Tuesday, February 26, 2013

MaMa Mia!

MaMa Mia!
You rarely see dolls in African villages since children are tasked with caring for siblings at a young age.  It is not uncommon to see a 7 or 8 year-old child carrying a toddler around on her back.  But all of us were amazed at this little girl!  The "baby" she carried was almost as big as her!  The little pre-school "mama" squatted down on the ground, helped the smaller child climb aboard, tied the chitengi (cloth) around her waist to keep the child in place, struggled to her feet, and finally ambled off down the path.  Next time you have an aching back think of the load this little trooper carries!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chipulukusu no more!

Agness telling story....
Agness, one of our new teachers at the Young Peace Maker's School in Chipulukusu, approached me during our last visit and said she lived near the school and wanted me to know what our group had done in the community.  I was, of course, eager to hear what she had to say!  When I encouraged her to continue, however, she said it was a long story so she would write it for me.  What a story it is!!! She was right -- it is a bit long, but definitely worth the read.  I'm sure the Kafwa played a significant part in bringing about this change.

I am Agness a teacher at Young Peace Makers Community School.  I would like to tell a story about Chipulukusu/Mapalo.
Chipulukusu is one of the biggest compounds in Ndola.  It was named after a while lady the wife of a contractor of baked bricks (pan bricks).  This lady was very huge, and was nick named Chipulukusu which means in Bemba “deformed” or “structureless.”
The compound was named Kwa Chipulukusu which means The Place of a Deformed Woman or Structureless woman.  She was mocked by this name Chipulukusu.
In recent years you can find the remaining of these baked bricks at the end of this compound.  The compound was very small build out of sticks and mud, broken bricks, thatched roofs and old pieces of drums and old pieces of iron sheets, plastics, and boards.
The compound started growing because people who could not manage their living in townships started coming to build their houses here because it was a very lowest cost of living.  The compound continued growing with large population.  There was a lot of bad things happening in this compound because of much poverty [which] brought murder, stealing in towns even in other townships and compounds, beating and killing people, prostitution within and outside, drunkenness, witchcraft, etc.
Different kinds of diseases were spread from this compound like gonorrhea, syphilis, cholera, herpes, and HIV/AIDS.  People were not friendly.  They were harsh, impolite, rebellious, stubborn.  Just looking at him or her you receive insults.
Boys and men go in town to steal from passengers, grabbing beating those who try to stop them, searching pockets, house breakers an shop breakers and shop lifters were mostly coming from this compound and popularly know as “dark city,”
Girls and women would go in other townships and steal husband and bring them in Chipulukusu.  Men of all kind low and high racks could come to these prostitutes and stay in mud houses.  The stories are well known in magazines and newspapers.  The compound was scaring [sic], there was no peace only troubles.  Children never used to go to school only few who could manage to travel to long distances.  Many had very little knowledge about school; they said it was a waste of time.  The children were so stubborn rebellious and ended up being robbers and dangerous criminals.
People earned their living by stealing, searching pockets, and property grabbing and killing people.  They killed innocent people who tried to bring development like whites.  They used to quarrel and fight.
In recent years as Chipulukusu continued to grow, many people are flowing to come and stay because of some changes that have taken place like bad things diminishing, developments of community schools by white people from foreign countries.  The council giving plots for new block houses, roads being constructed, a clinic and a police post, neighborhood watch, two government schools, churches and other organizations like Home Basic Care.
At last there’s peace in Chipulukusu.  Children who cannot afford to go to government schools are learning in community schools and they are doing better than those at government schools.
People are doing businesses, building good houses from thatched houses, others are finding jobs, everyone is looking for something to do in order to earn their living and bring development and peace in [the] neighborhood.
It used to be called “dark city” now there’s electricity.  It used to be called “Chipulukusu” deformed, now it’s being called “Mapalo” meaning “Blessings.”  Thus bad things are being demolished and good things are coming up.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Meet Edina!

Edina with Auntie Hilda (middle) and Kafwa on each side
We were excited to meet one of the Kafwa's youngest 'clients' in Kasompe.  Edina is a 6-year-old orphan that lives with her auntie Hilda.  Edina is also autistic and has many social challenges.  When we arrived she was frightened, tried to hide behind her auntie's apron, and finally ran into another room shrieking.  It wasn't long, however, until she came out all smiles and wanted us to stay.  Hilda said she was very appreciative of the weekly Kafwa visits since they encourage her with the challenges she faces with Edina as well as provide some food support for the family.  Her husband recently got a job at the mines so the family is hopeful they will soon be able to get back on their feet financially.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine Smiles

Here are a few of the Valentine Smiles that stole our hearts... 

To see more pictures of the January 2013 Zambian site trip go to www.healthedconnect.org and click on Photo Gallery at the top of the page.  We expect National Geographic to be contacting our photographer (Jac Kirkpatrick) with a job offer at any time!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Sickle Cell Anemia

Olivia and her concerned mother
The Kafwa in Kasompe took us on a very sobering home visit in January to see 25-year-old Olivia.  She was sitting up in a chair waiting for us but we made our visit very short since tears were streaming down her face and she was in obvious pain and having difficulty breathing.  When she looked up, her face was dominated by huge eyes that reflected deep pain. The Kafwa told us she had been diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia.  

According to the Kafwa, the family use to live in a "mansion" in town when the father had a good job.  He followed the siren call of entrepreneurship, however, and quit his job to start his own business.  Unfortunately, the business failed and the family lost their home and had to move to a very modest house in Kasompe.  They now have little or no income and the Kafwa are doing their best to assist them with emergency funds.

At the conclusion of our visit, the Kafwa got on their cell phones and arranged transportation for Olivia to be taken to the hospital. They said they had given the family money last week to take Olivia to the Dr. but she didn't want to go.  In their new circumstances, the family would only be able to go to the government hospital which they did not feel was as good as the private hospital they had previously used.  The money given to them last week was now gone since they had used it to buy food.  This time, the Kafwa arranged to pay for the transportation directly.

We're eager to hear an update on Olivia.  Hopefully she was able to be treated and have her pain alleviated.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

He made us Proud!

Mayben's speech at ribbon cutting
It is widely believed that many students graduate from Zambian schools without being literate.  I have no idea how this happens with advancement tests, etc. but it seems to be a common theme.  We are totally committed to making sure that does not happen in our schools.  Note the reference in the speech (below) to being "capable of writing, reading.."

That is one reason we were absolutely bursting with pride at the Ribbon-Cutting ceremony in Kasompe last month when Mayben, a newly promoted 5th grader, read the following speech with poise and ease.  I think his teachers helped him write the speech but he READ it all by himself.    Remember, this is his 3rd language, and the word "vulnerable" is not easy for anyone to say!  Just try it...

"The sponsors HealthEd Connect, members of the school board, the headteacher, teachers, my fellow pupils, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this school. First and foremost, I feel greatly honoured to be given this opportunity to stand before you this day.  The sponsors I thank you for the great things you have done for us here -- your support for this school has helped a lot of orphans and vulnerable to have access to education.  Please continue to sponsoring this school.

On behalf of my fellow pupils, we thank our sponsors in that the school has benefited us in many ways.  We are capable of writing, reading and communicate with people in English.

The sponsors, members of the school board, the teachers, my fellow pupils, ladies and gentlemen I am appreciating to our sponsors to continue supporting our school so that all orphans and vulnerables in this community may have access to education.  I would like also to thank sponsors for expanding our school by building more classrooms."

After Mayben's speech we were motivated to work even harder to support the Kasompe Community School of Peace!!
The crowd gathering awaiting the Ribbon-Cutting

New nearly completed Kasompe classrooms.