How do I even begin to summarize my time in Zambia a couple weeks ago? If you haven’t heard, a baby girl named Hope, the daughter of a woman who was scheduled to graduate during this cycle, passed away shockingly. She suffered a lot. And it didn’t need to be like that.
I’ve been wrestling with that ever since I’ve been home. I bet many of you have had similar thoughts about the injustices of this world. It is just hard.
But the trip wasn’t all hard. Not at all. That’s the other shocking part.
Just as there was space made for sorrow, there was space made for joy. The two co-existing. The two held sacred.
We held a graduation for over 20 women who heard their names announced publicly and positively for the first time ever. We danced and celebrated.
We held a grieving mama who had to stay strong so her surviving daughter, Hope’s twin, would survive. And Hope’s twin, Faith, held onto her stuffed animal, about the same size of Hope and dressed in her dressed covered in her scent to comfort her as she screamed out for her “mpundu” or twin.
We visited a private game reserve for our first-ever Zambia staff retreat where many of our staff ladies saw a giraffe for the very first time and smiled in purest joy. They filled their stomachs with the buffet and talked about how peaceful it was to get out of the bustling city.
We visited Martha’s home for Hope’s visitation. Shoes off, kneeling before female elders, shaking hands, meeting sorrowful eyes, sitting on handmade grass mats. Understanding in that very moment that this is community.
It doesn’t cost us our joy to meet another in their sorrow. If anything, it expands it. Our hearts swell when we use them how they’re designed to be used. To be broken for one another, to be healed with one another, to be expanded by experiences, to be shared and poured out, to be filled and built up.
This trip was complicated. It started out with a schedule and a casual check-in with our ladies. We flew home without much of “accomplished” yet everything accomplished.
We know that our program is working. We saw it at graduation. We saw it in our staff. And we saw it vividly at Hope’s visitation.
Community. Empowerment. Encouragement. Love. Joy. Hope. Sacrifice. Overcoming. Determination. Faith. Kindness.
All existing in a society and others in the community trying their hardest to trip up, to defeat, to oppress, to shame, to hurt, to keep down, to belittle and to silence.
Thank you to every single one of you sowing into this organization. You are raising a banner of HOPE over hundreds of women and thousands of their children. You are creating a force to be reckoned with - women who will not be stopped, women who will not let their friend suffer alone, women who are fighting for their children to walk a new path in life. We are honored to partner with you in this hard and incredible work.
With Chikondi (Love),
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