LBT recently interviewed missionary kid (MK) Sean Pluger. Sean spent the first 9 years of his life here in the U.S. He went to school and lived the same way most North American families do. He moved to Zambia in August of 2011. Sean now lives in the village of Petauke, Zambia with his parents, Chris and Janine Pluger. Since he has now been there for most of a school year, we decided to interview him to find out how he likes being a Missionary Kid.
LBT: Tell us a little about yourself: How old you are, where you live, about your parents …
SP: I am almost 10 years old. I live in Petauke, Zambia just off Prison Rd. It is called Prison Rd. because there is a prison at the end where we play football (soccer).
LBT: What do your parents do?
SP: My dad works in his office at Chimwemwe Lodge to start the Nsenga Bible translation project. My mom teaches me.
LBT: What is your house like?
SP: It is a concrete house. It has quite a few rooms, a bar and a tin roof. We don’t have running water all the time so we have to have a water tank. The power isn’t on all the time so we have to have a generator.
LBT: Do you have regular chores?
SP: I take the garbage out to the burn pit and help Dad burn our trash. Put away my clothes. I turn on the water to fill the water tank and lock our front gate at night. I also have to turn off the water so our tank doesn’t overflow because it’s broken.
LBT: Do you have pets or keep animals for food or work?
SP: We have a cat named Riley who likes to eat lizards and steal our chicken dinner. I will soon get chickens in my yard so we can have even fresher eggs. We are also getting a dog to guard our house.
LBT: What is your favorite meal?
SP: Chicken, nshima and coke at Chicken Inn. (Nshima is made from cornmeal and is similar to dumplings. Nshima is eaten with the hands. The diner takes a portion from the main serving bowl, rolls it into a ball, and dips it in the meat or vegetable side dish being served).
LBT: Do you get the opportunity to do jobs that U.S. kids might, like babysitting or yard work?
SP: No, but I get 50 kwacha for every fly that I kill which is one cent. I save up to buy the best suckers in the world for only 500 kwacha. (Kwacha is the Zambian currency).
LBT: What is school like for you?
SP: It is home school. My favorite subject is history. Every other week we go to Chipata where my twin friends also have home school, to do sports and art and my mom teaches science at their school when we go. (Chipata is a big city a little over 100 miles from the village where Sean lives).
LBT: What is your church like?
SP: It is an unfinished brick house right next to the mosque. They have an English service and a Chichewa service. Sometimes we stay for the Chichewa service to do communion. (Chichewa is one of the 7 official languages of Zambia.)
LBT: What are your friends like and what do you do for fun?
SP: I play computer games on my computer. I play with the kids next door called Josephat, Roger, John and Beto. Over at my friend’s house we sometimes play football, prisoners and video games.
LBT: What are the three biggest changes between life in the U.S.and life as an MK?
SP: We don’t have power all the time. Not understanding everything people say because even if they speak English it is African English which is almost a different language. Not having everything you need within a ten minute drive from your house.
LBT: What do you miss the most about life in the U.S.?
SP: Doritos. Christmas at Grandma Herd’s house where almost every single person in the Herd family who is not in the military and some friends come and either watch American football, make assembly line Christmas sugar cookies or run around in the yard playing. All my mzungu friends. (Mzungu is the word the local people in Zambia use to mean someone from a Western culture, so Sean is saying his misses his friends from the U.S.).
LBT: What do you like the best about life in Zambia?
SP: Eating nshima and chicken at Chicken Inn, all the good climbing trees and homemade, fresh picked lemonade. We have lemon trees in our back yard.
LBT: Do you have any advice for kids who might become MKs, or for their parents?
SP: Bring lots of your favorite snack. Bring lots of American cereal since they don’t have much here and the only cereal that tastes like American cereal is Kellogg’s Cornflakes. Advice for the parents, drug your kids (if they are younger than 10) on the way here on the plane so that they don’t get sick from staying awake all night watching TV on the seat back.
Hey Sean, I enjoyed your interview – it was very interesting 🙂 I got pretty good at catching/killing flies with my bare hands when we lived in Papua New Guinea. Yuck! But they are SO pesky and sometimes there is no time to find the fly swatter – you just want to get them while they are buzzing around you and your food. …such is life some times.
I think the first year of being an MK is probably the hardest (unless you are real small or you are born in the country). I think before too long Zambia will begin to feel like home – especially as you grow close to your new friends and experience more fun stuff together.
We here at the LBT Service Center are praying for you.
Lemon trees in the backyard? Nice! Thanks for the interview, Sean. Hopefully, Rob and I will be able to come north and join you for chicken sometime. Or, you can come south and join us for steak!
Great interview….thanks for sharing Sean. I got kind of hungry reading about Chicken Inn, sounds good! I think I may encourage parents to let their kids wacth tv on the flight over and hope they get to sleep without the drugs though…… – but an interesting observation Sean 🙂