Sunday, June 1, 2014

Copperbelt Trip in May

Musa is a young man who is getting his papers in order to go on a mission.  He had to go to Luanshya to get his birth certificate so he can apply for a passport.  Luanshya is about 2 1/2 hours from Lusaka and is quite expensive to buy tickets to go there.  Our branch president told him we were going to the Copperbelt and Musa asked if he could get a ride with us.  We were happy to have him come with us and it was a way to help a future missionary.  He is a wonderful young man who has made many changes in his life since his baptism 1 year and 3 months ago.  We stopped at a restaurant to get something to eat and Elder Bingham got a milkshake.  He asked Musa if he would like one.  He wanted to try it.  He had never had a milkshake before and he loved it!  Musa also told us of going into the bush as a young boy on a daily basis to shoot birds with his catapault (what we call a slingshot).  When asked why he was just randomly shooting birds he told us that if he got a bird, they ate in the morning.  No bird, no food!  Simple as that.  It wasn't a game but a mission of survival!

 This is the time for maize harvest.  After picking the corn, it is dried.  When it is dried, they either use the machine above to shell it out or they will put the corncobs in bags and hit them with sticks to loosen the kernals.  They then load the filled bags onto trucks or oxen carts to take to market.  It is very laborious and tedious work.

This little Piggy Went to Market!  While waiting for Stanley and Bro. Bwino this man pulled up in front of our pickup with his prize for the day.  These people use bicycles for transporting nearly anything.  Today we passed a man pushing a wheelbarrow that had the whole front end of a car in it!  Even the front axle.
This truck of chickens pulled off the road to market their chickens.  Amazingly enough those chickens just stayed in the back of the pickup.  The sellers put an umbrella and waterers and feeders on the bed of the truck to keep their precious load happy.

Elder Bingham and I stayed in a flat in Ndola.  The meeting we were planning on attending was cancelled for two days so we packed supplies and drove to Kalulushi to meet Brother Bwino, who is also a member of the District Self Reliance Committee.  He was just finishing the paperwork to finalize his purchase of a farm.  His father has been living on it for two years but the purchase is just now being completed.  We got some supplies and bedding and drove to Brother Bwino's home.  He gave me this "Snake Repel" because there are snakes on his farm.  When I saw that, I was about ready to turn around and go the other way!  I got my courage up and we left to drive about 60 kilometers from Kalulushi to the farm.

We stopped to eat an apple before Stanley and I took Brother Bwino out on his farm to help survey to find a way to get water to his crops.  His father, Mr. Bwino, on the right, has some crops growing but buckets his water up a little hill to water the crops.  Too much work!!Stanley made a makeshift piece of survey equipment out of a piece of plastic pipe and a spirit level.  One must be quite inventive to get things done in Africa!

Stanley and Mr. Bwino sit on the step of his humble little mud home.
 Mr. Bwino shows us his solar system for charging his cell phone and the light he uses after dark in his little home.
Sister Bingham is picking fruit from the bush.  These plants grow wild on the farm and they are quite the delicacy for the Zambian people.  It grows just under the ground at the base of the plants.  Bro. Bwino only knew the Bemba name for them so I never did figure out what they are called in English.  The hard outer shell is peeled off then the soft fruit inside is eaten or the juice sucked out of it.  I tasted it but it was about like a lemon.  Not something I want to drink anytime soon.

Brother Bwino and I walked along the narrow road through the bush to make sure Elder Bingham didn't hit something from either side coming through the tall grass. 

Sister Bingham and Brother Bwino
 Brother Bwino, Mr. Bwino, and Elder Bingham.  Brother Bwino calls his dad MR. BWINO.  They kind of banter back and forth but it is entertaining to listen to them.  Brother Bwino's brothers and sisters didn't want their father around as they thought he was bad and part of Black Magic.  Black Magic is very prevalent here, especially in the bush.  Brother Bwino acquired the farm about two years ago and gave his father a place to live and his father takes care of the farm.  He is a delightful man and we enjoyed his company very much.  Brother Bwino has taught his father much about the church and we were able to present him with a Book of Mormon.  He is very interested in learning more about the church.

The Bwinos have a hut over their cooking area but haven't gotten the thatched roof on it yet.  Before the rainy season, they will get it one.  On the left of Mr. Bwino is the little charcoal cooker the people here in Zambia and Malawi use to cook whether in their little homes or outside.  They fill it with charcoal and put their pans over it.

This little mat in the center of the room is where Elder Bingham and I slept.  Mister Bwino gave us the mat and a couple of blankets to cushion us.  This is his kitchen area and his storage inside the hut.  It has two rooms. Below the table is his cupboard where he keeps his dishes.  When we finished eating, we would put our dishes in a bucket of water to soak until the next day then he would heat water to wash dishes.  Their water is hauled from the small stream down the hill.

Their outhouses are pit toilets.  Not quite as convenient as the outhouses we know in the U.S. or from my childhood memories.
There are no seats in a pit toilet but just a hole in the ground.  These are even used in the villages right in the middle of the cities.  Pretty rustic!

This is the outdoor shower for Mr. Bwino.  He stands in the dishpan to wash off.  Again, water comes from the stream.

 Elder Bingham in front of the tall grass on the farm.

We stopped at a little village which was far from the main road.  Elder Bingham and Brother Bwino went to find someone from that village who was selling charcoal.  Bro. Bwino wanted to buy some charcoal to take home.  They left me at the pickup.  There were quite a few children around so I got out of the pickup and went to speak to the children.  They would giggle but then run away if I got too close.  When my friend and Elder Bingham came back, Bro. Bwino told the children that he had brought a friend to see them but why were they running away?  They told them that they have never seen anyone with skin like ours and they were scared.  Black Magic is very real here and they do believe in witchcraft.  Elder Bingham gave one of the girls a little money and asked if we could take their picture.  Bro. Bwino told them to let us take their picture and they could touch me to make sure I was real!  Then they swarmed all around me and were touching me to make sure I was real!  Even the mom of some of the children was pushing up close to touch.  It was a very fun experience but also humbling to know that there are still people who have never seen white people before.  We all were laughing and giggling at this experience!
 As we passed out of the bush, we passed this straw building.  In asking what this was, we were told this is the bar in the bush.  Amazing that bars find their way wherever we are.  Alcohol is a very big problem with especially the young men here as they don't have much to do and so they use it to occupy their time.
 Even children take care of the babies using chitengas.

 Brother Bwino stopped at the Council Office before going to his farm to finalize the purchase of his farm.  Elder Bingham asked if he should stay in the pickup or go in to the office with him.  He told him to come in as the officers would speed through the formalities quicker if a white man was there.  Sure enough!  The official stood up and greeted Elder Bingham and didn't even look at Bro. Bwino.  He just took the papers and stamped them all the while telling Elder Bingham that if he would come back to Zambia they would give him lots of land to farm.  When we realized the implications, we knew it was because he knew that to finalize the deal, many pockets would be lined as they think we are "rich" Americans.  After we completed our time at the farm, we drove out of the bush.  Bro. Bwino had to take the completed deed to the Chief.  When we got to her "palace" which looked like a mud house too, her henchman came out and took the paper.  He had Bro. Bwino put some money in the envelope for the chief?!  Bro. Bwino told the man that we were from America and had never seen an African chief.  Could we please meet her.  To that the henchman replied that it would take another 150 kwachas in an envelope to meet her at her palace.  I just looked at him and told him that I didn't need to see a Chief that badly and I would keep my money!  No doubt he would have taken a share before giving it to the chief and she wouldn't know the difference.  We got in the pickup and drove away.  The important thing is that Brother Bwino now has his farm.  As we got to the highway we saw the sign with the picture of the chief on it.  I figured that was good enough for me and I kept my money!

 Sister Bwino wasn't able to get off work to go with us but we stopped by her work at the electric company and took them both to lunch.  She is a delightful lady and we enjoyed both of them very much.  She works for the electric company but works in the welfare department in counseling on health matters, safety, and HIV counseling.
On our way back from the Copperbelt, Musa saw a herd of cattle and, of course, Elder Bingham stopped and turned around to walk out and see them.  This herder knew how many cattle, sheep, and goats were in his care.  They were all grazing in the same area and they really looked quite good.  Better than most of the animals we have seen. As Musa and Elder Bingham walked over the area dotted with trees, he would point out the medicinal uses for that particular tree or even was one that was sticky and they would use the sap from that tree to put on traps to catch birds.  It is also some of what they make rubber out of.  If we ever get lost in the bush, Musa is the one we would like to be with us to teach us how to survive.  He is a very knowledgeable young man with many talents.

This steer's horns are just a little cock-eyed and one to be reckoned with.  He held his head high and is not to be trusted.  Was the only one in the herd that Elder Bingham felt was a threat!
All of the breeding is Brahma.
Goats and sheep
 More sheep and goats.  Running together with cattle fully utilizes the range he has.

We stopped by to see Winnety Liyali and she had just finished her laundry.  It consists of a large pan of water and washing is by hand then line dried.  Lots of work!
 Musa purchased some bags of charcoal to help with the expenses for his mission.  When we got to the village to unload, this little feller wanted so badly to get up into that pickup.  He was so happy.  Just like the "King of the Hill"!  When it was time for us to leave, he didn't want to get out.
 Musa sweeping out our pickup from the load of charcoal.  We didn't know where to keep it but then his mother came and told us he could keep it in their little home.  Was an answer to prayer.  He is trying to earn money to help with his medical expenses and his clothing for his mission.
In the village we were mobbed by little children.  They all wanted to shake our hands (over and over) and were underfoot.  What a joy these precious little ones are.  I just think of what the Savior would do if he were surrounded by these little ones.  I think he would be smiling too!
Musa is pictured with his mother here.  She has been a member of the church for a long time and has sent two sons on missions but Musa wasn't baptized until fifteen months ago.  He was drinking a lot and not doing what he was supposed to.  He moved to Lusaka to live with his brother and while in Lusaka, met the missionaries and his life was turned around.  He loves the Book of Mormon and has such a strong testimony.  It was a joy to spend some time with him and to feel of his spirit.  He will be a wonderful missionary.  It is amazing here in Africa how people can live in such poverty and lack of knowledge but grasp the gospel and rise to leadership here.