One of my favourite times of the week is Thursday afternoon, when I go and visit some of the families in the community that are supported by Arise. It is great to be invited into people’s homes and made to feel so welcome. We are always treated with honour and respect which makes for a humbling experience. For example, we're always given something to sit on – be it an old sofa, a water container or a log - although guardians themselves often sit on the floor.
|Kamalasha, one of the nearest villages|
|Sometimes we bump in to children from school!|
Although it is a privilege to be invited into peoples’ homes and to chat with them, it can also be heartbreaking to hear their stories and understand the difficulties they face. After the visits, I can go home to my house with a proper bed, running water and plenty of food. I know that if I get ill, my health insurance will cover the cost of treatment. And if I was really struggling here in some way, I know I have friends and family who can help me. And this is simply because I was born in a different place. It seems so unfair when you see the contrast but I've come to the conclusion that there are just some things that we can’t understand.
|Eleanor with Elena, who is a very cheerful guardian :-)|
The main purpose of the visits is to build relationships and encourage the guardians. We often ask them questions about how they and the children are, how their crops are growing or how the children are getting on at school. Our conversation is through translation as my Bemba only includes greetings and basic words! We listen, chat, encourage and pray.
Psalm 121 says:
I lift my eyes to the hills
Where does my help come from?
It comes from the Lord
The Maker of Heaven and Earth
We can’t provide for all of the orphans or the guardians’ needs, or end their struggles. However, I believe in a God who can. Many people here appear more aware of the spiritual side of life than we sometimes do in the West. It is both provoking and inspiring to see such faith in difficult circumstances. Lots of people here can testify to knowing peace and even joy in the midst of sorrow or pain.
|Gift and her Grandpa|