Zambia: How it all started

This weekend, I’ve decided to share some old Facebook notes that I wrote about my first trip to Zambia in 2009. Today’s repost is a collection of excerpts from my journal:

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Africa, Zambia, My Home: Journal excerpts…

Tuesday, May 12, 2009; 8:27 a.m. (Zambia)
So we’re here…and it is quite amazing…to see so many people who look like me…to wonder if THIS is where I’m from…wanting to just run up to people and hug them because I am HOME.

Thursday, May 14, 2009; 11:36 p.m. (Zambia)
I feel like somehow…when my feet touched African soil, my ancestors gave a sigh of relief…because they’d believed for generations that God would one day bring them home – whether in person or through their descendants.

So my soul rejoices because my ancestors rejoiced…and we rejoice together, celebrating God’s goodness and faithfulness.

My soul so desperately wants to know where in Africa I am from. Just being here brings a sense of home, but I SO want to know exactly WHO I am.

One thing I’ve learned from the Zambians is about faith…real faith. Really trusting in God because they have no other options. Just hearing Ba Charles and the others talk has been a good boost for my own faith. And I’m excited about ways I can do my part to help.

Sunday, May 17, 2009; 5:20 p.m. (Zambia)
Today in church…God told me that I am a living example of…I still haven’t quite found the words…but I am here because a kidnapped African survived the Middle Passage…and their descendants survived slavery, Jim Crow, etc. And when I come home to Africa…somewhere, the family of that kidnapped African will know that God kept them – because I stand here today.

I don’t think I ever really thought about it all from that POV…it’s like how you know you’re already an overcomer because you’re born – because you were the one sperm that made it! Well, if Blacks in America could realize the goodness of God already in our lives for the simple fact that we are descendants of slaves who survived…WOW.

So if I had to describe this experience…the personal part of it…I feel like an orphan…in the sense that I do not know where I come from. So I come to Africa – this great continent – full of so many nations…and I don’t know where exactly my home is. But I know my home is here. I try to look at the faces of people to see if they look like me. But I don’t know if my ancestors are from Zambia or Nigeria! Silently, I look at people and ask them, “Do you know who my family is?” But I know that they don’t know. I wish in my heart of hearts that I could track down my heritage to country, city/village AND tribe! Maybe. If it’s God’s will.

In the meantime, I am content to know that Zambia has accepted me as her daughter. The Zambians are my brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts. And that is enough.

Monday, May 18, 2009; 10:29 p.m. (Zambia)
Today was full of a lot of things – ups and downs. We visited a graveyard – saw about 3 funerals happening at once. Most of the grave markers indicated that the people buried there were under 30 – including babies as young as 6 months.

Then a group worked on building bricks while another group did sponsorship info. And I was in the group doing the clinic. I started out with Liz doing “intake.” Pulling files, getting weight and writing down the height as the Head Teacher got that. I was just weighing while Liz wrote it all down. In the end, it worked better if I just pulled files while she weighed and wrote.

Eventually, we got backed up with the number of kids waiting to be assessed by Nate and Mariah. So we stopped taking kids. I asked Mariah how I could help, and she had me take temps. They were gonna have me do the head-to-toe assessment, but I just wasn’t comfortable with that – I didn’t want to miss something important. But a lot of the kids had a fever – one had a 100 degree fever…and it made me really sad (because so many of them suffer from preventable/treatable diseases because they don’t have access to necessary medical care).