ITMI partner, John Jere preaches the word of God both in the cities and in the rural areas. The apostolic work which is going on in Lukulu West is a great challenge to our team, reaching the unreached with the gospel of Jesus Christ. John Jere and his team have worked very hard in church planting in all the nine provinces of Zambia. In September 2011, John and his team went to Chipata and Lundazi, eastern province where John encouraged the new church plants.
After preaching to the villagers, Mrs. Kefulesi Kumwenda (pictured left), age 50, invited John and his team to their home for lunch and later narrated their difficulties in accessing water. It was shocking that the water situation for our people in the rural areas is still quite bad, though not like in Lukulu west. There are common diseases which the villagers suffer from and these are: Diarrhea, Bilharzias and there are certain worms which bite them. The same well becomes the breeding of Mosquitoes and eventually, the women suffer from Malaria. Animals like pigs, cows, and goats drink from the same well and after they drink water, then they roll into the well so as to cool their bodies from the excessive heat. Some of the most suffering people on earth are village women and the girls in Africa. Life is tough for African women, and they feel there is nothing they can do but to accept it.
The nearest where we (women) draw clean water is at Mpingozi Basic school which is about six kilometers from many villages. The community decided to dig a well, which they are currently using but it run out of water in September and October. We draw water in the morning and afternoon. Usually, when we women) draw water in the afternoon, we draw water and hide ourselves in some bush and bathe, then draw water for home consumption. We (women) suffer in the villages from such harsh environment. The water problem is a big problem, not only here but everywhere in Lundazi rural, our friends are facing the same problem. That is why we die early in the villages than those who live in the towns. Some times, we drink water with worms in it and dirty, especially in the night. One would think that he or she is in good health and yet one is being eaten up by the worms which are found in dirty water. Some times, people fall sick and there are no drugs in the medical centers. Many people die without any medical help.
I interviewed 12-year-old Lileen about her life in the village.
John: Lileen, tell me about life in your village.
Lileen: My grand mother and older women tell us as young girls to be strong if we want to get married and keep the marriage. Rising up early in the morning, sweeping, cooking, drawing water are typical and traditional responsibilities of the girl child. There is no emphasis on education. At my age (12 years old), the older women are telling me that I am now ready for marriage. My aunt has already found a young man for me to marry. Life in the villages is hard for all the women. We eventually accept it but those who resist it, they go to towns when they are young, pursue education. That is the only way, a young girl can dodge the village life. I really wanted to pursue education but I do not have a relative in towns where I can go. I admire some young educated girls who speak English.
John: When did you start drawing water for home consumption?
Lileen: When I was young.
John: How old were you?
Lileen: When I was three years old.
John : Were you asked to go and draw water?
Lileen: No, but I saw all the smaller girls of my age going to the well to draw water which is our culture for all the girls and women.
John: Do you like it?
Lileen: No, but as a young girl, I have accepted it as normal life and am strong, ready to get married and will be drawing water for my family.
John: Do you feel some pain on your neck or head as you carry heavy buckets?
Lileen: Some times, I suffer extreme pain on my neck and headache. Even when I am in pain like that I am expected to draw water. If I say no, I am told that I will never get married and that I would not make it in marriage. For fear of the village, I rise up to go to the well and draw water.
John: Do you face any Lizards or crocodiles in some rivers where women draw water or have you heard of any woman who was caught and killed by a crocodiles?
Lileen: There are some bigger rivers which have crocodiles but not here. We are generally free from the crocs, though our wells dry up quickly.
John: Have you suffered from any water borne disease?
Lileen: Yes, I have suffered from water borne diseases, Bilharzias. Diarrhea and other bacterial diseases. These are the common and worse diseases.
Mrs. Josephine Chirwa (pictured left) is 33 years old. (Many of the people in the poorest villages have only clothing that is worn and full of holes. This is an issue from the perspective of personal protection as well as protection from the weather.) I interviewed her about the difficulties women face in African villages.
John: How many times do you draw water for the home?
Josephine: some times three times and other times, four times.
John: Do you manage to use it for home consumption?
Josephine: Not really. What I do is, draw water for the family, mainly for cooking only. My husband bathes three times a week if not two times a week. He understands the heavy work I do.
John: I have seen that you do not have a bathroom at your village, where do you bathe?
Josephine: I bathe every day and I always draw water for myself and hide in the bush and bathe, then draw water for home consumption.
John: What other challenges do you experience?
Josephine: One time, I drew water for me to bathe, then I got to the bush where there was a very big snake and I did not see it. The snake wanted to bite me, I poured water on it, it run away as I also run in a different direction.
John: Sorry about that. Did you have a bathe on that same day?
Josephine: No, I was very afraid to go to any bush from that day. It took me a long time for me to bathe in the hidden bush. If I go and bathe, I loudly sing my Christian favorite song,’ The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want”. I sing this song prayerfully to my God and also to use the song to scare the would be snakes in the bush.
John: Does your husband help you draw water for the family?
Josephine: Oh no! that would be a taboo for a man to draw water.
This mission vehicle has been very helpful to us for all the works in Lusaka and all the long distances like going to the Lukulu West, western province, Copper belt, Chipata, Lundazi, eastern province, Mazabuka, Southern province and Kasama, northern province.
Thank you partners for helping us acquire this vehicle for the work of the Lord. You always go with us wherever we go and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. May God richly bless you. We need to sow more seeds of the word of God to the young ones so that we may change the next generations. What we sow, is what we shall reap. When we sow seeds of secular humanism, we reap secular humanism and hatred against the Creator, but when we sow the seeds of the Word of God, you reap spiritual things, blessings which manifest into physical blessings.
27 & 28th November, 2011 – John Jere will minister in Lubumbashi, Congo DRC. He will need to go to Congo DRC, to strengthen relationships.March, 2012 – John & his team will travel to Lukulu West, western province of Zambia, using government new speed boat under ministry of health and minister the word of God to the people on a small island.
Will you please pray that God may provide for our mission trips that God may provide funds for us to do God’s work?
Will you please pray that God may provide for us to go and rest in South Africa?