We have arrived on African soil in Pietermaritzburg in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa and are in the midst of absorbing the sites, smells, tastes and feeling of our new home. For many years this continent has loomed in my mind as a place that I have been drawn to visit, but never would I have thought that it would be a place to work and call home.
When looking at sustainable development, I have often heard the phrase… ‘give a [wo]man a fish and [s]he’ll eat for a day, teach a [wo]man to fish and [s]he’ll eat for a lifetime’. This phrase resonated for me throughout my time in
This is just one of many ear and eye opening experiences we have had. I am quickly finding out why God gives us two ears and two eyes and only one mouth so we can observe and listen twice as much as we speak. Clever! But as we traveled to these churches and began the hours long Sunday worship services in the Zulu tongue, I was near to tears many times with the sounds I heard around me. As one in the congregation would begin to sing, the hundreds there would pick up the harmony and the sounds were some of the most moving I’ve ever heard. Even the offering was 30-40 minutes long as people walked up the aisles time and again dancing and singing as they presented what they could with what they had to give. A worship where we understood not a thing that was said, but may have been some of the most moving of my lifetime (and longest at 3 and 4 ½ hours long!).
In the midst of our time here we have also had the chance to visit some areas outside of Pietermaritzburg. One was a beautiful journey to meet Bishop Sibiya of the South Eastern Diocese which covers the whole of KwaZulu-Natal province in a very rural area in the
We will also soon begin language classes to learn Zulu, which is one of 11 official languages in
Finally, it is National Geographic Channel no more as when hiking in the Umgeni Valley we saw our first zebras, wildebeest, water buffalo, warthogs, giraffes and many types of impala and bushboks. It brought the biggest smile to my face, especially the warthog that faced me head on walking on the trail and the majestic giraffes eating off the leaves on the top of the acacia trees.
With peace and blessing from
Brian & Kristen Konkol