The In Between

Hello Zag family and friends!

The last couple of days in Livingstone have been a much-needed reset after our long period of travel. Our time has been filled with bartering at the market, taking a second trip to Mosi-Oa-Tunya for ‘adrenaline junky’ activities, sitting by the pool, and very serious pool tournaments (S/O to Daniel). Tomorrow, we leave for the main event, our time in Zambezi.

I titled this blog “The In Between” because this represents my existence in Zambia thus far. The in between can be interpreted in many ways depending on the situation. I define it as the space where tension exists because conceding to one truth or the other does not accurately represent the full truth. This can be said in regard to a moment, relationship, feeling, etc.

Transactional versus transformational relationships.

Coming in to this experience, many of us geared up for the cultivation of deep, meaningful relationships with Zambians. However, this proved to be tricky when it came to a market setting, where relationships are assumed to be transactional. But why is it not possible for them to be both? For example, this man named Ice Cream, yes, Ice Cream like the food, on the bridge most of us jumped off of today (hence, the ‘adrenaline junky’ activities mentioned earlier) was there to sell trinkets to tourists like ourselves. The foundation of our existence in relation to his was completely transactional. Until, he saw one of our group members, Ellie, freaking out about the fact that she was about to jump off of a 364 ft. bridge. He offered her an empowering pep talk which brought her peace and courage amidst the nerves. That is totally transformational even though he was still there to get us to buy his overpriced knick-knacks.

Bungee jumping – the waiting period.

Eight of the people in our group decided to bungee jump. Two others ziplined and four went on the swing. I decided to bungee jump mostly just to say that I have bungee jumped at one of the seven natural wonders of the world (which is also why I bought the overpriced T-shirt), but also because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. My classmates and I spent the half hour waiting period suspended between suppressed nervous energy and elation.

There is no one truth to history.

This morning we visited the Livingston museum and were presented with the opportunity to hear about the history of Zambia from the Zambian people. Too often, we are exposed to the history of Africa from the perspective of the colonizer, with little to no consideration of the fact that there is another party involved. Exploring this museum offered us a unique chance to gain access to another, less common perspective. Reconciling these two truths proved difficult at times; this difficulty brought me to the realization that, sometimes, understanding history requires the acknowledgement that there is no one truth. The truth exists within the tension of multiple truths.

The bittersweet departure of Father Dominic.

I could go on and on about Father Dominic and never truly capture his essence. There is a unique, exuberant light about him which I have never witnessed. His heart for service and tenacious faith cannot be contained. I have gained more wisdom from our conversations than I realize, and I find myself in another space of tension regarding my feelings toward his departure tomorrow morning. On the one hand, it brings me hope to know that other people will feel the warmth that is his nature and the joy that is his spirit; I also cannot help but feel the empty remnants of loss due to his leaving. Father Dominic, if you read this after your long, and hopefully less bumpy, bus ride back to Lusaka, know that you are a true inspiration to me and many others. You represent the divine mission unlike anyone I have ever met. Thank you for taking the time to welcome us into this beautiful country and spreading joy and laughter among our group. You will be missed, and we look forward to your return.  

Learning to live in these moments of tension has proven to be a process of denial, resentment, curiosity, and frustration. Black and white is easy and superficially preferable to people like myself. Grey area forces thought.

As of tomorrow, we will begin to leave our footprints in the Zambezi community. We are eager to see what this journey holds.

“The footprints – marks we leave behind as we go about our busy lives – serve as a metaphor for the journey each of us takes during our time on this planet…The more I interacted daily with Livingstone’s people, both real and imagined, and left my own footprints in the sand, I found that this beautiful, unfamiliar land had begun to feel like home.” -Ruth Stanford.

Stay tuned!

            Alea Chatman

P.s. To my family and friends, I hope you know how much I love and care for you. See you later love:) 



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9 Responses to The In Between

  1. Brandon Stanley says:

    It’s so great to finally hear from you Alea! I know how afraid of heights you are! I’m so prizoud 😉 And I’m happy everyone else faced their fear! I read this in class and started to tear up. You know I stopped that real fast. Anyway, I miss you and can’t wait to hear about it all! See you later love 🙂

  2. Alicia Stanley says:

    Hello beautiful girl! I can’t tell you enough how much I’m enjoying reading these posts. What an incredible life changing experience. There hasn’t been a day that I haven’t thought about you. I pray for you and the entire group daily. Enjoy every minute of this incredible journey. I love you and miss you!

  3. Kelsey Hayes says:

    GREAT POST! Also hi megan I love and miss you!!!! Hope you’re having lots of fun!!!!

  4. Mia Campbell says:

    So excited for you all to venture to Zambezi! We’re all thinking of you back here (hopefully not too much motion sickness and other forms of intestinal distress…) Safe travels and big love to all!!!!!

    Mia, Patrick, Jean and Ellen

    ps: Eth-Dog, some advice: Remember, it always can get worse so enjoy it while its good.

    ^ WowW

  5. Devon says:

    Alea – You do such a beautiful job at describing these moments of tension and in-between. As uncomfortable, confusing and intimidating as these moments can be, they can also be some of the most rewarding, authentic and joyous because they foster that genuine human connection. Your time in Zambezi will be full of these moments so just keep leaning into them because they will be some of the best memories! Your line “Grey area forces thought” – simply beautiful and something that I will be chewing on for quite some time. Also, your words take me right back to that market in Livingstone and the powerful Victoria falls, thank you!

    Ellie – UM GIRL YOU BUNJEE JUMPED?! Wowza! I can’t wait to hear that story.

    Josh – Don’t worry, I’m officially not up for adoption, however, our adopted dog is arriving tomorrow. My parents and I still laugh at the story of that phone call and your reaction almost daily.

    Zags – I’m so excited for you and reading your words every morning on during my commute is the best part of my day. Sending love to you all and I can’t wait to continue hearing about your journey.

  6. Hikaru says:

    You adrenaline junkies are so BRAVE! Hope you all embraced your adventure into Zambezi and are feeling the love.

    Janeen – Happy Belated Birthday 🙂
    Josh – I am inspired by you in providing an opportunity for others to experience Zambezi and Zambia
    Fr. Baraza – Thinking of you, “it takes a village to raise a child”

    To all of you who have made it this far, I wish that you continue to open your heart.
    To the Ambys and Rachel – thinking of you!!

    Thank you for the updates.

  7. Bri Bailey says:

    Glad to hear you’re having fun friend!! Miss you so much and can’t wait to hear all the stories 🙂

  8. Rachel Albertson says:

    Bri and I are laying in bed, reading your post, and we can’t stop thinking about you!! Hope you are having the time of your life. Can’t wait to hear all about it

  9. Heather Kreiser says:

    Cannot wait to see more pics and hopefully videos too?? Quite honestly, I am glad this part of the trip is over. :/ prayers and hugs all around from the Kreisers!

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