<>The Seeds of Hope Zambia staff, whom I will miss greatly!
<>Yes, this trip was quite the Feet!
FINAL ZAMBIA BLOG
SO... my last few days in Zambia were filled with wrap-up of the HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention program. This included
<>overnight trip to Lusaka to meet with CHRESO again, and explore some start-up details
<>getting the hygiene-sanitation team to begin the )new to them) process of building curriculum for HIV AIDS information-giving in the villages. The results of my intense survey is that there is nothing written or planned for HIV AIDS info in the hygiene-sanitation section, so we started the laborious process of building that.
<>meetings with Seeds of Hope leadership about the 'where do we go from here?' question. I have completed a comprehensive ident of the HIV AIDS resources, locations and players in Ndola. I have gathered a library of existing curriculum. I have met with other HIV AIDS groups to build cooperation relationships. Now what?
That question (now what?) is definitely the tough one. Every NGO has a desire to do HIV AIDS work in Zambia (14 % of population infected), but the life of national Zambians is so tough that there is little time for volunteerism. That means the 'NGO economy' needs to help provide some $$ for workers, and that $$$ has dried up from the USA, Canada and Europe due to the econ crisis. In meetings held with a major donor visiting Zambia, they would love to cut some $$ for the HIV work, but don't have it.
So, the next year is unclear as to what we will be able to implement.
<>Packing for the long flight (lot's to consider with multi-national security issues)
SO, on Tues 15Sept with a heart saddened to leave my new friends, the Zambian SHIP staff prayed and commissioned me off to return to America... and the commissioning was a bit 'we are blessing you to go home and make plans and come back soon and bring your wife and stay a long time..." They told me I am now part Zambian... wow!
The 2-day flight was the usual grueling around-the-globe flight... Ndola to Johannesberg (South Africa)... layover... J-Berg to Dakar, Senegal... layover... Dakar to New York/JFK... breakfast... NY to LAX, and teh smiling face of my loving wife. Yes, all my luggage made it, wrapped in cellophane (cost 6$ a bag, and known to reduce petty thievery internationally).
Final thoughts on '50 Days in Zambia':
Zambia: wonderful people, beautiful country, terrible economy
Looking forward to going back
Avoiding all the 'NGO pitfalls' (Anglo expats working in south-central Africa) will be hard to do
'Thank you' is the best word/phrase to learn first thing off the plane.
The Lord is really working in Zambia
My favorite picture? The Feet... kids in a village near the Congo border... feet that walk the paths and bush... feet of kids with few resources who were laughing and teasing me and playing around and gave great big hugs when we left... feet that help their moms carry water over a mile to take home every day...
It was quite a 'feet' to get to Zambia, but I have to go back and put my feet in the circle again!