Living in a Dream
My time in Zambia in November and December was filled with learning, growing, and what I call "boss-ladying". If you missed my post recapping how I spent my time in Zambia, you can check it out here. If you missed our post introducing you to our wonderful ladies in Chicks Empowered, go on and meet them!
I've been bursting at the seams, filled with joy, hope,
and pure happiness since my return home.
My time spent working alongside the women in Chicks Empowered, I saw something incredible, something I wasn't expecting to see this soon, progress.
Chicks Empowered has always been about more than farming chickens and making an income. The real motivation to run this project is to raise up leaders, entrepreneurs, and inspire change in this community. What I learned a month ago is that some of our ladies are grabbing onto that vision, that hope, and its changing their lives.
This week I want to share some of the stories from our life-changing project, Chicks Empowered.
"It's Like I'm living in a dream." - Geneva
When I first met Geneva in 2014, she was a reserved and quiet woman. Although Geneva can't speak English or read and write, its obvious Geneva is a very intelligent woman. Dignity and distinction radiate off her.
As the Headman's wife, she is highly respected in her community. It was clear all eyes are on her family to be the example for the village, the standard for everyone else. AKA, there's a lot of pressure on Geneva all the time.
I remember when we first met about Chicks Empowered in June with Headman Steven and Geneva. Geneva was obviously very hesitant about working with us. A history of abandoned projects started by white men plagues communities like Kunchubwe. She listened and at the end of our pitch had lots of questions, some we could answer, some we couldn't. To be honest, I think she appreciated the fact that we didn't know it all, that we were also taking a step of faith. Slowly, her hesitancy started to dwindle and I watched as the light bulb went off in her eyes at the possibilities this project could bring.
Fast forward half a year later, its the day of slaughtering. We told our ladies to be ready to start at 5am. Scared that they would wake up late, most of the women woke up between 1 and 2 and walked to Geneva's house. Slaughtering is hard work, I didn't realize how hard it is. We prepared 100 chickens that morning. Everyone is tired, dirty, and hungry.
Geneva takes a 5 minute break and I offer her some breakfast which she refuses. I didn't understand, of course. Alexandre explains to me, she is the leader, if she takes breakfast the rest of the group will be discouraged and won't finish the job.
And thats who Geneva is. She is self-sacrificing, honest, honorable, and most importantly, humble despite her status.
Every day Geneva would greet me with a giant smile, a firm handshake, and a cheerful "Mwauka Bwanji" or "good morning!" She told me one day, "You have no idea what it means for you to be here with us, all our hesitations are gone."
On my second to last day, I sat down with Geneva for a long time and we talked about her life, her leadership, Chicks Empowered, everything. For the very first time, I saw something I had not seen in the village before... hope.
"i never expected something this good to happen in my life, in my village. I look at my life and i see my future is bright..."
In a society that lives day-to-day, week-to-week, thinking about the future is rather unheard of. I realized that hope, setting goals, and day-dreaming are all things that I take for granted, things I inherently learned by living in a community that inspires people to dream big. We knew what we were doing wasn't ground breaking, but what we couldn't have known was how giving them hope would inspire and change their lives.
I look at Geneva and I agree - her future is bright, indeed. I see a woman whose bursting forth into new life and stepping with confidence into the leadership role she was made for.
On my last day, we paid the women their share of the profits for the first time. I will never forget when Geneva turned around and raised up her envelope and beamed at the ladies with pride and accomplishment!
Geneva told me, "the knowledge I've gained from this project can never be taken away from me." And my response to Geneva was, "neither can your confidence be taken away"
In 2016 we want to fill more lives with hope and confidence. Learn about our BIG 5 goals and join us in changing hearts through monthly giving. We know the future is bright for Kunchubwe Village, we need your help to make it happen.