I'm finally home in good ole Abilene, Texas. The last four weeks have been a whirlwind. When I got into Dallas on Saturday afternoon I felt like I needed to wrap my head in duct tape to keep it from exploding. So many far away places, so many people, so many experiences and emotions, good food, bad food, no food, dust and dirt, at least one "near death" experience, a meeting with a traditional tribal chief, and almost every other experience you can fit into four short weeks. Sometimes I felt like an American visiting Africa, other times I felt like an African who lives in America. To recount all the experiences and emotions would take forever, so let me put the crux of the trip into this little nutshell.
Tuesday, June 28th: We drove to the Chadiza district on what may or may not have been a road to do 2 medical clinics - one in Chadiza, and one in a little village called Kabvuwa right on the Mozambique border. You cannot imagine a poorer or more remote place on earth. The crowd welcomed us with a song, and then we got to work. We dispensed pills, we cleaned sores and burns, and we pulled teeth. With my preaching duties done for the day I decided to help one of the nurses (Laurie Hanson) with wound care. A young girl, maybe 10 or 11 years old, wearing a bright blue shirt came to us with a severe infection in her eyes. They were swollen, and full of puss. With water and cotton swabs we cleaned out her eyes. The poor girl was clearly in severe pain. But when I looked her in the face, and we made eye contact she flashed me a beaming smile like I had never seen before. It was a look of relief and gratitude and true happiness. In the poorest, most remote spot I had ever been to a little girl showed me true happiness. The emotion of the moment flooded over me, and I couldn't hold back the tears. I had to sneak around the corner and sit in the vehicle for a few minutes so the rest of the team wouldn't see me not smiling.
I'll never know that little girl's name, but that's why we keep going back to Zambia. Despite the bad food and rough roads, that's why we go. God bless Africa.