By Dr Lesley Potter, child sponsor
The visit to our sponsored child, Gift, and his family was made on July 13-14, 2016. As the family lives far from the capital Lusaka, near Lake Mweru in northern Zambia, we spent two days driving there and the same amount of time on the return trip.
We arrived on the morning of July 13, first meeting with members of the Mweru Area Development Program (ADP) team, which is supported by Australian child sponsors and includes 3,060 children and their families. We then left for Gift’s village.
Our arrival in the village was obviously keenly awaited, the entire population having turned out to welcome us. We were greeted with drums and dancing, then more formal speeches before being introduced to Gift, his two sisters, Rose and Jane, his little brother Stanley and his mother Lengwe.
We learned more of 13-year-old Gift’s experiences. I had been worried on reading in the previous year’s annual report that he was no longer in school and felt that somehow things were not right, so I questioned World Vision about his welfare. I discovered that his father had abandoned the family, marrying again and taking Gift with him to another village. In this new village there was no room for Gift in the school. All these events must have been quite traumatic for him.
Following my enquiries I was told that Gift had now been returned to his mother and siblings and was attending the local school. He certainly seemed happy to be back with his family and was even happier to receive the soccer ball I gave him!
Gift’s mother Lengwe launched into a spontaneous dance of joy. She then ceremoniously presented me with a special memento, a hand-made engraved pot by a village craftsman.