Yesterday we started a new week of Camp Life with new children. I got another group of girls ages 9-15 this week. Here they are.
These children are very different from last week. They are soooo sad, there is nothing I do can get a smile from them. I can tell just by looking at them that their little lives are difficult.
I want to share with you Mulelengi’s story.
She is a little girl about 12 years old. She lives with her aunt and uncle who have 5 boys because her aunt took her from her mother and father and brothers and sisters because she did not have a girl. She wanted a girl to clean the house and mind the house for her. Mulelengi was taken away from her mother in the year 2000 and has not seen her since. She misses her family very much. She shared with us that she wanted to go to church every week, that her aunt and uncle go and take their children, but leave her at home because they tell her to watch the house. She never gets to go to church.
Mulelengi never has breakfast, nor dinner. She says that sometimes she has Sheema for lunch. Sheema is just a corn meal mixture that has no taste. Most of the time she says she is very, very hungry. She says that she loves camp life and that this is more food than she has ever had.
Mulelengi sleeps alone at night in the sitting room, on the floor.
During our time together she began to cry. In Zambia it is not typical for a child to show their emotions this way. She hung her head low and sobbed. I told her to look at me. She would look up and then look away. She wouldn’t make eye connection with me over 2 seconds. I kept trying because I wanted her to see the love in my eyes. Finally I got her to make eye contact and I told her that it was ok to cry, and that what was happening to her was a terrible thing, but through all of this that God is with her.
On Monday, we wrote each girls name down on a roster sheet and I took down Mulelengi’s name and noticed that it was a different type of name. In Africa all names have meaning, the people here are very specific in what they name their children. There are several Zambian people here with the name, Blessing, Righteous, Innocent, etc.
I asked my Zambian partner if she knew what Mulelengi meant, she said no, but that she would find out. This morning she came and told me that she found out that her name meant, “that she would never own or have anything.”
So during our time together I asked Mulelengi if she knew what her name meant, and she knew exactly what it meant. So then I told her that I would be changing her name. I asked her to give me a little bit of time and then I would have a new name for her.
Then my Zambian partner told me that she kept noticing that she has scars all over her face, her arms, her legs and even on her chest. She told me that this was a covenant. She called them tattoo’s. She said that they take knives and put herbs on them and then cut her all over, as they give a curse over her. My Zambian partner mentioned that it was probably to declare that she would never have anything (her name).
I took Mulelengi in my arms and held her as she sobbed and I prayed over her for a very long time. After I prayed for her I told her that I was changing her name to Prosperity. And I explained what her new name meant.
And I finally saw a small, little smile from Prosperity.
Pray with me for her as this week goes along, that she would really grasp, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” this week (our camp theme). That she can know Him in a very personal way. That He can be the light in this child’s very dark world.
Thank you for reading my stories. Also if you have a chance, pray for me. I have a really bad sinus infection (probably from the dust) and just started an antibiotic today, but feeling kind of bad. I really need to feel better, not only for the kids, but I don’t want a head cold on the airplane for 18 hours coming home.