This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Monday, May 19, 2014


It's baseball time!  
My buddy and I had tickets to the Oakland A's for almost twenty years.
When you live below the equator, the peanut harvest coincides with the opening of the season.
In America they are harvested in the fall and then prepared for Spring Training.

In Zambia we get them fresh from the earth in anticipation of the first pitch.

Baseball must be huge here because everyone grows a few.

You can often find them in the maize along with squash and other delectibles.

It was in this village that a lady showed us how they were grown.
They really don't grow on the roots as I had always thought but the flower changes and drops on a small vine to the ground where it developes a peanut under the earth.

You can buy peanuts everywhere, now it is baseball season.

The problem I had getting ready for the opening pitch was that these ground nuts were RAW.
Really moist, damp, and with sort of a musty flavor.  Now I know what a real "goober pea" is.
However, I needed peanuts so I checked out how to prepare them.

It turns out there are two basic ways - boil or roast.  
You might want to dry them out in the sun a while first though.
You then have the option of shelling them, or not.
I chose to roast them in an oven on a cookie sheet in the shell.
They turned out good, not great.
I think I will boil them in salty water next time.

Obviously shelled and roasted with salt or honey would be best but I love to shell them when the action gets tense and just toss the shells on the floor of the stadium, which drives Kristi nuts.

My bowl was ready, and I knew enough to get another bowl for shells.  I was ready to watch baseball.
Well guess what?  There is soccer and golf on Zambia TV but no BASEBALL!
I have never seen a bat or a baseball in the streets even.  What's with that?
This is crazy - why do they grow all these peanuts?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Mothers Without Borders, Zambia (#2)

 Rebecca really wanted to visit "Mothers Without Borders," it is located near Lusaka, Zambia.
Rebecca has a lot of friends and church members in Livermore that wanted to donate "something" since she was traveling to Lusaka.  Brent and Rebecca brought several suitcases with dresses, shirts and flip flops.  Josephine, the onsite social worker,  indicated that they could use them.  Here you see some of the simple play dresses on the girls.

These girls were just happy for a gift and visitors.

The boys got white shirts which they will wear on Sundays.

Rebecca was happy to help even this little bit and to actually meet the recipients.

In reality, the best help is to donate cash.  Mothers Without Borders is a nonprofit organization.
If you are interested I have pasted the web site for it where you can donate.

This second web site is to friend them on Facebook where they have a boutique sale of Zambian items every once in a while.  If interested - check it out.

You will need to copy and paste the web address on to your browser.

Lunch was almost ready.  It is kapenta, or little dried fish that is sort of re-hydrated, along with green beans.  This will be the "relish" to go along with nshima. 

We took a tour of the school.

And the dorms.

We found one young man just sort of chilling on his bed.

Next the boys got the drums out and started to beat out a great rhythm.
Notice they had to put down the sugar cane they had been chewing on.

Then the girls all lined up and entered the stage dancing.  
Each girl had a turn to show off her moves.  I must admit it was mesmerizing.
I noticed the boys paid close attention.

Next all the boys entered the stage together dancing.  Then all but the two drummers took a turn and showed off their moves.  The older ones were a little more athletic but they all took it very seriously, and the girls were very attentive.

I tried to imagine my grandchildren being so uninhibited at a family reunion and showing off their solo moves.  I am putting them on notice that when we return they will need to be ready.  
Dancing, and feeling the rhythm can be such an expression of joy.  
So grandkids, get ready to express yourself.
(That is -  in a positive happy way)
We're going to DANCE!

Brent enjoyed showing them how good their moves were.

On the left is Josephine Daka the social worker here.  On the right is Innocent Sunsiwilla the director and also the branch president of the Lusaka Branch.

We said good-bye and Rebecca stopped by a shop that sold chitenges to take home as a table cloth.

One last stop at the mission home where Kristi and I spend most of our time and then off to the airport to send Brent and Rebecca home to their busy lives.  It will be a year before we see them again.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ngombe Village Life - Fun?

Life in Ngombe seems quite pleasant and I was sure we could find happy people.
Of course Rebecca and Kristi were happy just to be together and walk and talk.

This lady thought they were a little out of place but mother and daughter didn't even notice.

Shopping is serious business and I never find it "fun".

These boys got to be together but I am not certain they would call it "fun".

"Only God Knows wholesale" is something I hadn't considered.  I suppose retail is for the rest of us.
Eggs at wholesale don't seem to be moving when everyone has their own chickens.

There cannot be much fun about a butchery.

When we got to the "new" market, business seemed a little slow.  That is not fun.

Obviously, avocados are not a hot item or the hot pot of goodies cooking.

The hardware store was open late for emergencies but not much action here.

Thankfully, "God's Gentle" with haircuts and there was a little business there, but I wouldn't call it fun.

Gingerly making your way across the mud is not fun, especially with shopping and a child strapped to you.

As darkness approaches it is time to clean up and put everything away.  Not fun.

It looks like this barber and hair salon has changed products but not many customers.

This is one of Ngombe's public wells.  Not fun.

Ah! Finally!  The village champ is whooping the little kids at draughts.  Fun for him but I am not certain about the losers.

Here is a younger version and the skills seem to a little more equal.  More fun happening here.

Families are gathering together at the end of the day and with a Karem board, they are having fun.

This young man had a great kite but needed a breeze.  Potential fun.

Here was some great fun as the neighborhood kids competed in jumping a stick over and over.

Hanging out together seemed like fun for most kids.

Pretty soon it seemed like the most fun thing to do was to follow and talk to the muzungu's.

They had lots of questions and so did we.

I thought this was a sight you don't see too often.  I am not sure what it has to do with fun but it was on our tour.  As a missionary, I have been thinking this is evidence of some of the negative things introduced to Africa over the years by missionaries.  Maybe half the population doesn't agree. (?)

We got back to the truck as it was getting dark and I think that we found plenty of fun in Ngombe.
Ngombe is made up of families and neighbors living life like everyone else.  They live a little closer together than I am used to, but because of that they seem to look out for each other and all the children a little better.  You can certainly obtain all the essentials for life right here.  Things that could be improved are running water and flush toilets for better health.  Secondly, I would like to have access to better medical care and supplies.  Having these two items lacking can sort of keep the lid on fun.

One of the things I have learned in life is that religion can open doors to more "fun".  Well maybe fun isn't exactly the word I am thinking of, but close.  Religion, and a belief in Jesus Christ and his atonement, brings not just fun, but pure joy.  Joy in living, and joy in faith and hope for the future.  
Peace and joy comes into my life when I listen to the spiritual promptings that are available to everyone.
When that happens I sometimes call that daily joy - fun.
Go have some "fun" today!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Shopping in Ngombe

We wanted to show Brent and Rebecca all of Zambia but there just wasn't enough time.
It was time to go shopping in Ngombe, which is not far from the Mission Home.
I asked Jackson the guard if he would show us around after we met with him and his wife Precious and her brother Jonathan at their home.
Here we are starting off on our stroll, but with big cameras and not hiding the fact that we were tourists.
(Not that we didn't stand out any way)

This is a typical quiet street with residents on the main street trying to make some money as "traders".

The homemade rag rugs were the first to catch Rebecca's eye.

This young man just bought some beans and the lady trader was ready to sell us some.

We finally arrived at the "old market" which has never accommodated cars.
You can see the sun was getting low and things were starting to slow down.

There was still plenty of "village" chicken available.  Chicken is a staple of many meals.

Many Zambian women have a very beautiful quiet dignity about them, even when shopping.

The market didn't bother this little tyke, totally relaxed.

These two had just been helping out at the wax display.

Tomatoes, little eggplants, and okra.

This well stocked merchant was flashing us prosperous hand signals.

A little of everything but those are caterpillars on the left then kapenta or small dried fish on the right.

Here are a variety of chitenges for wrapping around women to keep them clean while working.
The green on the left are plastic bags rolled up for sale.

Here is some sausage and some fish that is being arranged for a more appealing display.
The pom poms are used to keep the flies off.

Tomatoes, onions and greens are a staple.

We just moved along and took photos and chatted.  It really was a pleasant time at the market.
Rebecca got to take a lot of photos but I think Brent was a little uncomfortable because we just couldn't blend in, no matter how hard we tried.