Retrospect by Peter Kerkstra
It has been 5 months since I have been in Africa. A piece of experience of mine to be and work in Zambia, Kaoma for 5 weeks. In my opinion, we have been able to do anything and everything in terms of work: masonry, carpentry, restoration work, furniture for the church and repair work in an orphanage. Because that is my profession, it goes without saying so in terms of impression it is more the way of life of the people there. It is like living there 50 years back in time. I have gained respect for the people there who can achieve a lot with very little in terms of material, money, transport, etc. We as Westerners cannot understand how a person lives there. Despite everything, they are friendly, hospitable and live every day. I have often thought, “we Westerners have become slaves of ourselves”. I have gained an experience and I realize all the more how very good and rich we are here. If you just want to see it then every day is a gift that you get to live.
Retrospect by Siem Zeilemaker
The living conditions and the residents of Kaoma have made a deep impression on me. In Kaoma itself these conditions are not too bad, after all there is usually water and electricity. The residents do a bit of (barter) trade and can apparently stay alive that way. However, life gets much tougher just outside Kaoma. Walking or cycling 10 to 15 kilometers to the market to trade some oranges or something similar is almost daily fare for the women. In addition, they also have to fetch water, gather wood, cook, etc. Life is to survive there. Add to this that in the rainy season all roads are practically impassable, the rivers overflow and the villages (10 huts together) are flooded. Not to mention all kinds of diseases and the lack of medical care. I’ve been surprised that people can still laugh, because they do. They also seem to enjoy their lives and are also very grateful. Grateful just for being back. That you, as a “rich” white person, think of them and try to improve their living conditions. I also have great respect for the people who are there day in and day out for the residents of Kaoma, such as Father John (Johannes Bouma), Sister Mary (the mother of the orphanage) and Mr Limata. They deserve our support. I will definitely go to Kaoma again in the future. There is still so much to do there. They may be drops in the ocean, but every drop is one and it is so well spent.
28 March 2020