Sunday, February 18, 2007
Not so in Zambia. Security is a HUGE thing here. Continual vigilance is necessary. I think the reason is because there are so many people who are without jobs, or food or real necessities that they are desperate for any way to get them. Theft is the biggest crime issue.
To insure the safety of what you have there are many precautionary measures you must follow. We have been quite careful to diligently follow the “rules” that everyone here follows.
Lock all doors. First of all we never leave anything visible on the car seat. They are stowed in the boot of the car. Car doors are always locked, as they are in the US when away from home. Now the house locks are a bit extreme. First you must know that EVERY house has burglar bars. So opening the windows requires maneuvering around the bars. The iron burglar door has 2 huge bolts that slide into the door frame and then a hearty padlock holds them locked. Then the door is locked. The same thing is true for the back door. Our landlady apologized for not having 2 separate padlocks for each door and suggested that we get another. The windows must all be shut and locked upon leaving the house. So in order to leave it takes about 10 minutes to “lock up.” Once we head toward the street we must stop and open the gate to the street. All the houses here are protected by huge cement walls all around them. Monster metal gates must be opened and closed each time you leave your house. At night or in the morning you must unlock the monster padlocks (3 in all and with 3 different keys) in order to come or go. If you have money you can hire a gatekeeper. For $50 per month he will guard the gate and open and close it for anyone coming or going.
In the downtown area we really should go with a Zambian. Thieves are abundant and will not hesitate to snatch a purse or slice a pocket to get a wallet or cell phone. Much as we would like to, it is impossible for us to “blend in” here in Zambia. We stick out quite visibly. That means we also are easy targets. I never carry a purse when I go into crowded shopping areas.
Even in the large home where we have stayed each time we have come, we always have locked our bedroom door EVERY time we leave it. The front living room was always kept locked. Now the freezers and food pantries are kept locked.
Since crime and theft have become major issues over the last 20 years or so, all the homes in the city have erected block walls completely around them. You never can tell what kind of house is behind the wall. Furthermore on the tops of the walls (while the cement was wet) they have stuck large shards of broken glass. This prevents anyone from climbing up and over the wall. My landlady has instructed me to be sure to remove all laundry from the line before retiring for the night. All tools like shovels or ladders also must be brought in. We actually try to hide all of our valuables in the house when we leave. We are told horror stories of how thieves in neighboring Zimbabwe will release a gas into homes that insure that the people sleep while burglars walk away with everything they own. If guns are used, they are usually for threatening the victims and if no resistance is shown they are not harmed.
We are told to watch carefully if we return at night to be sure no one is following us down the street as we approach the gate. Thieves will come steal your car while you are stopped to unlock your gate. We are needing to look into getting “gadgets” that lock onto the steering wheel and prevent car theft.
Vigilance is the key. My friend Edah now locks her freezer and keeps food supplies in an unused old but locked refrigerator. She says it happens because people are simply hungry.
Zambia is filled with people whose existence is simply to find enough food for themselves and their families. Anyway they can they try to earn a pittance…. Selling food by the road, raising chickens for eggs or meat, crocheting totes out of plastic grocery bags…day to day or meal to meal…many struggle.
In the meantime we grumble because we have so many locks …. !
Monday, February 12, 2007
In order to understand the terminology that I use I probably should define a few terms regarding the structure of Mothers Without Borders here in
The “farm” is a rural farmhouse that is rented by MWB to house the many children who have been rescued from a life of neglect or abuse or abandonment. They live in a family environment where their needs are met and they receive not only food and shelter and clothing, but loving adults who care for them and have become their family. They go to school, participate in daily chores and learn what family responsibilities are. They attend church if they choose to, and most always do. I will be profiling each child sometime soon at this site. Their stories are very sad, but the life they have now is very hopeful and promising.
The idea for the new Family Resource center is to replicate what has been created at the farm many times over. By having a “village” of homes where a couple or perhaps a widow can care for 12 children in a home environment is the ideal alternative to an orphanage. Supplementing these homes will be a health clinic, a school, a vocational training facility, a farm where orchards and crops and animals can be grown to provide food for the homes and stores where items can be sold to the public that have been produced at the center.
The children at the current farm have come to love the employees and volunteers that serve them. They also love each and every American volunteer team that visits for 3 weeks and enriches their lives with love and attention. Most of all they love Auntie Kathy. She has developed a wonderful program here and has a great vision of how to turn this “farm” into the Family Resource Center of Zambia. When it is completed we hope it will be a prototype for others throughout
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
I have been to