Ashley Whaley shares about her Zambia Experience this past summer:
“In Zambia, our group saw many acts of good. I would like to share about one that touched me. Kaulyn Loe and I were throwing around a disc and I got it stuck on top of a storage unit (there was a breeze, ok?). Kaulyn and I then went to ask one of the cooks, Ba Andrew, who we estimated 45 years old, for help in getting it down. He said yes and went to go look for the ladder. He came back and said that someone was borrowing the ladder but that he would find something else to climb on. He comes back out with a wooden rake and a rusted metal shelf and carries it to the storage unit by himself. He begins to climb up on it while I stabilize it so it doesn’t tip over. His rake wasn’t long enough to reach it once he was standing on it, so he came down. I immediately felt a relief when his feet were on the ground. I could’t help but think how I would never let my dad climb on something so rusted and risky, and this cook that had become our friend over the past few weeks had put himself in danger for me out of the goodness of his heart. Right at that moment we see Richard riding back on his bike. We had just met him about 20 minutes before when he asked us what we called what we were throwing and talked for a little bit. He had told us that he played on the Young Pirates, the football (soccer) team and that he was playing tomorrow and invited us to come. As he rode by I told him that our disc was stuck on the roof and he said “I can help. But will you also help me and hold my bike?” I said yes! And asked him if he was sure he wanted to do that since he had his big game tomorrow. He said yes and I told him to be careful. I had no idea how he was going to get it. Ba Andrew stabilized the rusted metal shelf and Richard climbs on top and proceeds to full body shoulder lift himself to the top of the storage unit. He gets the disc and then seems unsure of what to do with it. He smiles awkwardly and looks at the disc with uncertainty before he throws it down to us on the ground. He comes back to his bike and we thank him and he asks us if we have “Whats- app”(texting) we say no, but that we do have Facebook. I run back to the Man House (where we slept) and grabbed a paper and pen so that we can exchange names. The next day at the game he waves at us when he is in the warm up circle! It was so fun to cheer for someone we knew on the team. We came to find out in the following weeks that Richard’s dad had passed away the day before he helped us and that he was riding his bike to clear his head.
Joy and service were highly noted to me in Zambia culture. Ba Andrew risked his safety while climbing up on that rusty shelf, all with joy and service to these two girls he had gotten to know the last few weeks. When Richard helped us, you could never tell that anything was pulling at his heart, yet he was deeply mourning. He showed joy and service to these girls that he had just met, not for anything in return, but just because he saw a need and decided to fill it. Something that showed through in the Zambian culture was how they treated people in the small acts, and that has continued to make an impact on me.
Thank you for sharing, Ashley!