Welcome Home

Down a long dirt road we drove. Feeling every bump and ditch worn in by years of flooding and drought. If it's not one, it's another. This year, it's drought. We arrived at a home with the cleanest dirt I have ever seen. We stepped out of the van and were greeted by Edward who said "welcome home." His greeting will forever stick with me.

We were visiting Edward Kanyama and his wife Justina Michelo. Before we even sat down we had a lesson on how to tie the traditional skirt called a chitenge. A chitenge is basically a few yards of fabric wrapped around and tucked but carries with it the meaning of respect. We went around and introduced ourselves and the group of women would reply "twalumba" which means we are very grateful.

Photo by Jon Warren || World Vision 2014                                             

When World Vision entered the community Justina heard about the WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) program for the first time. It was like a light had been turned on and she suddenly realized that the diarrhea, scabies and worms that her and her nine children had dealt with for a lifetime were all caused by dirty drinking water and unsanitary living conditions. This was new information for Justina.
Justina happy to be showing us her new dish rack. 

I just kept thinking about the story with the Ethiopian Eunich who was reading Isaiah and when questioned by Phillip if he knew what it meant his response was "how will I know if no one has told me." It's amazing to think that in 2015 there are people that don't know that you should wash your hands before you eat or after you go to the bathroom. They don't know that going to the bathroom in the bush brings flys that then land on their food. As American's we are taught this from a very young age. I even had a hand washing song I sang with my children. But how would they know if no one has told them?

The people of Zambia have lived for generations feeling cursed. They believe that diseases are brought on by something that they have done wrong. A child with a distended belly? The wife must be having an extramarital affair. Constant diarrhea? Their ancestors are unhappy with them. When World Vision first came into the country there was some apprehension. But once they showed the people and the people gave them a chance, they have been on fire for change. The important message about sanitation and hygiene is being spread and put into practice even though this community is still waiting for the clean water aspect. These changes have already proven to have great benefits to their health.
Justina's tip tap that she built and has conveniently placed close to her latrine for easy hand washing
Children are learning in their schools how to build hand washing stations (tip tap's) and are taking that information home to their families. Families are making changes around their homes like building dish drying racks to keep animals off of their clean dishes, they have rubbish pits, private bath areas, latrines and hand washing stations around their homes. They are noticing that there are less flies that not only bother them, but that spread disease. I could tell that Edward was very proud of his wife and he was a very supportive husband. He says that he is even taking on the chore of fetching water and making meals when his wife is busy educating in the community. We spent some time joking about how my husband is home with the children doing the same thing. It's woman's work to keep the house afterall.

Justina is just one voice, but she is a voice that is passionate about the changes that she has made. She explained that if her community of Hamaundu is remembered for one thing, that it's remembered for being clean. She's happy that she is clean, her husband and her family is clean.

We came into her home, looked at her latrine and peeked in her shower and Justine beamed with pride. In the past four years, since she has been educated, Justine's home has changed. Her family is healthy and clean. She is teaching others to make changes in their homes and see the difference that it makes. Twalumba for your passion and for the lives that you are changing.

To find a child that is available for sponsorship, visit here. Click to learn more about the water effect and how World Vision is meeting that need in some of the most desperate areas.
A collection of stories from my week in Zambia
Rainbows and Water
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

Randi Jo :) said...

great post! THANK YOU for sharing!!

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