Life Okendewa Dedication
Life Okendewa Dedication and Grand Opening
March 25, 2017
For two weeks after Headman Stephen made his announcement "she's coming!" we've been scrambling to get everything ready. With a few minor hiccups (like Headman going to the hospital...) we checked everything off the Royal to-do list:
- Catered lunch? check!
- Big ol' tent? check!
- Chairs for 300? check!
- Special arrangements for Her Royal Highness? check!
- A Gift for Her Royal Highness (a sheep)? check!
- Every last detail perfected? check!
Just 12 hours after landing in Zambia - we were on our way to Kunchubwe Village for the big day - and I'll be frank, we were all a little nervous. Especially Headman Stephen. We expected around 300-400 people and Headman had his whole reputation on the line. As I mentioned in the last post, Chieftains Nkomeshya had not been to a rural village in many years. So, this celebration needed to be worth her time.
We anxiously waited for Her Royal Highness to arrive, double checking everything and everyone was in place. A million questions filled my head - will she like me? will she like the house? will she give us a hard time? is this good enough for her? will I embarrass myself and Love Abounds? And finally she arrived and all my questions were put to rest.
Truly, it was one of the best days of my life.
We'd been told, and Chieftainess Herself admits, that she is a very tough and difficult person. Her number one goal is to protect the people of her Chiefdom. Which means she says "no" to a lot of people. We didn't really know what to expect from her...
Our entire morning and afternoon with the Chieftainess was nothing short of amazing. Instantly, Her Royal Highness was one of the most supportive people of Love Abounds that we've met in Zambia.
Life Okendewa is the first and only orphanage built in a rural village in the Chongwe District.
Chieftainess Nkomeshya was truly impressed with everything we've built in Kunchubwe Village - not only giving us the ultimate stamp of approval - but also promising to grant us more land for future projects!
The entire day was so special but the moment that stood out to us the most was when the Chieftainess started auctioning off her gifts of appreciation. It is tradition when any chief of this status comes all the headmen of villages bring a gift and yesterday they brought some of their best chickens. Chieftainess had an impromptu auction to sell all those chickens of appreciation to fundraise for Life Okendewa!! In the 30 minutes of fundraising - Her Royal Highness raised close to $300 for the orphanage (thats BIG money in a place like Kunchubwe Village)!!!! Afterwards, Headman Stephen told us that in the decades of serving under the Chieftainess, he has never seen her do anything like that!
It was the ultimate "I approve!"
Seen by every leader in the entire district. It was a big, BIG moment.
Please enjoy this video highlighting the day!
Oh - and by the way - remember the 400 people we planned on attending?!
over 1,000 people were in attendance on Saturday. And! We were able to feed them all!
People from all over the area came to see the Chieftainess, most of them had never seen her before and were excited to see her face to face! Headman said everyone he talked to yesterday told him, "You have made history in Kunchubwe Village!"
We're so thankful for this amazing day and everyone who supported it financially and in prayer! Thank you!