From Shame to Glory and Mzungu Mama

Happy Mother’s Day! Hello friends! Today is a wonderful day to celebrate the wonderful mothers and women that make our lives a little bit brighter each and everyday. For my moms (yes, I have many including my actual mom) you are loved and appreciated, and I am so grateful to have you in my life!

Today was great! We woke up 6:45am, so later than normal for us, although the church bell decided to ring at 6:30am instead of its usual 6:00am on the dot, so I guess we were all running a little slower this morning. After eating a hasty breakfast, we got dressed to go to one of the local churches that a local coordinator attends with a couple of our coordinators and two other students from BYU that came to volunteer with us. Audrey, the coordinator who regularly attends the church, is such a gem. Seriously, I have never seen someone who is genuinely as happy as she is all the time. Her smile is infectious, and her spirit is just pure gold. Truly, she emulates Christ in everything she does.

There was a special program at church today where the girls in the area were presented in a program similar to a mix between Young Womens and God’s army. Like really, they marched like an army, wore uniforms, had rankings like lieutenant and captain, but they’re working to make themselves better instruments for Christ in their community. It was both foreign and beautiful. During the portions of the service that were in Bemba, one of the other common languages used in the area, Audrey would lean over and interpret for us what was being said. The music was just–wow. It was absolutely beautiful! Everyone here clearly sings on the regular and they know how to blend and sing in harmony, and basically my ears were crying with joy.

The reverend gave a pretty powerful sermon on how moving from shame to glory is God’s plan for us, and while we move, we need to remember where we’ve come from. This was all in reference to 1 Samuel 16:1-13 about Samuel being commanded to pick one of the sons of Jesse to be the new king and then being inspired to choose David, the youngest son who was busy tending to the sheep. It sounded a lot better than how I’m making it out to be right now, but it was definitely a new perspective than I had heard about that passage of scripture.

The whole church service was a solid FOUR HOURS and we managed to sneak out during the break between sessions, BECAUSE THERE WAS ANOTHER COMMUNION SESSION HAPPENING RIGHT AFTER THIS ONE ENDED! I don’t know how these people do it. I thought I was prepared for long church because of my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but I realized I am WEAK in comparison to the members of the United Church of Zambia’s Linda Community branch.

After church, we came back home and ate a quick lunch, got changed, and then headed out to visit the Maramba and Curio Markets of Livingstone. Between the two, we walked a little less than 10 km, so about 5.5 miles, while looking at different booths, talking with booth vendors, and maneuvering our way through the communities. There were a lot of interesting goods available for purchase, and Braydan and I are likely going to return to purchase chitenge fabric (chitenges are traditional skirt worn by the women here) to have a tailor make into a matching dress and shirt set (naturally I’m wearing the shirt 😉 As we walked between the stalls, one of the names I heard being shouted my way was Mzungu Mama. I’m not someone that enjoys being called to, and being referred to as “White Mama” didn’t set super well with me. However, I held my tongue and just kept walking. But just so we’re clear, I won’t answer to Mzungu Mama when I get back, capiche?

Once it hit dinner time, we scurried back to the compound, threw on some more deodorant (because the sweat game was STRONG), and made our way over to the Cafe Zambezi for a traditional Zambian meal. Braydan had crocodile spareribs and I had a goat stew, both paired with nshima (prounounced “she-ma”) which is a staple food for Zambians. Basically, nshima is made from corn meal boiled with salt and water to make a thick, plaster-consistency kind of mush that can be pulled off in pieces from the hunk of nshima that is on the plate to dip in stew juices or scoop up food. It doesn’t have a ton of flavor, but it’s like having bread but not, and as someone who is gluten-free, it was wonderful 🙂 Both the crocodile and the goat stew were fantastic! Wow, the flavors were incredible, and the side veggies were well cooked, too. To say I was surprised and pleased is an understatement.

After dinner, we scuttled back to the compound, showered all of the day’s sweat, sunscreen and mosquito repellant off, and now we’re typing up the day’s event while calling our sweet mamas. So if you’re reading this and haven’t called your mom yet, please do so, she’d love to hear from you. Until tomorrow, ¡adios!

-Gabrielle Bezzant

Author: Gabrielle Bezzant

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