Thursday, August 2, 2012
imagine -leaving your small village on the outskirts of Lusaka and the small simple house you live in and seven hours later arriving at a posh tourist destination in Victoria Falls. Imagine - for years having as your sole food staple a dish called nsima (shee-ma)perhaps once a day, and then being confronted with any and every imaginable rich, extravagant and western food imaingable. Imagine - making a transition from sleeping on a thin mattress on a concrete floor to the luxurious comfort of a fluffy hotel bed. Imagine - after years of serving others selflessly, having someone - perhaps a tribal cousin - waiting on you hand and foot; carrying your bags, serving you food and coffee, asking you if all your accomodations are satisfactory.' Imagine - not having left the city of Lusaka for years and finding yourself all of a sudden transplanted right next to one of the most spectacular wonders of the world - Victoria Falls. Imagine - having lived in Southern Africa all your life and having never seen a giraffe or zebra only to have them peacefully wandering by right outside your hotel window. Such are the experiences of John and Thenny Mpanga. As a way of honoring them for all they have done for the vulnerable orphans in Kabanana, we have invited them as our guests to experience the thrills and comfort of the Zambezi Sun Restort - right next to the falls. Tomorrow they go with us on a game drive in Chobe National Park and will see elephants, warthogs, impalas, crocodiles, perhaps a lion and many other native species of their homeland - all of which they have never seen. I wish I could read minds because I know that this has been a day filled with unusual and overwhelming experiences. Their reactions to all this might very well be similar to the reactions that I - a middle class American - had the first time I set foot on the ground at the Lusaka International Airport. Foreigners in a strange land and culture. I am hoping that they will receive this gift as a gift; an honor to them. They are amazing people. I am blessed to know them. I am blessed to have them share this amazing experience with me as I was to have stood shoulder to shoulder with Pastor John digging foundation trenches for an addition to the school and sitting next to him in his church at a Sunday morning service and at the Pastor Training Conference. I know Judy feels the same way as she has shared in the classroom with Thenny - who also has an education in teaching and does an amazing job with very little resource. It is we who have been blessed and honored all week. Now it is their turn. I wonder what they are imagining as they experience all this.