It's Sunday today, our first whole day in Zambia, our 4th full day in the clothes we dressed in on Thursday to leave Canada. We made it to Ndola without a hitch, our bags only made it to Johannesburg. Welcome to international travel.
This morning, we woke from a full night's sleep and started our week here by attending church in Luyansha with our friends, Levy and Prag. It was a lively church with microphones and keyboard cranking out the music. The church was comprised of many men and women, families and single people. It was a lovely opportunity to experience a different culture and their particular style of worship.
After church, we headed back to the farm where we're staying. The Zambian landscape is more lush and overgrown than I've ever experienced. It is warm and humid and a great relief from February in Saskatoon. As we drive out the farm road to the main paved road, the grass nearly forms a tunnel above the bakkie (pick up) and the greenery reaches out and drags its fingers along the truck as we pass.
We get back to the farm and prepare lunch when news arrives that our bags are in Ndola. We are told to pick them up before 3 pm, at which time the office closes. Weston and Liz, our hosts, drive us to Ndola. Liz and I sit in the back of the bakkie and just enjoy the fresh rains that have opened up. Water seeps in down our backs and it is cool and refreshing. We arrive at the airport, set off the metal detector and look for someone to find us our luggage. We are told that the person we need to speak to has left early and we will need to return the next day. We try speaking with the airport authority but to no avail, our bags are locked in customs and they too, have knocked off early and we can't access the room where our bags are stowed. Sensing the futility of being assertive in our requests, we cut our losses and take Weston and Liz out for coffee in Ndola. It ends up being a great time to just sit with them and hear their stories of how they have come to work with Hands. After coffee, I run into the Pick and Pay and grab some necessities, soap and shampoo, etc. to keep us going until our bags are back in our possession. Dean is taking it all in stride and just rolling with it so really, all in all, it's not so inconvenient when you're travelling with someone who is pretty relaxed about the details.
Last night when we arrived, we found we were the only ones staying in the farmhouse with Liz and Weston. After dinner, we sat and talked through the world map on the wall and I could see that Dean was really taking in the distance he had travelled to come to be where we are. We talked through some of the hopes we have for the trip, and how to communicate what we see and experience here best, to allow those back home to connect to the work that is happening here and the life changes it is bringing to those here on the ground.
These hours have been a great transition to prepare us for what's ahead this week. I know that when I first came to Zambia, I was so focused on "helping" that I missed the first few days of building into the relationships that now, six years later, have become so integral to my own life and faith. Dean is far more relational than I and I could see that he was already valuing the things he was hearing and learning about those we would be working alongside for the week. It was a great start to what would be a really awakening week in the life of both Dean and I, as we look to what God has in store for Connect and indeed, for each of us.