Sunday, 10 August 2014

Kitchen Cabinet Project - Zambia

When we first learned of our acceptance with MCC, we were told there would be a house for us in Choma. We didn't know much about it other than that there was a nice covered porch area and five bedrooms. Then I also learned that part of the rental agreement with the landlord was that I would provide cabinets worth one month's rent. There were some cabinets already but they were not all in good condition.

Due to the pantry room having some great shelves, as well as some other portable cabinets and a table MCC provided, we were able to manage fairly well using the space we had. Still, this agreement was always in the back of my mind, and as I designed cabinets for other houses in the area as part of my work at Chodort, I learned about the materials available and figured out the most cost-effective way to build new ones.

However, one month's rent was only enough to build two large boxes, and the countertops are just melamine particle board with an edge tacked on. I was not able to replace the uppers or the sink section (not pictured). But, having finished today (almost 11 months since we moved in), I am quite pleased with the end product. Kate and Michelle have already filled up the drawers and some of the shelves.

Here's what the 'old' kitchen corner looked like:

I built some boxes out of particle board and installed them on crooked floors, against crooked walls!

I ordered the doors, drawer faces, drawer sides, plinths, and veneers from Chodort. To save money I ordered it all unfinished and then put everything together and sanded/sealed it.

The doors etc. are all made from a local hardwood called Mukwa. Normally it has some beautiful white veins, but the carpenters at Chodort prefer to cut that (softer) part out.

Now I can finally focus on some other projects--next up, cigar box guitars!


Kate and Malachi's cars gassing up at the Fruit of the Spirit tree (!?)

I recently read an interesting book by Bruxy Cavey about religion vs. spirituality. It's called "The End of Religion." I think this copy is probably an abridged version of the longer one, and it's nicely written for Christians and seekers alike. It starts off documenting some of the evils of religion (including Christianity), and is mostly about how Jesus came to dismantle religion, rather than start a new one. I had heard of this book a couple of times and seen the author in a different video series, so when Michelle borrowed it from a friend, I was excited to read it for myself. While it may sound controversial, it's actually pretty standard material for most Christians--focusing on our personal relationship with God rather than the structure that sustains it. As I walked to church this morning I was reminded of this quote:
"So, ironically, Jesus wanted his followers to use organization to help spread the message that organizations are not the answer. Christ-followers read the Bible to learn of Jesus' teaching that reading the Bible is not what makes us a Christian.... And we go to church to collectively celebrate the message that going to church is not what makes us God's children." (Bruxy Cavey, The End of Religion, p. 113)

I've enjoyed the laid-back structure of our little church here in Choma. It starts on African time, which is different every week. There is always time given for testimonies or special songs...anyone can participate. Sunday school? That's me taking the kids out during the sermon sometimes to hear a story and play in the dirt. Maybe sometimes it's a little too laid back--but it's refreshing compared to a structured church where 'the show must go on.' We can spend so much time getting the first song's musical introduction just right that there's no time to be God's kids together. Or be so worried about meeting the budget so that we can pay the pastor and the rent that we take the offering at a Sunday picnic.