Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ndi Khou Humbela

I hear this all the time. But mostly with food. Ndi khou humbela. Can I have. Food is different around here. If you have not read my previous post about where food comes from, do so, now J But not only is that different than what I am used to, but the sharing process of food. People, friends, strangers, ask for what you are eating. Sometimes it is normal. Other times I am completely perplexed by it.


I am eating an ear of corn and walk onto the taxi we are taking with the young adults to church. The little boy, who has become a good friend, reaches out his hand-gesturing that he would like my food. I give him the cob and he eats the rest of it.

I am sitting in the car with my mom at the garage (gas station) and we are filling up the car. The man in the car next to us looks at my mom, who is eating an apple, and says “ndi khou humbela.” My mom tosses him the rest of her apple right then and there. I asked if she knows him. She said no.

I am eating a mango for snack time at school (these types of mangos are much smaller than the ones that people might be used to in the States). A few students come up to me and ask me for it in sign language. I pause, wonder how will that be possible, also thinking that this is my only snack and I’m hungry and you all can go to the cafeteria and get a full plate of food for snack. But I then tear off the peel and give sections of it to the girls as they eat what is stuck to it. Satisfied.

I am with my mom and we drive to someone’s house. They come out to chat with my mom for a little. They come out with a fist full of almonds. They are chowing on them. As he approaches the car window my mom sticks out her hand (gesturing ndi khou humbela) and he puts all of them in her hand leaving none left for him to continue eating.

This is such a common thing that a teacher jokes with me at tea time and will gesture for me to give her my sandwich. Every time I get it out and start to hand it to her she retracts and smiles.

I walk home and hear kids in groups together. I look over and one has sweets and the others are next to him saying “ndi khou humbela, ndi khou humbela” and the student is then dishing out sweets to all who ask. The same goes to the kids on my street. If one has sweets others ask for it and it is automatically shared, whether it is hard candy, simba chips, or sugar powder.

My neighbor did not have enough sweets to give to everyone, so two girls shared one small hard candy. How? The one took it and bit it in half, it was just smaller than a lifesaver, and then passed the other half to her friend.

I was walking down the road to the store and my 6 year old friend saw me. He ran up and gave me a hug. Then reached up and took the half eaten lollipop out of my mouth. Bit off half and gave the other half to his friend coming towards us. And that is how it is done J

Food. How it is grown and shared is a glorious thing here; and it continues to amaze me. 

One Body Needs Many Members

So the Bible verse from 1 Corinthians is a familiar one. One body, many members. We all need each other. It’s a common verse, bible study, devotion, etc. I’ve heard it many times before. I call upon it often. But here, it is lived out.

So, I’ve been working on my pride. I may have mentioned before that it can be a problem (hopefully not visible, but I totally know that it is there). I sometimes have a hard time accepting help from others because I want to be able to do it myself, sometimes it is to prove myself. Well…I have been shown that one leg cannot think that the body walks because of it. There are two legs, because there needs to be help. More is better.
                I was at a church event and we were doing a small group activity where we described street signs with regard to faith life. I went up and presented with another guy in our group. Three groups later another guy gets up and presents from his group. At the end he shares a story and related it to our sign. My default is defensive, but the guy from our group, without missing a beat, told him ‘thank you.’ He was sincere. It was great to have that added to the discussion. Our thought was incomplete. It was only one. God made for there to be more. More people. More ideas. More.

Each part of the body is valuable, even if we don’t think it is part of the process or if it is new.
                I learned that even though I can only follow along about 5% of what is said during Sunday morning services, I pick up what hymn number we are singing. I am the shoulder that can assist the hand in grabbing the cup on the top shelf. I don’t do much, but it is valuable-especially to the woman next to me who missed what hymn we were singing and I can help show her.  

Our body adjusts for itself. It works at its best when all the pieces accommodate and help the others to function at their highest. The eyes. They can scan the world faster than the brain can input. We can see things before we can register them. But, for the body to function at its best, the eyes slow down to help the brain intake all that the eyes can see.
                I was walking home from the grocery store when I ran into my friend. I asked him where he was going. He said USave (the place I was just from) so I turned around and walked with him and 4 others back to the store. I learned along the way that the boy in the wheelchair that my friend was pushing was not someone he knew. He was walking to the ATM with his friend and saw a guy trying to help push the two guys in wheelchairs along the dirt sidewalk/walkway. They were going to USave (next to the ATM), so instead of walking past, they helped walk with them and push. He told me that is just what you do.

Some of us can do things faster, differently, more creatively, than others, but what good would come from our success if we leave the rest of the body to stumble behind, trying to catch up.