I’m sat in a classroom in Kayuhembe Basic School right in the middle of the remote town of Mwinilunga in North Western Zambia. (check out the gps reference in this post) 30 people sit around. Cornelius is speaking about Psalm 1 and the importance of having the right fruit as a Christian, the importance of making a difference. That’s after all why we are here, to help people make a difference.
In the background I can hear the many sounds of African life. The thump thump of a probably the biggest speaker in the world is pulsating through the town. Children laughing, people going about their everyday business.
I was very aware last night whilst camping here that a lot of the experiences I have are very varied, rich and really quite vibrant. I am very privileged to have them and maybe I can share some of them here. Having them whilst fun, does take a toll sometime though. Last night I found myself feeling incredibly homesick, and I wasn’t sure if that was for mkushi here in zambia or the UK.
On the way here yesterday, on the endless road that runs from Solwezi to Mwinilunga, we came across an Egyptian guy that had broken down. He had a flat tyre, but his jack was broken. Stuck in the middle of nowhere. We stopped. We helped him and he was in his way. Imagine if no-one had stopped. He would ha e been there for hours. We passed one car in 3 hours. He could have been there for days………
Last night the night watchman in the school was in a bit if a flap. No one had told him that we were camping at the school. He didn’t mention anything to us, instead he went off to get an army officer. Later the officer turned up, and was questioning me as to why we are here. It all boiled down to trust and initiative. The watchman couldn’t ring the deputy head, who did know we were coming, he also couldn’t make a decision on his own. He was fearing for his job, his livelihood. The army officer could see there was no problem, but if the watchman had been trusted or been encouraged to trust his own judgement, the situation would never have happened. Never been interrogated by the army before……..
Africa is also very loud. About 400m from our camp is a food shop. Dark, dingy and lacking in stock, nevertheless it is there. There ,is also a speaker the size if a man there. The whole town also knows about the speaker, From 7am until 10pm is is there every day. These things used to annoy me, now I have just got used to them. I like my peace and quiet. I have to shut myself in my tent, put my headphones in and play my own music to do that.
Bathing can also be fun. Africa us also very dark. At the school here, there is grass in the middle that is in full view if the town. Last night, without a bathroom we got a bath in the middle of the green, in full view. It was so dark that no one noticed.
In all of this “experience” and interest, real people are working out real lives often in very real circumstances. As I’m writing this, Cornelius has just said, “this stuff is life changing” and that’s the point. Changed lives, changed people, changed communities. That’s why we are here, that’s why I go through all of these experiences, simply to act as a catalyst to make it happen. I know that I am making a difference.