Kafakumba Training Centre

Africa

Childhood Longings

I’ve always had an inner longing for Africa. I’m not sure where it started, but it must have been sometime when I was a kid. I was told that when I was 3 or 4 years old, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said with excitement and wonder, ‘I want to be a Negro!’ (This was long before any sense of political correctness had entered my awareness.) I’m not sure what the parental reaction was, but I do have a picture of me playing with a little African Barbie doll, so I guess they embraced my desire in a symbolic way.

AIDS Babies in Africa

I also had a strange phrase running through my mind for years and years. It was ‘AIDS babies in Africa. AIDS babies in Africa. AIDS babies in Africa.’ I had no idea what I was supposed to do with it, but it was there ringing through my head nonetheless.

I just had to go, so I applied to Samaritan’s Purse in 2002 for the position of Finance Director in Mozambique and almost got the job. I went through five levels of interviews and was on the short list of two candidates.  The person who secured the job spoke Portuguese, so that was the deciding factor. I guess it was just not the time for me to experince that great place … yet.

Lillian, Wendy and Kilimanjaro

So when I finally booked to go to Africa in February 2008 I was ecstatic. For a few years, I had been funding a woman named Lillian’s salary in Kenya and wanted to meet her. She had three kids, had lost her husband to AIDS, was the sole teacher at the one room school house and was also the caregiver for the orphans after school. She was my hero. What an amazing woman. It was way too easy to just write a check once a year; I wanted to go to rural Africa to meet and love on the people.

So I asked my friend Wendy if she wanted to go with me to ‘hug babies’ as she recalls. She was in! Then I figured, hey, let’s climb Kilimanjaro while we were there! Again, she was in. (She tells me now, that if I ever ask her to do something like that again, remind her to think about it for more than 3 seconds.) The whole way up the mountain, she kept saying, ‘there’s no Nordstrom’s up here!’ And ‘where are the babies!?’ We had endless giggles.

 

That was February 2008 and, unfortunately, the Canadian government had advised against all ‘unnecessary travel’ into Kenya due to the political upheaval. So, while our safaris and Kilimanjaro were amazing experiences in Tanzania, we missed out on meeting Lilian, the kids and really touching rural Africa.

Zambia, the Enrights and Hugging Babies

Then came Zambia in July of 2009. I was introduced to an amazing movement through my now husband, Ken, and just had to go over to experience it. He had been involved with John & Kendra Enright for a few years and the fruit of their efforts was amazing. The Enrights are visionaries and leaders and are changing the face of central Africa one village at a time.

I stayed at the Kafakumba Training Center, a place the Enrights founded to help eradicate poverty in Zambia. Here they partner with the African people in this terribly impoverished region and help them regain a sense of self-respect, independence and destiny. It’s amazing what they are doing. They have established a variety of businesses and partner with the locals, who have helped them thrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Organic farming is a key focus of the center. In 2005, the Enrights purchased seven acres of immature banana trees on the outskirts of Ndola. They are now a flourishing crop, enabling hundreds of African men and woman to create businesses for themselves and their families by selling bananas. People that were making less than $1 a day are now making $50. John & Kendra were then able to acquire more land and are producing aloe vera crops, palm oil, and vegetables and also have a large honey operation. The families earn about $200/month tending one beehive. A huge salary for that area! And the bees do 99% of the work! The development of these sustainable enterprises is one facet of the Enrights commitment to help erase poverty in Zambia.

I also saw their incredible woodworking factory where locals have partnered with them in producing and managing the sale of wood floors, doors, furniture, trusses and cabinets. They are shipped all over Africa and beyond.
They also raise cattle. The generous donation of cows a number of years ago has grown into a herd of over 200. The heard has been continually growing while at the same time helping to feed hundreds of orphans daily at the Walali Feeding Center, kids at the De Gama School for the Handicapped as well as guests at the Kafakumba Training Center. The Enrights have also created about 35 acres of ponds for sustainable fish farming which provide protein to about 10,000 Africans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With all these enterprises, the Enrights and others are helping to fuel a sustainable income and productive life for the Zambian people. As a result, these native people can enjoy the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from managing their own growth-focused economy, and the satisfaction that independence and a bright future hold. And most importantly, by focusing on joint ownership and profit sharing by and among the Ndola residents, the Enrights are creating a model for sustainable economic and social development that no simple cash injection could match. It is having a profound and positive effect.

I share all of this with you as it inspires me and gives me hope that things are happening all over this amazing planet by incredible people just quietly going about their work. And I’m thrilled to be linked to Kafakumba and hope that you’ll join in the efforts too. Our next trip is planned for October 2011 where my friends Frances, Suzanne and I will be bring a message of love, hope and sisterhood to the ladies at Kafakumba.

I guess there was a reason for the longing I had all those years ago for Africa, AIDS babies and the people of that region! What are you longing for? What do you think about consistently? I bet it’s pointing you towards where you’re meant to go and make a difference on the planet!  Listen to it. It’s your unique assignment and will lead you to profound bliss.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.