In a joint effort, volunteers of Project Cartwheel in Pretoria and Change the World in Johannesburg, headed out on an outreach trip to Zambia and Botswana in January 2011. We visited 6 institutions and gave out 500 Activated magazines, 150 Christian inspirational booklets, and sets of Feed My Lambs, Early Bird Reading Programs, Foundations of Faith and Character Building curriculums of the Steps Program.
Although the countries in Southern Africa abound with churches and most people will profess to be Christians, when talking in depth with both young and old, one finds out that in many cases their faith is built on traditions and ceremonies.
Here is an account of some of the places we visited
Simonga Basic School - Livingstone, Zambia
We first visited Simonga Basic School 25 kilometers outside of Livingstone in October 2010. The assistant principal was happy to have someone to talk to about the tremendous challenges they face. The school does not have electricity, or money and the nearest water supply is from a well half a kilometer away. The pump for the well is operated by a generator, so when they run out of diesel, there is no water in the village for days! Even though from the principal’s office you can see the mighty Zambezi River a few kilometers away, the water is unreachable for the common people.
Out of 400 students about 100 of them have to walk 7 kilometers one way to get to the school in temperatures between 35 and 40º C. And yes, they also have to dodge elephants that come to the river from far and wide in the dry winter months!
On our first visit we had left the teachers and students with 200 Kids’ Activated story and coloring booklets. The children were thrilled to be able to take those booklets home to read with their families. The school had a very small library of mostly old and tattered books, so when we returned in January 2011 it was beautiful to see how the teacher’s faces lit up when we walked in with a stack of brand new books. We left them with a set of children’s materials donated by Activated Ministries. The head teacher was very excited and came up with a lot of great ideas on how they want to use the books, especially the Foundations of Faith Steps Program and the Feed My Lambs.
The Mountain Streams and Get Activated booklets were also very welcomed for the encouragement of the teachers and older students.
Kazembe Orphanage- Kazembe, Northern Zambia
A 1000 km bus ride from Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, in an uncomfortable, hot and dirty bus brought us to Kazembe, which claims to be the largest village in Southern Africa. The Kazembe orphanage which is run by an American couple provides a beautiful home for 18 orphans. They take in children up to 2 years of age, many of whom have medical problems, the more serious ones being HIV Aids and TB. (Zambia has the second highest population of AIDS orphans in the world.)
The children who have been here for a number of years and have reached the age of 5 are schooled at the orphanage, so the sets of educational and motivational books we donated will be put to good use and bear much fruit in the children’s lives. We had fun being around the children who soak up every bit of love one is willing to give, and we helped to set up an arts and crafts room.
We also ventured into the village to interact with some of the local people and offered Christian tracts, Get Activated booklets, and a prayer. People were so hungry for God’s Word and the books I had managed to bring with me on the bus were gone in no time.
State Prison - Kasane, Botswana
Towards the end of our trip we had 15 Christian books for adults and 50 Activated magazines left. Just as we were praying about where these books could be a blessing, we drove past the state prison in Kasane, Northern Botswana. So we stopped to enquire whether they have a library for the prisoners and staff. The superintendent told us that they don’t have a library, but she would gladly make the books available to everyone. We pray that they will be a blessing and bring salvation to the inmates.
One funny fact about the prison is that they have very few escapees because Kasane is a small place surrounded by national parks with a high population of dangerous animals. If someone would try to run away, they stand a good chance of meeting worse circumstances outside the prison gates.
After returning to Pretoria the superintendent phoned me to say how much they appreciate the reading material and asked if we could please bring more books on our next visit.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Having this wonderful Christian material generously sponsored by Activated Ministries available to distribute in rural areas in Southern Africa is like a dream come true.