Willem Bouma: 5 times 6 weeks in Zambia
When we came to Zambia for the first time in 2006, it was all waiting and new for all of us. Other people with a different culture, a different language. We first had to get used to everything and they of course to us. But once you started building with them, the ice was quickly broken. Of course it was for us as 4 brothers 6 weeks under one roof and working together, getting used to it again, but also quite an experience. We enjoyed working and living there that time. The other 4 years Herman and I have been to Zambia each time with 2 volunteers from the Netherlands. That also took some getting used to each other, you had to be able to work and live together for 6 weeks under the same circumstances, and in the same house. I can be honest, we have enjoyed working there every year. I wouldn’t have missed that. What is it like to go to Zambia 5 times to work there? It is a privilege to be able to do that and to be able to dedicate yourself to people who lack the material very much. Even when you see that the buildings, which were built in those 5 years, are used a lot, that gives a lot of satisfaction. The Zambians are very grateful to us as a foundation for what is being done for them. Last year was my last time to build there. Saying goodbye to the people I have a bond with built up was really difficult! The people there are spontaneous, grateful and concerned, nothing should happen to us. You really felt at home with them. Of course we were happy again, when we were healthy and well with our family at Schiphol after a long journey!
Retrospect Johannes Lenes
After being home again for about two months and catching up with all the builders, you will relive the whole six weeks. And if you are asked what do you remember most? An endless big world full of bumpy sandy paths, amazingly beautiful nature but also a hard nature in which the strongest triumphs. Heat, dryness, wind and dust… Heat also with people and it was great to
to be able to work with these people. A hand gesture, eye contact and a happy smile were the language of communication, because my English is the same good or bad as that of the Zambians, so unintelligible, but precisely because of that it was pleasant to work with the boys there and with Jan, Willem and Herman. In those six weeks, a lot of great things have been achieved that everyone is very happy and proud of! When you get home you also see that it is very much needed to take care of roads, education, sewerage and so much more. That means just keep going. For the new challenges, with the joy and warmth that we have received from Zambia, we try to convince companies, individuals and schools of the necessity here. That’s what I got.
Retrospect Jan Koenders
My observation: It is very rewarding work. The reaction of the people there: “Thank you for doing this, for paying, for doing this for us”. They are grown-ups, the little ones say to us: “makuwa” (white people), “we think you are sweet”. We liked them too. Little people, dark colored, sweet, beautiful, attractive. We lived next to the orphanage, of course they missed their mom and dad, they would crawl up to us to get attention and a little love. So sweet! BmB collected some toys and stuffed animals. How happy they were with that. Where there is nothing, something is already much. And yet these people are usually cheerful. I admire them or is it respect? I try to assist. My basement can be used as a storage for relief supplies. Father Johannes, brother of Willem and Herman and the reason for setting up the foundation, has lived in Africa for 50 years. As a priest he has seen the whole country. He knows how to estimate everything even better. It is nice to have done this and certainly worth repeating. An amazing experience. I would almost say, thank you for letting me experience this.
28 March 2020