended up spending the morning at Sunday Market and I got all of the things I needed to get for people back home! I love giving gifts and trying to see pieces of people I know in little knick knacks I find. The atmosphere was fun and we were bartering queens. There were a lot of tourists there so of course the sellers were asking for crazy prices. Nonetheless it’s always fun to me to barter and negotiate. We made a lot of friends today.

Meag met us at the market later since she was still feeling a little sick. When we found her, we put our stuff in the car before going grocery shopping for the next week or so. We stopped at Manda Hill Mall to get some waters and get whatever else we needed for the road and then began our journey back to Kalomo. I started feeling pretty bad so I took some Phenergan to help ease the nausea since it’s a bumpy venture. Thirty minutes later I was feeling back to normal, just a really drowsy.

After about 6 hours of dozing in and out, we stopped by Kurt and Jesse’s house again (the last stop on our village visit day last week). We picked up their mom and Lushomo (the oldest sibling) because they’re going to the Havens to get their smallest one, Cipo in Haven 1, to bring her home! The plan is for the mom and brother to stay at the Havens for a couple of days and be the ones who take care of Cipo in her normal routine here so Cipo can be somewhat used to them before leaving to live with them. Such a range of happy and sad.

We got back to the Havens and walked with Cipo’s mom and brother inside to get her. Cipo was pretty scared. Hopefully after a couple of days and a little formed trust between her and her new family, she’ll be happier to go to her home. It’s sad but you have to keep telling yourself this is the point of all this: reconciliation.

We got back to Meagan’s, unloaded the groceries, and relaxed the rest of the evening since we’re all feeling a little under the weather.

It was such a great weekend seeing so many different beautiful places and having the luxuries of hot showers and Internet. Hopefully this will be the end of this stretch of not feeling well so we all can jump right back in tomorrow and I can love on some Haven 1 babies.

July 7, 2014

This morning we all woke up feeling a little better than we did last night so we decided to take on the day. We had language class and then headed to the Havens.

I’m back at Haven 1 this week. I got to all but 3 of the 23 babies today. That’s pretty great. On top of that, each baby did wonderfully. It astounded me how big some of them have gotten since I’d seen them 2 weeks ago.  Mercy is officially back at the Havens now instead of living with us, which is sad, but it’s neat to see how much her personality has changed after being around so many other little ones rather than being the star of the show at home. She’s definitely quieter in some ways.

Some of my favorite moments from one on one today:

- There’s nothing like a baby lying still as a stone on your chest. I rocked Zeke (and eventually myself) to sleep and woke up after having napped for an hour with him. After 20 more minutes he woke up too. I don’t really have any desire to be a mom but those moments make me almost change my mind.

- Pri was the happiest I’ve ever seen her. She was constantly smiling, laughing, and babbling to me.

- Owen was so attentive and curious. His eyes were locked to mine and I heard his laugh for the first time.

- Binwell, one of the more hyper boys of Haven 1, let me just hold him still today. It was so rare and unlike him and I loved every second.

- We got a new baby today! Her name is Memory. She’s 2 months old and weighs just over 2 kgs (about 4.5 pounds). She was born prematurely and her mother just passed away so her family has been resorting to feeding her cow milk. She’s tiny tiny tiny. Her head is the size of a tennis ball.

I ate lunch with the Aunties today and we had nsima, rape with groundnuts, and beans. So yummy. At 16:00 I went and got Joel and we spent an hour together. He danced and we read some books and walked around.

We left right at 17:00 and came home and made homemade pasta for dinner. We have Riss (Jason and Cyntia’s daughter) spending the night with us tonight! We played on the iPad a little before she headed to bed. The rest of the night us interns journaled while Meag baked some brownies for language class tomorrow for Reuben’s birthday.

Such a great start back at the Havens after a long weekend away.

July 8, 2014

This morning we dragged ourselves out of bed, ran, and had our usual language class. Afterward we went to the Havens to pick up Mamma’s son, Edwin, before making a trip to town to visit AARON!

We drove there and met up with Aaron’s dad in town. He works at a pay phone shop and I knew who he was immediately when I saw him. Their noses are identical. He got in Meag’s car and led us to their house which was only 10 minutes away. We pulled up, got out, and sat in some chairs Aaron’s dad brought outside for us. After what seemed like an hour waiting, Aaron’s dad walked out with a walking, talking Aaron. When I left him Fall 2012 he was 6 months old. Now he’s 2 years old and a little man. Right when I saw him I couldn’t help but cry. I mean tears just started rolling before I could stop it. That child who has changed so much about me has no idea in the world who I am or how important he will always be to some girl in America. And that’s ok to me that he doesn’t know who I am. He doesn’t need to. But I’ll always know who he is.

We talked with his dad some while we sat there. He still hasn’t remarried since Aaron’s mom passed away and he said he’s not really looking either. They’re living with Aaron’s dad’s sister and her family so he’s got a lot of younger kids he’s growing up around. That makes me extremely happy. He just looked so healthy and happy and big. I’m so thankful. So so thankful.

We got back to the Havens in time to eat some birthday cake for Reuben and then began my one-on-one time. All the babies today were so cuddly and I got some good rocking in. I was able to read some too while they dozed on my chest. Best kind of one-on-one time.

Joel was so happy today. We danced, played on the playground, and played on some instruments Meagan has in her classroom. He was wearing this button up today looking super fratty, which was hilariously not ok, but still perfect.

We made taco soup and Rotel dip pretty soon after getting home so we could have some time to talk about our chapter in “Now What.” Since Jason and Cyntia are still out of town, we forwent game night and just talked about the book since we’ve missed the past couple of Mondays. We talked about Ebenezers. What they are, what their purpose is, and how important they are. Especially after big experiences that change you. Because the truth of the matter is, no matter how big an experience, some of the effects will not always be as strong as they once were. That’s just what humans do when life keeps moving. So we talked about the importance of naming experiences and reflecting on them often.

After dinner River and Aubs started dozing and decided to go to bed early. Meag and I stayed up talking for a few hours. I was able to talk with her about everything I’ve been wanting to ask her about. We talked about grief, death, living here, not living here, this past year of her life, family, loneliness, dark seasons she’s experienced, how she moves out of those seasons, and how/why in the world she still believes in God/can believe He is good when living a life like this one. Everything. We shared our feelings of how this kind of calling leaves you feeling both bitter and privileged at the same time. It’s both a sacrifice and an honor to do this.  We found out it drives us both mad how some people get to give some money or even come here for a week, 2 weeks, or even 6 weeks like us interns, and feel like they’ve put in their time and can go home and their lives can continue on. But people like us can’t find any kind of rest or feel right about our lives unless we answer the call in a way that changes everything. We both just sobbed and sobbed together. I’m so incredibly grateful I was able to have this precious time with this friend.

July 9, 2014

This morning it was rough waking up, but I managed to do it. Aubrey and River ended up not joining me in running today but I found it nice to have some time to be totally alone for even a small amount of time.

We didn’t have language class because Chimuka was sick, so we went straight to the Havens an hour early. The extra hour made the day seem forever long but it also gave me enough time to get to every single one of the babies. I can’t believe I did it.

Cipo went home today with her mom. It’s such a mix of emotions. Everyone is so happy she’s reunited with her family but also mourning the loss of her presence here.

The Zambian Medical Mission starts next week so people are slowly trickling in here and filling this place up. One of the doctors that just arrived, Mrs. Binky (owner of the Binky Estes house), came to check on some of the kids Meagan has some questions/concerns about. It was neat seeing them work together and hearing Mrs. Binky give Meagan her advice.

After running around spending time with all of the babies all day, I helped feed dinner, went to Haven 3 and helped feed those babies, and then we came home. We warmed some leftovers and rested while Meag left to talk to some people who had just arrived for ZMM (Zambia Medical Mission). When she got back we did the next chapter in “Now What.” This chapter talked about spiritual giants that we come in contact with on overseas trips. Which, spiritual giants as a term in itself is strange to me seeing that every Christian deals with their own level of doubts and questions and unsurety, but that’s besides the point. We talked about people we’ve met here that seem like spiritual giants to us and what it is we can do to obtain for ourselves the characteristics we see in them. Today was so exhausting all we could do wa go straight to bed.

I’d like to fantasize my time here and make it sound as though these kids are perfect and there’s no amount of tired I can feel that would ever make me want to leave. But today I left the Havens actually happy to get home. Loving the kids is a day well spent but a tiring task.

July 10, 2014

This morning in language class, Chimuka gave us simple sentences in English and in Tonga and then we tried making our own sentences with all of the words we’ve learned.

When we got to the Havens we talked to one of Meagan’s Zambian friends about making quilts for us. When I walked back to Haven 1 to get started on the day, I saw Mercy sitting on the veranda and she looked so awful. Her eyes were totally sunken in. It was honestly terrifying. Bina Bright told Meagan that she had been vomiting and having diarrhea all night. It was scary how different she looked just from the day before.

Today was intern lunch and by 12 we were all so exhausted.  We sat and ate our packed lunches and sat in the shade for about an hour and a half. We talked about how crazy it is how open our futures are and how we never once thought we would be interns in Zambia the summer before our senior year in college. And the same can be said about what’s to come. Who knows what will happen that we haven’t even imagined yet.

I got to almost everyone today in one-on-one time. Everyone was so compliant and cuddly.

I wasn’t feeling well so I told Meagan I would let her know if I would be able to go out into the village tonight. Since Mercy became so sick so fast she was busy taking care of her, so I just decided to tough it out and go. Bina Mbombo and I left at 17:00 and walked to her house. When we got there we started making this tomato soup mixture with eggs, rape, and nsima. I started feeling nauseous so I took some Phenergan I brought with me. We ate and sang some with her kids. I felt so rude because the medicine started making me feel sleepy and I still didn’t feel great so it was hard for me to be engaged and join in. We went to bed at 19:30 and I was out. Hopefully I can kick whatever this is and start feeling better.

July 11, 2014

Bina Mbombo woke me up this morning right before we had to leave. She apologized saying there wouldn’t be any breakfast because she forgot to buy sugar the day before. I was kind of glad because I was still feeling groggy and not hungry at all. We met Aubrey and River on the road and finished the walk back to the Havens. We hugged the Aunties, parted ways, and finished our walk back to Meagan’s.

We packed a bag since we’re leaving today for Livingstone. The plan is for us interns, Meagan, and Dan to pick up Lou at the airport and spend the day there and see the lunar rainbow at Victoria Falls. While changing clothes and packing our bags I realized my ringworm count is up to four now. Three being on my face. Worth it.

We didn’t plan to leave for Livingstone until 11:00 so we drove up to the Havens at 8:00 so we could get a few hours in with the kids. While I was rocking Esther (the premature twin to Lot) she smiled this huge gummy smile which I have yet to see her do. And Annie, another one of the little babies, usually just cries the whole time but she also smiled the whole time I was rocking her. Needless to say it was a great last day at Haven 1.

We left there, went to get Dan from the Hamby House, and drove to Livingstone. Dan is Australian so it was so great hearing him talk the whole way. We waited and waited and finally Lou walked through the doors. Such a sweet reunion. It was precious seeing Meag and her so giddy to be together again. We left there and went to eat lunch at this place called Route 66. It’s a new restaurant here in Livingstone. We all got burgers which was a great treat. After there we went and ran some errands. We got some coffee and little things Dan needed to fix some things around the Mission.

We talked about the possibility of bungee jumping off of the bridge over the Zambezi River across from Victoria Falls so we decided we would go check on how much it would be. (Just River and Aubrey. Not me, Mom.) They said they would do it only if it was $100 or less. It ended up being about $150. We walked away defeated, but with a little persuasion from Meag and Lou the girls decided they wouldn’t get this opportunity again so they decided to spend the extra and do it. I was so proud of their extremely compulsive yet brave decision.

Proud some people are brave enough to do these things.
Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side

After we left there we decided to come to the hotel to get our jackets before going back out to the Falls for the lunar rainbow. In short, the lunar rainbow is a rainbow that shows itself at night due to the moonlight. Walking up to the Falls we felt like we were bad kids doing something illegal or something because we were the ONLY people in there. It was kind of weird. But it was just us 6 trekking around the trails of the Falls in complete blackness. There are baboons that hang around there so all I could picture was the scene from Tarzan when Jane ticks off the baby monkey and the huge fleet of baboons chase him around. We kept our eyes peeled.

The lunar rainbow was nothing short of incredible. I mean I saw a rainbow at night. It was so awesome. Not just the sight of it but the sound too. Last time I came in 2012 in the daytime, there was less water running over the Falls because of the start of dry season. But tonight, there was so much water you could hear the roar as soon as you stepped out of the car. We were being misted on just walking towards it. So much power. Standing there in the magnitude of what we were seeing it was almost restful; hearing nothing but the roar of the water. You could hardly hear the person talking next to you. It was peaceful.

We all loaded back up in Meag’s car and came back to the hotel. It almost felt like we were just driving around Little Rock or something. We were all singing and laughing like friends who had known each other for forever. Meag told us what her favorite thing was about this weekend trip. She said usually when groups come they save the fun stuff for the last couple of days before flying out to go home. But her favorite thing about the whole weekend is that we’re doing all these fun things and no one is leaving tomorrow. We get to all come home together.

July 12, 2014

Last night was one of the best nights of sleep I’ve gotten since I’ve been here. I felt super rested and reenergized. We packed up, ate some breakfast, and went to “Handyman’s Paradise” (yes that’s the name of the store) so Dan could get some things before coming back to Namwianga. We stopped by the grocery store as well to get some stuff for our last village visit this coming week. We’re cooking for our host family instead of them cooking for us like they usually do. Meagan wanted us to choose something American that we could make out there. It was harder than you would think trying to come up with American things that you can carry in your arms and make and over a fire. We wanted to choose something besides your typical spaghetti or whatever so we chose grilled cheese and omelets. Simple and probably gross to them but it’s what we eat, you know? (I mean, not together in the same meal but that’s not the point.)

After the grocery store we dropped Dan at the airport so he could help pick up some more of the ZMM (Zambia Medical Mission) people that arrived today. We drove back to Nams with Lou, catching up on things. It still never ceases to amaze me how baboons are chillin on the side of the road like dogs would be in America. Baboons. Baboons people.

We made it back, unloaded the groceries and luggage, and rested for a few hours. I was able to FaceTime my parents which was so great since it’s the first time I’ve gotten to talk with them since being here.

Meag and Lou went to Eric’s House so Lou could see Jason and Cyn so us interns had the house to ourselves. Aubrey was feeling sick so she slept while River journaled and checked emails. I made some mac and cheese while listening to Ben Rector and it almost felt like normal life. It was so great having a few hours to turn our brains off and just be.

Meag got back from Eric’s House and we made dinner before playing some Hand and Foot with Dan and Lou. We treated ourselves to one of the cake mixes we brought. It’s so fun joking around with Meag and Dan and Lou. They’re in their thirties but I feel like we’re all just friends. And the cool thing is, we kind of are.

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