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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chronicles of Zambia #3 Land of the Watching Eyes

Puta - Land of the watching Eyes

Timothy wanted me to call it that after a book we read. We had a wonderful arrival at Puta, in that about 20 Christians came out at 1:30 AM to greet us with singing. It reminded me of Isobel Kuhn's Karen tribes who greet with songs. The thing is, we all just wanted to set up our tents quickly so we could flop over sideways, but first we had to be sung to, and shake hands and finally Koos yelled, "OK, everybody go now. We're going to unpack."
Seemed rather unsentimental of him, but we did need to get down to business.

This time we were staying at a community center, so 3 of the tents were set up in classrooms, while two were outside. Later Koos would set up a spare one so Paul and I could have one to ourselves for 5 nights in Puta. The kitchen was also in one of the classrooms, with 2 tents. We were all thankful for this little retreat from the staring eyes of the curious people.

Puta was my favorite place to stay, and my favorite part of the trip. There we had a full schedule, with meetings under a mango tree for the men each morning and afternoon. The ladies met in the classroom in the morning and on the porch in the afternoons as the classroom was simply too hot. Each evening was a film and preaching. Paul also went out to schools and other places to preach each day.

I learned about 20 words of Bemba, the local language. There are some of the same words from Swahili, too, and their word for shoe is zapato which is the same as Spanish, so I could chat up a storm. They were just so pleased I was trying, and they all wanted to coach me a bit so learning there was very rewarding.

I enjoyed teaching too, but found it hard to go as slow as one needs to go with a translator. Doris was our translator and she had a very good grasp on English, but I'd want to learn more Bemba a lot more if we were going to stay there to minister. I could get excited about that as a place to live. Paul would go out each day with Peter and a guide named Chansa to see if the local schools would like him to preach and draw there. Usually, they did!  He preached many times in Puta. Evangel went along 3 times, to three of the schools, to get some pictures. She was quite the thing to get a picture of, herself. If any of them had cameras, or a cell phone, the locals wanted to remember her visit.

Oh, I nearly forgot, Josh also became a celebrity at Puta. He doesn't like being a celebrity! His name was easy and memorable for them, and he was a rare 10 year old in a place Musungu (white person) 10 year olds don't go. I think it was his glimpse into the life of Justin Beiber.  Everywhere we went, we heard, "Joshua! Joshua!" from the young people of Puta.  At the next place, he asked us to call him Wyatt so that no one would learn his name.


  1. Wyatt!!! What a funny guy. Wonder if he'll ever go back...maybe when he's all grown up.
    So you liked Puta? Wonder if that name is a throw-back to Spanish? Hope not!
    I wish you well on your Bemba language progress...anyone near Muizenberg that speaks it?

  2. PS...why did you have to climb up on the first I thought you were hanging clothes...