Sundays in Zambia

I mentioned before that I was thinking about doing some posts on my time in Zambia. I decided that I’ll try to make it a regular weekly feature. We’ll see how that works!

I went to Zambia as part of the Journeyman program of the Southern Baptist Church. It was a program designed to use recent college graduates to fill temporary support positions in the foreign mission field. I was the secretary-bookkeeper for the Baptist Mission of Zambia from January 1987 until July 1988. Later I’ll provide more detailed info about what I did & experienced while I was there, but first I want to talk about who I was.

Based on what I remember (or don’t) from that time I have to conclude that I was a shallow, unobservant silly girl. I was pretty good at my actual job, but I didn’t have a lot of life experience and I didn’t know how to be really present in the experiences I was having. I was a flibbertigibbet & wasn’t as mindful as I could have been. I had discovered boys while I was in college (late bloomer here!) & I wasn’t done with them yet. I was 22 going on 16. Get the picture?

Over 10 years after I returned from Zambia I created a scrapbook (actually two rather large volumes) trying to recreate my experience there. The following is a poem I wrote when I completed the albums. I decided to use it in my first “Zambia Post” as my disclaimer.

Who was that girl?
Boy crazy…
with an occasional
flash of insight.
I hardly remember
or what she did
that long ago
time in Africa.

These are the
images she brought
home with her.
These are her stories –
remembered as in a dream
edited by time
reconstructed to suit myself.

This is her book
and mine too

Whoever we are!

Dana Wallace Rhyne
May 17, 1999


  1. I love your poem Bug. I think that all of us will find, if and when we look back over our lives that we had stages where we were just not "present". I think the importance of being "present" in our experiences only dawnS as we become older and wiser. I loved this post as it really set me thinking about my own "not present" stages and moments.

    As for the boys, I can see that they would have kept you very busy. What a pretty little thing you were!

  2. Looking forward to read about your experiences as a" superficial boy crazy girl in Zambia.

  3. You look like you had some fun in you. Nothing wrong with that! Love the hat, too!

  4. I have never done anything like that. I don't actually agree with the whole missionary thing but to just take off and live in a foreign country at so young an age is admirable even if you were a little flighty. I have another friend who joined the peace corps and spent a year or so in Malasia teaching some of the interior tribes.

  5. Ellen - I wanted to do the Peace Corps, but I didn't want to build or teach so I wasn't sure what my options were. I didn't have an opinion one way or the other about missions when I went (I know, scary that I'd do missions without any kind of drive), but by the end I wasn't too sure about the concept either. Except the part where we taught them to farm better & helped them with their own infrastructure.

  6. Looking forward to seeing more of these stories. You did something I wish I had done at your age. I thought about joining the Peace Corp or anything similar but did not. Most of us wish we could have a do-over during certain times in our lives. The do-over ends up being created in our minds and souls instead. Nothing wrong with that.

  7. I agree with A human kind of human that we do have periods in our lives where we aren't present. Perhaps it is that we don't have the experience or resources to properly digest all that we're going through at the time. Perhaps we're just saving it for when we can. Or, maybe just having fun like lacochran says isn't so bad. I love your stories, such wonderful insight.

  8. As an ex-Southern Baptist, I know the excellent Journeyman program well. Looking forward to hearing about your experiences!

  9. I'm looking forward to these posts...

  10. Me too. I was disconnected and unaware. But wow, I didn't go to Zambia for a year and a half at 22! (I did go to Turkey at age 30 though :).) Nothing like life in a place completely unlike what you have ever known to help you learn about yourself and grow up, eh? It's fantastic you did that.

  11. Every 22 year old is going on 16, dear Bug, not just you.

    I think you must have been so brave to go to Zambia of all places - wow!

    Can't wait to read more about this.

  12. Every 22 year old is boy crazy - or girl crazy. It goes with the territory of that age.

  13. I can't wait to read more about this. And, for the record, I think you turned out just fine!

  14. You're not alone in your callow youthfulness - I was much the same. That's why it's OLDER and wiser, not younger and wiser, I guess. Looking forward to more stories from Zambia.


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