Yesterday we were invited to the congregation at Mapoto. At this point it is the most distant one from Siavonga. Even though the village road has been paved it is still 4 or 5 km. off of the paved road. The way there we took yesterday was more of a trail than a road.
We arrived and the building sits out in the open. There is no shade nearby. It is a typical village structure made of poles and thatch with mud blocks for the walls.
At this time of the year they are looking to redo their roof as the rains will be coming in the next month or so. Since the blocks are only molded and dried mud they will not survive getting wet and will simply “melt” with the rains.
I taught Bible class and then preached. I am not sure exactly when we began. I am certain it was probably around 8:30 or 9am. I went to the truck to have some water and a piece of bread around 12:20pm. As we are going among the village churches just now I am focusing on the centrality of the church as the body of Christ in the plan of God. God’s people need to understand the oneness and uniqueness of the body especially in opposition the world around them.
The lessons were well received and the people attentive. When in the villages it is especially important that the verses be read. Many of the women in the villages are unable to read so hearing Scripture becomes important.
The total number of people who were present at services was 57. That seems a bit above average which I was told was 30 to 35. There are members here in Mapoto and others in a nearby village of Jamba. They try to meet together but the way between the two villages is difficult. As a result they are planning to build a new building about 1 ½ to 2 km from this building and then they will meet together more easily. We talked about their desire and what they were planning. As usual I was asked to help with construction. They have molded and burned over 2000 blocks to build it. Cement is needed to put it together and they want iron sheets on the roof.
I told them if they would dig the footer and haul in sand and crushed stone then I would provide them with the 5 pockets of cement to build the footer and we would go from there.
When services were finished there was a meal served. Village chicken, rape and nsima (pronounced shima) made out of millet (sorghum); a tasty meal indeed.
Following this there was a formal welcoming of me to Zambia. I was told that a true Tonga has at least 2 village chickens. This being the case the women of the congregation presented me with two village chickens to keep.
I was told that these are not to eat but to keep so that there will be more in the future. We already have quite a number of village chickens at our place. The couple living there, Benjamin and Chenai Mvula, keep village chickens so these two will be added to the herd.
One thing causing significant concerns (and cost) is the exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Zambian Kwacha. When I came it was over 5. Today it is over 12. When prices are up they always cite the dollar. What that has to do with most of the goods is tenuous at best. For instance, locally, eggs have sold for 1 kwacha each. Now they are 1.5. When asked why they cite the dollar. The dollar has nothing to do with the chickens laying eggs in Siavonga but it is testimony of how aware many are of the world at large.
I am still adjusting to being here. The house not being completed contributes to some sense of not having a home just yet. But things are moving along.