Friday, January 04, 2008

A Close to 2007

The holiday season has once again run its course and the often heard words of 'give me Christmas' are thankfully behind me. Im really having trouble believing that 2007 is over, that I have experienced my last mango season, that I will be leaving my village in just over one month, and that I will be coming home this year! The end is in site ~ leaving me with mixed emotions and the growing anxiety about what's to come.

Workwise the past two mounths have slowed a bit ~ mostly due to the rains drawing peoples interest and time to their fields....and partially resulting from the exhaustion that hit after four months of crazy hecticness. THe holidays have all been nice...and spent near home. Thanksgivng was a feast of around 30 with an actual turkey this year and mimosas to pull us through a long day of cooking.

The cookie party was once again lacking the # of people found at the NH event though delicious and fun none the less. We even had representatives from the Lusaka office and the embassy partaking in the mouth stuffing messy chaos. THe house was partially decorated with leftover stockings adorning a mantle of an unusable fireplace. The sweet scent of ginger, peanut butter, and the always enticing sugar/butter/vanilla mixture floated in and out combining with the spicey smells of the mexican feast that was prepared for dinner. The sounds of Chrismas music and a day spent with good friends made the holiday season seem real and finally upon us.

Christmas was spent in a village in Mwense at my friend Katie's site. Six of us spent the holiday cooking, eating, sleeping and not much else. I did finally make it to a church service - midnight mass to be exact - and though I consider myself athiest and could understand lttle of the bemba sermon I found the whole experience to be quite beautiful. Six young girls dressed in matching citenges and headwraps were dancing in the aisle ~ six alter boys dressed in robes of varying bright colors were swaying in the front of the church ~ the whole church was filled mostly with women and children and would burst into song every few minutes it seemed. Flowers were freshly cut and hanging from the rafters and tacked to the mud brick walls ~ candles illuminated the church in a warm yellow glow (making me reminisce of my days in front of the heat of a glowing fire back home surrounded by the warmth of Christmas music my sister always insisted on playing). The beauty of the experience almost brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of why I love Zambia and will truly miss it.


Its strange how one minute Im ready to pack my bags and be done here and with the next blink of an eye I find myself in complete awe, fully content, and wanting to remain. I returned to my house today (New Years day) after spending the holiday in town with an American missionary family whos has become my family - a home away from home. We rung in the New Ywar sipping on shandy and sparkling wine ~ had our own countdown (seeing as we couldn't find any countdowns to join in with on tv at our ring in time) ~ snacked on chips, nuts, cookies and delicious dark chocolate (courtesy of Gradma Connie - a volunteer at the orphanage the Morrow Family has started). The kids (Tom included!) were enthralled in the act of lighting fire crackers - putting the dog in a full chasing frenzy. Part of the family attempted to remain awake till the following morning when, at 7 am, we would be able to watch the ball drop in NY and see the site of 1,000,000 people layered up and braving the hecticness that is NY City. With coffee and just walking 5 month olds in hand we counted down (somewhat groggily) once again. Needless to say it is times like these ~ times when I know the family and friends are gathering - laughing - keeping up tradition - that I yearn to be home....and yet Im now back at my hut and just went outside to bring everthing in for the night when I was struck, almost dumbfounded, by the sky ~ overflowing with millions of twinkling stars... the clarity seemed aweing even for the typical Zambian sky ~ Orion, the bull, and the seven sisters (the only constellations I can really identify) were hard to see only because they were literally swimming within a sea of other equally as bright and beautiful stars. It was another beautiful and magnificent momment that left me feeling like I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else.


I welcomed a new member into my home recently...hes a 3 month old orange and white kitten who allready struts his stuff around the house like he owns the place. Hes adorable, is constantly filling the room with the sound of purring, and gets much enjoyment out of attacking my feet (especially in the morning when I have just woken up and am stepping out of bed - not my most tolerent times of day as those of you who have tried to communicate with me at that time surely know!) Hes very attention hungry and is not only always searching for a way onto my lap but has also tried to make friends with the local kids who ussualy run away or let out a little giggling scream if he gets to close (they are not too used to showing affection to pets). and though I still claim to be solely a dog person I have come to love the annoying, poops under my bed, little guy...which is where the problem started...I returned home from the aformentioned cooking party in Mansa to find Morris missing...the house filled with an eerie neighbors keep telling me he was probably snatched up by an owl or hawk as he ventured outside to hunt one night...hope that he will return is slowly dwindling as the days go on. Its crazy how magnified the feeling of onliness is when it is just following a time of company, friends. Ive lived here alone since Manlonda (my dog) passed and have been fine with it... but now that Ive had a month where I was greeted with excitement upon my every return, where I was always the center of attention with him vieing for my love, where I was needed ~ its lonely~ its sad to come home to an empty remember how he used to chase my chickens around, to eat my meals without him gazing up at me expectently. Such is life though...the birds have to eat as well..I don't think that I will be attempting to have any more pets while Im here...I couldn't really take losing another.

(I spoke too soon - just a week later I came home to find my 2 Chickens and all their eggs gone ...feathers covering the mess that was once an orderly poultry house...a village dog has been terrorizing many peoples chickens...yet another confirmation that me and anything living don't mix...oh well..the fresh eggs were nice while they lasted)


Elly's Update - Heres a quick update just for you...

- Bundas erupted in more frequent drinking...almost to the point of excess ( Im sure you know who Im talking about). There have even been tears of frustration from poor Irene... who is once again pregnant. Im not sure how to help the situation.

- Measles broke out in Kazembe around Thanksgiving. A poor orphan passed away and all the Morrow kids were sick for quite some time.

- Steven started an educational program where hes inviting youth to come live and work with him in exchange for knowledge on sustainable ag and fish farming...there are 4 kids there now.

- Mr. Banda passed away suddenly having something to do with his heart. Unfortunately right now people are starting to blame Kennedy for his death (mostly because hes related to my family here and a not so smart comment by my neighbors son)...hopefully no bad will come to kennedy.

- Two people were shot by the Congolese on the river during fish ban (I don't think that I will be taking the inflateable out anytime soon).

- There was another CR bus accident near Mwense this time. (I think that I will continue on with your boycott) and a car jacking by gunpoint near Lufubu...crazy huh.

- I think that everything else is normal, Im moving soon...Jane is great - your site is in good hands- oh and the cat is now gone...sad but a relief when I stay there. Miss you and will see you in the near future.


Happy New Years Everyone!!!


At 5:37 PM, Blogger Lc said...

Hello from Azores - Faial Island.

At 12:23 AM, Blogger barb michelen said...

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At 3:27 PM, Blogger seeturtle said...

Hey Brette is your address still the same? I sent you aletter but it came back to me, and I can't find your parents phone number.Let me know how to get up with you.
my new address is
po box 206
Honomu HI 97628
my phone # is
I live in Hawaii now you have to come see me!!!!


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