Saturday, August 1, 2009

Mutomboko part 2

A beautiful sunrise greeted me as I woke early Saturday morning to begin preparations for all our guests and the days' proceedings. While this picture won't win me any prizes I hope it gives you an idea of the beauty I enjoy. The sky is a big part of my source of inspiration here. It makes me really happy!

The first time I traveled up to this area I was pretty overwhelmed with the size of the project we were taking on and the thought of leaving my cozy nest in Ndola, surrounded by friends, and heading into the unknown. That night at our lodge there was a power cut so everything was black. My good friend Kate and I walked outside to get some fresh air and looked up to the most amazing sky I'd seen in a very long time, if not ever! There were stars going on and on and on. They were blanketing the sky and curved around like a giant IMAX theater. I knew then that it was all going to be ok. The same God who hung the stars one by one in this vast universe was taking care of little old me way out in the dry and dusty bush.

Anyway, enough of that. Back to Mutomboko. That's why you came, right?

Jasmine and Troy were my steady helpers through the day as we made desserts, chilled drinks, boiled eggs, chopped veggies, etc. etc.

Jasmine's picture is a bit blurry because she and I playing a game taking candid photos of each other and trying to catch the other off guard. Obviously, she won! Just look at that pretty smile!

This is a picture of our dining room looking into the kitchen. I love love love the new paint color. It warms the rooms up and makes them a happy, inviting place to be. The paintings were done by an artist in Lusaka. They are huge and just what the space needed.

While we were busy cooking and prepping, Tom and the boys had also gotten up early and gone into town for the first ceremony. The first event takes place outside of tow
n where The Battle of Katele took place a couple hundred years ago. It is about 20 miles away from the village center. The chief rides in a truck and then walks to the battle site to give an oral history of the tribe. He drinks beer and sprinkles a white powder on the ground. During key parts of the ceremony Chief Mwata's guards shoot off ancient muskets and this whips the crowds into a frenzy.

As with most celebrations in rural Zambia, beer plays a big part. The beer is made from maize and boiled up in huge metal drums days in advance. Because of this the crowds can get pretty wild.
On this particular occasion, Tom, the boys, our manager, Nkandu, and our gardener, John had all driven out to the battle ground. As the ceremony finished and everyone tu
rned to head back home, the crowds began pushing and shoving onto any available vehicle hoping for a ride back home. Our gardener is a very good bodyguard at times like this and he proceeded to push people away from our car so Tom could drive.
One man, however, refused to take a hint and grabbed onto the Landcruiser and hung on for dear life. Tom was shouting to the boys to help John. Timmy was pushing the man off, T.J was using his foot to pummel the man's grip on the car and John had a death grip on the man's shirt. Still he wouldn't let go. In the process, Timmy got whacked in the face. Our manager hopped out to help and was pulling the man from behind and still he hung on. Finally Tom jum
ped out of the vehicle and it was at this point that the man let go. Tom jumped back in and the boys slammed the door shut and they drove off leaving our poor manager to finish the fight.
This was the first brawl the boys had ever been in and they were pretty excited. As a mom I was less than thrilled but was glad they had stood up to the challenge and not cowered in a corner.

Here is Timmy returning happy and excited from running with the crowds during the main procession. Spain has nothing on us. They just run with the bulls. Here we run with the chief, the crowds, the indunas, the headmen, the drunks and most importantly--the dust.

More tomorrow. Coming next: Mutomboko part 3: The Procession and the Kids


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