So it has officially been a week. One week filled with laughter, hospitality, bug bites, singing, learning, butt-pinching chairs, and, most of all, an over abundance of taco seasoning. I must admit, I never really understood the saying “the days feel long but the weeks feel short”. However, after these last few days, I can see it starting to resonate with me more and more. It feels like yesterday I was sitting anxiously in the SeaTac airport ready to embark on this journey.
I can remember everything so vividly, except maybe that one time I apparently fainted within the first hour of our flight to Dubai. (Don’t worry, mom. I’m fine… really!) Over the course of last semester, people would come up to me asking if I was ready to go to Zambia. I would say, “Yes!” very excitedly except it never felt so real until the moment when we watched our first sunset in Zambezi. I have seen many beautiful sunsets in my life; however, that first one across the Zambezi River was incomparable to the rest. I stood and watched the sun slowly sink into what seemed like an infinite horizon as my new young friends, Keith and Sombo, held both my hands.
In some ways, time here is like an African sunset. You look out into the distance and take it all in. After a few moments you then start to wonder when the sun is actually going to set. You’ll then feel a small tug on your hand and start to engage in the little chatter. Then you look back up and the sun has almost completely vanished and you start to wonder how it slipped away from the sky that quickly.
Time here is similar in this sense. Between the teaching, running down to the market, conversing with so many new people, and trying to find time to reflect, I’ll often find myself feeling lost within the day. The moment from when I wake up and go to bed seems much more distant in Zambezi than when I am at home. However, with this being said I woke up today and was able to look back on this week as a whirlwind of events.
I think the combination of these two feelings causes me perceive time here as quickly moving, yet so still. There are many moments that I know will pass by in a few quick beats, yet I desperately want them to remain imperishable in my mind.
Last Saturday Mckenzie and I got to stay overnight with Janet, a Zambian woman who welcomed us into her little concrete house with the most open arms. As we sat down and ate nshima, chicken, and what seemed to be some fish puree (sorry again mom, I will still never like fish) on the floor of Janet’s living room with her family, I thought to myself and wondered when the next time I will be able to experience this again.
This past week, I have found myself having many of these moments. There are times when Keith and Sombo, along with other kids, will laugh at me when I completely butcher a word or saying in their beautiful tribal language of Luvale. I want to remember these laughs five years from now with the same clarity as today. I want to remember Mama Violet’s enchantingly raspy voice, the games that Zambian kids will show us, the sweet taste of a small banana, the chanting of “chindele” by the children, the deep contemplation of which chintenge to buy, the lively celebrations I can hear outside my window each night as I go to bed, the beat of the drums during church, and the insurmountable joy everyone gets when another victim falls to the butt-pinching chair. I want to remember all these ordinary moments just like the seemingly infinite horizon that lies across the Zambezi River. If this is what the first week has brought me, then I can’t express in words how eager I am to see how these next three weeks unfold before us. Stay tuned, I can assure you that it’ll be quite a story to tell after the long days and short weeks here in Zambia come to an end.
Class of 2020
P.S. Happy early birthday to you Mom! I love you more than you know and am sorry I won’t be there to celebrate but I can assure you that I’ll be bearing some super cool gifts from Zambezi when I see you. Good luck to you and Kurt as you move out of the house. Can’t say I’m too bummed to miss out on all the fun unpacking but nonetheless I wish you guys the best. I hope you enjoy your last few weeks in “The Creek” and be sure to eat a Morrucci’s sandwich for me.
P.S.S. Don’t worry I didn’t forget you and everyone else Dad. I love you guys too and miss you so so much. I see both James and Logan in many of the kids here. (Except I haven’t come across a kid who is as crazy as Logan although I have come close a few times).
P.S.S.S. To the people who know who they are, thank you for supporting me through it all and always making me laugh. I carry that same laughter here and miss you all very much and cannot wait to be able tell more stories.