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A letter from Dustin and Sherry Ellington in Zambia

August 17, 2010

Dustin Ellington smiling, while seated on a bus.

Dustin on the shuttle bus in London, getting ready to hop on the final flight to Zambia.

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Zambia!  We arrived here safely on Saturday morning, after two days and two nights of travel.  Dustin had planned to send a brief note to family and friends right away letting everyone know we arrived safely, but one of our big glitches so far has been Internet access—thus the delay.  Apologies to those who were keenly aware of our calendar and wondering what has become of us!

Fortunately, our few glitches (i.e., access to Internet, car, and cash, loss of power the first night, and a vomiting child the second day) have been mainly temporary, and far outweighed by the beauty of this country and its people.  We are having a good experience!  The college administration has been quite helpful in getting us oriented and helping us with practical affairs.  We are getting to know our colleagues and their families, and others living in the campus community.  One colleague has stopped by multiple times each day we have been here…I’m half-expecting his rap at the door even now as I type!  Clayton has been particularly quick to make Zambian friends, and has spent multiple hours hanging out on campus with them.  The country, though dry right now, has exceeded our expectations for natural beauty.  Even our own small yard has magenta bougainvillea hedges lining the back cinderblock wall, and banana, mango, papaya, and guava trees throughout.  We look forward to the various fruit seasons!  On a practical level, we finally found a cash machine that works with our ATM card.  We got some shower curtains put up today.  We received our loaner car last night and Dustin took a first successful driving-on-the-left lesson today with one of the college drivers.

A photo of a sunrise from an airplane window.

Our first Zambian sunrise, as we got ready to land in our new home.

We ate n’shima today for the first time today.  It is the staple food of Zambia, a starch made from “mealy meal,” which I believe is hominy.  After the n’shima is cooked, you wash your hands, then take a piece of n’shima with your right hand, squeeze or roll it into a starchy ball, and use it to pick up the toppings.  Today one our toppings was ground beef, and the other was bondwe, which is a dark green leafy vegetable, steamed, then cooked with a little oil, salt, and tomatoes.  I also learned my first full sentence of Nyanja:  “Ine napiga sima,” which means “I am cooking n’shima.”  (Not sure yet why n’shima is said as “sima” in this instance, but with an “sh” other times.  It probably has something to do with the person who taught me, or else with finding a common ground between Zambia’s 73 languages.)

The Ellington family (sans Dustin) standing outside of an airport with their luggage, under a sign that says "Welcome to Zambia"; behind them is a large green billboard written in Chinese.

Sherri, Clayton and Christopher at the Lusaka airport. Note the Chinese writing in the background billboard in this African city!

Well, I will sign off for now.  I really don’t know when you will receive this email because it is Tuesday, so we are expecting the power to go out tonight, perhaps in 25 minutes, perhaps in an hour and 25 minutes.  Our flashlights and candles are standing by, but I’m not sure we will manage to get Internet access before it happens, and I need to finish dinner, too, while we still have power.  But at least now the note home is written and should send as soon as my computer gets connected successfully to the Internet!

Thank you for all of your prayers for our transition and our new relationships here.

We appreciate your support so much,

Sherri and Dustin Ellington

You have our contact information in Zambia above, except for:

Telephone (as dialed from the United States):
Sherri cell: +011 260-97-459-6574
Dustin cell:  +011 260-97-459-6603
Home:  +011 260-21-129-5226

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