Men and Gentlewomen, I’d like to introduce you to our newest member of the family, adventurer, and extraordinaire who will help us navigate these African plains, our motocar, as the Zambians would call it. If it were up to me, I’d call it Olivia Pope because she can get you out of any tight situation! Alas, Wesley doesn’t wanna a Pope mobile, so we are still considering names…
Our 2001 Land Cruiser Prado is straight from the lush island of Japan. She’s complete with 4 wheel drive, 8 seats, about 80,000 miles and nice velvety seats that clash with the shag carpeting but no worries! She’s so fresh off the island that upon turning on the car, we are always greeted her soothing Japanese voice, navigation screen, and buttons. So if anyone knows how to read Japanese, your assistance would be greatly appreciated because right now, we are merely guessing as the to uses of the buttons and I’m pretty sure one of these times it will eject us out of our seats!
Now you can’t really see it BUT this is a right wheel kinda car. So it’s been a bit wild getting used to driving on the other side of the road. This isn’t the only thing we have had to get used to in the last month. As some might say, we are no longer in in Toto’s Kansas but rather in Toto’s Africa where we are currently in the magnificent rainy and thunderous season. So I can understand why they might miss the rains down here.
We are no longer living in the hustle and bustle of the Inland Empire where everyone abides by the laws of the road and pleasantly waits their turn in line. We’re not living in a place that accepts pants as a fashionable statement for women at church or where the wifi is in abundance and available at just about every corner. No, we no longer live in a place where funfetti cake or rainbow chip icing can be found, this is my biggest loss. In fact, I bet you most of you envision our daily life more like this…
Even though we now live in different world, or as I like to call it, my new normal, we don’t live quite in the world where we are chased by cheetahs. This is a world where the most aggressive person gets the right of way on the road or to the front of the line at a food place. This is a world where the veggies are deliciously grown right around the corner from me. It’s a world where I can buy Scrabble or Monopoly along with a mop or phone charger and mirror, all whilst sitting in the comfort of my own car. This is a place where saying the word, “Hello” illicit’s an automatic response of, “Fine, how are you?” Yea, mull that one over for a bit… (This is because in N’janja, ‘Muli bwanji’ means ‘Hello’ and ‘How are you?’ all into that one phrase.) So really, they cut to the chase, which I like.
It’s a fascinating world with new food brands that we are trying, including all the various peanut butters, condiments, ice creams, and veggie soya flavors…
We have also experienced a world where we have come to the agreement that it is indeed not the end of the world if a cockroach or two or three or eight are seen wandering around the room. It’s also not going to kill me to have a spider in my toilet, bathtub, or shoe… Shocking I know, it was a surprise to me as well! (I actually have yet to kill one of those suckers! That’s what Wes is for…)
We do have wonderful creatures here and I’m always stumbling upon a new beetle or colorful insect that I feel comes straight out of Harry Potter! Oh and I saw a wild zebra the other day and just about lost my sh*t with excitement but it was the Sabbath and we were with Travis and Lauren, so I pulled myself together and used calmer expletives such as “Wow!” or “Gee whiz!” or “Oh Golly!” All acceptable phrases here in Zambia, by the way. The one creature I don’t care to meet anytime soon is the black mamba, which is a common snake found here and much like Medusa, if you look at one in the eye, you’ll pretty much turn into dust or a gargoyle and die. Not my preferred method of pushing up daisies. But on to more pleasant things so that my mother doesn’t start to freak out about the things that could kill me here in Zambia.
Wes and I went out this last Sabbath, with Travis and Lauren, out to the Riverside Farms . It is a blissful 45 minutes out of the city, which gave us a much needed break of the city. It’s a gorgeous area filled with trees and small hills surrounded by tribes of people. When I say tribes, I mean the legit kind that make their houses out of clay and straw and have goats, chickens or cattle roaming around. It’s beautiful really, the simplicity of the lifestyle and one I envy often. After driving through that, we come to a beautiful banana farm that is Riverside Farms where we were meeting up with another missionary family, the Busell’s. We went to church, had a potluck, and then went on an arduous hike around the farms. But let me first tell you about how we got to the hike; it consisted of us loading up in an old land cruiser in benches that face each other with no seat belts. The car was complete with a wench, bull bars, rack, 4 wheel drive and is the epitome of an African Land Cruiser. Then we proceeded to cross land that had no roads, plowing over small trees and bushes, crossing over small streams, and massive ditches with huge crevices. All of this we did in the Land Cruiser, without a hitch in the trip and at top speed. It was jaw jogging for sure, literally, but also quite riveting. All of this we endured before even starting our hike. Once on the hike, we navigated through paths that were more like faint suggestions as to where we should go. (Not quite like the nice paved paths we find in so many of our great hikes back at home.) All the while trying to stay alert because I’m a newb and am afraid a black mamba or lion would pop out, even though that never happens at Riverside, it’s more like a water buffalo there. Finally we reached the top alive and this was the view:
Needless to say, we’ve had a great month thus far.