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Stories of Change

  • Writer's pictureJason

Visiting the Congo border market was mind blowing


A big question the guys had before we started the trip was if the poverty was really as bad as the pictures make it to be.


"You just post the really desperate pictures. Not everyone is like that, right?"


After experiencing Zambia for 2 weeks, we realized it's not an exaggeration. Poverty is everywhere you look. You can't walk or drive anywhere without seeing a child alone on the streets, or people selling or begging. The average person in Twashuka earns about 20 Kwacha per day, which is about $1. This really hit home when Christian & Nicholas exchanged one $100 bill at the local bank and received about 3 months of pay in Kwacha. Their reaction to this was eye opening and humbling.


Just as we were trying to wrap our heads around how people live off of $1 a day in Twashuka, Aaron wanted to show us a place that made Twashuka look like Heaven!


This is the border between the Congo and Zambia. We traveled 4 hours each way on insane dirt roads to get here because Aaron wanted to show us how bad these places really are.


Every day thousands of people illegally cross the border with products, food, clothes, and anything else they can sell because the inflation is so bad in the Congo they would rather sell in Zambia and earn Zambian Kwatcha. This blew our minds, but then we walked by a stand that was selling Tomatoes for 300 Congolese Francs each. In Zambia, Tomatoes sell for 2 Kwatcha, with is about $0.10 each USD.


On the border of Zambia, the dust was so bad, you couldn't hardly see the car in front of you. As we arrived, it was starting to get late, and people were packing up their products to go home to the Congo. Aaron said it would've been much busier in the morning. But what we saw was enough to open our eyes. It was crazy to believe people could live like that.


As we walked through the streets littered with trash, it felt and smelled like we were in a garbage dump. There was trash and sewage everywhere, and people were selling on the streets like their lives depended on it — because they do.


The general sense we got from this place was that people were barely surviving. It was extremely eye-opening and sad to see.


We had a lot of good conversations on the drive home asking questions like, "Why are Americans so worked up about gender identity and electric cars when there are places like this in the world?" As soon as you enter a place like this and see people starving on the streets, your priorities in life suddenly get re-aligned.


Is there anything we can truly do about this? The answer is yes, and it has to do with the children.


The children are the ones that suffer the most. They don't know anything different! And you tend to adjust to what you're raised in. So if you're raised in a garbage dump, all you know is the garbage dump. That's why education is so important! Because if the children had the opportunity to learn and get educated, they would realize that they can do better. They just don't know they can.


That's why our mission statement for Reaching the Heart of Zambia is: "Sparking a Passion for the Kingdom of God through Educating & Empowering the Children of Zambia and the Communities we Serve."


Everything we are focus on as an organization is about educating & empowering the children.


Our school in Twashuka has existed for over 10 years now, and we are finally seeing the fruits of our effort as we pour ourselves into the hearts of the children. We have truly seen that if you give a child a real opportunity to educate and empower themselves, they will take it. They want it.


There are around 300 children who attend the school, and my goal is to get them all connected to a sponsor in the USA so that they will actually have a chance to complete high-school and attend a college one day. Many of them desire to follow God and impact the world through being a nurse, teacher, accountant, or other things, but in order for their dreams to be met, we really need to find a sponsor to help.


You see, our school is more of a rescue mission to get the children off the streets and get them started or “caught up” in their learning. There is a window of opportunity from the time we get them up until grade 7. This is the window we are searching for a sponsor. If we can find a sponsor for them, we can afford to send them to private schools to continue studying at higher levels - but without your help, we can’t do it.


How much does it cost, you ask? Only $50 a month. That’s it. If you go out to eat with your family once a month, you are probably spending in one meal what it costs to send a child to school for a month. How is that possible?


The average person here in Twashuka lives on about 20 kwacha a day, and the exchange rate right now is that 19 kwacha = $1. So that means that most people are living off of just over $1 a day. Do they have all the wonderful conveniences and homes we have? No, they literally live in houses that made out of mud and eat pasty food because they can’t afford anything. They are the poorest of the poor.


So when you sponsor a child for school, it might not seem to you like $50 would do anything because in America, it wouldn’t do much. But over here in Zambia $50 = 950 kwacha, and that’s more than enough! It’s enough to buy books, clothes, food, and even help the school pay for teachers!


Yes, it is mind-blowing, but it’s the honest truth. One of the best ways we can help these kids and this community get out of the cycle of poverty is to get them all sponsored for school.


As we are coming to the end of this trip, the guys have seen firsthand the extreme poverty of Zambia, but also what children look like when they're given hope. All the children in our school have an opportunity to get out of poverty and be the change Zambia needs.


The boys have committed to help us get as many children sponsored for school as possible, and right now there are 27 children who really need your support in this area. You can sponsor a children for school for $50/m right now. We even have a way you can go in on a sponsorship with 2 people if you can't afford the full amount (two people sponsors one child for $25/m).


Would you please consider supporting this mission on a monthly basis by sponsoring one or more children for school? It might mean you can't go out to to the movies or eat out as much, but in Zambia, you are literally enabling a child to have a future, and it's so worth it.



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Sponsor a Child

Our Sponsorship Program gives children a safe learning environment, where they learn academics and more about the Gospel, as well as receiving a daily meal, and necessities, such as shoes, soap and a school uniform.

Children Waiting to be Sponsored Right Now...

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Mercy Zyambo is 5 years old and lives with both her parents who are unable to support her due to lack of work. Her dream is to be a teacher.

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Blessings Banda is 7 years old and lives with her brother and single mother.  When she grows up, she wants to become a doctor.

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David Chisanga is 7 years old and lives with both his parents who are refugees and unable to support him. His dream is to become a doctor.

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Nancy Kunda is 12 years old lives with her mother and two siblings. She loves studying science and wants to be a nurse when she grows up.

2021-zambia-mission-trip-3153-1.jpg

Comfort Chikopela is 6 years old and lives with his grandmother. His dream is to become a teacher when he grows up.

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