Sunday, February 28, 2010


When I first drove down the street I now live on, I knew I was in Zambia.
The end of the pavement, the trash, all the people walking, the potholes.
Our street looked like the third world to me for sure. I saw poverty.

The longer I stay here, the more my eyes and what they see changes.
Before, they were just all poor and all in the same sinking boat.
Now I can see class distinctions even in this poverty.

I didn’t know that our compound was a wealthy one. In my terms, it was sub-standard.
In all my ideas of living Zambian, I am actually separated by status STILL.
The women who come here on Tuesdays and Fridays live nothing like me.

They don’t have two extra bedrooms.
They don’t have a drawer full of shopping bags from the grocery store.
They don’t have refrigerators to keep their food from spoiling.
They don’t have three bathrooms with toilets.
Many of them don’t have power.
One of them doesn’t have a roof.

Only having visited one of these ladies’ houses, I meet these beautiful women who are intelligent, beautiful, joyful and I forget where they come from.

Today I got to see another one of these homes. The home of my Zambian mother, Emily.
She named me “Lushomo” in her native tongue and gave me her last name.
My name is Faith.
I’m of the Tonga tribe.
What a beautiful woman.
We saw her home and my heart sank. It is surrounded by green, stagnant water right up to the door. She has made stepping stones out of cinder blocks to make a path from the dirt road to her door.

She is beaming with pride and I am broken.

That’s where my shame explodes onto the scene.

My Zambian Mama and a dozen other women come here, to our house and the service center, two days a week.
They come here and they wear me out. I constantly fetch water, cut fabric, boil water for tea, and kneel down to serve them. There is no please, no thank you. And that is their culture.

If I am completely honest, most days I cannot wait for them to leave.

And then I just see with my eyes where they come from.
We are not the same.

My changed eyes see my house as a palace.
A safe and comfortable place where these women can come and sit with enough light to see.
They are served.
They have a purpose.
They can drink tea and add five spoons of sugar.
They aren’t treated this way anywhere else.
Possibly no one has ever served them before in their entire lifetimes.
They want to come at sunrise and stay until dark. So let them.

I just didn’t understand before.

I can’t wait for them to be here tomorrow. I want them all to arrive an hour early and to stay into the night.

They are honored guests in our palace.

1 comment:

  1. I have a friend in particular who needed this blog just this special point in time and I was able to share this***Thank you for having just the right words at just the right time- a gift that God has given you that is helping me with my own personal ministry in reaching and helping others. It is such a blessing!!