Sunday, September 06, 2009

Update - 6 September

Last week was a whirlwind, and there were some happenings that didn't make the blog. Here are a few of them in very brief form.

Sunday the Allisons arrived for the marriage seminar and were here until Friday morning. They were busy with classes during the day, but we were able to enjoy visiting with them in the evenings.

Monday morning David left for Lusaka to take the Harding vehicle for repairs. I took Rodgers Namuswa into Kalomo to buy food for the marriage seminar. As I was putting groceries into the back of our vehicle, the liftgate on the camper shell fell on my head, and I ended up with a split upper lip. Krista, a new American doctor in Kalomo, used super glue (yes, plain old super glue from America) to pull it together. It held pretty well and should keep me from having much of a scar.

David took the bus home from Lusaka on Monday night, and then drove back to Lusaka on Wednesday with Roy Merritt. They met the Harding group at the Lusaka airport late Wednesday night and brought them back to Namwianga on Thursday.

On Tuesday and Wednesday we had all kinds of workers at the Behnke/Estes (Bestes) house next door trying to have it ready by Thursday. Wednesday evening at 5:00 we got word that there had been a serious accident with fatalities on the road from Namwianga to Kalomo. A small truck carrying construction supplies had three riders in the back, plus the driver and two passengers in the cab. The driver was drunk and lost control as the vehicle crossed a bridge. The riders in the back were thrown out, and two of them were killed when the truck landed on top of them. One victim was Melvin, the 14-year-old son of Esther, a dear friend of ours and a co-worker on Zambia Medical Mission. Esther's young brother was thrown clear of the vehicle and survived, but had serious injuries and was taken to Kalomo Hospital. The driver and passengers in the cab were not seriously injured.

My neighbor and I went to visit Esther on Friday afternoon. The furniture in her small house had been taken outside in the yard, and there were mattresses on the floor. When we entered the front room, there were several other women sitting on mattresses with her, plus her her sister Georgina, who also works on the medical mission. We greeted everyone quietly and then just sat. It reminded me of the story of Job when his friends came to comfort him and sat in silence. Outside there were many other mourners sitting around quietly or tending to the cooking fires.

The funeral was Saturday afternoon with the burial at Namwianga's cemetery. As is the tradition in funerals here, various groups were called forward to place flowers on the grave. Esther's family is well-known in the community, so there were government officials as well as teachers and administrators from Melvin's school and the school where Esther had been a teacher. An especially touching moment was when Melvin's classmates in their school uniforms brought their flowers.

The Harding In Zambia group has kept very busy since their arrival on Thursday and has had a variety of experiences. The Namwianga community hosted a reception for them on Friday night, and the HIZ students impressed the crowd with their singing, especially when they effortlessly belted out "Wabota Munzi Waba Jesu." Saturday they attended Melvin's funeral service, learning how this culture mourns. This morning we took them to the Tumango congregation for worship, and they experienced a village church service. On Monday morning their classes begin, starting with Chitonga lessons at 6:30 a.m.

George Benson Christian College students have been on break for the past four weeks, but they are due back tomorrow and we will begin teaching our classes again on Tuesday. After last week's hectic pace, we are hoping things slow down a bit!

1 comment:

Mary Ann Melton said...

It HAS been an eventful week! I am so sorry you were injured buy your camper shell, but I am glad it was not more serious. So sorry about the loss of Esther's son. I will hope and pray that her brother recovers fully from his injuries.

I will hope things will calm down . . .