go after what your heart desires most

Moving around for every day has been the delight of a working career. Being busy in a delightful job is rewarding and stressful. We have started daily work and meetings and briefings that I’m exhausted by the time I get home. But progress is amazing.  We have started weekly talks- three times a week. With me present as a side along. For prenatal and postnatal counseling and family planning or contraceptive ways to help woman gain back their life instead of consecutive pregnancies. This is my plan as education should be provided at a hospital, not just treatment. Institutionalize and become part of the clinic. 


One NHC group is actually using the training and making me proud. Did village inspections. And still working hard without lots of support from families. Roscah is my favorite member to work with as she is always smiling and happy and incredibly fun to work with. She and I have a girls club at her school and a HIV club as well to bolster health awareness and education as well as prevention of diseases. And she is a blast to teach with!! 

Lotus By The Dam

We trekked out to the Lunchu dam so close to Violet’s house one day. We talked about the recent child marriages that were being arranged in the last few weeks. 

Three girls under seventeen were getting married off. The issue of why young girls and the plans of parents were so different from a different country. Men enjoyed different things. And girls had parents with needs and younger children with even more needs. 

The dam came into view but I couldn’t see the structure as the grasses had completely covered it. People fished the entire area and lotus flowers bloomed in this wildflower season. 

I enjoyed for the first time fishing in a lake. Three of my brothers taught me how to cast and tie a line and bait a hook. I couldn’t catch a fish but they said that it was only practice. I got to take pictures instead and revel in my new fishing skills. 

Honey by the liters 

It’s bee hive harvesting time! And I used that time to give a workshop about starting more hives! As a gift I was given six liters of real natural honey straight from the beeswax! I started this project to promote more income generating activities for farmers to start hives. 

It was difficult at first but people soon got confident at working with bees and building colonies and transferring hives that go loose. Even harvesting was a training day and it was frightening. But I got six liters at the end as gifts and I don’t think i have time to finish them!!

I am extending my house to now include a solar shower room with water going into my garden of veggies. I am working with a local church in a union to give me workers for money for their church fund to build their church. I was first regretting this when violet explained the importance of need vs. want. Some wants are always picked over needs. But then you always pick your need or what you should do rather than what you want and violet taught me a word. 

Icikondamoyo- the one which the heart loves. Going after what you want. You can live a simple life only gaining the basic necessities or chase after what you desire. To have high expectations and have obstacles facing it down every which way instead of choosing simpler paths with fewer walls to climb. And that is the truer life. To not just settle but push yourself to gain what is difficult and what is farther from your reach because it is a wish from inside. 

This wish is hoping for family and then seeing Chanda running to me. Hugging me tightly in the morning and then at my return with wet hands. Her eyes as they glance at me. 

“When you are sitting still, you start thinking of home.”  When you let your mind slacken, you think of escaping. One year ago, I was not a Bemba tribe Lunchu citizen named Mapalo. I was waiting. And wishing of escaping. 

When you find yourself restless with no work, start moving, as my Violet says. Do not wait to be happy. Do not wait to be successful or wealthy. Get out there and start moving and working to get things moving and your plans set to be accomplished. Do not wait or linger any longer. 

Two weeks straight, I did not have a free day and I felt blood pumping into me fueling my and the village’s plans into motion. I felt incredible. 

But I am a year into my service and I know now that this is over as soon as I come to grips that it is almost there. When I finally get used to the idea of being here for as a long as a year, only months will be left and most will be spent outside from my host family and Violet and her family, getting ready to leave and setting up for the next. So all this moving will feel hollow as it will only be moving to the next challenge. 

The challenge however is that Lunchu village and I will no longer share a future after this service. That I do not truly belong in Lunchu. I do, for now. But not truly. Not forever. 

Hearing the children scream my name in unison and knowing it won’t last made my heart clamp up but a sad reminder that I am blessed to hear my name on their lips and forever in their memories but that my heart has other plans. Many others for the future but not possible to have and also keep Lunchu. 

My heart clamped tighter and I ground my teeth to hold back my tears. I had to answer my kids waiting at my door, patiently waiting for me to pull away my curtain with a smile and a warm hello. 

I had been working almost every day so far and moving alongside and watching wild flowers bloom in a perfect month of May and I could not believe how brilliant Zambia felt. It is home for now and it felt beautiful and warm. Right now, it is blessed and has invited me home. My work is not done and I have much farther to climb with my job and my personal growth. And I have changed and still changing…

But my heart pounds hard for what it desires and no way am I going to settle for less.


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