Off & Running
a Blog of Life on the Run


Trash Heaps, Smiling Children, the Mall, and a Museum

Our First Full Day in Chaisa and Lusaka Zambia

Cookies for Breakfast
Being an adult, I've always loved the idea of ice cream or cookies for breakfast but rarely have I benefitted from this luxury. Until today. Cream-filled shortbread cookies sat alongside three types of eggs, white toast, and a toaster sitting on the floor next to the hot water for coffee or tea. Cookies and a toaster plugged in on the floor. 

Learning Patience
There seems to be no timetable or rush in Africa nor thought of agenda. We headed out on time to visit the kids clubs of Horizon International. But first, we stopped to pick up kwacha. This took some time as Moses, our leader and the Regional Coordinator, needed to send money to Chongwe for a broken car part for another Coordinator while he was doing the exchange. Water, a KIND bar, and some great conversation with our group allowed all of us to keep our patience before we driving to Chaisa.

Children & the Trash
The first thing I noticed about Chaisa was through my nose - the overwhelming smell of human waste. The second was through my eyes - the copious piles of trash. Even if I could describe it, you would never understand the depth of the poverty in this area unless you saw it with your own eyes. We pulled up to the faces of smiling children, babies strapped to the backs of small girls with blankets, and tiny hands reaching out for greetings.

From the van to the church, the dirt walkway was covered in more sewage and trash. At the other end of the walkway was a group of beautiful women and children thrilled to see our white faces. As the photographer for this part of the trip, I stood back snapping photos as the women who have come before hugged the caregivers and children. (I wonder even now if I was just hiding behind the camera because I wasn't sure how to greet correctly and was afraid of being offensive.)

The children were singing, others recited verses, they introduced us (and Moses told them I had Shima with Obama because I lived next door), and we got photos together. Although we didn't have much time, there were so many smiles and grateful hearts. 

The Flip Side of Chaisa
10 minutes from where we met the children is a mall. Not a strip mall, an American sized, overdone mall. Food courts, big name stores, escalators, clean bathrooms, everything you could ever want. Did you catch that it was only 10 minutes away? Although 9 people ate lunch for under $40, I couldn't get the scenery of Chaisa out of my head. The little cardboard hut a little boy was selling candy from sitting in a trash pile in the heat of the day. Happy children living in places I couldn't imagine before I saw them. And a mall around the corner.

Evolution of Man & Zambia
Walking into the quiet halls of the Museum of Lusaka, Moses comandeered a tour guide to show us through explaining the history of Zambia starting with the evolution of man and the skulls they have excavated through the years. Amanda & I decided to see where we fit into this. Amanda realized she was archaic homo sapien.

The sculptures, the colonization, the slave trade, the freedom of this country just 50 years ago. This country has been through a lot and is still dealing with the aftermath of its history. And what I noticed the most about all of the people - they are some of the most gracious and happy people I've ever met. Especially those with nothing.

These Ladies
With the overwhelming support of my friends, family, clients, and neighbors, I was able to come on this trip with some incredible women. We've only been on this trip for 2.5 days now but it's apparent that each of us were called to be here. 

Below you'll find the beautiful ladies (from the left):

  • Cecelia, Regional Coordinator & Moses' wife
  • Amanda, the friend who invited me, Florida
  • Meri, Indiana
  • Christine, Indiana
  • Sandy, Group Leader, Indiana
  • Sandy, Indiana
  • Me!, DC (front left)
  • Susan, Indiana (front right)

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