My family and I have spent a great deal of time at Wiphan Care Ministries during these last three months in Africa. It is the organization we are serving and ministering with in Ndola, Zambia. Wiphan provides education for nearly 700 orphans at its three schools across Ndola. Along with giving them a Christian education Wiphan also provides one meal for students each day. For some this may be their only meal for that day.
After completing grades one through seven many of the students enroll in government schools through Wiphan’s Inshila program. It sponsors the students for them to complete their high school education.
While at April’s Inshila meeting, the girls held a private meeting with female leaders, my mom, and me; and the boys met in another room with male leaders, my dad, and brothers. Our time with these girls impacted me greatly. After a few opening words from the teachers, my mom asked the teens, “How many of you have a father that has either died or is gone from your life?” All but two of the nearly 30 raised their hand.
My mom then asked, “How many of you have a father that you see often?” The remaining two girls raised their hand, and tears immediately came to my eyes.
A few of the girls opened up about struggles regarding their treatment at home or at school. Some shared financial issues, and others about transport to school because they must walk 45 minutes to and from school every day. Still others explained they often can’t attend school because, without a mother or father at home, no one is there to look after the younger children.
HOSPITALITY, JEWELRY, KEYBOARDING CLASSES
This brought me to a greater understanding than ever before of how many things I take for granted and how much I have to be grateful for.
Wiphan’s education program is also for widows. They can participate in one of three classes, hospitality, jewelry, or keyboarding. They use the skills learned to work and provide for their children and family. Some are employed by Wiphan.
The hospitality class, also available to orphans, teaches different skills helpful for working in a social setting, such as a lodge, restaurant, hotel. They are taught basic housekeeping skills, how to prepare different recipes, cleaning techniques and proper customer service. In the jewelry class they are taught how to make necklaces. The beads are composed either of seeds dyed in tea or coffee or are made of long, skinny strips of paper rolled up and then painted to form a bead. In the keyboarding class the women and orphans learn basic computer skills. After completing this course, if desired, they can apply for training and employment by Wiphan in data-entry. A company from the U.S. has hired the data-entry program as a ministry opportunity for their business.
My parents’ ministry focus at Wiphan is primarily in discipleship and evangelism of the staff and leadership. They have spent a great deal of time meeting and developing relationships with the teachers and other employees across the three Wiphan schools. We are still new here and therefore still getting to know the people around us. Nevertheless, I am greatly enjoying observing our growing relationships.
Personally, I have bonded with many of the students in Wiphan’s hospitality class. I can generally be found laughing, visiting, singing and taking pictures with these wonderful new friends when we are at Wiphan Nkwazi (the Wiphan headquarters).
IN THE KITCHEN WITH “MAMMA’’
If I am not with the hospitality students I am often in the kitchen with Mamma Monica, the grandmotherly cook, as she stirs the large pot of Nshima, preparing to serve lunch. I occasionally help her with dishes, share a plate of Nshima with her, or simply visit as she gives me a Bemba lesson. There is something so peaceful about sweet Mamma Monica’s kitchen.
My brothers love laughing and playing futball (soccer) with the Wiphan children when they are on break; or with the kids in the surrounding neighborhood who pass by.
A SAD TIME
We also experience sad times. A few weeks ago one of the staff members at Wiphan suffered the death of his 3-month-old son. This poor family has not only endured the passing of their little baby but a year ago they lost their only other child at the age of 1. One month following his first child’s death this man was also hit with the passing of his father. Your prayers are much appreciated for this family.