For this news, let’s flashback to 2 years ago, the first time I was in Zambia for a short-term trip. We spent our weekends at an orphanage in Ng’ombe, and the intensity of poverty and hope forever impacted my life. Elina (yes, our Elina) helped to run that facility, providing a safe place for children abandoned or forgotten by their parents. Just a few short months after we left, Elina was targeted as the vulnerable one by her family just by being the only widow. As a result, her family drove Elina and her children out of the facility through greed and corruption, leaving Elina’s family without a place to live and forever hurt by the betrayal of her own family. The orphanage ceased to exist. The remaining family stole any money that poured in to help with the care and education of the orphans. The orphanage building remained. No longer a safe haven for orphaned children, it became a stronghold of corruption and a beacon of deceit. The oppression that is so commonly heard of was most visible through “Orphanage” painted on the side of that building, when it was anything but. I promise this is going somewhere. Fast forward to the end of my time in Zambia, seeking out a facility for us to move our operations. Thankfully we’ve outgrown our current space, and the women are all feeling motivated as teachers, ready to see the program expand to impact even more people in Ng’ombe. I went with a friend of ours to look at buildings listed for sale, and walked up to the very place that was stolen from Elina and her family, a buliding that embodied everything messed up about the complexities of poverty, injustice and oppression. Shocked, I wanted to run, but something told me to stay.
After we raise all $25,000 needed, this place will no longer be a place stained with deceit, greed, hatred and oppression. The walls will be repainted, the building repaired to be even better than it was before. And the community will know that oppression cannot remain when hope is present. Hatred cannot exist where love lives. Clothed in Hope will take back what was taken from Elina, but it goes beyond that. Clothed in Hope will make a statement that we’re here to love, to empower, to restore better than before, to see treasure in the broken, and to be a pillar of hope through the beautiful lives of 11 incredible women devoted to their community.
With Chikondi, Amy