After a long flight with excessively long layovers we finally landed in Zambia. The airport in Livingstone was the smallest airport that I can remember landing a full sized jet in. We had been worried about the Visa process because we hadn't gotten everything in order that we were told to, but the process ended up being a breeze; and the lack of customs was refreshing. We arrived early in the day and were given that day to rest. Lucky for us we had just missed the heat streak and arrived when the clouds were moving in making climate adjustment easier, we still all managed to get sunburned, however.
The next day we went out to Loves Door base close to Singanga Village, about an hour drive from town. Unfortunately, about the time we arrived, a flu began going around. Due to the flu and the rain that came in, the first week lacked productivity. We went out into the villages a little bit, but connections weren’t as easy as I had hoped. I began to feel that our time here would be dry and dragged out. I tried to stay on the positive side of things, but it was hard when everyone was discouraged. However, as week two came on people began to recover and the skies cleared.
On our first day in the villages of our second week, we headed out on a prayer walk through three villages to one side of the camp. Prospects of good connections with the village people started to look better this time. It was hard, though, because there is a bondage of drunkenness in the villages, which causes a lack of productivity. A lot of the men don't have a good work ethic and just aren't readily willing to give themselves to anything, including relationship. The next day we followed a Zambian man named Joshua out to a to a bush village about an hour and a half walk. But at the speed we were moving it probably took more like two hours.
The village of Bengweta was a beautiful farm village in a valley. The houses were built on small hills and their crops ran down from their houses to the base of the hills where the main path ran. The people here were much more welcoming. They were hardworking, hospitable people, and connecting with them came much more naturally. The villagers did not know that we were coming but when they saw us they quickly found seats for us under the shade and began to cook us a meal. While they were cooking the meal, we went out and met some of the people. They were much more lively and interactive than any of the people from the other villages, probably because they had no shabines (bars) in that village. After eating a good meal of nshima and chicken we had a small church service. At the beginning, we did a small skit for them and, after completing it they had us do it again. Before we left, the Vice Headman, who was also the village witch doctor, stood up and thanked us for coming. He told us that we needed to come back and teach them more about Jesus.
When it was time to leave it was hard to part –we had encouraged them, but they had also encouraged us. From there on out the pace was set and our time began to feel productive. Everyone continued to make new, good connections and were filled with energy. It’s amazing what a little encouragement does. Our experience in Bengweta effected how we went about the rest of the week. We started out slow, but now we are rolling and prospects are high.