There were many things that I needed to learn quickly and get used to when we lived in Zambia and one of those things was the art of waiting…waiting patiently. Not that I have mastered it, being quite an impatient, everything has to be done now, type of person. But learning patience was vital in order to maintain any sense of peace. 

Today was a full day…from when we left the house at 9:00am until we arrived home at 9:00pm we have been full on. It was a CiCA day today and I was determined that by the end of today I would have been able to catch up with every single one of our sponsored children.  We had just 8 children to visit on a road trip of over 150km.  We really did think we would be home by lunchtime. 

Mildred was our first child…we would meet her at the side of the road, on the way out of town at 8:30, except we got delayed leaving Mildred waiting for us. When we arrived there wasn’t any sense of impatience, just a lovely, friendly little girl, happy to see us. 

On to Kitwe…we waited outside the shop for Annie’s aunty to be free to escort us to Annie’s school.  When we got there, we waited for the headteacher to arrive before we could get down to the business of finding out from Annie how she was doing.  

From there to Lydia – her story is such a story of grace. I have known Lydia since she was a baby, before her Mum died leaving her an orphan.  Lydia wasn’t home and I wasn’t leaving without seeing how she was doing. So, we waited while someone went to find her.  I’m so glad that we didn’t rush on by – my abiding memory of Lydia is her sitting on my knee as a little girl, with her siblings sat either side of me, at her Mum’s funeral. Imagine my joy at seeing this confident happy teenager come round the corner. When you know her story…there is no joy like it. 

Each delay had purpose…we travelled onto the next town. That child wasn’t home. We decided to travel to her school with the hope that we might catch her there. I was concerned we would pass each other on the way. We started our journey to the school, when we saw her turn the corner. CiCA has been sponsoring Cellien since she was a little girl. She is now in grade 11.  Cellien, was so excited to show us her latest biology test result. She got 88%. We are so proud of her. Against the odds she is excelling. 

We were now very late to see our next child. Mapalo had been waiting for us at the school gate since 10 am. It was 3:00pm. He wasn’t there. We took some time (quite a lot of time) searching for his house. Down little tracks with huge ditches until we it. We were told he had gone back to the school to continue waiting for us. Bless him. We got there in the end. 

Elisha was writing a test, but we were allowed to call him out of class to catch up with him.  We waited in the deputy head’s office for him to come to us. Naomi wasn’t at home, but we tracked her down at school where she was having extra lessons. We sat in the head’s office waiting,  while someone went to find her. 

During Covid our team had been out and about in rural communities giving out masks and hand sanitisers. They had been directed to a family that was in great need. The youngest child had suspected hydrocephalus. We have two children in the CiCA family with this condition. We have had no contact with this family since that initial contact. 

For some reason we were prompted to try and find them today. Bearing in mind this is a community that is tightly packed together in tiny houses in an unfamiliar place. By now it was late and a thunderstorm was brewing. How easy it would have been to make excuses and go home. I’m so proud of the CiCA team. They are like machines. We searched for ages for the house and then by chance found it only to be told that Mum wasn’t around. We were told that the child we were looking for was in the house being cared for by a neighbour but we just couldn’t barge in. How easy it would have been to list all the reasons why we couldn’t wait. It was getting dark, the roads become treacherous, it was starting to rain, and really how long would we wait for. But we waited 30mins while people looked for Mum. I’m so glad we waited. That little baby (he is 3yrs old) is suffering and we have the ability to help. I can’t bear to imagine the outcome if we had decided that to wait was too much of an inconvenience.  

Nehemiah joined the CiCA family today. 

Then we began the very long and arduous journey home. Except that we sang for the full 75km home. I say “we”…not Nick!  

What a blessing that was as the storm railed around us, through the mud and the potholes…we sang…at full volume. It had been a successful day  

We drove up the little track to drop off Pastor Meekness. We were about 2kms from home. Nearly there, when the car started to make a funny noise. Nick got out to have a look…it was pouring down, there was no way I was getting out of the car. We had a flat…and so we waited for help to arrive.  

Reflecting on the day, I’m glad that it didn’t go according to our plan.  It was in the waiting, in the inconvenience that we got the job done. If we had rushed on, eager to get done, to get home, to be finished, there is so much we would have missed. We would have missed Lydia and Cellien, we would have missed Mapalo and Elijah and more importantly we would have missed Nehemiah. 

I would also have missed the 12hours of companionship and friendship with my comrades and the joy of miles of music.