Hands at Work’s initiatives in Zambia are certainly exploding. In West Zambia, incredible new projects are just breaking ground. In Kabwe and Luanshya existing projects are expanding as new communities are also brought into the family. Long-time Hands at Work leaders Sal and Robyn Hunziker recently returned from a 6-week trip to facilitate some of the expanding work across Zambia. Here is a brief snapshot of some of their work, provided by Robyn.
By the way, many readers still know the Hands at Work Luanshya property by its old name: “The Farm”. It’s been renamed, after a gigantic, signature tree growing in the middle of the property. In the Nyanja language the tree’s name is Kachele, representing fullness and vigor. So next time you visit you’ll be welcomed to: “Kachele Village”.
In partnership with Hope HIV, Hands at Work is pioneering a new psycho-social support (PSS) training initiative for home-based care (HBC) workers and teachers in our community school. The point is to use PSS tools to strengthen the quality of care received by the community’s orphans, patients and primary care givers, like grannies or child-headed household leaders.
So we teach topics like dealing with death, being open to child abuse, understanding essential ingredients of child care, understanding of self, gifts, dreams and hopes, and practical ways to pass all this on to the community’s orphans, patients, and primary care givers.
As we moved past the initial issues addressed many beliefs of the trainees were challenged such as gender roles, responsibility of the church in helping the poor and needy, and the roles children play within the community. The group struggled with admitting that they as Christians had any problems with abuse, rape, speaking about death and dying, and many of the other issues surrounding psychosocial support for children.
The response came in Christian “speak”: legalistic views of how to interact with a child. Prayer or church was considered the only acceptable answer to problems that they didn’t want to address. As they were challenged by the trainer to think deeper, they were stretched to respond with new answers or admit they were lacking in solutions.
This marked the beginning of the change. Trainees were challenged to move past their previous thinking and to unpack concepts of spiritual care as well as caring for orphans and vulnerable children in a practical, hands-on, personal situation. The results were fast and impressive.
After each week of training was completed, trainees expressed how much it had challenged them and encouraged them to look at children in a new way. Some even came back reporting changes they were already implementing.
After so many recent months spent managing and planning in South Africa, Sal spent his entire six weeks in Zambia on the tools … you’d think he had died and gone to heaven! He purchased a large amount of timber direct from the mill and was away … planing, ripping down, cutting, sorting and piling up the shavings. Up and down ladders, hammering, deconstructing, planning, rebuilding and smiling all the time. It was great. Local Kachele staff and residents Oswald and Matthew added 150% support all the time and learnt heaps … we are blessed with those two young men.
Here’s a brief list of what was they did:
- Kalende Community School : the trusses for the roof were constructed at Kachele for installation.
- Kachele Village Office : the roof of an out-building close to the house was demolished and reconstructed , with alterations to the floor plan in preparation for the new Hope HIV, Zambia regional office.
- Kachele Village Bungalows : completion of 2 more bungalows, made window frames, 16 bunk beds and installed doors ready for the OVC camp in August.
- Kachele Staff House: completed brick-laying, completed ring-beam and roof trusses, floor ready for tiling
- Plumbing : seemed like every tap / toilet in Zambia was leaking and needing repair as well as tool and general maintenance
- Kachele Village Main House : it has recently been painted inside a beautiful, restful, joyous buttery yellow making it clean and very hospitable. The ceilings were repaired inside and bathrooms de-fungied … lovely. At this stage the house can accommodate 16 people … 2 bathrooms and 2 toilets. The kitchen is clean and bright. The owl family in the north-eastern end of the roof will be relocated soon as the hole in the facia is to be closed.