Protecting the land
In Chiundaponde, in the Bangwuelu area of North-Eastern Zambia, six Life Groups have been established. In this village, however, the tribal chief is grabbing land from locals and selling it. Bernard Witika, the Zambian Co-ordinator, recently went to meet with the locals.
‘People are losing fields and homes and being moved from places they have lived in for many years,’ Bernard says. ‘The problem is that no-one is standing up to defend them.’
However, the groups’ representative reported that studying Love Your Village had challenged those who had joined these Life Groups. As a result, they said, they planned to stand together and defend the land.
‘They arranged a day to pray for the chief,’ Bernard says, ‘and then asked him for a time when they can meet with him to address the issue.’
The situation continues to evolve daily. The government has become involved to try and resolve the matter. People say this is an answer to prayer. The chief has pushed back by trying to kick out an NGO that had been working in the area, supporting people with lifts to the hospital and providing a handful of jobs.
‘The Life Groups continue to pray.’ Bernard continues, ‘An important thing to know about Chiundaponde is that there is too much witchcraft. Many people go to church and practice witchcraft. Beer drinking is high and when people start fighting at the beer house they fight to the extent of killing one another in day light they fight with pangas, axes...anything that can kill. This village really need God.’
In Simambumbu, Bernard met with Area Coordinators and together they looked at the idea of using Village Journey with Life Groups in the regions they work with.
‘I’d been feeling frustrated that it has taken too long for me to get around the various areas,’ Bernard says, ‘and that I haven’t been able to visit the regions more often. But after this meeting, I’m greatly encouraged to hear that Life Groups have been planted in the Eastern and Southern provinces. What I’ve seen confirms that communities are using Village Journey as a means of growth, even though Dignity co-ordinators can’t always be present. Out of this, I’ve learned that trusting local people can lead to the work developing without the need for Dignity staff to visit every area. Often people at local level can make growth happen.’