Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A New Beginning 7/1/12 One more dawn, one more day, one day more. Well, here we are - Lubango, Angola. Welcome to the Portuguese language, to big rocky cliffs and Cristo Rei towering over the city, to women carrying anything and everything you could possibly imagine in buckets atop their heads, balancing as they navigate the busy streets. You'll quickly learn “A luz foi.”, and “A luz veio!” (“The lights are gone.” “The lights have come back!”), since the power goes out several times a day, yet there's still the same exuberant exclamation when they return. You'll eat fish and porridge, rice and beans; you'll pick guava, mangoes, avocados, bananas and papayas right off the trees in your back yard. The sights, the sounds, the smells are all new; and for me, it's Africa, all new, all over again.
And so, we begin again. We arrived separately, Sam and I. He, by mini bus early Thursday morning, and me by plane Thursday afternoon. Tomorrow marks one week in Angola. The week has been a whirlwind of greetings and meetings of Sam's family – cousins and uncles, aunts and friends from long ago. There is hardly a day where we walk on the street and aren't met by the call of “Oi, Sammy!” from a car or passerby on the street – an old friend or a woman who exclaims about how long it has been, how tall Sam has grown. It's a window for me into his history and I find myself connected to a much larger family, one who accepts me with opens arms, smiles, and kisses on both cheeks. Welcome. We are staying with Sam's cousin, Eduardo and his wife, Julina. Lovely people who have done everything to make me feel at home - even working at the little English they know and teaching me Portuguese. Julina tells me what I really need to learn is Umbundu – the local language of Sam's family. We've begun with a few phrases...so....maybe after I tackle Portuguese. The electricity is on again, off again. In the evenings if it happens to be off again, there's a petrol-powered generator. There's no running water where we're staying, so there's a large drum filled with water for flushing the toilet, and a basin to use for washing hands, and bathing. We boil water on the stove to warm the bathing water; and I'm thankful that it's currently summer. The days are warm, but not too hot. The mornings and evenings cool enough for long sleeves or a fleece. Most days in the afternoon there is rain, sometimes furious rain that pours forth from angry dark clouds that gather over the mountain. Sometimes it rains at night and the sound of it pounding the zinc roof blissfully drums you sleep. So here we are in Angola, waiting for God to show us the next step. The way is open for Sam to take an internship at CEML and there is excitement at the opportunity to learn from such a gifted and faith-filled doctor, like “Uncle Steve”. So we're seeking God to confirm if this is the way he should go. We're also praying for God to provide a place to live. God says we should pray specifically and tell Him our desires. Electricity and running water would be nice. So if you pray, you can pray that way, with us. =) We also need some form of transportation for Sam if he is to work at CEML. It is outside of town and requires a drive. I'll leave you with a parting shot for today - “Bem-vindo ao Lubango”

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