Monday, October 8, 2007

"A Rescuing Place"

It has been a rough couple of days. Emotionally draining anyway. I preached in a little village church on Sunday where about 50 congregants walk 8 km from the bush to attend. The service was three hours long (whew!) and we didn't leave the church until 3 p.m. (the hottest part of the day). It was pretty humbling to crawl into a car while a crowd of people twice my age began the long trek home. On Saturday morning two gentlemen stopped by the house with a sack full of hand-carved crafts. Their cheeks were gaunt and I had no doubt that whatever I bought that day would provide food for many family members. The men spoke very little English, but after our transaction one man gently laid a hand on my arm and simply said, "Hungry." I promptly went inside and made sandwiches of butter and jam. It was painful to watch them walk away, gingerly eating their meager meal. This morning someone knocked on the door and simply said, "Please. Work. Please sweep." He gestured to my lawn, suggesting I might hire him to do some work for food. It is literally impossible to describe the magnitude of the poverty here. After church yesterday we drove past the compound "Ipusukilo" which means, "a rescuing place" in Bemba. It is a compound for those who are sick, unemployed and have nowhere else to go. Many grandmothers caring for orphaned children live here. Do you want to hear something scandalous? There is a recent trend here in the Copper Belt in which women within this demographic (widows, caring for their grandchildren) intentionally contract HIV, so that they might get assistance from NGO's. Sometimes I think my heart is going to burst.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Carms, I cannot imagine what you face there... those these stories help. Thank you for sharing them. What to do... right? Unbelievable.