“My name is Beauty, and I am a widow.”
With those words, our day today came sharply into focus.
We travelled this morning to the Kaputula community to meet with the volunteers of Shalom Home Based Care, let by the inimitable Loveness Chitafu. It was during the introductions that it really hit me. One by one the ladies (they were all ladies at this location) rose and said: “My name is …, and I am a widow.” One after another. More than twenty times. “I am a widow.”
There are innumerable widows and orphans (and double orphans) in Zambia, largely due to the AIDS epidemic of the last decade. And these repeated statements hit me like a series of punches. But the women we met today were far from hopeless. In fact, they were radiating hope. The hope that comes from pouring out the little you have in the service of others.
We split into five small groups and spent time talking with a few of these amazing women. And then we were honoured to be able to present them each with a small package of gifts – mealie meal (corn meal), salt, beans, a blanket, a knit doll (thanks Angela!), some dish cloths, and a soccer ball (they all gave grandkids).
Hearing the joy in receiving theses small gifts is something I will never forget. There was singing. There was dancing. There was shouting. And there was “hamming it up for the camera”!
And by the end of the day, they knew that they were appreciated.
Sometimes it is the small things that are the most impactful.
Oh. And Alan and Keith made some new friends.