Open Hearts and Open Doors by Tori Roberts

I had the opportunity to stay with Bina Buumbo, an auntie that works at the Haven, this weekend in her own village and home. We walked to her house with her when she got off work, and as soon as she got home, she began preparing supper. I learned real fast that I know how to do nothing. I began to cut the vegetables, but she soon took the knife and cut everything making it look so simple. As we prepared dinner over the fire outside (where we cooked everything), kids began to walk up. They caught word that the makua (white people) were in the village. My heart melted as they grabbed my hand, wrapped their arms around mine, and sat in my lap. I fell in love with these children in approximately 5 minutes, and I got emotional about leaving Africa about 3 times in one hour.

After we ate, we played games and sang with all the children. It was amazing to me that Bina Buumbo took care of kids at the Haven all day, and then she came home to entertain the children in the village the rest of the evening before going to bed. We sang around the campfire with the children before it got too cold. The stars were unbelievable to look at while singing songs of praise to the Creator. Bina Buumbo told us she was cold and it was time to go inside. Before we went to in, we asked if we could go to the bathroom. We didn’t realize that it was a little bit of a walk. Every time they have to go to the bathroom, they have to walk to the communal bathroom, consisting of a whole in the ground with four walls around the toilet area in the middle of the bush. When we went inside all the children joined us in her home to finish singing, do a Bible study, and pray before going to bed at 7:30 pm.

First thing Saturday morning, we got up and went to fetch water in the communal well. It is Winter here and cold in the mornings here so you can imagine how it feels for the water to splash on you as you carry the water buckets on your head back home. After we cooked breakfast, it was time to begin preparing for lunch. She told us four girls that stayed that it was time to go get a chicken. We walked about 10 minutes to where the chickens were. We stood there confused about what to do until she filled us in on what to do: “run.” We helped chase down a chicken that was for lunch and carried it back home, we killed and cleaned it up to cook. We prepared and ate lunch. We played with the children in the village all throughout the day. They taught us all of their games and songs. We played basketball without a goal and volleyball without a net, and if you know me very well, you know I enjoyed that! They shared some of their every day treats from the trees surrounding such as umbra and “Zambian bubblegum.” Bina Buumbo taught me how to make a Zambian fire and how to sweep like she does around her home to keep the place nice and clean. Nshima is the meal that the Zambians eat every day, most if not every meal. We had the opportunity to help her make the nshima. It takes lots of arm muscle…that I do not have. It was incredible to watch how fast she prepared every meal. After dinner it was time to wash our plates with the water we fetched before dinner. We watched the sunset before going inside to sing with the children and get ready for bed. As I watched the sun go down, I fell in love with another part of Zambia: sunsets. We woke up Sunday morning at 6:15 am to begin walking back to the Haven to end our time in the Village. While spending the weekend with Bina Buumbo, I gained so much knowledge about and respect for her and the ladies in this culture.

We got ready back home before heading out to Kasibi Village Church of Christ. We had Bible study, a sermon, communion, and then we sang for the church. Their faces lit up as we sang a song in Tonga (their language). Church started at 10 am and went until 1 pm. It was great for everyone to be so focused on the Spirit that they were not worried about what time we would let out. After church, we walked out and shook every person’s hand before going to Ba Leonard’s house (a man that is active at the Namwianga mission where I stay). They fed us lunch, and the Chief’s drummers came to play for us. Everyone danced as they played the drums…EVERYONE. There is no shame or pride here in Africa, and it has completely shattered my comfort zone. I think that is why this place is so special…you just have fun. Laugh with each other; not at each other.

Mealy meal is what they use to make nshima, and we had the opportunity to hand out bags of mealy meal to the individuals in the village to feed them for a month. Their gratitude was so heart warming.

It is obvious we are different, but there has not been one time that we have been treated different. Everyone is so welcoming here. Oh how different life would be if we would set aside our pride and welcome everyone like the Zambians do here.

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