Here is your official Team Zambia 2013 update #2! Before getting started, it needs to be said that we are all so grateful for the love and support we have back home. Thanks for your prayers – they are so very important to us!!
Praise God the overall health of the team is improving, people are gradually getting over their jetlag, and we’re really bonding as a team!
We woke up on Monday to our culture training day which started off with a talk by Pastor Eric. Now, Pastor Eric is senior pastor at a church here in Kabwe and the organization he founded known as Kabwe Home-Based Care (KHBC) is partnered with Visionledd. You might say that Eric and his wife Joyce are high-output people to say the least!
Eric gave us a talk on the cultural climate we should expect while in Zambia. Basic things were discussed such as general dress code for men/women, inequalities between men/women (men are treated like kings, while women do the bulk of the work and child-rearing), and the gradual westernization of Zambia. When Eric picked us up at the airport on Saturday he said that our team would be well versed in love, patience, and long-suffering by the time our trip was over.
“You know Chris, I always tell people that if they think they know patience, then they need to come to Africa”. I understood what this meant on Sunday night when Eric and Susan (our team leader) were negotiating what time to get started on Monday morning. Susan said, “Okay, so we’ve settled on 8:30 then.” to which Eric replied “Yes, Susan. 8:30…. Zambian time.”
LEARNING ABOUT OUR HOSTS
During our culture training, Eric filled us in on part of his story of how he started pastoring in Kabwe and eventually decided to take up the plight of the widows and orphans in 2004 by founding KHBC. KHBC has a few paid employees but is mostly comprised of volunteers. Through Visionledd’s support, KHBC has developed several programs that target vulnerable people in the Kabwe area. They run clinics where they give out painkillers, creams, antibiotics, and clean wounds which they do in several different areas. There are also the home-based care visits where the sick and dying are seen in their homes and provided with food and spiritual care.
Eric’s team also initiates income-generating activities (IGAs). IGAs are essentially activities/businesses aimed at creating a sustainable source of income for volunteers and staff associated with the organization, (a key priority for Visionledd).
KHBC owns both a butchery and a piggery. We visited the butchery, of which the profits go to paying its one full-time employee – any leftover money goes to buying supplies for the widows and orphans programs. KHBC also has programs for widows where they make jewellery and clothing to sell for profit.
The remainder of Monday was spent travelling about Kabwe shopping for various supplies. We went to a local market and bought chitenge fabric to make skirts with the widows at KHBC. We also went to several vendors to buy food and supplies for the packages to give out during the home-based care visits.
FIRST EXPERIENCES WITH HOME-BASED CARE
Today (Tuesday) was a special day. You may say that the trip has shifted gears now. The morning was spent with the women on our team spending time with the widows at KHBC while I (Chris) travelled around town with Eric and Joyce buying medications for tomorrow’s clinic. Our team spent time in song with the widows and cooked breakfast for them. Megan led a short devotion on the book of Daniel, and then the widows taught our team how to sew chitenges! Each woman on our team and each widow had their own chitenge by the end of the morning.
In the afternoon, our team travelled to Makululu, a poor community of 28,000 people living in shacks with dirt floors. We went in teams of six, three missions team members and three KHBC volunteers to do home visits with the sick and dying. The devastation is catastrophic – let’s just say that there are still several of us in shock. HIV is essentially destroying lives, destroying families, destroying hope.
For each visit, we ministered to the patient and provided their family with a food package as allocated by KHBC. With permission of the patients, we took photographs of them and their families for the purpose of making memory books that we will present them with next week.
The afternoon was filled with a mixture of joy and sadness. The suffering and despair is beyond measure, but at the same time, people are resilient and they are ready to hear the gospel… Sheena led her patient to Christ this afternoon! There’s really nothing better than that when you think about it.
After the visits, Susan gave a brief talk to the KHBC volunteers and she said, “We came here thinking that we would be a blessing to you, but it’s YOU who’ve been a blessing to US”. She couldn’t have said it better. KHBC volunteers are unpaid, doing their work out of sheer love for Christ. Many are poor themselves and have to work fulltime themselves, yet they carve out a section of their week to love on the hopeless. Truly humbling.
That’s it for now. We’re thinking much of home.
Chris (for WOW Zambia 2013)