Another rural experience to savour

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If you read this page regularly you will know that the Village Live-in is a major part of adjusting to Zambian culture for new Flying Mission Zambia missionaries. 'Life in rural areas is laid back, but at the same time exhausting! Every day looks almost the same as the day before', write Nina and Timo. 'Our hosts were James & Eloisia from the Tonga tribe. James is a farmer and a Pastor/Reverend. 

They call their 7 children their own, but 2 are adopted. They opened their home to us in such a lovely way and made us feel so welcome. 

They also answered our questions with such patience and wisdom. We talked about culture, the Zambian people, worldviews….actually, everything. We learned such a lot! To discover the similarities and the differences between our cultures is thrilling!'

Read on to hear more of what they discovered: 

Ideal shape: 'Calling a woman fat is not an insult, it's a compliment! The thinking in this is: the husband earns a lot of money and can afford to buy a lot of food. A slim woman is not seen as beautiful. If you are slim, the suggestion is you must be ill or your body is not working well, and in fact, your husband is not able to earn enough money for you to have enough food. That is so different to our European perspective!

Names: As a single person you are called by your first name, but this will change immediately after you get married. As a mother you are called Mama+ the name of your firstborn. If you are married but without children you are called Mama+ the name of your husband. Calling a married woman by her first name is taboo and shows disrespect.

Funeral: After the death of a person, the mourning begins, and lasts for 3 days. There are professional mourners (women); they come to cry and mourn with you and your relatives. The time of 3 days is because of the distance people live. The 3 days gives them time to arrive. The family of the dead person is in charge of hosting the guests, including all their food. You don't invite people to a funeral, they just come. The guests stay until the person is buried, which can take a week. The body is not at home throughout this time because of the heat. After the funeral everybody goes home except the relatives. They continue staying with you in order to protect you from harming yourself. There is a region in Zambia where the widow has to wear a bed sheet until the person is buried. She is not allowed to see the place where her husband is buried (sorry- I forgot the reason why, says Nina), and she has to manage everything whilst covered with that sheet (cooking, eating, showering….everything).

The village live-in was a great and wonderful time, and we'll be back again to visit!' say Nina and Timo.