Things that make you go hmmmm.

“Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” And he who sat upon the throne said, “Behold I make all things new.” Revelations 21: 3-5

The everyday things that you find second nature surround you and go unnoticed. Let me tell you, visit a foreign land and God will surprise and delight you with all of the numerous things that you might not understand. We have been blessed to cook many of the same meals that we loved in Ohio, play the same games, and wear the same clothes. However, the little things that are entirely new and foreign are starting to feel less alien. I want to share and capture some of those things before they become our new normal and I will not think to share them.

In America, when you go shopping at a store and purchase something with cash, you most likely receive change. We rarely used cash and enjoyed our debit cards, but here that is not an option because DR Congo does not use credit cards. That being said, when using cash you expect to receive exact change for the amount left of the bill you paid with. The first time I purchased something at a store I received my change as well as a small chocolate wafer bar similar to a Kit Kat. An outing or two later I received a small bag of laundry detergent. I have since received a small bag of chips, bottles of water, pencils, gum, and candy.

These gifts are not truly gifts, but given to account for the small change that would be given in coins in the US and many other places. I find this practice both creative and amusing.

pastry
Custard-filled pastry

We have also witnessed the unfortunate use of prepackaged, highly-processed food in the children’s lunchboxes at school. If you know the Shaw’s, you know that we strive to be healthy eaters, so this was very troubling. Foods brought for meals at school consist of chips, bread with chocolate spread, waffles, juice drinks, sweetened yogurt drinks, pasta, hot dogs, and many other versions of pastries.

 

img_20190326_105139-1
Literal translation is a sugar biscuit

AHHHHHHH! Can you imagine how the kids behave by early afternoon? This is also troubling because you can’t walk 10 feet down any road without seeing a woman with a bowl of bananas, oranges, pineapples, avocados, or other produce on her head. There are stands everywhere selling pumpkins, lettuce, tomatoes and carrots. The produce is GOREGEOUS and the families who can afford a truck full of produce are opting to buy prepacked, unhealthy foods.

To combat this we held an assembly last week and encouraged all of the children to pack healthy lunches with “Captain Sugar Bowl,” Nick, showing all of us the bad foods in his lunch. We have seen an enormous difference this week and could not be prouder of the children as well as their parents. Making good decisions regarding diet really affects the kid’s ability to focus and behave at school. Everyone wins!

 

 

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 Supporting us:

prayer please

umcmission.org
Renee’s advance #3022491
Nick’s advance #3022490

Nick and Renee Shaw
C/O United Methodist New Life Center
PO Box 20219
Kitwe, Zambia

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Luck of the Irish

shamrock

We love celebrating holidays and making new family traditions and always have. The first holiday that we have had the pleasure of celebrating here in Congo was the very green holiday of Saint Patrick’s Day. As you might suspect, there is not a great number of people of Irish heritage here in DRCongo. How did the Shaw’s celebrate you ask? I will tell you.

We donned our green clothing and headed off to church to start the day. It was the first day of the new Children’s Church ministry we are helping start. We did not try and share our love of the Leprechauns with the Congolese kids, but once we returned home from church it was on. Our meal was as green as we could get it. We had green scrambled eggs, green chocolate pancakes, and fresh limeade. The bacon was delicious and not green. We looked-up our Irish Leprechaun names and sent the kids on a treasure hunt to find some golden, Ferro Roche chocolates at the end of the rainbow.

The Shaw’s are not particularly Irish but our ties to the United States and the things that make us who we are have come with us to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

____________________________________________________________________________________________st.patty's day

Supporting us:

prayer please

umcmission.org
Renee’s advance #3022491
Nick’s advance #3022490

Nick and Renee Shaw
C/O United Methodist New Life Center
PO Box 20219
Kitwe, Zambia

Social Media
Facebook- gotherefour
Instagram- reneeshaw5

All of the cookies.

Cultures are complex and have so many nuances that when you’re new might overwhelm you. If someone asked you to describe your culture you may struggle. It is hard to recognize the water of the pool you are swimming in.

When you are new somewhere, an outlander, you may feel like you’re drowning in all of these new experiences. My family has definitely been overwhelmed at times, but one way we are keeping our heads above water is by eating the foods we know and love.

tortilla
Tortillas, Congo style

Nick lovingly looked through our binders of favorite recipes before leaving Ohio and took pictures of some of our favs. We have searched the stores to buy the right spices to make taco seasoning, I have made homemade tortillas 4 times already, and we forgo the beloved sour cream so that we can enjoy some Congo-Mexican food. Controlling the food that we eat is just one way we are transitioning to life here, but it is an important one.

Don’t get me wrong, we have every desire to immerse ourselves in the new culture. Our wonderful housekeeper, Mama Fifi, purchased 3 chickens (who were alive when they arrived at our house), fish (not alive), and some other local vegetables for us to try. This also involved bukhari which is a sticky corn paste that they form into balls and eat with most of their dinners.

As excited as we were to try these new things, I quickly realized that we needed to apply the brakes. Immersing ourselves in the culture did not mean forcing new foods on Nick and the kids while all other things were still new. I have gladly regained control over dinner time for the time being. We have embraced sourcing fresh bananas, mangoes, and pineapples regularly on our drives home from school, and have enjoyed the practice of consuming far too many cookies. There are a lot of cookies in Lubumbashi! My father has always said that cookies should be their own food group. Here in DRCongo, they seem to have that status.

outside cooking
Meals on the grill

All in all, we are not starving and you would be happy to know that we are prepping by lantern light when the power is out and cooking outside. God is so gracious, and even these challenges are no longer surprising or even discouraging.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

 

 


Supporting us:
prayer please
umcmission.org
Renee’s advance #3022491
Nick’s advance #3022490
Nick and Renee Shaw
C/O United Methodist New Life Center
PO Box 20219
Kitwe, Zambia
Social Media
Facebook- gotherefour
Instagram- reneeshaw5