grateful

 

I have been falling asleep around 10pm and waking up around 1am for the last several mornings, typically covered in sweat and snuggling my mosquito net. I have not been completely sure of what startled me awake – night before last, I think it was the fear of the missing snake we had seen on the patio that afternoon, before that my father tried to FaceTime me at a ridiculous hour. But last night I was completely aware – thunder.

 

I have a history with thunder, but in Seattle it is a scarce commodity. Last night, it rolled in with a vengeance bringing fierce lightning and seemingly endless amounts of rain.

Rain

I have never been so thankful. Because when I officially woke this morning at 6am, I was not already sweating as I had been yesterday and the day before. And as I sit working in my room, it is currently a glorious 66 degrees with a varying light and strong breeze, and though we are sitting at 95% humidity, I am enjoying Zambia’s Independence Day immensely.

My Window

 

*note: I am not an unusually sweaty person.

The path that leads to sunset

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I’ve started taking a picture of sunset each day. After sleeping around 100 hours last week, I realized I was missing it. I didn’t (don’t) know what exactly, but there were things happening that I wasn’t a part of.

I was seriously ill and in recovery mode, but there’s nothing I hate more than looking back at a day and thinking there was so much I could have done.

This is the path between my abode and the chicken coup that leads down into the banana farm. It takes me less than a minute to get this view. So while I am still figuring out what I’m doing and what daily life in Zambia looks like, this is something I can do daily.

And it provides a moment to stand in awe and wonder.

arachnophobia.

I call him Keyser Soze. I call them all that. They are the spiders that haunt my room (and sometimes my dreams). I am assured that they are harmless- the good kind of spiders that keep Mosquitos away and are as scared of me as I am of them, but I remain skeptical.

I thoroughly check my shower each time I approach, an initially silly concern followed by a morning realization:

Shower Spider

and then that afternoon’s predicament:

 

Is he dead or alive?

Dead or Alive

He was most assuredly not dead.

This I eventually blew away:

Hidden Spider

Literally, I blew on him. I find they really don’t like to be blown upon. I am sure he is now in the deep recesses of my bedroom. Accompanied by all of the others.

There really is an absurdity about how these make me jump and cause me to come around corners with my eyes fixated on their movements, but I like to think this fear is akin to other, more serious matters.

There are bigger, real life fears that lurk around the corners of my life and hide away, spending days and hours convincing me they are gone, invisible or nonexistent only to reveal themselves at an inconvenient moment. Wherever I am, whether in Zambia or otherwise, some of my Keyser Sozes tend to look a lot like loneliness and self worth. And they can be vicious. They can terrorize me, make me tiptoe around them while seeing nothing else. Until I take the time to get close enough, muster up some courage and blow them away.

If only it were always a one time occurrence with immediate results. While in Ndola, I am certain I will have to live with my spiders, I am choosing to live without the other.

the hospital

Sometimes, usually right around the time you are admitted to a hospital in Africa after being on the continent for less than a week, you start to wonder if you’ve gotten everything in order. Never mind the newly minted friend currently going through a drawer of your unmentionables to be …

The First Hundred

I am slowly settling in to life in Ndola.

 

Let’s keep in mind, it has been about 100 hours since I was picked up by a couple I had never before met, traveled to a nearby mall to purchase a Zambian Sim card and have a spot of tea and was then transported to the home of another couple I had never before met to spend my first night in Zambia since I decided to make it my home for the next two years.

 

Following that first night, I trekked (via truck) the Zambian countryside with my newfound friends and neighbors, moved into my home, Lifespring Farmpicked up my car and started to learn/remember my way around town. It’s early in my process, but here are a few things I am learning:

1. Drive on the right side… of the car, the left side of the road.

2. Mosquito nets are great for mosquitos. Outside of mosquito season, though, they are also great for protecting me from whatever is behind the noises of tiny little feet that rustle around the extremities of my bedroom.

a. Raid can be a beautiful thing.

b. “They are the good kind of bugs, and the scary spiders will only come later, just before the rain.”

3. Grocery stores are always the same wherever you go – sometimes you end up wandering around trying to figure out what you are going to end up eating and you wind up leaving with a cart full of boxed soup and cereal.

 

4. Nightly routine: brush teeth, wash face, boil enough water for the next day plus more just in case the power goes out.

 

5. Never, never, never leave your chocolate out of the refrigerator. You can protect your chocolate against the ants, you cannot keep it from the heat.

 

6. Don’t fight the sweat. It’s going to happen. Always.

 

That’s the first 100 hours. In the coming days and weeks, I have the feeling I am going to be in over my head with life and work and the women and children we work with – all things far more serious than my inability to cook for myself in a foreign country. But I am in the VERY early stages of building a foundation of what it looks like for me to live in Ndola. And, just like the roadways around my new city, it can be a bumpy ride.

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Commissioning

I am blessed to work for and with these people. Thankful for an evening of prayers and sending.

WIPHAN Commissioning Service 001

on the move

I’ve traveled quite a bit since graduating from college. Whether it be by car, train, plane or awkward scooter ride, it has all been interesting. And it has led me to meet some amazing people along the way. In the past 2 months, I have had the chance to see many (not enough) friends, give my things (again, not enough) and catch up on some zzzz’s. I’ve had some good times.

But now, it is winding down. I am (mostly) back at work and am figuring out the logistics of moving to a foreign country. I have pulled out my old trusty duffle bag, begun to cull through some things and with more forethought than ever before, I am starting to pack. Two years in one suitcase ain’t no joke.

I am Zambia-bound and looking forward to chronicling these next few miles. Keep in touch. It’s going to be a good ride.

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