Our fabulous programme manager, Jo Dew-Jones has just arrived in Zambia and over the next few days we’ll be tracking her steps as she visits partners in Zambia and Kenya….
In fact it’s my first full day in Africa ever, for that matter!
I’ve had the privilege of coming out to visit a couple of partners and to get a taste of what our teams get to experience when they’re here.
I was greeted at the airport with huge hugs and a bunch of flowers – not a surprise, as Africa’s warmth and welcome goes before it – but a real treat nonetheless!
Over the next fews days I am being shown around Zambia by my wonderful hosts at JCM, Jesus Cares Ministries. Tearfund has been supporting them since 2007 and they have existed for 10 years longer than that. Yesterday, Pastor Godfrida, the founder and director, told me all about how it had come to be, and the vision for change God has put on her heart. The work they do, primarily with ophans and vulnerable children (OVCs) and women, has grown and grown, and is supported by the government.
Thousands of children have been impacted by their projects, and it has been humbling to hear of the passion of the staff and volunteers.
Today I met the children at JCM’s transit centre. Around 25 children at any one time live here, picked up from the streets or brought here by the government. It is the start of a journey for them – here they are loved, nurtured and educated, whilst meanwhile their parents or guardians are traced, and a process of reintegration is begun. Some were made homeless too young to remember where they have come from, and instead are sponsored into further education. For children with such hard beginnings, the joy in the song they sung as they greeted me was a blessing!
As England enters autumn, the summertime abounds here in Zambia – 30 degrees plus and even the Zambians are complaining about the heat! I’m keeping quiet.