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Mwende bwino

TEEZ farewell luncheon

Over this past week I have heard this phrase countless times, “mwende bwino” – travel well. The year has gone and my time with TEEZ and my friends in Kitwe has drawn to a close. In the midst of orientation for the new folks there were good times for me to wrap up my time in Zambia and say goodbye. On Wednesday I had my final evaluation in the morning with the TEEZ Director and Rev. Banda, then TEEZ hosted a wonderful farewell luncheon for me. We enjoyed visiting, sharing a meal, and I was even presented with a few gifts to remember my time in Zambia with TEEZ – a necklace and copper clock.

Receiving TEEZ's gift from Rev. Banda

Then on Friday, my last night, the international crowd got together to send me out in style. We had fun singing, sharing a potluck dinner, and watching slideshows. The Lund family even had a farewell song they had written about my time with them over this past year. It was a very special night and a wonderful time to celebrate together. The evening was bittersweet as I had to say goodbye to my friends as the party came to an end.

International farewell crowd

The other side of this week was orientation for the new TEEZ interns. As you know, Andrew and Claire Ruth are the new Global Ministry Fellow folk. There is also a young woman from South Korea, Esther, who has come through the United Methodist Church to develop projects on gender issues and e-learning who is an intern with TEEZ this year as well. We had a lot of fun together this past week learning about TEEZ and life in Zambia. Please pray for Andrew, Claire, and Esther as they adjust to life in Zambia and their work with TEEZ. I think they will do very well here.

Andrew, Claire, Esther, and me

It was very hard to say the final goodbye this morning. We were planning to go into town as usual for a Saturday morning, except that I would have my luggage and not come back. The Lunds, Andrew, Claire, and I all piled into the Lund’s truck but we only made it as far as the front gate of MEF before the truck developed a problem. We pushed the truck back to their house and spent the next hour sitting on the lawn and visiting which ended up being sweet time together. Eventually I did have to go catch the bus to begin my travels. I tearfully left the compound that has been my home for this past year and am now writing to you from Lusaka, where I will be for the next few days. Over the next two months I will be visiting Kasane in Botswana, MAPC’s partner CCAP churches in Zimbabwe, Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, Buenos Aires in Argentina, La Paz in Bolivia, and finally my favorite foreign country of Texas to have some time with my family before returning to MAPC. I will continue to give you updates as I am able and I hope you will come along with me.

Almost leaving


Posted September 8, 2012
Packing and preparing

This past week has been a tough one. I spent most of the week packing, getting the house ready for the new folks, and making sure I had all my travel plans in line. Packing always makes me a bit sad. Sorting through all of the things that have made up my daily life for the past year and having to decide what to carry with me and what to let go was very hard. Thinking of the people and relationships I will be leaving was even harder. Even though life in Zambia was challenging for me in many ways I was so blessed by the people God set in my path here – colleagues, students, and friends.

Packing makes Colby sad too

This week, while being my last week in Kitwe, is also a week of preparation. Andrew and Claire Ruth, the new GMF folks and TEEZ interns, arrived on Sunday. This week will be their crash course on life in Zambia and their work with TEEZ. We had a good day in town today getting to know the lay of the land and one another. As I was showing them around I was amazed to think that one year ago I was the wide-eyed muzungu trying to take it all in. Now that I have things fairly well figured out I will be leaving on Saturday to begin my travels. Please pray for a good week of saying goodbye for me as well as a warm welcome for the Ruths.

Claire and Andrew are here!


Posted September 3, 2012
On the road


Over the past year I have spent many hours in the TEEZ truck watching Zambia whiz by as we traveled to trainings.  We covered over 10,220 kilometers (6,350 miles) to take our programs to churches all over the country.  This week I wanted to share a bit of this experience with you, so below you will find my favorite photos from the road.  Enjoy! 























 

Posted August 27, 2012
Wedding

A prayer before exchanging rings

A week ago Saturday I attended my friend Adrian’s wedding here in Kitwe. It was a joyful celebration and I was honored to be counted among his representative family, as his own family could not make it from Europe. The wedding itself took place at the UCZ church here on my compound. My muzungu friends and I arrived just after the wedding was supposed to start and found a few other standing around while the Boy’s Brigade band moved their practice outside since there was going to be a wedding inside. We hung around for quite a while until Adrian arrived, then others began to file in as well. Finally the bride, Violet, arrived and the service could begin. The bridesmaids and groomsmen danced in the center aisle as the Violet made her way into the church.

The bride's entrance

The liturgy of the wedding service was familiar to me, as the UCZ is a reformed denomination, but there were also some very Zambian elements. At one point the choir sang a song about Eve being created from Adam’s rib with the instruction that the groom must care for his bride because she is part of him. The song itself was quite rambunctious and got the congregation laughing and cheering. Also, once the service was over we left dancing in celebration. One of the Zambian women caught me by the arm and danced with me all the way out of the church.

Me, Wendy, and Jenny at the wedding

On the way to the reception we stopped off at a beautiful garden to take photos. Traditionally a Zambian bride is not supposed to smile, similar to what I talked about at the kitchen party. She is supposed to keep her head down and show no emotion as a sign of respect to her husband and family. However, since Adrian is a muzungu and we like to smile in our photos she could express more of her joy. It was interesting to observe how both Adrian and Violet are living between two cultures and will continue to do so as they enter married life.

Adrian's representative family - aka crazy muzungus!

The reception was a good party with lots of dancing, blasting music, and of course a feast. We had to play the waiting game again while everything was made ready for the reception but had a great time once things got started. The bridesmaids and groomsmen did several dances, everything from traditional Zambian dances to a salsa dance complete with lifts! Once everyone had eaten there was a ceremony to cut and distribute the wedding cakes. There was a knife girl who danced in with the knife to cut the cake. She danced for at least five minutes and could really shake her hips. When Adrian and Violet cut the cake they fed each other a piece and shared a sweet kiss. Then cakes were presented to each family by the bride and groom. As Adrian’s representative family we were presented with a cake, which was a very precious moment.

Talitha and me with the cake for Adrian's family

As the reception was winding down the MC invited everyone to come and greet the newly married couple. By this time everyone was looking tired but happy. It was great to have one more chance to say congratulations and offer blessings to Adrian and Violet. Please pray for their new marriage and that they can find a way to be family together which honors both of their cultures. 

Dancing...

...dancing...

...and more dancing!


Posted August 20, 2012
Solwezi

Teaching with the help of a translator

Last week Rev. Banda and I traveled to Solwezi to conduct a TEEZ Tutor Training course. This was my last training with TEEZ and it turned out to be quite an adventure! First of all we had the biggest training of the year as far as numbers are concerned with 50 students. When a group gets so big it is more challenging to get everyone interacting and participating – especially when working through a translator. I struggled to connect with the students on the first day, but by the second day they were opening up. Once we were able to adjust to the large group and the students began participating we had a great training.

Students meeting in groups inside...

and outside!

While the training went well we struggled with the logistics of the trip. Monday was a national holiday here, but not all the materials we needed had been prepared the week before. We only learned that the group would be so large over the weekend. So some of the TEEZ staff had to be called in on the holiday to prepare the materials, which took several hours. Then when we finally did arrive in Solwezi it was a bit of a puzzle to connect with our hostess. We finally go to our guest house and were looking forward to getting some rest before starting the training. Unfortunately the place we stayed was more of a hang out for the staff than a haven for guests. It was very noisy until after midnight each night and the staff were back up getting ready for the coming day before 5am each morning. Then on Thursday morning our truck would not start. We have been having problems with it for some time but it finally just gave up. I went on ahead to the training and Rev. Banda stayed behind to deal with the truck. By Friday afternoon the truck was still not in working order and had been moved to a mechanic’s garage. I had a wedding to attend on Saturday morning so had to get back to Kitwe. We found a driver willing to take me as far as Chingola, which is about an hour away from Kitwe, then a friend kindly came to fetch me from there. Rev. Banda stayed in Solwezi, hopeful that he would be able to bring the truck back the next day. Saturday evening I got a call from him saying he had taken the bus back and we would have to send someone for the truck later this week when it was running again. Normally this would have been a challenging situation but because we were both sleep deprived it was almost overwhelming.

Solwezi Tutor Training group

This training week was an embodiment of my year here. Laughter, frustration, learning, teaching, joy and distress all mixed together. Somehow in the midst of it all God continues to speak into our lives and form us more and more into the people we were created to be. I am thankful for my experiences here but am also looking forward to being in a more familiar context soon. Over the past year I have trained about 325 Zambians to be able to tutor others in their congregations. Please pray that they would use their knowledge and experience to equip others and that the church would be strengthened here in Zambia. Also, please be praying for me as I finish my time here and the new folks who will be coming from MAPC, Andrew and Claire Ruth, as we all live through this time of transition. Finally please pray for the TEEZ staff in Kitwe, that they can work well and have their needs met to continue this ministry. 

 Me and Rev. Banda - TEEZ training team 2011-2012


Posted August 13, 2012
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