In Thailand they have this saying, “same, same…but different.” I think in so many ways that sums up life for us here at Project Samuel in Zambia. Our kids are the same as your kids in so many ways. They like to play with their friends and have fun, do well in school, relax on the weekend and have a good laugh. They do their chores, go to church, and seem to grow faster than we think is even possible.
But, life is also different here. Many of the things we take for granted so often in North America just don’t look the same….and if I’m honest… I kind of love it!
Without the access to department stores, media, technology, and disposable incomes, kids here spend much more time inventing things and connecting.
Not too long ago I found a few of our younger boys, Oliver and Lovemore, pushing absolutely incredible toy cars that they had made! They were mostly done out of old wire and the car tires were cut up sandals they had repurposed. The boys were laughing and playing and having so much fun! I could tell that they were proud of their work. I asked them if the cars had names. Laughing they told me, “Yes, Toyota and Hilux!” The boys explained the cars had taken them a few days to make, and patiently told me all about the process. Sooo very cool!
Another day I found a group of our youngsters playing together outside. They sounded like they were having lots of fun. I went over to investigate and in their hands were clay mobile telephones! They had dug up the clay from the meadow, and painstakingly drawn in the screen and little buttons for each of the numbers. They were making pretend calls to one another and checking out each others craftsmanship and design. I was again – so totally impressed!
Another thing that’s similar but also very different is when the kids get home from school. These days one of my favourite parts of the day! In the west kids might ask to go to the corner store to get an after school snack…for us…it’s the guava trees! About a half mile down our road is a group of guava trees and you better believe it is. the. place. to. be! Most days after they arrive home, we go on a walk to the trees and pick as many guavas as they can carry. It’s a great time for me to hear about their days and I love listening to them recount the stories of what’s happened at school. One special thing is that everyone takes turn picking Alivia guavas. And she just loves them. When they hand it her to she beams and happy starts eating it up. Once the kids hands are full we head back to the Project with happy hearts and sticky fingers. Guava season will only last so long, but I’ll treasure it while it’s here!
Our lives may not look quite like yours. They are the same, yet they are also different. I’m blessed to know both cultures and have a front row seat to the love and creativity in our Project Samuel children!