While at orientation we had a cross-cultural night for Sub-Saharan Africa. You may remember me sharing about that in an earlier entry. We sang many songs from all over sub-saharan, form the west African coast to the south and the east. But two songs were dear to us in the mix of worship. Why were two dear to us? Well, because of these wonderful people:
Jenna shared a song, Yallah Bahkna, with us in Wolof (a language of Senegal). Yallah Bahkna is a familiar tune to many of us: God is so Good. =) The girls still sing it. And I instantly miss Jenna and wish I could just hug her. Hannah’s the worst at it. Blast that kid for remembering that song! 😉 It catches me off guard. In those moments I’m not prepared to miss Jenna. Ok, I need to stop talking about this before I can’t finish this- ugh.
Then there was one song that surprised me during cross-cultural worship, but just fit us all so well. It surprised me because I couldn’t sing it for the longest. I can butcher any language, just ask the Mozambicans. 😉 But practice and practice and practice and… you get the idea. It’s a simple repeating tune with one chorus that sinks deeply into our hearts and minds. Ni (Nee) Zan (zahn) Je (Jay). It goes like this:
Ni zan je da Yesu ko ina (I will go with Jesus anywhere)
Ba damu da gargada hanya ba (No matter the roughness of the road)
Ni zan je (I will go), Ni zan je! (I will go!) And then repeats again and again.
We alternated between the English and the Hausa language singing the chorus through in just the Hausa and just the English interchangeably. And it caught on like wildfire.
We sang this tune with traveling about as a family on the orientation campus. And anyone from the sub-saharan group would just join on in singing it since we all knew it well. We sang this song in celebration of arriving off the train from New York after the long and tiring journey. And (I have to take a moment here to gather myself)… we sang this together as a group as we hugged and said goodbye to our dear sub-saharan family at orientation. Through tears. We sang it. In celebration. And heartbreak. And view of the journey ahead for each of us.
Ni Zan Je.
When we pulled onto the street in front of my in-laws house after orientation, my girls broke out in the song.
I will go with Jesus anywhere! I love how they first sing it in Hausa. It reminds me of a dear friend. One I couldn’t look in the eyes when we departed. It hurt too much. But one that I know we will see again. And I am thankful. – Love you, Angela.
Ni Zan Je has become a theme song of celebration for our family. And a topic of conversation amid hardship.
And Sunday after a long morning of new church adjustments, I found this little one singing it at the lunch table. Unprompted her little two year old voice arose in natural expression.
I will go with Jesus anywhere
No matter the roughness of the road
I will go, I will go…
Little does she know all that lies around the corner. Tomorrow our house worker will come. New faces. New norms. Mommy will become needed for language study. Daddy too. And someone else’s arms will have to comfort… even when she just wants Mommy. Someone who can’t be understood and doesn’t understand you. But “Ba damu da gargada hanya ba”, little one, WE will go.
Let’s sing it together, sweet baby.
One step at a time down this rough road.
– Love you, little Eden
– Thankful for flexibility as we transition into our new norms.