View from the Ground

LizeMarie-in-Zambia.jpgby Lize-Marie Theron
For more than a year, I have worked as Hands at Work in Africa’s Human Resources officer, supporting projects across the continent from my office in South Africa. And this January I got my first opportunity to travel with Hands at Work in Africa CEO George Snyman to our projects in Zambia. It was an amazing experience that taught me many things.

We traveled between Kabwe and Luanshya, Zambia, visitng project leaders and spending time with volunteers on the ground, where I learned much about giving. In Zambia I experienced an unknown freedom in the desire to give. In Zambia money had no meaning. Love was evident and it spoke to me. Of course money is what brings resources to those who serve on the ground, but it was obvious: money is not the solution to Zambia’s problems.

In Kabwe I experienced the heart and passion of a project manager for his community. Pastor Floyd Mwila, who leads Katondo Home Based Care, made a lasting impression on me. There is a dream and vision in Pastor Floyd’s heart that showed me the strength in committing radically to your passion, even in the face of a desperate lack of resources. It was an inspiring observation that left me in a soft prayer for the projects of Zambia, where local community ownership and the dreams for their projects and the people they serve, combine into a sweet fragrance that reaches into the heavens.

I was also greatly inspired by a visit to the teachers of Makululu Home Based Care where they serve 724 orphans and vulnerable children in community schools without ever having received a financial incentive for their work. When George asked these teachers about incentives, they smiled and said: ‘We have never had any incentives, not even at the beginning. We have always taught like this’.

It is purely out of the desire of their hearts that these teachers care, love and give. They have little, yet they serve as though they have everything. It has opened my eyes to the greater power that I posses within me and challenged me to think hard about how much I give when looking at what I have in comparison to them. What they do is not work: they simply give from their hearts every day.

Zambia is beautiful and the people are friendly and were always willing to lend a hand. From the teachers of the community school in Makululu, Kabwe, to Pastor Jacob and Annie, the directors of Hands At Work in Luanshya, I received inspiration and blessing. And I commit myself to better contact with the Hands at Work offices in Zambia, to understand and to pray for their challenges and their progress. And I commit to do what I can with what I have to add to the valuable work they do. In my case, that looks like making a valuable contribution to their admin systems.

Lize-Marie Theron is from Cape Town, South Africa. She studied Human Resources Management at Stellenbosch University and has worked for Hands at Work in Africa since January, 2007.