Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Rescue... Carol Zulu

The following story was written by Dianna Boyce, a team leader who has been with Mothers Without Borders for several years. Her description of the rescue of this very special girl is one that you will always remember. Thank you for sharing this with me, Dianna!

The Rescue
...that's right. Yesterday we really did rescue a child. Just be forewarned: this is going to be a L O N G one. Really, words cannot fully explain the events of the day. And, in writing, it may not all make sense. You just had to be there. Here's a little background information: At our kids camp at Julius Village earlier in the week we had the groups of kids perform dramas to end the camp. One group of about thirty young girls performed a song and this little girl, Carol, just sang her heart out. Our whole team got a kick out of her. She was a one-girl gospel choir. In fact, the Zambian volunteer we had with us, finally just had to cut her off from singing because she wouldn't stop. When she was finished she told our volunteer, "I just can't stop sometimes. I feel the Spirit of God so strongly that I just have to keep singing." I loved that.
In contrast, when Kathy arrived back from the States on Wednesday, our staff informed her of a little girl that had been treated in the medical screenings in Julius Village that they were quite concerned about. Josephine, our program director, had given her grandmother transport money to take her to a local clinic, but didn't know if she actually would. We ended up connecting that the sick little girl was Carol (although you never would have known it from the way she was singing!). I'll spare the details because it's pretty bad, but her medical examination showed that she has multiple STDs from being molested by an uncle starting about 2 years ago. Her condition has progressed so much that it's showing up as sores on her face as well. Kathy and Josephine made the determination that they needed to follow up on her condition.
Now, to the events of yesterday. Yesterday was titled "Africa Day" where as a team we rode in the back of our big truck, bought trees and then went to the newly purchased 55 acres of land and planted them. The team had to haul water from a well that's a fair distance away from the land. It was a great experience. We originally planned on slaughtering chickens at the farm with the kids there (they're pros at it!) but their water pump is broken and it takes a lot of water to boil and pluck the chickens. I witnessed that my first year and that was enough. I was o.k. with missing it.
While we were at the new land, Kathy, Fred and Josephine went to Julius Village to find out about Carol. We ended up meeting up with them on the road as we left the land and about 6 of us got off the bus and into the back of the truck because the bus was SUPER packed with people. We figured we were headed back to the farm for our sewing school graduation. Turns out Kathy received information from the village that Carol and her grandmother had gone to a clinic and Kathy wanted to see if they could find her before we went to the farm. We tried one clinic with no success and then drove about 20 minutes down the road to another. She had been there, but already left and all they gave her was amoxicillon. They didn't do any testing or refer her to VCT (that's voluntary counseling & treatment for HIV. It's free HIV testing and help). It was interesting to see the sense of urgency developing in all of us that we needed to find Carol. Kathy offered a prayer asking that we would be guided to find this little girl and know how to help her once we did. It was at least a 30 minute drive back to Julius Village. About halfway there we stopped to ask if anyone had seen them and a group of children told us they had been there and were headed back to the village. So, we pressed on. Eventually, after driving on the most African road I have experienced, we found Carol in the village.
She and five siblings are being cared for by her grandmother in the tiniest, dilapidated shelter-type structure you can imagine. It was beyond belief. Her father and mother abandoned them quite a few months ago. We learned from the grandmother that the father actually came to visit about 2 weeks ago, but saw Carol's condition and said he would never take her like that. That's the short version, of course. So, Kathy and Josephine talked to the grandmother about getting treatment for Carol. They offered to take her into MWB care temporarily so that she could be tested, receive treatment and get a little healthier. The grandmother was, of course, reluctant (who wouldn't be?) and wanted to seek permission from the parents first. That about sent Kathy over the edge. She had Josephine calmly translate that these parents had given up their rights long ago by choosing abandonment and neglect for their child and that the rights of this child had to be considered as well. It was kind of funny because we had George, the dad of the children's village farm, with us and he had about 30 seconds to decide if he wanted to become a dad yet again. What would his sweet wife, Faith, say? She's due to have a baby in about 2 months as it is! But when Kathy turned and asked him what he thought, his answer was, "Oh, yes, we must take her. We cannot leave her here." And when we asked Carol what she wanted to do, she said that she wanted to get well.
The grandmother's friend came over and listened to what was going on and told the grandmother that she should not hesitate. They had been praying that someone would come to help Carol so that she would get well and this was the answer to her prayers. (Thank goodness for Fred translating in my ear!) So, we loaded up Carol in the back of the truck with Kathy right beside her and she started singing. And she sang for all 45 minutes of the drive to the farm. When she wasn't singing, she was giving us little sermons about being forgiven and prayer. She told us that if we ask God for things, he will always take care of us and answer our prayers. Kathy asked her if she really believed that and she responded saying yes because God had given her food, clothes and family. Oh, did I feel humbled to be taught by such a strong, mature spirit in a tiny, sick, malnourished twelve-year old body. I wish you could have seen her. You can tell she has been taught the Bible well. I think she's definitely been part of some hand-clapping, vibrant church that has permeated every part of her.
When we got back to the farm around 4, (we were supposed to be there at about 12!) Carol first went around and shook everyone's hands, like she was the one welcoming them. One of the Americans went and got a sandwich off of our bus for her and Carol started breaking it off into tiny pieces and handing them out to the other children. It was just too much to see this hungry little girl put the needs of strangers above those of her own. What a lesson to be learned there! We finally convinced her after she gave over half of the sandwich away that she needed to eat the rest. So, for now, she'll be at the farm and next week she'll go get tested and, should her results for HIV show up positive she'll get on the ARVs (anti-retroviral treatment). It's going to be a long road though.
So, yesterday I had a true "Africa Day," although I never could have foreseen what the events would be. I really saw what it meant to be a Mother Without Borders. It means caring for children all over the world, but, also, just stepping outside of the border of our own families to save a suffering child. The tag-line of the organization is 'nurturing and caring for orphaned and vulnerable children.' I've never seen a clearer example than this. We were able to literally rescue this orphaned, vulnerable and exploited girl and put her in a safe place. That's what this organization is about. And that's what it TRULY means when we say, "One child at a time." This was hands-on, clinical experience that has kind of put me into an emotional whirlwind, but it will all settle eventually, and I will be forever changed because of it. Words cannot describe how blessed I feel to have been a part of this and to have stood by Kathy's side through most of it. Her ability to follow inspiration, to really be still and then act on specific promptings is amazing. I remember at Neal A. Maxwell's funeral it was said that "His genius was the product of diligence." I can't help but think of Kathy in that same way. She is tireless when it comes to saving these children and protecting their rights. I thought of Christ and how he wasn't just satisfied with the 99, but had to go searching for the lost ONE. We have 15 kids at the farm already. It's a huge responsibility and could probably be considered more than 'enough.' But, Kathy and Josephine found the One. It took searching and prayer and diligence, but they found her and now she is safe.
MWB has been working with this village for over a year now. They know Innocent and Josephine well and they are always so grateful for the American volunteers that we bring. One of the reasons the grandmother was comfortable and consented to us taking Carol is because of the trust we have established and support we have given to the village in their development. If all that has transpired in the past year or so with this village in building a strong relationship and bringing in our teams was just so that we could take that little girl into our care yesterday it was worth it. Just being able to help one really was enough.
Carol reminded me that happiness is not based on circumstances, it's based on your relationship with God. For all of the suffering that has occurred in her life, which is surely more than I will experience in a lifetime, the love of her Heavenly Father has transcended all of that. She can speak of forgiveness and love and sing praises to him. She knows that he is mindful of her and loves her. She has left a true 'heart-print' with me.
Whew! I knew it would be a long story. Really, when do I run out of things to say? :-) I'm so thankful for the time I have to be here. I miss home, but I needed the time here to really grow and gain understanding of who I am and what I am capable of giving. There is so much we can all do. Kathy has taught me that it's all about just being aware and available to what Heavenly Father wants us to do. If we can wake up each day and in our prayers say, "What would you have me do?" and "Where would you have me go?" we can truly do His work. I hope that I don't ever go another night without praying for children who are suffering and that those who have the means and ability to help them will be inspired, because I saw so clearly how our actions yesterday were an answer to prayers that had been offered up. Being here truly has changed me in every way and in every relationship that I have. I could never fully express how thankful I am for that.
The team leaves tomorrow. Maybe I'll email some 'lighter' things after that. I do have a good story about being chased by a dog on our run the other morning, but I'll save that one.

Much love from your humble, grateful and truly blessed friend,

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Sewing Club

Mothers Without Borders helped organize a sewing club. After learning sewing and needlework skills the women then produced items which they could sell for profit. Here at a monthly craft market Florence and Catherine sell club wares. Their specialty is market bags of all shapes and sizes which have been crocheted from cut up plastic grocery bags.

The Rainy Season

The rainy season does have its benefits for those who love to play in water!


Malaria is a fact of life here. It is a consideration every traveler must deal with. We take malaria preventive medication every day we are here. It is an important thing because now it is the rainy season and I get bitten by mosquitoes a lot. They are an interesting variety, too…. They are really quiet and fast and bite you without you realizing it until you start itching. I have never even heard a buzzing from a mosquito here at all, but I can testify their bites itch!

I didn’t realize how bad malaria was until Kathy had it while she stayed here the past few weeks. She had contracted it years ago when she was in Kenya and once you get it in your blood you never get rid of it. It can reappear later as did happen with her. I am including some interesting facts on malaria for you to read:
Malaria is a long-lasting disease of the blood. It is transmitted to people by mosquitoes infected with the malaria parasite. The malaria parasite attacks the blood and causes recurring chills, fever, and sometimes jaundice and anemia. In the United States, the main risk is to persons traveling to tropical and subtropical countries where malaria is a problem.

Malaria Worldwide
Forty-one percent of the world's population live in areas where malaria is transmitted (e.g., parts of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America, Hispaniola, and Oceania).
An estimated 700,000-2.7 million persons die of malaria each year, 75% of them African children.
In areas of Africa with high malaria transmission, an estimated 990,000 people died of malaria in 1995 – over 2700 deaths per day, or 2 deaths per minute.
In 2002, malaria was the fourth cause of death in children in developing countries, after perinatal conditions (conditions occurring around the time of birth), lower respiratory infections (pneumonias), and diarrheal diseases. Malaria caused 10.7% of all children's deaths in developing countries.
In Malawi in 2001, malaria accounted for 22% of all hospital admissions, 26% of all outpatient visits, and 28% of all hospital deaths. Not all people go to hospitals when sick or having a baby, and many die at home. Thus the true numbers of death and disease caused by malaria are likely much higher.

No vaccine against malaria is available. Travelers can protect themselves by using anti-mosquito measures and by taking drugs to prevent malaria.

How is malaria spread? A person gets malaria from the bite of an infected female mosquito. The mosquito bite injects young forms of the malaria parasite into the person's blood. The parasites travel through the person's bloodstream to the liver, where they grow to their next stage of development. In 6 to 9 days, the parasites leave the liver and enter the bloodstream again. They invade the red blood cells, finish growing, and begin to multiply quickly. The number of parasites increases until the red blood cells burst, releasing thousands of parasites into the person's bloodstream. The parasites attack other red blood cells, and the cycle of infection continues, causing the common signs and symptoms of malaria.

When a non-infected mosquito bites an infected person, the mosquito sucks up parasites from the person's blood. The mosquito is then infected with the malaria parasites. The parasites go through several stages of growth in the mosquito. When the mosquito bites someone else, that person will become infected with malaria parasites, and the cycle will begin again.
Malaria parasites can also be transmitted by transfusion of blood from an infected person or by the use of needles or syringes contaminated with the blood of an infected person.
What are the signs and symptoms of malaria? People with malaria typically have cycles of chills, fever, and sweating that recur every 1, 2, or 3 days. The attack of the malaria parasites on the person's red blood cells makes the person's temperature rise and the person feel hot. The subsequent bursting of red blood cells makes the person feel cold and have hard, shaking chills. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea often go along with the fever. The destruction of red blood cells can also cause jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes) and anemia.

Kathy’s words to us, “You don’t ever want to experience this disease for yourself. Take it from me, it is the sickest I have EVER felt in my life!”

How soon after exposure do symptoms appear? The time between a mosquito bite and the start of illness is usually 7 to 21 days, but some types of malaria parasites take much longer to cause symptoms. When infection occurs by blood transfusion, the time to the start of symptoms depends on the number of parasites in the transfusion.

What complications can result from malaria? Malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum can cause kidney or liver failure, coma, and death. Although infections with other malaria parasites cause less serious illness, parasites can remain inactive in the liver and cause a reappearance of symptoms months or even years later.

What is the treatment for malaria? The treatment for malaria depends on where a person is infected with the disease. Different areas of the world have malaria types that are resistant to certain medicines. The correct drugs for each type of malaria must be prescribed by a doctor.
Infection with Plasmodium falciparum is a medical emergency. About 2% of persons infected with falciparum malaria die, usually because of delayed treatment.


Almost everyone here seems to struggle for survival continually. Very few people have good steady jobs. The unemployment rate is about 85% - 95%. The things they need are basic… food and shelter. Food comes in the form of mealymeal…a ground corn meal which is cooked with water to form a heavy paste. It is rolled with a “relish” of meat, chicken, fish or vegetables and eaten with hands. Shelter comes in the form of a block home. The blocks are made from the dirt or concrete. Not all have windows. As in all places, the homes can be very nice or not very nice at all. Some have cement floors, while others only dirt floors.

Most do not have steady jobs. They survive by doing “piece work”… short temporary jobs or making anything which would sell for a small profit from carved animals to furniture or from knitted hats to rag rugs. There are hundreds and thousands of little stands by the road. They may be stocked with a small variety of items from a store, or just fresh vegetables, or kapenta (a small dried fish) or eggs or roasted corn. The hope is that someone will buy enough from them to provide enough money for a bag of meal. Labor is readily available. The going rate is about $2.50/day. If they own a home it is paid for. There are no mortgages. Often times people spend years building a home, completing it as they have money. They can move in as soon as there is a roof. Electricity is available but enjoyed by less than half the homes. A second home means rental income.
Truly the biggest challenge to most people is finding a way to survive. More are hungry than not.

Very few people own cars. During normal church services which would be about 150 people, we might find 6 or 8 cars in the parking lot. There are many taxis here and a public bus system. Most people are used to walking long distances on a daily basis. With gas at $6/gallon it is very expensive to own a car. The roads are very hard on cars. Many are not paved and the ones that are paved have huge potholes which most people swerve around continually. The rainy season creates a heavy toll on the dirt roads. They are just like washboards. Driving here requires acute concentration. Not only do you drive on the left side of the road, but you must be constantly aware of the hundreds of pedestrians that you pass along the way who walk on or close to your driving path. At night it is nearly impossible to see them.

In spite of their circumstances, most people seem happy. They find ways to survive. The family unit has a very strong sense of caring for each other. Any extended family member is helped if at all possible. With the high death rate here it is common to have grandmas and aunties taking care of orphaned children in their family.

History of Zambia

History of Zambia

Today the country is made up almost entirely of Bantu-speaking peoples. Empire builder Cecil Rhodes obtained mining concessions in 1889 from King Lewanika of the Barotse and sent settlers to the area soon thereafter. The region was ruled by the British South Africa Company, which Rhodes established, until 1924, when the British government took over the administration.

From 1953 to 1964, Northern Rhodesia was federated with Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (now Malawi) in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. On Oct. 24, 1964, Northern Rhodesia became the independent nation of Zambia.
Kenneth Kaunda, the first president, kept Zambia within the Commonwealth of Nations. The country's economy, dependent on copper exports, was threatened when Rhodesia declared its independence from British rule in 1965 and defied UN sanctions, which Zambia supported, an action that deprived Zambia of its trade route through Rhodesia. The U.S., Britain, and Canada organized an airlift in 1966 to ship gasoline into Zambia.

In 1972 Kaunda outlawed all opposition political parties. The world copper market collapsed in 1975. The Zambian economy was devastated—it had been the third-largest miner of copper in the world after the United States and Soviet Union. With a soaring debt and inflation rate in 1991, riots took place in Lusaka, resulting in a number of killings. Mounting domestic pressure forced Kaunda to move Zambia toward multiparty democracy. National elections on Oct. 31, 1991, brought a stunning defeat to Kaunda. The new president, Frederick Chiluba, called for sweeping economic reforms, including privatization and the establishment of a stock market. He was reelected in Nov. 1996. Chiluba declared martial law in 1997 and arrested Kaunda following a failed coup attempt. The 1999 slump in world copper prices again depressed the economy because copper provides 80% of Zambia's export earnings.

In 2001 Chiluba contemplated changing the constitution to allow him to run for another presidential term. After protests he relented and selected Levy Mwanawasa, a former vice president with whom he had fallen out, as his successor. Mwanawasa became president in Jan. 2002; opposition parties protested over alleged fraud. In June 2002, Mwanawasa, once seen as a pawn of Chiluba, accused the former president of stealing millions from the government while in office. Chiluba was arrested and charged in Feb. 2003.
Although the country faced the threat of famine in 2002, the president refused to accept any international donations of food that had been genetically modified, which Mwanawasa considered “poison.” In Aug. 2003, impeachment proceedings against the president for corruption were rejected by parliament. In April 2005, the World Bank approved a $3.8 billion debt relief package for the country.

In Sept. 2006 presidential elections, incumbent Levy Mwanawasa was reelected.

The New Land

The new land where the Family Resource Center will be about 20 miles outside of Lusaka. Right now it is the rainy season and there is plenty of tall green grass. As the rains stop it all turns dry and brown. Often times farmers will burn the dry grass to clear it. During this time men will "slash" it to cut it down using machetes.

Facts about Zambia

Geography: Size is 752,614 sq km , slightly larger than Texas, US. Zambia has a tropical climate which is modified by altitude. There's one rainy season which lasts from October to April. Zambia's terrain is mostly high plateau with some hills and mountains. Its lowest point is the Zambezi river at 329 m and its highest point is an unnamed location in Mafinga Hills standing at 2,301 m. Zambia is a landlocked country with the Zambezi river forming a natural boundary with Zimbabwe.

Zambia has moved from being a major copper producer and potentially one of the continent's richest countries at independence in 1964 to one of the world's poorest.
A colonial legacy, mismanagement, debt and disease are said to have contributed to the country's tribulations.
Zambia is landlocked and sparsely populated by more than 70 ethnic groups, many of them Bantu-speaking. It has some spectacular scenery, including the Victoria Falls along the Zambezi river, the Bangweulu Swamps and the Luangwa river valley. In the late 1960s it was the third largest copper miner, after the US and the Soviet Union. World copper prices collapsed in 1975 with devastating effects on the economy.
The World Bank has urged Zambia to develop other sources of revenue - including tourism and agriculture. Even so, copper accounts for most of Zambia's foreign earnings and there is optimism about the future of the industry, which was privatised in the 1990s. Electronics manufacturers have fuelled demand and investment in mines has grown.
Aids is blamed for decimating the cream of Zambian professionals - including engineers and politicians - and malaria is a major problem. Millions of Zambians live below the World Bank poverty threshold of $1 a day.
Zambia hosts tens of thousands of refugees who have fled fighting in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Population: Just over 11 million people live in Zambia. Life expectancy is around 39 years. Birth rate is on average 5.47 per woman. 16.5% of the population is believed to have HIV/AIDS, although many claim that it is closer to 35%. Literacy rate is at 80%.
Languages: English (official); major vernaculars include Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, and about 70 other indigenous languages.
Ethnic Groups: African 98.7% (major tribes - Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga, Chewa), European 1.1%, and other 0.2%.
Religion: Christian 50%-75%, Muslim and Hindu 24%-49%, indigenous beliefs 1%.
Tropical climate; modified by altitude. The rainy season is normally between the months of October to April.

It is mostly high plateau with some hills and mountains. The lowest point are the Zambezi river 329 m and highest point the unnamed location in Mafinga Hills 2,301 m above sea level.

Natural resources
These are copper, cobalt, zinc, lead, coal, emeralds, gold, silver, uranium, and hydropower

Land use
Arable land: 7.08% permanent crops: 0.03% other: 92.9% (2001)
460 sq km (1998 est.) irrigated land. Currently this is improving as more commercial farming is beginning mostly in the central province of Zambia.

Natural hazards
Periodic drought and tropical storms between November and April.

Environmental current issues
These are air pollution and resulting acid rain in the mineral extraction and refining region; chemical runoff into watersheds; poaching seriously threatens rhinoceros, elephant, antelope, and large cat populations; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; lack of adequate water treatment presents human health risks.

The infant mortality rate. (Year 2005 estimate.)
Total: 88.29 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectance
The total population is: 39.7 years
Total fertility rate
5.47 children born/woman

Thursday, March 1, 2007

This is the gate in front of our house. It must be opened and closed every time we enter. At night it is padlocked in 3 places.

City street: no houses in view...only the walls in front of them.

Glass shards and broken bottle are cemented into the tops of all the walls so trespassers cannot climb over them.