I've been a little sad over the past week, simply because my time in Zambia always slips away entirely too quickly. And yet, the days were full - of colour, of love, of family. The stories are just beginning to assemble themselves in some order in my mind and I'm beginning to think clearly about all I heard and saw and experienced....and I'm so hopeful. I'm so very hopeful for this little community that has become such a second home to me. I'm hopeful because the longevity of the work that the care workers are doing in that community is showing such beautiful response. It shows itself in the eyes of a boy who I've seen grow year after year into a kind and smart young man who is ready to lead in his community. It's in the eyes of the care worker who has been welcomed back into the arms of her friends despite several detours in life that left them sharing the responsibility of her children to be cared for. It's in the eyes of a grandmother who can laugh and joke though she and her grandson's only possessions, meagre as they were, were stolen recently and left them with nothing but reliance on the generosity of others who have not much themselves. This is the hope. Community based care. Love in its simplest form. Serving others starting with what you have, however little. It's not alleviating poverty or even suffering but it is an approach that shows humanity in its best form. When someone, a neighbour or even a relative stranger, comes and steps into the pain and suffering with someone, there is suddenly a lightness that comes to the situation. It doesn't always change the outcome of the situation for someone living in poverty or fighting a life threatening illness ... but it alleviates the darkness and loneliness that comes from feeling your on your own in it. When a mother can lock the door at night and know that in the morning, there will be those care workers who will come and check that she and her young daughter made it through to another day, despite the threats to their security because of their beauty and vulnerability.
I just wanted to share too, a glimpse of the natural beauty that I saw in Zambia. In the light. And the sun. And even in the dusk as the light was lost for another day. And too, the beauty in the darkness that was a million stars reflecting on the water...too incredible for my untrained eye and camera to capture, but that's okay too. Sometimes the most beautiful things aren't meant to be held anywhere other than in your mind's eye and in your heart.
This was our last full day in Zambia. We spent it on the Kafue River and just caught up with one another as a team, some of the last conversations we would have about our time together before we disbanded and travelled home. In all of it, there was incredible, untouched beauty...and here's just a sample. Of the light as it warmed us then left us and even the beauty of the hippos in the dusky water, grunting their unique song as we headed for home.