Monday, June 24, 2013

Milk and Medicine Distribution-Kuku Compound

Today Isaac saw parts of Lusaka that break my heart and fill me with hope all in the same breath.  He saw stereotypical, gut-wrenching, media covered Africa today.  In all honesty, he saw the reality of the whole world today, but it was here... in Zambia...where our hearts are growing daily.

CACZ runs a monthly program called Milk and Medicine.  Thanks to generous sponsors, they are able to visit five compounds of Lusaka each month to distribute soya, cooking oil, groundnuts, formula and millie mill (super fine corn meal that is boiled to make nshima, the main dish at nearly every meal here) to the families that register for the program.  Milk and Medicine tracks the growth of the children by measuring their height and weight each month.  This program to me is the heart and soul of CACZ because it is the prevention element that so many mamas need to make the decision to keep their babies and not abandon them out of desperation.  Milk and Medicine is also allowing older orphans to keep taking care of their younger siblings by keeping them together at home.  WIC and food stamps don't exist here.  This isn't Oz, and I'm so grateful for any organization who provides a lifeline for those who desperately need help.  More compounds are on a waiting list, hoping for sponsors that will help make their family stability a reality.

Andrew is one of the three nurses at House of Moses.  He's only 26 but has a huge heart for pediatrics.  Andrew's biggest desire is to be able to provide health care talks at the Milk and Medicine distributions to empower these moms and other caretakers on how to look for proper nutrition and basic health care needs.  A lack of education is one of the greatest problems here, and Andrew recognizes this about his country.  Andrew wants to provide knowledge to these families so that they aren't forever dependent on Milk and Medicine but can slowly begin to change and grow healthier families.  His heart is blowing us away.

The compound we visited today is called Kuku.  The women bring their children, and sometimes it's teenage boys or girls bringing their younger siblings.  They children are weighed and measured, and then they are given food supplies based on how many children are in the family.  The wind was awful today, kicking up dust every direction we turned.  It was cold too, though cold here is pretty relative.  If it's below 80, everyone is bundled up.  The women wait so patiently for their children's names to be called.  I visited with them and tried to learn some of their stories.  Isaac was able to take dozens of photos as he asked everyone if they minded first.  I love his shots!

The kids first get weighed and measured by Kevin and Matildah.

So big!
Everyone waits and visits.

 Once they have had their turn, they go play.  This is Natasha and Titus, brother and sister.  They take care of each other.  They made a football (soccer ball) out of plastic bags.  Natasha also loved my hair.  The wind blew several strands out of my twist, and she'd walk up and start stroking them.  Bless it!

Then distribution begins.  Some of the boys were so curious to see everything in the van!

 Then the women pack up to head home, while some stay around the visit.

This is Gertrude (9) and Gabriel (15 months).  Their older brother is Victor, and he's 13.  They are alone, but work so well together.  I'm sure they must fight at some point, but these are three loving siblings.  We had a lot of fun together!

Isaac and Victor

These women know we're here in the name of Jesus.  We talked about Jesus in some of our conversations.  He's their rock, and He's made them so strong, emotionally and physically.  I look at these women and feel so inferior.  I'm not sure I could withstand all they face on a daily basis, but they are brave and full of joy, even in their pain.  This is Maureen.  As we were packing up, she grabbed me from behind in a huge hug, her baby on her back, and placed something in my hands.  It was the biggest avocado I'd ever seen.  Out of her poverty, she chose to bless me with a gift of immeasurable worth and pure thanksgiving.  I was speechless and just held her in return.  We came here to serve, but at every turn keep being served.  This is the Body of Christ at work folks.  This is how it should be, and I am humbled.

If you would like to help sponsor Milk and Medicine, Isaac and I would love to talk with you about it!  Let us know!

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