"Bah" Leonard

Bva Leonard Sichimwa (pronounced "See chim wah") is our cook. (To pronounce the word "bva", combine the /b/ & / v/, but it sounds like "bah" to most of us.  "Bva"is used as a sign of respect like our use of "Mister".)   Leonard's business card reads, "Senior Chef Zambia Medical Mission". But he is our chef, too.  Years ago Leonard was originally hired as a security guard, probably because of his macho presence. But the job did not suit him because of his kind heart and gentle manner. He is about 6 feet, 4 inches and muscular. He once picked up a railroad crosstie single handedly which earned him the name, "Rambo", although his is far from Sly Stalone.  But this gentle giant is kind and patient as he quietly goes about his business trying to accommodate his customers.  Leonard lives in Namwianga but his  hometown is Kisibi, where he serves as a village elder.  His mother died a few years ago but his father is still alive, although no one knows how old his father is-- maybe 100!  Leonard's first wife died a number of years ago. They had 2 children. His current wife teaches at the primary school.  They have about 3 children.  No one knows Leonard's age but I guess early 70's. Leonard's son, Harold, is his assistant.  Our favorite foods they prepare are: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, chicken spaghetti, taco soup & cornbread.  And the  deserts...apple cake, chocolate cake, banana cake, all of which are elaborately decorated. Many times Leonard uses icing to write messages on the cakes. Messages like, "Welcome HIZ-Path.", "Welcome Home Miss Hamby, Kel, James.", or simply "Chocolate Cake."  or if Leonard adds extra chocolate he writes, "chocolate T Cake." (note the period at the end of his message)! His other main dessert is banana pudding. Miss Ellie reportedly taught Leonard how to cook which explains the traditional Southern meals.  Each Thursday Leonard prepares an authentic African meal which consists of pan fried chicken (which is very tough), cooked cabbage, rice, rape, and, of course, Sheema and sauce.  He is proud to serve us and we graciously oblige.  We have been around Leonard about 3 weeks.  He is reportedly in pain and is on medication for neuroapathy so he has relied heavily on Harold to help meet our needs. Now that Miss Ellie is home his spirits seem to be  lifted. She will see to it that he gets the proper medical treatment -- and pronto! We all love and respect Leonard. He has invited us to his church tomorrow. That experience will be a Blog in itself!

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I am a school-based Speech-Language Pathologist with 36 years of experience and I am about to embark on the experience of a lifetime!

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