The last few weeks have been a bit rough. Our family lost our Big dad and then my friend from highschool passed away … if you follow this blog, you know I generally take time to process events like these. While February hasn’t been the best, it also came with some good and now, I need to take some time to do a big job relocation because but will be back with a book review and then another Bemba video … stay tuned.
Today, I was meant to be posting a review …
But I find myself musing over a lived life I barely knew
mourning a man who always brought a smile to our faces
He was funny
He was gentle
And until I was about 8 I somehow was lost to his existence
And ohh that booming voice, gentle voice
He made every moment light
In the short moments we spent, I somehow got to love him
In the short spaces of conversations on skype and messenger.
Twenty Twenty came with so much promise and in a space of weeks,
We had celebrated life and before it ended, it had eaten more joy than seemed possible.
His voice no longer to be heard,
His hearty laugh no longer to offer any warmth
Turn back the time … return to us the promise of a year barely started;
Give us a chance to finish listening to stories of the dynamics of life.
You never finished telling us stories of where you grew up
We never even started writing them down.
A little background to this, I feel this is more in line with what Blessings on a hill is all about and I decided that I would do a short lesson on the sounds and the letters that represent them. I am Bemba and Nsenga because my my mum is a Bemba woman and my dad is Nsenga but I am more accustomed to my Bemba roots and constantly learning on both fronts.
So the letters present are A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, S T, U, W and Y. We do not have J, Q, R, X and Z. To get the best understanding of what the sounds are like, please view the video below.
A makes the same sound as in Apple
B has a special sound usually mistaken for the V or W sound. Most non-Bemba speakers struggle with this. B is only a hard “b” as in Baby when preceded by the letter “M”
C makes a “ch” sound all the time. It never makes a “k” sound ever! The intonation changes if accompanied by the letter H or not. E.g. iciBemba vs ChiBemba. The pronunciation will be different and the two mean two different things. The first refers the language and the second to the language
D and G only exist if preceded by N.
G has two possible sounds. If followed by an apostrophe it makes the same sound as in morning. If not, makes a hard “g”. eg. Ng’anda vs Nga
E makes the same sound as it does in egg
F same sound as in Fish
H is only seen accompanying c and changes the intonation of the “ch” sound
I makes the same sound as in India
K makes a ‘k’ sound
L makes the same sound as in Lama
M makes a ‘m’ sound as in Monk
N makes the same sound as Nancy
O makes the same sound as in Orange
P always makes a p sound
S makes the same sound as in snake
T makes the same ‘t’ sound
U makes the same sound as in Snooze
W makes the same sound as in went
Y makes the same sound as in yellow
J, Q, R, V, X and Z are not present and for hardcore Bemba speakers they will often replace these with the sounds of Y, K, L, B/F, “es” and S.
I do not consider myself an expert so I am happy to year people’s thoughts.
So yesterday, I was at work, and right in the middle of attending to a client, this song that my mum sometimes sings and I don’t have a title for it, but every time that I remember this song, it doesn’t leave my system for days. The sad thing though is, I can never seem to remember the words and eventually the tune evades me too, and I am left with this itch and a need to sing a song that I can’t remember. So I messaged mum last night and asked her for the words and in the process, I remembered the tune. Mum sent me two audios and lyrics and I keep playing the audio. There’s something soothing about my mum singing that song and it doesn’t feel like I am playing the song over and over. Whenever I was away from home or from my family, I prided myself in not missing my parents, but after not living with mum for just over 4 months, I think I miss her. Key words being “I think.” I’m also beginning to think that maybe, (just maybe) this is a song I will be singing to my children.
Weddings are soooo soooo stressful, I don’t know why anyone would want to plan a wedding again. SO, I have decided to do a wedding review and look at the things that went well and those that didn’t.
So my husband and I got engaged in December 2015 and because we were both not from the capital Lusaka, we started looking at venues while we were there. Part of the problem for us was finding a nice venue that could fit my large family. Looking back though, we should have just picked a venue even if it was a 50 people place. Family always understands in the end. Some of the places people were suggesting were too far out of the price point that we didn’t even bother looking at them. Being outside Zambia, we had to factor in flights and all so we were trying to keep the budget in check.
We had wanted to do the decor the night before but that decision died and you will understand why later, however, I purchased most of our decor stuff before hand on facebook pages and also from ikea and my husband organised wooden slices in Zambia. We did our invites with the help of le familia (God bless you all.)
I wish we had done the song lists and finished the seating plan long before travelling and again it would have been easier if I had let my dad do it like he had offered. Be prepared though for resistance if you are a Zambian planning on using a seating plan. We Zambians hate seating plans. Here’s why they are good, though–you know your guests or the majority of them better than anyone else who has a stake in the invitation process and only you know how central to the proceedings certain people need to be.
Because our seating plan got thrown out, I could see, one particular guest seating at a table with the oldies and not really seeming to enjoy the day. There were also some guests who have been such a huge blessing and have practically helped raise me seating so far back and not in the spot we would have loved.
I wish I had gone home more than 3 weeks before the wedding. There were so many things to do and it all just got too stressful and things like my songlist were being done the night before. Church service also needed to be sorted and that was a process on it’s own. If you are planning a wedding in an African church, understand that it will require a lot to get you to the alter … But the bulk of it is for your good anyway.
Organising things from so far away is hard and even harder if you want to save money so advice would be start early and find someone you can depend on. I had plenty of people I could depend on but was struggling to convey my needs. It was a very stressful time and I found myself sooo anxious all the time, which wasn’t a norm for me and was not communicating very well. If I had said from the beginning to my mummy B, I need help with abc, things would have gone so much smoother. All in all, the family was on the ball, having meetings and my brother running around with my husband … So I guess I wish I had just communicated better.
I also learnt that there are always people’s opinions on how things should run. Decide what exactly you want before taking it to the “people”. Zambian weddings are not just for the bride and groom but belong to the family. If you don’t have a plan, it will be made for you.
The greatest thing was seeing people’s capacity for support. Seeing my father’s sisters, ba mayo senge, there to walk with me, seeing people I don’t remember ever seeing, seeing those I would have never expected, walk with me, some giving in unexpected ways. If my wedding taught me anything, it’s the strength of my circle,the strength of my clan, the dedication of parents and the ability and strength of God to tear walls down, build and restore as well as provide. Ultimately of all the things He provided was a starter pack. I found in my husband, an adventure and safety in a man I can trust and I hope that that rings true for Him too.
so today I read a sad story about a 13-year-old who was molested by a vice principal at a her school and the sad events that followed. I couldn’t help but think of my own daughter who is 14 and whether she would be comfortable enough to talk to me about any such experiences. I sometimes wonder, like many parents if we have done enough to protect her or if ever it is possible to protect her.
I was reminded of my own experience from about 20 years ago. I am a Trust school kid, and at the time was in Grade three. I was one of those students who didn’t do her homework and didn’t finish her work in class but still managed to come 12th out of 24 students on the grade ladder. Eventually I think my teacher and my headmistress tired of my attitude and notified my parents. Mum straightened me out on the homework front, but my speed when carrying out tasks was none-existen … still isn’t great. One afternoon, another student and I didn’t finish taking down notes and we were asked by our teacher to go back and finish them (we could go home and eat lunch and then go back to school). I went home and because I lived 30 minutes out-of-town, by the time dad dropped me off at the school my classmate had already left.
I went into the class and started taking down notes and a janitor came in to clean the class. At some point he was standing close to me, and though I can’t remember the conversation, I felt uncomfortable. He reached to touch my face and I pulled away. He kept reaching and I was going to fall off the chair when I blurted out “I’m going to tell my mum”. He left me alone and I stayed clear of him every time I saw him in school. Of course I didn’t tell anyone about it but the reason I have blurted out that I would tell my mum was that I had remembered my mum saying that if anyone touched us in a way we didn’t like (not her exact words) that we should tell her.
I moved to the upper trust school the following year and sometime later, the same Janitor was with another janitor (one who was nice to students) and he tried to join a conversation that the nice janitor was having with me and my sister. I pointed out that I didn’t like him and that I hadn’t forgotten what he had done. He said he didn’t know what I was talking about and I insisted he did and he walked away. His collegue looked puzzled and hezitated before continuing the conversation.
Just that one experience has informed my parenting in an attempt to protect my daughter, but I don’t know if it is effective or not. I started telling her about inappropriate touch from about 2 and a half and tried to make it clear that if anyone touched her in a way that made her feel bad, she should tell me. Why those words? because most sexual abuse victims will tell you that they felt something was wrong or they felt bad or ashamed and the language needs to make sense to the child. As she’s grown older, my language has also changed and sometimes I simply give her scenarios and ask for her responses. By no means do I think it’s fool-proof, but our options are limited. We can’t go everywhere with our children but we can give them tools to protect themselves. Even with those tools, their courage may fail, or things might still happen for whatever reason. In such cases, remember to not place blame on the child, and to show them they are loved. And always remember to pray, because where we don’t go, God still goes, and in the end, His ways are higher and His healing hands always able to bind what the enemy destroys.
As for this child, I pray that she finds peace and that she remembers her worth and beauty and the courage to live life to it’s fullest.
I bought a dress from Owprom.com for my wedding. I was looking for a different kind of dress and found one I liked in a store but it was too expensive. I decided to check online for it and I found it. I checked the website and made sure there was nothing funny about it and it was listed as an American Company. I bought the dress and online banking showed two transactions by a Chinese company. That was rectified with one transaction reversed. when it was shipped, I was given a tracking number and when I checked where the parcel was, discovered it was coming from Singapore. When it arrived, was the wrong colour and didn’t have a built in corset as advertised and the lace at the top looked a bit funny. a tailor’s pin was also sewn into the dress. The veil is horribly done and can’t be used. I have been in contact with the Company and a lady called Fiona has refused to give me a full refund, offering me $80 to $200 and keeping a dress I can’t use on a total Au$570 spend. She says they can only guarantee that a dress will be 95% similar and that dress was not near 95% similar and that was not stated on the website. I have checked the site again and the description of the dress has changed and doesn’t come with a built in corset anymore. If any you are thinking of buying a dress from Owprom.com … don’t do it!
As this day comes to an end, I feel it appropriate to give praise where it is due. God has brought me this far. There are some who might call me crazy for believing in a being I can’t see, but this life has been rough! So, so rough and unrelenting in it’s challenges. When I felt out of place among my peers, with no confidence in myself, it was among God’s people, I found acceptance. It was God who gave me a family that defends, protects, corrects and accepts, even when I have nothing that seems acceptable within me. It is this same God who has seen me through moments of great despair, when all I could see was death. Few would know this, but there were times, plenty of times, when death seemed appealing. When I was so scared of throwing myself in front of a train, that I couldn’t leave the house, it was God who brought healing.
It was Him who gave me the child, who has been a teacher and inspiration. It was God who has kept me standing, brought me joy and brought love into my life when I least expected it. It was him who gifted me with a love for words and poetry, writing and drawing. I am a mother, with endless dreams and possibilities. Everything I have to be proud of, has been given to me. Gift’s, I hope, that can point people toward heaven.
I’m a beautiful work in progress, but oh has He been gracious to me and has never let me down! I am learning to rejoice in His goodness and trust His wounds and to count every blessing. I am filled with a sense of urgency, to make my life count, and if unchecked, that could make me throw caution to the wind and make a mess of what I believe is a calling. I am not where I want to be, I fall, I’m the “chief of sinners”. I’m flawed, and my greatest prayer lately can be summed up as “help my unbelief.”
I guess if I died today, I would want people to see God’s stamp at every step in my life. If you learn anything from my flawed life, I hope it’s that God is good and that there is nothing that happens out of His authority, and that if He allows it to happen, it has a purpose! I’m 26, and I’m living again; that is a miracle, that renders me unable to forgo the craziness of believing in a God I can’t see … I have seen Him, in the grace of those who share my belief, in those who shared it before me. I have seen Him in the small details of my life. Not only have I seen Him, I have heard Him and my prayer is that I would see Him and know Him as more valuable than anything else.
The best thing about Christmas is probably time spent with family and friends and this year as we do every year, we had at least 30 people in the house. It was a great day and the days that led up to Christmas, my young sis, my daughter and I decided to bake what would be our Christmas present to everyone who was coming. It was a lot of work but a lot of fun too. Then there was Christmas services at Church…all I can say is I haven’t enjoyed praise like that is a while. Other than Christmas, it happens to be my 2 cousins’, my uncle’s and mum’s birthdays in the few days before Christmas so we were also celebrating birthdays. Safe to say by the time Christmas night came and people had gone home, our whole household was really really tired!
This Christmas proved very special for us…my 0lder brother proposed to his lovely girlfriend and we are all now looking forward to a wedding soon. it’s funny to think of my brother as a romantic but he is and he couldn’t have picked a better woman! This was the best Christmas present and a great end to the year. God has been really good to us and I am grateful for the endless blessings. As this year comes to an end, a lot has been lost but we have been given so much more than we could have dreamt of. There’s nothing worth more than family and I pray that we all learn to appreciate them more and set aside selfish desires for the good of all those around us.
There’s nothing that makes me feel older than other peoples birthdays…My younger siblings more than anyone else. Though one that shocks me a lot is my daughter’s. There are four birthdays from the 23rd to the 30th of November. The 23rd happens to be my big mum’s birthday. She is a precious woman in whose house I spent many of my childhood days. Growing up, I always new she was my mum’s sister and was probably in my teens before I fully understood that she was actually my mother’s best friend. Seems dumb I know but I think it explains the kind of relationship that we have with their family. There were times when my parents couldn’t pick us up till late and we spent the night. We spent holidays there, shared in birthdays and hand me downs went between the two houses. I miss sitting pa mpasa after school and talking with her and gleaning from a life lived well. She has been a source of wisdom and when I had a child out of wedlock, she loved me all the more; she defended me. She reminded me I was worth so much and that I could achieve anything.
She loved my child before she was born and the day I went into hospital, all mum had to do was call her and her and her eldest daughter (my sister) were there when we got to the clinic, and she stayed until they had no choice but to go home; same time mum left, and she was back the day after and the day after that. She was there when I was struggling with intense feelings of sadness, when I couldn’t understand why God would let my life go the way it had. Even today, all I have to do is call or text and her wisdom always leaves me feeling at peace. I have always been safe with her and I love her beyond words. Celebrating her birthday leaves me feeling blessed.
Then there’s the birthdays, other than my daughter’s that make me feel old. Younger siblings! Bwalya, Ndeke and Dalitso; their birthdays are on the 24th, 28th and 30th respectively and they turned 18, 17 and 21. I feel old because I’ve seen all three in Diapers and carried them on my back…
I don’t think I ever carried Mr D but still, he’s my baby brother and even though he now thinks it’s inappropriate for me to say so, he will always be that and that image will never go away. Maybe one day I will manage to get him reading.
Bwalya and Ndeke are just two of the bravest girls I know. Both have faced so much and are still standing. You guys inspire me and I know I can be very mean and love to tease and portray a very harsh no nonsense face but I love you guys and I am inspired by you. I can’t wait to see you guys in the next few years. I can’t believe how big you are and for me the hard thing is to let you be grown because I will always see you as my babies in need of protecting. God will take you places and I know that people will be blessed because of you!