Today has been a glorious day in Mwandi! We rose early so that we could be at the Palace for an audience with His Royal Highness Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta at 8:30 sharp! It has been a few years since our teams have had the opportunity to have an audience with him because he has often been out of Mwandi on government or tribal business during our visits. So today was a great privilege and joy for us.
For some of us, our visit was a chance to renew an old friendship. Others met the Chief for the first time today. It is always a fascinating experience to meet with him. The cultural and tribal traditions surrounding the office of the Chief are complex and call us to a deep respect for the reverence the Lozi people feel for their leader. Chief Yeta is a very kind and learned man, with a law degree from St. Andrew’s in Scotland. The breadth and depth of his knowledge of not only the political, social, religious and environmental realities of Zambia, but also of issues in the wider world, are remarkable. He spent over an hour with our team this morning discussing a wide variety of issues and answering all questions with candor and thoughtfulness. He told us a great deal about the new Peace Park in the Mwandi area which is attempting to re-establish native wildlife to the region that were lost during the years when neighboring countries fought for independence and entered into Zambia with devastating consequences for wildlife. They have reintroduced several species in the last two years with good success. They hope to continue this process so that this region of Zambia can again be a draw for those who wish to see African wildlife. He has encouraged us to go one day next week with one of his guides to see the animals they have already introduced!
Upon leaving the Palace, we went to Enedi’s home, which is quite near the Palace to take her a large donation of yarn. Enedi teaches Knitting to women in the village and they make baby blankets and school uniform sweaters. She invited us into her home and we had a lovely visit.
Then it was back for lunch. We are awaiting the arrival of more paint to complete our project at Kandiana, but we dropped by there for a visit. David Delozier was invited to come to a soccer practice with the local youth league and had a wonderful afternoon of fun and friendship building. He donated a regulation soccer ball to the team and was invited back to play again!
Tomorrow will include a tour of the village, devotions with the children at the Orphan and Vulnerable Children Center and help with the feeding, some afternoon play with the orphans, Makura rides (dugout canoes) and a visit to the home of Dr. Cathy–the new doctor in charge at Mwandi Hospital so that we can enjoy fellowship but also learn from her about current successes and challenges at the hospital. Meanwhile, I am trying to finish a sermon as I am to preach in church on Sunday! Our days are full and so are our hearts!