What a beautiful group of people! It took us almost three days to reach Kabompo, in rural north-west Zambia, but we were met with an extremely warm, sung welcome and over the following week the joy from the children kept coming.
I knew these people were poor, however this trip made that ‘head knowledge’ real, both intellectually and emotionally.
Many of the people of Kabompo are very poor and my heart was moved as I witnessed this for myself. The children came to play games and wandered in through the open doors of the church. They were happy and contented, but their weekday clothing was often worn and old.
We took a few sets of books with us so teachers can do whole-class reading with the children. We knew the school would not have many books, but finding that this was the first set of reading books which could be used by the whole class (even if that means sharing one between two or three) was difficult to take in. The teachers are supposed to have a central library resource for the school but as yet there is not even a bookshelf.
The people of Kabompo are in many ways at the end of the line. A tarmac road has been built but predominantly it takes their resources away rather than bringing wealth to them.
The revolution in working practices, health and living conditions they are experiencing in a few decades took a couple of centuries in the west, and I found it incongruous to find mobile phones being used by people who don’t all have running water. Here wardrobes are only for the rich. Electricity has reached Kabompo but has not been distributed to all the homes, schools or churches.
Meeting the sponsored children was exciting especially meeting the child we have been sponsoring. His mother said she could not thank us enough for the support provided by the sponsorship program. She is learning English as part of a community project with one of the teachers from the school.
I promised one of the ladies a Bible. The following day she was waiting for me and approached me with the words “where is my Bible?” I learnt a lesson from her about receiving a promise. From the time I made the promise she understood that Bible to be hers, the act of handing it over was merely a formality. In her mind the promise was complete. She was just waiting for delivery. The people of Kabompo hold the promises we make to them in just the same way. I need to honour God by fulfilling the promises He expects me to keep for them. I need to trust Him for what He has promised me in the same way.
Ken Hawkins, child sponsor and volunteer team member, Zambia 2019