By Rita O’Neill and June Darby
Rita and I went at the beginning of June to visit Zambia for 2 and a half weeks. Matthew knew that we were going as representatives of Britain, we wanted to serve the people of Zambia to help indemnify the mistakes of Europeans in Africa in the past, and we wanted to support Zambia in whatever way we could and encourage the members in their successful Heavenly Tribal Messiah activities. We arrived just after the conclusion of a 7 Day Tribal Messiah Conference that had been directed by True Mother. It had been a very successful conference and the spirit of the members was flying high, filled with enthusiasm for their mission. The 4 Paramount Chiefs of Zambia had attended as well as a number of Christian dignitaries and Pastors, all of whom were very inspired by FFWPU’s Family Education and Blessing programmes. With the support of the Paramount Chiefs blessings can be done all over Zambia. There are 278 Regional Chiefs under the 4 Paramount Chiefs.
The members were very welcoming and we stayed at their Headquarters just outside Lusaka. The headquarters is very impressive, with 2 large, beautifully designed houses sent in a lovely, big garden, planted with trees, shrubs, flowers, a vegetables garden and fruit trees. We enjoyed lemon drinks every day from their trees! There is a sausage factory on the premises busily making sausages and smoked meats. There is also a fine, well proportioned primary school nearby where about 200 children receive an education. Education in Africa is not free, and many children of all ages roam the streets because their parents cannot afford to pay school fees. The FFWPU school, likes to help poor children gain an education, but would be very grateful for any members who would care to help sponsor a child for $150 a year, as this would make it possible for them to educate children who otherwise could not afford it, and enable them to Pay the teachers’ salaries. If anyone would like to contribute towards this project please contact me at email@example.com, and I will forward the necessary details to do so.
Rita and I travelled 9 hours inland by bus, passing through virgin savannah countryside to a small, well ordered town, Mpika, to do some blessings. We were accompanied by a Zambian sister, Mrs Evelyn Chinfwembe, who helped us with the blessings, my personal goal was to bless 40 couples, and help a couple of members with their HTM couple condition. A Christian Pastor, Pastor Chiluba, had mobilised 2 villages where people gathered at the appointed time for the Blessing programme. The Zambian members who conducted the programmes were excellent, especially Mama Evelyne, and we were very grateful for their support, also they could speak to the people clearly and humorously so that they could understand the lectures, which were all well organised, in an approach book with diagrams. There is no electricity for any power point presentations.
The poverty of the people was overwhelming, they live in mud huts with only a door for light and access, and mud floors that were covered with reed mats for seating. There is no water laid on, they have to carry all their water needs from the nearest river, consequently there are no fruit trees, no vegetable garden and no animals, not even chickens, as everything needs water to grow and live. At the one village, , there were about 20 young children who were not being educated because the distance to the nearest school was too great for them to walk there.
Nevertheless, the people were lovely; humble, openhearted, welcoming and embracing. I especially loved the old people with their lined, wrinkled faces wreathed in toothless smiles, and expressing so much wisdom, goodness and goodwill. The people struggle to eke a subsistence living from their riverside vegetable patches and fields of maize, even the young women looked worn down by their responsibilities, and hard work. They need encouragement and hope to be able to aspire to improve themselves.
There is so much that can be done to help these communities to develop. The greatest need for the two villages I saw is to have improved access to water, the one village had a well, which needs expansion, and the other village needs a water pump installed so that they can begin to grow food more easily, and to find a suitable source of protein. The members have plans to make fish ponds as a source for protein, and perhaps guinea fowl would be a reliable alternative as they are more immune to disease than chickens. The children need home schooling education material so that someone can take responsibility for their schooling, which is a realistic goal. If anyone would like to help contribute towards the cost of installing a water pump please contact me, any small amount would be appreciated.
It was a great honour to work with the Zambian members for a short while. The leaders are very inspiring and taking the lead in all the activities, from the Regional President, Rev Camara; the brother responsible for the Blessing activities and programmes, Rev Wone and the National Leader and founder of the Zambian mission in 1975, Rev Rudolf Faerber and his wife Hildegarde. We both felt inspired and motivated to work harder on our return to help bring victories for our Heavenly Parents and True Parents. We were told that the young members were inspired to see two old people like ourselves working on the front line, as they thought that no older members were active anymore! A 43 Day Workshop was begun for 200 young people from the region just before we departed, some 2nd gen and some guests!