Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Zambia Part 2 – Arrival at Ndubaluba

I loved Ndubaluba from the moment I arrived there. There is something in the atmosphere of the place, something light-hearted but sincere that made me feel very at home there. Ndubs was our base for the rest of the trip and from there we went out on a couple of different trips, one up a mountain and another out into the community.

Our house at Ndubs, I miss that deck chair!
Ndubs itself is owned by the Chengelo School and is an outdoor activity centre largely for the school but also for local schools in the community. One of the greatest pleasures of being there was seeing local children, who have never had the opportunity to go on a school trip let alone do the activities you can do at Ndubs, break into a smile when they got to have a go at a climbing wall or raft building.

Some local kids with our team getting ready to scale the wall
Our first few days there was the perfect balance between getting to know the community and clarifying our aims as a team for the rest of the trip. After the intensity of our time in Masaiti (and several doses of food poisoning!!) it was the perfect time to stop and reflect. For me our time kicked off brilliantly on our first Sunday at Ndubs when we went off to the Ndubaluba Compound Church.

The church itself was basically a small brick building with a corrugated iron roof and the 'pews' were made out of brick and mud. The altar was a simple wooden table with two baskets of plastic flowers on each end that I saw someone painstakingly dusting outside the church before the service. The music was provided by a seriously retro Casio keyboard which we were kept entertained by while the congregation turned up in 'African time' with some of it's sample tunes including a rendition of 'Jingle Bells'! They were very shocked when we all started singing along!!

Ndubaluba Compound Church

The inside of the church (also used as a classroom hence the blackboard and times tables!)
As I sat in that service, which was so full of colour, of the most amazing singing I have ever heard and was absolutely and wonderfully raucous I was reminded again why I'm on the path that I'm on. I took some photos to remind myself one day, should I ever be involved in a church redevelopment project in the UK, that God can just as well be sung to in a multi-purpose brick shack as he can a grand cathedral. Somehow being there brought me back to the heart of the matter, what I'm doing this all for. For that joy, that love of God that is greater than any theories or styles or buildings.

That evening we went to a Christian youth event called Fusion at Chengelo School. With about 1000 young people and a fantastic band made up of teachers (you would not BELIEVE these people were teachers, the kids were cheering like it was Will.I.Am up there!!) the place was absolutely buzzing. In Africa singing to God is not a stand up sit down affair. You use your whole body and no more so than at a youth event. They had us spinning around, dancing to the corners of the room, cheering, singing to our neighbour. My pride in our team swelled to new proportions when one of their dance moves swept the room mexican wave style and had the whole room going!

Our team sang some songs and performed a drama and short talk which went down an absolute storm. There is something amazing about teenagers talking directly to teenagers about life and faith. Being a Christian teenager in the UK isn't easy, you are automatically different at a time in life when you just want to fit in. It takes courage. Watching them speak and perform with such sincerity and in a way that moved so many people was another hugely pride-making moment.

When we returned to Ndubs that evening an even bigger challenge was looming, Mount Mumpu. Yes dear blog readers THAT part of the trip. More on that coming up......

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