Monday, July 30, 2012
Twelve days by ox cart
On the Kalahari sands in an obscure bend of the Zambezi River in far western Zambia lies a village called Chitokoloki. Chit, as the locals call it, is much like the hundreds of other small villages in this part of remote Africa. Travel is mostly by foot or shallow dug out canoes or on a cart pulled through the sand by sure-footed oxen. Tarmac road are many kilometers away so you rarely see or hear a motor vehicle. The days are incredibly quiet with the only sounds heard are the wind in the trees, birds chirping, children laughing and playing or singing coming from a distant gathering. The nights are pitch dark, the stars and moon spectacular in the sky above. The only lights in the darkness are from distant fires far across the Zambezi.
What makes Chit different from the other surrounding villages is the fact that 100 years ago some very brave men and women came with a passion to obey Jesus and bring the Gospel to this part of Africa. And 98 years ago, they began a small clinic, which grew into a hospital. And for the past century local people from the surrounding villages for hundreds of kilometers come by whatever means they can, to a place that has a reputation of compassionately caring for sick people in the name of Jesus.
Yesterday I met and examined a young lady in the clinic who had just arrived to Chit. In March of this year, she had a difficult and prolonged labor in her village home. The child could not pass through the birth canal. After 14 hours of struggling with the baby’s head engaged in the pelvis but unable to pass, she lost her baby and the damage to her body left her unable to control her urine. So for several months now, she is constantly soiled. The smell is unmistakable. She is embarrassed and often shunned.
But somehow she made her way here. When I asked her where she had come from and why she had come here, she quickly answered. She told me she had heard about a group of Christians in a hospital in far away Zambia who cared about people with problems like hers. So she made a twelve day journey by ox cart from her village home in eastern Angola, through the bush, to this place called Chitokoloki. She came with no food, very little money but with the hope that someone could help her. Yesterday afternoon several of us gathered around our young sister, assured her she could be helped and welcomed her to the loving embrace of this place called Chitokoloki.