Thursday, September 30, 2010

Arriving - Wednesday, September 29

My first glimpse of Zambia is out the window of the plane as we land in Livingstone—the landscape is parched and brown. I have arrived in the dry season.

Robby Banda and Collins Bulonda pick me up at the airport. A joyful surprise is seeing Joan Mann at the airport as well! Joan was on her way out of Zambia after a brief visit. Ruhtt Mbumwae and Sue Calder were there to drop her off, so I have a short visit with the three of them.

On our way out of town we stop to see Richard Chanter, the owner of Chanter’s Lodge , our favorite getaway. Then it us on to Sinde Mission, one of Namwianga’s satellite schools. I interview some of their ninth grade students who may qualify for sponsorship at Namwianga next year. I interview nine students, and five of them are very impressive. Of those five, THREE are double orphans—no mother, no father. They live with grandparents or uncles and aunts. A sad reminder that I am back in Zambia.

We stop briefly in Kalomo so that I can greet Mrs. Nyee at the Mini-Mart. She is glad to see me and even gives me a free Coke Zero. I promise to come back later when I can visit longer.

I had forgotten that God punctuates the crackling brown of the dry season with the gorgeous splendor of the Jacaranda trees. I take a quick shot of El Pantano in Kalomo under the spread of the purple flowers.

On to Namwianga. We stop to pick up passengers at the junction, of course—two college girls who climb in the back with their packages. It seems so natural here, and unthinkable in the US.

At Namwianga there are warm greetings and introductions to the Harding students. After dinner I’m taken to my room. I’m staying in Meagan and Louisa’s house—sleeping in Meagan’s room. Her shadow is everywhere—the pictures left on the frig, the bright walls, the vibrant curtains. I’m reminded once again how much I miss her. (for new readers: Meagan was our co-worker from 2006 - 2010 and is now living in the US.)

I had forgotten the stars. When I first walk out into the inky blackness of the night and look up, I am overcome, and my eyes fill with tears. The sudden beauty of the diamond blanket—how could I have forgotten? God’s masterpiece on display every night.

I find Webster, our former security guard. He now works for the mission and is guarding the house where Harding students are staying. He tells me that our cat is still around, and that he feeds him whatever he can manage. We look for the cat, but can’t find him—he is out hunting I suppose.

I unpack and get ready for bed. At 10:00 there is a knock at the door. Webster has found the cat and brought him to see me. The cat rubs against me briefly—I think he remembers me—but the cat is aloof, as he always was, and will not condescend to make me think he has missed me.

I crawl into bed listening to the sounds of the night—the bats squeaking, the cicadas chirping. I remind myself that this is real. I am back in Zambia. The Africia-shaped hole in my heart is full again.


Amy said...

Wow. Thank you. That was a beautiful description of the day and your feelings. You made me cry. Praying for you and your blessing on the brother's and sister's and their blessing on you.

David and Linda Gregersen said...

Thanks, Amy, and thanks for your prayers. I'm glad I can share this experience with others.