Zambia #8 "Puff Adder fun"


Puff Adder fun

Today we had a special lunch to listen to the experiences of some of the Brothers that work in a new department. This department was set up in November of 1998 for the purpose of building Kingdom Halls in Sub-Sahara Africa. They have been hard at work to say the least. As an example of the speed at which they have worked….in 1999 there were 36 acceptable Kingdom Halls in Zambia, but then the Society formed a Kingdom Hall construction desk. Working with the local branch, the team, which includes Joe Leopold from Oregon, has built over 1000 new kingdom halls, just in Zambia. With an average cost of $25,000 each including the land. (Joe will leave his assignment in Feb to return home to the US.) If I remember right there was a Kingdom Ministry insert a handful of months back that showed pictures of some of the Kingdom Halls that had been build by this team. I wish I had it with me.

The next day we get to spend a bit of time with one of the Brothers that worked on one of the build teams. He said that the process for getting a Kingdom Hall built was quite extensive. He would meet with the Elders of the Hall and go over their records. Look at the territory and the growth in that area. If it was decided that a Hall was needed he would give them a list of things that they need to do first. This list would include so many tons of sand, so many tons of gravel 10mm in diameter, so many tons of gravel 5mm in diameter and the list goes on. After the local brothers had all of that assembled he would come back and check on it. If it was the right stuff he would give them a block mold. This was because the Brothers would have to make their own blocks for which to build the Kingdom Hall out of. One thing before I go to far…the local Brothers usually had to “make” the gravel and sometimes sand. How do you make 10mm and 5 mm (millimeter) gravel? You take a big rock and hit it with a hammer till you have a bunch of smaller rocks, then you sort them. After the local Brothers had produced enough blocks, this Brother (Dean) would come with a crew of 4-6 and with the help of the local Congregation they would build the Hall and install a steel roof, make wood benches and an out house. Every time, he said, when they were done with the three to four days construction the Kingdom Hall was the nicest building in the village.

In talking to him more about his experiences we found out that he lived out of a tent for 18 months, worked on sites that were infested with deadly scorpions, Black Mambas (that are very territorial. Not only that they can stand up 6 ft and “run” at 20mph, which they do if they see any large animal or human within their territory. He even had one chase his car. He said he looked over and the snake was looking in the window at him…all the while the car was moving…) and other unfriendly creatures.

The funny thing is, I had been around Dean for a while now and we had never talked about this. I sure do admire the self sacrificing spirit of Jehovah’s people. Goes to show that I should take very opportunity to get to know the Brothers and Sisters that I am around.

I was talking to a local commuter Bethelite about his life and such. He gets up at 4am to catch a bus to catch a bus to catch a Bethel bus to meet for Morning worship at 6;45 am. Then works all day and then travels home the same way. (By the way, all the buses are on strike for a week or so….makes for a long day for him) Then he has many parts to prepare for his Meetings and 13 Bible studies…”only 8 go to the meeting though”, he said. He just wishes he could do more.

Zambia

I was walking with some Brothers out in the back of the Bethel property during lunch and we saw a large snake. As we approached we found a Puff Adder about 4 ft in length. That is not big but the diameter was about the same as my arm. I got some cool video of it moving. There is no anti venom to this kind of snake (in the country) they just have amputate what ever it bites. You would think that they would kill it, but they don’t because it is not aggressive. They only kill the Black Mambas and the Spitting Cobras.

Here is a picture of the Puff Adder. He sure could move fast when he wanted too!

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[flickr video=2951790091]

The photo below is of a spitting cobra that has made his way into the work area. This Brother had minimal fear with snakes to say the least.

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On Sunday we had 268 at our Kingdom Hall, but the Hall was designed to hold only around 200. Most Halls have 175%- 250% attendance. Tamara is sitting on the left side, 4 rows up. I had to get up part way through and stand in the back with a bunch of other Brothers. The heat was a bit much for me that day. The reason the picture is funny shaped is because it is actually 4 pictures that I “stitched” together to make one.

Zambia

Last week we traveled to a art village kinda thing, here is a picture of it. They make lots of wood carvings out of Ebony and other really hard wood. I got to see a Ebony tree that was chopped into pieces, the wood was as hard as stone.

Zambia

Well, hope all is as good as can be there. We are really starting to get settled into the schedule and we are just inundated with wonderful people to visit and work with. Just this week I was able to visit with a Brother that had to escape Rwanda, a Circuit Overseer that risked prison and death to care for the Congregations in the Congo, for 17 years. (While the work was banned) and a younger Brother that fled from Malawi with his family during the horrible attacks of the 1970’s.

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