Friday, June 27, 2008 precious...but not our own.

Her bucket of time has been filled because she's given it all away.

What if time worked like tithing. The more we give, the more we receive. I am a time nazi. I am very careful about how I choose to spend that time but never seem to have enough of it. Last night, at our meeting, my team leader said the above quote about Josephine who is Zambia MWB staff. She works so many hours doing so many different things. She gets up in the fours to do her studies, starts working by about 6:30 AM, finishes work at about 5:30 PM, goes to school at night, gets home at about 10 PM, and then she works on whatever housekeeping things she needs to complete and finally gets to bed after midnight. What??? I thought my life was crazy. The difference with Josephine is that she never seems to be rushed. She is always so calm and happy to help us whenever we need it. She seems to have all the time in the world when we're with if we're the only person in her life. She is not the exception. Most of the Zambians are like this. They work countless hours, up early to bed late, but when I'm around they act as if I'm the only thing they have going on. They treat me like gold and make me feel a million bucks. So my question is, what if we stopped hoarding our time and didn't worry about not having enough? What if we just gave it away? Would our bucket of time be refilled? Would we end up having more of it than we started with? I've seen it work in the lives of these wonderful people. I can only imagine that I would be just as blessed.

Things are so well here. I've had a million thoughts and have a million things I'd like to say. Fortunately for all of you I don't have enough time to say them all. I just got back from the farm yesterday and this morning had my first warm shower since I've been in Zambia. It's nice to be back in civilization again. I want to give you a brief description of the life at the farm. We wake up at 5:45 or 6:00. Me and a few of the boys go for a 30 - 40 minute jog in the morning before breakfast. These kids are amazing. I need to take a picture of the shoes they run in. Most of them don't have shoe laces and they are wearing the wrong size. But do they even think twice about it? Of course not, they're just happy to be out for a run in the morning. They think it's the greatest. Some of the smaller boys usually end up walking at the end but they still continue to come. The sunsets and sunrises in Zambia are incredible. It is BEAUTIFUL here. In the mornings it's especially gorgeous. The sun rising over the African bush, running on dirt roads, wishing other passerbys a good morning, with my sweet boys. Does life get any better?

We get back from our run and we usually have breakfast...corn called samp. They eat corn for every meal just different forms. I can't believe how many different ways corn can be eaten. You'd think you were getting some different nutrients but then you realize that nope you're still just eating corn regardless of what form it comes in. I usually skip the breakfast and make myself a pp and h in my room so the kids can't see. I feel bad eating a sandwich in front of them. After breakfast I bathe. Now this is quite the adventure. Not something I look forward to. It consists of a bucket and splashing cold water on myself to try and get clean. What kind of bath is that? These crazy Zambians. After bathing we start our studies at about 8:30 AM. I tutor about half the kids in the morning and then half the kids in the afternoon. I take a break at about 10:30 and walk the boys to school at 11. The school is about a 45-minute walk. We hang out until 12 when some of the girls get finished. I say hi to my sweet boy Evans and then I walk back home with the girls. We have lunch at 1 and start studying at 1:30. There are about twenty kids at the orphanage and they come and go from school all day long. So from 1:30 until about 5:30 I sit in the little dining room and work with whoever is around at the time. It's been quite the challenge trying to teach kids from kindergarten to 8th grade. I don't have enough materials to do what I need to do so I mostly just pray that whatever it is I'm trying to do will be of some benefit to them.

After studies we have dinner, Nshima with some kind of relish. We eat Nshima for lunch as well. Lunch and dinner everyday of these people's life is Nshima. What is Nshima you ask? Corn mashed up to a thickness that is kind of like mashed potatoes but not. It has no taste. Just there for filling. We use our hands to eat the Nshima and dip it into a relish. The relish changes on a day to day basis. It comes with vegetables, beans, chicken, beef, or capenta (gross fish that I won't touch).

After dinner and dishes we play. This is my favorite time of the day. We'll sit around and sing songs, tell stories, chase the rats which there are plenty of, walk around with torches because they power has gone out, laugh, hug, chat, and pray. Bedtime is at 8:30. The kids go into their rooms at this time where they proceed to laugh and giggle for another hour while I finish up writing notes on how the kids are doing and do a little studying myself. I then crawl into my little bed, tuck the mosquito net tightly around me, pray that the rats don't get me, and thank God for yet another day in Zambia.

I wish I could post some pictures but it takes so long to upload them that I would be here until morning. There are so many other things I'd like to post about but I have a minute left so I'm going to say goodbye for now. Hope you are well. Love and miss you.


Stephanie said...

It all sounds amazing....except for the food and rats! But I guess it's all just part of the Africa experience huh? I think about you often, and I'm happy to know that you are doing so well. I know how much you love Africa, and I know how much you love teaching, so I'm assuming that you are loving the challange of helping these children. I wish I could give you some of my time. You could use it far more than me at this point in life. But I guess I'll just have to make the most of my time using the wonderful lesson you've learned and shared. I love you, I can't say it enough.

Raddad said...

It is called the Lord's economy of time. He really can stretch out the days of the faithful. The problem is with us. When we get to hurrying about with all our worldly concerns, He is not able to bless us with this gift. I suppose He let's time go by about as fast as we want it too, and He judges this by our actions and our priorities. Being grateful for every minute he gives us is also a great way to receive this gift.

Emily A. Gunderson said...

What an adventure! You're the best.
Love ya

Heidi said...

Wow! Rats and all, I can't imagine a better place for you to be. And thanks again for a much needed lesson on life!

Tonya said...

Hi Heather!
Heidi sent out this link so we could all learn about your amazing experiences in Africa. I am so glad she did! I had never thought about The lord extending the time of the faithful, but it does make so much sense. I do know that when we extend ourselves and love and serve those around us that we are blessed with much more happiness, increased love, and a feeling of gratitude for the many blessing which we enjoy each and every day. I think the work you are doing is so wonderful. I LOVE listening to you speak about the Zambian people. By you sharing your experiences it really helps to put life into proper perspective. I know I am guilty of being hurried and stressed out sometimes, so it is nice to be reminded of how important it is to spend time wisely and priorotize time more wisely also. I think you are truly amazing!

Kari said...

I love that we get to experience this with you! Thanks so much for posting pictures, thoughts, experiences, etc. It's like a breath of fresh air, a much needed breath of fresh air!