Why support Compassion or Watoto


I wrote a post on why I don’t support Compassion but this one is an argument for why I should. This is by no means a change in my views that long-term Aid cripples rather than lifts up but an addition to it. As I said in the other post, I used to sponsor but due to financial constraints I stopped. It is a commitment that requires a consideration of where you are and whether or not you can continue paying the monthly $48.

1. Compassion and Watoto are honourable in the work they do.

I once had an issue with Compassion over the way information was presented at a conference and got in touch with them. They were open and apologised and explained their policy and how they do things. I was left feeling more confident in the work they do. They let locals tell them what is needed instead of going in and saying “this is the way things should be done.”
The locals run all the programs. They are clear about what it is they are doing with the money and up to date, I have not seen an ad of theirs that uses falsified information.
The same goes for Watoto. And any person who would stay and help people in a war zone, definitely gets respect from me…

2. There are people in Serious need

I used to often look at Aid adverts especially if Africa was mentioned and think “this is not possible, I grew up in Africa and things aren’t that bad.” But isn’t it funny how we are so quick to say that and yet we get so angry when we are grouped together as Africans. I don’t know how many times I have been asked questions that assume I’ve come from poverty because I am African. I think at least two people even assumed I was a refugee. Considering we know that there are variations in culture and circumstances, doesn’t it make more sense that some countries are well better off than others and that what we have seen, is by no means the norm? there are peaceful countries as well as war-torn ones as well as famine and abundance. In the case of countries like Rwanda, Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, etc. there is a need for outside help and Aid, within reason to help them build. Couple the effects of war with HIV, you have children that need caring for. I have never been to any other countries in Africa except my own and Zimbabwe and South Africa. From what I have heard from people who have been to some of these places that have experienced war, the levels of poverty are beyond words. That doesn’t mean however that poverty doesn’t exist in our country…it exists everywhere.

3. Personal responsibility

I am an African and there are very few Africans who sponsor children. Don’t get me wrong! There are a lot and I mean a lot! of Africans who take care of orphaned children within the family as well as outside. But I used to think why should I sponsor children when I have family who need “sponsorship”. I have family with needs and  that those children have family too. But the reality is in war, families are disrupted. Our Pastor who went to Rwanda recently was telling us how in some cases only one family member out of 74 had survived. So many children were left alone, with no one. As an African, it is my responsibility to take care of my own. I came to this conclusion thanks to my Pastors and because of the convictions that God had been placing on my heart prior to that. But hearing what our pastors saw, and their wise counsel, we have to rise up and take responsibility for Africa. I guess it is even possible to say, for those suffering in the world. Starting with our own but growing to fit the whole world in our hearts.

I still hate the adverts with the swollen bellied children and a fly. But in this world, no one is perfect and you can’t have it all. There are only two organisations of this kind that I find this close to perfect. Compassion and Watoto. So if you are going to sponsor a child, definitely do it through them. Also consider the cost and whether you can manage it before you commit but definitely consider it!

We Africans are a lazy bunch


I once posted the heading of this piece on Facebook. I was praised by some but on a larger scale was bombarded by anger and disappointment. No doubt people were thinking “yes, tell them!” and others probably thought I was looking down my nose at Africans because I am in the Western World. This is not even in the least a licence for any non-African to say, “Africans are lazy”. Believe me when I say I love Africa; There is no place more beautiful, no group of people more lovely, no culture more rich and definitely no group of people more hard-working.

Okay, so why would I say we are a lazy bunch if I believe we are hard-working? I don’t believe in stereotypes and this is by no means a labelling of a whole group of people. The simplest answer would be the analogy that if Africa were a person, God would not come back today and say “well done my good and faithful servant!” That is the simplest answer I can give based on the fact that Africa is the richest continent there is. We have every resource, starting from people right down to minerals, land and food. I will give an example of a small country in Southern Africa, called Zambia. Compare Zambia and Australia, you find that the soil in Zambia is way better; throw seed on the ground, it grows. The rain comes every single year without fail. Australia on the other hand is mostly desert. The soil is not as rich and the rain not as reliable and yet they manage to produce food and even export it.

We have been blessed with so much and yes, our challenges are huge! The thing is, these challenges are meant to grow us, not make us shrink back and stop trying. We have been ravaged by HIV and AIDS, leaving many orphaned, yet we are not leading the effort to find a cure. Malaria is stunting the growth of  our economies and yet there is little effort on our part to get rid of it. We are at the mercy of pharmaceutical companies that have no need to care about Africa. We allow people from other parts of the world to dictate how we run our countries. When the west came with baby formula saying it was better for babies, we let them in and even though we still breast feed our children, they came back years later to teach us how to breast feed. We allow ourselves to be shown as incompetent because at the end of it we will get some money.

Instead of working hard to develop our countries, our politicians are lazy and power-hungry only concerned with lining their pockets, forgetting that the Africa they are building will be the Africa their grandkids occupy. Our mines are owned by foreigners and we all sit back and watch as what is ours is taken from us, tax-free. How can a continent so rich be so dependent on the western world for Aid??? Why is there no justice in our own countries when the one victimising us is a foreigner? Why have we made ourselves so vulnerable? How long will we cry colonialism and how long will we blame the world for our failures?

Belgium and France might have divided the Rwandans but it was a African leader who was too lazy to do his job that he decided it made sense to make a difference as small as tribe be what people focused on, and it was the people, marching with weapons who chose to kill, regardless of who shot the Presidents plane down or who supplied the weapons. It wasn’t Britain that bought designer suits using Zambian Tax payers money while education standards were falling. It wasn’t Britain dividing and conquering us, as people took to the streets with weapons because their political party had internal fractions. It wasn’t colonial masters that took farms by force in Zim and after the white farmers left, it wasn’t them that failed to manage the farms. Yes sanctions were imposed but there was still a whole continent willing to trade with Zim. In the same vein, it wasn’t the Colonial “masters” that mismanaged ZCCM to a point that we couldn’t run our mines. The examples are endless.

We keep pointing to what the Colonial “masters” did but our choices today are ours and we have to take responsibility for them. Our street kid problem can not be blamed on the “powers that are trying to divide and conquer Africa” but us! We have failed to take care of our children. And as long as we blame “them”, aren’t we then saying, we are still under “them”?

I know there are a lot of people who spend sleepless nights studying for exams. There are people tilling the land and people working endless hours trying to provide for their families, but in a sense like the servant in the bible, we have buried the gifts given to us and refused to multiply them. And it seems that even that which we have, is being taken from us.

When God gave  the bags of money to the servants, he gave them each according to their ability. We have been given so much! Have we really realised how able we are to change the lives of our people? We can bless the world! Why would God choose us, to give all this wealth to? Considering to whom much is given, much is required, have we really lived up to the requirements of our gifts?

The issue isn’t how hard we work as individuals but that we as a continent, are waiting for the world to solve our problems. I was asked what I was doing to change my country and continent because all I do is talk. I don’t claim to know it all. I know I am part of the problem and I hope and pray that we will rise up and fight this fight to see ourselves as worthy of more. That we will be able to say “I am responsible for my country and continent!” if anyone has interfered with the goings on of my house, it is because I have let them!

Yes, maybe lazy isn’t the best term but I have racked my mind to find a better term and cannot. We need to stop looking at greener pastures and complaining about what we don’t have and start working with what we have because it is so much more than we realise.  Being in Perth for 6 years has made me realise just how blessed we are as Africans. To whom much is given, much is required and considering how much we have been given, we will be held accountable for a lot!

A21 Campaign walk for freedom


So, was going to say that today was the A21 Campaign walk for freedom but it was actually yesterday, missed it by a few hours. My mum and I walked today but we didn’t finish the whole 7 km walk because we got lost on our way to the starting point and were running late because we had been cooking for an event at our Church, which happened to be African Night.

There are people suffering out there and this might sound self-centred but just walking and donating money towards a cause like this, I think is a good way to help make better choices. In the fight for purity, it’s always a good thing to be reminded that behind the pornographic video or photo there might be a woman who is enslaved. Two slaves; the consumer and the one who matters most, the victim.

Before you access pornography, remember, there is a person on the other end, who in a lot of cases does not want to be where they are. Before you enter a brothel, remember that too. There are so many people who call for the legalisation of the sex trade but do we ever consider the ramifications of such a move? Even if brothels were regulated, so many people would slip through the cracks, especially in countries where corruption is rife.

I pray that God gives us enough compassion for the many who are enslaved by our selfish desires. That even when temptation arises, we will see our own children, family and friends exploited and that “that” will keep us sane enough to say no. Its only in saying no that an industry this big can ever be overcome. On a deeper level, that His love and grace will penetrate to the depths of our hearts and render us only slaves to Him.

49 years of independence


We went from “one Zambia, one nation” to a nation whose leading party is split and their cadres killing each other in a space of less than 50 years. This has never happened in the History of Zambia. Zambians are known to be peaceful people and now here we are 49 years after fighting for independence from Britain with a ruling party without leadership. People have often said how hard times were  during  President Kaunda’s time but I don’t think it ever got to a point where people marched with ama panga hacking others to death. I might be wrong because I wasn’t there but I have never read or been told of such lawlessness or disregard for lives.

Kaunda united us with a motto of one Zambia one nation. His ministers where not of a particular tribe and despite his failures, we became one people under him. Chiluba came on the scene and apparently made things better for Zambians. Even though he was not my favourite of people, he had respect for life. He declared Zambia a Christian nation and people applauded him, all the while taking what belonged to Zambians and setting himself up. But in a sense he still united Zambians. Then Mwanawasa came and fought corruption that had entangled our country…a vice on steroids. He died and our country went to the Dogs. President Banda took the country back further than we would care to admit and now President Sata.

I shake my head not knowing how to say the truth whilst being respectful of a man who makes it hard to respect him. The PF government is bickering within itself. Our President has no respect for world leaders. He has insulted the Tswana people, insulted the Nigerians. Should that surprise us when even before he became president he was insulting the president as well as Zambians? Zambians are peaceful people. We prided ourselves in that but now how can we say that when for the first time cadres have walked our streets with weapons, and hacked themselves to death.

Have we forgotten what has happened in the countries around us? What makes us think that we can ever win if we turn on each other? What country will we leave for our children? Have we hardened our hearts so much that we can’t hold life as sacred? We shake our heads at what the whites have done to us or what the Hutus did to the Tutsis or what Mugabe is doing but what makes us think we are any better??? The volcano is erupting and for the first time in my life I am ashamed of what we Zambians are becoming! Our people need leadership that embraces all people and keeps itself in check. Elders have to show themselves respectable and I am sorry to say that I do not believe our elders have done that.

So much for our President claiming that our country will be run on a Christian foundation. Many people claim that the Colonial masters came in with a bible in one hand and a gun in the other. Our Politicians come in flying the banner of Christ while stealing from the most vulnerable. Our President needs to lead his party before his party can lead us. We need to become One Zambia – One Nation again! ;(

Why Porn is good for Society


This might come as a surprise but I thought I might give some insight as to why porn is good for our society. Christians constantly claim it has bad effects on the people viewing it and that it is destroying our society. But then can we really listen to a bunch of “fairy tale believing adults”? Porn is simply adult entertainment and adults have the right to access whatever it is they like. Also, internet pornography comes with an age verification process, thereby allowing for the protection of children from viewing adult material. That makes sense doesn’t it?

Adults do have the right to do with their lives as they please, however, statistics show that the average age of first exposure to pornography is 11 years old…11 years old! How effective is the age verification process if all you have to do is click “Yes, I am above 18” to view porn.  According to the ABC, children are viewing porn online as young as 6 years old.  Porn is addictive, yet unlike Cocaine it is legal in most countries. Adults should have the right to access what they please but in the case of drugs, we as a society don’t afford that right to people. Why? Because it destroys people and it has negative effects on society.

While there are many studies into the effects of childhood exposure to media violence, there is very little being done in the area of exposure to sexually explicit material; sex scenes in movies inclusive. Is it so important for adults to have their entertainment at the expense of children? Clearly, what is intended for adults is mostly being accessed by children and believe me, we have given way to a storm that will destroy our world in ways we never thought possible. Sex isn’t meant to be watched, but what we have done is taken private acts and made them public.

I am the face of a child whose first exposure to sex in the media was before age 11. It was a sex-scene in a movie. I have no idea who brought the movie into the house and I don’t think my parents even knew it was present. I had already been exposed to sex at the time and maybe that made me more curious, I don’t know and I won’t make excuses. I used to sometimes wait till no one was there or when everyone was asleep and put the movie on and fast forward to the one scene. At age 16 I viewed porn online and it left me feeling suicidal. I watched it again and again and believe me, it has ruined me in ways that most can never understand. What is the real cost of adult entertainment? Can anyone really answer that?

Fact is, we are learning to objectify each other, yes, men and women, not just men. In a world where we only see human beings as something that can satisfy our desires, how then do we function as a society? In a world where kids grow up as sex crazed animals, what sort of leaders are we producing? Porn crosses all sorts of boundaries and the more you indulge, the more of it you want and soon watching behind a TV screen or monitor isn’t enough and you want to experiment. And even that ceases to be enough and you start crossing boundaries in relationships. A few years ago, there were news reports of kids dying because they were choking themselves during sex. Where did they learn to do these things??? Marriages are breaking down, Congress men are tweeting nude photos of themselves, Sexual violence and perversions are rampant, we are a society destroying ourselves and refusing to protect the most vulnerable. I have to say the fairy tale believing adults (I do not in anyway think God is a fairy tale and totally believe in Him), are right in their assessment of porn.

I wish I new then what I know now, so let me sound the warning! DON’T INDULGE IN PORN, YOU MIGHT NEVER COME OUT ALIVE AND YOU MIGHT TAKE A GENERATION TO THE PITS WITH YOU!

Honey soaked lips


His scent was better than that of honey suckle and his lips sweeter than honey. His tongue seemed covered in it and before I knew it, I was caught in a web it span. He was a sweet talker. I was young and foolish. He put his arm against the small of my back and I melted into him. We fit like two puzzle pieces, intended for each other. His lips felt warm and tender against mine and all my defences dissolved. I gave myself whole heartedly to him, my heart that is.

He seemed so gentle until he started wanting to know my every move. He seemed sure that because I would not sleep with him, I didn’t love him. Then the accusations started. Whenever I missed his call…I remember the first time his hands circled my throat. I was so sure he would kill me. He let me go and I doubled over, clutching my throat as my airway refused to open. When I finally recovered, he picked me up. “If you’re going to be my wife, learn to submit.”

He wasn’t a bad man, just had a temper like a viper. My father didn’t seem to like him but my mother and his family convinced him he was a God-fearing man who came from a lovely family. What they didn’t know was, his mother was, like I was to become, a battered woman, I remember the lessons…the ones we’re given before the wedding. I tried my best to do what he expected and yet it was never good enough.

I didn’t mean to kill him, but here I am, labelled as a murderer. I was fast asleep when I was pulled out of bed. He was too drunk to even know what he was doing. I was in bed fast asleep and before I knew it, I was fighting for my life. I was fighting for my life! Who am I kidding? I am still fighting for my life. In here, TB will probably kill me. A child died yesterday from it and her mother is wasting away. I hear people coughing all the time.

God, my children are suffering all because I stayed! I tried, but they always sent me back. Ba Tata was right all along. He saw something that I couldn’t and when I did see it, I still married him. There’s no justice in this world. I won’t even have the means to care for my children. His family has probably taken everything. OH GOD WHERE ARE YOU WHEN WE WOMEN ARE BEATEN, SOMETIMES TO DEATH? I am sure he would have killed me. I pushed him to stop him hitting me, I just never thought he would hit his head and die. God, do you see what has become of your child? Even the people in the old testament had cities of refuge, when you killed someone without intent…but here in a Christian nation, there is no justice.

Influencers


This week past, has been a huge blessing for me. Monday to Wednesday night, we attended the Influencers conference in Perth Western Australia. It happens every year in Adelaide and Perth in January.

I was deeply challenged, convicted and encouraged to be more than I am now. One of the greatest questions I was asked amidst all the teaching was “Am I carrying my share of the burden?” Its a question worth asking any one of us, Zambian, Australian, those countryless…anyone. As a Christian, am I carrying my share of the burden? As a family member, am I carrying my share of the burden? As a Zambian am I carrying my share of the burden? As a person living in Australia am I carrying my share of the burden?

We all have something to offer even though we think otherwise, but it’s time we got over ourselves and lived for Someone greater than ourselves. Dr Ravi Zacharias said, it takes one man to lead people into untold evil but it also only takes one man to change the world for good. What is your contribution to this world? When will we stop waiting for someone else to bring change and be the ones that stand for truth and justice?

I was convicted because I know in whom I have believed and yet do not live my life as one with conviction. I am not a source of hope for broken people. There’s a need in the world, we are meant to meet. As Zambian’s what are we doing but sitting and waiting for change to come or seeking to better our own lives and not the lives of those around us? As people, we uproot boundaries wanting to live free but true freedom has some boundaries. The consequences of removing those boundaries will be devastating. When will we stand up for what is right and true?

I was challenged to live out my faith, to get over my small life, small world and focus on Christ and live for Him. I was challenged to forgive and move on, to not let the past determine where I am going; I was challenged to let go once again.I was encouraged because I have great dreams that I believe were planted in me. Dreams that seem impossible but I know that the one who placed them in me, will fulfil them, if only I believe. In the end, it’s all for His glory