For those of you who’ve followed this Gonzaga-in-Zambezi blog over the years, you understand the Jesuit posture of accompaniment that animates our annual return to the town of Zambezi in Northwest Zambia.
For those of you who will are seeing it for the first time, some context. Since May 2007, Gonzaga University and the community of Zambezi have been co-authoring a story of solidarity, reciprocal learning, and personal growth. On Saturday, May 20, thirteen Zags and two faculty will join the 300+ who’ve gone before them in an earnest desire to operate at eye-level with this rural community in opposition to the “savior complex” of many short-term international tours. This year, long-time leader of the program, Dr. Josh Armstrong, will be remaining in Spokane, but his spirit animates every aspect of the program. Professor Kris Morehouse and I look forward to building on the foundation that he, past students, and previous faculty and staff have established.
We hope you will follow along during the next five weeks as Gonzaga students reflect daily on their experiences in Lusaka, Livingstone, Botswana and Zambezi. We invite you to comment below each blog post (we will read each one) and let us know what you are learning through our words. If you are an alumni of the program, we hope you will share a memory or greet a friend in Zambezi.
As we make final preparations, I’m inspired by these closing lines from “The Journey” by David Whyte, a poet near to Josh’s heart:
You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.