If I thought it was a challenge to earn the respect of 23 kids, how much more so was it a challenge for Krista to do it? But she did. Krista was one of my assistant leaders this summer in Zambia. She was, well IS, only 18 years old! She wasn’t even older than all the team members, and yet she was placed in a position of authority over them. I have decided to write about her because of Teresa, her mom. Teresa found and reads my blog. She recently left a comment asking for more Africa stories. I have dozens of them started, but it’s difficult to get a complicated life story posting just right! However, Krista stayed in Africa (she went on to Mozambique) instead of coming home and Teresa is missing her and I think she needs to hear stories about her! So, here you go, Teresa. I hope you enjoy this a tenth as much as I enjoyed Krista!
Krista is as sweet as she is lovely. She has a heart of service. She loves the Lord (Jesus). She is laughter and energy and light (welllll, most of the time!).
“For Lunch Today, We’re Having……!”
Before each meal was served, Krista would go out to where the kids were all lined up and announce the menu. And the kids would cheer after each dish was announced. Didn’t matter what it was, she belted it out like it was gonna be the best meal that we’d eat in our life, and the kids would cheer. Let me tell you what that did for the morale of the woman behind the spoon. I felt good about what I was doing every single meal of each day.
“The Lion Pig”
One morning, as I exited my tent at 5:30ish, I was startled to see Krista standing nearby waiting for me. “Mama Lou, I need you to check the kitchen for lions before we go in there.” she said quietly and somewhat nervously. She’d heard animals outside her tent that night and dreamed that those animals were lions. I had made cinnamon rolls the previous evening that we’d have for breakfast that morning before church. Making cinnamon rolls anywhere is a labor intensive process. Making them in the bush in Africa? Forget about it! Hard work! 🙂 Well! When we moved the door (it wasn’t attached or on hinges or anything) from the doorway to our kitchen, there, on the floor, were two of the four big pans of cinnamon rolls…one of them upside down, the other obviously had been eaten away at by something. As the windows in the kitchen had no glass, we only speculated at what sort of animal the perp had been. We knew it wasn’t lions, but off in the bushes we did spy a couple big black pigs. That was probably what we’d heard snufflin’ around outside the tents, but no way could pigs get into the kitchen. I prefered not to think about what actually got at the rolls. But that was the beginning of the legend of the Lion Pig. Sometimes, at night, when I am missing Africa, I can almost hear it eating cinnamon rolls in the kitchen.
Krista learned how to cook sheema to perfection. (An expanded posting on sheema is in the works). I remember my own mom’s skill at making cream of wheat without any lumps. Something about adding the powder at the right speed and keeping it stirred. Sheema’s no different. You have to add the mealie meal (finely ground corn) to boiling water very slowly and stir, stir, stir. We cooked it in five gallon pots. And used big HUGE carved wooden spoon paddles to do the stirring. That’s a lot of HARD work. Krista’s Sheema never had any lumps. Even more impressive was that her porridge (also made of mealie meal and a more runny version of sheema) didn’t have lumps either. We had sheema and porridge often. It was cheap and filling, and because Krista made it so well, the kids all loved it.
“More Lemon Pepper!”
Krista sought to do as much as she could to help me in my endeavors to “feed the multitudes”. She had a knack for seasoning. Watching her shake this and that into whatever pot was steaming on the brazier was like watching a conductor at the symphony! One of our favorite seasonsings was lemon pepper. Everything always needed more lemon pepper.
“The Best Pancakes Ever, TWICE!!!
We had moved to Lupya the day before. Moving always made the next day in the kitchen somewhat chaotic. We never had quite enough time to completely organize before it was time to get up and make breakfast. The plan was for baked oatmeal. We had all the ingredients together and ready to go but couldn’t find the oatmeal. It was somewhere, to be certain, but we couldn’t find it and time was getting short. So, after a quick discussion on what we could turn the very sweet and very eggy mixture we now had on hand into, it was decided we’d do a quick turn and make pancakes. Krista dumped this and that into the bowl and we started to fry up the cakes. And they were AWESOME! And from that we learned that pancakes are really good with more sugar and more eggs. Soooooo, the next time we made them, we altered the recipe again, and Krista, unbeknownst to me added her new favorite seasoning, pumpkin spice (!) to the mix. WOW. I haven’t had the opportunity to try to recreate those amazing cakes here in the states, but they were just about the yummiest thing I’d ever eaten. We had lots of them leftover and we served them later cold (with peanut butter if you wanted) and they were just as good like that as they were steaming hot with margarine and syrup! Perhaps I’ll try dinking with the recipe and if the results are nearly as good as they were in Lupya and in Lufwanyama, I’ll pass it along to you. Kudos Krista for the the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten, twice!
“A Hot Bath For Mama Lou”
In Lufwanyama there was actually a small room off the squatty potties where you could bathe. We only bathed once a week and I was looking forward to using that room. But I was recovering from malaria and didn’t have much energy. Lifting a bucket of water was hard work as I was left pretty weakened. So I had pretty much decided the bath wasn’t worth the effort of getting water. It was sheema day in the kitchen and since the work load was less, Krista sent me off to take a nap. I slept for an hour or so, and when I woke up, I found that Krista had set up the bathing room for me, complete with water she had warmed up for me on the brazier. It was the best bath I had all summer.
“Where In The World Is Krista’s Luggage?”
All of the people on our team had to really pare down what we brought. It had to fit in a carry-on. As Krista was to stay on in Africa for some time after our summer, she was allowed to pack a duffel bag. She had joined our team just days before training in boot camp, and so her plane ticket had her traveling at a different time with different team. We caught up with her at the airport in Lusaka, but her duffel bag was no where to be found. Krista pretty much had just the clothes on her back. She never complained. Eventually her bag was found. It had been sent on to Mozambique where it would be waiting for her arrival in five weeks. She had packed wet and dirty clothes in it, expecting that she’d do the laundry when she got to Zambia. (Note to self: Ask Krista what the bag looked and smelled like by the time she got there!)
More later. Must post now!
Thanks, Krista, for all the dimensions you added to Zambia Foot Washing, 2006. And thanks to God for giving her to us instead of sending her to Mozambique right away!