So, you know your weekend was exhausting when preparing for and teaching two classes on Monday is actually a bit of a break.
After the long day at the conference on Saturday, I still had to practice the hymns for Sunday. I didn’t feel at all confident about playing them, but I was thinking the whole time, if I’m really bad then I can just sort of stop playing and let Israel (the violinist) carry it.
When we walked into church I was relieved to see that Israel was there and had his violin with him. During the break between services I set up and played through the hymns very quietly. When it was time to sing the first hymn, I went ahead and started, expecting Israel to join in at any moment, but he didn’t. To my horror, I realized that I was on my own. Fortunately, it didn’t go as badly as I expected, and the second hymn went okay too. Whew!
Oh, and you know why Israel didn’t play with me? Because I forgot to email him and tell him what hymns I was working on and in what keys! Duh . . .
The afternoon was very busy with getting ready for our Zambian Independence Day celebration. The “relish,” or sauce that I was making started with some chicken stock and two large bags of greens. After the greens cooked down a little, I was able to add the other ingredients to make about two gallons of relish. Jasper and I also made another chai flavored pound cake with chai icing. I cooked a huge pot of rice in case anyone didn’t want nshima. I also made the mandazi dough and then Lucy spent two hours frying up all the mandazis. I was so busy doing all that other stuff that I failed to start the nshima water heating until after our first two guests had arrived!
I had asked guests to bring relishes, drinks and desserts. We had four different relishes and they were all delicious. I had several college-aged young men to stir the nshima, and they did a great job. It was almost four gallons of very stiff nshima and took a lot of muscle!
Walter had set up a long table outside. I think we had between 20 and 24 people. Honestly, I never counted. I was especially happy that our friends PJ and CO came.
PJ and I go back to Zambia days, at least 40 years, and CO and I met in high school in Kenya. We live in the same town but move in totally different circles now, so we just don’t see each other. Our neighbors Kim and Kevin came with their family. Kevin grew up in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Our neighbors Dave and Sylvia, whom we have known since college days and who went to Zambia on a mission trip this summer, also came, along with various college students with Zambia or Africa connections.
How likely do you think it is, that in a little neighborhood in East Texas, an MK from Zambia like me would have a neighbor across the street who also has a Zambian background, and another neighbor (with whom we share a fence) who went to Zambia this summer? Not to mention the fact that another neighbor is from South Africa and a couple blocks down is another couple who both grew up in West Africa?
After our fabulous dinner, I got out my autoharp and we sang the Zambian national anthem, and I think it went pretty well. Shortly after that people started leaving because they had to get up early in the morning or do homework. It was so much fun to see everyone and celebrate Zambia’s 50th birthday.
Today, of course, I had to get up and try to cram all my class preparation and grading into one morning. It was a little stressful, but I did get it done. It was fun hearing the stories that my students had written. I’m amazed at some of the things they come up with.
Now to plan out the rest of my week . . .
Spencer wore a Zambian soccer jersey, as did some of our guests.
Kim and Kevin got to look at Sylvia’s photos of Zambia from this past summer.
Kim had actually been to an event where she got the Zambian flag painted onto her cheek!