Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Marissa took Lindsay, Meg, and me to Zambeadzies today. It was a wonderful, full day experience.

My brother Jeff told me I had to ride the mini-buses like a real Zambian while I was here, and since Marissa knows the ropes of Zambian public transport, I requested we do that today. It took us an hour and a half to go probably 5 miles, but it was exciting! We rode one bus from near HOM all the way into downtown Lusaka, and then from Lusaka to the Chipata compound where the Zambeadzies headquarters is. The bus station in town is a busy, busy place! You find the bus you want to get on and then wait for it to fill, which is why our transport time was so long this morning. Vendors come up to the parked buss es trying to sell their goods. We politely declined and just enjoyed the scene.

Lindsay, Marissa, and Meg with me on the bus
The eight ladies who work at Zambeadzies are incredible. Most of them are fairly young, and to most, the Zambeadzies project was an answer to prayer as they were desperate to find work to help support their families. Violet is the director and also the pastor's wife at Jesus Army. The morning flew by as we learned to roll beads, schlack them, and then make jewelry. I had no ideas the beads would be so easy to make, but they are! There is a huge supply of plastic, wooden, and clay beads to string up with the paper beads to make fun patterns. I ended up making 1 necklace and about 8 or 9 bracelets. As we worked, the ladies told us their stories and then had us tell them ours. It took me a while to convince them I was old enough to be married, and then once I did, they couldn't understand why I didn't have children yet. Le sigh.
All of us, minus Elizabeth who was out sick.
We were served nshima, beef, and cabbage for lunch. Yum, yum, yum. When it tasted just like I make it at home, I knew I was doing it right, which made me super happy. Thanks, Bridget for being such a good teacher!
Chitenges are the fabric skirts Zambian women often wear, and Lindsay and Marissa were wanting more fabric for themselves. Violet overheard us talking about stopping at the Chelstone market to shop on our way home, and offered to take us to Kamwala, which is a HUGE district of shops right near downtown Lusaka. She was also wanting to go there to purchase more of the colored beads we put between the paper beads to make the cool patterns. Violet has a big van (with 7 kids and 4 foster children, she has to!), so she loaded us up with Grace, and off we went. I enjoyed seeing downtown Lusaka as we drove. Kamwala is unlike anything I've ever seen. The best I can compare it to is the scene of street vendors in Boston where literally everything is being sold. Many of the vendors have real shops and others are in wooden shacks. The girls found their chitenge fabric and then we hunted for beads and more string. Violet lead us in a line and Grace followed behind us so no one got lost in the crowds. We said we felt like chicks with their mamas.
After a trip back to HQ to pick up the ladies that are dropped at the bus stop each evening, we grabbed a bus and headed home. It's not a far walk at all from the stop to HOM, and after sitting so much on the buses or making bead, the cool air, sunset, and tromp home were quite refreshing! And as always in Zambia, worth more than a few belly laughs. Yes, we're always laughing around here!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...