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Back from Zambia
I am back from Zambia. What a long trip home that was!! We awoke Sunday a.m. and rode in a jeep, a ferry, a bus, and 3 airplanes. You could even say we rode on a train if you count the rail in the Atlanta airport that gets you between terminals.
The experience was incredible. The extremes we encountered were mind numbing - from the incredible wild life in Botswana's Chobe National Park to a dusty, barefooted orphan in tattered clothing beaming at you and asking you to be his friend.
One day, I tagged along on a trip to an outreach clinic 65 km into the bush. The trip was 2 hours each way on the worst sandy, bumpy road I have ever ridden on . There were 11 of us in a Land Rover provided to Mwandi Mission Hosptial by Catholic Relief Services with money from PEPFAR (US funds for AIDS relief)! The "clinic" was a two room mud hut (about 8 x 12) with a thatched roof - no electricity or running water. The clinic ended at dusk because the medical personnel could no longer see to examine patients and fill prescriptions. I mostly observed and got to see how PEPFAR money is providing medical care and drugs to people in remote rural areas who would die without it. The nurse practioner from Mwandi who goes on these weekly outreach trips into the bush told me that these clinics would not be possible without money from PEPFAR.
I also learned that Kandiana, the "old folks home" at Mwandi Mission, receives $600 a month from the Zambian government - money that is available because of debt relief. These funds also provide students at Mwandi Mission's school with free examination books.
One afternoon we also spread the message of ONE at a bible school we conducted for area children. We presented the message in the context of Jesus as the good shepherd and that we are all a part of His flock, that we are all ONE big family. We sang "He's Got the Whole World in his Hands" and banded all the kids and adults with white ONE bands. Thanks Kim!
It is a trip I have been needing to take for a long time. I really can't adequately put into words how powerful the experience was.
If I ever in the past for just one second thought advocacy was useless, I can never have that thought again.
If you want to read the daily blog written by Rev. Susan Clayton who lead our trip, go to www.ipc-usa.org. There are about 7 brief entries with pictures. I haven't read them all myself and am looking forward to doing just that and to reflecting on our trip.
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