Robert and Jan Nettleton have been on mission to Zambia with Dignity on two occassions in the past couple of years; find out more about their trip!
Superficially, we did similar things to 2010: contributed to Dignity training conference and had some holiday afterwards. However, this would not do justice to the way that the work of Dignity has developed. Delegates to last year’s training conference in the capital Lusaka are now establishing Life! Groups in rural Zambia. In particular, this summer we were able to meet up with three of these delegates the North East of Zambia in Luapula province at Samfya. To get there, we had to drive with Jon Witt five hours along roads so straight they could have been engineered by the Romans through open tree savannah, a huge wetland, finally arriving at the expansive Lake Bangweulu, complete with white sand beaches. There we joined Cornelius, Francis and Agnes who form an Impact Team providing training, facilitation and support for Life Groups ‘on that side’ as they say in Zambia.
After returning to Jon and Judith Witt’s home at Mkushi we moved on with the whole family to Nsobe. Dignity had been invited to provide two days of training to villagers (see Blog entry All Go at Nsobe) around Nsobe Game Park, Lodge and associated farming businesses. Local villagers already have major stake in the enterprises at Nsobe, but exploring the ‘Love Your Village’ materials brought to the forefront how folk in the most marginal circumstances can take responsibility to work together to overcome insecurities and rivalries. In addition, to share what little they have to improve the prospects for fellow community members, even those otherwise excluded. Key to the impact of this training event was the input of another Dignity partner, Bernard who lives in the same region. Bernard is an experienced pastor and church planter who has chosen to live with his wife Doreen in a small place in the bush where they exemplify ‘Love your Village’ (for example through establishing a nursery school that Jan was able to visit). Life Groups establish their own credibility that speak against lack of self confidence and expectations that change must necessarily come from the city \ government \ NGO \ missionary etc.
We also had the opportunity to spend time with Jon and Judith and their three boys at home on the road. Life in rural Zambia provides its pressures but also opportunities to work with enterprising and resourceful people and to encounter the amazing wildlife of southern Africa in landscapes of daunting scale – it all has quite an impact!