Originally Posted on September 15, 2011
Updated and reposted April 2021
All of a sudden, I saw out of the World Vision vehicle window, a sign painted on the side of a what I remember to be yellow building. The Luoke Health Centre. My heart skipped as I new we were in Njamba’s village. There was a woman standing under the over hang in front and I was worried about taking a picture as you really should ask permission to do so. But I knew we were finally here and I wanted to capture it all.
The 2nd WV vehicle was a head of us as we could not fit all of our luggage, with the gifts for Njamba’s family & ourselves in one vehicle for the trip out so they provided another one. World Vision really were amazing this whole trip.
We pulled up beside a large tree and all got out of the vehicle.
Sitting under the tree in the shade was a group of men in their best suits and beside them another group of women & children in brightly coloured wraps ( I now know they are called Chitenge) & blouses.
They had a row of 4 or five chairs facing these groups and asked me to sit in the middle chair with arms.
I sat down and the ADP ( Area Development Program) manager sat on my left and Jami on my right. A woman associated with WV gave a speech and a man translated, whom now I know was Mwualuka. Mwualuka in the orange shirt was a volunteer with WV who went around to villages and found the children that people could sponsor. He is the one who took the pictures of Njamba that I received every year so I could see him grow up. The woman speaking, welcomed me to their village, talked about WV, and explained that there was going to be a play in my honour. They presented to me a story of the disadvantages of going to a witch doctor vs. the health centre. The four men who preformed where stupendous especially the man who was sick. It turned out that in the play he had Aids and was saved by the medicine from the health centre and had he not gone there he would have died as the witch doctors methods were not working.
It was very nice but my mind was elsewhere and I was anxious for them to take me to my child!
I got a rush of excitement and tears when they said we were now going to see Njamba. We started walking over the hot sand as it was probably about 12:30hours. We walked in front of Njamba’s school and had our pictures taken and then I think we walked about 100 yards to his village. I am confused at this point because I have pictures of us getting out of a vehicle at his village. I think I have blocked that part out.
We walked around the corner of a lean too shelter made of grass & crooked wooden poles. There was a tattered cream coloured tarp on the roof full of holes and long grass on top of that. When I was in the hut I noticed, again a row of wooden chairs and only the middle one had a green seat cover on it. Someone asked me to sit and both chairs on either side of me were empty. There were woven mats on the floor and they put a box covered in a beautiful bright multi-coloured green cloth on top of it.
The ADP manager sat a few chairs over to my right and I heard someone say, Meet your friend Njamba. I didn’t see him come in so I said ”Where is he? And looked around in a panic. I looked to my left and there he was sitting in one of the wooden chairs about three chairs away. I recognized him immediately and gave him a big teary smile. Someone said something to him and he came over and shook my hand. Then someone said,” give her a hug” so he did. Luckily I had a Kleenex in my hand, from where it came I do not know.
We hugged & I cried and laughed all at the same time.
He then sat beside me on my right.
I am so thankful that Jami was video taping this and David was taking pictures as it is all quite a blur.
Next his older sister Nyambe came with her daughter (about 8 months). She is 34yrs old and beside her was Ngebe, Njamba’s twin sister, 16 years old. I asked if this was Njamba’s mother and she said her name( Nyambe) and I recognized her and we hugged. She then introduced me to Ngebe and we hugged.
Then Njamba’s mumma came into the hut. The ADP manager said this is Njamba’s mother . I was about to get up to greet her and she dove at me and gave me a big hug and kissed me right on the lips. It was very emotional. She knelt in front of me and I said, looking to David ( my WV guide) for moral support and to refresh my memory, “Mutozi cwani” ( Good afternoon in Silozi). Mumma said Mutozi something and we all laughed. Then I said “Kina Joanne( I am Joanne) and we all laughed. It had only taken me 700K to memorize how to say that one sentence.
I asked about Kufuku the oldest brother, Mr. Kazaka & Mutiowa the youngest brother. I was told they were away. David had told me in the vehicle that they were at a funeral in a town we passed on the way to Mongu. I suppose that Njamba would have been there as well had I not been scheduled to come.
I asked if Mumma was coming to the guest house I was taking them to and she said yes. I said that they had a very nice village & a beautiful country and I thanked WV for allowing me to sponsor Njamba. He kept sneaking peaks at me and me him.
His mother then excused herself and said she would be back. This was all explained to me from the interpreter Mwualuka
I later met Njamba’s grandmother whom. I was told, was about 65 years of age.
Stay tuned for the next episode in two weeks time and thanks for reading!
Included in the next blog post is the video of me meeting Njamba!