This is a historical day said my guide, as he led me through the bush, because a white person has never come here. Gordon, a man familiar with abject poverty, was bringing me into the homes and lives of some residents of Mbayi.
I remain profoundly affected by what I witnessed that day. The situation here is grim, heart-rending. The words inadequate shelter of mud huts, dirt floors, scant evidence of food, meager possessions, can't adequately describe the condition of this place. The feeling is one of desperation. The family supplies of maize, the staple, are getting low, another harvest not until April. How will they make it through the rainy season, they wonder? As I was leaving a few boys were off to try trapping rats for dinner.
And for some reason, later that night, I began thinking about Canadian Thanksgiving and of how, last year, I sat at a lavish table of turkey, vegetables, fruit pies, ice cream ... and prayed for people such as these. And I wept.
But there is also hope here. The male leaders of Mbayi have asked for our help. Never before have they been able to come together as a community to plant a field of maize, enough not only to feed the able bodied but with extra to share with the orphans, the widows, and the elderly.
I thank God for agrogeologist Professor Van Straaten (Rocks for Crops) who is in Zambia this week and took some time to help me with ideas for planning sustainability.
Let's make another kind of history and help these men in their fight against the hunger part of poverty.
With the figures I have so far, it looks like $1,000.00 Canadian will cover the Maize Project (for planting in Oct.) as well as provide for the making of a new community well with a cover.(charitable receipts available for income tax purposes)