Living in fear and how you can be a part of the change

Disclaimer: this post will have some disturbing information that may be graphic in nature. If you are sensitive, please use discretion.

Before I left for Zambia I had heard about ritual killings.  I wasn't quite sure what information I would be able to learn while I was on the ground, but I asked the hard question of our World Vision staffer Collins, while we were driving into the city of Choma before our work had begun. 
He informed me that there had been one ritual killing that had occurred this year, and six that had occurred last year.  There is so much secrecy involved in these rituals that sometimes deaths go uncounted.  In South Africa, ritual killings are culturally accepted and usually go unreported. These practices continue to happen around much of Africa and usually involve hunting down a victim {usually walking alone}, mutilation, and murder of some of the communities most vulnerable people.
Most people who practice ritual killings believe that they are an act of spiritual fortification. Human body parts are used for medicinal purposes and are often believed to have supernatural healing powers. The individuals carrying out the killing are usually doing it for the large sum of money that comes with the desired body parts.  They are paid around $2-3,000 USD, a huge sum of money when 64% of the country lives on less than $1 a day.  
They are told that in order to get paid the highest sum of money possible, that the parts need to removed while the person is still alive. Hearts are ripped out from the back, hands and feet are cut off.  Lips, genitals and nipples are removed. Sometimes heads are severed. It's brutal. 
In nearly every village that we visited I would ask if anyone had fears while they were walking to get water, or while they were going to school.  One village we were in said that there was a rumor of a man hiding in the bush but thankfully word traveled fast and he was run out of the village. Thanks to organizations like World Vision, modern medicine is becoming more common and has proven to be quite successful so fewer people are turning to witch doctors who depend on these ritual killings.
In Uganda, World Vision staff person Obed Byamugisha, has devised a system that uses village drums to alert of a missing child. A village amber alert of sorts.  You can read more about his story here.
There are other fears too. Mamba snakes are native to Africa and are seen daily by women walking to fetch water through the tall grass.  Baboons are very dangerous and have even been found to attack and rape women walking alone. Crocodiles lurk in the same water that women and children fetch water in. 
Several years ago a 9 year old girl was playing in the water by her mother who was doing wash and was attacked by a crocodile.  Thankfully, World Vision employee Clifford, was driving home and heard quite the commotion by the water.  He stopped and was able to save the girl from the crocodile. She lost a leg but thanks to her sponsor she has crutches and is still able to attend school.
Gracinda's story doesn't end the same way.  Her 12 year old daughter Luisa went to the river to fetch water when their local well broke. Several of Luisa's friends came running back to Gracinda informing her that she had been attacked by a crocodile. Her body was found three days later. World Vision fixed the well and Gracinda is now part of the water committee that fixes and maintains the borehole. 


These fears are real for this children and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to sponsor two children in Uganda in hopes that one day they can live in a world without fear. One of the greatest things that you can do to is to find a child that is available for sponsorship. World Vision is able to work in communities forming a partnership that enables real lasting change.  Change that protects and empowers children and adults. Wouldn't you like to be part of that change? A child is waiting for you.
For the complete collection of stories from Zambia:
A Child's Life
Looking Forward to the Future
The Needs are so Great
Welcome Home
Spirit Lead Me Where My Trust is Without Borders
Preparing for Zambia

1 comment

J Lacey said...

I was just searching for some new mom blogs to read and I came upon yours. I can't say I love reading posts like this one, but I am thankful for the reminder to be thankful for all I have and to give when I can and pray for those who are suffering in other parts of the world. It's easy to forget how blessed we are here in America to have the amount of safety and stability we have here. Thanks for the reminder.

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