Friday, September 21, 2007

Thursday, My "Free" Day

Thursday was a day in contrasts.

Linda took me to the market in Kolomo. What an amazing place!

There are a number of vendors who are set up in little huts made of tree trunks and thatch. There were narrow aisles and there was much merchandise available for sale. Men's trousers were hung over the side walls, chatingi material, pots and pans, luggage, underwear, shoes. It was like a trip to the mall - Zambian style. It reminds me of a giant flea market only with very narrow walkways. I was glad I was with Linda, because part of shopping in the market is to haggle over the price. You really need to know what something is worth in Kwatcha's (the local currency).

A newer building houses the fresh food section. There were fresh fruit and vegetables as well as many kinds of dried fish.

We then went over to the buildings and went through many of the shops there.

We had bought a limited number of diet Cokes (called Coke Light here) but he had been using them faster, so we looked for that. Several places had Cokes, but no Coke Light. Each store is relatively small, but filled with things to buy. And each store has a different mix of merchandise. I could have bought another piece of luggage (tempting), greeting cards, thread, beautifully knitted baby clothes (they have a knitting machine in the store), freshly made bread - still warm, 50 kg flour bags, 50 kg mealy meal (white corn meal). One store even sells wholesale in large quantities (think a smaller Sam's Club -where you ask for what you need and they bring it to you.) When we got home, we had slices of that wonderful fresh bread - wonderful!

Before we left town, I took a couple of shots of downtown Kolomo - reminds me a little of small town America.

After a series of mixups as to what time my group was supposed to be where, we finally made it to the hospital in Kolomo. While I had my camera, I did not try to take photos for many reasons. I was going to speak to the women at the women's shelter - think the Zambian version of a Ronald MacDonald house. When you have family in the hospital, someone must go and stay with them to help in their care. Zambians cook outside and they just bring their cookfires with them in metal containers. I walked up to a circle of cookfires and women of all ages - many with babies and children. We held our meeting in a room with a concrete floor and no furniture - sitting on mats Zambian style with our legs stretched out in front of us. I had reworked my lesson on Job adding many scriptures on how God cares for us and how he comforts us when we are going through struggles. I had learned two songs in Tonga - the one I closed with was especially appropriate here - Watching and Waiting. After the lesson, I was greeted so warmly. I had women who wanted to tell me things - I only wish I understood Tonga!

We got back to Linda's house to learn that one of the Harding students had lost her dad . . . The plan for the evening was dinner at one of the houses with the American workers and a devotional by the Harding kids. At first the plans were up in the air, but we continued on the original path. Dinner was wonderful - spaghetti, toasted bread, cucumbers and tomatoes, and apple crisp! When we got to the Hamby house, the Harding kids had surrounded Courtney - and songs, prayers, and scripture flowed freely. Please pray for Courtney - it HAS to be hard to lose your father so unexpectedly and to be so far from home. She will fly back to the States to be with her family. But it was wonderful to see those young people rally around her and sing so beautifully, hold her hands, and surround her with love.

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