Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Women’s day

     (First thing I need to say is that yesterday was a monumental day: I carried a bucket of water on my head for the first time and walked a good 5 minutes with it without problems!!!!!! ...I AM NOW MOZAMBICAN OFFICIALLY!) And onto the blogpost:

Women’s day  - fun and difficult.(sorry Ill have no pictures for a while!)
April 7th was the holiday, Women’s Day. This was the most fun and difficult day of my year here so far.
Fun; because this holiday celebrates the beautiful women of Mozambique who are so close to my heart. All women were wearing kapulanas and headwraps even a lot of the white Missionaries, including myself (just the kapulana- can’t quite get the headwrap tied correctly). We danced in church and were celebrated. After our church service we had a party for the women involving dancing, cheering for women, singing songs I’ve never heard but are apparently normal for the holiday with words like,” Who has the children? Women! Who washes clothes? Women! Who cooks food and carries water?! WOMEN!?” And other fun things like this. I, of course joined in the circle dance they were doing, even though I didn’t know the moves. My friends helped me, and also retied my Kapulana when it would repreatedly fall off! HA! I don’t understand how they keep them tied on and do everything that they do. Anyway, my heart was FULL to bursting with Joy and love for my ladies on this day and during these festivities.
The hard parts included: For the two weeks before the holiday, my ladies in each class were not only jokingly asking me what things I was going buy for them, and telling their lists of requests to which I would respond that I, personally, wasn’t providing the gifts for their Holiday party ( there are 95 women in our class and 350 in Mercy ministries’ program and I didn’t feel God tell me to spend the hundreds of dollars need for that). They were also speaking of this one item that they didn’t want: “Kashka”. This means a kapulana that’s lower quality. I’ve learned this year that Mercy ministries usually buys kashka. I had no idea that there were different types of kapulana until this experience, but I now know this fact very well. I responded to the ladies saying I would look into what gifts Mercy was buying  and see if they could get a different type of kapulana. I talked to Mercy about it; they’d been given a budget for gifts but it was enough to buy Kashka kapulanas – to buy high quality for 350 women would cost 20,000 meticais more (700 USD). This made me sad, but we agreed it’s still a good gift that brings beauty to their life – even if it’s not the best quality.
So I reported this news to my classes. I said I’d heard their requests but unfortunately Mercy Ministries can’t do a different gift but the gift is still nice and FREE! The responses were as such: “We don’t have husbands, you are our husband and you need to buy us good kapulanas”, “this type of kapulana is so stiff it can cut baby’s neck when you use it”, “We call that type of kapulana ‘careful with fire’, because it catches fire easily.” They were somewhat joking, but it was also…heartbreaking to see where their hearts were about the gifts Mercy was wanting to bless them with. Finally I tried and explain to them that this attitude was amiss. I used an example saying, “What if you had a party and you bought sodas for everyone (this is a common thing for a party, but would be expensive for them), and everyone that came said that they didn’t like the flavor that you bought. How would you feel? You would think, ‘why did I buy these at all?’” And you’d feel like buying the gift was pointless. They seemed to hear that and quieted down.
But the day of the giving out of the kapulanas was a different story: there was a slight riot over getting their “kashka” kapulanas that they had said they don’t  like. I know some of the older women really wanted and needed these kapulanas, but even some of my jewelry ladies who had been vocal were being ugly over getting their gifts. I felt so disappointed and was wondering how they haven’t figured out how to think of others before themselves after all the times that Heidi has preached to them about being Samaritans to our friends and neighbors.
Also, at the party we had big plates of rice with chicken cabbage, bon bons and sodas. After the food was done, some of my best friends and women with usually great character started yelling because they wanted to take leftovers home with them and were saying the food they got wasn’t enough. They were still hungry and they had children at home to feed.
This all hit me hard. I see the women being incredibly selfless in some areas: they invite people to their homes and share the little food they have, they never have enough food for themselves because theyre always sharing with their family and even neighbors. They make it a point to visit people when theyre sick. If I give someone a bread roll, they usually split it up and give part of it to their neighbor or a nearby child. And yet, whenever there are free gifts from Iris I see this ugly thing in their hearts show itself. It surprises me every time. I’ve been thinking a lot about it and here is what God has put on my heart to do about it:
I want to start talking about the differences between our cultures vs. the culture of God’s Kingdom –We don’t aim to be American, Colombian, or Mozambican - we aim to be like Jesus. I started talking about it last week in my classes, starting with the scripture Philippians 2:3-7: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant…”
I think it’s easy for me to have pity on them because of their poverty and dire situations and therefore excuse ingratitude and selfishness. I’m getting the guts to realize that this isn’t ok – Jesus himself lead a low income lifestyle but didn’t act like He had the RIGHT to be selfish. Rather, He became a servant for others. This has been a hard one for me to have boldness about but I think it’s going to be amazing for us to remember who Jesus is. I don’t think a lot of them really truly know what Jesus is like. I want to explore this with them.


1 comment:

  1. Knowing Jesus and following after His heart...there is nothing more important for us to do. Installing this truth in them and working at it together will change everything, including their attitudes toward receiving gifts. You are leading them to Jesus, always the right direction! Thank you for sharing!