“Three things remain with us from paradise: stars, flowers and children.”/ Dante Alighieri/

Last year, I celebrated a mass in the village of Kapone, taking confessions before the mass. One father brought his 16-year-old daughter Kanuwa on his back. Kanuwa suffers from polio and can move only by crawling, using her arms. Unfortunately, her arms are now deformed as well, since she has been using them all her life to propel and drag herself along on the ground. Kanuwa felt compelled to confess, and her confession filled my heart and warmed my soul. Living in the so-called western world, we have no right to complain about challenges or difficult times. As soon as I returned to Livingstone, I purchased a wheelchair and asked our driver to take it to Nawinda. When the wheelchair arrived in Nawinda, a word was sent to Kapone, and the people arrived with an ox cart to pick it up. The journey from Nawinda takes 5 hours by car, or two nights by an ox cart. Because they must graze throughout the day, the oxen can only pull the cart at night.  

This year, the mass was celebrated in Kasompe, a neighbouring village, but we went to Kapone because I wanted to see Kanuwa. The wheelchair has been a big help to her, because her father no longer has to carry her on his back.

After Capone, we continued towards Kasompe, where we planned to attend the dedication of the new church and celebrate a mass, but a flat tyre changed our plans… We arrived in Kasompe late, so the mass was celebrated in the dark, but that did not diminish the joy and happiness of the Kasompe people. We spent the night in Kasompe, had roasted cassava for breakfast and continued towards Samisisi.

This year, in the village of Mbulumina, I met a 4-year-old girl suffering from polio. Together with the Livingstone Rotary Club and our YCTC centre, the Heart for Zambia Foundation held a fundraiser. We pledged to provide wheelchairs to all the children in need in the Western Province’s distant and impoverished villages, to make their lives a little easier. The wheelchair you see in the photo is already on its way to Mbulumina.