“May we never lose our wonder. Wide eyed and mystified, may we be just like a child.”
– Hillsong United
When I reflect on one of the many reasons I chose to come to Zambezi, I am reminded of my initial desire to escape the “real world” and be reminded of “simple truths.” In my time here, I have found there is no world that is more real than another, and there is no such thing as a simple truth. Every simple truth is just a complex one in disguise.
Each moment of this trip I have found myself in wonder. I stop, look, listen, breathe, and try to just be. I try to sit in the moment. However, I could never have expected how hard sitting in those moments could really be.
In the past three weeks, I have been challenged to change my perspective. Putting these experiences into words is hard for me because I feel as if they are lessons I will never stop learning. Earlier this week the health team traveled to Lishipa to install 24 Biosand water filters. We were working with Seeds of Hope, an organization focused on raising awareness about sanitation and providing clean water for families in Zambia. While there, I had the privilege of working with a man named Samson. We spent the morning teaching about the filters we would be installing, and then we did a brief lesson on waterborne illnesses. We laughed and told stories as we began the installation process under the unforgiving sun. (And, yes, I got burnt again just in case you were wondering, mom.)
Seeds of Hope was started by a couple who live outside of Zambia and is funded by international donors. Samson and the other Zambians who work for the company are at the mercy of donors from other countries to continue their work. They have appealed for government funding, but so far there has been no substantial assistance. Samson’s passion for the communities that go without clean water is not enough to fund the work that he does. Yet at the same time, Samson is involved in life-changing work that is transforming many families in Zambia that did not previously have access to clean water.
Along with working for this organization, Samson has just completed his education to be a primary school teacher. He wants to reach young children to instill in them a desire for education, advancement, and the importance of health. His goal is to build a school where all of the teachers who work there value educating the students more than their paychecks. Samson said that a lot of the reason people choose to teach in Zambia is because the government pay is good. He told me that he wished more than anything he could change the future of Zambia by changing the educational foundation for children.
I felt so conflicted when I ended my time with Samson. Here was a man who wants nothing more than to see Zambia thrive, to see the country rid of illness and corruption and to improve access to education. Yet because of the situation he was born into, he faces many obstacles. Because of the situation I was born into, I have been handed so much. I simply don’t face the same challenges.
In the story of Samson and so many other individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting, I am struck with a deep sense of the importance of storytelling. I am reminded that I am called to listen and receive, to meet people where they are, and to share this with others.
We live in a broken world full of broken people, no matter what geographical location we find ourselves in. This brokenness manifests itself in many ways. We often find ourselves in the world of our narrowed perspectives until we choose to step out of them. It is an active choice to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. It is challenging. It calls into question our identity, our purpose, our calling, and so much more. However, if we can look past the discomfort and lean into the wonder, everything starts to change. I was struck by the resilience of Samson and so many people I have had the pleasure of walking with in my short time here.
As we prepare to leave Zambezi, I am faced with the truth that I am conflicted in many ways. In my time here I have found, there is never one side to any story.
There are no easy answers. Behind every simple truth is a complex one that follows.
We are going to fail. Maybe that means we were finally curious enough to try.
It is a choice to enter into this confusing and formative way of thinking. This isn’t something that only happens once. Each day it is a transformation that we get the privilege of entering into. We get to choose to see the wonder in the world and let that transform us. I’m not sure it’s enough but one day I hope it will be.
To my CLC and my fearless leaders, I miss you and talk about you everyday. I can’t wait to hear about everything that I’ve missed. Praying for each of you and sending you a huge hug from halfway across the world. Big soccer kicks, T!
Family and friends I miss you guys. Ryan, I hope you survived Vegas, and I can’t wait to hear about your summer so far. Can’t wait to eat my body weight in sushi with you when I get home.