Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Feeding the Hungry

While in Extension 23 we met a dynamic young man named Bayanda. At 23 years old he is full of fire and energy for the Lord and puts that to use in many different ways. One of these is a program at a local school that provides a free lunch for many kids who cannot otherwise afford it. Oftentimes before the children are fed Bayanda will lead them in songs and give a short message. We had the opportunity to join them on Wednesday and Friday, where Adam was given the opportunity to share some of his testimony.
The days started early in the home of Mama Ashila, where we cut up vegetables and prepared enough food for about 200 kids. It was a scary moment on the first day when I realized I would be left at the house to help prepare the food while the guys left to attend to other business before returning to help bring the food to the school down the road. Of the four other women in the house with me, only one spoke English and I had just met her that morning as well. For the first time since arriving in Africa, I felt myself telling God I was anxious about where He had me. I realize it’s a strange thing to suddenly feel anxious about when there were many other things that could have made me nervous over the last two weeks, but I suddenly felt the stress of feeling alone and not knowing how to communicate. At the same time I was feeling incredible anxiety, I realized that a positive experience would only result from a positive attitude—so I resolved to expect the best. Unfortunately that didn’t solve my problems right away…
Imagine a movie scene with the white girl in an African kitchen, and no one speaking English. She tries to look around and see how the others are cutting these incredible hard vegetables, but her efforts result only in chunks of potato dropping onto the floor or flying out of control into the big pot of water on the other side of the table, splashing everyone in reach. That was me—I’d never felt clumsier in my life. However, the morning turned out to be one of my favorite times so far! I could do nothing except laugh at myself every time a potato flew across the room or I took 5 times longer to chop something up than anyone else. Eventually one of the women took my knife from me, and waving it in my face told me “I show you to cook African way!” She showed me the easiest way to cut up a rock hard sweet potato and how to cut the squash so that all the peel would come off. Instead of becoming frustrated with my ignorance these women took me under their wings and taught me something because they saw I was willing to learn. They gave me every opportunity to participate and encouraged me even when I knew I was holding things up. These are the kinds of people who empower you to excel – the ones who will lift you up and push you forward because they believe in you, even when you struggle. Because of them I overcame silly fears of not being able to communicate, cutting vegetables with a sharp knife in the palm of my hand, and even stirring a pot that spit boiling water at me. By the end of the morning they informed me that I was now ready to marry because I could cook in an African woman’s kitchen ☺.

Unfortunately, you can't teach everything

The awkward stages

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