Picture this beautiful scene. You have just woken up under the canopy of your mosquito net and jump out of bed, eager to put on your new chitenge, or patterned skirt, beautifully tailored by the talented Mama Mary in the market. It is Sunday and it is almost time for church. You have already heard the joyous music permeating the courtyard outside of the convent, and you are curious to see what worship will be like in Zambezi. You smell the delicious aroma of cinnamon French toast in the kitchen and go to sit in the grass to journal as breakfast is prepared, surrounded by a cacophony of chickens. It is the small moments and little observations that you make that mean the most to you.
We have only been in Zambezi for two short days. However, the moments we have shared with each other and those we have been fortunate enough to encounter have been beautiful. If you can remember from the very first blog post, in Lusaka we attended an art workshop at the National Museum. In this dialogue a prominent member of the Zambian art community, William, shared with us some advice as we embarked with intention towards Zambezi-let the community approach you. Our eagerness to meet Zambezi has been reciprocated in many acts of eagerness by Zambians to get to know us as well. The voluminous and overwhelmingly exuberant celebration of mass today reminded me again of the powerful welcome the community provided us on the tarmac with choreographed song and dance unique to Gonzaga and the presence of dozens of inquisitive, smiling children.
It is often easy to become focused on, and cling to, the grand gestures or large moments. Our lives are chaotic and busy back home with tasks and expectations demanding presence. Now, however, our intention is purely existing and being present in this place. So, while I have found awe and beauty in the expected joys such as the safari, Victoria Falls, or the feeling of our new home together, it’s the little things that I have come to appreciate the most. Zambezi is full of these little things. The smile on the little girl’s face that shows so much personality as she peers around the brick wall. The willingness of three young boys to help my scavenger hunt partner and me locate a grape soda in the market. The soundtrack of our convent as chorus singers at the church practice together in the early morning. The passion of the older man dancing to his heart in the front row of the mass service The EPIC dance of the altar boys as they move in unison to the resounding melodies. The phrase, “you are most welcome” reverberating throughout the market streets as we pass by clinging to the bed of our truck. It is in this element of noticing and receiving that I feel blessed.
While many community members are eager to attend our classes, asking about the logistics after church, or in the market, they too are facilitating the accompaniment on this journey. We have met some strong, inspiring, and dynamic leaders today. I wish that you all could experience the warmth, joy, and intention of Eucharia Saviye and Debbie Kasoma. Husband and wife, Eucharia is an experienced nurse in the district hospital and Debbie is an active teacher at the primary school, having started the ZamCity afterschool program to teach life skills through sports and community building. Their love for each other and the Zambezi community is nothing short of inspiring. When asked if they knew of any other computers available to facilitate our classes, they spared no hesitation in offering up their own for our lessons—such profound humility. Again, it is the little things.
The sense of community that is felt here is apparent and moving. The willingness of sellers to collaborate to provide change for a customer. The dancing movement of each and every church member as they worship to the joyous music of the choir. The camaraderie of the women as the process to honor the birthday king. This morning, Father Phiri animatedly called us to be open to one another, forgive each other, and be present for others. The support and reciprocity given to us by this community already calls us to continue to form and strengthen the relationships that are the foundation of our time here in Zambezi. It is clear that we have a purpose. We are home again tonight to turn a page and start another new, yet evolving chapter, fueled by passionate learning, a desire to walk alongside, with an intention to notice the little things.
Emily Bundy, Gonzaga ‘23