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!

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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.

Precious…the birthing of a dream


she walked out of the house, throwing the blue new tropicals to the floor, she slipped her feet in and ran towards her grandmother who was walking down the dust path that led to away from their house and onto a dusty road. It was an hour’s walk to Chinfinsa congregation of the United church of Zambia. She could make it in 30 minutes if she picked up the pace but that was not going to be the case walking with her grandmother. she pulled the worn skirt made of chitenge material, to cover her belly button and walked beside her grandmother. She couldn’t hide her excitement at going to church today.

“natwendeshe” her grandmother called picking up pace. she wanted to make it to church before the St Marks Choir arrived. She never complained about the distance from Luano to their Church, which was in Munsenga, on the other side of the Chingola-Kitwe Road; a trek from where they lived.

“But mama, “she replied, “our service never starts on time.” Her grand mother insisted they get to church early every week. she had no watch but they always made it on time. Precious had never heard the St marks Bemba Choir sing, but her grand mother had told her,  how beautiful they sounded. her grandmother had heard them sing many times and had even visited the “mother” congregation. The announcement was made a week ago and everytime she thought about it, she felt her heart skip a beat.

they soon met other people headed in their direction “mujibi yepi?” the woman called walking towards them.

“emwani,” her grandmother extended her hand, clapping the other womans hand and touching her chest and repeating the gesture again in greeting; Kaonde greeting. She had grown up speaking iki Kaonde but now mainly spoke ici Bemba despite being in Lamba country. she greeted the woman and run ahead, knowing her grandmother would be fine with her walking companion for the day.

She didn’t care for the dust that was gathering on her legs with each step she took; the faster she run the worse it got, but she would be at the church in no time. She was out of breath by the time the Kitwe-Chingola rd was in sight. On the other side was the Munsenga junction. A small dirt road that meandered from one end, forming a loop and coming out the other. It was mostly bush on one side of the dirt road and houses on the other. she slowed her pace as she came to the road. It wasn’t as busy on Sundays, but she made sure there weren’t any cars coming before running across. There were other people walking down and she walked with them, not quiet feeling at home, she talked with them, maybe if she showed her excitement at what was happening at church today, no one would see the discomfort she felt.

*                                  *                                  *

Jahdel was glad she had made it to church on time. Her 2 friends Limpo and Mwansa were coming to church with the visiting chior. She was excited. Her and Limpo had become close friends, despite her vow never to become friends with men. He had reintroduced her to Mwansa who she had previously known but had not talked to in years. She walked to her sister Karen and the woman she was talking to. She watched as the young girl walked away from them. Her clothes were worn. Her skirt, made of chitenge was not as bright as it had obviously been before. she kept pulling the skirt that kept riding below her belly button.

“You see that girl.” the woman talking to Karen said, “takonfwa.”

Jahdel wondered why the girl was said to be naughty, she seemed so full of life.

“she sleeps around with different men,” the woman shifted the baby in her arms from one side to the other, settling her on her hip and leaning in closer “Bonse bali mwishiba.”

Jahdel was too shocked to respond, did this woman just say everyone knew her? She watched as the woman clapped her hands, as if shocked at what she was relaying, “ka moneka kwati kalonfwa, kanshi….”

“You honestly think that it’s her fault?” anger rose in Jahdel, “How do you decide she’s naughty on the basis that grown men sleep with her?”

“All I know is they pay her and if they pay her, it can’t be that bad. And she’s so young, imagine what she will be like when she grows up.”

The way she said it only infuriated Jahdel more; worse still, Karen seemed almost ready to agree until Jahdel spoke up

“So all you adults know about it. Even her grandmother knows about it?”

“it’s no secret, and her grandmother has tried to talk about it with her to get her to stop but she just doesn’t listen.”

“So you even know which men sleep with her?” she waited for the woman’s self-righteous yes before continuing, “and all you do is talk behind her back?”

“Yes but what are we supposed to do if that’s what she’s chosen.” the woman didn’t look upset at the challenge rather ashamed and disappointed that Jahdel did not share her enthusiasm at the gossip she had to share,

“No! you fight for her!” Jahdel could almost feel herself shaking but kept her voice calm, “grown men, should know better. It’s not her fault that they can’t control themselves!” she looked at the little girl who was walking towards them

“Anyway, that’s that little girl you see.” she clapped her hands and walked away.

“Baunfwa nsoni.” Karen chuckled to herself.

“she SHOULD be ashamed of herself.” Jahdel felt her whole body shake

Karen chuckled again, “they love gossip.”

“Niwebo nani ishina?” Jahdel asked turning to the girl. She didn’t look older than eleven.

“Precious.” she replied with a big smile,

Jahdel smiled at her, heart breaking, knowing this girl had no one to fight for her. Precious, her name spoke of how God saw her. She was precious in His sight, Yet to men, she was “easy pleasure”. Something they could ride, no strings attached. They talked for few minutes, Precious pointing out where her grandmother stood, when asked who she lived with. She was a bubbly little girl. Some thought her insane.

Just then the small Canter made its way onto the church grounds. Precious ran towards it, Jahdel waiting for the boys to disembark. She said hi to both Limpo and Mwansa and introduced them to Karen. Karen left them as they chatted for a while before they had to go into the church and sit in their designated areas. The men sat on the left hand side and the women on the right.

Jahdel was in a haze; her mind fixed on Precious. Would she make it,or would abuse devour her like it had Jahdel. She knew all too well the horrors it brought, the guilt, the suicidal feelings, the shame and pain that just made no sense. The feeling of being in the wrong body, unwelcome in your own flesh, feeling like dirt had made it’s way under your skin. As the service went on, she found it hard to concentrate. Those men, deserved death! She looked at Mwansa and Limpo and remembered Limpo’s words, How could he expect her to trust any man, when his species could be so heartless and selfish. She had to admit though that both young men were different. They seemed sincere; different, they spoke kindly and offered respect even when she was undeserving. But she couldn’t help but wonder.

After service, Jahdel talked to precious some more, hoping that she could find hope in words that didn’t raise her apparent failings. She talked to Mwansa and Limpo more as well before they all had to go.

Every time she saw the little girl after that, she talked to her, but with exams looming, Sundays at Chimfinsa became a rare happening, St marks or not attending church becoming the options because of the extra lessons she needed to do in order to get ready. Hope reigned still, Precious, was the birthing of a dream, just maybe, Jahdel would one day fight what many refused to see as present. Zambians frowned when they heard about paedophiles in the western world, yet in their own world, this child, had no voice.

Years after meeting that precious soul, reading another story of a girl used by her step-father, Jahdel remembered, knowing there were many such stories. burying her head in her hands, Jahdel wept. She would never forget Precious, she hadn’t the means to help her, but one day, she would fulfil a dream.

Last day of 2012


Today for me marks the end of a very blessed year. When this year started, I was pretty close to rock bottom. I remember staying in the house the whole day, only coming out at night when my sister came home from work. I was bitter, resentment filled and angry. I was scared to leave the house because I felt if I did I wouldn’t come back. I imagined myself jumping in front of the train or just getting on the train and not coming back. I felt trapped and not needed.

Over the last 10 years I’ve experienced emotional strain and extreme darkness where I didn’t know how I was going to get through the day but I wasn’t willing to give up and I always came out of it but 2011 for me was the year I lost all fight…I crumbled…I felt crushed under the weight of my life this far, crushed by yet another failure, loss of loved ones, the loss of a friend. I felt crushed by my inability to get over my past, crushed by my inability to love the ones around me. What mother resents her own? Yet my love for my daughter was still present.

I had lost sight of what was important. I had allowed my problems and insecurities and people’s views to finally matter where they never had. I had allowed fear to reign in me. for grief and anger and resentment to become me. I remember talking to my brother on the phone, laying on the bed, tears flowing, unable to control them. I was unable to hold it all together. I remember him saying “you have a love affair with where you are at.” That was in January 2012. He had been talking to me about crying out to God but I couldn’t do it. I was in pain and yet I wasn’t willing to submit because I was afraid that what lay ahead with God might just be more painful. I felt wounded afresh at the loss of friendship. I remember writing “You healed only to wound again.”

At that point I had tried to get in touch with a counsellor and had failed. I remember talking to my parents and not being completely honest with them but at least the doors of communication had been opened and on my terms, eventually managed to find a counsellor. I remember invading my sister’s room and telling her things I’ve never told anyone else before. I had to be honest with my leaders at church. I remember sitting talking to my counsellor and telling myself I wouldn’t cry and yet breaking down.

I remember living with my brother and his beautiful wife, my elder sis and them challenging me to be better. I remember the birth of their child and the joy it brought…I remember mum coming and the blessing she was  to me. I remember connect group meetings…3 different groups where I was challenged…one controversial but causing me to analyse and re-evaluate where I stand. I remember a friend challenging me, refusing to accept I wasn’t okay, challenging me in my Christian walk. I remember getting to my counsellors house and telling myself many reasons why I should not knock on the door. I remember feeling like I had failed because I couldn’t get my life together on my own. The hardest thing for me to do is depend on people, even my family. I remember deciding to tell people the truth about going for counselling when they asked what I had been up to and it helped me get over the shame of it. I remember crying to God and journaling and praying and laying things bare before Him. I remember advice and hugs from those who have my best interests at heart. Those I kept up late when I needed advice or just a listening ear.

This year I got some of my confidence back. I had allowed life to reduce me to an unsure fear filled person and counselling was where I learnt I was really okay, not consumed by my past and I had to re-learn to be comfortable in me. To own my choices from here. Yes listen to what people have to say but in the end decide on my terms what course my life will take, because in the end, I can never blame anyone else for what I do wrong.

2012 for me was the year I saw a counsellor who helped me deal with some of my issues. I am in no way at the destination of wholeness but I’m on the way. It was the year I saw more transparently my father’s heart. I saw the restoration of a friendship I never thought possible. My nephew was born. My daughter turned 10, like previous years it has been a continuation of my journey. Where I see God’s hand. It was the year He again bent my knee to His will when I was unwilling and unable to within myself. It was the year I saw the most progress in my fight for purity. It was the year I stopped running. The year I attended a leadership course, the year I performed my own written poems live. The year I finally finished medical science. I got to get involved with life changers who are scattered around the world. people I love got engaged and married, babies were born in our family. This  year, my hope was restored.

So why am I telling you all this? Isn’t it funny how you hear Christians talk about going to the doctor for a common cold and demanding antibiotics when there’s no need for them, forgetting that Jesus is the great physician by whose stripes we are healed, and yet the same people will stand and declare that your faith is weak when you see a counsellor for emotional turmoil? We’re all different and while others have no need for counselling, others do. Do whatever it takes to get out. You can never tell whats around the corner. Darkness is relative to light. just because the sun is on the other side of the world doesn’t mean it stopped shining. Just because one door closes doesn’t mean you’re closed in. Sometimes all that’s stopping the light from trickling in is the walls you’ve built. Remember when in a dark room, you can’t see further than a few steps ahead of you and sometimes you can’t even see yourself. But feel around, stumble and even fall, if you take your eyes off the darkness and your predicament, you might just turn a corner and find hope, little rays of sun where there  seemed none, blocked by that one wall. Don’t give up! It’s okay to ask for help. Also never forget, that behind the smiles we see, there might just be more pain than we realise and you might just be what the other person needs to get through. Happy New Year and for those who have walked with me this year, may God bless you. Looking foward to 2013