Listen to Agness Tell Her Story
Submitted by Sherri Kirkpatrick of Lee’s Summit, MO, USA
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles…Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat what they produce. But seek the welfare of the city…and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord…to give you a future with hope. —Jeremiah 29:4–5, 7, 11 NRSV
Agness, one of our new teachers at the Young Peace Makers’ School in Chipulukusu, wanted me to know what our group had done in the community. I was eager to hear what she had to say! I found that the Kafwa (HealthEd Connect volunteers) played a significant part in bringing about this change.
I am Agness, a teacher at Young Peace Makers’ Community School. I will tell you about Chipulukusu/Mapalo in Zambia, now one of the biggest compounds in Ndola. Chipulukusu means, in Bemba, deformed or structureless (also safe haven for criminals).
The compound was very small, built out of sticks and mud, broken bricks, thatched roofs, and old pieces of drums, iron sheets, plastic, and boards. The compound started growing when people who could not manage their living in townships built their houses here because the cost of living was much lower.
The compound continued growing with large population. There were a lot of bad things happening because of much poverty—murder, stealing, prostitution, and drunkenness. The diseases that spread from this compound were syphilis, cholera, and herpes. People were harsh, impolite, rebellious, and stubborn. Just looking at a person would bring you insults. Boys and men go in town to steal from passengers, grabbing and beating those who try to stop them. Pickpockets, housebreakers, and shoplifters were mostly coming from this compound, commonly known as “dark city.”
The compound was scary; there was no peace—only troubles. Children never used to go to school; they said it was a waste of time. The children were so stubborn and rebellious and became robbers and dangerous criminals.
In recent years as Chipulukusu has continued to grow, many people are coming to stay because of some changes. Bad things are decreasing; community schools are being developed by people from foreign countries. The council gives plots for new block houses and constructs roads. They have built a clinic and a police post. They have neighborhood watch; churches and other organizations like Kafwa volunteers. At last there’s peace in Chipulukusu. Children are learning in community schools.
People are doing businesses, building good houses, finding jobs, looking to bring development and peace in the neighborhood. The “dark city” now has electricity. It used to be called “Chipulukusu the Deformed”—now it’s being called “Mapalo” meaning “Blessings.”
Thank you to all who have contributed to this peace.
Prayer for Peace
Compassionate God, we know for all the compounds like Mapalo, there are thousands more that need “light.” May we bring your light and peace wherever there is darkness.
Spiritual Practice: The International Community
Find (or imagine) a globe or map of the world. Look at all the nations and find a country other than your own. Notice the geographic distance between your homeland and this one. Picture a person living there. Pray for this person. Sense God’s love connecting you just as the oceans connect the continents. Thank God for the spiritual connection you have with all of God’s people around the globe. Ask a blessing on the church as a community sharing Christ’s peace, drawing all into the family of God.
Today, God, I will venture into the darkness to bring your light.