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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chronicles of Zambia #4 Pygmy Prison

Pygmy Prison

 The original plan was that Koos, Nick, and Henry would hike in to a pygmy village where they wanted to start a church. The reality turned out to be that we would try to bring the vehicles and ALL go to the pygmy village.

The "road" to that village was a 4 wheeler's dream trail. The grass is the middle of the track was often 6 feet high, and the stuff on the sides of the trail was really up there. Most of the time there was no center of the road, just a narrow trail with our tires straddling it. Something slit one of the tires on the trailer, so we had to stop and change that. Then our Land Rover broke some logs on a "bridge", I guess you could call it, so we were delayed there for awhile. I took some TP and headed for a corn-patch, but a lady rescued me and sent me to her outhouse, which was relatively nice.

The GPS showed that this trail we were following was on the border of the Congo! If we went over to the left of the trail, we were in the Congo without a visa, but according to the map and a local official we had about 10 k's before the Congo .

The Pygmy people were expecting us! They had a wooden frame built (the Pygmy Prison) and directed us inside. It was helpful. It gave a limit for the curious onlookers, as well as a place to hang the tarp and make a kitchen. The weather had turned rather rainy, so that tarp was really helpful. The wooden frame was also a nice place to hang clothes, so we soon looked about as elegant as squatters, which is what we were, though squatters with an invitation.

Paul, Timothy and Joshua promoted good will by playing Frisbee which made quite a sensation.  Koos and Nick started right in with meetings with Henry to translate and also to add his own preaching, while Paul and Peter took to the roads to find schools and other groups of people to preach to. They really liked each other. Peter was relieved he could understand Paul when he preached, since he found it hard to follow his conversation when he talked quickly, but Paul has been working hard at slowing down for preaching, and it helped.

Jeni went with the ladies, and discovered that they believed the Baha'i Religion, and had for maybe 3 generations! So they had long talks about that and tried to sort it all out. It took about 2 days, and a little conferencing, and the ladies decided en masse that they would follow Jesus with their husbands.
Koos and Co. discovered that a bunch of their guys weren't saved either, so they preached about that, and several made decisions, so the next step was to head down to the nearest deep spot in the creek and get them baptized.

Each evening there was a Jesus Film or other basic Christian video, and Paul preached with chalk art to the gathered village and visitors. Evangel shared beads with a little class of little girls, and also popcorn went over very big. I got to try making bread by boiling it in a bag, in a pot over the fire, and we were all pleased when it worked.

Challenges at Pygmy Camp include the mud, the outhouses, and the rain. People staring at us could either be looked at as an irritation or an opportunity, and I think we did tend to swing between feeling one way about them or the other.

 We arrived Sunday, and stayed until early Thursday morning. On Wednesday there was a humdinger of a storm in the afternoon. Paul was out preaching with Peter, but the rest of us huddled under the tarp or hid in the Land Cruiser. Under the tarp was the place to be, because Nick pulled out a HUGE bag of peanut M & M's from the States, and suddenly we were having a soggy party.
When the rain slowed to a drizzle, I was pretty discouraged. Some idiot (maybe me?) had left our tent flap a little bit open, on the end of the tent where Paul and I had our inflatable mattress, bedding, and a book I was reading. Everything was either wet or soaked (there's a fine line there ). I just felt plain ol' whiney. I know Who controls the weather, and I thought it would have been a small thing for Him to have stopped that rain, and why not?  It shouldn't have been too hard for Him. Then the verse, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him," from Job came to mind. It made me laugh at my pettiness. My own version reads, "Though He wet me, yet will I trust Him."  So I cheered a bit and began dealing with the wet.

That last night was very wet, but we made it through, elated to be heading for home the next morning. We packed, said Shalenipo (a Bemba good-bye) to our new friends, and hit the trail! We whizzed along at nearly 10 km per hour, I'm guessing, for about 45 minutes, and then came a bad smell.  Our fanbelt had broken.  Melted clear through the rubber (hence the burnt tire essence).  So there we sat out in the middle of the bush waiting for Koos and the rest of the team to reach the relative civilization of the next roaded village.  I (Evangel writng at this point) had a nap, and it was a great blessing to be able to dry our stuff out by draping it on trees and such.  We were really out in the bush with grass over Paul's head, not a hut in site, and on a track meant only for bicycles.  We would've felt lonely perhaps, if the flies hadn't been so friendly.  :)



  1. Vicki, you're a hoot! "...if the flies hadn't have been so friendly".
    Wow...what kind of a bag did you boil your bread in? What else did you cook, and how? How did you preserve the meat you'd taken along?
    Isn't it wonderful to know that you girls told those ladies the truth and that they now follow Christ? That's so so wonderful.

  2. so exciting! and i want to know what kind of bag you boiled your bread in, too! i can totally picture the sogginess being a wet blanket on your evening. :o(

  3. so exciting! and i want to know what kind of bag you boiled your bread in, too! i can totally picture the sogginess being a wet blanket on your evening. :o(

  4. Bread was boiled in an imported Ziplock bag,and when one bag leaked, I just told everyone to "think dumplings". People like it dry better though.

  5. Wow, you people are disgraceful. Colonialism lives strong with you.