The PaperworkAs the representative of a foreign NGO, I was fully prepared to follow the timeline of others here: 6 months for full approval and certification, thousands of dollars spent in the process of stamping, collecting, copying, preparing, and seeing the legal documents through the journey to completion. But my expectations were way off. When a community catches onto a vision that seeks to benefit its members in huge ways, the community takes you in as their own. And that’s just what happened with us. Represented by a community leader in the Ng’ombe slum compound, I was led through the process of forms, lines and offices, in just one short week with minimal fees paid, to receive our official documents in my hand. Clothed in Hope is as official in Zambia as it is in the United States, and it gives us great freedom and joy in knowing that we’re really just beginning here. The possibilities are endless.
Change of Plans I was ready to continue our routine of daily lessons and production of Chikondi bracelets, but I soon came to grips again with a too-low expectation. Elina came up to me after one training day and said, “Why don’t you stay home to work for 2 days out of the week? We have it under control here.” Maybe in America this sounds normal, but it shatters every cultural stigma in Zambia. Our women have taken ownership of and pride in our organization. They manage each other under a set of group-organized rules complete with a judicial board to regulate any issues that arise. Going into month 2, community-owned was becoming a deeper-rooted aspect of our organization, and we are so thankful for that.